GOP's Senate hopes dim

The GOP won't sweep the Senate; troop surge ends; and other top Friday stories

By Alex Seitz-Wald

Published September 21, 2012 12:24PM (EDT)

GOP Senate fail: Politico notes: “A year ago, Republicans dreamed of a smashing, top-to-bottom 2012 election victory that would sweep into office a new president and a strong Senate majority along with him. Those days are long over.” Instead, Republicans have very nearly blown what should have been a layup opportunity for them to take control of the upper chamber, with 23 Democratic Senators up for reelection. “While it’s still possible for Republicans to take both the White House and Senate, the party’s hopes for a 2010-style national wave are now approaching zero,” Politico notes. The problem is a combination of bad candidates in places like Missouri, Florida, and Indiana, stronger-than-expected Democratic performance, and GOP presidential candidate who is failing to excite voters.

De-surged: The American troop surge in Afghanistan is officially over. A little over a week ahead of schedule, the last of the 33,000 surge troops sent to the country in 2010 left Afghanistan last night. That still leaves 68,000 American troops in the country. U.S. and Afghan officials almost completely ignored the milestone, underscoring the tense relations between the two country.

Romney bonuses: Despite his apparently robust financial advantage all summer, Mitt Romney entered the final months of the presidential campaign with a cash balance of just $35 million, and is racing to find new large donors. Even so, Romney doled out $192,440 in bonuses to senior campaign staff members after the Republican National Convention. At least nine aides received payments on Aug. 31 well in excess of their typical salaries. The Obama campaign did not seem to hand out similar bonuses. The New York Times reports, “The new numbers, along with disclosures filed by major ‘super PACs’ supporting the two candidates, challenge the appearance of financial strength that had burnished Mr. Romney over the summer, and show unexpected strengths for President Obama going into the fall.”

DeMint <3 Todd Akin: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is considering throwing his hefty financial weight behind Rep. Todd Akin’s (R) Missouri Senate campaign after the party leadership abandoned the social conservative. DeMint, who has positioned himself as a Tea Party kingmaker, controls the deep-pocketed Senate Conservatives Fund, which backs conservatives candidates, often in defiance of party leadership.

Mitt can't handle any more advice: Ann Romney wants you quit complaining and giving Mitt Advice. "Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring,” she told an Iowa radio station of Republicans complaining about her husband's presidential campaign. “This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.”

She added, “so I feel like my best advice is just to bring peace and calm to him and just trust in him and just say, ‘I know you can do it,’ but not to give him any advice because it gets too overwhelming.” Understandable, but the president certainly gets an “overwhelming” amount of advice daily. It comes with the job.

Alex Seitz-Wald

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