Our daily look at the details that can change everything.
Wisconsin Recalls 'the Most Negative Ever': It was clear the Wisconsin recall elections were a politically nasty affair, but now there are numbers to back it up. "Out of an estimated $12 million in campaign ads in these four markets, roughly 95% was spent on negative ads, 5% on positive ads," writes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Craig Gilbert, citing a study by an ad-tracking firm. The findings prompted the paper to call for the state Supreme Court to uphold a rule requiring the groups funding all those ads to disclose where they're money is coming from. "If negative campaigning is the rule of the campaign trail, don't the citizens of the state have a right to know who is shoveling all that horse patooie? Of course they do," the paper editorialized. Oral arguments in that case are scheduled for next week. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Obama-fying Online Petitions: The White House announced a new feature on the whitehouse.gov website this morning. The page, called "We the People," will allow citizens to draft and sign petitions directly on the White House website, and if a petition gathers enough signatures, "the White House staff will review it, make sure it gets to Obama Administration policy experts, and issue an official response," wrote White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe in an email announcing the new page. "President Obama will even answer a few himself. The page will be live "soon." (whitehouse.gov)
Memo to Billionaires: Presidential Run Better than Philanthropy: Writing in the Washington Post, Matt Miller laments that "wealthy patriots" who might be tempted to launch an independent bid for the presidency "think philanthropy is a better way to spend their time and money." Citing Perot, he argues, "Nothing a foundation does through its own advocacy can compare with a presidential campaign’s ability to influence the debate." This comes after pollsters Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen argued last week in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that given the widespread political dissatisfaction, the time is right for a outsider effort. "There is very good reason to believe that a credible third party, or even fourth political party, may be on the ballot in 2012," they wrote. Should that happen, though, the National Journal counted that it'll ultimately be a victory for the status quo. "In an environment permeated with dissatisfaction with the incumbent, a third-party candidate will almost certainly be a second anti-Obama alternative for voters, with no chance of winning but an outside chance of depriving the GOP of victory," Matthew Franck wrote. (Washington Post)