Barack Obama officially launched his reelection bid in Ohio/Virginia over the weekend (though he's had campaign teams working for months now). Jim O'Toole on the mix of old and new battlegrounds:
Ohio is used to being a White House battleground, but Mr. Obama's victory in Virginia four years ago represented a dramatic shift in the electoral map, the first time a Democrat had won the state since Lyndon Johnson's landslide of 1964.
Virginia and New Jersey are the only states that elect their governors in the odd-numbered year following a presidential election. In 2009, they offered a corrective to the Democratic euphoria of the previous year when Republicans captured their governors' offices in landslides. Bob McDonnell now presides in Richmond and Chris Christie in Trenton. Both are the objects of speculation as potential running mates for Mr. Romney and both campaigned for him in the primaries.
Romney (below) of course was in O'Hara Friday. That's Tim Murphy alongside him at right working the crowd.
Here's my story on a recent FCC ruling forcing broadcast TV stations in Pittsburgh and the other top 50 markets to put their advertising files online for the first time. Since 1965 they've been kept in little-known paper files at station offices:
Political ads seeking to directly elect or defeat candidates have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission, but the less overtly political "issue ad" spending allowed by nonprofits is far less regulated. The nonprofits do not have to disclose their donors and have come to dominate the air war. They spent some $28.5 million in the first four months of this year, most of it targeting President Barack Obama, according to a Washington Post study.
The little-known paper files tucked away at the nation's TV stations are one of the only glimpses inside them.
"The only way we're going to know who some of the people are behind them is to go to the files," said Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation's reporting group, "and physically do the old-fashioned, shoe-leather legwork."