Nick Baumann

Nick Baumann

Senior Editor

Nick is based in our DC bureau, where he covers national politics and civil liberties issues. Nick has also written for The Economist, The Atlantic, The Washington Monthly, and Commonweal. Email tips and insights to nbaumann [at] motherjones [dot] com. You can also follow him on Facebook.

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"True Conservatives" Love the Super Bowl. And Mitt Romney, Apparently

| Tue Feb. 5, 2008 2:47 PM PST

Sunday was a great day for New York Giants. For me, not so much—I'm a Pats fan, and I was there to watch the debacle unfold. I still wake up screaming.

So my trip to the Super Bowl didn't work out so well. But I did take some time out from tailgating to do some actual work: I had a very interesting chat with some passionate Mitt Romney supporters. They weren't hard to find. In the endless expanse of parking lots that surrounds University of Phoenix stadium, they were the only ones without sports paraphernalia. Their enormous "Mitt Romney for President" signs also made them stick out.

Rachael Proctor was among the Romney faithful spreading Mitt's message around Glendale Sunday afternoon. Longtime Arizona residents all, Rachael and her crew said they were supporting Romney because "true conservatives" and "true Republicans" disliked McCain.

Proctor and her fellow Mitt-ens did have something to say about the issues. They said the economy and illegal immigration were both incredibly important to them, and they trusted Romney more on both. "McCain's been here [in Arizona] 25 years, and [illegal immigration] has only gotten worse," Proctor said. But their main message was the same one that Romney himself has been spouting since the South Carolina primary: Mitt Romney is a true conservative, and John McCain isn't.

Despite the signs and the earnestness, Super Bowl fans weren't having it. I saw Rachael's group one more time after our chat in the parking lot. They were standing by the entrance to the stadium, holding their signs and shouting (politely) about Romney's conservatism. Thousands of fans just walked right by, ignoring them. It was the Super Bowl, after all. But if Mitt's going to have any sort of chance against John McCain, that "true conservative" message is going to have to start resonating.

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Bring Back Jim Webb!

| Mon Jan. 28, 2008 8:11 PM PST

It's hard to be a worse speaker than George W. Bush. But Kathleen Sebelius, the Democratic governor of Kansas, gave it a shot. Sebelius gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union. She's not a good speaker—she's obviously glued to the teleprompter, and the speech itself is awful. It's really too bad, because this could have been a great moment for the Democrats. Bush's speech is already being dismissed as a lame duck's list of unfulfilled plans and missed opportunities. Democrats could have capitalized on that. But instead of trying to draw a clear election-year contrast between her party and the huge numbers of congressional Republicans who are still loyal to Bush, Sebelius mailed it in.

Analysis Shows Possible Pattern in Missing White House Emails

| Fri Jan. 25, 2008 2:20 PM PST

waxman250x200.jpg Since last Spring, the White House has repeatedly told the press and Congress about a potential problem involving millions of missing emails. But last Thursday the story changed: An administration spokesman told reporters "we have no way of showing that any emails at all are missing."

(You can find all of our past coverage of this issue in our missing White House emails index.)

Rep. Henry Waxman, the Oversight Committee chairman, was understandably concerned by the sudden change in the administration's story. They had originally told him that there were 473 days for which no email was archived; now they were saying they weren't sure if any were missing at all. So Waxman and the Oversight Committee scheduled a hearing on February 15 to clear up all the confusion. He quickly fired off letters to White House counsel Fred Fielding (PDF) and Allen Weinstein, the National Archivist (PDF), requesting their testimony. Also invited to testify is Alan Swendiman, the Director of the Office of Administration.

White House: What Missing Emails?

| Thu Jan. 17, 2008 5:43 PM PST

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Today, the White House dramatically changed its tune on the 5 to 10 million emails reportedly missing from its servers. Since early 2007, the administration has repeatedly acknowledged (to the press and Congress) that it had experienced a "technical issue" and that a still unknown quantity of emails might not have been archived, as required by the Presidential Records Act. But, asked by reporter about the missing emails today at a White House press conference, Tony Fratto, the deputy press secretary, contradicted the administration's previous statements.

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