Inside Politics: Obama camp email targets Romney’s likely VP picks

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CINCINNATI — President Obama and his Democratic allies aren’t waiting for Republican Mitt Romney to reveal his vice presidential choice. They’re already scuffing up the likeliest picks.

In emails to donors and supporters, Mr. Obama’s campaign is critiquing the Republican running mate favorites while urging home-state Democrats to chime in about their shortcomings.

The pre-emptive strikes reflect a sense that time is precious to sway opinion in a close presidential race dashing quickly toward November.

Mr. Obama’s campaign has targeted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Independent groups sympathetic to Mr. Obama also are starting to unload their opposition research on the would-be vice presidents.

Mr. Romney’s campaign criticized Mr. Obama for seeking critiques and called them little more than “negative smear campaigns.”

CAMPAIGN

New Obama ad questions Romney on income taxes

President Obama is launching a new ad that questions whether rival Mitt Romney paid any income taxes in the past.

The ad shows footage from a Romney interview with ABC News in which the Republican presidential candidate was asked if he had ever paid a lower tax rate than 13.9 percent. The narrator asks, “Did Romney pay 10 percent in taxes? Five percent? Zero?”

The ad is slated to air in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio during the coming week, the same states where Mr. Romney is taking a bus tour beginning Saturday.

Obama allies, such as Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, have questioned whether Romney paid taxes in the past decade.

Mr. Romney has responded that he has paid taxes every year — and, he adds, “a lot of taxes.”

SENATE

Democratic candidates want citizenship bill part of platform

In an appeal to Latino voters, three Senate candidates in the Southwest are calling on delegates to the Democratic National Convention to make support of a bill to help young illegal immigrants gain citizenship a part of the party platform.

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