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Mitt is not the lone star

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Mitt Romney wasn’t on vacation yesterday, and he wasn’t shaking secretive rich folks for huge piles of cash. Instead, he was sweating it out in New Hampshire, a full month before he was supposed to have been awkwardly mingling with common folk and spitting talking points at reporters in earnest and, you know, campaigning for president like he means it.

There’s a reason for Romney’s sudden reemergence into the public arena. He’s being stalked by a smooth-talking, gun-toting, capital-punishing governor with a personal hotline to heaven. Worse yet, this guy has a head of hair to match Romney’s own.

Romney’s original game plan didn’t have him stumping around the northern woods in the August heat.

The consensus GOP front runner for the White House dropped by a New Hampshire farm in June to make his electoral ambitions formal, and to declare his preference of America over socialism-stained Europe. But after his announcement, Romney retreated into a quiet period. He focused on raising money, building his organization, and hammering Barack Obama from afar, while keeping public appearances to an absolute minimum.

The plan called for Romney’s campaign to remain in a quiet period until after Labor Day.

Labor Day couldn’t come quickly enough, though. While Romney floated above the GOP field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry saw, and exploited, an opening in the field. Perry’s team confirms to the New York Times today that, after a summer of floating trial balloons that culminated in a Christian mega-rally, the governor is entering the White House race.

Perry is now solidifying a fundraising and campaign staffing network in key primary states. He plans to visit New Hampshire and South Carolina on Saturday, the same day as the Ames, Iowa straw poll. Perry’s flurry of activity has rousted Romney from his front porch, and back onto the trail, a month ahead of schedule.

If you’re Romney, the problem with that fact, of course, is that the stories about your sudden return from some August relaxation all lead with references to your recent vacation, and a nod toward the cowboy charging at your heels. 

                                                                                                                                                            --PAUL MCMORROW

BEACON HILL

State Treasurer Steven Grossman reversed a proposed ABCC regulation that would have required microbrewers to either grow 50 percent of their grains and hops or buy it from local farmers. Here is the Gloucester Times story and the Cape Cod Times report.

Grossman urges Congress to cut its vacation short, drawing an unfavorable comparison between Capitol Hill and the State House, where officials are touting a recent ratings upgrade.

The Globe reports that a federal jury has subpoenaed all financial records for the last decade from a North Shore special needs agency that is the subject of a wide-ranging corruption investigation.

The Cape Cod Times mulls over whether dogs should be allowed in restaurants under certain conditions

Massachusetts officials ponder how the S&P downgrade will affect cities and towns.

Former Arlington state senator Jim Marzilli speaks -- but mostly about gardening and cooking.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The group trying to recall Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua says it has filed the necessary signatures. “This is a great day because the citizens of Lawrence are screaming out loud ‘We’re not afraid! Enough is enough!’” Rev. Edwin Rodriguez tells the Eagle-Tribune.  The Globe story on the recall effort is here.

Ripple effects of the ratings downgrades are hitting Massachusetts municipalities, the Globe reports.

Westport officials are abandoning a $1 million debt exclusion request for removing PCBs at an elementary school and instead will return to voters in the fall to seek $2.37 million for the removal project as the costs continue to rise.

Greenfield Mayor William Martin says litter and graffiti along Main Street are getting out of control and he is looking at a crackdown on offenders.

A Land Court judge has ruled Milton officials exceeded their authority when they renewed a permit for a telecommunications tower on the local American Legion Post’s property over the post’s objections.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, in a memo to his colleagues, stands firm in his opposition to any new taxes on people earning more than $200,000 a year. “We were not elected to raise taxes or take more money out of the pockets of hard working families and business people,” he writes. Time has the memo.

Thomas Sowell offers a counterintuitive analysis of the debt ceiling deal in the National Review that says Republicans scored a Pyrrhic victory that, in the end, will force them to raise taxes or see defense spending cut because they were outfoxed by President Obama.

America’s dirty little secret: Prejudice against tea partiers by the left.

ELECTION 2012

Mirroring Mitt Romney’s problems with health care, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was for immigration reform before he was against it.

Romney pins the country’s recent ratings downgrade on the president. Meanwhile, Sen. Scott Brown, who shares a political brain trust with Romney, refuses to blame the downgrade on legislative gridlock, telling the Herald, “I was saying let’s do it in January when we got back, but we were too busy doing judges and all this other stuff.” (The liberal elitists at Slate beg to differ.)

Could the roof-riding Romney family dog Seamus actually become an important part of a  general election Obama campaign strategy against the former Bay State governor?  The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait says yes, while lamenting the possibility.  

President Obama polls well in 16 states and the District of Columbia but isn’t topping anyone’s charts elsewhere. Neither is Congress.

The Barack Obama-Jimmy Carter analogies fly anew. The president responds to financial chaos by chasing a political center that doesn’t appear to exist, prompting Margery Eagan to call him a “gutless, quivering wimp.”

Wisconsin recall elections become a test of the nation’s mood, WBUR reports.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Dow plunges more than 634 points after S&P’s downgrade. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are downgraded, too. Larry Summers analyzes the situation with Tom Ashbrook on On Point. Rep. Michael Capuano goes on Broadside with Chet Curtis to discuss the rating mess.

Nationalized mortgage giant Freddie Mac waits until Wall Street trading closes to announce a $2.1 billion loss. Freddie’s red ink comes days after Fannie Mae announced a $2.9 billion quarterly loss.

Two Harvard Business School professors explain on Greater Boston just how shaky the economy is and say there are indications we’re heading for a double-dip recession.

The Berkshire Eagle says that Verizon workers should consider whether striking over benefit cuts is a good way to preserve their union.

Just because you own a fridge doesn’t mean you’re middle class.

EDUCATION

When Republic High School in Missouri banned Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five, the Vonnegut Library in Indianapolis offered free copies to any student that wanted one, Time reports.

The Lowell Sun, in an editorial, takes Matt Damon to task for his unquestioning defense of teachers. The paper says Damon has La-La-Land Disease.

The Salem School Committee selects Stephen Russell, the former superintendent in Dartmouth, to be its next superintendent, the Salem News reports.

TRANSPORTATION

A Montreal Gazette transportation writer pens a clarification saying an earlier piece about the new bike-sharing program that some Bostonians took as an attack on the Hub of the Universe was actually a smack at his own hometown, so chill out.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The state is asking homeowners to report colonies of 10 of more bats on their properties in order to track the progression of a mysterious white fungus that is killing colonies in the eastern US.

Who rescues the rescuers? The State Police, that’s who. The staties come to the aid of a state rescue team who found a woman who got lost in the Freetown State Forest but lose their way shortly afterwards.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A Westport police officer has settled a civil rights claim against him for use of excessive force.

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