POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/28

Christie Builds a National Profile

The Newark Star Ledger takes a deeper look at how New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has “built his credential for higher office while always couching his commentary in New Jersey issues,” a mix that can position him well for either a re-election bid in 2013 or federal office or both.

“Christie says he doesn’t seek the spotlight and denies emphatically that he’s laying the groundwork for a 2012 presidential run. Still, when national Republicans ask Christie to be Christie — a tough-talking Northeastern conservative willing to target public employee unions and speak unpleasant truths about government financial crises — he is happy to oblige.”

“In fact, veteran political operatives say Christie has taken all the right steps to ensure he’s a national player. He backs up tough talk with tough policies. He always leaves his fans wanting more, turning down a few primo opportunities and batting down speculation about national office (“You flirt!” was the headline on one conservative website). And Christie is clearly on the move, from morning talk shows and Florida business gatherings to big-ticket fundraisers and conservative think tanks.”

 

Roger Ailes to be Indicted?

Barry Ritholtz reports Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes canceled a speaking appearance next month for “legal reasons” which someone told him revolves around being indicted “probably this week, maybe even Monday” for urging an employee to lie to federal investigators to protect Rudy Giuliani.

Henry Blodget: “If the scuttlebutt is true, THIS will be the trial of the century.”

Repackaging Gingrich

“Newt Gingrich needs no introduction to most Republican audiences. It is the reintroduction that is the challenge,” New York Times reports.

“If Mr. Gingrich moves forward with a presidential bid, as his advisers and friends say he is poised to do as soon as this week, he will start with a reputation as one of his party’s most creative thinkers and a record of leading Republicans back to power in the 1990s and confronting Democrats on spending. But he will also have to grapple with aspects of his life and career that could give pause to elements of the Republican primary electorate, including a lack of a well-established association with religious conservatives and attendant questions about his two divorces.”

 

Gingrich to Announce in 10 Days

Randy Evans, an Atlanta lawyer for Newt Gingrich, told Jim Galloway, “In 10 days, Newt Gingrich will be in Georgia, announcing his exploratory committee.”

That would be March 8th, which fits with nearly every other hint Gingrich and his aides have given over the last month.

 

What’s Really Going on in Wisconsin

Howard Fineman: “The real political math in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget or the collective-bargaining rights of public employees there. It is about which party controls governorships and, with them, the balance of power on the ground in elections. For all of the valid concern about reining in state spending… the underlying strategic Wisconsin story is this: Gov. Scott Walker, a Tea Party-tinged Republican, is the advance guard of a new GOP push to dismantle public-sector unions as an electoral force.”

“Last fall, GOP operatives hoped and expected to take away as many as 20 governorships from the Democrats. They ended up nabbing 12. What happened? Well, according to postgame analysis by GOP strategists and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi — who chaired the Republican Governors Association in 2010 — the power and money of public-employee unions was the reason…”

“The GOP strategic aim is simple enough. If they can abolish union collective-bargaining rights, they can undermine the automatic payment of dues to the public-employee union treasuries. Shrinking those treasuries and reducing the union structure and membership will make it harder for Democrats and their allies to communicate directly with workers.”

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