Archive for March 13, 2012

POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/13

March 13, 2012

Limbaugh Faces a New Threat

The distributor of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show has told its radio station affiliates that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks, Radio Info reports. And Think Progress notes more than 140 advertisers have now pulled their ads from Limbaugh’s show.

But David Frum points out that Limbaugh will face “a more-serious challenge” on April 2: “That’s when the new Mike Huckabee show launches on 100 stations in Limbaugh’s very own noon-to-3 time slot. Huckabee’s competition threatens Limbaugh not only because Huckabee has already proven himself an attractive and popular TV broadcaster, but also because Huckabee is arriving on the scene at a time when Limbaugh’s business model is crashing around him.”

Romney Rules Out Santorum as Veep

Mitt Romney told Fox News that he would not pick Rick Santorum as his running mate because he’s not conservative enough.

Said Romney: “Well, that would preclude, of course, Rick Santorum. Because, I mean, look at his record. I find it interesting that he continues to describe himself as the real conservative. This is the guy who voted against right-to-work. This is the guy who voted to fund Planned Parenthood. This is the person who voted to raise the debt ceiling five times? … Rick Santorum is not a person who is an economic conservative to my right.”

See more…

Why Republicans and Democrats Will Never Agree

Just published: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religionby Jonathan Haidt.

Boston Globe: “In recent years, Haidt has emerged as one of the country’s best-known psychology researchers, using a combination of psychology and anthropology to understand how we arrive at our moral attitudes. One of his key insights is that we are much less rational than we think we are. We tend to make moral judgments intuitively and immediately… When Haidt looks at American politics, he doesn’t see a free-flowing, open-minded exchange of ideas. Instead, he sees a conflict between two profoundly different moral mind-sets — a conservative mind-set and a liberal one — that dictate where people stand on issues, and are unlikely to change.”

Deep South Polls Have Been Historically Inaccurate

Nate Silver warns about paying too much attention to the recent primary polls from Alabama and Mississippi because “polls in these states have a pretty awful track record.”

“The problems also seem apparent in the other states that make up the Deep South — Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina. Polls in those three states have missed by an average of 4.2 percentage points — or 4.4 percentage points if you also include Alabama and Mississippi in the total.”

Obama Approval Sinks to New Low

The latest CBS News/New York Times poll shows President Obama’s approval rating has hit the lowest level ever and “may be partially attributable to rising gas prices.”

Key finding: Just 41% of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 47% disapprove of his performance.

This follows a new Washington Post/ABC News poll that found President Obama’s approval rating dropping to 46%.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’ve got a lot of good friends — the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets — both owners are friends of mine.”

– Mitt Romney, in an interview with an Alabama radio host Paul Finebaum.  Romney made a similar comment last month about NASCAR team owners.

Romney Warns of Contested Convention

Mitt Romney told Fox News that dragging the Republican presidential nominating process through the summer would be a big problem.

Said Romney: “Look, if we go all the way to a convention, we would be signaling our doom in terms of replacing President Obama… We sure as heck are not going to go to a convention, all the way to the end of August, to select a nominee and have campaign working during a convention. Why, can you imagine anything that would be a bigger gift to Barack Obama than us not having a nominee until the end of August? That is just not going to happen.”

Flashback of the Day

“It’s always a burden to run with ‘R’ for Republican after your name.”

– Mitt Romney, in an WBZ4 interview when he was running for Massachusetts governor in 2002.

Deep South Voters Still Think Obama is a Muslim

The most interesting detail from a new survey by Public Policy Polling is that a majority of Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi — states with primary elections on Tuesday — believe President Obama is a Muslim.

Key findings: In Alabama, 45% of Republican voters in Alabama think Obama is a Muslim, while 41% are not sure. In Mississippi, 52% of Republicans think Obama is Muslim, while 36% are unsure.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“If I’m a weak frontrunner, what does that make Newt Gingrich? Because I’m well ahead of him.”

– Mitt Romney, quoted by Politico, responding to Newt Gingrich’s characterization of his campaign.

Will Bloomberg Back Obama?

The New York Times learns of a lunch between New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Obama at the White House a few weeks ago:

“Over a long private lunch at the White House, President Obama posed a question to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg: what are you interested in doing next? Mr. Bloomberg’s precise response is unknown. But their meeting a few weeks ago, confirmed by aides to both leaders and previously undisclosed, was potentially significant for both men, as Mr. Obama seeks support for his presidential campaign and Mr. Bloomberg ponders his post-mayoral career.”

“Mr. Obama, facing a bruising re-election fight, is eager to attract the kind of centrist, independent voters drawn to Mr. Bloomberg’s brand of politics. Mr. Bloomberg, confronting the end of his career in elected office, is grappling with how to exert the kind of influence over public discourse that he has had as mayor of the nation’s largest city.”

Does Presidential Pursuasion Work?

Ezra Klein notes there’s a lot of evidence that presidential persuasion isn’t effective when applied to the public. In fact, it’s often counterproductive during times of divided government when a stirring presidential speech on a particular bill can make it harder, rather than easier, for the opposition party to support it.

The implications are fairly radical: The power of the presidential bully pulpit is wildly overrated in the Beltway, and overrated in a way that actually makes it harder for voters to hold legislators accountable and for politicians to get anything done.

Gingrich Has Campaigned the Most in Alabama, Mississippi

Though he’s surprised many with his strong showing in recent polls, NBC News notes Newt Gingrich “has spent a combined 10 days in both states — six in Alabama and four in Mississippi.”

“By comparison, Rick Santorum has spent three days in each of those states, while Mitt Romney has spent two days in each. Ron Paul has not visited either state. And no candidate has campaigned in Hawaii, which also holds its contest on Tuesday.”

Messaging Rising Oil Prices

The Fix has the play-by-play for how President Obama and Republicans with national aspirations are spinning the rising price of gas.

“All of the Republican criticism comes as the Obama Administration takes note of the one-year anniversary of the release of the president’s energy plan by issuing a progress report… Obama insists Republicans are engaging in meaningless sloganeering even as they are unwilling to revoke more than $4 billion in tax breaks for oil companies… Republicans believe that Obama is putting ideology ahead of the good of the American people, citing the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline as the most egregious example… The political onus for action likely lies with the president. A CBS News poll conducted at the end of last month showed that 54 percent of those tested said the president could do ‘a lot’ about the price of gasoline, while just 34 percent said he could not.”

Election Expectations Move Obama’s Way

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that more than half of Americans for the first time expect President Obama to be re-elected.

But it won’t be easy: Even as expectations have moved his way, rising gas prices have dented the president’s rating on handling the economy, his overall job approval has slipped back under 50 percent and he’s reverted to a dead heat in public preferences against Mitt Romney.

Quote of the Day

“This isn’t a mathematical formula — this race has a tremendous amount of dynamics.”

– Rick Santorum, in an interview on Meet the Press, on the GOP delegate chase.

Santorum Leads But Most Expect Romney to Win

A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows Rick Santorum holding a very slight lead over Mitt Romney among Republican primary voters across the nation, 34% to 30%.

However, 55% of GOP voters expect Romney to eventually win the party’s presidential nomination.

High Stakes in Tuesday’s Primaries

There are Republican primaries in Alabama and Mississippi today and recent polls point towards very close race.

First Read: “Romney sneaking out a win in either of the contests would prove that he can win in the South and that conservative GOP voters are beginning to coalesce around his candidacy. But losses in them would confirm that Romney continues to have problems with these voters and — more importantly — that the primary season will last through April if not longer. For Santorum, wins in both Alabama and Mississippi would prove that he’s the chief conservative alternative to Romney, and that he has the momentum to keep this race going. But losing them would suggest his campaign is running out of gas. And for Gingrich, winning both states would keep his candidacy alive, but losses in these southern states would reveal that he’s become a political zombie, propped up solely by Sheldon Adelson and the pro-Gingrich Super PAC.”

Too Close to Call in Alabama and Mississippi

Two new Public Policy Polling surveys suggest it’s going to be a close election night in both Mississippi and Alabama.

In Mississippi Newt Gingrich is holding on to a slight lead over Mitt Romney, 33% to 31%, followed by Rick Santorum at 27% and Ron Paul at 7%.

In Alabama, Romney barely edges Gingrich, 31% to 30%, followed closely behind by  Santorum at 29% and Paul at 8%.

Two new American Research Group polls also show a close race.

In Mississippi, Romney leads with 34%, followed by Gingrich with 32%, Santorum  22%, and Paul at 8%.

In Alabama, Gingrich leads with 34%, followed by Romney at 31%, at Santorum  24%, and Paul at 6%.

Good Week for Romney

After a series of stressful weeks for Mitt Romney, filled with must-win contests and doubts about his electoral prospects, The Hotline notes that Romney finally has a week where he can let things fall as they will.

“Romney has the least to lose this upcoming week as Alabama and Mississippi voters head to the polls. True, talk that Romney can’t coalesce conservative voters is likely to continue if Romney underperforms in the red southern states. But the stakes are much higher for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum… If Gingrich loses to Santorum, the former Speaker’s campaign would have a tough time arguing there’s any credible path for him in the presidential race… But if Gingrich wins, he remains a credible threat to Santorum in the race, undercuts Santorum’s argument that he is the candidate to harness conservative fervor, and ends Santorum’s hope (at least for the time being) that Gingrich will drop out of the race.”

No Moderates Allowed

Juan Williams: “The death of the political middle is the defining shift taking place in American politics today. It is ending the tradition of political leadership that rises above ideology, region, party, religion and even race to attain statesmanship… The Congress has become an increasingly uncomfortable place for voices of moderation. Many of them are fed up and have decided that 2012 is the year they will call it quits… Because of the exodus — if not expulsion — of the remaining moderates from Congress this year, American politics will become even more polarized and dysfunctional. If you like the ideological extremism and obstructionist paralysis that has characterized the 112th Congress, then you will love the 113th.”


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