POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/23

Only Some Endorsements Really Matter

Alex Koppelman: “In the modern, post-machine-politics era, individual endorsements simply don’t matter as much as we sometimes pretend they do. The exceptions are, typically, the endorsements from those politicians who still do have a machine — or at least a robust activist and fundraising operation — that can be employed on the endorsee’s behalf.”

Report Details Nepotism in Congress

new report finds that 248 members of Congress allegedly used their positions to benefit their families since 2008.

The report found that 82 members — 40 Democrats and 42 Republicans — paid family members through their congressional offices, campaign committees and political action committees but highlighted Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) as an example, noting he “paid six relatives salaries or fees, the most of any member.”

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John Edwards Denies Everything

With John Edwards denying reports he used a prostitution ring in New York City, New York magazine gives a brief history of Edwards denying things — many of which later proved true.

DNC Put Out Another Etch-A-Sketch Video

The DNC released another Etch-A-Sketch video designed to ensure Mitt Romney cannot “shake” the conservative positions he took in the GOP primary.

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Quote of the Day

“I think their assessment is that Romney is much less a threat to them as events are a threat to them, and I agree with that. Romney cannot beat Obama, only events can beat Obama.”

– James Carville, quoted by BuzzFeed, on whether the Obama campaign is worried about facing Mitt Romney in the general election.

Warren Pushes Obama on Same-Sex Marriage

Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) called on President Obama “to finish evolving and support same-sex marriage,” the Washington Blade reports.

Said Warren: “I want to see the president evolve because I believe that is right; marriage equality is morally right.”

She also said she wanted the issue included in the Democratic national platform.

Greg Sargent: “It’s worth noting that even though Warren is running for Senate in Massachusetts, this is not necessarily a politically easy thing for Warren to do. Scott Brown opposes marriage equality, and Warren is under heavy attack right now over cultural issues. Brown and national Republicans are attacking her regularly over her support for Obama’s contraception coverage mandate, which they are falsely portraying as anti-Catholic.”

An Etch-A-Sketch Disaster for Romney

Joe Klein thinks the Etch-A-Sketch gaffe “may go well beyond a momentary embarrassment and become a campaign-defining disaster, much as John Kerry’s ‘I voted for it before I voted against it’ gaffe — which came at almost exactly the same point in that campaign.

The key reason: “Most obviously, this was a classic Kinsleyan gaffe – an inadvertent blurting of the truth — that goes to the very heart of the character problems that have bedeviled Romney throughout this campaign.”

But more important: “It makes it much harder, perhaps impossible, for Romney to begin to tack back to the center to appeal to the centrist voters, an absolute necessity for the fall campaign after the free-range extremism of the Republican primary. Every time Romney makes a move, or even a head-fake, it becomes an Etch-a-Sketch moment.

Santorum Miscues Will Cost Him in Pennsylvania

“Even if Rick Santorum wallops Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania next month by winning every Republican vote on primary day, he’s unlikely to gain the crucial support of all the delegates he could get,” the Allentown Morning Call reports.

“The lack of an early organization has haunted Santorum all year. In state after state, whether he would have won or lost the popular vote, he hasn’t qualified for all the delegates available… But it’s particularly embarrassing for Santorum that in Pennsylvania, a state he represented in Congress for 16 years, he failed to utilize his connections to flush the ballots with old friends and supporters.”

Student PAC Aims to Promote Democrats in South

A group of students, many of them enrolled in the Clinton School of Public Service, unveiled a new political action committee called Naturally Blue, the New York Timesreports.

The group aims to “maintain the tenuous majority of Democrats in the Arkansas legislature to promote an agenda of economic populism and to take the fight to the rest of Dixie.”

Santorum Headed for Louisiana Win

A new Rasmussen survey in Louisiana shows Rick Santorum way ahead of Mitt Romney, 43% to 31%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 16% and Ron Paul at 5%.

The Louisiana primary is on Saturday.

Romney Faces Huge Gender Gap

The latest Economist/YouGov poll finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney among women by a whopping 17 points, 55% to 38%.

In contrast, Romney edges Obama among men by 45% to 43%.

Gingrich Says New Candidates Might Emerge at Convention

(Curley, Moe & Shemp?)

Newt Gingrich told NPR that “he sees no reason to exit the Republican presidential race and that there’s a chance of a new contender emerging at the party’s convention in August.”

Said Gingrich: “I’m not so sure you wouldn’t get a series of brand new players.”

Also interesting: Gingrich admitted for the first time he was likely to finish third in the delegate race.

 

Lugar to Repay Hotel Expenses

Sen. Dick Lugar’s (R-IN) residency problems “just grew more uncomfortable,” Politicoreports: “He’s reimbursing the Treasury for erroneously billing taxpayers for a series of hotel stays in Indianapolis in recent years.”

“The long-serving Senate Republican said because of staff errors, taxpayer money was improperly used to pay for about $4,500 in hotel expenses over the past decade.”

 

No Benefit of the Doubt for Romney

First Read notes the feeding frenzy over the Etch-A-Sketch comments yesterday highlights a big problem for Mitt Romney:

“He gets almost no benefit of the doubt. Every gaffe becomes a story; every mistake become fodder for late-night comedians. And more importantly, this is what happens when you don’t have a solid base of support that can serve as a cocoon of protection during the toughest of times.”

“Successful presidential candidates (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama) had grassroots supporters rushing to their defense, even in the toughest of political times. Romney — right now — doesn’t have this. In fact, it was notable during yesterday’s “Etch A Sketch” controversy that we didn’t see many prominent conservatives railing against media bias or unfairness. Instead, they were either standing on the sidelines or piling on. And that’s a problem for Romney.”

 

Flashback of the Day

“I’m very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.”

– Mitt Romney, quoted by the New Republic in 2006.

 

Bush Recommends Rubio as Romney’s Veep

Jeb Bush told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Mitt Romney should pick Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as his running mate, calling him “dynamic, joyful, disciplined and principled.”

Said Bush: “He is the best orator of American politics today, a good family man. He is not only a consistent conservative, but he has managed to find a way to communicate a conservative message full of hope and optimism.”

 

How Paul Ryan Sold His Plan

Politico: “The Paul Ryan budget was a political disaster last year for Republicans. This year the GOP had a much more methodical, careful rollout. The party polled on Medicare in 50 battleground districts. It vetted the plan with a dozen conservative groups. It reached out to rank-and-file lawmakers and asked them what they needed to support the sweeping conservative spending plan. Ryan briefed the Republican presidential candidates and won a quick public endorsement of the plan from Mitt Romney. And perhaps most important, the GOP learned how to use the right poll-tested words.”

 

McMahon Leads Shays in Connecticut

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Linda McMahon (R) leading former Rep. Christopher Shays (R) in a Republican U.S. Senate primary, 51% to 42%.

However, Shays was stronger against the possible Democratic candidates, Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) and Susan Bysiewicz (D). Murphy leads the Democratic primary race, 37% to 25%.

 

Did Castro Know of JFK Assassination Plans?

Castro’s Secrets by retired CIA analyst Brian Latell claims Cuban dictator Fidel Castro knew of plans to assassinate John F. Kennedy, the Miami Herald reports.

Lee Harvey Oswald apparently warned Cuban intelligence officers in advance of his plans to kill the president when he officials at the Cuban embassy in Mexico City refused to give him a visa to travel to the island. He promised to shoot Kennedy to prove his revolutionary credentials.

 

City Manager Lays Himself Off

Dan O’Leary, the city manager for Keller, Texas, “decided that someone from the top management ranks at City Hall had to go. So the person he laid off was himself,” the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports.

 

Biden in 2016?

Vice President Joe Biden “has quietly assembled an A-team of advisers who would, without doubt, be considered the nucleus of a presidential campaign — if only he wouldn’t be 73 in 2016,” Politico reports.

“Biden’s age would snuff the last embers of a presidential ambition that led him to a pair of crushing defeats in 1988 and 2008, or so many in Barack Obama’s camp thought when they first tapped him. But the old fire crackles yet. And Biden, spurred in part by those rumors about being replaced on the ticket by Hillary Clinton (who turns 69 in ’16), is campaigning with a young man’s tenacity in 2012 — with an eye toward keeping all of his options open.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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