POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/13

Arizona Bans Most Abortions After 20 Weeks

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) “has signed a bill into law banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and making numerous other changes to abortion regulations,” theArizona Republic reports.

Daily Beast: “The stipulation likely to be most widely felt is what experts are calling an effective shutdown of medication abortions. These nonsurgical abortions are usually performed within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, and account for between 17 and 20 percent of all abortions.”

 

Romney Holds Edge Nationally Over Obama

A new Fox News poll shows Mitt Romney with a slim edge over President Obama in a head-to-head match up, 46% to 44%.

The result is still within the survey’s margin of error, but it’s only the second time Romney has held a lead in the poll.

In addition, the poll finds the president’s job rating has dropped to its lowest point of the year — 42%, down from 47% last month.

(DID THEY ONLY POLL FOX VIEWERS?! See Gingrich’s rip below.)  

 

Senator Looks to Fire Almost His Entire Staff

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is looking to purge nearly his entire Washington, D.C.-based legislative team, Roll Call reports.

“Johnson’s frustration with his legislative staff has been one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington for months… But the situation in Johnson’s office has escalated in recent weeks.”

 

Christie Would Consider Being Running Mate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told a town hall meeting he is open to being tapped as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Robert Costa reports.

Christie “played down his chances of being selected” but said, “If Governor Romney comes to me and wants to talk about it, I’ll always listen.”

 

Kucinich Still Mulling Run from Washington

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who was defeated in a Democratic primary in Ohio earlier this year, tells KING-TV that he isn’t ready to rule out a House bid from Washington state.

Said Kucinich: “I haven’t really made up my mind what I’m going to be doing with my future. I’m looking at all my options, I haven’t made a decision. If I made a decision, I’d tell you right now.”

Washington has three open-seat congressional races this fall — in the 1st, 6th and the newly created 10th districts.

 

Giffords May Make Appearance at Democratic Convention

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, may be in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention, reports WSOC-TV.

Kelly said Giffords is doing well with her rehabilitation since suffering a gunshot wound to the head and plans to return to public service.

Said Kelly: “I’m just inspired by how hard someone can fight. As she heads out the door to go to rehab, she often says ‘Fight, fight, fight.’ She’s not going to give up; she’s going to get better.”

 

Gingrich Rips Fox News

Newt Gingrich blasted Fox News, “accusing the cable network of having been in the tank for Mitt Romney from the beginning of the Republican presidential fight,” Scott Conroy reports.

Said Gingrich: “I think Fox has been for Romney all the way through. In our experience, Callista and I both believe CNN is less biased than Fox this year. We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we’re more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That’s just a fact.”

Gignrich was an employee himself of the news channel as recently as last year but was suspended as he geared up for a presidential bid.

TV Newser has a response from Fox News: “This is nothing other than Newt auditioning for a windfall of a gig at CNN — that’s the kind of man he is.”

 

Brown Praises Fenway Even Though He Wanted to Move It

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) celebrates Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary with an interesting radio ad that doesn’t mention his re-election race.

Sam Stein: “The ad tugs on all the emotional threads that bind New Englanders to their beloved team, from the park’s layout to its lengthy history. But it also glosses over a contentious moment in Fenway’s past — the time when lawmakers, including a state representative named Scott Brown, attempted to move it.”

See more…

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“We were just burning through cash at a rate we couldn’t maintain.”

– Rick Santorum, quoted by National Journal, saying he dropped out of the GOP presidential race because he simply ran out of money.

 

Most Republicans Oppose War in Afghanistan

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that a majority of Republicans say for the first time that the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting.

“The poll findings are likely to present a challenge for Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, who has said that the goal in Afghanistan should be to defeat the Taliban on the battlefield. President Obama stepped back from that goal during his 2009 strategy review and has set the end of 2014 as the departure date for all U.S. combat forces.”

 

Presidential Tricks of the Trade

Time runs excerpts from The President’s Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.

One interesting section deals with the “little tricks of the trade” former presidents pass on to those who follow: Bill Clinton offered George W. Bush speech tips; Lyndon Johnson showed Richard Nixon where he hid the tape recorders; Ronald Reagan taught Clinton how to salute properly during his transition; Nixon gave Clinton advice about Russia, and how to organize his day.

 

The Gay Marriage Long Game

This year’s presidential election is very likely to be the last where both major candidates oppose gay marriage.

Steve Kornacki: “Sure, it would be a major development if [Obama] and his party were to officially endorse gay marriage this year. But look ahead to 2016, when the Democratic nomination will be open. It’s striking how many of the prospective candidates — Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley, Deval Patrick, Sherrod Brown, Dan Malloy, Elizabeth Warren — are on-board with marriage equality. Their position is rapidly becoming the position that all aspiring national Democrats will be expected to take, and it’s virtually inconceivable that the ’16 platform won’t reflect this.”

 

Quote of the Day

“Everybody is on my list. I’m not taking anybody off the list, alright?”

– Mitt Romney, quoted by ABC News, on picking a running mate before pointing out, “I actually don’t, I don’t have a list, yet.”

 

Romney Blames Obama for “War on Women”

In the next example of Mitt Romney using areas where he has shown weakness to attack President Obama, ABC News notes that Romney is “going on the offense addressing a perceived gender gap, filing in groups of women at his events, repeating again and again their argument that more than 92 percent of jobs lost under the Obama administration were held by women and now sending a barrage of statements from female politicians disparaging the President’s economic policies.”

Rachel Weiner: “But beyond that 92 percent number, which our Factchecker deemed misleading, Romney has gotten stuck. Asked to expand on how the president’s policies hurt women in particular, his staff couldn’t answer. Asked if Romney supported the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which makes it easier for workers’ to sue over gender-based pay disparities, they again were unsure. Two hours later, a spokeswoman clarified that Romney ‘supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law’ — after Ledbetter herself sent out a statement attacking the Republican candidate.”

 

Gas Prices Heading Down?

President Obama’s reelection team may be able to focus on one less issue soon, as The Hill speaks with analysts who believe gas prices may have peaked this year.

“Prices at the pump reached nearly $3.94 last Friday, the highest point this year, according to AAA. But prices have decreased slightly over the last five days, reversing increases that began in December of last year… Declining gasoline prices would be welcome news for the president, who has faced sustained and aggressive political attacks from Republicans over the issue.”

 

Flashback Quote of the Day

“You know essentially, you’ve taken on sort of the most sympathetic person in the candidate’s realm, the wife, who is taking care of the children, supporting the husband, doing everything she can because she loves him. Michelle Obama is a pretty terrific woman I have to say, and I think that attacking her is a dumb strategy on the Republican’s part.”

– Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen, quoted by the Washington Examiner, on CNN on May 19, 2008.

Last night, Rosen attacked Ann Romney on CNN saying she has “actually never worked a day in her life.”

 

Obama Won’t Sign Ban on Gay Discrimination

President Obama “disappointed and vexed gay supporters with his decision, conveyed to activists by a senior adviser, not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts,” the New York Times reports.

 

Obama Campaign Takes Shape

President Obama’s election-year plan “is rapidly taking shape, with his first 2012 campaign rallies set for next month, now that Mitt Romney has cemented his status as the likely Republican nominee” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Obama campaign is planning an aggressive effort in coming weeks to raise money off of Mr. Romney, and the president will headline at least two campaign rallies in early May, perhaps in the swing states of Ohio and Virginia, according to people familiar with the events.”

Meanwhile, the AP notes Vice President Biden “is diving into the No. 2’s traditional attack-dog role — earlier and more aggressively than usual, some say — with comments designed to singe Romney.”

 

Edwards Trial Begins

Jury selection begins nearly a year after a grand jury handed up a six-count indictment accusing John Edwards of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws and accepting illegal contribution, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

The Washington Post reports friends says Edwards these days sounds “utterly befuddled by what he had done” in destroying a once promising political career.

“His confusion extended to the latest chapter in the drama — criminal charges alleging that in an effort to conceal his affair during the height of his 2008 presidential campaign, he illegally arranged for secret contributions of about $1 million to take care of Hunter’s needs as she prepared to give birth to their daughter, Quinn. Sometimes his painful bouts of self-analysis turned to frustration over his belief that he had been singled out among a long list of philandering politicians, living and dead, for pariah status.”

 

Menendez Leads Little Known Challenger

A new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey finds Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) leads his little-known Republican challenger, State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R), 44% to 35%.

While voters approve of Menendez by a 35% to 27% margin, 37% say theydon’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “At this stage, a single-digit lead for Menendez. No one knows Kyrillos, but Menendez’s numbers are lackluster, to say the least. This race could get interesting.”

 

 

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