POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/1
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Mitt Romney “might be able to convince” him to serve as his running mate, CNN reports.
Said Christie: “He might be able to convince me. He’s a convincing guy, but I really love this job. I really want to stay in this job.”
He added: “I really have no interest in being vice president, but if Governor Romney calls and asks me to sit down and talk to him about it, I’d listen because I think you owe the nominee of your party that level of respect and who knows what he’s going to say. We’ll wait and see.”
“The long, grueling GOP primary race is over. Now comes a summertime lull the candidates could find just as difficult — not because the schedule is crowded but because it isn’t,” the AP reports.
“It is four months until the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in late August. Democrats hold their convention a week later in Charlotte, N.C. That’s a long time to fill, with no votes that matter, no debates to draw national attention. Voters tend to hibernate politically from the end of the primary season to the start of the conventions.”
That lull “should be a bigger problem” for Mitt Romney than for President Obama. “A challenger must keep stirring up enthusiasm if he hopes to oust an incumbent president.”
The 6-0 vote by the independent agency means the case does not move forward to the House Ethics Committee.
Steve Kornacki: “The high-profile help that he’s lending Barack Obama — starring in a campaign video about Osama bin Laden’s killing, headlining a fund-raiser in Virginia last night, plotting campaign strategy with top Obama lieutenants — speaks to Bill Clinton’s unique status among former presidents: Not since Theodore Roosevelt a century ago has one managed to remain such a political force after leaving office.”
“Clinton is more popular than ever right now, notching a 67-29 percent favorable in one recent poll, which helps explain why Obama is eager to enlist him in what should be a tight general election campaign. There really is no modern precedent for a former president being so actively engaged in a national election so long after leaving the White House.”
Cheri Young, the wife of an ex-aide to John Edwards, testified that the former presidential candidate “asked the couple to hide an affair he was having and justified using wealthy donors’ money to do it,” the AP reports.
On a phone call, Edwards “emphasized the need to preserve his campaign and keep the affair from his wife, Elizabeth” and made the plan sound “as if it was for the good of the country.”
The New York Times reviews Passage to Power and notes it showcases Robert Caro’s “masterly gifts as a writer: his propulsive sense of narrative, his talent for enabling readers to see and feel history in the making and his ability to situate his subjects’ actions within the context of their times.”
“Caro’s descriptions of Johnson — and those of John and Robert Kennedy — have a novelistic depth and amplitude. He gives us a rich sense here of how past experiences shaped their interactions, how one encounter or misunderstanding often snowballed into another, and how Johnson and Robert Kennedy evinced a capacity to grow and change. Even more impressive in these pages is Mr. Caro’s ability to convey, on a visceral level, how daunting the challenges were facing Johnson upon his assumption of the presidency and the magnitude of his accomplishments in the months after Kennedy’s assassination.”
A video shows Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) received a less-than-hospitable reception at the Alaska Republican Party Convention as she tried to introduce Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).
Alaska Dispatch: “Murkowski has faced some tough crowds in the past, particularly in 2010 when she was running for re-election against Joe Miller in the midst of a tea party uprising. But all of that was supposedly behind her. Her win in an historic write-in campaign against Miller seemed to take the wind out of the tea party movement in Alaska. For various reasons, like Alaska’s weird economy and geography, the tea party wasn’t gaining as much ground as in other states. That all seemed to change as Murkowski stood before her fellow Republicans at the Hilton in downtown Anchorage on Friday.”
“Of course, even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
– Mitt Romney, quoted by Politico, on whether he would have given the order to go after Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
The New York Times profiles Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) noting he has become “perhaps the most influential policy maker in the Republican Party, its de facto head of economic policy, intent on a fundamental transformation of the federal government.”
“His prescriptions in the Republican budget plan he devised have become his party’s marching orders: cut income tax rates and simplify the code, privatize Medicare, shrink the food-stamp and Medicaid programs and turn almost all control over to the states, and reduce domestic federal spending to its smallest share of the economy since World War II.”
Jonathan Chait: “And so here we find a political dilemma for the Democrats. They have decided to make Ryan’s agenda the central issue of the election. There are strong reasons for doing so, namely that most of the policies Ryan champions are disliked by a majority of Americans. But elevating Ryan to right-wing bogeyman — a remake of nineties-era Speaker Gingrich, the man who might personify Republican overreach — has proved difficult.”
First Read: “Don’t overlook the fact that the White House used the opportunity of the White House Correspondents Dinner — when they knew they’d get lighter coverage for what they did – put a story that they’ve struggled to put into the mainstream, quietly trying to do for months, the Seamus story. It was frankly a way to get Seamus out there. Yes, Obama made fun of himself and eating dog, but they’ll take that to get the Seamus story mainlined; They’ve been trying for months.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is quickly taking the lead on leading the foreign policy attack against President Obama, First Read reports.
“McCain, now a Romney surrogate, said Obama’s ‘diminishing the memory of September 11th,’ and accused him of ‘doing a shameless end-zone dance.’ It’s a fine line. McCain clearly doesn’t mind playing this role. He says things Romney couldn’t get away with and it’s something that’s quite beneficial to Romney. If Romney said what McCain did, Romney might get ridiculed. It’s an interesting role that McCain is willing to play. It could be a preview of the role McCain might play going forward in the campaign — traditional role of VP, but on foreign policy. McCain doesn’t mind going personal with Obama, as he’s demonstrated since 2008. You can try to explain away McCain’s motives all you want, but it could be oddly effective for Romney.”
Jon Meacham: “Since at least 1968, Democrats have traditionally been more circumspect than their Republican foes in presidential politics. The lesson of the Clinton years and of Obama’s win both of the nomination and the general election in 2008 is that Democrats need to be as tough as JFK was (‘tough’ was a favorite Kennedy term). Is the bin Laden ad fair to Romney? No, not really. But politics is not for the faint of heart…The way to put oneself in a position to take the harder, more honorable political path is to argue for one’s virtues in a vigorous way. That’s what Obama has done, and is doing. There’ll be more punches coming.”
Bill Clinton said that President Obama’s economic recovery efforts were “beating the clock” historically in comparison to other economies that have been through similar tumult, theBoston Globe reports.
Said Clinton: “If you go back 500 years, whenever a country’s financial system collapses, it takes between five and 10 years to get back to full employment. If you go back for the last 200 years, when buildings had been widely owned by individuals and companies, if there’s a mortgage collapse, it almost always takes 10 years.”
He added: “He’s beating the clock, not behind it. Don’t listen to those Republicans. We are beating the clock.”
The New York Times reports that Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have all quit the GOP presidential race but have “resisted the urgings of their peers to get on board the Mitt Romney Express. Their hesitance is raising concerns among the power brokers in Washington, who wonder what game they are playing. And the pressure is increasing.”
The FEC has fined Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) campaign $8,000 for “receiving prohibited, excessive, and other impermissible” donations during the 2010 Senate race, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
New York magazine excerpts a forthcoming biography of Ben Bradlee, Yours in Truth by Jeff Himmelman, which suggests the legendary Washington Post editor was skeptical about certain aspects of Bob Woodward’s claims about Watergate informant “Deep Throat.”
According to material from Bradlee’s own archive, he expressed “fear in my soul” that Woodward had embellished key details of his reporting.
However, Woodward tells Politico that Himmelman “failed to include” a much more recent interview he did with Bradlee that was more supportive of Woodward.”
“The American people do not want to vote for a loser.”
– House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), in a CNN interview, suggesting that Mitt Romney’s success in business makes him an attractive candidate.
Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said that President Obama’s decision to bailout Chrysler and General Motors was actually Romney’s idea, The Hill reports.
Said Fehrnstrom: “His position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that. The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.”
The claim appears to be a shift from Mitt Romney’s November 2008 op-ed in the New York Times, headlined, “Let Detroit go bankrupt.”
Chris Cillizza: “A detailed analysis of Romney’s various paths to the 270 electoral votes he would need to claim the presidency suggests he has a ceiling of somewhere right around 290 electoral votes. While Romney’s team would absolutely take a 290-electoral-vote victory, that means he has only 20 electoral votes to play with — a paper-thin margin for error.”
“Under the 2012 map, Romney would win 292 electoral votes if he replicated the Bush 2004 victory. But New Mexico seems like a very tough place to win — not to mention the fact that he would again need to carry Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Nevada as well as North Carolina and Virginia.”
Last week, the Obama re-election campaign trumpeted the fact that Osama bin Laden is dead. This week, they release a new video pointing out that “General Motors is alive.”Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics