POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/27

GOP Not in Position of Strength on Fiscal Cliff

A new CNN/ORC poll finds 53% of the country has an unfavorable view of the Republican Party and only 42% want to see congressional Republican have more influence than the president over the direction the nation takes in the next two years. And seven in ten say the GOP has not done enough to cooperate with Obama.

All of that helps explain why more Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress rather than Obama if the fiscal cliff provisions actually go into effect next year, 45% to 34%

 

Rice Asks for Meetings with Senators

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice will be on Capitol Hill the next two days to meet privately with select senators, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), regarding the attacks in Benghazi last September, sources tell NBC News.

Rice requested a meeting with McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). These are significant because McCain, Graham and Ayotte are prominent GOP national-security voices and have been among Rice’s harshest critics for her handling of the situation in Benghazi.

 

Christie Will Run Again

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) filed the necessary paperwork to officially launch his 2013 re-election campaign, the Newark Star Ledger reports.

Said adviser Michael DuHaime: “He’s made his decision and wanted to make sure as soon as he did he would to let people know. He’s instructed us to get the ball rolling on re-election.”

 

Chambliss May Face Primary Challenge

Friends of former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel (R) tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she’s mulling a 2014 Republican primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

 

Former Florida GOP Leaders Say Voter Suppression was Goal

Former Florida Republican party officials tell the Palm Beach Post that a new election law that “contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters.”

“Republican leaders said in proposing the law that it was meant to save money and fight voter fraud. But a former GOP chairman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both of whom have been ousted from the party, now say that fraud concerns were advanced only as subterfuge for the law’s main purpose: GOP victory.”

 

Not Over for Grover

The Economist: “By any standard other than the absurdly high one he has set himself, though, Mr Norquist continues to dominate Washington’s tax debate. Almost all revenue-raising proposals hinge on eliminating deductions, rather than raising marginal rates. If Mr Obama does succeed in raising the income-tax rate for the richest, it will have taken him two elections and all manner of fiscal face-offs and crises to get his way–and success is still far from assured. Even scrapping an economically nonsensical subsidy for ethanol, it seems, is still a highly controversial move. Grover is not over yet.”

BuzzFeed: Four reasons not to count Grover Norquist out.

 

Rockefeller Still Mum on 2014

Though Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) announced plans to run for his seat, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) would not comment on whether he even intended to run for re-election, the Washington Post reports.

Said Rockefeller: “Everyone I talk to in West Virginia is tired of the non-stop campaigning… Politics can wait.”

First Read: “To us, this may be an indication that incumbent Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D), 75, probably won’t seek re-election. And retirements could be a big story for Democrats in 2014, with potential retirees in Rockefeller, Tom Harkin (IA), Dick Durbin (IL), Max Baucus (MT), Tim Johnson (SD), and Carl Levin (MI).”

 

Obama Didn’t Cave on Bush Tax Cuts

David Corn says the idea that President Obama “caved in” on the Bush tax cuts in 2010 is a myth.

“Obama didn’t wave the white flag in 2010. He turned a face-off over the Bush tax cuts into an opportunity to enact a second stimulus that he otherwise could not get past Senate Republicans. His failure at that time was not that he mustered insufficient mettle; he failed to convey to the world that he had ju-jitsued the GOPers.”

 

Sandoval Plans to Bypass Republican Party

“Republican insiders in Nevada are so frustrated with the state party and GOP infighting that serious discussion is under way about creating a separate nonprofit entity to collect big-money donations to help GOP candidates, in effect permanently going around the Nevada Republican Party and its endless drama,” the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

“Mike Slanker, a political adviser to Heller and Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, is said to be at the center of discussions… Sandoval, who has announced he’s running for re-election in 2014, already has a separate New Nevada PAC, which raised nearly $890,000 during the 2012 election cycle, mostly from gaming, mining and other business interests.”

 

Winning More House Seats with Fewer Votes

Hendrick Hertzberg: “For one party to win a majority of House seats with a minority of votes is a relatively rare occurrence. It has now happened five times in the past hundred years. In 1914 and 1942, the Democrats were the beneficiaries. In 1952, 1996, and this year, it was the Republicans’ turn to get lucky, and their luck is likely to hold for many election cycles to come. Gerrymandering routinely gets blamed for such mismatches, but that’s only part of the story. Far more important than redistricting is just plain districting: because so many Democrats are city folk, large numbers of Democratic votes pile up redundantly in overwhelmingly one-sided districts. Even having district lines drawn by neutral commissions instead of by self-serving politicians wouldn’t do much to alter this built-in structural bias.”

 

McCain Softens Criticism of Susan Rice

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appeared to soften his critique of potential Hillary Clinton successor Susan Rice telling Fox News, “I’d give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took. I’d be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her.”

First Read: “Of course, this doesn’t mean that any Rice hearing would be less contentious or that Benghazi wouldn’t be an issue. But it does seem — for now at least — that Benghazi might not be fatal for Rice, if Obama nominates her. The White House is going to get a Benghazi proxy fight at some point in the Senate, perhaps it’s during the Rice confirmation, or perhaps during the confirmation of a new CIA director, or maybe it’s all unavoidable giving the president the leeway to go with Rice without fear of creating a NEW political problem for himself on the Hill.”

And this: “By the way, the State job is down to Rice and John Kerry; there really isn’t a third contender being vetted, we’ve learned. And look for an announcement about State to happen in the next week or so.”

 

Lincoln’s Class in Politics

Al Hunt: “Before scheduling any budget negotiations at the White House, on Capitol Hill or at Camp David, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders should go see Steven Spielberg’s classic new film, Lincoln.”

“It’s the best movie about Washington politics I’ve seen. The centerpiece is the American icon, Abraham Lincoln; it brilliantly captures him doing what politicians are supposed to do, and today too often avoid: compromising, calculating, horse trading, dealing and preventing the perfect from becoming the enemy of a good objective.”

Mark Salter: “The film succeeds where others have failed: revealing in the story of Lincoln the politician, in his appearance and personality, the hard-pressed faith in humanity necessary to believe that any nation ‘conceived in liberty . . . could long endure.’

 

Democratic Super PACs Plan for Next Cycle

Politico reports Democrats are planning a permanent network of officially blessed independent groups that leverages liberals’ increasing acceptance and appreciation of outside money to compete with a much-better-funded Republican shadow party.

 

What’s Next for Hillary?

The Washington Post notes that in recent weeks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “has reiterated that she will not stay on for President Obama’s second term, unleashing fresh waves of speculation about her plans.”

“There is hypothesizing that she is merely entering a hibernation period before a 2016 presidential bid. There is talk that she will start her own women’s rights initiative. There is the prospect, too, that this might really be it for one of the most iconic figures in American political history.”

“What is clear is that despite lingering questions about Benghazi, Clinton is more beloved than at any point in her long and at times controversial career, commanding soaring approval ratings, a vast fundraising machine and supporters who gush more than ever that she should run for president again.”

The Week: What’s next for Hillary Clinton?

 

Feinstein Sets Record for Votes

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has set the record of most votes won in a Senate election,Bloomberg reports.

An updated tall finds her winning more than 7.1 million votes in the Nov. 6 election.

 

Kaine Sees Long Senate Career

Sen.-elect Tim Kaine (D-VA) told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he hopes to remain in the U.S. Senate a long time.

Said Kain: “I want to do more. I decided when I ran: Don’t do this unless you think this is likely to be the last job you have in your life. I want to do it, and I want to do it for a long while. I’m kind of using (former Sen.) John Warner as my model as somebody who dug in, did it for a long time, accomplished a lot of good, and the fact that he was there for a while enabled him to attain positions that helped him do good things for the country and the commonwealth.”

When asked if he might run for president, he said, “Let’s see, if I serve for 30 years, I’ll be 86… probably not, no.”

 

Gingrich Not Ruling Out Another Presidential Bid

Newt Gingrich — traveling the country promoting his latest novel — told the Naples Newsthat he he has not ruled out running for president in 2016 — but first the GOP must take on a “very serious analysis” of what went wrong in 2012.

Said Gingrich: “Republicans have to stop and take a deep breath.”

 

Ashley Judd’s Grandmother Skeptical of Senate Bid

Polly Judd told the AP she is skeptical of talk that her famous granddaughter, actress Ashley Judd, might run for U.S. Senate against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Said Judd: “I don’t think there’s any possibility of that happening… I think Mitch has done more for Ashland than anybody else who has been in there. That means a lot. He’s been here personally, and we don’t always get that from politicians who represent us.”

Of her granddaughter, she added: “She’s a Hollywood liberal. It would be interesting to see what type of race she would run.”

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