POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/5

PPP Poll: McCain Solidly Ahead in Arizona

There’s been some recent indications that Sen. John McCain may be in trouble in his home state of Arizona, but a new Public Policy Polling survey suggests he’s safe. McCain leads Sen. Barack Obama, 52% to 40%.

Key findings: “There are a few things helping McCain to do well in his home state. He trails Barack Obama only 48-40 among Latino voters, a performance much better than national polling is showing with that demographic. He’s also getting more crossover support than Obama, with 16% of the Democratic vote, while holding almost everyone in his own party, earning 87% of the Republican vote.”

Novak Quits Column

Robert Novak, long a favorite of Political Wire, announced his immediate retirement following the diagnosis of a brain tumor which the political columnist described as “dire.”

Novak has written his column continuously since 1963.

Pickens, Gore Push for Same Goal

“The most unlikely alliance in this election year hasn’t come out of any political campaign,” Bloomberg reports. “It’s in the convergence of interests between billionaire oilman and Republican Party backer T. Boone Pickens and former vice president turned environmentalist Al Gore.”

Both “are pursuing separate paths toward a shared goal: cutting U.S. dependence on oil.”

However, despite the so-called non-partisan push by Pickens, the Texas oil man told the New York Times he would never vote for a Democrat: “No. I wouldn’t. I’m a Republican. I don’t want to go to heaven and have to face my family up there and tell them I voted for a Democrat.”

Bayh Buzz Continues

Howey Politics Indiana has more on our speculation about Sen. Barack Obama’s trip to Indiana this week which “could be to announce the selection of Senator Evan Bayh as Obama’s running mate.”

“Democratic sources say Secret Service is working out details with local police that would include a motorcade… Sources say the details appear to be different than a normal presidential candidate visit. Other Democratic sources contend that the visit has been prompted simply by the spike in the county’s unemployment rate following the closure of the Monaco plant, and that veepstakes buzz continues to swirl around Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. HPI reported last week that one informed and reliable Democratic source had indicated that a Vice Presidential selection was imminent, and would be made ‘within 72 hours’ and announced this week. A choice this week would also come days before the beginning of the Beijing Olympics, an event during which a Vice Presidential selection is thought to be unlikely.”

McCain May Wait on Veep Pick

Sen. John McCain’s advisers “is divided on whether he should announce his running mate in the immediate days ahead — but the Republican is more likely to wait for Barack Obama to announce his choice first,” Politico reports.

“While McCain’s aides are tight-lipped about revealing anything related to what has so far been a leak-free process, some of his advisers state a clear preference for not firing the valuable political bullet too soon.”

“By waiting to make a major announcement in the window after Obama’s much-anticipated acceptance speech August 28 at Invesco Field and before he receives his party’s nomination the following week, for example, McCain would be able to quickly shift the focus of the race following the Democratic convention.”

Obama Favored Among Low Income Workers

A new Washington Post/Kaiser Foundation/Harvard University poll finds that among workers earning less than $27,000 a year Sen. Barack Obama leads Sen. John McCain by a 2 to 1 margin.

Clinton Reflects on Democratic Primaries

In his first broadcast interview since his wife dropped out of the presidential race, Bill Clinton “said he still has regrets” and “appeared to grow testy as he discussed his wife’s failed bid for the nomination and was asked if he deserves at least some of the blame for his wife’s losses,” ABC News reports.

When asked, “Do you personally have any regrets about what you did, campaigning for your wife?” Clinton, at first, answered, “Yes, but not the ones you think. And it would be counterproductive for me to talk about… There are things that I wish I’d urged her to do. Things I wish I’d said. Things I wish I hadn’t said.”

Said Clinton: “But I am not a racist. I’ve never made a racist comment and I never attacked him personally.”

Ohio in the Middle

CQ Politics identifies Ohio as the true battleground state. “The fact that no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, more than any other, speaks to the importance — and the uncertainty — of winning that state.”

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