POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/9

Corzine Holds Leads Over Possible Challengers

A new Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind survey in New Jersey shows Gov. Jon Corzine (D) beating each of his potential Republican challengers: 40% to 33% over former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R), 46% to 28% over former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R), and 43% to 23% over Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R).

The bad news for Corzine: His favorable rating is just 42% versus an unfavorable rating of 44%.

Said pollster Peter Woolley: “The key for Jon Corzine will be simply to hold together the broad coalition of Democratic voters.”

Burris Loses Court Case

The Illinois Supreme Court rejected former Attorney General Roland Burris’ motion to force the Illinois Secretary of State to co-sign Burris’ appointment form. 

The missing signature was the main reason Senate Democrats refused to allow him to take his seat in the U.S. Senate earlier this week.

Capitol Fax: “The ball is now in US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s, um, court. Reid has said that the rule requiring the secretary of state to co-sign has never been waived in the history of the Senate. So, he’ll have to back off that as well if Burris is to be seated.

Most Illinois Voters Reject Burris Appointment

A new Glengariff Group poll in Illinois finds that 52% of state voters are opposed to the appointment of former Attorney General Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate while just 32% support it.

The preferred solution: 72% of voters want either a special election or an appointment by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to fill the Senate seat.

Blagojevich Impeached

“In a historic vote, the Illinois House has impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, directing the Senate to put the state’s 40th chief executive on trial with the goal of removing him from office,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

“The vote by the House was 114-1 and marks the first time in the state’s 190-year history that a governor has been impeached, despite Illinois’ longstanding reputation for political corruption.”

Blagojevich is expected to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. ET.

Secret Service Expects Record Crowd

The U.S. Secret Service expects between 1.5 million and 2 million attendees for Barack Obama’s inauguration, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“That’s a far cry from local officials’ early estimate of 4 million, but it’s also significantly more than the estimated 300,000 who attended President George W. Bush’s 2005 inauguration. The record, an estimated 1.2 million, came to see Lyndon Johnson take the oath of office in 1965.”

Will Voinovich Retire?

Marc Ambinder reports “more unnamed Republicans are suggesting” that two-term Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) “was on the verge of making the decision to step down. Perhaps they’re trying to pressure him to step down; former Rep. Rob Portman would be ready to run to take his place.”

How Much is a Bush Speech Worth?

In an interview for Robert Draper’s Dead Certain two years ago, President Bush said that once he left the White House he planned to “replenish the ol’ coffers” on the lecture circuit, where he could make “ridiculous money.”

The Daily Beast: “But Bush, of course, is a unique ex-president. He’s far less popular than his dad, or Bill Clinton (who earned more than $50 million in speaking fees from 2001 to 2007) or Ronald Reagan (who once made $2 million for a single set of speeches in Japan). Throw in the toxic economic environment that emerged on his watch, and it’s worth asking just how much Bush can hope to earn with a speech.”

Obama Would Initiate Communications With Hamas

President-elect Obama “is prepared to abandon George Bush’s doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation,” sources close to the transition team tell The Guardian.

“There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracising Hamas is counter-productive.”

Most Minnesotans Want Coleman to Concede

A new Survey USA poll shows a majority of Minnesotans surveyed say it’s time for Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) to concede the U.S. Senate race to Al Franken (D).

But there’s bad news for Franken as well: Just 37% have a favorable view of him after the weeks long recount.

Family of Secrets

The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for AmericaRising on the bestseller lists: Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America by Russ Baker.

From the book jacket: “After eight disastrous years, George W. Bush leaves office as one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Russ Baker asks the question that lingers even as this benighted administration winds down: Who really wanted this man at the helm of the country, and why did his backers promote him despite his obvious liabilities and limitations? This book goes deep behind the scenes to deliver an arresting new look at George W. Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, their family, and the network of figures in intelligence, the military, finance, and oil who enabled the family’s rise to power. Baker’s exhaustive investigation reveals a remarkable clan whose hermetic secrecy and code of absolute loyalty have concealed a far-reaching role in recent history that transcends the Bush presidencies.”

Obama to Announce Intelligence Team

At 10:30 am ET at his transition office, President-elect Obama will round out his national security team by introducing his key intelligence team leaders.

They are expected to be Leon Panetta to head the CIA and Dennis Blair to be director of national intelligence. 

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports CIA veteran John Brennan will be Obama’s top adviser “on counterterrorism and other sensitive issues.”

Obama Using Polling Techniques to Sell Stimulus

President-elect Obama’s top political aides “are adapting their campaign tactics to selling policy, using data from polls and focus groups to shape the debate over a stimulus plan that may cost at least $775 billion,” according to Bloomberg.

For instance, they are “encouraging lawmakers to use the word ‘recovery’ instead of recession and ‘investment’ instead of ‘infrastructure.’ Those recommendations came from focus-group research indicating that such framing would make the package more appealing to voters.”

Frank Luntz was right.

Quote of the Day

“I feel very well. Some days are better than others.”

— Sen. Edward Kennedy, in an interview with CBS News, on returning to Capitol Hill after surgery for a brain tumor.

Bloomberg Looks to Rejoin Republicans

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “has begun reaching out to city Republican leaders to gauge whether he could run on the GOP line in his re-election bid this year,” several sources told the New York Post.

“The maneuvering began in the past two weeks, and sources said the mayor is expected to try to run on a major-party as well as a third-party line, likely one of his own creation.”

Bottom line: “Despite recent friction, many insiders privately say Bloomberg is likely to get the GOP ballot line this year without much fighting.”

Most Americans Favor Stimulus Package

A new Gallup poll finds that 53% of Americans favor and 36% oppose the proposed $775 billion stimulus package of the type President-elect Obama described in his Thursday speech on the economy. The remaining 11% had no opinion.

Rasmussen survey shows similar results, with 54% in favor and 33% opposed.

Meanwhile, a Politico poll finds even greater support with 79% of Americans in favor of the stimulus, versus just 17% opposed.

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