POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/2

Quote of the Day

“Obama was not someone who understood numbers and states. He wasn’t a political creature.”

— Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, quoted by Esquire.

Dodd Will Refinance Sweetheart Mortgages

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, says he’ll refinance two mortgages that he received through a VIP program from Countrywide Financial, the Hartford Courant reports.

“Dodd has acknowledged receiving mortgages in 2003 through a VIP program at Countrywide, which was sold to Bank of America Corp. earlier this year and has been the focus of allegations that it gave favorable loan terms to lawmakers… Dodd says he never sought special treatment.”

Of course, with interest rates at historic lows it may make financial sense for Dodd to refinance anyway.

Gingrich Now Sees Palin as “Formidable”

Newt Gingrich said he sees “an open Republican field” for the 2012 Republican presidential race, The Hill reports. But he made special mention of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

Said Gingrich: “If Sarah Palin seeks out a group of very sophisticated policy advisers and develops a fairly sophisticated platform, she will be very formidable.”

According to The Hotline, he says Palin would have a “substantial advantage” in Iowa, the first-in-the nation caucus state, where she has “a very big base.”

Just after the presidential election, Gingrich downplayed Palin’s strength in the Republican party.

Blagojevich Will Appear on Letterman

Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will appear on The Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday night.

Update: The Chicago Sun Times reports Blagojevich has other shows booked for Tuesday, including NBC’s Today show, CNN’s Larry King Live and Fox News’ On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.

Richardson Probe Expands

According to the Albuquerque Journal, federal authorities have asked for information involving the Democratic Governors Association as part of the “pay-to-play” investigation that derailed New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s (D) nomination for U.S. commerce secretary. 

Richardson’s tenure a leader of the DGA gave him “prestige, coast-to-coast travel and national exposure that would help fuel his presidential bid, while the DGA basked in his growing notoriety and fundraising prowess.”

“Now, that political shine could be tarnishing.”

What’s Next for Obama’s Email List?

Esquire runs a must-read profile of Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and how he’s going to help President Obama govern even though he’s not part of the administration.

“It was Plouffe who gathered the president’s unprecedented thirteen-million-name contact list, which has grown into a fulsome pulsing beast, and it is Plouffe who now owns it and keeps it under lock and key. Plouffe sent those thirteen million people an e-mail in mid-November and they replied, Yes, I still want to be involved, and yes, David Plouffe, I’ll have house parties when you tell me to. Here is who I am socioeconomically and socially. I am boxers; my next-door neighbor is briefs. Now the president has instructed him to make that list a new lever of government.”

Brown Runs for Governor Again

Jerry Brown (D), who first ran for governor in 1974 as a reformer — and ultimately served two terms — is launching another bid, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“No one would mistake Brown for a new spirit today. At 70, he occupies a prime spot among the elders of California politics. His career has spanned four decades, with three failed tries for the White House along his way up, down and back up the elective ranks. Now, after two years as state attorney general, this Democrat who first ran for office in the era of Janis Joplin and the Beatles is remaking himself yet again.”

He’s expected to face a primary against San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) and possibly Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D).

Biden Also Has a Blackberry

President Obama isn’t the only one pushing the White House legal and political limits on using technology. According to the New York Times, Vice President Biden also has “his own new super-secret BlackBerry.”

Daschle Explains

Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) tried to explain his tax problems with a two-page letter yesterday to the chair and ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, which is handling his nomination to become Health and Human Services secretary.

The Committee meets with Daschle this afternoon behind closed doors to discuss the problem.

According to the New York Times, Vice President Biden “is working to salvage the nomination, which even Daschle allies agree is in doubt.”

Politico points out a key reason for concern, noting that Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), “who quickly came to the defense of then-Treasury nominee Timothy Geithner when he had tax problems — has said nothing in public about Daschle’s issues.”

However, First Read makes two important points:

  • Daschle played a key role for Obama in the Democratic primary, especially in helping Obama secure crucial superdelegate endorsements, so expect the Obama administration to give Daschle plenty of running room.
  • Because he’s a former senator, Daschle probably gets confirmed by his ex-colleagues. If he weren’t an ex-senator, his nomination would probably be dead right now.

Update: Baucus released a statement backing Daschle. 

Emanuel May Want to Reclaim House Seat

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel “did express an interest in running for his congressional seat again someday,” the Chicago Sun Times reports.

State Rep John Fritchey spoke with Emanuel when he was deciding whether to run for Emanuel’s seat: “He had commented to me that he may be interested in running one day again for the seat. I told him that should I be fortunate enough to run, and should I be fortunate enough to win the seat, I would look forward to campaigning against him.”

New Faces in the West Wing

Vanity Fair runs a series of photos by Annie Leibovitz of the Obama team — “a kaleidoscopic army of policy aces, whiz kids, and veteran advisers” — now working in the White House.

Republican Likely to Replace Gregg

NBC News: “Bonnie Newman, a Republican with ties to current Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), is the ‘leading candidate’ to replace Gregg as U.S. Senator from New Hampshire — if Gregg is named Commerce Secretary.”

The word is that she may pledge not to run again.

Republicans Take Wait-and-See Stance on Daschle

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the leader of Senate Republicans, told CBS News “he is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the revelation” that former Sen. Tom Daschle “recently filed an amended tax return and paid $140,000 in back taxes and interest.”

Said McConnell: “The Senate Finance Committee is meeting tomorrow to go over this and to come up with recommendations for the rest of us. And I think I’m going to just wait until they give me their opinion.”

Palin Stiffs House Republicans

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) “politely declined” an invitation by House Republicans to give a speech at their annual conference this weekend because she said had to attend to state business, ABC News reports. 

Of course, she’s actually keeping a low profile in Washington, D.C. this weekend.

When asked about Palin’s no-show, House Republican leader John Boehner shrugged, saying, “Whatever.”

Daschle Kept Tax Problem from Obama

Former Sen. Tom Daschle “was aware as early as last June that he might have topay back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a private equity firm, but did not inform the Obama transition team until weeks after Mr. Obama named him to the health secretary’s post,” the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, the White House “would not say when the president himself learned of the tax issue, but said Mr. Obama is standing by his nominee… At least six leading Democratic senators have come out in support of Mr. Daschle, but the fate of his nomination is unclear.”

Ben Smith on why the optics of the Daschle tax situation are so much worse than Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s: “Lots of Americans have babysitters and informal daycare arrangements. Fewer have rich friends providing them cars and drivers.”

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2 Comments on “POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/2”

  1. tony sacco Says:

    Frank you do a great service with “political headlines” I get more from this than I get from Google, good job, thanks, Tony

  2. fvmoore Says:

    Thank you, Tony! Glad to know someone besides me reads this stuff 🙂


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