POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/17

Quote of the Day

“House Republicans surround the President after the meeting. Many of them were seeking his autograph. Every House Republican eventually voted against the bill.”

— White House photo, caption under photo 4 of 23 in slide show.

     (IF YOU CLICK ON ABOVE “CAPTION” LINK, YOU CAN VIEW SLIDES)

The Historic Journey

Obama: The Historic JourneyJust out from the staff of the New York TimesObama: The Historic Journey.

From the book jacket: “In twelve rich chapters, filled with award-winning photos and graphics, as well as text from Nobel Prize and Pulitzer-winning columnists like Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman, and seasoned political reporters like Adam Nagourney,The New York Times tells Obama’s unlikely and incredible journey from the beginning all the way to his inauguration as President of the United States…”

young readers version is also available.

 

Burris Now Admits Raising Money for Blagojevich

Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) “has acknowledged he sought to raise campaign funds for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich at the request of the governor’s brother at the same time he was making a pitch to be appointed to the Senate seat previously held by President Barack Obama,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Previously Burris has left the impression that he always balked at the issue of raising money for the governor because of his interest in the Senate appointment.”

Rich Miller: “This guy is a real piece of work.”

Obama’s Tax Cut

The economic stimulus package to be signed today by President Obama includes one of the largest tax cuts in American history — $282 billion in tax cuts over two years. 

Steven Waldman made this point last week, but few others have picked up on it.

Marc Ambinder: “It’s hard imagine we won’t hear about this four years from now. And if that’s not boxing a future Republican candidate in ahead of time, I don’t know what is. Think about how many potential Republican arguments are going to be pre-empted by that nice little fact?”

A bonus for Democrats: Nearly every Republican in Congress voted against it.

Recovery.gov

The Obama administration set up a web site to show how the economic stimulus money is spent, state-by-state.

Corzine Spent 30% of Last Year Outside State

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) spent all or part of 105 days outside of New Jersey in 2008, according to the Newark Star-Ledger

“There is often a need for governors to travel to perform their duties, but out-of-state trips have long been fodder for political foes — especially in gubernatorial election years like this.”

Congressional Approval Ratings Jump

A new Gallup Poll shows a sharp 12 point increase in congressional approval ratings from last month, rising from 19% to 31%. While still quite negative on an absolute basis, this is the best rating for Congress in nearly two years.

Romney Cuts Back on Homes

Mitt Romney is selling mansions he owns with his wife in Utah and Massachusetts, according to the Boston Globe.

However, he will keep his other two homes; one in California and, of course, another in New Hampshire.

Cheney Furious with Bush Over Scooter Libby

Sources close to Dick Cheney told the New York Daily News the former vice president repeatedly pressed President Bush to pardon Scooter Libby, “arguing his ex-chief of staff and longtime alter ego deserved a full exoneration — even though Bush had already kept Libby out of jail by commuting his 30-month prison sentence.”

However, the “unsuccessful full-court press left Cheney bitter.”

Said the source: “He’s furious with Bush. He’s really angry about it and decided he’s going to say what he believes.”

Far, Far Away from Washington, D.C.

“Notice how few (if any) actual members of Congress are traveling to Colorado to attend today’s bill signing,” First Read observers. “Rather, the attendees will be Vice President Biden, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D). Of course, had the president wanted congressional presence, he would have asked for it. Read into THAT what you will… It seems like another opportunity to show Obama as non-Washington, no?”

The Denver Post previews today’s bill signing.

 

“Curse of Caroline” Haunts Paterson, Gillibrand

A new Quinnipiac poll finds both Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and the man who appointed her, Gov. David Paterson (D) trail Democratic primary challengers in 2010.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) crushes Paterson, 55% to 23%, in a possible gubernatorial primary.

Meanwhile, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) beats Gillibrand in a Democratic U.S. Senate primary, 34% to 24%, with 39% still undecided.

Explains pollster Maurice Carroll: “The Caroline Kennedy mix-up still haunts Gov. David Paterson… Three quarters of New Yorkers heard about the nasty news leaks. They think Kennedy was treated unfairly, but most don’t blame Paterson for the leaks.”

Ben Smith: “It’s not just that Paterson looks weak. His problem is that he was unable to score major accomplishments, or to get any unpopular tax hikes or budget cuts out of the way, in time for voters to forget them by election day. Now, all the bad news and hard choices will come in the run-up to the 2010 election, and Paterson’s bad numbers may well get worse.”

Japanese Official Quits After Press Conference

Japan’s finance minister resigned after widespread criticism of embarrassing behavior at the weekend Group of 7 meeting in Rome where he appeared drunk at a press conference.

The Wall Street Journal says news of his resignation “came a day after data showed Japan’s economy contracted at its fastest pace in nearly 35 years in the final quarter of 2008.”

Geithner Dropped Original Rescue Plan

The Washington Post reports Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner abandoned his original bank rescue plan just days before it’s unveiling after determining it was too expensive and too risky. A new plan was quickly adopted, but unfortunately his team “didn’t have enough time to work out many details or consult with others before the plan was supposed to be unveiled.”

“The sharp course change was one of the key reasons why Geithner’s plan — his first major policy initiative as Treasury secretary — landed with such a thud last Tuesday. Lawmakers, investors and analysts expressed dismay over the lack of specifics. Markets tanked, and fresh doubts arose about the hand now steering the country’s financial policy.”

Pelosi Pushed to Take Hard Line with Senate

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is pushing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to take a harder line with the Senate “after a trio of Republican senators forced Congress to trim billions from the $787 billion economic stimulus package,” Politicoreports.

One possibility is to “force Senate Republicans to mount actual filibusters if they want to stand in the way of bills ‘so that the American people can see who’s undermining action.'”

Lugar is Key Obama Ally on Foreign Policy

Bloomberg notes that after first joining the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama “would dutifully sit through” hours-long Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings while more senior members left, “an act of deference to the chairman,” Sen. Richard Lugar, (R-IN).

Said Lugar: “Frequently, Barack Obama and I were the only two people left at the table. On several occasions I made a point just for the record that I appreciated his diligence and patience.”

“At a time when bipartisanship has all but broken down in Washington, the young Democratic president and the 76-year-old Republican wise man are quietly working to restore the notion that politics must end at the water’s edge. The two have spoken on the phone four times since Election Day, a contrast to the limited communication that Lugar had with President George W. Bush over eight years.”

The Borrow and Spend Decade

Paul Krugman: “Last week the Federal Reserve released the results of the latest Survey of Consumer Finances, a triennial report on the assets and liabilities of American households. The bottom line is that there has been basically no wealth creation at all since the turn of the millennium: the net worth of the average American household, adjusted for inflation, is lower now than it was in 2001.”

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