POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/18

Obama Opposes Fairness Doctrine

A spokesman told Fox News that President Obama opposes any move to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine — “a long-abolished policy that would require broadcasters to provide opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.” 

This statement takes away an issue that has whipped up conservative talk radio hosts in recent days.

Quote of the Day

If I had done the things I’ve been accused of, I’d be too embarrassed to stand up here.”

— Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL), quoted by the Chicago Tribune, at a speech earlier this afternoon. 

Obama Approval Stays High

A new Pew Research poll shows nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) approve of President Obama’s job performance, while 56% approve of his handling of the economy, 52% of his handling of foreign policy, and 50% for the threat of terrorism.

Interesting: “There are sizable ideological differences among Republicans over Obama’s early performance. A plurality of moderate and liberal Republicans (46%) approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president. By contrast, just 28% of conservative Republicans approves of Obama’s job performance.”

Crist Has Choice of Races

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has very high approval ratings and remains well positioned for either a re-election bid or a 2010 Senate, according to a newQuinnipiac poll.

Crist would be heavily favored to win the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate and beats a generic Democrat handily in a general election match up, 48% to 25%.

However, a plurality of respondents want Crist to remain as governor with 57% favoring his re-election.

Burris Ethics Investigation Begins

The Senate Ethics Committee “has opened a preliminary inquiry into Sen. Roland Burris’s (D-IL) conflicting testimony on the circumstances surrounding his appointment,” according to The Hill.

A spokeswoman for Ethics Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) confirmed the investigation last night.

The Hotline: “The last time the committee recommended expulsion? 1995. The committee voted unanimously that Sen. Bob Packwood (R-OR) should be expelled for sexual misconduct, among other behavior. Packwood resigned before the full Senate could vote on the matter.”

UpdateNBC News reports Burris issued a press release prior to a schedule speech this afternoon saying he will not take questions a the event.

Moderates Fear Republican Study Committee

Moderate House Republicans “are more worried about the pressures from their right, where the Republican Study Committee is taking names and conservatives are raising the prospect of primary challenges, than about potential fallout from opposing a popular president,” reports CQ Politics.

CQ Weekly has a must read piece on the Republican Study Committee, “the caucus of the most rightward thinking members of the House.”

Obama’s War?

USA Today runs a front page story under the header, “Obama’s War.”

“In his first such action as president, Obama ordered an additional 17,000 combat troops to Afghanistan. His administration cast the move as an interim step to battle the resurgent Taliban, secure Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, increase security for summer elections and stem the decline in a war that the United States now risks losing.”

First Read: “The announcement of the 50% troop increase came without any presidential explanation or new policy announcement. And that’s got some anti-war advocates very upset. But remember, Obama’s rhetoric on Afghanistan was always as a response to Iraq questions. It was always the ‘right’ war vs. Iraq as the ‘wrong’ war.”

Top Ohio Democrats to Face Off in Senate Primary

Two of Ohio’s top Democrats — Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher — announced they are running for the U.S. Senate, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, “setting up a contentious party primary in 2010 and a scramble to fill statewide offices they leave behind.”

Gov. Ted Strickland (D) has already said that he would back Fisher over Brunner.

Greenspan Sees Bank Nationalization Coming

The government may have to nationalize some banks “on a temporary basis to fix the financial system and restore the flow of credit,” Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman has told the Financial Times.

Said Greenspan: “It may be necessary to temporarily nationalize some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring. I understand that once in a hundred years this is what you do.”

Palin Must Pay Back Taxes

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) “must pay income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received while living at her Wasilla home,” the Anchorage Daily News reports.

“The payments became a touchy issue for Palin last fall when she was running for vice president and campaigned as a budget watchdog.”

Washington Post: “Nearly every move that Palin makes or does not make… is analyzed through a new political prism, scrutinized for its effect on a possible 2012 presidential candidacy.”

House Democrats Hold Large Financial Edge

Democratic candidates for the House have a large advantage in cash left over from the 2008 election cycle, according to a CQ MoneyLine study of campaign reports.

Heat Rises on Burris

Chicago Tribune editorial calls on Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) to resign:

The benefit of the doubt had already been stretched thin and taut by the time Roland Burris offered his third version of the events leading to his appointment to the U.S. Senate. It finally snapped like a rubber band, popping him on that long Pinocchio nose of his, when he came out with version four.”

Meanwhile, Roll Call reports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) supports an ethics committee investigation into Burris’s actions.

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