POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/13

Moore Mulls Another Bid in Alabama

Roy Moore, a conservative activist known for his former role as Alabama’s “Ten Commandments” judge, says he is very “inclined” to join the 2010 race for the state’s open governor’s seat, CQ Politics reports.

Moore had been an elected chief justice of the state Supreme Court. But he was ousted from the post by a state court panel in 2003, after he ignored a federal court ruling ordering the removal of a granite momunent to the biblical Ten Commandments that he had installed in the state Supreme Court building two years earlier.

Chuck Todd to Host New Show

Multiple network sources tell the New York Observer that MSNBC is in the process of developing a weekend political show to be moderated by Chuck Todd, the network’s political director and chief White House correspondent.

“The new show on MSNBC, to debut in late spring, would give Mr. Todd more experience as a political moderator and provide him with a good opportunity to develop his long-form interviewing skills.”

Reid Posts Strong Fundraising Quarter

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “knows Republicans have put a target on his back, but the Nevada Democrat has braced for what figures to be a tough 2010 re-election run by raising about $2 million in campaign funds since January,” the Washington Times reports.

Reid now has more than $5 million on hand for his re-election campaign.

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Review-Journal says Nevada Republicans “have been frustrated by the lack of a clear opponent for Reid, a Democrat who would be considered vulnerable if he weren’t running unopposed.”

Blagojevich Promised $5 Million If He Appointed Jackson

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s staff was told last year that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) would raise up to $5 million in campaign cash for the ex-governor if he was appointed to the U.S. Senate, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

“Besides the $5 million to be raised by Jackson, the proposal also included another $1 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund that would come from Indian donors, sources say.”

“This is the first revelation that a proposal for the Jackson appointment involved an alleged promise that he’d raise campaign cash for the ex-governor. Also, the amount of money allegedly offered to Blagojevich is significantly higher than what’s been reported so far.”

Republicans Fighting Wave of Retirements

Stuart Rothenberg: “The last time more Democrats than Republicans retired was in 1998, when 17 Democrats and 16 Republicans did not seek re-election… Over the past five elections, 106 Republican House Members have not sought re- election, while only 49 Democrats have walked away from their seats — a significant difference.”

For the 2010 cycle, check CQ‘s excellent Members in Transition chart.

Bloomberg Will Run as a Republican

Over the weekend, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) won the support needed to appear on the Republican ballot line for his re-election race even though he abandoned the party to become an independent during the middle of his second term, according to Politicker NY.

Bloomberg will also appear on the Independence Party line on the ballot, and according to the New York Daily News, is seeking the backing of the labor-backed Working Families Party.

Update on NY-20

According to unofficial results, Scott Murphy (D) holds a 35-vote lead over Jim Tedisco (R). 

Two counties have yet to count their absentee ballots: Washington County, which Murphy won, and Saratoga County, which Tedisco won and is the largest in the district. Today is also the deadline for postmarked military and overseas ballots to be received.

Meanwhile, The Hill notes very few national implications can be drawn any longer from the race since “such a razor-thin election can only be seen as a draw.”

Jindal for Senate?

According to the New York magazine reporter John Heilemann, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) could challenge Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) in 2010.

Heilemann on the Chris Matthews Show: “I was down in New Orleans last week, and I heard a great rumor that Bobby Jindal, who we were just talking about as a potential presidential candidate for the Republican Party, is thinking about giving up the governorship and running for Senate… Against Vitter, or for Vitter’s seat if Vitter doesn’t run. He’s got a terrible budget situation down there, he’s thrown himself into a Republican primary up in Baton Rouge that he’s going to apparently get creamed in. And I think what’s interesting about it is that it tells you that he’s got the message that 2012 isn’t his year.”

However, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune, Jindal’s office is denying the rumors.

Three More Years

Robert Caro, probably the greatest political biographer of our generation, did a greatinterview with Charlie Rose last week. 

Unfortunately, Caro said the fourth and final volume of his must-read Lyndon Johnson series will not be out for another three years!

GOP Targets 43 House Democrats

The NRCC will launch a recess ad offensive today, hitting Democrats in 43 districts for helping to “rubber stamp” spending bills for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reports Roll Call.

Most of those 43 Democrats will be the target of robocalls flooding into their districts later this week, but nine Democrats will begin hearing NRCC radio ads in their district starting today.

In addition, Rep. Zack Space (D-OH) is being singled out for particular attention with a TV ad that will begin airing today.

Judge Who May Decide Senate Race Donated to Coleman

Senate Guru notes that one of the five Minnesota Supreme Court Justices who will likely decide the U.S. Senate race is a Norm Coleman donor. Justice Christopher Dietzen has contributed to a number of Republican candidates and committee — including two $250 contributions to Norm Coleman, one in 2001 and one in 2004.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune looks at the possibility of Coleman taking his legal challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. “While some election law experts say it’s unlikely that Coleman, a Republican, could win in federal court, his party might have much to gain. A federal challenge could leave a Minnesota U.S. Senate seat vacant for another six months or more, depriving Democrats of a vote needed to pass some of President Obama’s agenda in the event of GOP filibusters.”

Obama Gets Early Military Victory

For President Obama, last week’s confrontation with Somali pirates posed “political risks to a young commander in chief who had yet to prove himself to his generals or his public,” the Washington Post reports. “But the result — a dramatic and successful rescue operation by U.S. Special Operations forces — left Obama with an early victory that could help build confidence in his ability to direct military actions abroad. ”

“Throughout the past four days, White House officials played down Obama’s role in the hostage drama.” But in fact, Obama “had been briefed 17 times since he returned from his trip abroad, including several times from the White House Situation Room.”

Politico: “Obama’s involvement in the decision to authorize lethal force was legally required, officials said, because it was a hostage situation, not combat, and unrelated to the already authorized U.S. effort against al-Qaida and other terror groups.”

Remaking Rahm

The Washington Post notes White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel “is overhauling his image, becoming more valet than hit man, and his formula for moving Obama’s agenda through Congress is beginning to resonate. Even Republicans concede that given Obama’s early victories, thornier tasks such as landmark health-care, energy and education bills may not be out of reach.”

“The White House legislative strategy blends Obama’s vision and salesmanship with Emanuel’s granular political expertise and dealmaking skills.”

A Flood of Issue Ads

Politico: “Television viewers are being deluged by so-called issue ads paid for by corporations, unions, advocacy groups and individuals who have spent a whopping $270 million just since Obama took the oath of office… It’s an unprecedented clip, experts say, a breakneck pace that could yield more than $1 billion in issue ad buys before the end of the year.”

What if NY-20 is a Tie?

The Saratogian looks at the possibility that the NY-20 special election could end up dead even after all the votes are counted. New York Gov. David Paterson (D) would have two options to decide the race.

Said an elections official: “He can either do the entire process all over again in which the candidates would have to be re-nominated by their parties, Eric Sundwall would have an opportunity to get on the ballot again, and campaigns could once again start. Or, because of the time in the year now, he could let it sit and let the process take place during the general election in the fall.”

Help Wanted in Beijing

Sources tell Foreign Policy that former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, have turned down offers to be Ambassador to China.

“One recently discussed candidate is Bill Owens, a retired admiral. Owens, who was appointed as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by former President Bill Clinton… Another name to watch is former Rep. Jim Leach, the Iowa Republican who broke party ranks early on to endorse Obama’s presidential candidacy.”

Jindal Gets Book Deal

“In a move almost certain to fuel fresh speculation about his national ambitions,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said that he “has agreed to write a book for a conservative publishing house about his life and policy ideas,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

“The book is tentatively scheduled for release in 2010… In recent years, book authorship has become a virtual requirement for presidential aspirants.”

Bush Snubs Cheney

The New York Times: “The old gang is getting back together next week in Dallas for a reunion of sorts, the Bush team’s first since leaving the White House. On tap is a dinner with the former president and a daylong discussion of the future George W. Bush Policy Institute… Mr. Bush is trying to map out what he wants to do with the rest of his life.”

“Not coming to next week’s session is former Vice President Dick Cheney, who in the final days of the administration argued with Mr. Bush about his refusal to pardon Mr. Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr… Cheney later went on television to air his grievances with Mr. Bush, while also accusing Mr. Obama of endangering the country.”

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