POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/30

More Support for Gay Marriage

For the first time in a Washington Post/ABC News poll, supporters of gay marriage outnumber opponents: 49% are in favor versus 46% opposed.

In addition, 53% believe gay marriages held legally in another state should be recognized as legal in their states.

However, a new Quinnipiac poll finds different results: American voters oppose 55% to 38% a law in their state allowing same-sex couples to marry, but support 57% to 38% allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions. 

Gingrich Rips Into RNC

On C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program this morning, Newt Gingrich talked about the Republican Party and RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

Said Gingrich: “The Republican National Committee is this tiny group of people, some of whom have been there 20 years or more. And they all think they’re precious. And they all think they should be taken care of. And they all think that the job of the chairman first of all is to make the RNC members happy.”

Kirk Could Be Competitive in Illinois Senate Race

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Illinois finds that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has a good chance to make next year’s U.S. Senate race a competitive one.

Kirk is tied with Alexi Giannoulias (D), 35% to 35%, and leads Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), 37% to 33%. In addition, Kirk would crush Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL), 53% to 19%.

However, if Lisa Madigan (D) made a surprise decision to run for this seat it would be no contest, as she leads Kirk 49% to 33%.

Palin Invited to Help “Rebrand” GOP

According to Ben Smith, Sen. John McCain confirmed that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was invited to be part of the Republican party “rebranding” effort but the group has not heard back from her — another apparent disconnect between her Washington, D.C. and Anchorage offices.

Deal With Specter Angers Some Democrats

“Senior Senate Democrats are objecting to the deal Majority Leader Harry Reid made with Sen. Arlen Specter, saying they will vote against letting the former Republican shoot to the top of powerful committees after he switches parties,” according to The Hill.

“Several Democrats are furious with Reid for agreeing to let Specter keep his seniority, accrued over more than 28 years as a GOP senator. That agreement would allow Specter to leap past senior Democrats on powerful panels — including the Appropriations and Judiciary committees.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough? No. This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the New York Times.

Quote of the Day

“You know, politics in America changes very quick. And I’m a big believer that things are never as good as they seem and never as bad as they seem.”

— President Obama, during his news conference last night.

What Obama is Reading

To take a break from all the briefing books, President Obama said that he has been spending his evenings reading Joseph O’Neill’s 2008 novel Netherland.

CNN: “The acclaimed book, published last May, tells the story of Hans van den Broek, a Dutch financial analyst living in lower Manhattan who grows increasingly alienated from his wife following the September 11 attacks. During their separation, the main character spends a summer alone in New York and strikes up a friendship with a wily Trinidadian businessman named Chuck, who helps Hans re-discover his childhood love of cricket.”

GOP Poll Shows Democrats With Key Advantages

The AP obtained partial results from a GOP poll that showed Republicans “are widely viewed by the public as less competent than Democrats to handle issue ranging from health care to education and energy.”

“Democrats were favored by a margin of 61% to 29% on education; 59% to 30% on health care and 59% to 31% on energy. Congress is expected to consider major legislation later this year in all three areas.”

“Democats were also viewed with more confidence in handling taxes, long a Republican strong suit. The only issue among nine in the survey where the two parties were rated as even was in the war on terror.”

The results were presented to top GOP officials in Congress.

Edwards Says Husband Should Not Have Run

The New York Daily News got an advance copy of Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards who writes that when she learned of her husband’s affair, “I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up.”

“Despite feeling deeply deceived,” she “nonetheless publicly stood by her husband’s side, lending his candidacy the aura of a warm, loving family life. But she had actually wanted him to quit the race to protect the family.”

Later events proved her right. “He should not have run,” she says.

Republicans Tie Specter to President Bush

The NRSC is launching a wave of robo-calls to Pennsylvania Democrats designed to remind them of Sen. Arlen Specter’s relationship with former President Bush, according to First Read.

The audio features Bush’s endorsement of Specter during his 2004 GOP primary.

Though it worked well for Democrats in last year’s elections, this appears to be the first time Republicans have used Bush in such a negative way.

Republicans To Launch “Rebranding” Effort

CNN reports on a new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party and to counter President Obama’s characterization of Republicans as “the party of no.”

“It will involve an outreach by an interesting mix of GOP officials, ranging from 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and the younger brother of the man many Republicans blame for the party’s battered brand: former President George W. Bush.”

Also involved: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney.

House Democrats Target 29 GOP Seats

According to a leaked memo, DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) plans to target 29 House Republicans from districts won by Barack Obama last November.

Democrats privately say “they expect to lose a handful of seats to the GOP in next year’s midterms and the memo acknowledges that the average midterm loss for a ruling party in a midterm is 30,” reports Politico.

“Nonetheless, he paints a picture of an unusually unpredictable cycle and thinks Dems could do much better than average if President Obama’s popularity stays sky-high and the party targets vulnerable Rs.”

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