POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/11

Top Republican Says Obama Trying to Kill Jobs

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) — head of the House Republican campaign effort — cited rising unemployment in asserting that the Obama administration intended to “diminish employment and diminish stock prices” as part of a “divide and conquer” strategy to consolidate power, reports the New York Times.

Sessions said Mr. Obama’s agenda was “intended to inflict damage and hardship on the free enterprise system, if not to kill it.”

Trippi Says Stephanopoulos Report is False

Joe Trippi, a senior strategist for the John Edwards presidential campaign, uses Twitter to respond to yesterday’s report from George Stephanopoulos that some Edwards staffers were prepared to sabotage the campaign if rumors about the candidate’s infidelity proved true: 

“Complete BS — fantasyland — not true.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’m the gift that keeps on giving.” 

— RNC Chairman Michael Steele, quoted by David Corn, “almost as if he were proud of that.”



Charming Yes Man

Newt Gingrich, in an interview on Fox News, compares the charm of Barack Obama with that of Bill Clinton:

“Well, he’s not charming in the same sense that Clinton is. I mean, President Obama is a very smart, very gifted person, a very good strategic thinker. He’s a very pleasant person. The fact is Clinton was charming, but we got welfare reform. And he was charming, but we got a tax cut. And he was charming, but we balanced the budget. So I’m perfectly happy to be charmed with somebody who says ‘yes.'”


Casey Does Not Oppose Primary for Specter

In an interview on CNN, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said that Democratic party leaders should not be telling candidates whether or not to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) in a primary next year.

Said Casey: “I don’t think anyone in our party should ever dictate to a candidate. That’s really up to that candidate, to run or not run.”

Nonetheless, Casey already endorsed Specter “no more who runs against him.”


Reid’s Trump Card

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is a top Republican target for 2010. However, Roll Call says Reid “may have found the ultimate trump card: President Barack Obama. The administration’s decision last week to kill a proposed nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain is the latest in a string of moves the White House has taken to help Reid in his runup to next year’s election.”

Quote of the Day

“My dog is smarter than Bo, his dog.”

— Vice President Biden, quoted by the Christian Science Monitor, showing no respect to President Obama’s new dog.

Gillibrand Gets First Challenger

According to the New York Post, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) will soon announce that he’ll challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in a Democratic primary next year.

Glenn Thrush: “Israel will make some kind of an announcement and soon. But I’m hearing from New York Dems that he’s likely to set up an exploratory committee instead of announcing, flat out, that he’s running. It’s a technical point — but it gives him an out if things don’t work out.”

One other interesting point: The New York Daily News now says Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will not interfere with a primary, despite earlier reports he would try to block such efforts.



A SCOTUS Short List

According to a couple of sources in the know, First Read says there appears to be a working short list of about six names for President Obama’s Supreme Court pick. 

The co-frontrunners: Diane Wood of the 7th Circuit, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd Circuit, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Merrick Garland of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. 

“Obviously, folks can slice this list all they want: Five are women; one’s Hispanic; one’s male; and all are in their late 40s or early 50s, except two (Wood, 58, and Garland, 56). Keep an eye on Napolitano. For this pick, it would be surprising if Obama named someone he didn’t either know well or trust personally. Wood, Kagan, and Napolitano all fit this bill (Wood taught at the University of Chicago with Obama, and Kagan and Napolitano already have top slots in the administration). As for Napolitano, remember that she endorsed Obama early on (despite Emily’s List pressure to do otherwise). And from people familiar with the president’s thinking, he’s been as impressed with Napolitano as anyone in his cabinet. They click. That matters…”

But don’t expect a nominee this week. CQ Politics reports that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said as much at Friday’s briefing.



Crist To Announce Plans This Week

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) will announce his 2010 political plans on Tuesday, according to the AP.

Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer said he believes Crist is going to run for U.S. Senate because he has “concluded that the problems and issues that Floridians are facing — high unemployment and the economy — can’t be solved in Tallahassee, they need to be solved in Washington, and I believe that’s what he’s going to do.”

Update: A source tells Politico that Crist will announce he’s running for the U.S. Senate.

Quote of the Day

“Well, if I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh, I think. I think my take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican.”

— Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview on Face the Nation, on whether Colin Powell or Rush Limbaugh were a better spokesman for the Republican party.



Edwards Staffers Planned to “Bring Down” Campaign

George Stephanopoulos reports that by late December 2007 several people in John Edwards’ inner circle began to think that rumors he had an affair were true.

“Several of them had gotten together and devised a ‘doomsday’ strategy of sorts. Basically, if it looked like Edwards was going to win the Democratic Party nomination, they were going to sabotage his campaign, several former Edwards’ staffers have told me. They said they were Democrats first, and if it looked like Edwards was going to become the nominee, they were going to bring down the campaign.”



Obama Brings Down the House

C-SPAN has videos of President Obama and each speaker at the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner, where the president was a big hit.

Said Obama: “I’m Barack Obama. Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me.”

Read more…



No Fireworks at Kentucky Dinner

At the other big political event last night, the Louisville Courier-Journal notes there was “an uneasy truce tonight as both Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Kentucky’s latest version of the Hatfields and McCoys, spoke at the Republican Party of Kentucky’s 2009 Lincoln Day Dinner.”

“Bunning talked about economic policy and reiterated his plan to seek a third term.”

“McConnell mentioned Bunning only in passing but heaped praise on Secretary of State Trey Grayson and former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Cathy Bailey, two of the candidates who have expressed interest in Bunning’s Senate seat.”

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