POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/12

Specter’s Words of Wisdom

In an interview wtih Details, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) offers a couple lessons taught to him long ago by a Philadelphia lawyer:

“Never let your face show how hard your ass is being kicked.”

“The higher the monkey climbs the flagpole, the more his ass is visible.”


Rubio Welcomes Crist to the Race

Marco Rubio (R) welcomes Gov. Charlie Crist (R) to Florida’s U.S. Senate race with a new ad featuring the governor’s recent embrace of Barack Obama.

Key point to remember: Florida doesn’t have an open primary so only registered Republicans can vote. This ad clearly recognizes that fact.

Read more…


McAuliffe Gets Big Endorsement in Virginia

Ben Smith: “The SEIU is announcing today that it’ll endorse Terry McAuliffe in the race for governor of Virginia… The union brings real muscle, unlike most, to these primaries, and the endorsement is a sign of strength for a fairly audacious candidacy.”

With polls showing McAuliffe pulling away, it’s clear he has the momentum in the June 9th primary contest.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Why get in a fight with Rush Limbaugh… It’s not a very comforting vision to say my vision for the Republican Party’s future is for Rush Limbaugh to shut up…”

— Karl Rove, in an interview on Fox News, backing up former Vice President Dick Cheney in his recent skirmish with Colin Powell.

Crist’s Entry Flips Ratings on Races

With Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s entry into the U.S. Senate race, CQ Politics changed its rating on FL-Sen from Toss Up to Leans Republican.

However, the Florida governor’s contest is now up for grabs and CQ switched the rating from Republican Favored to Tossup.

When Silence Works Best

Charlie Cook notes that “when Democrats lost their House and Senate majorities in 1994, polling for organized labor showed that the top issue for union members voting Republican for Congress was guns, something that had nothing to do with unions… It was the presidential loss in 2000, on top of the congressional losses in 1994, that convinced the Democratic Party to simply shut up on guns.”

“Republicans need to think about this in terms of their emphasis on certain social and cultural issues. The GOP has turned away a large number of highly educated, economically upscale voters who would be a natural fit for the party were it not for these divisive subjects… Generationally, Republicans are killing themselves with voters who are now under 35, who see the party as narrow and intolerant. As Will Rogers used to say, ‘When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.'”

North Carolinians Split on the Edwardses

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds that 69% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of John Edwards — the worst figure PPP has ever found for a politician anywhere — while just 19% view him favorably.

Meanwhile, despite the controversy about Elizabeth Edwards’ recent book, she is still viewed positively by 58% of North Carolinians, a level higher than Barack Obama or any other politician that we polled on in the state.

Specter Says He’ll Get Seniority Back

Though he was stripped on his seniority last week, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) toldpa2010.com, “I’m going to get it back.”

He also acknowledged his switch to the Democratic party didn’t exactly go smoothly.

Said Specter: “There are a few bumps in the road. But I’ve got good shock absorption.”


Quote of the Day

“I think Tom offers a positive alternative to losing.”

— Former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO), quoted by Congress Daily, on Ambassador Tom Schweich’s (R) possible entry into the Missouri U.S. Senate race.


Debunking the Edwards Doomsday Scenario

While he notes it would make a great novel, Walter Shapiro finds the notion that campaign staffers for John Edwards were ready to sabotage his campaign “somewhere between implausible and absurd.”

“It did not take many calls to the Edwards alumni association to pick up off-the-record speculation about who might have peddled the self-aggrandizing conspiracy story to Stephanopoulos. In fact, in back-to-back interviews, two Edwards campaign veterans fingered each other as the likely leaker. The whole thing is a diverting parlor game in memory of a disgraced presidential candidate who won exactly one contested primary during his two tries for the White House.”


Republicans Seek to Tie Democrats to Murtha

The NRCC is looking to sink Democrats by tying them to Rep. John Murtha (D-PA),Congress Daily reports.

“A radio ad launching today in nine districts blasts Democrats for voting for the stimulus package, which includes funding for what Republicans have labeled, ‘the airport for no one,’ a play on the ‘bridge to nowhere’ in Alaska.”

The targets: Reps. Vic Snyder (D-AR), Mark Schauer (D-MI), Travis Childers (D-MS), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Harry Teague (D-NM), Michael Arcuri (D-NY), Larry Kissell (D-NC), Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD).


Senate Republicans Will Back Crist

The NRSC will endorse Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) for U.S. Senate today, Politicoreports, “marking the first time it has taken sides (for a non-incumbent) in a competitive GOP primary this election cycle.”

“The committee’s decision will make it tougher for former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) to raise money against Crist, given that the party has given the governor its stamp of approval.”

One thing to point out: Only registered Republicans can vote in Florida’s GOP primary, so despite Crist’s popularity among independents and Democrats, it could be a close race.

Update: Rubio tweets: “Disappointed GOP senate comm endorses Crist on day 1. Remember that reform must always come from the outside. Status quo won’t change itself.”

 

Just 726 Votes

The Albany Times Union reports the New York Board of Elections will later today certify that Scott Murphy (D) won his seat in Congress over Jim Tedisco (R) by 726 votes, 80,833 to 80,107, a relatively small margin but certainly bigger than it seemed it would be in the hours after the NY-20 special election.


Crist’s Run Sets Off Scramble

With Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s (R) expected announcement today that he’ll run for the U.S. Senate, Florida will be led “by a bunch of lame ducks” for the next 18 months, observes the Miami Herald

“Virtually every statewide leader in Tallahassee, beginning with Crist, is expected to be seeking higher office. Crist’s anticipated announcement… will trigger one of the most chaotic and wide open election seasons ever in Florida.”

The Washington Post notes the decision also has national implications “and says a great deal about the current political landscape, from Republicans rebuilding efforts to the treacherous political position for governors heading into 2010.”

The New York Times notes Crist could win the seat in Washington, “even as he contributed to widespread Republican losses at the state level.”


White House Lobbies Hard for 2016 Olympics

The White House “is playing an unprecedented role in the bid to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago, with top adviser Valerie Jarrett spearheading an effort that draws on the international symbolism of his presidency,” reports Politico.

“Any president would have an interest in helping an American city win an Olympic bid. But none has been as closely associated with an Olympic proposal as Obama, and the emerging effort by the White House is unusually pointed in its attempt to wrap the campaign around the president and his appealing image abroad — a strategy veteran Olympics watchers say is paying dividends and could result in an enormous hometown farewell party if Obama wins a second term.”



Yesterday, former Vice President Dick Cheney made the point that he’d rather have Rush Limbaugh as spokesman for the Republican party than Colin Powell.


Tonight, the DNC had some fun pointing out that Powell’s approval rating (80%) is higher than that of Cheney (18%) and Limbaugh (26%combined.

Obama Approval Stays High

The latest Gallup poll finds President Obama has a 66% approval rating — up slightly from his three month average of 63%.


Steele Wants Coleman to Keep Race in Courts

In an interview with The Hotline, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said that if the Minnesota Supreme Court doesn’t rule Norm Coleman (R) the winner of the U.S. Senate race, “then it’s going to the federal courts.”

Asked if Coleman should concede if Al Franken (D) is deemed the winner, Steele said, “No, hell no. Whatever the outcome, it’s going to get bumped to the next level. This does not end until there’s a final ruling that speaks to whether or not those votes that have not been counted should be counted. And Norm Coleman will not, will not jump out of this race before that.”

Meanwhile, Rick Hasen has the latest on the court case: “I still think Coleman has an uphill battle here. It would not surprise me if Franken won in an unanimous decision at the state Supreme Court.”


Earlier Edwards Withdrawal Would Not Have Helped Clinton

Mark Blumenthal looks at the polling data and finds that John Edwards’ presence in the 2008 Democratic presidential race actually took more votes away from Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton. 

“The biggest lurch in support over the course of the two year campaign occurs for Obama just after Edwards dropped out (when pollsters stopped including his name on vote preference questions). Just before the Edwards announcement, most polls showed Obama’s support in the mid-30s. Just after, his support surged the mid-40s. Over the same period, Hillary Clinton’s aggregate support held mostly steady.”

Blumenthal concludes that an earlier Edwards withdrawal from the race — if the news of his marital infidelity became public — probably would not have changed the outcome of the Democratic primary.


Madigan Reconsiders Senate Bid

llinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) is reconsidering the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, according to the Washington Post.

“Madigan, widely considered the 800-pound gorilla in the state’s politics, had previously flatly ruled out a Senate bid in 2010 — insisting that all of her attention is on the governor’s race next year.”

A poll conducted late last month suggested Madigan would run away with the nomination in a Democratic primary.

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