The Return of Howard Dean

Rick Klein notes that former DNC Chairman Howard Dean seems to be everywhere these days.

“As Congress prepares to take up healthcare reform efforts in earnest, Dr. Dean is reemerging as a major voice inside the Democratic Party — playing an inside-outside game that’s might make him to healthcare what former Vice President Al Gore is to the environment.”

Senate Race Will Now Be Decided by Judges

The Minnesota Supreme Court heard an hour of arguments on whether absentee ballot problems justify reversing a lower-court ruling that declared Al Franken (D) the winner over Norm Coleman (R) in last year’s U.S. Senate race, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The hearing concluded with a justice saying “a decision will be forthcoming” — offering no indication how long that process could take.

Rick Hasen: “There’s no question that Coleman’s side got much tougher question than Franken’s side, and based upon oral argument I would not be surprised to see a unanimous decision in favor of Franken in a relatively short time frame (within two weeks — maybe sooner). I counted at least three of the five Justices who were much more willing to accept Franken’s arguments than Coleman’s arguments, and who asked Coleman’s side much more difficult questions.”

Just 11% of Republicans are Hispanic or Non-White

CQ Politics notes a new Gallup survey found that only 11% of Republicans are Hispanics or blacks or members of other races. That compares with 36% of Democrats who are non-white and 27% of independents.

Coburn Will Run for Re-Election

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) announced he will seek another term in the Senate, Tulsa World reports.

He maintained that, if re-elected, it will be his final term.

Quote of the Day

“I am Rahm Emanuel, so people say that a lot.”

— White House chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, quoted by the Reliable Source, to a woman who asked him if anyone ever tells him he looks like Rahm Emanuel.

Is Dodd Done?

Walter Shapiro: “Dodd, who is one of the last of the old-style Ted Kennedy liberals in the Senate, still has the potential to eke out another term. Connecticut is such a Democratic state that its last orthodox Republican senator was (it is worth waiting for) Prescott Bush, the father of one president and the grandfather of another. (To be technical, erratic liberal Lowell Weicker was also a GOP senator, but certainly not an orthodox one.) Attorney General Richard Blumenthal — the one powerhouse Democratic statewide official who could theoretically challenge Dodd in a primary — is apparently prepared to wait and hope that Joe Lieberman (remember him?) does not run for re-election in 2012.”

Burger Stimulus

A source at the Five Guys Restaurant tells Politics Daily that President Obama’s visit last week “has resulted in a more-than-doubling of business” and “everybody wants the ‘Obama Burger.'” 

The “Obama Burger” is the unofficial designation for a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and jalapenos. 

Read more…

Christie Keeps Lead Heading Into Primary

A new FDU PublicMind poll in New Jersey confirms how most other polls see tomorrow’s Republican gubernatorial primary: Chris Christie (R) leads Steve Lonegan (R) by a healthy 54% to 30% margin. Another 11% are still undecided.

Will GOP Look to Senate for 2012 Nominee?

Interesting point from First Read: “We’ve wondered what Obama’s election would do to other senators. For years, senators were told they’d never get to the White House, and the stats proved it. Now, with governors in general less popular now than before, having a well-rounded issue experience that a senator gets may mean more to voters than so-called executive experience.”

Set Your DVR

Howard Kurtz previews a two-part prime-time series — Inside the Obama White House — airing on NBC tomorrow and Wednesday “that so far has produced 150 hours of tape.

Said host Brian Williams: “There’s stuff we’ve never seen of how the White House operates. We were pretty stunned at how much we were able to record and how natural events seemed to be.”

Democrats Wanted Clinton Out of Senate

A very interesting excerpt from Renegade by Richard Wolffe, which will be available tomorrow: 

“His decision to offer her the job of secretary of state came surprisingly early. Well before the end of the primaries, when his staff and friends still felt hostile to her, Obama decided that Clinton possessed the qualities to carry his diplomacy to the rest of the world. ‘We actually thought during the primary, when we were pretty sure we were going to win, that she could end up being a very effective secretary of state,’ he told me later. ‘I felt that she was disciplined, that she was precise, that she was smart as a whip, and that she would present a really strong image to the world… I had that mapped out.’

Read more…

Turnout is Key Factor in New Jersey GOP Primary

Chris Christie (R) and Steve Lonegan (R) campaigned throughout New Jersey ahead of their Republican gubernatorial primary tomorrow.

The New York Times said both men were “scrounging for people who will show up for the primary election on Tuesday and telling them their votes would matter that much more.”

Said Christie: “Our biggest challenge, as we’re 72 hours away from this election, is no longer Steve Lonegan. The biggest challenge we face is complacency.”

Christie has led in nearly every poll and is the favorite, but Lonegan is thought to be more popular among the conservative Republican base.

Rendell Backs Specter All the Way

Appearing on MSNBC, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) says he’s backing Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) in a possible U.S. Senate primary next year.

Said Rendell: “I’m a great admirer of Joe Sestak and worked hard to get him elected and re-elected. And I’m going to work hard to get him re-elected when he runs for Congress next year. Not for the Senate. Joe should not run for the Senate in the Democratic primary. He would get killed.”

When asked what would happen if Sestak went forward with a challenge, Rendell said, “We will lose a terrific Congressman. Joe Sestak runs against Arlen Specter, he is out of the Congress after just two short terms. We will lose a terrific Congressman and when he loses to Arlen, he fades into political obscurity.”

House Republicans Weigh Attack on Pelosi

“House Republicans, hoping to put Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) back on defense, are weighing whether to take another run at a resolution calling for an investigation into her allegations that the CIA lied to Congress about its use of enhanced interrogation techniques,” reports Roll Call.

GOP Seeks to Slow Sotomayor Confirmation

CQ Politics: “No fewer than 11 senators appeared on the Sunday talk shows to discuss the timetable for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor; though the word ‘filibuster’ came up, no one threw down the gauntlet.”

However, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, said on Meet the Press that a confirmation vote before the August recess is “unrealistic.

Romney Denies Move to New Hampshire

Mitt Romney rejected reports “that he is planning to make his permanent residence in New Hampshire to position himself for the state’s first-in-nation presidential primary,” Politico reports.

Said Romney: “No, my residence is still in Massachusetts. That is my home. That’s where I vote. And I’m going to continue to be a Massachusetts resident — I can’t tell you how many years that’s the case — but for the indefinite future.”

Quote of the Day

“I know President Bush and Vice President Cheney talk with regularity. I know the former president appreciates Dick’s forthright defense of the administration’s polices. And I know Vice President Cheney understands the special role that the former president occupies.”

— Karl Rove, quoted by Politico, suggesting former President Bush is supportive of former Vice President Cheney speaking out against President Obama.

McCain Gears Up for Senate Bid

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “is proceeding as if his 2010 Senate re-election is the fight of his political life,” according to the Arizona Republic.

McCain “has taken to heart the experience of his predecessor, the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, who also topped the Republican Party’s presidential ticket. After losing that contest in 1964, Goldwater returned to Capitol Hill and had become complacent by the time he ran for the last time. He nearly lost his final race.”

Like Goldwater in 1980, McCain is seeking a fifth Senate term. 

Five Votes Will Now Decide Minnesota Senate Race

“Almost seven months after a U.S. Senate election that was too close to call, five justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday on whether problems with absentee ballots justify reversing a lower-court ruling that declared Al Franken (D) a 312-vote winner over Norm Coleman (R), the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“A decision upholding the lower-court ruling could end the protracted struggle and allow Franken to join the Senate, giving Democrats an invincible majority. A ruling for Coleman wouldn’t return him to the Senate, but could keep his hopes alive and delay a final decision for months.”

The Hill: “Franken has spent the past month and a half behaving more as a senator-in-waiting… Coleman, meanwhile, has maintained a hands-on presence in preparing the appeal.”




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