POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/16

Tight Race for Brownback’s Seat

Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) are statistically tied in the race to get the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) who is running for governor, according to a new SurveyUSA poll.

Moran edges Tiahrt, 40% to 38% with 22% still undecided.

Deeds Edges McDonnell in New Poll

An Anzalone Liszt Research (D) poll in Virginia finds Creigh Deeds (D) leading Bob McDonnell, 42% to 38%. The poll was conducted for the Democratic Governor’s Association.

Deeds has a 48% to 14% favorability rating while McDonnell has a 43% to 19% rating.

Conservatives are Largest Ideological Group

Gallup: “Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. The 21% calling themselves liberal is in line with findings throughout this decade, but is up from the 1990s.”

By His Own Rules

In the mail: By His Own Rules: The Ambitions, Successes and Ultimate Failures of Donald Rumsfeld by Bradley Graham.

From the book jacket: “Once considered among the best and brightest of his generation, Donald Rumsfeld was exceptionally prepared to assume the Pentagon’s top job in 2001. Yet six years later, he left office as the most controversial Defense Secretary since Robert McNamara, widely criticized for his management of the Iraq war and for his difficult relationships with Congress, administration colleagues, and military officers. Was he really the arrogant, errant, over-controlling Pentagon leader frequently portrayed–or as his supporters contend, a brilliant, hard-charging visionary caught in a whirl of polarized Washington politics, dysfunctional federal bureaucracy, and bad luck?”

Sestak Staffs Up for Primary Challenge

“In yet another sign that Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) is “dead serious” about taking on Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) in the 2010 Pennsylvania Democratic primary, Greg Sargent reports that Sestak “has started building a campaign staff for a Senate race.”

“Sestak has interviewed a number of people who would work for his statewide communications operation and online outreach effort, and has talked to candidates for his field operation.”

Apparently divine intervention never happened.

Obama Offered Post to King

Still not convinced President Obama wants to sabotage the Republican party by luring all moderates to his side?

The New York Daily News reports the White House “dangled the ambassadorship to Ireland” in front of Rep. Pete King (R-NY).

However, King “chose to remain in Congress despite the Democrats’ desire to wipe out all the Republican members of Congress in the Northeast.”

Iran Agrees to Partial Recount

“A day after the largest protests since the revolution of 1979, Iran’s clerical panel said it was ready to recount some of the vote in Friday’s divisive elections but ruled out an annulment of the vote,” the New York Times reports.

“As the political tumult grew, the Iranian government canceled all foreign press credentials and told Iranian journalists they could report only from their offices, but news continued to flow out of Tehran.”

Andrew Sullivan: “Seriously, whatever our differences on how to tackle foreign policy, whether we’re conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, neocon or post-neocon or noncon, witnessing this struggle for core democratic freedoms puts it all in perspective. There are no sides in this respect. Because this is America. And these people are risking their lives for freedom.”

Promotion or Demotion?

First Read: “Dennis Ross is coming to the West Wing, according to multiple reports. While he’s losing his Iran portfolio with the State Department (one that was never completely defined), Ross will have more access to the president than he would have had as a special envoy. Although some are trying to paint this as some sort of negative fallout regarding Ross (see the Israeli press), it’s clear that anyone who gets West Wing clearance is getting a promotion — not a demotion. This Ross move actually furthers the narrative that this administration is putting together the most powerful West Wing in modern presidential history. The heft of personalities with West Wing access only grows, leading some to even wonder if this White House is diminishing the influence of actual cabinet secretaries.”

White House Seeks to Keep Visitors Private

The Obama administration “is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn’t have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions,” MSNBC.com reports.

Despite President Obama’s “pledge to introduce a new era of transparency to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge that the records are public, the Secret Service has denied msnbc.com’s request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the present.”

Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

President Obama’s health care speech wasn’t just directed at the more than 2,000 AMA members assembled in a Chicago hotel, CQ Politics reports.

Obama was simultaneously speaking to the large number of Americans that polling indicates are still ambivalent about his plans to extend health care coverage.

Democratic polling suggests that as many as three-quarters of adults are generally satisfied with their current insurance plans. And a new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that Americans are evenly split over the idea of creating a government-run insurance plan to compete with private health plans, as Obama has proposed.

New York Times: “Opening a week in which health care will dominate attention in Congress, the president’s speech on Monday was the latest example of an oft-used ploy to press his case: appearing before skeptical audiences, confident of his powers of persuasion but willing as well to say what his listeners do not want to hear.”

And, as many predicted, Roll Call reports “the politics of fear began to dominate the health care reform debate Monday — much as it did in 1993 and 1994 during the fight over President Bill Clinton’s plan — as both sides raged about the dire consequence of each other’s approach.”

Read more…

Bloomberg Cruising to Re-Election

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg beats William Thompson (D) in the New York City mayoral race, 54% to 32%, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

Bloomberg sweeps the political spectrum, leading Thompson 49% to 40% among Democrats, 71% to 12% among Republicans and 59% to 26% among independent voters.

Brownback Gets Clear Field

Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh (R) has terminated his bid in the state’s 2010 contest for governor, giving retiring Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) a clear path to the GOP nomination, CQ Politics reports.

“The development also solidifies Brownback’s status as the front-runner in the race for the seat — currently held by interim Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson — as he will be spared a primary contest with a well-known and longtime statewide officeholder. Thornburgh has been secretary of state since he was first elected in 1994.”

Letterman Apologizes to Palin Again

David Letterman “is making a full-throated apology for his controversial joke about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s daughter,” reports TV Week.

“Letterman offered a semi-apology last week, but that was greeted with even more criticism from Palin partisans. With word of an anti-Letterman protest scheduled for tomorrow, Letterman decided to try to clear the air once more and put the matter behind him.”

The apology was taped earlier today and will air tonight.

Read more…

Path Cleared for Blunt in Missouri Senate Race

Rep. Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) “path to the Republican nomination in Missouri’s Senate race got clearer last week, and it could become crystal-clear soon,” The Hill reports.

Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman (R) “appears increasingly less likely to run against Blunt, and she acknowledged Monday that she is looking at a possible campaign for Blunt’s open House seat as an alternative.”

Another potential Blunt rival dropped out of the race last week.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics, Virginia

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