POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/18

Obama Approval Remains High

A new Pew Research survey finds a solid majority of Americans (61%) continue to approve of President Obama’s job performance, “although they express mixed views of several of his policies.”

“An important positive sign for Obama is the public’s continued optimism that his policies will improve the economy — fully 65% express this view. A smaller majority (55%) is optimistic Obama will reduce the budget deficit over the long-term. Nonetheless, Obama’s job approval on the economy has declined from 60% in April to 52% currently.”

“The slippage in the president’s economic ratings appears unrelated to the public’s assessments of his administration’s impact on current economic conditions… Instead, it may have more to do with his relatively poor ratings for handling the problems of troubled automakers General Motors and Chrysler.”




Flashback of the Day

“Christian politicians and evangelical leaders commonly follow an unspoken rule not to meet behind closed doors with women staff members or travel alone with them… John Ensign, who is running for senate in Nevada will not be alone in a car with a woman.”

Washington Post, September 30, 1999




Three Senate Races Firm Up for Democrats

The Cook Political Report changed its ratings on three U.S. Senate races — in North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin — moving them all from Likely Democrat to Solid Democrat.

For comparison,
CQ Politics rates North Dakota and Washington as Safe Democrat, while Wisconsin is Leans Democrat.



Dead Heat in Virginia

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Virginia finds Bob McDonnell (R) edging Creigh Deeds (D) in the gubernatorial race, 45% to 44%.

With a survey margin of error of +/- 4 points, the race is essentially tied.

McDonnell has a 55% to 36% favorablity rating while Deeds is at 47% to 35%.




Revealing Video Emerges in Ohio Senate Race

A Political Wire reader sends over an interesting video of Ohio U.S. Senate candidate Lee Fisher (D), which shows a shirtless lieutenant governor sitting in his office writing a campaign memo.

Says Fisher: “I just don’t like being filmed at 12 in the morning when I’m exhausted and trying to do something.”

Josh Kraushaar: “The footage comes from the 2008 documentary Swing State – a documentary that Fisher’s son directed about Gov. Ted Strickland’s 2006 campaign for governor of Ohio. Fisher, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, ran as his running mate in the race.”

Read more…




Specter Holds Wide Lead Over Sestak

A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) leads Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) by 19 points, 51% to 32%, in an early look at the 2010 Senate Democratic primary in Pennsylvania.

Key finding: 35% of likely Democratic primary voters have a very favorable opinion of Specter while only 18% say the same for Sestak.




Giannoulias Says “Insiders” Will Not Push Him Out

Responding to reports that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) would run for U.S. Senate if the primary field were cleared, Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) issued a statement this morning saying he would not be bullied out of the race.

Read more…




Quote of the Day

“I’ve got plenty of sins that I’m not going to share with anyone else.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by
Politico, when asked to comment on Sen. John Ensign’s (R-NV) admission of an affair with a staffer.




Franken-Coleman Ruling Could Come Today

Politics in Minnesota “has now heard from two sources on different sides of the Minnesota U.S. Senate race recount scene” that the final Minnesota Supreme Court ruling is expected to arrive today between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Update: Greg Sargent reports a court spokesman says “no notification has gone out” on a ruling coming.




Ensign Doubled Salary of Mistress

“The one-time mistress and campaign treasurer of Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) saw her salary double during the time of the affair,” the Las Vegas Sun reports.

In addition, the woman’s 19-year-old son was paid $5,400 by a political operation controlled by Ensign.




Madigan Met With Obama on Senate Run

Lynn Sweet reports that Illinois Attorney General List Madigan (D) “is getting more serious” about making a U.S. Senate bid “but has a few conditions. If Madigan is to get in the Senate race, she wants an endorsement from Obama when she announces and she wants the Democratic primary field to be cleared of rivals.”

One sign Obama might be open to her conditions: The
AP reports Madigan met with the president last week at the White House.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) “is waiting to see what Madigan does before deciding to run for the Senate, governor or stay put. If Madigan runs for Senate, Kirk, if he seeks higher office, would consider governor. If Madigan goes for governor, the Senate race would look better.”




Bush Ends His Silence

Apparently six months of staying quiet was long enough for former President Bush. The Washington Times notes that Bush fired a few shots at the Obama administration yesterday during a Pennsylvania appearance.

“Repeatedly in his hourlong speech and question-and-answer session, Mr. Bush said he would not directly criticize the new president… Several times, however, he took direct aim at Obama policies as he defended his own during eight years in office.”




Obama’s Ratings Remain High

Despite the theme that President Obama’s honeymoon may be over, Political Wirehas learned that a new Pew Research poll will be out shortly that shows President Obama’s approval ratings remain high despite some policy concerns. 

In addition, as global threats rise, Obama gets generally good marks on foreign policy.

Update: The poll results are now posted.




Lieberman Bounces Back

“Seven months after nearly becoming politically irrelevant, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is working closely with a president he actively campaigned against and is playing a leading role in moving major pieces of legislation through the upper chamber,” The Hill reports.

In the wake of Sen. John McCain’s loss in the presidential election, “many political analysts said Lieberman was done. Defying the pundits yet again, Lieberman survived a major effort to take away his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship. And his political stock has spiked.”




Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

Democrats have long said that overhauling health care will be difficult. And this week, CQ Politics notes that as Congress begins trying to move legislation, they have stumbled over how to provide broader coverage without sending taxpayers into sticker shock.

The
Washington Post notes the “debate over a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health-care system got off to a rocky start in the Senate yesterday as lawmakers delayed action on one key bill and engaged in partisan sniping over another.”

Nonetheless, Senate leaders said they “are still on track to put a bill on the floor by midsummer.”

Meanwhile, the
AP reports four former Senate leaders released a health care plan “that combines ideas from both political parties to guarantee coverage for all.” 

Democrats Tom Daschle and George Mitchell joined Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker yesterday “to release a $1.2 trillion proposal that would be fully paid for with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.”

New polling: When it comes to reforming the health care system,
Gallup finds that Americans are more confident in Barack Obama (58%) and Congressional Democrats (42%) than Congressional Republicans (34%).




Honeymoon Over?

On NBC News last night, Chuck Todd said new polling suggests “the honeymoon is coming to an end for President Obama, but it’s not personal, it’s professional, as now the public appears to be judging the President on some of his actions. And right now, there’s a growing concern about the budget deficit, and some of this government interaction into the economy on things like GM.”

CQ Politics notes that the two new polls released yesterday — by NYT/CBS News and WSJ/NBC News — make clear that there are rising concerns about Obama’s policies.

The biggest public concern is over the size of the deficit being run up by Obama’s economic recovery proposals and how much more it will rise if his plan to overhaul health care and increase coverage for uninsured Americans is enacted. But there is also discomfort about his intervention in the auto industry and taking a big government stake in ownership of General Motors. And voters also disagree with Obama on closing Guantánamo.

That said, Obama’s job approval is still quite high: 63% and 56% in each of the polls. 

Read more…




New York Lawmaker Claims He Gets Two Votes

New York state Sen. Pedro Espada told the New York Post that he and his Republican allies “are forging an explosive new plan to give him an unprecedented two votes to break the newly emerged deadlock in the state Senate.”

Said Espada: “I can have two votes. We’re going to maintain that, as the president pro tempore of the Senate, I am also the acting lieutenant governor, and the lieutenant governor can vote when there’s a tie.”

“Legal experts say there are no known examples where a member of the 62-seat Senate was allowed to cast two separate votes on the same action.”




Is Obama Doing Too Much?

NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: While 37% of Americans believe President Obama is taking on too many issues at one time, 60% believe the president is focused and taking on so many issues because the country has so many problems.




House Republicans Unveil Thin Health Care Plan

Roll Call: “House Republicans presented a four-page outline of their health care reform plan Wednesday but said they didn’t know yet how much it would cost, how they would pay for it and how many of the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance would be covered by it.”

Haven’t we seen this
before?

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

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