POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/1

Pelosi’s Arm Twisting Results in Big Win

Politico runs a fascinating piece on the “whipping, cajoling, begging and browbeating” used by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants to sway undecided Democrats to vote for the climate change bill last week.

“In the days leading up the vote, the number of Democratic ‘yes’ votes was locked at 200, according to people familiar with the tally. Every time they’d pick up one vote, another would slip. Democratic leaders needed a cushion to help protect the most vulnerable among them, and they didn’t have it.”

“As the frustration grew, an aide joked in one meeting that White House staff should give fence-sitters the same colored leis so that the president and his Cabinet secretaries would know who to buttonhole. The desperation was such that others in the room paused for a split second to consider the joke before abandoning it as a logistical impossibility.”

One of the most under-covered political stories is how Pelosi wields her power. She’s a fascinating political character.


Quote of the Day

“A great frustration I had during the campaign was when the McCain staff wouldn’t carve out time for me to go for a run.”

— Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in an interview with Runner’s World, slipping in another dig about her campaign handlers.


The Man Who Would be Governor

The Washington Post looks at the man who would become South Carolina’s governor if Gov. Mark Sanford (R) steps down.

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R) “has become known as much for his personal behavior as for his political record. In 2003, he was charged with driving 60 mph and running two red lights in downtown Columbia. When pulled over, Bauer was so aggressive that a police officer pulled a gun on him.”

Bauer’s romantic life has also “stirred rumors, the latest bubbling up in recent days.” In an interview this week with The State, Bauer voluntarily brought up the subject of his sexual orientation and insisted that he was not gay.

Maloney Will Take On Gillibrand

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has decided to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in the 2010 Democratic primary, “refusing to bow to party leaders who want her to stay out,” the New York Daily News reports.

Said one senior adviser: “She’s definitely decided to run. She’s in it.”


Chuck Schumer’s Legacy

First Read: “In his two cycles as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democrats were able to pick up a whopping 14 Senate seats (six in ’06 and eight in ’08). And when you add Arlen Specter’s switch earlier this year, that means that Democrats went from having just 45 senators in 2006 to 60 today. That’s a remarkable two cycles.”

This is now the first time since the 95th Congress (1977-1979) that one party will have had 60 or more votes in the Senate.


Christian Values, Character, Honesty

A 2002 campaign ad for Mark Sanford shows why he’s in political trouble after admitting that he “crossed lines” with multiple women.

Read more…


Roberts Inches Supreme Court Further to the Right

Chief Justice John Roberts “emerged as a canny strategist at the Supreme Court this term, laying the groundwork for bold changes that could take the court to the right even as the recent elections moved the nation to the left,” the New York Timesreports.

“The court took mainly incremental steps in major cases concerning voting rights, employment discrimination, criminal procedure and campaign finance. But the chief justice’s fingerprints were on all of them, and he left clues that the court is only one decision away from fundamental change in many areas of the law.”

SCOTUSblog: “It isn’t until the election of 2016 at the earliest that there is a real prospect for a significant shift to the left in the Court’s ideology.


Calls for Sanford’s Resignation Escalate

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R) new admissions of more affairs may have been the tipping point for his governorship.

According to The State, 6 of 27 members of the conservative Senate Republican Caucus issued a letter calling on Sanford to resign. Two additional senators considered among Sanford’s staunchest allies, also said they want him to resign though they did not sign the letter. And two others indicated they were moving in that direction.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll also finds a majority of Americans feel Sanford should resign.

Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

With new polls showing the public supporting his health care plans, President Obama leads another town-hall meeting on health in Virginia today. 

Greg Sargent reports Obama will also throw his campaign apparatus behind the push for health care reform and “is now raising cash to run nationwide Harry and Louise style ads featuring the health care horror stories of real people.”

Outside groups are also joining in: Roll Call reports a major union announced plans to target Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) with a cable television spot in Iowa. Grassley is up for re-election next year.

However, Grassley’s office “appeared unfazed by the three-day ad buy designed to discourage the Finance panel ranking member from supporting a proposal to tax the value of health insurance benefits like regular income.”

Meanwhile, CQ Politics notes that Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, announced “that it would support a mandate on businesses to help expand health care coverage, an about-face from other business interests that have strongly opposed any such requirement.”

Most Americans Want Public Health Option

A new Quinnipiac poll finds 69% of Americans support creation of a government-run health plan to compete with private insurance companies. In fact, 52% of those surveyed said such a plan would keep the private insurance companies honest. 

However, even though most of those polled backed creation of a government plan, 53% said they would prefer to buy private health insurance, compared with 28% who would join a government health plan.

Interestingly, a new CNN/Opinion Research survey finds a bare majority supports President Obama’s health care plan, 51% to 45%.

Palin Story Opens Old Wounds

“A hard-hitting piece on Sarah Palin in the new Vanity Fair has touched off a blistering exchange of insults among high-profile Republicans over last year’s GOP ticket — tearing open fresh wounds about leaks surrounding Palin and revealing for the first time some of the internal wars that paralyzed the campaign in its final days,” reports Politico.

“Rival factions close to the McCain campaign have been feuding since last fall over Palin, usually waging the battle in the shadows with anonymous quotes. Now, however, some of the most well-known names in Republican politics are going on-the-record with personal attacks and blame-casting.”

First Read: “We knew that Todd Purdum’s critical profile of Sarah Palin would get lots of attention. What we didn’t know was that it would immediately start a public war between Bill Kristol/Randy Scheunemann and Steve Schmidt.”

Sanford Calls Mistress His “Soul Mate”

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) “declared his Argentine mistress his soul mate Tuesday but said he is committed to reconciling with his wife in hopes of saving his family and what is left of his political career.”

According to the the AP, Sanford also “admitted meeting his lover more times than he had previously claimed” and said “that he ‘crossed lines’ with a handful of other women during 20 years of marriage.”

Said Sanford: “This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story. A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.”


Democrats Ready for Franken

In anticipation of today’s court ruling in Al Franken’s favor, Senate Democrats reserved spots for him on four committees, including those taking up the health care overhaul and the Supreme Court nomination, CQ Politics reports.

Franken could be sworn in as early as Monday, the next day the Senate is in session, but no decision has been made.

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