POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/6

Pearce Switches Races

Former Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) is running for his old House seat — mainly because of Rep. Harry Teague’s (D-NM) vote on the energy bill, CQ Politics reports. 

Pearce had been preparing to run for governor.

The House race is not a rematch, however. Pearce represented the district for three terms, then declined a re-election bid in 2008 to pursue an open Senate seat that he lost badly to Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM).



Bonus Quote of the Day

“If Sarah Palin has any desire to do speeches, to raise money, to earn money… if she has any desire for a future in politics…. she has to do it in the lower 48.” 

— Rush Limbaugh, analyzing the reasons behind Gov. Sarah Palin’s sudden resignation.

Read more…



Gingrich Outlines Comeback Strategy

“Comeback kids are nothing new in American political history — think back no further than Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton — but there may be no more compelling rehabilitation story today than that of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has once again emerged as a rallying force for dispirited Republicans and a font of ideas second to none in his party,” the Washington Times reports.

The Gingrich comeback strategy “includes building a center-right majority in Congress and the state legislatures — regardless of party identification — even if that means the heretical idea of Republicans actively promoting and backing conservative Democratic candidates in selected races where a GOP candidate would have little chance of winning.”

Said the former House Speaker: “I would urge conservatives in California to find a Democrat to run in every Assembly and Senate seat in California that can’t be contested by Republicans, and then to run a Republican in every seat they could possibly win, and then have an overt goal of creating a bipartisan conservative coalition. I’d do the same thing nationally.”


Web Videos Become More Powerful

YouTube recently launched an interesting new overlay ad feature which should become very popular for political campaigns and advocacy groups. 

The ads essentially allow video viewers to quickly click over to a website. Since videos often make emotional appeals, the technology is an effective way to drive people to take actions like donating money to a campaign, signing a petition or submitting their email address.

Sen. Patrick Leahy is one of the first to use the new technology in his efforts to to establish a Bush-Cheney truth commission.


Baldwin Looking for Chance to Run

Actor Alec Baldwin spoke to Playboy about possibly running for political office:

Playboy: Will you run for office?

Baldwin: I’ll put it this way. The desire is there; that’s one component. The other component is opportunity. A law firm in a liberal Democratic bastion in Ohio state politics sent me a binder with a cover letter that read, “Mr. Baldwin, here’s who we represent, the kinds of cases we handle, our credentials in Ohio state politics. We want you to move to Ohio and run for governor. We will launch your career.”

Playboy: Could you live in Ohio?

Baldwin: I have sometimes thought I could move to New Jersey or Connecticut and run. I’d love to run against Joe Lieberman. I have no use for him. But it’s all fantasy. I’m a carry-me-out-in-a-box New Yorker. Here, anything can happen. Who thought Eliot Spitzer would go down the way he did? Senator Hillary Clinton left to serve as secretary of state. Two of the biggest forces gone. Maybe Andrew Cuomo will run for one of their old seats. How much longer will Chuck Schumer stay as senator? After 2013 Bloomberg will be gone. What happens then?

Do I run for Congress on Long Island? What’s Tim Bishop going to do? He represents my district. People get sick, die. They’re offered lucrative deals and want to cash in and make money for their retirement. People misstep. Unfortunately, an opportunity for me may mean bad things for someone else. I don’t wish that.



Clinton Taking Sides in New York Senate Race?

Even though President Obama “has played an active role in clearing the primary field” for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Fox News reports former President Bill Clinton “is headlining a fundraiser” for a potential challenger, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), “in what could be seen as a snub to the Obama White House.”

However, a Clinton spokesman “disputed any suggestions that Clinton is taking sides in the race, saying Clinton’s attendance at past or future fundraisers should not be perceived as an endorsement.”

Said the spokesman: “We agreed to this event some time ago as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to Congresswoman Maloney for her efforts on his wife’s behalf last year.”



$1.4 Million a Day on Health Care Lobbying

“The nation’s largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues,” the Washington Post reports.

“The tactic is so widespread that three of every four major health-care firms have at least one former insider on their lobbying payrolls… The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the current fight.”



South Carolina Republicans to Discuss Sanford

The South Carolina Republican Party will hold a conference call tonight to discuss the fallout from revelations of Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R) secret trip to see his mistress in Argentina, reports The State.

“Options on the table range from doing nothing to formally admonishing the governor for his recent behavior to calling for his resignation.”



Palin Offers Pour In

Mike Allen: “Our sources say lucrative offers have poured in from left, right and center. So far, the skeptical coverage from the MSM is HELPING her with her base. Danger: She has to be sure she doesn’t become a self-caricature. In addition to giving paid speeches and raising money for candidates, she plans to raise money and awareness for issues that include treatment of the troops, energy independence and opposition to abortion.”

First Read: “Who has more to fear from Sarah Palin? Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty? Or Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity?”



Crist Starts with Major Haul

According to the Orlando-Sentinel, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) will announce later this month that he’s raised nearly $3 million for his U.S. Senate bid in just six weeks.



Quote of the Day

“I have staff in place. I can hit the ground, if not running, trotting.”

— Senator-elect Al Franken (D-MN), quoted by Roll Call, on being sworn in on Tuesday.

Mike Allen: “He’ll meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today, and the two will go before cameras. He’ll be sworn in by Vice President Biden tomorrow, walked down by Walter Mondale. Franken plans to pursue the Bill Bradley/Hillary Clinton strategy of being a workhorse, not a show horse.”



The Decay and Decline of New York

Fred Dicker: “Having witnessed the anarchy, chaos and lack of leadership that has engulfed the state Capitol during the past month, I have a painful confession to make. After three decades as a journalist covering state government, if I had to do it all over again, I’d find another job.”

“I’ve covered Govs. Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson and for New York to wind up like this after 35 years of modern leadership, it’s clear to me that my real job has been to chronicle the devolution — the decay and decline — of New York state.”



Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

Roll Call reports the Senate’s time line for passing a health care reform bill may slip. 

“Senate Democratic leaders’ hopes of approving health care reform before adjourning for the August recess appear all but dead, with the prospect of meeting President Barack Obama’s demand for a bill on his desk by Oct. 15 looking increasingly difficult.”

However, on Face the Nation, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promised that there will be a public health care insurance option in any legislation that emerges from the Senate.

Said Schumer: “Make no mistake about it, there will be a public option in the final bill — some form of it. We want it to be a fair level playing field, but you need something to keep the big boys honest. And the only thing that really is out there is a public option. We don’t trust the private insurance companies left to their own devices, and neither do the American people.”

The Hill notes the “major sticking point” between Democrats and Republicans on the Finance Committee has been the public option. However, as Schumer notes, the public option is supported by the House of Representative, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and President Obama.


Palin Not Under Investigation

“An FBI spokesman took the unusual step today of declaring that Gov. Sarah Palin is not under investigation, an announcement prompted by rumors to the contrary on many web sites,” the Anchorage Daily News reports.

The statement “follows a Saturday letter from Gov. Sarah Palin’s personal attorney denouncing rumors that Palin resigned because she is under criminal investigation, and threatening legal action for publishing ‘defamatory’ material about the governor.”



Democrats Highly Unified

A new CQ study of 255 roll call votes at the midpoint of 2009 that pitted most House Democrats against Republicans shows that Democrats overall are highly unified. But party unity scores below the Democratic norm are common among junior members who face difficult challenges stemming from their districts’ usual partisan orientation.

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