POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/8

Ensign’s Apology to Mistress

The Las Vegas Sun posts the handwritten letter of apology Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) sent to his mistress in February of last year.

Wrote Ensign: “I was completely self-centered and only thinking of myself. I used you for my own pleasure… God never intended for me to do this. I walked away from Him and my relationship with Him has suffered terribly. I know He loves me and He loves you. He wants to restore Doug and you.”

The newspaper also reports that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) urged Ensign to end the affair and help his mistress and her husband “pay off their home and move to Colorado.”



Perry Posts Huge Fundraising Haul

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) reported that “he raised a blistering $4.2 million in the 9-day period he was allowed to fundraise after the legislative session and veto period,” the Dallas Morning News reports. 

“The reports aren’t due out until next Wednesday, but the Perry camp jumped in, saying they now have $9.3 million on hand to take on Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.”



Candidate Used Photo of Wrong Mountains

Colorado gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis (R) “accidentally used a picture from the Canadian Rockies on his web site,” the Denver Post reports. 

“It’s no small gaffe in a state proud of its mountains.”



Bonus Quote of the Day

“It’s almost like being back in law school in 1956, when there were 9 of us in a class of over 500, so that meant most sections had just 2 women, and you felt that every eye was on you. Every time you went to answer a question, you were answering for your entire sex.”

— Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in an interview with the New York Times Magazine, on what it’s like to be the only female justice on the court.



Paterson Will Appoint Lt. Governor to Break Deadlock

WCBS-TV reports that New York Gov. David Paterson (D) is planning to appoint a lieutenant governor later today.

Sources says that the new lieutenant governor “is expected to be someone that will play the role of a caretaker in the position, and would not run in next year’s gubernatorial election.”

However, the New York Times notes there “is no provision in the New York State Constitution that provides for filling the office in the event of a vacancy, though some in Albany have pushed a legal theory that state law would allow the governor to name someone to the post.”

“The lack of a lieutenant governor — who casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate — has become a particularly pressing issue as senators remains unable to reach an agreement that would allow them to begin passing legislation again.”

Update: The New York Daily News says Paterson picked former MTA boss Richard Ravitch though it will likely be challenged in court.



Blagojevich Aide Pleads Guilty

John Harris, the last chief of staff to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), “pleaded guilty today to a single count of wire fraud in federal court. He agreed to cooperate in the federal probe against his former boss in return for a recommended prison term of just under 3 years,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Harris was accused of aiding some of the former governor’s efforts to leverage the powers of his office in exchange for favors and campaign contributions. Among the accusations against Blagojevich is that he attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.”

Read more…



Murray Seems Safe for Re-Election

A new Elway Poll finds Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with the highest performance ratings of her career with 53% of voters rating her job performance as excellent or good.

Nonetheless, only 44% of voters surveyed said they support her re-election next year, while 33% said she should be replaced.



Kirk Says He’s Running for Senate

With Lisa Madigan (D) now out of the Illinois Senate race, Politico reports that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is calling leading donors and GOP operatives to tell them he plans to run.

“His decision to pursue a Senate campaign lands Republicans one of their leading recruits, and ensures that Illinois will be a major Senate battleground in 2010. Kirk has been one of the most politically-resilient members of the House, winning re-election to his Democratic-leaning suburban Chicago seat during two difficult election cycles for the GOP.”



Barry Caught on Tape (Again)

The Washington City Paper posts voice mail recordings between former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and the woman he’s accused of stalking.



Obama Approval Dips in Ohio, Virginia

A day after Quinnipiac found President Obama’s approval rating in Ohio at 49%,Public Policy Polling finds it at 48% in Virginia.

Nate Silver: “Obama’s approval ratings have declined nationwide by perhaps 3-5 points since early May. I have little doubt that this has mostly to do with the flagging economy. Each day, a few more voters are going to blame Obama for the economic troubles that we’re in… if the economy isn’t showing any signs of life — and most of the economic news for the past 45 days or so has been pretty grim — he’ll fail to keep pace with those modest, but ever-increasing, expectations, and his approval ratings will decline.”

Meanwhile, it’s probably not a coincidence that Vice President Biden is heading to Ohio tomorrow for an event highlighting the administration’s economic recovery efforts.


House Chairman Says CIA Lied to Congress

CQ Politics: “House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes has suggested Republicans would be well advised to avoid politicizing the intelligence authorizaton bill later this week in light of evidence that, he says, shows that the CIA ‘affirmatively lied to’ the panel.”



Bush Claims Obama Pursuing “Secret Plan”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) tells Esquire that President Obama didn’t tell voters what he was going to do during the presidential campaign.

Said Bush: “Barack Obama would not have gotten elected if he’d let us in on his secret plan prior to the election. He would not have gotten elected if he’d said, ‘My idea is to create a $1.8 trillion deficit for the next fiscal year. My idea is to spend $750 billion over the next ten years on a government-sponsored, government-subsidized health-care policy. My idea is to create a massive cap-and-trade system [based on the idea] that CO2 is [a] pollutant and we need to tax it in a massive way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.’ Those ideas, which are now embedded in his budget, and the ideas in the stimulus package, weren’t central in his campaign.”


Madigan Declines Bid for Senate, Governor

Here’s a shocker: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) will run for re-election to her current post in 2010, the Washington Post reports, “ending months of speculation about whether she might make the leap to a Senate or gubernatorial bid.”

Madigan is expected to make her decision public later today.

“Madigan would have been a favorite had she decided to run for either the Senate or for governor, a fact that makes her decision to run for neither office all the more puzzling.”


Bloomberg Approval Stays Strong

A new Marist poll finds New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s approval rating “on solid ground” with 58% of registered voters saying he’s doing either an excellent or good job in office.

Bloomberg is up for re-election in November.



Reading Between the Lines of Palin’s Book

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s memoir is due out in early 2010 and a former editor at Penguin Books tells Politico it will almost certainly give hints as to whether she’ll make a run for the White House. 

Said Bernadette Malone: “If she has an eye on 2012, she probably will write a carefully worded, bland policy book that won’t make headlines. If she’s not running for president in 2012, she can write a much more candid book that’s likely to get attention from both the press and the public. She can explain the real reason she resigned the governorship, and she can talk about how badly she was treated by specific people in the media and the John McCain campaign.”

Andrew Sullivan: “The real sell of the book will be the truth about the resignation, if she can keep it hushed up that long.”



Too Ugly to Run for President?

Though Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) new book has some talking about him making a possible presidential run in 2012, the senator told Washington Whispers he’s probably not attractive enough to run. 

Said DeMint: “Everybody looks at that picture and then they see me, and they are a little bit disappointed. My hope is to find someone with better looks, more charisma, and a lot more intelligence that I can get behind.”



Professional Eulogist?

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) “surprised many on Capitol Hill” when she appeared at the memorial service for pop icon Michael Jackson, Roll Call reports.

Apparently, the congresswoman “has a history of making cameo appearances at funerals” and even has staffers “cull the obituaries” to find funerals at which she then requested to speak.

Even though she was invited by the Jackson family to speak yesterday, she may have overstayed her welcome. The Washington Examiner reports “a well-placed source” at the service said that the teleprompter flashed to Lee, “Please end your comments,” and said everyone was “groaning” over how long it went.

Read more…


Inhofe Meets Franken on Senate Floor

Just a week after calling him “the clown from Minnesota,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) shared a hug with Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Tulsa World reports.

Inhofe said he and Franken “physically embraced” in front of a number of people not long before the Minnesota Democrat took the oath of office yesterday on the Senate floor.

Said Inhofe: “It was a chance meeting but we immediately recognized each other because I have said a few things about him. But it was really funny when we met. For some reason, we both were laughing as if this scene is going to have a happy ending.”



Herseth Sandlin to Run for Re-Election

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) “ended months of political speculation” by announcing that she would run for re-election, “rather than take a chance on a campaign for governor or the U.S. Senate,” the Rapid City Journal reports.

“With the announcement, the popular South Dakota Democrat also revved up a campaign machine in her own party that had been idling as she mulled her campaign options.”


Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel reassured House Democrats last night that President Obama “strongly backs a government-run health insurance plan, seeking to quell a firestorm among liberals upset at Emanuel’s comments in theWall Street Journal that suggested such a plan could be delayed,” according to Roll Call.

This news comes as Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is reportedly pushing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to stop worrying about getting bipartisan support for health care reform.

Meanwhile, an important piece in the New York Times notes that as the White House loudly trumpets deals with industry leaders to help pay for reform, “what the industry groups will be getting in return is rarely discussed.”

“The short-term political benefits are clear. Senior White House officials say the deals are building momentum that will help propel the health care legislation past potential opponents in the private sector and on Capitol Hill. Rather than running advertisements against the White House, the most influential players in the industry are inside the room negotiating with administration officials and leading lawmakers.”

“But some lawmakers said the deals, while seemingly helpful, could raise false expectations by obscuring how much the industry is demanding for its concessions.”



Quote of the Day

“The Republican Party needs to be more optimistic, positive and hopeful. Nobody wants to follow cranks.”

— Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), quoted at the Aspen Ideas Festival.



Palin Still Has Deep Base of Support

A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) decision to resign the governorship did not affect most Americans’ opinions of her. 

A core of 19% of voters who say they are “very likely” to vote for her should she run for president, and an additional 24% who are somewhat likely to do so, giving her a decent reservoir of potential support to build upon. However, nearly as many voters (41%) currently say they would be not be at all likely to vote for her.

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