POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/14

Bonus Quote of the Day

“They should put a statue of me up on their mantel.”

— Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, in an interview on WTAE-TV, about the way he’s saving state worker jobs.



Watching Huckabee’s Weight

Mike Huckabee “first gained national attention while he was governor of Arkansas and was admittedly overweight. While in office he began a running and diet regimen that enabled him to lose his extra weight,” the Edmund Sun reports.

He even wrote a book about living a healthy lifestyle. However, “keeping the weight off has been a struggle recently.”

Said Huckabee: “It’s been hard the last several months because of the crazy schedule and I have had some issues with (feet). It’s a constant struggle to find decent things to eat on the road and not get terribly messed up with the same old habits.”

GOP 12: “If Huck’s planning a run, will he start to run again?”



Obama TV

President Obama’s health care push continues tomorrow as the White House has arranged interviews with all of the television networks, reports Politico.

Also interesting: David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager last year, was spotted getting on a plane with the president earlier today.


When You Can’t Find Your Governor

Based on nearly 600 pages of emails and phone call exchanges, The State takes an interesting behind-the-scenes look at South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R) staff and their attempts to locate the missing governor when he took a secret trip to Argentina to visit his lover last month.

TPM notes the emails “also show something even funnier: an effort by the right-wing media to curry favor with Sanford’s office by dismissing the story as a storm in a teacup created by the liberal media.”

Ben Smith: “It’s a reminder, among other things, that all email can wind up in print, and particularly email sent to public officials.”


Sotomayor Surprises Sessions

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), “seeking to discredit Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy, cited her 2001 ‘wise Latina’ speech, and contrasted the view that ethnicity and sex influence judging with that of Judge Miriam Cedarbaum, who ‘believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices,'” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Sessions: “So I would just say to you, I believe in Judge Cedarbaum’s formulation.”

Responded Sotomayor: “My friend Judge Cedarbaum is here. We are good friends, and I believe that we both approach judging in the same way, which is looking at the facts of each individual case and applying the law to those facts.”

Needless to say, Sessions looked surprised.



McDonnell Has Bigger War Chest

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell (R) trailed Creigh Deeds (D) in fund raising for last month, “but having sailed to the nomination without a fight, McDonnell has been able to squirrel away more money and heads into the general flush with cash,” reports The Hotline.

The McDonnell campaign has almost $5 million on hand while Deeds reported having $2.7 million in the bank.



Tennessee Governor’s Race Up for Grabs

With thirteen months before the primaries, a new Southern Political Report poll shows Tennessee’s gubernatorial race very much undecided.

For Democrats: McWherter 23%, Herron 13%, Kyle 6%, Cammack 5%, McMilan 3%, Other 16%, Undecided 34% 

For Republicans: Wamp 22%, Haslam 15%, Ramsey 7%, Gibbons 4%, Other 13%, Undecided 39%



Castle Still Has Minimal Fundraising

If Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) “is gearing up for a Senate race, he’s not showing it in his latest fundraising figures,” notes Josh Kraushaar.

“The nine-term veteran only raised $125,000 in the second quarter – with just $14,600 from individual contributors, according to his new FEC report. That’s only a small improvement on the $74,000 he raised in the first quarter. Castle ended June with $861,000 in his campaign account.”



Ensign Will Not Resign

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) said “that not only does he have no intention of resigning in light of his affair and his parents’ payout to the woman’s family, he plans to seek reelection when his term is up in 2012,” the Las Vegas Sun reports.

Said Ensign: “I fully plan on running for reelection. I’m going to work to earn their respect back.”



Gerlach Will Run for Pennsylvania Governor

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) “has alerted top officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee that he’ll run for governor next year in lieu of a reelection effort in Congress,” reports the Allentown Morning Call.

The decision sets up a GOP primary battle between the four-term suburban Philadelphia lawmaker and Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett (R).

CQ Politics has a good backgrounder on the race which is rated a Toss Up.



Quote of the Day

“The clearance and vetting process is a nightmare, and it takes far longer than any of us would want to see. It is frustrating beyond words. I mean, it is ridiculous. Some very good people just didn’t want to be vetted.” 

— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, quoted by the Washington Times.



Corzine to Pick Reality Show Winner as Running Mate

Randal Pinkett, a winner of The Apprentice reality show, “has emerged as the front-runner” to become New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s (D) running mate in November, the Asbury Park Press reports.

“An announcement that Corzine has selected Pinkett to run for lieutenant governor on the party ticket was expected to coincide with the visit of President Barack Obama to New Jersey Thursday.”

Pinkett’s website describes him as an “entrepreneur, speaker, author, scholar and community servant.”



Most Americans Want Health Care Reform Passed

Most Americans say it’s important to overhaul health care this year, a USA Today/Gallup Poll finds. 

By 56% to 33%, those surveyed endorse the idea of enacting major health care changes this year. Just one in four say it’s not important to them.



Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

After some tough talk on health care in the Rose Garden yesterday, President Obama did some behind-the-scenes LBJ-style lobbying, the Washington Post reports, as the president “pledged in a pair of private meetings with Democratic lawmakers to stake his political capital on this year’s top agenda item.”

“Despite Obama’s forceful reengagement, congressional Democrats continued to struggle last night to finalize details of legislation aimed at overhauling the nation’s health-care system. House leaders wrangled with rank-and-file members over plans to pay for expanded insurance coverage by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans.”

Interestingly, The Hill notes Democratic leaders in the House and Senate “suggested there was no need for a threat, pledging to complete healthcare bills in their respective chambers before the August recess.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “We’re going to do healthcare before we leave here.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “We’re still on schedule. We have plans to vote for this legislation before we leave for the August recess.”

First Read: “The White House has ‘cleared the decks’ and is focusing almost exclusively on health care for the next three weeks — or however long it takes — to get separate bills through the House and Senate before the August recess.”


Republican Battle Begins in Texas

After months of running an “exploratory” campaign for governor — and raising oodles of money for that prospective 2010 race — CQ Politics reports Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) made it official Monday: She is challenging Gov. Rick Perry (R) in the Republican gubernatorial primary next March.

The primary is really the de facto general election since most analysts give Democrats little chance of prevailing next November.

The Austin American-Statesman notes Hutchison has $12.5 million in accumulated campaign cash “though she gave no clue on whether she’ll resign from the U.S. Senate to focus on the race.”

Nate Silver: “The polling in this race has been a little bit sketchy, but seems to point toward momentum in Perry’s direction. After trailing in the five previous polls of the race (including internal polls conducted by his campaign and by Hutchison’s), Perry has pulled ahead in the last three.”



Christie Expands Lead Over Corzine

A new Quinnipiac Poll in New Jersey finds Chris Christie (R) leading the incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine (D) by 12 points, 53% to 41%, among likely voters.

Last month’s poll had Christie up by 10 points. Corzine released an internal poll late last week which claimed the race was tightening.

In a three-way matchup that includes independent Christopher Daggett, Christie leads Corzine 47% to 38%, with Daggett getting 8% support.

Meanwhile, a poll done for the Republican Governor’s Association shows Christie leading by 15 points, 48% to 33%.



Washington, D.C. Thrives During Recession

New Geography: “No matter how far the economy falters, there is always a winner. And no city does better when the nation is at the brink of disaster than Washington, DC. Since December 2007, when the current recession formally began, the nation has lost approximately 6 million jobs. Only two states, Alaska and North Dakota, have lost a smaller percentage of jobs than Washington, DC, which has seen a job loss of 0.6%, or 4,400. Simply put, Washington has done better in this recession than 48 of the fifty states when it comes to job performance.”

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