POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/24

McCain Lawyers Investigated Obama Citizenship

As we asked earlier this week, if questions over President Obama’s citizenship were valid, wouldn’t they have come out during the presidential campaign?

David Weigel talked with Trevor Potter and other lawyers for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign who said that they did look into the Obama citizenship rumors and found them without merit.

Said Potter: “To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations. We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence. There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state’s Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance.”

Boxer’s Lead Shrinks in California

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in California finds Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) leading in her re-election race with 45% as compared to 41% for Carly Fiorina (R), her best-known possible Republican challenger.

In March, Boxer led by 47% to 38%.

Corruption Scandal Hurts Corzine

Larry Sabato, keeper of the amazingly accurate Crystal Ball, emails these observations on New Jersey’s gubernatorial race:

There is simply no way the New Jersey corruption scandal helps Jon Corzine (D), even though he’s too rich to be corrupt himself. Historically, “scandal” is one of the key factors feeding an electorate’s sense of whether a state or nation is on the right track or not. When voters decide a state is on the wrong track, the “time for a change” theme — the most common and powerful slogan in all of American history — kicks in. Chris Christie, as the GOP nominee, is automatically the “change” candidate. The fact that he is a former prosecutor and considered personally clean is icing on his electoral cake. However, Christie still has to worry about the strongly Democratic nature of the Garden State, and the fact that so many votes are controlled by powerful local bosses. The enduring culture of corruption in New Jersey means voters are hardened and cynical — and less likely to see any candidate for governor as a savior on a white horse.

Vineyard Bound

The Vineyard Gazette has details of the $20 million house on 28 acres in Martha’s Vineyard that President Obama is renting for his family summer vacation.

“While the mechanics of renting the property were still ongoing at press time, theGazette has learned that a rental agreement for the farm will comprise three leases, one to be held by the Obamas, another by the Secret Service and a third by a White House entourage.”

Still Waiting on GOP Health Care Plan

“GOP leaders urged Democrats to start over on their health bill Thursday without saying when they will release a bill of their own,” Roll Call reports.

“House Republicans released a four-page outline of their ideas five weeks ago, promising to release details and a bill.”

“But Republicans have yet to do so. They still haven’t said how much their plan will cost, how they will pay for it or how many people their plan will cover, although they have said it will be cheaper than the $1.6 trillion House Democratic plan and build on a private health insurance system without a government-run insurance option.”

Emanuel Welcomes Republican Honesty

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told NPR that he’s not botthered by Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) comments that health care is Obama’s “Waterloo” and remarksby Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) that Republicans are plotting the bill’s demise on a “week by week” basis.

Said Emanuel: “At least they’re honest about their motivation. Their view about health care is about defeating President Obama. Politically, I actually appreciate what they said.”

First Read: “The White House needs to have the GOP as its opponent right now, not each other, which is why you’ll continue to hear the White House invoke DeMint and Inhofe. But can they convince conservative Democrats that a legislative defeat for the president will end up being a reflection on the whole party?”

Rubio Faces Money Trouble

In a “sign of turmoil” in Marco Rubio’s (R) underdog campaign for U.S. Senate from Florida, two of his top campaign staffers are dropping off the campaign payroll, theSt. Petersburg Times reports.

With Gov. Charlie Crist (R) “trouncing Rubio in fundraising and Rubio trying to bat down rumors that he’ll drop out to run for attorney general, the staff shakeup is likely to fuel new questions about Rubio’s long-term viability.”


How Obama Dominates the News Cycle

The New York Times notes that after six months in office, “perhaps no other president has been more attuned to, or done more to dominate, the news cycle he disparages. Mr. Obama has given roughly three times as many interviews as George W. Bush and held four times as many prime-time news conferences as Bill Clinton had by comparable points in their terms.”

“The all-Obama, all-the-time carpet bombing of the news media represents a strategy by a White House seeking to deploy its most effective asset in service of its goals, none more critical now than health care legislation. But longtime Washington hands warn that saturation coverage can diminish the power of his voice and lose public attention.”


GOP Strategists Worry Attacks Will Backfire

“Republicans, seeking to regain political ground in the health-care debate, have launched a series of attacks on Democrats’ overhaul plan. But some GOP strategists worry an aggressive approach could backfire, if voters decide the party is obstructing efforts to address an issue they care about,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Polling analysis by Resurgent Republic shows that worry about rising health care costs outstrips every other economic concern today.

“That is forcing Republicans to try to strike a tricky balance. Even as they hammer at President Barack Obama’s plan, in a bid to reduce its size and delay its passage, they are trying to convince voters the GOP also wants to achieve changes that would reduce health costs and expand access to care.”

Quote of the Day

“And for those out there who believe, that would like to have something optimistic to look at, we are plotting the demise on a week by week basis of where Bill Clinton was in 1993 and where Obama is today and his demise ratio is greater than Clinton’s was in 1993.” 

— Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), quoted on Janet Parshall’s radio show, on President Obama’s health care reform efforts.

Read more…

Palin’s Favorability Ratings Drop

As Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) “prepares for the next stage of her political career, a majority of Americans hold an unfavorable view of her, and there is broad public doubt about her leadership skills and understanding of complex issues,” according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll

“Overall, the new poll found that 53% of Americans view Palin negatively and 40% see her in positive terms.”

“Perhaps more vexing for Palin’s national political aspirations, however, is that 57% of Americans say she does not understand complex issues, while 37% think she does, a nine-percentage-point drop from a poll conducted in September just before her debate with now-Vice President Biden. The biggest decline on the question came among Republicans, nearly four in 10 of whom now say she does not understand complex issues. That figure is 70% among Democrats and 58% among independents.”

Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) decision “to postpone a final vote on President Obama’s health care proposal until September sets up a one-month campaign sprint between supporters and opponents of the legislation that will span over Congress’ August recess,” the Washington Post reports.


The New York Times says Democratic leaders “fended off suggestions that health care legislation could lose momentum if there is no action until the fall. But the delay will give Republican opponents ample time to highlight what they say are the bill’s flaws, and will subject moderate lawmakers, many of whom are on the fence, to a barrage of questions, including whether the nation can afford the $1 trillion, 10-year price tag.”

In the Senate, Roll Call reports that Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said the decision to postpone a full Senate vote “makes it somewhat easier for the gang of six bipartisan negotiators on his committee to reach a deal.” 

In the House, CQ Politics notes top Democrats “are holding out a small bit of hope that they can meet the deadline before their chamber’s scheduled recess at the end of next week. It seems unlikely to happen, however.”

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