POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/5

Rockefeller Blasts “Gang of Six”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is tired of the focus on the Senate Finance Committee’s “gang of six” senators that is negotiating a bipartisan health care reform bill, reports Politico.

Said Rockefeller: “All the attention is going to those three Republicans… you just watch as this bill diminishes. Those three won’t be there when the bill passes.”

The three Republicans: Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) “has insisted on their support in getting the Senate health bill out of committee.”


Specter Defends Voting for McCain-Palin

On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews tied Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) in knots trying to get him to defend voting for McCain-Palin last year because they were the “better choice.”

Switching parties sure isn’t easy.

Read more…


Is Obama Less Popular Than on Election Day?

Tom Jensen looks at President Obama’s falling approval numbers and concludes “he’s popular with those who voted for him and not with those who didn’t.” 

That level of approval won him 365 electoral votes.

“Some people who didn’t vote for Obama may have expressed approval for him in the early days of his term because they felt like they needed to give a new President a chance, but the reality is that Obama is setting out to do what he said he was going to do when he got elected, so if you didn’t like what you heard last fall you inevitably were going to end up not liking what you heard when he started governing. The higher levels of approval he initially showed, particularly from Republicans, were inevitable going to fall.”

Inside Clinton’s Trip to North Korea

The White House held a background briefing on the events that led up to former President Bill Clinton’s trip to North Korea to bring home two detained journalists.

It’s a fascinating story.

Read more…


Bonus Quote of the Day

“I think that he is a good person, and good-intentioned. But I believe he didn’t serve in government long enough to understand really how things work… He really does not have an understanding of how Congress operates.”

— Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), in a radio interview, about President Obama.

Read more…


Hotline’s Senate Race Rankings

The Hotline posts their 2010 U.S. Senate rankings and concludes “the best news for Democrats is that they don’t even need to beat any Republican incumbents next year to have a great 2010, provided they are able to pick off a couple open GOP seats.”

Nonetheless, the top two most vulnerable Senate seats are currently held by Democrats, in Connecticut and Illinois.


Ensign’s Web of Deception

Jon Ralston: “Just when you thought it was seamy enough, just when you thought the story of a senator having an affair with a staff member whose husband was a good friend and top aide was scandalous enough, just when you thought the senator getting dad to pay off the couple to assuage his guilt was creepy enough, now that the actual time line is unfolding, the story actually gets worse.”


The Campaign Managers Look Back at 2008

Here’s a book every Political Wire reader will need to pick up:Campaign for President: The Managers Look at 2008.

Every four years following the presidential election, Harvard’s Institute of Politics convenes a gathering of campaign managers, media commentators, and interested political observers to reflect on presidential campaign strategies from the earliest primaries through Election Day. The result is this book.

Highly recommended.


Wolffe Plans New Book on Obama White House

Richard Wolffe, the former Newsweek correspondent and author of the best-selling book Renegade: The Making of a President, is shopping a new book about President Obama, reports the New Republic.

“Wolffe’s new book is seeking to go deep inside the White House. According to a source with knowledge of the proposal, Wolffe would write chapters about the following topics: the President, the Inner Circle, National Security, the Economy, the East Wing, the Executive Mansion, the Communications Shop, Domestic Policy, the Travel Office, and the Vice President’s office. Without mentioning Bob Woodward by name, Wolffe hints in his proposal that the style of an all-knowing omniscient narrative account is dead, and that he would reinvent the genre with in-the-room access to the top players. The reporting would take place at the beginning of 2010.”

The proposed title is 30 Days: A Portrait of the White House at Work.


Quote of the Day

“Listen, it’s much more contentious and partisan today than it’s ever been. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Republican or Democrat, it’s tough to deal with day in and out… When people ask me if I enjoy what I’m doing, now is the time that I try not to answer the question.”

— Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), quoted by the Johnston County Herald.


House Orders Three Jets

“Last year, lawmakers excoriated the CEOs of the Big Three automakers for traveling to Washington, D.C., by private jet to attend a hearing about a possible bailout of their companies,” Roll Call reports.

“But apparently Congress is not philosophically averse to private air travel: At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress.”

The Air Force had asked for one jet as part of an upgrade program, but the House Appropriations Committee added two more at its own discretion.


Split Support for Health Care Reform

A new CNN/Opinion Research survey finds 50% of Americans support President Obama’s health reform plans, with 45% opposed.

Interestingly, the results indicate a generational divide. A majority of Americans over the age of 50 oppose Obama’s plan while a majority of those under 50 support it.

The poll also finds that only 30% of all Americans think the president’s health care proposals will help their families. Another 44% feel they won’t benefit but that other families will be helped by the president’s plans, and one in five say no one will be helped.


Few Know New Jersey Running Mates

Fewer than one in five voters could name the running mates of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), challenger Christopher Christie (R) or Independent candidate Chris Daggett, according to a Monmouth/Gannett New Jersey poll.

Moreover, eight of 10 voters surveyed said the candidates for lieutenant governor will have no bearing on their choice for governor.


Most Oppose Health Reform if it Adds to Deficit

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters, by a 55% to 35% margin, are more worried that Congress will spend too much money and add to the deficit than it will not act to overhaul the health care system.

By a similar 57% to 37% margin, voters say health care reform should be dropped if it adds “significantly” to the deficit.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress appear to be losing the public relations war over their plan to revamp the nation’s health care system. Americans are more willing to scrap a health care overhaul than they are to increase the deficit in order to produce such legislation. That’s a bad omen for the White House and Congressional leadership as they try to sell their plan to the country this month before the vote counting gets serious on Capitol Hill in September.”


Ventura to Host New TV Show

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) will host a new television show,Conspiracy Theories With Jesse Ventura, beginning this fall, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“Talking about dark conspiracies is not exactly virgin territory for Ventura. In his books and repeated TV interviews, he has repeatedly maintained that the assassination of John Kennedy and the 9/11 terrorist attacks were hatched by conspirators unknown to the general public.”

“His most high-profile dabbling in the Kennedy conspiracy occurred in 2002, when he led a trade mission to Cuba and directly asked Fidel Castro if he had anything to do with the assassination.”

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