POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/14

Lazio to Run for New York Governor

Former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-NY) will formally declare he’s running for governor of New York, reports the New York Post.

“Lazio’s announcement, set for Albany next Monday, means that unlike 2000, when he deferred to Rudy Giuliani’s expected Senate campaign against Hillary Clinton, he is not waiting for the former mayor to decide his 2010 plans about a possible gubernatorial run.”

Of course, Giuliani could be running for U.S. Senate instead.


Blagojevich Uses the Crist Defense

Appearing on Fox News, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) compared how he handled filling a Senate vacancy to that of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R).

Said Blagojevich: “I could have named my wife if I wanted to. Look at what Gov. Crist did in Florida — he put his chief of staff in there to hold the seat warm for him so he could run for the U.S. Senate. I didn’t do any of those things.”

Read more…


Health Care Plan Gets Bump After Obama Speech

Support for President Obama’s health care reform plan “continues to grow following the president’s speech to Congress last Wednesday night. It has now risen to the highest level yet measured, and, for the first time, shows a slight uptick in support among Republicans and voters not affiliated with either party,” according to a newRasmussen Reports poll.

The survey finds tht 51% of voters nationwide now favor the plan while 46% are opposed.

Nate Silver: “The real question, of course, is not whether there’s been a bounce, but how long-lasting its effects might be. Bounces usually dissipate. That’s why we call them bounces; they go up and they go down. If Obama’s health care polling is back in the low 40s by early next week, well then, who cares if there had been a bounce — it’s entirely an academic question.”

Stephanopoulos Catches Up

Ever since Tim Russert died, This Week has dramatically moved up in the Sunday shows ratings against Meet the Press. In an interview with the Daily Beast, host George Stephanopoulos explains what may give him an edge in the post-Russert era:

Said Stephanopoulos: “My experience in Congress, in the House, in presidential campaigns, in the White House, I hope it’s one of the things that sets me apart on Sunday morning and in my day-to-day work–that people know that I’ve been there, that I understand the issues, that I understand the politics, that I’ve lived it. Not just talked about it.”

On reports that he has a daily conference call with Rahm Emanuel, James Carville and James Begala: “The conference call is a myth! It’s a total myth. It’s a myth! It’s not true. I talk to Carville, I talk to Rahm, I talk to Paul, but we never have been on a conference call once in our lives. Ever.”


The Hammer Moves Left

As the promo shows, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) will be on the new season of Dancing with the Stars

I’m actually a bit speechless after watching.

Read more…


Giuliani for Senate?

Fred Dicker reports that top New York Republicans are urging Rudy Giuliani (R) to abandon his interest in running for governor and run instead against appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in 2010.


The Umbrage Wars

Michael Kinsley: “Apparently, though, it is against House rules for a representative to call the president a liar during an official session of the House, even if you sincerely think he is one. Or, for that matter, even if he really is one — as all of them are, on occasion. The purpose of this rule is to attempt to enforce a level of civility in the political debate. The result, though, is just the opposite: It is simply another opportunity for a fusillade in the Umbrage Wars. No matter how important or otherwise the underlying issue may be, it seems that about three-quarters of American politics can now be distilled down to ‘How dare you say that!’ Taking offense at someone else’s possibly over-vigorous exercise of free speech, demanding an apology and so on has replaced much serious discussion about, oh, health care, the financial crisis, Iraq, Afghanistan, stuff like that. Umbrage is so much easier: You can do it in your sleep, or on talk radio.”


Blagojevich Agrees to Sell His Own Seat

During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich agreed to sell his own seat on eBay. 

Read more…


50 Richest Members of Congress

Roll Call releases its annual list of members of Congress with the highest net worth according to financial disclosure forms. 


Quote of the Day

“Like all conservatives, I am concerned about this administration’s accumulation of economic power. Still, you have to be aware that there’s a line where legitimate concerns begin to collapse into paranoid fantasy.”

— Former Bush speechwriter David Frum, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, worried that the GOP base is being whipped up by extreme rhetoric and conspiracy theories.


How Bloomberg Decided Not to Run for President

Out next week: Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics by Joyce Purnick.

Mike Allen runs brief excerpts from the book on how New York City’s mayor ended months of speculation by deciding not to launch an independent bid for president in 2008.

“The true scope of the Bloomberg’s stealth campaign has never been disclosed. A company called the Symposia Group, which had a client of one — Mike Bloomberg — had created a Bloomberg for President website on Sheekey’s instruction. Mayoral sources were quoted in news accounts saying Symposia was preparing to analyze voter preferences nationwide if Bloomberg ran. They also said they were polling around the country. It remains a well-guarded secret how far that went, what Bloomberg paid for preliminary ‘micro-targeting,’ travel, salaries and polling, or what he learned. Since Bloomberg personally underwrote his non-campaign, he could spend what he wanted without creating the standard paper trail of public candidate reports.”


Intensity Gap Closing in Health Care Debate

After a summer of angry debate and protests, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Americans remain almost deadlocked in their opinion of the Democrats’ health-care initiative, with 46% in favor of the proposed changes and 48% opposed. There is also a clean split on Obama’s handling of the issue, with 48% approving and the same number disapproving. 

Key finding: “But since mid-August, the percentage ‘strongly’ behind the president on health care has risen to 32 percent, evening out the intensity gap that has plagued him on the subject.”

Though 55% say they like the idea of a public insurance option in the health care plan, if that single provision were removed, opposition to the overall package drops by six percentage points. Backing away from the provision might hurt Obama among his base, but not dramatically so, as 88% of liberal Democrats support the reform plan as is, 81% without the public option.


Economy Still Worries Most Americans

“One year after Wall Street teetered on the brink of collapse, seven out of 10 Americans lack confidence the federal government has taken safeguards to prevent another financial industry meltdown,” according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll

“Even more — 80% — rate the condition of the economy as poor and a majority worry about their own ability to make ends meet.”

Harkin Says Bill Will Have Public Option

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the new chairman of the Senate’s health committee, “predicted that a health-care reform bill would pass Congress before Christmas, with Republican votes,” the Des Moines Register reports.

Speaking at his annual Steak Fry fundraiser, Harkin also declared that the legislation would “have a strong public option.”

With two key moderate Republicans declaring today they do not support a public option, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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