POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/15

Reid Trails Two Republican Challengers

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Nevada confirms the results of many other polls that show Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) in deep trouble as he faces re-election next year.

Sue Lowden (R) leads Reid by ten points, 50% to 40%, while Danny Tarkanian (R) beats Reid by seven points, 50% to 43%.


Lynch Drops Bid for Kennedy Seat

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) made the surprise announcement today that he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy, the Boston Globereports.

“One of the key factors guiding Lynch’s decision was that support from organized labor was not materializing, according to a senior adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Several key unions, including the Teamsters Local 25, are endorsing Attorney General Martha Coakley in the race.”

An aide tells The Hotline that Lynch “had really taken no steps to put together a camp team before the senator’s death.”

According to the Boston Globe, another surprise candidate may be the wealthy private equity investor Stephen Pagliuca (D), a co-owner of the Boston Celtics.


Santorum Confirms He’s Considering White House Bid

Former Sen. Rick Santorum affirmed speculation on an RNC conference call that he’s considering a run for president in 2012, Ben Smith reports, because, he said, the Obama presidency is “injurious to America.”

Said Santorum: “The dynamic has changed. A lot of folks who might not have thought about running against an incumbent president are now considering it.”

Of course, as several readers noted when the idea popped up last month, for whatever his merits, Santorum has a serious Google problem.

Talking Like a President

GQ runs a very funny excerpt from former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer’s new book, Speech Less: Tales of a White House Survivor

“In 2007 I finally made it to the Bush White House as a presidential speechwriter. But it was not at all what I envisioned. It was less like Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing and more like The Office.”


Christie Leads Corzine by Nine Points

The Public Policy Polling survey in New Jersey that we teased yesterday is now out and shows Chris Christie (R) leading Gov. Jon Corzine, 44% to 35%, with independent Chris Daggett getting 13%.

However, 28% of voters are either undecided or open to changing their minds between now and the election.

Key finding: Christie has a 48% to 29% lead with independents and 74% of them say they have an unfavorable opinion of Corzine. In addition, Christie is winning 79% of the Republican vote while Corzine is at just 64% with Democrats.


Bonus Quote of the Day

“I didn’t feel this way a week ago, but I feel very optimistic that we’ll get more than 60 votes.”

— Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), quoted by CBS News, on the health care reform effort.


Bush’s Speechwriter Dishes

Speech-less: Tales of a White House SurvivorLast month, we noted that former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer’s new book, Speech Less: Tales of a White House Survivor, was making Republicans nervous

The book is out next week and, from brief excerpts obtained by theNew York Daily News, it appears President Bush “dissed pretty much everyone in Washington.”

On Barack Obama: “This is a dangerous world and this cat isn’t remotely qualified to handle it. This guy has no clue, I promise you.”

On Joe Biden: “If bull was currency, Joe Biden would be a billionaire.” 

On Sarah Palin: “I’m trying to remember if I’ve met her before. What is she, the governor of Guam?”

On Hillary Clinton: “Wait till her fat keister is sitting at this desk.”


Battle Lines Harden Over Wilson Reprimand

Democrats plan to push forward as early as this afternoon with a resolution of disapproval for Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) outburst at last week’s speech by President Obama, Roll Call reports, “concluding that failing to act while Wilson refuses to apologize to the House would set a bad precedent for behavior.” 

Although House GOP leaders initially urged Wilson to apologize on the House floor, expect the battle lines to harden today. The New York Times reports Democrats are likely to paint the GOP stance “as evidence of a lack of Republican respect for the House as an institution and an outgrowth of the unruly and uncivil atmosphere that marked town hall meetings in August.” 

First Read: “Folks, it could be a very ugly day on Capitol Hill — one of those days that explains why Americans, no matter their ideology, have a negative view of Congress. ”


Clinton Takes Sides in California Race

Former President Clinton will back San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) for California governor over Attorney Gen. Jerry Brown (D), “potentially upending” next year’s Democratic governor’s race, reports ABC News.

Clinton’s decision to endorse Newsom — one of his wife’s top backers in her presidential campaign last year — comes at a critical time for the San Franciso mayor since he’s trailing Brown in most polls and in money raised.


Quote of the Day

“Joe, who’s the nut who hollered out, ‘You lie.'”

— Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) wife, Roxanne, in a new video that’s part of the congressman’s effort to capitalize on his new notoriety.

Read more…


Obama Approval Rises

A new CNN/Opinion Research survey finds President Obama’s approval ratings up since his speech last week. Obama now has a 58% job approval rating, up 5 points since a similar poll in late August.

In addition, the president’s approval is on the rise for individual issues such as health care (51%), the economy (54%), foreign affairs (58%) and taxes (52%). 

The Gallup daily tracking poll also shows Obama’s approval up slightly.


Women Lawmakers More Effective?

A new study by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Chicago finds that on average women in Congress “introduce more bills, attract more co-sponsors and bring home more money for their districts than their male counterparts do,” reports Politico.


Lieberman Faces Tough Re-Election Fight in 2012

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Connecticut looks ahead to the 2012 U.S. Senate race and finds Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) losing badly in a three-way race.

In one match up, Gov. Jodi Rell (R) leads with 46% with Ned Lamont (D) and Lieberman tied at 26%. In another, Rell leads with 40%, followed by Richard Blumenthal (D) at 32% and Lieberman at 23%.

While 47% have a favorable opinion of Lieberman, 50% do not.


Primary Day in New York City

There’s a Democratic primary day in New York City today, but a new SurveyUSA pollshows there is little question who will face Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the November general election. 

Bill Thompson (D) leads Tony Avella (D), 49% to 20%.

The race for Public Advocate is closer with Mark Green leading at 33%, followed by Bill De Blasio at 23% and Eric Gioia at 17%.

A possible wild card is turnout. The New York Times reports as few as 15% of the city’s voters are expected to get to the polls today.


Strickland Expands Lead Over Kasich

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio shows Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s (D) job approval is up slightly and his lead over John Kasich (R), a likely Republican challenger in the 2010 re-election campaign, is now ten points, 46% to 36%.

A July poll had Strickland’s lead at just five points.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “The Governor’s lead stems from his holding more than four in five Democrats, a larger share than Kasich gets among Republicans. But Strickland’s potential Achilles heel is independents, who tip to Kasich.”


Simmons Holds Narrow Lead Over Dodd

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Connecticut finds Rob Simmons (R) edging Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), 46% to 42% with 12% undecided.

However, the poll also showed Dodd with single digit leads over the two other declared Republican candidates, Sam Caligiuri (R) and Tom Foley (R).

Meanwhile, The Hill notes World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon “appears primed to run for Senate in Connecticut and should make an announcement very soon.”


Giuliani Not Interested in Senate Bid

Contrary to a report yesterday, Rudy Giuliani (R) has no interest in challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in 2010, his closest political associate tells the Washington Post

Said Tony Cabonetti: “He has said time and again that the Senate is not a job for him. He is a chief executive, and a damn good one.” 

Giuliani is still considering a run for governor in 2010 and is expected to make a decision on that race later this fall.

Independent Candidate Hurting Corzine

Political Wire got an advance look at a new Public Policy Polling survey in New Jersey that will be released tomorrow.

While Gov. Jon Corzine (D) has narrowed the gap in the governor’s race since late July, Chris Christie (R) continues to hold a solid lead. One reason: Independent candidate Chris Daggett is polling in double digits and most of his supporters say they voted for Barack Obama last year and for Corzine in 2005.

Other key finding: Only 62% of people who say they voted for Corzine in 2005 are saying they plan to do so again.

The complete survey will be released tomorrow.


Just a Weekend Trip

The State notices a subtle change in words used by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to describe his five day visit to Argentina earlier this summer.

“As part of the Sanford Offensive, he has taken to describing his infamous June disappearance to Argentina as a ‘weekend’ trip in an effort to downplay what is likely the strongest possible impeachment charge against the governor — that he abandoned his post without telling staff.”


Large Number Still Think “Death Panels” are in Health Plan

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds that 41% of Americans believe that President Obama’s health care reform plan will lead to government panels withholding life-or-death treatments from patients.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “That’s a minority, but it’s a pretty sizable one, and that could spell trouble for the White House.”

This comes after President Obama called such claims — made by Sarah Palin and others — as “lies” in his speech before Congress last week.

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