POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/16

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I think it was predictable that the bipartisan thing was not going to work. And we spent virtually an entire year with most of the Finance Committee being excluded, and a lot of us have a long history in health care and have very strong ideas and good ideas.”

— Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), quoted by Politico, ripping the health care bill released today by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). 

He added: “I mean I got so many amendments that it’s really quite impressive.”


Baucus Bill Passes CBO Test

Despite intense criticisms from both Republicans and Democrats, the Congressional Budget Office has released its preliminary score of the health care bill introduced today by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and finds it covers 94% of legal residents and reduces the deficit. 

Importantly, the bill also reduces the budget deficit in future years.

Ezra Klein: “This good score is the product of the Finance Committee’s sources of funding, not the relative stinginess of its subsidies. The Finance Committee could make the bill more generous, raise a bit more in revenues and still keep it deficit-improving over the next two decades. And it should.”


Quote of the Day

“I came close to resigning in June, but now I believe the people of South Carolina just want us to get back to business.”

— South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), in an interview with WSAV-TV. Hat tip:GOP12

The Jackass Video

Yesterday, we had the entertaining audio of President Obama calling singer Kanye West a “jackass.”

Today, we have the video which shows the president’s reaction when he realized what he had said.

Read more…


Rendell Done Running

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) told Politico that when he’s finished with his current term, he’ll retire from electoral politics.

Said Rendell: “I’m done running. I don’t want to be a freshman senator. I’m too old to be a freshman senator.”

Though he said he “would be open” to a Cabinet post in the Obama administration, he “quickly added that he was looking forward to getting back to Philly to teach and write a book – sure to be a must-read for any political junkie.”


Sanford’s Security Clearance Intentionally Suspended

After South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) “admitted leaving the country for a secret tryst in Argentina, the Department of Homeland Security suspended the governor’s security clearance because of questions raised about his ‘lack of candor’ and ‘trustworthiness’ to protect classified information,” the Charleston Post & Courierreports. 

At the time officials said the suspension “was a mistake by a lower-level employee.” But the newspaper finds it was not an accident and that higher level officials were involved.


Ayotte Grabs Early Lead in New Hampshire

A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds Kelly Ayotte (R) leading Paul Hodes (D) by eight points, 46% to 38%, in an early look at New Hampshire’s 2010 race for the U.S. Senate.

A  Populus Research poll conducted last week found Hodes losing to a generic Republican candidate.


Low Blow

If you don’t think Linda McMahon (R) will be a tough candidate against Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) in next year’s U.S. Senate race, you haven’t seen her in action.

Read more…


Kennedy Successor Could Come Next Week

Legislative leaders in Massachusetts “believe they have narrow majorities in both chambers to give Gov. Deval Patrick (D) the power to appoint an interim U.S. senator, in a sign that the controversial measure may pass,” the Boston Globereports. 

“Patrick has signaled privately that he’d like to sign the bill by Friday and make an appointment within days, possibly having an interim senator in place by next week.”


Decision Coming for Biden in Delaware

Delaware Attorney Gen. Beau Biden (D) is expected to return from his National Guard duty in Iraq at the end of the month, reports WBOC-TV. The big decision awaiting him is whether he’ll run for the U.S. Senate vacated by his father.

“Barred from politics while on active duty, Biden has not been able to say a word about the expectations that have mounted while he was gone.”

However, Erin McPike reports it looks like Biden “is definitely in” the race and that would likely affect the decision making of the leading Republican who might run, Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE).


Paterson’s Approval Rating at 20%

A new Marist Poll finds that just 20% of New York voters think Gov. David Paterson (D) is doing a good job.

Paterson is even scraping bottom with his fellow Democrats. Just 24% of Democrats say he is doing well as governor. 12% of Republicans and 22% of non-enrolled voters agree.

Meanwhile, 70% of voters Paterson is not a viable candidate for governor in 2010. 


Norton Leads in Colorado

A new Rasmussen Reports survey of Colorado voters finds former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) leading Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), 45% to 36%. 

Norton also leads former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D), 42% to 34%, who is expected to formally announce his Democratic primary challenge to Bennet today.


Romney Aides Managing Key Races

Mitt Romney “has not announced whether or not he’ll make a second run for the White House, but his former aides are staying in campaign shape by managing key races across the nation that could benefit their old boss in future elections,” The Hillreports.

“It may appear a simple case of political professionals moving to new clients, but Romney’s team has kept in close contact should a second presidential campaign come to fruition.”


Ready to Rumble in Connecticut?

World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon (R) is joining “an increasingly crowded Republican field” hoping to unseat Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), theHartford Courant reports.

A campaign spokesman said McMahon will be “a different kind of candidate.”

First Read: “Considering the image Congress is portraying to the American public these days, is it any wonder that no one dismisses out of hand the possibility that someone associated with professional wrestling is a legitimate candidate for the U.S. Senate?”


Family on the Campaign Payroll

The Hill: “More than two dozen members of Congress are paying family members thousands of dollars to work for their campaigns… Although the practice is legal, it raises eyebrows among ethics watchdogs, who say it smacks of nepotism.”


Is Obama Over-Exposed?

Since his prime time address to Congress last week, it seems President Obama is everywhere. He did a 60 Minutes interview last weekend and will appear on five Sunday shows — ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and Univision — this weekend. On Monday he’ll be the sole guest on the Late Show with David Letterman. He even made the celebrity/entertainment shows by calling Kanye West a jackass.

First Read: “The issue of over-exposure has come up before, and while the Amtrak Corridor Elite (NY-DC) believes he may be over-exposed, the White House has previously gotten positive results from its strategy. They believe that with folks getting their news and info for hundreds of different places on multiple platforms, you have to use multiple platforms to touch everyone you want to touch at least once. By the way, our reporting from a summer Peter Hart/Annenberg focus group of swing voters suggested that Obama’s speeches, interviews, and news conferences were a plus for him, not a minus. So this may be one of those Beltway-created storylines that the facts don’t bear out as much. Still, the White House should be a tad concerned that last week’s address attracted 31 million views, compared with the 50 million he got for his first presser. Then again, 31 million is a lot of people…but where do those 19 million go? Are they tuning out Washington?”


Democrats Prepare to Go it Alone

Faced with the prospect of having to pass health care legislation without Republican votes, President Obama’s chief political adviser David Axelrod “met with Senate and House Democrats on Tuesday to stress the importance of party unity,” The Hillreports.

“Democrats control 59 seats in the Senate. Without a single Republican vote, they would be forced to advance health care using a budgetary maneuver that requires only a simple majority.”

Said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “If we can’t get the 60 votes we need, then we’ll have no alternative but to use reconciliation.”

Meanwhile, Fox News reports that Axelrod called the president of the Massachusetts Senate to lobby for the law change to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat until the Jan. 19 special election is held.


Baucus to Release Bill with No Republican Backing

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) “will formally introduce his long-awaited health care reform bill today, but without the bipartisan backing he has intensely courted for months,” Roll Call reports.

“Baucus’ gang of six bipartisan Finance negotiators is vowing to continue working toward a deal heading into next week’s legislative markup of the bill. Yet positions appeared to be hardening on both sides of the aisle, both within the group and among other Finance Committee members.” 

In fact, Nate Silver notes many key Democrats don’t support the bill either, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). 

“These are not just any old random set of Senators opposing Baucus’s plan — these are the thought leaders on health care reform.”

Baucus previews his bill in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. It will be formally unveiled at noon today.


The Real Teddy

True Compass: A MemoirAdam Clymer reviews the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s memoir for theDaily Beast:

True Compass for anyone not a confirmed hater of Edward M. Kennedy, is a remarkable book. Those of us who interviewed him over his 47-year career, and I did 21 interviews just in writing hisbiography, never heard him talk as freely as he writes in this memoir about his joys and sorrows, his love for his brothers, his parents, his children, and his wife Vicki, and his opinions about the presidents he dealt with.”


Democrats on Rebound in Ohio

The latest Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds a general uptick for Democrats over the summer, evidencing itself in higher approval ratings and stronger showings for the party’s U.S. Senate candidates.

In a Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) has opened a 26% to 17% lead over Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D), with 55% still undecided.

In a GOP primary, former Rep. Rob Portman (R) leads businessman Tom Ganley (R), 27% to 9%, with 61% still undecided.

In general election matchups, Fisher tops Portman, 42% to 31%, and beats Ganley 41% to 29%. Brunner tops Portman, 39% to 34%, and beats Ganley 39% to 31%.


Bennet Staff Sends Embarassing Email

Sen. Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) staff is learning about the dangers of email “after the senator’s deputy press secretary accidentally sent out revealing private correspondence in an e-mail blasted to the entire press list,” Politico reports.

“At the top of the e-mail was a broad statement that Bennet was keeping track of an ongoing FBI investigation of a Denver man suspected of Al Qaeda ties. But under the statement is a chain of e-mails showing that the senator’s communication director is concerned that Bennet has been lackadaisical with his press outreach.”

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