POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/17

Lesson from the Gipper

Political Wire reader sends over a video clip showing how former President Ronald Reagan once dealt with a heckler during a speech. While Reagan didn’t exactly raise the level of discourse, he certainly got the crowd on his side.

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Most New Yorkers Don’t Want Spitzer to Run Again

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) may want to rethink those political comeback plans.

A new Marist Poll finds that 69% of registered voters in New York say they do not want Spitzer to run for statewide office next year. This includes 62% of Spitzer’s own party, 77% of Republicans, and 72% of non-enrolled voters.


White House Scraps Bush Missile Shield

The Obama administration will announce today “that it will scrap” former President Bush’s planned missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic “and instead deploy a reconfigured system aimed more at intercepting shorter-range Iranian missiles,” the New York Times reports.

The White House will announce the decision and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “who was first appointed by Mr. Bush, will then discuss it with reporters at 10:30 a.m. It amounts to one of the biggest national security reversals by the new administration, one that will upset Czech and Polish allies and possibly please Russia, which adamantly objected to the Bush plan. But Obama administration officials stressed that they are not abandoning missile defense, only redesigning it to meet the more immediate Iranian threat.”

Nonetheless, Chuck Todd notes the White House is scambling to stay ahead of this story by having President Obama announce the decision with Gates.

Dancing with the Czars

Ben Smith: “After trying to keep a damper on the Van Jones and ACORN stories — perhaps in both cases because they were indefensible — the DNC has, as a colleague puts it, gotten the White House nod to dive into the freak show on the largely imaginary notion of sinister and proliferating czars.”

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Burr Leads Potential Rivals in North Carolina

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) beating two potential Democratic rivals but unable to break 50% support.

Burr leads Elaine Marshall (D), 48% to 38%, and tops Kenneth Lewis (D), 48% to 32%.

Meanwhile, PPP finds some similarities and some differences with their own North Carolina polling.


Coakley Way Ahead in Race to Replace Kennedy

Massachusetts voters expect Martha Coakley (D) to be elected to the U.S. Senate in the January 2010 special election, but prefer Joe Kennedy (D) to succeed his uncle, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, according to a Suffolk poll.

However, with Kennedy not running, Coakley leads the Democratic primary field with 47% support, followed by Rep. Mike Capuano (D) at 9%, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D) at 6% and Alan Khazei (D) at 3%.

Of course, Lynch also announced he would not run while the poll was in the field.

Voters also said they support a move to allow the governor to appoint an interim senator, by a 55% to 41% margin.


A Presidential Jinx in Virginia?

Larry Sabato notes that for eight consecutive elections — since 1977 — Virginia has voted for the gubernatorial nominee of the party opposite to the one controlling the White House.

“Here’s the surprise: All the presidents except for Bill Clinton in 1993 and George W. Bush in 2005 had healthy national job-approval numbers, ranging from the mid-50s (several chief executives) to the 80s (George W. Bush after 9/11 in 2001). These moderately-to-strongly positive ratings for the White House party did not stop the opposition party from winning the governorship.”


Senator Dukakis?

With approval to appoint an interim senator expected, the Boston Globe reports former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis looked like he knew something at a dedication ceremony when he was jokingly recognized as “Senator Dukakis.”

“Dukakis, who has been seen as a leading choice for the interim appointment, grinned wide, shook his head, and looked down.”

When asked later, the “normally loquacious former governor dodged numerous questions over whether he is interested in the appointment,” saying “I’m not commenting. Why not? ‘Cause I don’t want to comment.”


Dodd Inches Back But Still Trails Simmons

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) leading Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) by five points, 44% to 39%. In July, Simmons led by nine points.

Said pollster Douglas Schwartz: “Sen. Christopher Dodd’s approval keeps edging up, and he is bringing down his high negatives. For the first time in six months, his disapproval is under 50 percent, just barely. But the incumbent has made only slight progress against Republican front-runner Rob Simmons. About 40 percent of voters will vote for anybody but Dodd, as evidenced by their willingness to vote for Republican candidates they haven’t heard of.”

In a Republican primary, Simmons gets 43%, while no other challenger tops 5%. Meanwhile, Dodd leads Merrick Alpert (D), 56% to 13 percent in a Democratic primary.

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