POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/21

Another Kennedy?

After interviewing him for 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl thinks that Ted Kennedy Jr. will ultimately choose to follow in his father’s footsteps and run for political office someday.

“Sitting there in what felt like an active compound — Ethel was next door playing in her yard with a slew of her grandchildren — I thought it was a place with more history to make. I was left with the impression Ted Jr. would run for public office someday.”


The Very Silly Mayor

In the mail: Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow has published his first children’s book, The Very Silly Mayor

I’m always looking for good books with political themes to read to my kids.


Iowans Split on Gay Marriage

In the first Des Moines Register poll since the Iowa Supreme Court overturned a statutory ban on gay marriage in April, Iowans are evenly divided on the issue with 41% saying they would vote for a constitutional ban and 40% opposed to a ban. 

However, the overwhelming majority of Iowans — 92% — say gay marriage has brought no real change to their lives.

Quote of the Day

“All pornography is homosexual pornography.”

— Michael Schwartz, chief of staff to Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK), quoted by theWashington Independent at the Values Voter Summit.


Not Exactly Fair and Balanced

Michael Calderone: “While Fox was covering the protest, a Fox producer, at one point, rallied the crowd to cheer while Griff Jenkins was on camera. Media Matterscaught this clip a few days back, but now Fox confirms that it was, indeed, a staffer.”

Read more…


Letterman Gets Political

With President Obama as David Letterman’s sole guest tonight and former President Clinton making a visit tomorrow night, the New York Times reports this “happens to dovetail with a larger strategy for The Late Show With David Letterman. The comedian has been reshaping his program around a longer, more ambitious, more politically pointed monologue.”

Read more…


Second Thoughts on Secret Interviews?

Former President Bill Clinton “may be having some second thoughts about the 79 oral history interviews” he gave to historian Taylor Branch during his presidency,USA Today reports.

“The former president has been on the phone with Branch for hours since he got page proofs of Branch’s new book, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (Simon & Schuster), running ‘hot and cold’ about the account based on Branch’s recollections of their conversations.”

Said Branch: “I think it’s fair to say he’s nervous.”

Read more…


Obama Does Not Favor Mass Protests

Although President Obama was once a community organizer in Chicago, in an interview with the Toledo Blade he says he’s not an advocate of mass protests like the one planned in Pittsburgh this week for the G-20 summit.

Said Obama: “I was always a big believer in — when I was doing organizing before I went to law school — that focusing on concrete, local, immediate issues that have an impact on people’s lives is what really makes a difference and that having protests about abstractions [such] as global capitalism or something, generally, is not really going to make much of a difference.”


Wilder Set to Make Endorsement

With polls showing the Virginia gubernatorial race tightening, the Washington Timesreports former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder will “break with tradition and announce his endorsement for governor late this week.”

“Mr. Wilder refused to specify who he intends to endorse, but his tone toward both candidates has changed — less critical of Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and less effusive toward Republican Robert F. McDonnell than he was just a few weeks ago.”


Most Americans Say Government Doing Too Much

“Americans are more likely today than in the recent past to believe that government is taking on too much responsibility for solving the nation’s problems and is over-regulating business. New Gallup data show that 57% of Americans say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to businesses and individuals, and 45% say there is too much government regulation of business. Both reflect the highest such readings in more than a decade.”


Blagojevich Sees Possible Comeback

In an interview with the New Yorker, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) said that after he is vindicated from corruption charges he is “not ruling myself out or writing myself off as getting back in the business of serving the public.” 

He compared his chances to Churchhill and Nixon, saying “I believe in those comebacks.” 

But he added: “One more thing. When I say ‘comeback,’ I’m not necessarily saying I’m going to run for President. You understand that, right?”


Boehner Backed into a Corner

After months of calling President Obama’s policies socialist, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) ultimately backed off when questioned by David Gregory on Meet the Press yesterday. 

GREGORY: Do you really think the President is a socialist? 

BOEHNER: Listen, when you begin to look at how much they want to grow government, you can call it whatever you want, but the fact is — 

GREGORY: What do you call it though? 

BOEHNER: This is unsustainable. We’re broke. 

GREGORY: That’s fine. Do you think the President is a socialist? 

BOEHNER: No! 

GREGORY: Okay. Because the head of the Republican Party is calling him that. 

BOEHNER: Listen, I didn’t call him that, and I’m not going to call him that.

Read more…


More from Speech-less

Speech-less: Tales of a White House SurvivorSpeech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor by Matthew Latimer is not officially out until tomorrow, but that doesn’t stop the Huffington Post from pointing some key passages.

Here are some of the better ones:

Bush, when told that Idaho Sen. Larry Craig had been the latest GOPer to be caught in a sex scandal involving boys or men: “What is up with all these Republicans?”

While Karl Rove was appearing on Fox News and writing op-eds as an independent political analyst, he was privately smearing Democrats. “Karl spread rumors through the White House that one of Obama’s potential vice presidential running mates — and a United States senator — had beaten his first wife. ‘Karl says it’s true,’ the president assured a small group of staffers. Then knowing Karl, he quickly added, ‘Karl hopes it’s true,” reports Latimer.

Read more…


Awkward in New York?

President Obama’s speech today in New York “will be marked with an awkward political overlay, a weekend’s worth of stories on his pressure on Governor David Paterson not to seek re-election,” Ben Smith reports.

“And so, operatives in New York and Washington say, Obama’s contact with the governor will be kept to a bare minimum: Obama will fly in Air Force one with Rep. Paul Tonko, and see Paterson only on the tarmac in Troy, where Paterson will be one of a handful of local figures, including the mayor of Troy, to greet the president.”


More Forces or Failure in Afghanistan

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan “warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict ‘will likely result in failure,'” according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by the Washington Post.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal says emphatically: “Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”

“His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team.”

First Read: “Yet as if on cue, within hours of Obama expressing some skepticism about increasing troops in Afghanistan, the McChrystal recommendations get leaked. Gotta love it: Who says it’s ONLY Congress and the two political parties leak news in this town; the Pentagon knows how to play the game, too.”


Bloomberg Holds Double Digit Lead

A new Marist poll in New York City finds Mayor Michael Bloomberg leading Bill Thompson among registered voters, 50% to 39%. 

Among likely voters, Bloomberg leads 52% to 43%.

Deeds Pulls Closer to McDonnell

“Dramatic shifts among independent female voters and Northern Virginians over the past month have propelled” Creigh Deeds (D) to within four points of Bob McDonnell (R) in the race for Virginia governor, 51% to 47%, according to a new Washington Post poll

“The change among likely voters — down from a 15-point margin in mid-August — coincides with the publication and ensuing controversy surrounding McDonnell’s graduate school thesis, in which he writes of his opposition to working women, feminists and gay people.”

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