POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/29

One More Race to Watch on Election Day

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) announced that the special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district would be held on November 3 — the same day there are gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey.

It’s yet another data point for pundits to try to determine whether the races are indicators of the national climate or not.


Santorum Stokes Iowa Buzz

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) “is well aware his forthcoming visit to Iowa will encourage presidential speculation, and he is doing nothing to tamp down the buzz,”The Hill reports.

Said Santorum: “I don’t have office and therefore the ability for me … to speak into the moment and influence the debate has to come from other places. It can’t come from press conferences outside my Senate offices… This is an opportunity to speak and lend my voice to what I hope to be a conservative movement and a Republican movement to change the direction Barack Obama wants to take us.”


A Primer on Reconciliation

Though the White House clearly prefers to pass a health care reform bill with the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster in the Senate, a bill could also be passed by just 51 votes using budget reconciliation.

First Read gives an excellent “stripped-down, dumbed-down, Cliff Notes-like explanation of what reconciliation is, what hurdles opponents can place before it, and how it might be handled on the floor should Democrats decide to use it.”

Minnesotans Still Undecided on Franken

Just two months after being declared the winner in his drawn out U.S. Senate race, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has a job approval rating of just 41%, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

“Nearly a third of Minnesotans — 30% — say they still don’t know how they feel about the state’s newest senator while another 29 percent gave his job performance a thumbs down.”


Deeds Narrows the Gap

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Creigh Deeds (D) has now pulled to within five points of Bob McDonnell (R) in the Virginia gubernatorial race, 48% to 43%.

Key finding: “Deeds appears to have more room to grow. 53% of the remaining undecideds are Democrats while only 7% are Republicans. Although the fact that Deeds has not locked up those votes yet does show some degree of lukewarmness toward his campaign, those voters are still more than likely going to end up ‘coming home.'”


Nelson Wants 65 Votes for Health Care Reform

Forget the 60 votes needed to prevent a Senate filibuster — or even the 51 votes needed to pass the measure via budget reconciliation.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) now thinks 65 votes is a figure “that would provide him a comfort level in terms of establishing a level of bipartisan support” for a health care reform bill, the Lincoln Journal-Star reports.

Said Nelson: “I think anything less than that would challenge its legitimacy.”

David Kurtz: “For the record, Nelson first won election in 2000 with just 51% of the vote and won re-election in 2006 just shy of his new superduper legitimacy standard, with 64%.”


Listen Up, Mr. President

Just published: Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do by Helen Thomas and Craig Crawford.


The Secret Effort to Kill Health Care Reform

According to internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, right wing groups have been coordinating “in a plot to unleash irate mobs at town-hall meetings.”

“Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry. Call it the return of the Karl Rove playbook: The effort to mobilize the angriest fringe of the Republican base was guided by a conservative dream team that included the same GOP henchmen who Swift-boated John Kerry in 2004, smeared John McCain in 2000, wrote the script for Republican obstructionism on global warming, and harpooned the health care reform effort led by Hillary Clinton in 1993.”


Palin’s Inspiration

Several Political Wire readers have noted that the title for Sarah Palin’s forthcoming book, Going Rogue, was first coined by John Dickerson in a Slate column written just before last year’s presidential election.

Key section: “Has Sarah Palin ‘gone rogue’? … Palin’s disagreements don’t appear to be a part of a larger strategy. So, political insiders have started asking whether Palin is simply undisciplined or is intentionally ignoring the playbook. And if it’s intentional, the question becomes: Is she putting her own political self-interest ahead of her running mate’s?”

By choosing that title, it’s clear Palin wants to maintain the outsider image. 


The Club for (Democratic) Growth?

Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman rolled up a series of endorsements yesterday in his dark horse bid for former Rep. John M. McHugh’s upstate New York House seat, CQ Poltiics reports.

First Read: “Are Republicans/conservatives going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in NY-23, the congressional seat vacated by John McHugh (R)? The conservative Club for Growth has now endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over the socially moderate/liberal GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava; former presidential candidate Fred Thompson also has endorsed Hoffman. Could Republicans splitting their votes between Hoffman and Scozzafava tip the race to the Democrat in the race, Bill Owens? We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Outside of watching the Obama administration’s ups and downs, the most intriguing political story in America could very well be the infighting inside the Republican Party. Besides the Scozzafava-Hoffman split, we’re going to see several important GOP primaries next year over the heart and soul of the GOP — Perry vs. Hutchison in Texas, Crist vs. Rubio in Florida, the challenge against Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, and even the primary challenge against John McCain.”


Minnesotans Don’t Want Pawlenty to Run

A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll finds that a majority of Minnesotans don’t want to see Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) run for president in 2012. The poll shows that only 30% of adults want to see the two-term governor make a try for the White House in 2012, while 55% do not.

While 25% of Minnesotans said there was a “good chance” they would vote for him if he became the GOP nominee, a solid 43% said there was “no chance” they would vote for a President Pawlenty.


Comeback for Fossella?

Scandal-scarred former Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) “popped up at a health-care forum over the weekend — prompting speculation that the Staten Island Republican is eyeing a political comeback,” the New York Post reports.

Fossella’s career plunged “after a drunken-driving arrest led to revelations that he’d fathered a love child.”


Quote of the Day

“Any poll is a picture of an unfinished horserace.”

— Former President Bill Clinton, in an interview on Meet the Press.


Rich Senator, Poor Senator

Roll Call analysis of U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms shows 48 senators are not in the millionaire’s club, but nonetheless nearly all reported minimum net worths above the typical American household. The remaining 50 Senators record minimum net worths of at least $1 million or more.

The survey included 98 Senators. Disclosure forms from newly appointed Sens. George LeMieux (R-FL) and Paul Kirk (D-MA) are not yet publicly available.

Wealth in the chamber ranges from Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) — the richest Member of Congress overall — who tops the list with a minimum net worth of at least $167.55 million, to Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who registers a negative $40,000.”

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Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics, Virginia

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