Ensign Ambushed

CNN ambushed Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) to ask him about the ethics investigation into whether he improperly used his authority to cover up an extramarital affair he had with a staffer.

When asked if he’d consider resigning, Ensign said, “I am focused on doing my work. I’m gonna continue to focus on doing my work.”

Interestingly, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) tells Politico that he’s now willing to testify before the Senate Ethics Committee about the Ensign scandal. Coburn previously said that he “would never reveal what he and Ensign said to one another about the affair.” 

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Steele Says He’s Not Going Rogue

On Laura Ingraham’s radio show, RNC Chairman Michael Steele responded to his reported slap down by Republican lawmakers for meddling in policy issues.

STEELE: No I’m not going rogue and that’s a factual inaccuracy, I did consult with Senator McConnell and Congressman Boehner… Again that is typical Washington stuff, trying to create a tempest in a teapot… The one thing I’ve always stated from day one is I don’t do policy, I do politics…

INGRAHAM: Were you told to stop meddling in policy?

STEELE: No I wasn’t told to stop meddling in politics. A certain one or two senators wanted to know what that was all about… There’s some staffers who clearly have a bug up their you know what. That’s their problem. 

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The Takedown of Betsy McCaughey

Betsy McCaughey, who “blazed to fame in 1994 as the person who drove a stake through the heart of Hillarycare, with a detailed (and, as it turned out, false) takedown of the plan” in the New Republic is once again the focus of the magazine.

“Fifteen years later, she has reemerged for an encore, penning op-eds and making the TV and radio rounds to issue apocalyptic warnings about the horrors lurking in the fine print of Obamacare. Pick an inflammatory, misleading rumor that has sprung up in this debate, and chances are McCaughey had a hand in springing it… Confronted with conflicting information, she plows ahead with her unique interpretation of reality, leaving critics on both the left and the right nonplussed. One’s only options, they say, are to ignore her and hope that she fades away — or to go negative in the hope of discrediting her.”

However, in a must-watch appearance earlier today on MSNBC, she had a particularly tough time trying to defend her criticisms of the Obama plan.

Ben Smith: “As McCaughey’s presence on MSNBC suggests, she’s in the process of becomng an asset to the left, as her appearances seem to spur debate mostly about her — and by extension her allies — credibility.”

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The Fall Guy for Not Closing Gitmo?

Politico: “Greg Craig, the top in-house lawyer for President Barack Obama, is getting the blame for botching the strategy to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison by January — so much so that he’s expected to leave the White House in short order. But sources familiar with the process believe Craig is being set-up as the fall guy and say the blame for missing the deadline extends well beyond him.”

Castle Will Run for Senate

Multiple GOP sources are saying that Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) will run for U.S. Senate in Delaware and make his announcement this afternoon. 

In addition, Attorney General Beau Biden (D) is expected to soon announce he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for his father’s old seat.

Politico: “His decision is poised to set up a marquee matchup between two of the biggest names in Delaware politics. The moderate congressman and former Delaware governor has never lost a political race since elected to the Delaware state House in 1966.”

Update: The Rothenberg Political Report now rates the race as Lean Takeover.

Update II: The Cook Political Report rates the race a Toss Up.

Rubio Reports Raising $1 Million for Florida Senate

The St. Petersburg Times reports Marco Rubio’s (R) U.S. Senate campaign in Florida raised nearly $1 million in the last fundraising quarter — “a giant improvement over his last quarter and a number sure to help eliminate doubts about his viability.”

Gov. Charlie Crist (R) “has not yet released a number for his campaign, but supporters are speculating he will raise at least $2 million.”

Castle to Make Announcement

According to WDEL-AM, Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) has called a press conference for noon today. Speculation is that he’ll either announce a run for U.S. Senate or his intention to retire at the end of his current term.

White House Looks to Extend the Safety Net

“With unemployment expected to rise well into next year even as the economy slowly recovers, the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress are discussing extending several safety net programs as well as proposing new tax incentives for businesses to renew hiring,” the New York Times reports.

However, administration officials emphasized that “the effort would not add up to a second economic stimulus package, only an extension of the first.”

Yesterday on CNBC, economist Nouriel Roubini predicted unemployment was not just “going to go above 10 percent but the risk is it’s going to stay above this level and return to more normal only more gradually and that’s going to be one of the important sources of weakness for an economic recovery.”

Corzine Inches Ahead in Close Race

A new Fairleigh Dickinson-PublicMind Poll finds New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) edging ahead of Chris Christie (R), 44% to 43%, within the poll’s margin of error. Another 4% volunteer they will vote for independent Chris Daggett and 5% say they are undecided.

When Daggett’s name is read in an interview along with Corzine’s and Christie’s name, Corzine leads Christie 38% to 37% and Daggett gets 17% of the vote.  

Key finding: It’s clear independent candidates could be the deciding factor in this race. Even when another independent candidate’s name is read — such as Gary Steele — the effect is similar. Steele gets 12% of the vote while Corzine and Christie tie at 38%.

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

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