POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/15

Thief of Carter Briefing Book Revealed

In his new book, Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America, author Craig Shirley reveals for the first time that it was Democratic operative Paul Corbin who stole a briefing book President Jimmy Carter was using to prepare for a debate with Ronald Reagan. The material was turned over to the Reagan campaign.

President Carter is still said to be deeply upset about the incident and is quoted saying, “I don’t think there’s any doubt that it made some difference.”

Politico runs a brief excerpt from the book which I’ll certainly be adding to my reading list.


Biden Still Weighing Senate Bid

Confirming speculation, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (D) told ABC Newsthat he’s seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate seat his father once occupied.

Said Biden: “I’m gonna, first things first, make sure I focus on my family, focus on my job. Look, am I considering it? Absolutely. Absolutely. But I’ll be making a decision in due course.”

Crist Approval Plummets in Florida

A new insiderAdvantage poll in Florida finds that Gov. Charlie Crist’s (R) statewide popularity has dipped below the halfway mark for the first time. His job approval is now 48% after months of having ratings in the 60- to 70-percent range.

Pollster Matt Towery said he “was somewhat taken aback” by the numbers.

Said Towery: “It has been conventional wisdom based on prior polling that Gov. Crist was somehow immune to the more tepid approval ratings we have seen for other incumbents in large states facing significant challenges.”

Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg Times is hearing interesting “buzz” about an unreleased poll that may show Crist’s lead shrinking in the Republican Florida U.S. Senate race.


Owens Takes Lead Over Scozzafava

In just two weeks, a new Siena poll finds Bill Owens (D) has turned a seven-point deficit into a four point lead over Dede Scozzafava (R) in New York special election race in the 23rd congressional district, 33% to 29%, with Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman at 23%.

Analysis: “Owens leads with Democrats and in the eastern portion of the district. Scozzafava leads with Republicans and in the western portion of the district. Hoffman leads with independent voters and in the southern portion of the district. About two-thirds of voters have seen or heard commercials for Scozzafava and Owens, helping Owens and hurting Scozzafava.”

Said pollster Steven Greenberg: “Owens has picked up five points of support, while Scozzafava has lost six points. Hoffman, picking up seven points, has narrowed the gap between first and third place significantly. With just 10 points separating the three candidates, this is likely to be a very tight — and fiercely fought — campaign right through election day, now less than three weeks away.”

Combined with Scozzafava’s money problems, this is big news for Democrats.


Schmidt Defends Palin Pick

Even though Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign manager Steve Schmidt’s recent comments about Sarah Palin were not flattering, the AP reports he defended McCain’s choice of Palin as his running mate.

Said Schmidt: “I believe to this day that had she not been picked as a vice presidential candidate, we would have never been ahead, not for one second, not for one minute, not for one hour, not for one day.”


Clinton Now More Popular Than Obama

Gallup: “Hillary Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama, but in one respect she now ranks ahead of Obama. The president’s current favorable rating of 56% is down 22 percentage points since January. Over the same time span, Clinton’s favorable rating has changed little, and now, at 62%, it exceeds Obama’s.”

Sure, it’s a meaningless poll, but expect it to be the talk of cable news channels today.


The Problem With Polling Health Care Reform

The next time you see a poll claiming Americans want or don’t want a public option in a health care reform bill, don’t take it too seriously.

A new Pew Research survey finds that just 56% of Americans even know that the “public option” is part of the debate over health care reform. A third of the public (33%) does not know what policy area discussion of a “public option” refers to, and 11% guessed incorrectly.

Daily Pulse: What About Universal Coverage?

Walter Shapiro makes an important point: The political promise voiced by President Obama and virtually every leading figure in the Democratic Party has been “universal health care” — but the bill coming out of the Senate Finance Committee falls far short of that. Estimates suggest that by 2015 it will achieve a coverage rate for Americans of just 94%.

“The underlying problem is that there is the lack of the political will in the Senate and the White House to spend enough money on subsidies to come close to achieving universal coverage. With Barack Obama publicly embracing a 10-year cost figure of $900 billion, and the White House worried about the political repercussions from a trillion-dollar price tag, the possibilities for maneuvering are limited. The central issue is not the deficit, since both pieces of legislation pay for themselves with new taxes and reductions in other types of federal health care spending. Rather, the difficulty is rooted in the politics of assembling a 60-vote filibuster-proof Senate majority and the atmospherics of appearing to contain health care spending in the midst of record red ink budgets.”

With Senate leaders still trying to merge the Finance committee bill with a more liberal version passed by the health committee, there’s still a chance the final bill will cover more Americans. But the only way to do it is to spend more money.

Sestak Makes it a Race in Pennsylvania

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Pennsylvania finds Sen. Arlen Specter (D) just four points ahead of challenger Joe Sestak (D) in the Democratic Senate primary, 46% to 42%. 

In general election match ups, Pat Toomey (R) leads Specter, 45% to 40%, while Sestak would edge Toomey, 38% to 37%.


The Daggett Dilemma

“The surging campaign of third-party candidate Chris Daggett has turned the New Jersey governor’s race into a dead-heat and left Republicans divided over the seriousness of the threat he poses to GOP nominee Chris Christie,” Politico reports.

“Daggett, a centrist independent who is currently drawing support in the low double-digits in a series of polls, has been the apparent beneficiary of Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine’s self-funded advertising onslaught against Christie. The result has left the Republican grappling with a two-headed Hydra that could enable a narrow plurality win for the deeply unpopular incumbent.”

“Christie, who had been running a traditional anti-incumbent campaign against Corzine, must now reckon with a perennial question faced by candidates who are imperiled by a lesser-known, third-party contender: To attack Daggett is to elevate him, effectively acknowledging that he’s a serious candidate and offering him free publicity. But ignoring him could amount to disregarding the most serious threat to Christie’s campaign, leaving Daggett to siphon away a significant amount of voters who are intent on registering their opposition to Corzine.”

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

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