POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/24

Documentary on Bush’s Military Service

“Documentary filmmaker and longtime Michael Moore collaborator Meghan O’Hara is currently working on a feature-length documentary about George W. Bush’s military service in the Texas Air National Guard,” reports the New York Observer.

 

Holbrooke Goes Skiing

Just as President Obama’s new Aghanistan policy is set to be unveiled next week, Ben Smith reports Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke has left for a ski vacation.

“Holbrooke’s absence seems to confirm what has been whispered for months: That he has not occupied the central role on Afghanistan strategy that he had once been expected to take, and that although — or perhaps because — he’s maintained his strong relationship with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his relationship with the White House leaves something to be desired.”

 

Feingold Leads Thompson in Possible Match Up

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin finds Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) safely in front of former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in a U.S. Senate match up, 50% to 41%.

The problem for Thompson: “Wisconsin voters don’t really like him anymore. 45% have an unfavorable opinion of him to just 38% who view Thompson positively.”

However, this finding conflicts with a poll released early last month that showed Thompson edging Feingold.

 

Fenty Faces Uphill Fight for Re-Election

A new Clarus Research poll in Washington, D.C. finds that Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) could have a tough fight for a second term. Just 34% of voters want to see Fenty re-elected in 2010, while 53% said they want somebody new.

In a hypothetical two-way Democratic primary, Council Chairman Vincent Gray beats Fenty, 41% to 37%.

 

Gillibrand Faces Tough Race

A new Zogby IVR poll finds Rudy Giuliani (R) just edging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in a potential 2010 match up, 45% to 43%.

In another potential match-up, Gillibrand holds a slight lead over former Gov. George Pataki (R), 43% to 38%.

If they were to face off in a Republican primary, likely voters would pick Giuliani over Pataki, 72% to 28%.

 

Santorum Will Campaign in South Carolina

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is headed to South Carolina next month for a two-day campaign swing, according to The Hotline.

Santorum has been “openly toying” with a presidential run in 2012 and “acknowledged that a trip to Iowa in September was designed to gin up interest in his own political future.”

Said Santorum: “When you give a speech in either Iowa or New Hampshire, as a Republican or a Democrat, people pay attention.”

 

Why Are Republicans So Fixated on Reagan?

First Read: “The Cold War ended some 20 years ago… Income-tax rates are at historically low levels… And does anyone remember what a “Contra” is? It’s a lot like how it took Democrats generations to kick their Kennedy and FDR habits. Can the GOP keep playing the Reagan card in a world that’s changed so much since his presidency? Did you know that the youngest person to have cast a ballot for Reagan in 1984 is now 43 years old? And that, by 2012, that person will be 46?”

“It’s amazing what everyone in the conservative movement now applies to Reagan. As we and others have pointed out, Reagan himself might not have passed this purity test when he was governor of California or even president (remember his tax increases, the deficits he racked up, and his amnesty for illegal immigrants?). A Bush has run for president FOUR of the last SIX presidential elections, and yet that name apparently is now a four-letter word with GOP activists. They need someone else to rally around. So in the absence of someone currently, the gravitation is Reagan. We get it on one level. But the nostalgia doomed the Democrats for years because the hardest thing to do in politics is look favorable against a ghost. It can’t be done.”

 

Palin Has Big First Week

Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue sold 700,000 copies — a number that includes pre-orders — in its first week of release, the AP reports.

“Few nonfiction books have debuted so well. In 2004, Bill Clinton’s My Life sold more than 900,000 copies in its first week.”

 

Obama’s First State Dinner

“The most sought-after invitation in Washington — for tonight’s state dinner for the prime minister of India, the first state dinner hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle — arrived in the mail a little over a week ago,” Politics Daily reports.

“But no one is complaining about the short notice. Some 400 guests are expected for the party, the most elaborate entertaining the First Couple have done to date.”

ABC News says “the complete guest list, under lock and key until this afternoon, will be scrutinized once it is released later today for celebrity figures and big donors perhaps being repaid for campaign support by receiving the golden ticket.”

Nonetheless, the Washington Times reports that top Republican lawmakers were not invited.

 

Tough Position for Democrats on Health Care

Nate Silver: “I don’t particularly expect a boost in the Democrats’ numbers if they pass a health care bill: the plan, after all, has become somewhat unpopular. Their numbers might even get a little worse. But I’d expect a larger drop in their numbers if they fail to pass health care. Then, you’re getting something close to the worst of both worlds: the people who don’t like health care are still going to blame you for making the effort, but the people who do like the plan will become despondent and wonder what the whole point of electing Democrats to the Congress was in the first place.”

 

Turmoil at the RNC

Politico: “Trevor Francis, communications director of the Republican National Committee, abruptly resigned Monday, and two Republican strategists familiar with the situation said he was pushed out because Chairman Michael Steele didn’t feel he was getting enough credit for the GOP’s electoral success earlier this month.”

 

Schwarzenegger Picks Lawmaker as His Number Two

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), “risking a confirmation fight, announced Monday that he will appoint Republican state Sen. Abel Maldonado to fill the vacant lieutenant governor’s job,” the Sacramento Bee reports.

Schwarzenegger unveiled his pick during a taping of the Jay Leno Show.

Maldonado “has been one of the Republican governor’s few GOP allies in the Legislature. He provided a key vote this year to help push through tax increases and a budget plan over the objections of most Republican lawmakers.”

His appointment to the slot left open by the election of John Garamendi (D) to Congress earlier this month “presents an interesting dilemma for the Democratic-controlled Legislature and Republican lawmakers who want the seat themselves.”

 

President to Announce Afghanistan Policy

President Obama is expected to address the nation next Tuesday night to announce his new Afghanistan policy. McClatchy says the plan will send an additional 34,000 troops.

Obama held a two-hour war council meeting last night to finalize his thinking.

Ben Smith notes the White House “has told the story of the long Afghan deliberations in part through a series of Flickr images, released after each meeting.”

“The latest symbolism: Budget Director Peter Orszag is now in the picture, second from the right, his presence signaling growing concerns on the Hill and in the White House about the cost of the war, and/or a new avenue of pushback against Pentagon requests.”

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