POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/9

Gonzales Regrets Getting Caught

In an interview with the Washington Post, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales reflects on the Bush years.

Said Gonzales: “We should have abandoned the idea of removing the U.S. attorneys once the Democrats took the Senate. Because at that point we could really not count on Republicans to cut off investigations or help us at all with investigations. We didn’t see that at the Department of Justice. Nor did the White House see that. Karl didn’t see it. If we could do something over again, that would be it.”

Dean Changes Tune on Health Care Bill

Just a week ago, Howard Dean said that Congress “isn’t going to pass a bill that reforms health care,” and that “If we don’t have a choice, this bill is worthless and should be defeated.”

However, Dean hit the airwaves this morning telling CBS News that last night’s deal represents “real reform” adding, “This is what should have been done in the first place.”

Read more…

The End of Playing the Bush Card

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having President Obama in the White House while 44% would prefer George W. Bush.

Analysis: “Given the horrendous approval ratings Bush showed during his final term that’s somewhat of a surprise and an indication that voters are increasingly placing the blame on Obama for the country’s difficulties instead of giving him space because of the tough situation he inherited. The closeness in the Obama/Bush numbers also has implications for the 2010 elections. Using the Bush card may not be particularly effective for Democrats anymore, which is good news generally for Republicans…”

Majority Says Congress has Low Ethical Standards

A new Gallup poll finds a majority of Americans — 55% — say the honesty and ethical standards of “members of Congress” are low or very low.

The only other occupational group that the majority of Americans see as having low or very low honesty and ethical standards is car salespeople.

Quote of the Day

“One of the things that concerns me is that in the United States there’s a real talk of ‘maybe we need to have this big tent and make sure that we just accommodate every view.’ That’s what will kill the conservative movement.”

— Mike Huckabee, speaking at a fundraiser last week in Canada.

Obama Approval Falls to New Low

A new Quinnipiac poll finds President Obama’s approval rating at 46% — his lowest yet — with 44% disapproving.

In addition, Voters disapprove 52% to 38% of the health care reform proposal under consideration in Congress, and they disapprove 56% to 38% of Obama’s handling of health care.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “President Obama’s job approval rating continues to slide and it’s evident the deterioration stems from voter unhappiness over domestic policy matters.”

Dodd Denies He Was Asked to Drop Out

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) was “asked about rumors that some anxious Connecticut Democratic leaders have urged him to consider stepping out of the 2010 Senate race in favor of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal,” the Hartford Courantreports.

However, Dodd said he had not been directly confronted by party officials and quipped, ‘they can’t be more anxious about it than I am.”

new poll yesterday showed Dodd way behind his chief Republican rival.

Buzz Grows for Thune Presidential Bid

“While most of the 2012 GOP presidential buzz is focused on a group of former and soon-to-be former governors, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is increasingly being viewed as the Capitol’s most likely White House contender,” reports CQ Politics.

“The telegenic first-term senator’s national profile is no doubt on the rise — as evidenced by the South Dakota’s Republican’s increased leadership role this Congress and extensive fundraising for his non-competitive re-election race next year.”

“When asked about any presidential aspirations, Thune said he was only focused on his re-election campaign — even though he has not attracted a single Democratic opponent so far.”

Health Care Deal Reached?

Senate Democrats said “they have sent some health care proposals to the Congressional Budget Office for cost estimates, although they studiously avoiding saying they had a deal,” Roll Call reports.

However, CNN quotes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) saying they have reached “broad agreement” but declined to release details.

No one is certain what the agreement is, but the New York Times and the AP say it “rejects” the public option while the Washington Post calls it a “public option compromise.”

Importantly, Reuters quotes Reid saying that reports the government-run “public option” had been dropped were “not true.”

Coakley vs. Brown in Massachusetts

State Sen. Scott Brown has won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate and Attorney General Martha Coakley has taken the Democratic race as both run away with landslide wins, the Boston Herald reports.

Americans Grow More Pessimistic

Bloomberg Poll: Americans have grown gloomier about both the economy and the nation’s direction over the past three months even as the U.S. shows signs of moving from recession to recovery. Almost half the people now feel less financially secure than when President Barack Obama took office in January.”

Ford to Write Memoir

Coming next year: More Davids Than Goliaths: A Political Education by former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN).

From the publisher: “Reflecting on what he’s learned from his extended political family, the slings and arrows of the campaign trail, and those across our nation who inspire him, More Davids Than Goliaths explains Ford’s conviction, ‘At its best, leadership in government can solve, inspire, and heal.’ Along the way, Ford reminds us that in America, there are more Davids than Goliaths, more solutions than problems, more that unites us than divides us.”

Perdue Sinks Lower in North Carolina

A new Civitas Institute survey in North Carolina finds just 20% of voters say they would vote to re-elect Gov. Bev Perdue (D), while 62% said they would not and 17% were unsure.

Said pollster Francis De Luca: “It’s rather remarkable how quickly Gov. Perdue’s popularity has dropped. Less than a year on the job and only one in five voters would keep her around.”

Dodd Stumbling Badly

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Connecticut finds Rob Simmons (R) leading Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) by 13 points, 48% to 35%.

Linda McMahon (R) leads Dodd by 6 points, 44% to 38%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“At this point I’d be reluctant to pinpoint anybody. It might hurt them more than it would help them coming from me.”

— Former Vice President Dick Cheney, quoted by the Chicago Tribune, on who the Republicans might nominate for president in 2012.

Former Missouri Lawmaker Charged

Former Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton (R) “was charged with felony assault that allegedly happened during an S&M session gone wrong,” reports the Riverfront Times.

Reports say Jetton told the woman to use the safe words “green balloons” to make him stop but she was apparently drugged, fading in-and-out of consciousness and unresponsive.

KFVS-TV notes Jetton turned himself in to authorities last night.

Don’t Leave the Room

The Raleigh News and Observer reports that Republicans took control of the Wake County Board of Commissioners last night after 14 tie votes — only when one Democratic member took an unexcused bathroom break and the tie was broken.

Huckabee Unscathed?

Public Policy Polling survey, due out Thursday, will show that Mike Huckabee’s favorability ratings remain virtually unchanged from a month ago, despite a string of bad news that many predicted would sink any prospects of a 2012 presidential bid for the former Arkansas governor.

Perhaps even more surprising,”not only does it show him once again as the Republican who comes closest to Barack Obama, but it also shows him coming closer to Obama than he has in any of the previous nine monthly polls.”

However, GOP 12 notes that potential 2012 rivals, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, aren’t letting Huckabee off so easily.

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