POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/4

King Reconsiders Senate Bid

In a radio interview this morning, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) suggested that he may be reconsidering his decision to not run for Senate in 2010, according to The Hill.

Said King: “Actually, I am looking at it — you know, a lot of people have come to me.”

Last week, King told Newsday he was being urged to run by state and national Republicans.

GOP Retirements Mount in the House

With news that Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC) will not seek re-election, we noted Republicans now have 14 open House seats to defend this year while Democrats have just 10 open seats so far.

The Fix: “While much of the focus for the last month (or so) has been on Democrats’ retirement problems — set off by a quartet of announcements in swing and Republican-leaning districts over the last month — a broad look at the open seat playing field suggests more parity in terms of the two parties’ opportunities and vulnerabilities than conventional wisdom suggests.”

Blagojevich on Celebrity Apprentice

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be a contestant on The Celebrity Apprenticehosted by Donald Trump, the AP reports.

The new season begins on March 14 on NBC.

DeMint Backs Down

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), one of the earliest and most outspoken critics of President Obama after the failed Christmas terror attack, backed off his previous statements in an interview on MSNBC this morning, according to The Hill.

Said DeMint: “Instead of focusing on the blame right now, the president seems to be on the right approach.”

This comes a day after he said on CNN that Obama was too “distracted by other things” to properly handle national security matters.

Obama Still Wants Paterson Out

President Obama still wants New York Gov. David Paterson (D) “dumped from the Democratic ticket, even though the field of GOP candidates for governor is weaker now that Rudy Giuliani (R) is out of the race,” according to the New York Post.

“Paterson told friends and associates in recent days… that the announcement by Giuliani, who polls showed would have crushed Paterson, has led the president to reconsider the stunning September disclosure that he was opposed to the governor’s candidacy.”

But a White House source says, “Nothing has changed.”

Griffith Staff Quits

The DCCC sends along news this morning that Rep. Parker Griffith’s (R-AL) entire staff resigned this morning in protest of their boss’s decision to leave the Democratic Party.

Booker Sets New Standard for Constituent Service

When the daughter of a 65-year-old Newark man used Twitter to directly ask Mayor Cory Booker to help shovel her dad’s driveway on New Years Eve, CNN notes she got a response five minutes later from the mayor himself.

Tweeted Booker: “I will do it myself where does he live?”

The mayor arrived 20 minutes later with volunteers and cleared the man’s driveway.

Landrieu Loses Challenger in Mayoral Race

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu (D) got a big break in the New Orleans mayoral race when chief rival Ed Murray (D) told advisers he’s dropping out of the race, theNew Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

In a statement, Murray said “his decision rested in part on a desire to avoid what appeared to be shaping up to be an ‘extremely racially divisive’ contest between himself” and Landrieu.

Republican Cash Woes Threaten Midterm Plans

Politico reports that the NRCC, “the key cog in helping to finance GOP campaigns, has banked less than a third as much money as its Democratic counterpart and is ending the year with barely enough money to fully finance a single House race — no less the dozens that will be in play come 2010.”

“A big part of the problem, according to Republican strategists, is that GOP members themselves — the ones who stand the most to gain from large-scale House gains — haven’t chipped in accordingly, despite evidence of solid opportunities in at least 40 districts next year and with as many as 80 seats in play, according to the Cook Political Report‘s estimates.”

Quote of the Day

“Let’s stay! Are we all in? I’m trying to mount a coup here!”

— First Lady Michelle Obama, quoted by ABC News, trying to convince the press corps to stay in Hawaii a little longer.

Chafee to Announce Bid

Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (I) will formally announce his independent candidacy for Rhode Island governor later today and “has once again dipped into his personal fortune to feed his campaign,” the Providence Journal reports.

Palin Rebounds in Alaska

A new Hays Research poll in Alaska finds former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) with a 55% favorable rating which “is obviously way down from the stratospheric numbers she enjoyed early as governor. But it represents a rise from her 46.8 percent in the last Hays poll on Palin. That poll was taken at the end of July, right after Palin resigned from office and Parnell became governor.”

Ten Campaign Stories to Watch

The Hill notes ten interesting themes that are emerging as the 2010 midterm elections ramp up:

1. How real is the tea party effect?
2. How many more Democrats head for the exits?
3. Will Republicans have the funds they need to win big?
4. Does the economy turn around?
5. How will tough votes in 2009 translate to 2010?
6. Can Republicans restore their good name?
7. What does President Obama do for the Democrats?
8. How much emphasis do the national parties put on governor’s races?
9. Will open seats ruin the NRSC’s Election Day?
10. Do Democrats face formidable primaries?

In case you missed it, you may want to save this link to Political Wire‘s 2010 congressional primary calendar.

Brown Will Not Seek Re-Election

Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC) has told associates he will his announce his retirement Monday.

Sources tell Palmetto Scoop that Brown “was upset with being a member of the minority party in Washington. And at 74 years old, age was also a factor in Brown’s decision not to run again.”

Of course, Brown also faced multiple primary challengers, including one from Carroll Campbell III, the son of the former GOP governor and congressman.

The Hotline notes Brown’s retirement gives the GOP 14 open seats to defend in ’10, while Dems will be forced to defend nine open seats.

Democrats Likely to Bypass Conference on Health Care Bill

Two senior Capitol Hill staffers tell Jonathan Cohn that House and Senate Democrats are “almost certain” to negotiate informally rather than convene a formal conference committee for the health care reform bill. “Doing so would allow Democrats to avoid a series of procedural steps — not least among them, a series of special motions in the Senate, each requiring a vote with full debate — that Republicans could use to stall deliberations, just as they did in November and December.”

Said one staffer: “There will almost certainly be full negotiations but no formal conference. There are too many procedural hurdles to go the formal conference route in the Senate.”

“Whatever form the final discussions take place, a decision to bypass conference would undoubtedly expedite the debate, clearing the way for final passage (if not signing) by the end of January. And, as long as both chambers still get their say, that’s a good thing.”

Congressional Primary Calendar

This year promises some very exciting midterm election contests with primaries or run-offs held on at least 24 different days.

The complete 2010 primary calendar follows…

Read more…

Job Losses May Have Eased

With a new employment report due Friday, Bloomberg reports economists believe the “worst U.S. employment slump in the post-World War II era may have almost ended in December, signaling the recovery will not be jobless much longer.”

“Stimulus-driven gains in global demand mean American companies may need to start boosting payrolls in 2010 after eliminating 7.2 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007.”

Romney Book Tour Will Hit Key Primary States

The March 2 release of Mitt Romney’s No Apology: The Case for American Greatness “will kick off a monthlong tour taking the former Massachusetts governor to at least 18 states, including Iowa, where Romney’s presidential campaign collapsed nearly two years ago after a second-place caucus finish,” the Boston Globe reports.

“But Romney, considered by many in the party to be the default Republican front-runner for the 2012 nomination, is approaching the book tour with the patient, workmanlike mien that has distinguished him from other probable contenders who seem far more eager for attention.”

Democrats Ramp Up for Redistricting

Politics magazine: “The year 2000 marked the second straight decade when Republicans headed into the process better prepared and, regardless of how dirty Democrats accused the GOP of playing, ultimately got the best of their opposition. It’s something Democrats are determined to not let happen again. Heading into the 2010 Census, Democrats have rebuilt their redistricting machine to match the Republican one.”

Brennan Hits Back at Cheney

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan blasted former Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent criticism of President Obama on Meet the Press.

Said Brennan: “I’m very disappointed in the vice president’s comments. I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat — I’ve worked for the past five administrations. And either the vice president is willfully mischaracterizing this president’s position — both in terms of language he uses, and the actions he’s taken — or he’s ignorant of the fact. And in either case, it doesn’t speak well of what the vice president’s doing.”

Read more…

Is Rasmussen Really Biased?

In an email to Political Wire, Scott Rasmussen declined to weigh in on the recentcriticism of his firm’s polling results.

However, Nate Silver makes a very good point noting that while Rasmussen’s election polls have tended to be very accurate in the past, the firm’s opinion “is one among many. They might turn out to be right — but so might all of the other pollsters who have a different opinion about the electorate. If you’re running a news organization and you tend to cite Rasmussen’s polls disproportionately, it probably means that you are biased — it does not necessarily mean that Rasmussen is biased.”

Quote of the Day

“People are crazy if they think we win by getting more pure. We win by getting big.”

— Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), quoted by Newsweek.

Rasmussen Ripped

“Democrats are turning their fire on Scott Rasmussen, the prolific independent pollster whose surveys on elections, President Obama’s popularity and a host of other issues are surfacing in the media with increasing frequency,” reports Politico.

“The pointed attacks reflect a hardening conventional wisdom among prominent liberal bloggers and many Democrats that Rasmussen Reports polls are, at best, the result of a flawed polling model and, at worst, designed to undermine Democratic politicians and the party’s national agenda.”

Andrew Sullivan makes a persuasive case against Rasmussen with two simple charts — one showing President Obama’s approval ratings by Rasmussen and the other showing the aggregated results of other pollsters.

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