POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/5

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Our platform is one of the best political documents that’s been written in the last 25 years. Honest Injun on that.”

— RNC Chairman Michael Steele, in an interview with Sean Hannity.

Read more…

Coakley Leads By 11 Points

The Weekly Standard has obtained the results of “a private poll conducted last week by a reputable non-partisan firm” which shows Martha Coakley (D) ahead of Scott Brown (R) by 11 points in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race, 50% to 39%.

This would give some credence to the Rasmussen poll cited earlier that shows Coakley up by 9 points.

For what it’s worth, Brown was on the Laura Ingraham Show this morning and claimed that his own internal polling shows the race a dead heat.

Scandal Books Coming Next Month

South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford’s memoir, Staying True, about dealing with her husband’s infidelity will now be published in early February.

Due out the same week: The Politician by Andrew Young, which dishes on the John Edwards extramarital affair

Florida GOP Chair Quits

Jim Greer, the embattled chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, will resign,CNN reports.

“The longtime ally of Gov. Charlie Crist has been under fire for his management of party money and his involvement in contested primaries. Critics of the chairman — including backers of Marco Rubio, Crist’s conservative rival for the GOP Senate nomination — have been demanding his ouster for months. Greer was appointed by Crist in 2007.”

The battle for the soul of the Republican party has taken another victim.

Quote of the Day

“Being the first sucks.”

— Amanda Simpson, quoted by ABC News, on being America’s first openly transgender presidential appointee.

Petraeus Buzz Grows

Washington Whispers: “The buzz meter on Iraq-Afghanistan war boss Gen. David Petraeus running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is redlining. Just named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, Petraeus, Whispers hears, has been selected to receive the 2010 Irving Kristol Award for public leadership from the American Enterprise Institute, and he’s slated to give a lecture May 6 that center-right activists are eagerly awaiting.”

Said one conservative: “He is Webster’s definition of a true dark horse.”

Cherry Drops Bid in Michigan

WLNS-TV reports Michigan Lt. Governor John Cherry (D), “once the presumed front-runner for the Democratic nomination, will drop out of the race for Governor.”

The buzz is that Cherry “has had trouble raising money — and fellow Democrats have privately and publicly expressed doubts about his ability to win the race if he secured his party’s nomination.”

Coakley Leading By Just Nine

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 41%.

While this poll will cause even more excitement among conservative blogs about a possible upset, First Read isn’t buying it: “This is Massachusetts, where Democrats control all 10 congressional seats and 90% of the state’s legislature.”

However, if Brown does make a respectable showing, watch out for the conservative backlash against the GOP establishment which has written off the race.

Can House Republicans Overcome Their Money Problems?

Newsweek reports “the NRCC’s fundraising woes are also a sign that the insurgent Tea Party movement that’s energized the conservative base has yet to pay off for the Republican Party in terms of small-scale donations — the kind of grassroots support that proved critical to bringing Obama and congressional Democrats to power last year.”

Hammering Out the Health Care Bill

An 11-page staff comparison of House and Senate health-reform bills obtained byPolitico shows more than 50 “topline differences” still need to be resolved. This is the starting point for a meeting later today at the White House with House and Senate Democratic leaders.

Mike Allen: “White House aides have sought to downplay the challenge of reconciling the two bills. But the chart is an unambiguous reminder that a bill-signing is still a ways off — and a series of politically-unforgiving and party-straining decisions await Democrats.”

While Republicans have criticized the news that Democrats will bypass a formal conference committee and instead play a game of legislative “ping-pong” — amending the respective health bills until they’re identical — First Read notes that “legislative ping-pong is not all that uncommon of a practice, noting that the S-CHIP and FDA/tobacco laws were reconciled that way.”

Lessons from the Profumo Affair

Walter Shapiro correctly notes that despite their attempts to bounce back, “the unavoidable truth is that the bipartisan quartet of Spitzer, Sanford, Ensign and Edwards flamed out in such a starburst of scandal that there will be no second acts in politics, no return engagements with suddenly forgiving voters. The problem was not the sex or even a gentleman-never-tells deceit, but the jaw-dropping betrayal of public trust.”

They could learn from the example of British politician John Profumo, “who resigned in 1963 as Her Majesty’s secretary of state for war after lying to the House of Commons about his dalliance with a call girl named Christine Keeler.”

Rather than attempting a political comeback, Profumo spent the next four decades working nearly full time as a settlement house volunteer. He “achieved redemption through understated deeds rather than with photo-op gestures. Sadly, it seems improbable than any contemporary tarnished politician will ever match John Profumo’s dignity in disgrace.”

Bennett Gets Another Primary Challenger

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Mike Lee (R) will join the field of candidates challenging Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

“Bennett is under fire from conservative Republicans, in large part because he supported the first round of bank bailouts during the Bush administration, and because he has supported health reform legislation that is unpopular in some circles.”

This will be another good primary to watch.

How Obama Approaches the War on Terrorism

The New York Times runs a must-read piece on President Obama’s efforts to fight terrorism which is best summed up by this quote from White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan: “This president recognizes that there’s still a very serious terrorist threat that we gave from organizations like Al Qaeda. But at the same time, what we have to do is make sure we’re not pouring fuel on the flames by the things we do.”

In addition, President Obama “understands that if, only by the law of averages, there is a decent chance of a major attack on the United States during his presidency And, if that attack happens, any change in policy, no matter how incidental to the facts of the case, will be fodder for critics to blame him for the attack.”

Click here to find out more!

Graham Censured Again

The Republican Party in another South Carolina county voted to censure Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “for his positions on several controversial issues, including his support for a compromise on cap-and-trade legislation,” CNN reports.

The resolution “also rapped Graham for his vote in favor of the 2008 financial bailout and his outspoken support of immigration reform.”

In November of last year, another county party censured Graham for being too liberal even though independent vote rankings show he’s the 15th most conservative senator.

Steele Doubts Republicans Can Take House

In an interview with Sean Hannity, RNC Chairman Michael Steele handicapped the GOP’s chances of taking over the House of Representatives in this year’s elections.

STEELE: I think overall — given what we know so far and what this administration’s proclivities are — we’re going to see, I think, nice pick-ups in the House. I think we’re gonna see…

HANNITY: [interrupting] … woah, more specific.

STEELE: Well, I can’t give a number yet, because like I said, we’re just now beginning to look at the races, and we have races…

HANNITY: [interrupting] Do you think you can take-over the House? Do you think Republicans…

STEELE: [interrupting] … not this year, and Sean, I’ll say…

HANNITY: [interrupting] … you don’t think so?

STEELE: Well, I don’t know yet, because I don’t know all the candidates yet. We still have some vacancies that need to get filled, but then the question we need to ask ourselves is: if we do that, are we ready?

Steele Publishes New Book

Just out: Right Now: A 12-Step Program For Defeating The Obama Agenda by RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

“A call to arms for grassroots America, this book argues for abandoning ‘conservatism-lite,’ returning to core conservative principles, and launching an uncompromising campaign for limited government. The path to a Republican renaissance has already been laid, says Steele: the target is the Obama agenda, the method is active opposition, and the time is Right Now.”

Ensign Returns to Public Life

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) “is peeking out of his post-scandal shell by asserting himself on controversial policy issues — with mixed results,” the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

Six months after admitting to an affair with a staffer, Ensign said he’s planning to hold two town hall meetings in Nevada this month.

“But as Ensign confronts policy issues, he is also forced to deal with unanswered scandal questions. That is what happened last week when Ensign appeared on CNN for an interview with Rick Sanchez. The topic turned from terrorism to the scandal, which was clearly uncomfortable for Ensign.”

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