POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/18

Gilibrand Leads Ford in Potential Primary

For the first time since she‟s been a U.S. Senator, a new Siena poll finds “more voters now have an unfavorable view of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) than have a favorable view.”

Gillibrand leads Harold Ford in a potential Democratic primary, 41% to 17%, but would lose badly to former Gov. George Pataki (R) in a general election match up, 51% to 38%.

Book Shows Voters Chose Well

Hendrick Hertzberg reviews Game Change and notes Barack Obama “is the only principal whose aides do not experience moments of suspicion — or, in the cases of Edwards and Palin, weeks of certainty — that their candidate is unfit for the office that he or she seeks. Only the future President is exactly what he seemed to be: calm, determined, a little aloof, immune to the snares of anger or vengefulness.”

Game Change leaves one reassured that the voters, given the choices before them, chose well.”

Rothenberg Now Says Brown is Favored

With polls showing Scott Brown (R) running extremely well with independent voters in Massachusetts — “and unless Democratic turnout exceeds everyone’s expectations” — the Rothenberg Political Report says Brown is headed for a comfortable win and moves the race rating from Toss-Up to Lean Takeover.

Historical Quote of the Day

“I am in Birmingham because injustice is here… I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

— From Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Coleman Won’t Run for Governor

Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) said he would not enter the crowded Minnesota governor’s race, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. “This is not the right time for me and my family to conduct a campaign for Governor,” he said in a Facebook post. “The timing on this race is both a bit too soon and a bit too late.”

The field to replace Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) already includes seven Republicans and twelve Democrats.

Where’s Mitt?

Politico notes that amid the flurry of prominent politicians that have visited Massachusetts in the final days before the special Senate election in the state, one favorite son has been notably absent.

Former Massachusetts governor and likely 2012 presidential contender Mitt Romney (R) has not appeared publicly with the Republican candidate Scott Brown since late October, “when almost no one thought Brown had a chance of winning.”

“Romney’s absence from the campaign trail, several pollsters and political operatives said, is no comment on Brown. Rather, it’s a reflection of Romney’s diminished political standing in Massachusetts, where he held the governor’s mansion for one term before leaving to seek the White House.”

Quote of the Day

“As long as I have served … I’ve never seen, as my uncle once said, the constitution stood on its head as they’ve done. This is the first time every single solitary decisions has required 60 senators… No democracy has survived needing a supermajority.”

— Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by Politico, slamming the rising use of the filibuster at a fundraiser Sunday.

Non-Stop News

Ken Auletta: “The news cycle is getting shorter — to the point that there is no pause, only the constancy of the Web and the endless argument of cable. This creates pressure to entertain or perish, which has fed the press’s dominant bias: not pro-liberal or pro-conservative but pro-conflict.”

Brown Leads Coakley by Five Points

The final Public Policy Polling survey in Massachusetts finds Scott Brown (R) leading Martha Coakley (D), 51% to 46%, an advantage that is within the margin of error for the poll.

Key finding: “56% of voters in the state think Brown has made a strong case for why he should be elected while just 41% say the same of Coakley. Even among Coakley’s supporters only 73% think she’s made the argument for herself, while 94% of Brown’s supporters think he has.”

Poll Average Shows a Dead Heat

Nate Silver dusts off his Senate forecasting model and concludes — with several important caveats — that the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race is a Toss Up.

Poll Gives Brown Solid Lead Over Coakley

Merriman River Group poll in Massachusetts finds that Scott Brown (R) leads Martha Coakley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 50.8% to 41.2%.

Key finding: “What seems to tip the race in Brown’s favor most is his popularity among Moderates, Independents, and men, and Coakley’s lack of an advantage among women.”

Quote of the Day

“I think the politics are toxic for the Democrats either way. This issue isn’t going away.”

— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by The Hill, arguing health care will be used against Democrats in the midterm elections.

Obama Advisers Think Coakley Will Lose

Multiple advisers to President Obama “have privately told party officials that they believe” Martha Coakley (D) is going to lose Tuesday’s special election to fill the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat, several sources told CNN.

“The sources added that the advisers are still hopeful that Obama’s visit to Massachusetts on Sunday — coupled with a late push by Democratic activists — could help Coakley pull out a narrow victory in an increasingly tight race against Scott Brown (R). However, the presidential advisers have grown increasingly pessimistic in the last three days about Coakley’s chances after a series of missteps by the candidate, sources said.”

Cook Gives Slight Edge to Brown

The Cook Political Report continues to see the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race “as very much of a Toss Up,” with Scott Brown (R) holding onto a very narrow, single-digit lead over Martha Coakley (D).

“Given the vagaries of voter turnout, particularly in lower participation level special elections, this race could still go either way, but we put a finger on the scale for Brown. Last minute Democratic attacks on Brown have driven his negatives up some and slightly diminished the incredible intensity of support that Brown enjoyed, but it looks more likely than not to hold.”

Obama Fired Up

President Obama this month “has shifted from the measured tones he used throughout 2009 to push his policies, reviving his fiery campaign rhetoric that helped him win the White House,” reports The Hill.

In fact, the president said he welcomed a fight with Republicans on health care.

Said Obama: “Let me tell you something, if Republicans want to campaign against something by standing up for the status quo and for insurance companies over families and businesses, that is a fight I want to have.”

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