POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/26

Stupak Not Running for Governor

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) said he “won’t seek the Democratic nomination for Michigan governor this year and instead will run for re-election to Congress, where he holds powerful committee assignments and has been a significant voice in the health care debate,” the AP reports.

Earlier, Stupak implied he would only run if he could avoid a primary.

Campaign Donations by Text Not Yet Possible

With Americans donating to the Haiti relief effort at unprecedented numbers through text messaging, Nathan Gonzales looks at the legal hurdles that prevent congressional candidates from using the same technology to solicit campaign contributions.

Plan B for Health Care Reform?

Roll Call reports that House and Senate Democratic leaders “have been talking behind the scenes about possible ways to revive their legislation but still don’t have a plan a week after Republican Scott Brown rocked their world by winning the Massachusetts Senate special election.”

However, John Podesta tells TPM there is a growing “consensus” behind “having the House pass the Senate’s health care bill but only with guarantees that it could later be amended through a reconciliation bill.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, told the New York Times that, of reconciliation, Republicans “would make it an extraordinarily difficult exercise.”

Tea Party Convention Unraveling

The New York Times reports a Tea Party convention “billed as the coming together of the grass-roots groups that began sprouting up around the country a year ago is unraveling as sponsors and participants pull out to protest its expense and express concerns about ‘profiteering.'”

“The convention’s difficulties highlight the fractiousness of the Tea Party groups, and the considerable suspicions among their members of anything that suggests the establishment.”

Pence Will Not Challenge Bayh

Sources confirm to Erick Erickson that Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) will not run for the U.S. Senate from Indiana, despite polls showing he could beat Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN).

Pence will soon send out a letter to supporters outlining his reasons.

Instead, Pence is said to be considering a 2012 presidential bid.

Mixed Message in Massachusetts

Daniel Larison looked at the Washington Post polling analysis of the results in Massachusetts and concludes: “So what we have here is a significant bloc of Brown voters, at least 24% of them, who approve of Obama, support his policies, and want more activist government, and some of them even support the bill Brown has promised to kill.”

Another incredible nugget: “Perhaps most amusing, 52% of Brown voters approved of Ted Kennedy’s job performance.”

Crist May Appear with Obama Again

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) — who has taken a “steady pounding” for his “man hug” with President Obama last February” and is now running behind in his Senate primary race — may be with Obama again later this week “when the president may announce a major award of high-speed rail money for Florida — money that state officials say will create thousands of new jobs,” the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Quote of the Day

“As you know, there’s been a schmear campaign about my position on some of the social issues.”

— Harold Ford (D), quoted by the New York Times, dropping a little Yiddish in a radio interview yesterday about his possible U.S. Senate bid from New York.

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert named Ford the “Alpha Dog of the Week” in a very funny video.

Read more…

Wolfson to City Hall

Howard Wolfson, “who helped craft and drive the message” in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election bid, “is joining the mayor’s City Hall team in a broad senior advisory role as the administration prepares for a third term in a brutal economic climate,” the New York Post reports.

“The job will have a sweeping portfolio, involving both crafting policy and shaping the agenda, as well as advancing Team Bloomberg’s message.”

“Wolfson is also the only senior member of Bloomberg’s kitchen cabinet who’s worked on a presidential run – and speculation has been running wild that the mayor, who’s a lame duck at City Hall now, is eyeing the White House in 2012 after seriously putting pieces together to run for 2008 but ultimately deciding against pulling the switch.”

Total Paralysis on the National Debt

First Read: “But just how hard is it to really cut into the nation’s debt? Look no further than today’s Senate vote to establish an independent debt commission, which would come up with bipartisan recommendations to reduce the debt. Today’s vote isn’t expected to get 60 votes because conservatives are worried that the commission’s recommendations would include tax increases, while liberals are concerned that there would be cuts in entitlement spending. Well, yeah — the only way to really reduce the debt (outside of another economic boom like we saw in the late ’90s) is to both raise taxes and cut entitlement spending. That Democrats and Republicans can’t come together on something like this only adds to the perception that Washington isn’t working.”

The Return of Populism

David Brooks: “Ever since I started covering politics, the Democratic ruling class has been driven by one fantasy: that voters will get so furious at people with M.B.A.’s that they will hand power to people with Ph.D.’s. The Republican ruling class has been driven by the fantasy that voters will get so furious at people with Ph.D.’s that they will hand power to people with M.B.A.’s. Members of the ruling class love populism because they think it will help their section of the elite gain power.”

Gillibrand, Cuomo Lead in New York

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in New York finds Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) leading potential Democratic primary rival Harold Ford (D), 41% to 27%, with another 29% still undecided.

In a gubernatorial primary match up, Andrew Cuomo (D) crushes Gov. David Paterson (D), 63% to 19%, with 18% still undecided.

Rubio Leads Crist in Florida

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds Marco Rubio (R) now leading Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in the Republican race for U.S. Senate, 47% to 44%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Who would have thunk it? A former state lawmaker virtually unknown outside of his South Florida home whose challenge to an exceedingly popular sitting governor for a U.S. Senate nomination had many insiders scratching their heads. He enters the race 31 points behind and seven months later sneaks into the lead. And, the horse race numbers are not a fluke. Rubio also tops Crist on a number of other measurements from registered Republicans, who are the only folks who can vote in the primary. Rubio’s grassroots campaigning among Republican activists around the state clearly has paid off.”

Rubio also beats Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) in a general election match up, 44% to 35%. Crist leads Meek, 48% to 36%.

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