POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/1

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Always the thought of my wife standing over me having unloaded a 15-round clip into me and asking, ‘Does somebody have more ammo?'”

— Mike Huckabee, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on what goes through his mind when women try to get his attention.

“Worse than Eliot Spitzer”

South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford writes in her new book, Staying True, that she decided to tell her sons about their father’s affair with an Argentinian woman “before his cheating turned into a national news story last summer,” the New York Daily News reports.

Said 12 year old Bolton Sanford: “It’s worse than Eliot Spitzer!”

Among the other revelations in the book, Sanford says her husband kept “pestering” her for permission to see his mistress even after she found their lovelorn messages.

Young’s Revenge

Tina Brown reviews The Politician for the Daily Beast.

“Andrew Young’s account of his decade as John Edwards’s body man, beard, and shit-eating courtier is a mesmerizing insight not only into the rotten nature of his hero but the corruption of the culture that allowed a man as devoid of authenticity as John Edwards to flourish for so long, even to the point of getting a decent shot at the White House… This is not a political memoir. It’s a morality tale with the chill of Hitchcock. It’ll make a hell of a movie, but I’m not sure I can bear to see it.”

Meanwhile, Young told ABC News that he’s been offered a “gigantic” amount of money to sell the alleged Edwards sex tape that he now holds in a safe deposit box.

The Midterm Election Season Begins

If you check our primary calendar, you’ll find that the official start to the midterm election season begins tomorrow with primaries in Illinois.

Republicans believe they have a chance to win both the governor’s race and U.S. Senate race this fall, seats currently held by Democrats.

As Lynn Sweet notes, Illinois Democrats are “splintered and frazzled” in the wake of the impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who will be tried this summer on federal public corruption charges.

The most hotly-contested primary race is for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination as Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Comptroller Dan Hynes (D) fight it out in increasingly harsh terms. The Democratic race for the U.S. Senate nomination is also tightening with David Hoffman (D) closing on Alexi Giannoulias (D).

Meanwhile, the New York Times notes Republicans also hope to take back the seat once held by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). One of the candidates running for the GOP nomination is Hastert’s son, Ethan.

Quote of the Day

“If I hadn’t done that… I never would have been sitting here with you.”

— Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA), in an interview on ABC News’ This Week, on his nude photo shoot when he was in college.

Steele Rules Out Presidential Bid

RNC Chairman Michael Steele ruled out a presidential bid in 2012, ABC Newsreports.

Said Steele: “In all honest-to-good seriousness, that is such silly Washington talk. It’s just not even on my mind.”

When pressed why he didn’t rule it out completely, Steele insisted, “I just did. I don’t know how many different ways I can do that. How many different ways can you spell ‘no’?”

Why It’s So Hard to Cut Unemployment

Though the economy grew at a 5.7% annualized rate last quarter, the AP reports that economic growth “would have to equal 5% for all of 2010 just to lower the average jobless rate for the year by 1 percentage point.”

“And economists don’t think that’s possible.”

“Most analysts say economic activity will slow to 2.5% or 3% growth for the current quarter as the benefits fade from government stimulus efforts and from companies drawing down less of their stockpiles. That’s why the Federal Reserve and outside economists think it will take until around the middle of the decade to lower the double-digit jobless rate to a more normal 5 or 6%.”

National Debt Projected to Soar

President Obama’s budget outlook adds another $5.08 trillion to the national debt over the next five years, reports Politico.

“That’s $1.32 trillion or 35% more than the White House predicted 12 months ago; about two-thirds of this deterioration can be traced directly back to lower revenues and the higher cost of the wars.”

Furthermore, as the Wall Street Journal reports, “to get the deficit down by the middle of the decade, Mr. Obama will be relying on some cuts that have previously been proposed without success, on cooperation from a wary Congress and on a yet-to-be set up debt commission to suggest politically difficult choices.”

Goldman CEO to Take $100 Million Bonus

Goldman Sachs “could be about to pay its chief executive a bumper bonus of up to $100 million in defiance of moves by President Obama to take action against such payouts,” the Times of London reports.

The world’s richest bank “is becoming the focus of an increasingly acrimonious political and financial showdown” over the payment of bonuses.

Last week, Obama described bonuses paid out by some banks as “the height of irresponsibility” and “shameful.”

Defining Leadership Down

“What does strong Senate leadership look like?,” Frank Rich asks. “That would be L.B.J. in the pre-Kennedy era. Operating with the narrowest of majorities and under an opposition president, he was able to transform a sleepy, seniority-hobbled, regionally polarized debating society into an often-progressive legislative factory.”

“As Robert Caro tells the story in his book Master of the Senate, this Senate leader had determination, ‘a gift for grand strategy,’ and a sixth sense for grabbing opportunities for action before they vanished for good. He could recognize ‘the key that might suddenly unlock votes that had seemed locked forever away’ and turn it quickly. The horse trading with recalcitrant senators was often crude and cynical, but the job got done. L.B.J. knew how to reward — and how to punish.”

“We keep hearing that they just don’t make legislative giants like that anymore. In truth, the long drought has led us to forget what they look like and to define senatorial leadership down.”

The Shaming of John Edwards

David Zurawik notes ABC News “attracted a large audience Friday night of 8.1 million viewers for its hourlong interview/report with Andrew Young, the former Edwards aide whose new book, The Politician, chronicles the one-time presidential candidate’s adultery while his wife was battling cancer…”

“The network has been out front on this story, and it has more on the way with interviews and reports about Edwards, his affair and his love child with a former campaign videographer scheduled for every day of the coming week on Good Morning America. And by the intense reaction of readers at this blog and elsewhere on the Internet, I am starting to believe that ABC News is playing a major role in something important: a public shaming of Edwards. And that is news, because it has seemed, at least since Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, that our culture has lost touch with the concept of public shame.”

Democrats Had a Deal on Health Care Reform

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) “said negotiators from the White House, Senate and House reached a final deal on health care reform days before Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts,” according to The Hill.

“The latest revelation shows how agonizingly close Democrats came to passing a final health care bill in time for President Obama’s State of the Union address.”

Kevin Drum: “The bad news: this means that if Democrats had taken this stuff even slightly more seriously, healthcare reform would already be a done deal. Idiots. The good news: if negotiations really were complete, it should mean that creating a reconciliation deal to accompany passage of the existing Senate bill ought to be fairly easy. A few parts would probably have to be jettisoned since they wouldn’t be allowed under reconciliation rules, but that’s life. The vast bulk of the compromise would stay in place and just needs to be turned into legislative language.”

Boxer Supported by Challenger’s Former Company

The Sacramento Bee reports that Hewlett-Packard’s political action committee has given the maximum amount to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) but hasn’t contributed toward its own former CEO, Carly Fiorina (R), campaign finance reports show.

Categorizing the 2008 Presidential Race

Newark Star Ledger review of Game Change notes this “is not a look at big ideas or political theologies, but at categories: who is the sleaziest (John Edwards, a shoo-in); the most air-headed and diva-like (Sarah Palin, again a shoo-in); the gabbiest and most gaffe-prone (Joe Biden, by at least 1,000 words); the orneriest (Bill Clinton, especially during Bubba mode in South Carolina); the most tempestuous and profane (John McCain, cursed like a sailor); the most aggrieved (Hillary Clinton, with some justification); the schizo wife (Elizabeth Edwards, saintly on the outside/beastly with John); the resurrected wife (Michelle Obama, a winner after early stumbling); and the coolest (Barack Obama, from pillar to post).”

Is Harry Reid Done?

Jon Ralston: “The question must be asked (again) because of the blizzard of developments in the contest, both on Reid’s side and for his potential foes. Before delving into this, though, let’s look at the calendar — 275 days until the election. Much can happen. Reid may make another inflammatory remark (odds: overwhelming in favor) and the Republicans may slice and dice each other until a hemorrhaging, bankrupt nominee is chosen (odds: equally overwhelming).”

“More than one commentator has pointed out as Obama presidency obits are being written that Ronald Reagan was entombed at this point, too. So, too, with Reid, who doesn’t have as long as the president to get well and had substantially lower numbers.”

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