POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/11

Too Many Dead Terrorists

Marc Thiessen, former President Bush’s speechwriter and the author of Courting Disaster, now complains that President Obama is killing too many terrorists.

“Today, the Obama administration is no longer attempting to capture men like these alive; it is simply killing them. This may be satisfying, but it comes at a price. With every drone strike that vaporizes a senior al Qaeda leader, actionable intelligence is vaporized along with him. Dead terrorists can’t tell you their plans to strike America.”

Nothing Left to Lose

Nate Silver: “The near-term political case for passing health care, again, is not that the bill is magically going to become popular over the next eight months. Rather, it’s that the Democrats are already in such bad shape among independents — partly, no doubt, because of their bungled handling of what has become an unpopular health care bill — that they may as well go ahead and give their base something to get excited about. Seriously, the Democrats’ approval rating among independents is 19 percent. What more do they have to lose?”

Diaz-Balart Added to the Retirement List

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) will become the 18th House Republican to announce he won’t seek reelection to Congress, according to the Miami Herald.

Sources tell CQ Politics that Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s departure from the House could clear the way for his brother, Rep. Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), to leave the 25th district to run in the more Republican friendly 21st.

What Elizabeth Edwards Wants

ABC News has more details on Elizabeth Edwards threatening to sue her husband’s former aide, Andrew Young, unless he agreed to several terms.

“Among her purported demands was that Young donate $250,000 to the Wade Edwards Foundation, a non-profit group named for the Edwards’ late son, who died in a car accident in 1996.”

“She also purportedly demanded that Young stop speaking publicly about the Edwards’ marriage and that he return voicemails that she apparently left him in the course of the 2008 presidential campaign.”

What is the Most Corrupt State?

Gail Collins: “Our question for today is, who has the most awful political culture, Illinois or New York? Already, I have offended many, many readers who believe their state is being unfairly overlooked. I see you waving your hands, New Jersey.”

Gregg to the Rescue on Health Care?

Politico reports that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) could broker a deal with the White House on health care, pointing out “it’s clear already that Gregg’s restless energy is drawing him back into the fray, and the New Hampshire conservative brings both a proven ability to swing Republican votes and a background in health care and deficit issues.”

“Obama may feel burned already by Gregg, who famously accepted then gave back the president’s nomination to be commerce secretary last year. And the changes Gregg will want are sure to aggravate the White House’s already frayed relationship with the left. Yet the same qualities that first made Gregg attractive as a Cabinet nominee remain. He brings a record of bipartisan deal making and good personal ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). And getting Gregg on board makes it far easier for Maine’s two moderate Republicans, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, to work with the White House.”

Taking Palin Seriously

On the same day a poll shows the vast majority of Americans don’t think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, two old-line pundits say she must be taken seriously.

Joe Klein: “The Obama presidency certainly hasn’t ushered in an era of comity and prosperity. In the end, though, Palin is offering the opposite of hope and change: despair and stasis. The despair is histrionic and purposefully distorted; the stasis proved disastrous during the Bush Administration. But is Sarah Palin the favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination and therefore someone to be taken absolutely seriously? You betcha.”

David Broder: “Those who want to stop her will need more ammunition than deriding her habit of writing on her hand. The lady is good.”

Obama Would Beat Unnamed Republican

A new Gallup survey finds President Obama would beat a generic Republican opponent for re-election, 44% to 42%.

“A year into his first term as president, Obama’s approval ratings are hovering around 50%. The 50% approval figure has been a strong predictor of an incumbent president’s re-election: presidents who averaged 50% or better from January of an election year through Election Day have all been re-elected.”

Staffer Reflects on the Edwards Scandal

Wendy Button, a former aide to John Edwards, writes about her experience working for the now disgraced former presidential candidate.

“The unbelievable and absurd details to this scandal have made it easy for the jokes to flow on late night TV, the anger to erupt on the editorial pages, and the judgment reigns down on cable TV. These are all parts of a scandal, and they give us an excuse to look away from another hard truth — this is a sad story.”

“For the hundreds of us who didn’t repair sex tapes with scotch tape, the truth and the details of John’s mess, they break our hearts all over again. It’s like watching and re-watching disaster footage and there’s nothing we can do about it to stop everything from crumbling to the ground.”

Vast Majority Don’t Think Palin is Qualified

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 71% of Americans do not feel that Sarah Palin is qualified to be President.

Interestingly, just 45% of Republicans think she is qualified as compared to 66% who thought she was during the presidential campaign.

Rick Klein: “The poll shows a big drop in her favorability rating since Palin’s book launched in November — the event that marked her reemergence into an active presence in public life:”

Boehner Now Wary of Televising Summit

Despite criticizing the Obama administration for failing to televise negotiations over the health care bill on C-SPAN, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is now questioning plans to televise the upcoming bipartisan health care summit, reports TPM.

In response to a question by Greta Van Susteren about what he thinks about televising the summit, Boehner said, “I think that’s fine, but you know, is this a political event or is this going to be a real conversation?”

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