Hill Says He Might Be Interested in Senate

In a possible complication for Indiana Democrats, Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) said “he isn’t ruling out a run for the U.S. Senate now that Evan Bayh has said he won’t seek re-election and will retire at the end of his term,” the Louisville Courier-Journalreports.

Hill “had been out of the country visiting troops” when Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) “announced he would be a candidate for the Democratic nomination.”

Daniels Open to Presidential Bid

Late last year, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) said explicitly he was not interested in running for president in 2012 and dismissed any speculation that he might be a candidate.

“That has now changed, according to the Washington Post.

“During an interview at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association here over the weekend, Daniels said he has now been persuaded to keep open the door to a possible candidacy.”

Legislator Blames Disabled Children on Abortion

Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall (R) “says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy,” reports the News Leader.

Said Marshall: “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.”

Republicans Take Beating on Stimulus

Democrats made significant headway last week defending the economic stimulus package simply by pointing out the many Republicans who voted against it but are now on record taking credit for the individual projects funded by the bill.

Bloomberg quotes former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY): “It’s the original sin of Washington — it’s hypocrisy. You can’t do that then say you go out and cut the other stuff.”

Obama Unveils His Health Care Bill

For the first time in the year long debate over health care reform, President Obama unveiled his own bill and posted it to the White House web site. It’s clearly based on the Senate’s bill, with fixes required by the the House and a few Republican-sponsored amendments.

Marc Ambinder has the political highlights: “There’s plenty in this bill for Democrats to like. But there’s no public option. It’ll be easier to get unions on board because the excise tax will be delayed and watered down a bit; the bill delays implementation of several provisions, which will annoy Democrats; it spends quite a bit of time focusing on trying to rid Medicare of waste, fraud and abuse. There’s no nod to tort reform, so far as I can see.”

As Greg Sargent notes, White House advisers also made it clear this morning that if Republicans filibuster the bill, Democrats will move forward on their own and pass it via reconciliation.

This assertion “ups the stakes” in advance of this week’s health care summit “by essentially daring Republicans to try to block reform.”

Politico notes White House officials “have already begun urging Republicans to post their bills on line as well — a clever tactic by the White House, because Republicans ideas for reform were spread across several pieces of legislation, or fell far short of the Democrats’ goal of insuring 31 million uninsured Americans. The main House Republican proposal, for instance, would only cover 3 million more Americans.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“There’s an old military expression — no great strategist and no great battle plan survives first contact with an enemy. And no great political campaign survives first contact with trying to govern in Washington D.C. So he has run into difficulty.”

— Colin Powell, in an interview on Face the Nation, noting that he had no regrets in crossing party lines to back Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

Gillibrand Holds Big Lead Over Ford

A new Siena College poll finds Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) maintains a better than two-to-one lead over former Rep. Harold Ford in a potential Democratic primary, 42% to 16%.

Looking ahead to potential general election Senate match-ups, Gillibrand continues to trail former Gov. George Pataki, 47% to 41%, but she crushes Daily Newspublisher Mort Zuckerman, 49% to 29%.

Paterson Approval Slips Further

A new Siena College poll finds New York Gov. David Paterson’s (D) favorability, job performance and electability ratings all slipped over the last month.

Paterson now trails Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) by 42 points in a potential Democratic gubernatorial primary, 64% to 22%, and trails former Rep. Rick Lazio (R) by seven points, 46% to 39%.

Bloomberg Urged to Run for President

The Minnesota Independence party — which turned ex-wrestler Jesse Ventura into governor of Minnesota — issued a formal call for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to “give serious consideration” to a White House run, the New York Daily News reports.

A Little Early on the One Termer Rhetoric?

A key talking point from the weekend’s CPAC gathering — heard from former Vice President Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and others — was that President Obama would be a one-term president.

First Read: “Remember that before defeating Obama in 2012, Republicans first are going to have to find a candidate who can beat him. Will it be Romney, who finished a disappointing second to Paul in the straw poll? Will it be Pawlenty, who declared on Friday that he wants to take ‘a 9-iron and smash the window of big government in this country,’ but who was unable to tell NBC’s David Gregory which government programs he wanted to cut? Will it be Gingrich? Palin? Someone else? In short, until Republicans have a candidate, it’s silly for anyone to begin making declarations about an election three years from now.”

Last Chance for Health Care Reform

Later this morning, the White House will publish online its final proposal for health care reform. It’s expected to be based on the Senate bill with additional changes to address the concerns of the House and general public. It will probably look very similar to the bill Democratic leaders negotiated just before Scott Brown’s surprise victory in Massachusetts.

On Thursday, Obama will host a bipartisan health care summit that will be televised.

Jonathan Cohn: “Obama has risen to the occasion before — in his September address to Congress and his recent State of the Union Address. Both times, the consensus in Washington was that reform was dead. Both times, Obama proved that consensus wrong. This week the president needs to pull off that feat again. Or else, finally, reform may really be dead.”

Huckabee Rips CPAC

Mike Huckabee blasted the Conservative Political Action Conference “as outdated, nearly corrupt and unrepresentative of the conservative movement,” Politico reports.

The former presidential candidate “said the reason he blew it off this year was that the meeting has become dominated by libertarian activists.”

Said Huckabee: “CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year.”

Lieberman to Lead Effort to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

“Just when you thought Joe Lieberman couldn’t frustrate and perplex liberals any further, he is going off to become chief sponsor of the most significant piece of socially progressive legislation that Congress will deal with this year,” reports the New York Daily News.

“Next week, the Connecticut senator will announce that he’s taking the lead on repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the 1993 law that prohibits gay people from serving openly in the armed forces. Since implementation of the statute nearly 20 years ago, the military has discharged some 14,000 qualified men and women, many of them serving in critical jobs like Arabic and Persian translation.”

How They Found Saddam

Slate runs an interesting series showcasing how American soldiers actually used social network theory — the same concepts that make Facebook and Twitter so useful — to find Saddam Hussein. By updating a “link diagram” each time new intelligence came in, soldiers were able to determine the single bodyguard who was in direct contact with the dictator, which led them eventually to the farm were Saddam was found.

Rubio Way Ahead of Crist

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Florida finds Marco Rubio (R) continues to lengthen his lead over Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in their race for the Republican Senate nomination.

Rubio now leads Crist by 18 points, 54% to 36%.

Obama Losing Iowa Independents

A new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll finds a sharp drop in approval for President Obama from Iowa’s political independents has pushed the Democrat’s approval further below 50% in the state and below the national average.

“Approval among Iowa independents has dropped 10 points since November, to 38 percent. Independents in Iowa helped Obama win the leadoff nominating caucuses in 2008 and later carry the state in the general election.”

Quote of the Day

“I find it interesting that you have a lot of the Republicans running around and pushing back on stimulus money and saying this doesn’t create any new jobs, and then they go out and do photo-ops and they’re posing with the big check and they say, ‘Isn’t this great!”

— California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), quoted by The Hill, criticizing congressional Republicans for attacking the stimulus bill.

Time for Another Party?

Former Sen. Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI), now running for governor in Rhode Island as an independent, writes in the New York Times that the country is ready for a third political party of centrists.

“It has happened before. In 1856, my former party ran a credible presidential campaign just two years after its founding. Four years later, Abraham Lincoln won the White House under that new Republican banner. If my friend Evan Bayh can walk away from the United States Senate and not look back, more power to him. But my guess is, he has a modern-day reprise of the Lincoln victory in mind.”

McConnell Not Sure He Can Block Health Care

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that opposition to using budget reconciliation for health care legislation to bypass filibuster rules “would be bipartisan, but hedged as to whether it would be strong enough to block such a tactic,” The Hill reports.

Said McConnell: “There’ll be a lot of Democrats who will vote against it. Whether there will be 11 Democrats who will vote against it is not clear.”

Seante Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made clear yesterday that Democrats intend to proceed in this way.

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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