POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/3

House Will Vote Once Senate Proves They Have Votes

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) tells Politico that Senate Democratic leaders have decided to use budget reconciliation to pass fixes to the health care reform bill the Senate passed in December.

The House will first pass the Senate bill after Senate leaders demonstrate that they have the votes to pass the reconciliation fixes in the Senate.

Barnes Tops Three Republicans in Georgia

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes (D) leads the top three Republican candidates as he tries to return to the job he lost in 2002.

Barnes edges John Oxedine (R), 40% to 39%, leads Karen Handel (R), 41% to 36%, and beats Nathan Deal (R), 43% to 38%.

Tennesseans Have No Idea Who is Running

A new MTSU Poll finds that 73% of Tennessee adults can’t name a single candidate running for governor. However, 19% were able to name Bill Haslam (R), “earning him dubious distinction as the least-unknown among a generally anonymous field of candidates.”

SNL Actors Push Financial Reform

Americans for Financial Reform enlisted Saturday Night Live actors to portray living and dead presidents in a very funny skit about the need for Congress to pass financial reform legislation.

Read more…

Worst Campaigns in Texas History

The Houston Chronicle lists the ten worst campaigns in modern Texas history — “a bunch of howling failures that linger in our collective consciousness” — and pegs Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s failed run for governor at number three.

Trivia of the day: “Ray and Kay Bailey Hutchison are the first husband-and-wife team to lose Republican gubernatorial primaries.”

Moore Blasts Democrats as “Wusses”

Filmmaker Michael Moore, whose 2007 documentary Sicko explored the failures of the American health care system, tells Raw Story he has given up on the Democrats.

Said Moore: “These Democrats are a bunch of wusses. They don’t have the courage of their convictions. They won’t stand and fight.”

He added: “It’s embarrassing, it’s disgusting and I won’t have it anymore. I’m sick of them.”

Two Special Elections in May

“Pivotal special elections in Pennsylvania and Hawaii will occur just four days apart in May, setting up a conundrum for Republicans eager to claim momentum heading into the 2010 midterm elections,” Roll Call reports.

The contests are in Pennsylvania’s 12th district and Hawaii’s 1st district on May 18 and 22, respectively.

“The cash-strapped National Republican Congressional Committee must weigh how much to spend on each race or whether to play at all, with the big payoff being capturing two Democratic seats — and the GOP’s first competitive special election win this cycle.”

Quote of the Day

“Many of you must think it’s kind of ironic that I would agree and accept an opportunity to come here and talk to you about ethics in government. For all the courage and testicular virility you think you have, if I did the things they said I did, and I did wrong things like they want you to believe I did, I’d be nowhere near this event.”

— Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, quoted by Bloomberg, speaking at Northwestern University on ethics.

Kerry Meets with Swift Boat Backer

In an attempt to line up support for climate change legislation, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), “has extended an olive branch of sorts to the man who bears as much responsibility as anyone for his greatest political defeat,” Politico reports.

Kerry last month met quietly with T. Boone Pickens, “the Texas oilman behind the Swift Boat attack ads that helped sink Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.”

Two Weeks for Health Care

This afternoon, President Obama will outline the “next steps” for passing a comprehensive health care reform bill.

Mike Allen: “The president won’t mention dates, but the Speaker and the White House want this done in TWO WEEKS — ahead of the President’s March 18 departure for Indonesia and Australia. Hill aides tell us this is physically possible, although some doubt that it’s psychically possible. The backstop is the Easter break, which would provide a week-and-a-half cushion. Then, the White House finally gets to make its big pivot to 2010 messaging.”

First Read: “The new deadline to get this done — have the House pass the Senate bill plus the fixes to that legislation, and then have the Senate pass the fixes via reconciliation — is Easter (or even the day the president leaves for Indonesia on March 18). If Democrats can’t get a vote in the House by then, we’ll know if this last push is in trouble.”

The Anti-Cheney

The New Republic runs a must-read profile of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

“If anything, though, Emanuel is the anti-Cheney. The former Bush vice president was famous for leaving few fingerprints; often, senior White House aides weren’t even aware of his involvement on an issue. But his influence touched every major administration initiative. Emanuel, by contrast, leaves more fingerprints than a twelve-fingered larcenist–thick, greasy, deeply grooved fingerprints. And yet, going down the list of Obama initiatives, one is struck by the number that resist his designs.”

Paterson Sinks But Most Want Him to Finish Term

Despite an approval rate of just 24% — a new low — and a growing chorus of people calling for him to resign, a new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds 61% of voters want Gov. David Paterson (D) to finish out his term.

This finding is very similar to a Marist Poll released yesterday.

Bennet to Propose Senate Reforms

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) “will announce an ambitious set of reforms to change many of the rules under which his colleagues work, including an effort to restrict earmarks and limit the filibuster,” the Denver Post reports.

“Using a scheduled midmorning speech on the Senate floor, Bennet will propose a package of bills that would cut a broad swath across a set of practices and procedures that have become notorious symbols of a gridlocked Capitol.”

“He will propose eliminating anonymous holds, banning private-sector earmarks, freezing pay and budgets for members of Congress, and barring lawmakers from lobbying for life.”

What Now for Hutchison?

In the wake of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-TX) defeat in the Texas gubernatorial primary, Politico notes her Republican Senate colleagues “intend to encourage her to remain in her seat and disregard her earlier plans to resign.”

Tom Jensen notes “if she wants to stay she has plenty of support from an unlikely source: Rick Perry’s supporters. On our final poll of the Texas race 55% of them said they’d like for Hutchison to continue serving in the Senate compared to 40% who wanted to see her out of elected office.”

Romney Warns Letterman

Mitt Romney was on the Late Show with David Letterman last night and brought up the host’s controversial comments about Sarah Palin:

LETTERMAN: What about that Sarah Palin? She’s not ready to be President, is she?

ROMNEY: She’s terrific. She really is. She’s terrific. She’s got energy, passion. By the way, be careful what you say about her, by the way.

LETTERMAN: [laughing…] I’ve had my…

ROMNEY: She has a rifle, you know.

Rangel Still Expected to Step Aside

A senior Democratic source tells Roll Call that House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) still plans to give up his gavel Wednesday despite his public protestations to the contrary.

Said the source: “The long and short of it is he has decided to step down temporarily. I think he just wants to do it on his own terms.”

The New York Times notes that “with Republicans preparing to force a vote Wednesday seeking to oust Mr. Rangel from his chairmanship, support among his fellow Democrats appeared to be crumbling.”

Race for Pennsylvania Governor Unsettled

A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Corbett (R) leads Sam Rohrer (R), 43% to 5%, for the Republican nomination for governor “and holds double-digit leads over the top Democratic candidates, all of whom who are virtual unknowns even to their own party members.”

In the Democratic race, “Don’t know” leads the field with 59%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “The Democratic candidates for Governor are almost invisible men as far as the voters are concerned. One of them will win the nomination, but at this point they are so closely bunched together and such mystery men to the vast majority of primary voters that any result is possible, given that the primary is little more than 10 weeks away. In a four-candidate race, the possibilities are endless.”

Perry Wins Nomination Without a Runoff

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) “overcame his fiercest primary challenge ever” by defeating Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) “and moving on to a November showdown” with Bill White (D), who easily won his party’s nomination, the Austin American Statesman reports.

By getting more than 50% of the vote — he got 51% — Perry avoided a costly runoff. He “cast his capture of his party’s nomination as sending a signal that should echo far beyond the Lone Star State.”

Said Perry: “From Driftwood, Texas, to Washington, D.C., we are sending you a message tonight: Stop messing with Texas.”

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