POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/11

Campbell Could Give Boxer a Race

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in California finds Tom Campbell (R) leading the race for the Republican Senate nomination with 33%, followed by Carly Fiorina (R) at 24% and Chuck DeVore (R) at 7%.

In the general election, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) edges Campbell, 47% to 43%, beats Fiorina, 49% to 40%, and tops DeVore, 49% to 39%.

Brown Edges Whitman in California

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in California finds Meg Whitman (R) crushing Steve Poizner (R) in the Republican gubernatorial primary, 52% to 19%.

General election matchups show Jerry Brown (D) edging Whitman, 45% to 41%, and beating Poizer solidly, 48% to 33%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“For me, I had an audience of one. That was my dad. He’s the only person whose opinion mattered to me.”

— Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), in an interview with the Washington Post, about seeking a “fuller life” by retiring from Congress.

Support for Health Reform Growing

A new memo from White House pollster Joel Benenson “argues that support for President Barack Obama’s health care plan has been building in the wake of his State of the Union speech in late January,” according to The Fix.

“The goal of the memo, which is being distributed on Capitol Hill today, is a) build some sense of momentum for the bill in advance of the White House’s March 18 timetable for passage and b) convince wavering Democratic members that their best course of action politically is to pass the bill and move on.”

Mark Blumenthal sees the same trend: “Any way you slice it, there does appear to be a real tightening of opinion on health reform although as always, these results are snapshots and subject to change.”

Rove Says Bush’s Life is Good

In an interview on CNN, Karl Rove said he speaks with former President George W. Bush “every couple of days and e-mail him every day or two.”

Said Rove: “He’s doing really well. He’s — he’s got a wonderful life. He’s deeply involved in his presidential center in Dallas. He’s polishing a book that will be out in November. And life is really good for him.”

Kilpatrick Called to Grand Jury

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) “has been subpoenaed before a federal grand jury in Detroit along with a member of her staff,” the Detroit Free Pressreports.

Kilpatrick let House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office know about the summons yesterday, as required by House rules.

Roll Call: “The Detroit News reported last month that federal investigators are preparing felony charges against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Rep. Kilpatrick’s son, and his father, business consultant Bernard N. Kilpatrick, over allegations of corruption, including pay-to-play schemes, in the former mayor’s administration. Kwame Kilpatrick’s tenure as mayor was wracked by controversy and scandal, and he resigned in September 2008 after pleading guilty to two felony charges in an obstruction of justice case.”

Tiger Woods Hires Bush Spokesman

Two sources tell the New York Post that Ari Fleischer, the former spokesman to George W. Bush, has been “huddling” with Tiger Woods, “plotting a strategy for his return to golf — at the Arnold Palmer Invitational starting March 25 at Bay Hill in Orlando.”

Said one: “They were in his living room this week going over a strategy for how to handle Bay Hill in two weeks.”

The Future of the Republican Party After 2010

Alan Abramowitz: “2010 is likely to be a very good year for Republicans. Yet there is a real danger that Republican leaders and strategists will interpret a strong showing in the midterm election as vindication for a strategy based largely on energizing the Party’s conservative white base. That base is indeed energized. But it is also shrinking due to the steady growth in the size of the nonwhite electorate. By 2020 nonwhites will probably make up over a third of the American electorate. Unless Republicans can expand their support among nonwhite voters, they will have to win a much larger share of the white vote than they have in any recent presidential election in order to remain competitive.”

Paterson Not Likely to Face Charges

Investigators have found “little direct evidence” that New York Gov. David Paterson (D) “tampered with a witness in a domestic abuse case against one of his top aides,” the New York Daily News reports.

“While several key people have yet to be interviewed, the woman at the heart of the case, Sherr-una Booker, told probers she didn’t feel the governor threatened her in a phone conversation a day before a Feb. 8 hearing in the case.”

Americans Less Concerned About Global Warming

A new Gallup Poll finds that 48% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is “generally exaggerated,” up from 41% in 2009 and 31% in 1997, when Gallup first asked the question.

Quote of the Day

“I think that there is a real shot we are going to get slaughtered in elections this fall if we aren’t leading the efforts to reform Washington. We campaigned in ’06 and ’08, and if voters don’t see that change, we haven’t lived up to that promise.”

— Steve Hildebrand, deputy campaign manager for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, in an interview on CNN.

Political Consultant as Policy Adviser

Joe Klein on Karl Rove’s memoir, Courage and Consequence: “This book is primarily an act of vengeance — and, in that sense, unintentionally revealing about the nature of the Bush presidency … Rove’s defense of Bush is partially successful: the President emerges as a man who put policy above politics … Rove is less successful in defending himself: the crucial revelation here is that when you make a political consultant your senior policy adviser, spin supplants substance, oppo research rules and winning the news cycle becomes more important than winning the war.”

Durbin vs. Schumer

Time: “No one remembers exactly when they started, but there is no doubt that the campaigns for Senate majority leader are raging on Capitol Hill. They have not been formally declared, of course, and for good reason — the position is still filled. But as Harry Reid’s November re-election has looked increasingly imperiled, his two top deputies in the Senate have become more overt in their quests for his job. And in a Senate that is already near paralyzed by partisan rancor, the two Democrats’ maneuverings are threatening to further gum up the works.”

Wyden Way Ahead of Possible Challengers

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a Grove Insight poll showing him at least 30 points ahead of all three possible challengers in his re-election campaign.

Elizabeth Edwards’s Sister Speaks Out on Sex Tape

“With former John Edwards’s aide — and controversial The Politician author — Andrew Young facing possible jail time at the end of this week, Elizabeth Edwards’s sister, Nancy Anania, sounded a note of vindication when she told People that a contempt-of-court finding against Young was ‘inevitable.'”

Said Anania: “People who have read his book know he was willing to lie for years before the book was written. It would naturally follow he is willing to lie after the book was written.”

Conyers’s Wife Sentenced to Three Years

Monica Conyers, the wife of Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), was sentenced to 37 months in prison for taking bribes, the Detroit News reports.

She “is the only Detroit elected official convicted so far in a long-running corruption investigation that has netted 10 guilty pleas.”

The Detroit Free Press notes that “after months of silence,” the “combative and unpredictable” Conyers “erupted during her sentencing in federal court Wednesday: first, repeatedly asking to withdraw her guilty plea, then exclaiming she wasn’t going to jail for something she didn’t do.”

However, a plea document Conyers signed last summer said she “waives any right to appeal her conviction or sentence” as long as she was sentenced her to five years or less.

Clinton Widens Her Circle

The Washington Post notes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “had one condition that eclipsed all others as she considered Obama’s offer to be secretary of state: She demanded hiring authority at the department. To Team Clinton, this meant every political job — about 200 — from the most senior level to the 20-something researchers. Historically, it is the president who fills these political positions, and no one can recall a Cabinet secretary in recent memory requesting and receiving this kind of hiring latitude.”

Interestingly, “a little over a year into her tenure as secretary of state, allies and detractors alike say Clinton has made a vigorous effort to widen her circle, wooing and pulling into her orbit the agency’s Foreign Service and civil service officials, many of whom said in interviews that she has brought a new energy to the building.”

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