POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/29

Feingold Edges Thompson in Wisconsin

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Wisconsin finds Sen. Russ Feingold (D) leads Tommy Thompson (R) in a potential U.S. Senate race, 48% to 44%.

Though Thompson has not yet decided to make the race, Feingold handily beats his other potential rivals. He leads Terrence Wall (R), 52% to 37%, and tops Dave Westlake (R), 54% to 36%.

Americans Don’t Back Repeal

While a new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds 56% of Americans disapprove of the new health care reform law, just 47% agree with the Republican strategy to repeal major provisions in the bill and replace them with new ones.

Pollster Keating Holland explains: “That’s because opposition to the new law comes in many different forms and not all of them benefit the GOP. Some Americans continue to say that they disapprove of the bill because they want even more government involvement in health care than the bill created. Only a quarter are against the entire bill; one in three support at least a few proposals in the new law. And a handful of Americans appear to dislike the bill but don’t want Congress to spend any more time on health care.”

Deal Cited for Ethics Violations

The Office of Congressional Ethics released a report on its investigation into former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA), alleging the lawmaker “violated House rules and used his office for personal gain in connection with his family’s auto-salvage business,” Roll Call reports.

“The report’s release also marks an unprecedented move in the fragile relationship between the OCE and the House ethics committee: The OCE said it published its findings in the Deal case because the House ethics committee missed a March 22 deadline to do so — even though Deal submitted his resignation just minutes before the deadline.”

The report accuses Deal of six violations of House rules and found he made at least $75,000 in earned income for 2008, far exceeding the limit of $25,830.

Fenty Gets Tough Challenger

Washington, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray will enter the mayoral race tomorrow, the Washington City Paper reports.

Gray’s entry “represents the first serious threat” to Mayor Adrian Fenty’s re-election. A recent Washington Post poll found Gray leading Fenty, 38% to 31%.

RNC Investigates Strip Club Expenses

A RNC spokesman tells Greg Sargent that the party has “undertaken an investigation in the wake of news that nearly $2,000 in party funds was spent at a bondage-themed club that features topless female dancers imitating lesbian sex.”

“The spokesperson adamantly denies that Michael Steele was the party who spent the money at the club and says Steele strongly disavows such actions.”

Pataki Could Beat Gillibrand in New York

A new Marist Poll in New York finds former Gov. George Pataki (R) leading Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in a potential U.S. Senate race, 47% to 45%.

Said pollster Lee Miringoff: “Former Governor Pataki is the big unknown for Gillibrand. With her approval rating at 27%, Gillibrand will almost certainly have her work cut out for her if Pataki enters the race.”

Is Obama Ignoring Red States?

Smart Politics looks at President Obama’s public statements and finds that 63.5% were made in Washington, D.C., 21.8% were in states Obama carried in the 2008 presidential election and just 2.8% were in states John McCain carried.

The remaining 11.9% were delivered outside the United States.

Chafee Maintains Lead in Rhode Island

A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds Lincoln Chafee (I) leading the race to be Rhode Island’s next governor at 39%, followed by Frank Caprio (D) at 28% and John Robitaille (R) at 22% of the vote.

Congressional Disapproval at 1994 Levels

The Hill notes that the new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that 72% of registered voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing — the highest it’s been since the week before the historic 1994 election that swept Democrats out of power.

Anti-Government Rhetoric Could Cost Republicans Seats

Contrary to historical trends, the Houston Chronicle notes one of the toughest challenges facing U.S. Census officials is “not from counting the traditionally undercounted groups such as African-Americans and Latinos. Instead, a new and growing threat to an accurate national head count is coming from anti-government conservatives who may not fill out their forms to protest against ‘Big Brother’ in Washington.”

Key example: While Texas is counting on the 2010 Census to deliver four new congressional districts, as of Friday afternoon, just 27% of Texas households had filled in and returned their census forms — well below the national average of 34%.

Inside Obama’s Secret Afghan Trip

Reuters has an interesting piece on how President Obama got to Afghanistanwithout anyone noticing.

“After leaving the White House on Friday afternoon with the ‘cover’ of spending the weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat, he flew from there by helicopter to the base on Saturday night to make the secret trip.”

“Reporters were barred from telling anyone where they were going on Saturday evening as they made their way to Andrews Air Force Base, where the presidential aircraft is housed. Upon arrival, staff and members of the media were bussed to the hangar where a gleaming Air Force One awaited.”

“Normally the aircraft is positioned outside for the president’s arrival. But that night it stayed under cover, taxiing out in darkness once Obama was on board to avoid alerting uninvolved military members at the base of its departure.”

Quote of the Day

“In these volatile times when we are a nation at war, now more than ever is when we need a commander-in-chief, not a constitutional law professor lecturing us from a lectern.”

— Sarah Palin, quoted by Think Progress, in a speech to the Tea Party movement that mostly paid homage to the Constitution.

Steele Considered Buying Private Plane

Two knowledgeable sources tell the Daily Caller that RNC chairman Michael Steele “once raised the possibility of using party money to buy a private jet for his travel.”

“While Steele has not purchased a plane, he continues to charter them. According to federal disclosure records, the RNC spent $17,514 on private aircraft in the month of February alone (as well as $12,691 on limousines during the same period). There are no readily identifiable private plane expenses for Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine in the DNC’s last three months of filings.”

Another questionable expense: $1,946.25 at Voyeur West Hollywood, “a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.”

Democrats Stable After Health Care Push

“After steering the landmark health-care reform bill through Congress, the Democratic Party’s leaders have emerged mostly unscathed,” according to a new Washington Post poll, “but they have not received a notable boost in approval ratings.”

“Shifts among core constituencies suggest that President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may have reaped some benefit from the legislation’s passage, but the public’s take on the Democratic Party has not budged, and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV)) appears to be losing popularity. None of the central players in passing health-care reform appears to be winning favor with the bill’s opponents.”

Raise Someone Else’s Taxes

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that although 84% of Americans say the middle class will have to make financial sacrifices to reduce the federal budget deficit, more than three quarters of them oppose raising income taxes on the middle class or limiting the growth of Social Security and Medicare.

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

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