Thompson Declines Senate Bid

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) announced he would not challenge Sen. Russ Feingold (D) this year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Said Thompson: “My family did not want me to run.”

Obama Tax Returns Made Public

The New York Times reports President Obama and his wife “reported an adjusted gross income of more than $5.5 million in 2009 — much of it from the sale of Mr. Obama’s books. They paid nearly $1.8 million in federal taxes.”

Vice President Biden and his wife “reported an adjusted gross income of more than $333,000, and paid more than $71,000 in federal income taxes.”

The White House posts the actual returns.

Taxes at Lowest Levels in 60 Years

Despite big tax cuts included last year’s economic stimulus package, the latest CBS News/New York Times poll finds that as many as 34% of Americans think President Obama raised their taxes.

William Gale, head of the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution, tells CBS News that federal taxes are actually “at their lowest levels in 60 years.”

Said Gale: “The relation between what is said in the tax debate and what is true about tax policy is often quite tenuous. The rise of the Tea Party at at time when taxes are literally at their lowest in decades is really hard to understand.”

Daniels Will Not Challenge Vitter

Adult film star Stormy Daniels (R) announced she will not take on Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) in a Republican primary.

In a statement: “I am not running for the US Senate because I am an adult entertainment star. I am not running for the US Senate for the same reason that so many dedicated patriots do not run — I can’t afford it.”

Back to a 50-50 Nation

The latest Public Policy Polling national survey finds President Obama more or less tied with all four of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination.

Obama trails Mike Huckabee 47% to 45% and Mitt Romney 45% to 44%, ties Newt Gingrich at 45% to 45%, and leads Sarah Palin 47% to 45%.

Key takeaway: “This is the weakest performance Obama’s posted in these 13 monthly surveys and a pretty clear indication that passing health care has not done anything to enhance his political standing, at least in the short term.”

Rattner’s Firm Sued for Kickback Scheme

We noted last year it was odd that “auto czar” Steve Rattner left his Obama administration post so abruptly.

Today, Bloomberg reports Quadrangle Group LLC, the private-equity firm co-founded by Rattner, “was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for its role in ‘a wide- ranging’ kickback scheme involving the New York State pension fund.”

The alleged incident occurred in 2005 when “a former Quadrangle executive” arranged for the distribution of a low-budget film co-produced by David Loglisci, then the top political adviser to former New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

Palin’s Real Base

Despite several high profile speeches in recent weeks, Sarah Palin seems to be much more influential with the media than she is with Republicans.

First Read: “For example, she placed third at the SRLC straw poll (a disappointing finish when you consider that the winner, Mitt Romney, didn’t show up and that Ron Paul was second). In addition, a New York Times/CBS poll finds that a plurality of self-identified Tea Party members don’t think she’s qualified to be president. And now Kentucky Senate candidate Trey Grayson (R) says Palin isn’t qualified for the White House. No doubt that she’s a political celebrity, but that isn’t necessarily translating into GOP support. There is growing evidence that she is not the political force some would like to believe (indeed, if she were actually pondering a big for 2012, this last month would be seen as a disappointment).”

David Brooks: “She is not going to be the leader of any party and doesn’t seem to be inclined in that direction. The Sarah Palin phenomenon is a media psychodrama and nothing more. It gives people on each side an excuse to vent about personality traits they despise, but it has nothing to do with government. She is in 2010 what Jerry Falwell was from the mid-1990s until his death — a conservative cartoon inflated by media.”

Coakley in Pants?

The New York Times runs a brutal piece on Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) noting that despite a large lead in the polls of his U.S. Senate race “signs of trouble have quickly emerged.”

“Blumenthal flopped in his first televised debate against an obscure primary opponent, and he is ruling out any possibility of a rematch. He appears almost incapable of offering concise answers to even the most predictable questions, like why he is running for the Senate. And his reliance on prosecutorial parlance and legal arcana has raised unflattering comparisons to another attorney general in a Senate race who seemed a sure winner only to lose in spectacular fashion. Some Democrats are calling him ‘Martha Coakley in pants,’ referring to the candidate who lost the Massachusetts Senate election in January.”

Lincoln Leads Halter in Primary Race

Benenson Strategy Group poll conducted for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) shows her well ahead of primary challenger Bill Halter (D), 53% to 35%.

However, an independent Talk Business/Zata3 poll shows Lincoln just seven points in front, 38% to 31%.

Huckabee Still Waiting on Future Plans

Mike Huckabee released a statement saying it is “ridiculous” to read anything into hisdecision to change his voter registration to Florida as an indication of his political intentions.

Said Huckabee: “Only the Lord knows what my future holds and He hasn’t told me yet — so I’m positive He hasn’t told any political reporters.”

Quote of the Day

“I work every day in this job, as I like to put it, to turn the elephant. Now, I don’t know if you ever had to turn an elephant, but the end you have to start with is not necessarily the best place to start.”

— RNC Chairman Michael Steele, quoted by the New York Daily News.

Obama Steps Up Fundraising

President Obama “is raising campaign money at a ferocious pace, tapping into an energized corps of Democratic donors in quiet, less publicized forays to dinners and receptions embedded in official presidential trips,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Obama has surpassed his predecessor, George W. Bush, in money-raising appearances at this point in his tenure. And with the midterm elections approaching, he is headlining dinners for the party and embattled Democratic candidates around the country.”

Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated

“Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class,” according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

“The 18% of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.”

Key finding: “Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.”

Bunning Takes One More Shot at McConnell

Retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) turned his back on political protégé Trey Grayson (R) and endorsed Rand Paul (R) in Kentucky’s GOP Senate primary, the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

“Bunning’s endorsement underscores his fractured relationship with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who hasn’t officially endorsed a candidate but is believed to be behind Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state, in the May 18 primary.”

Said Larry Sabato: “This is less about sticking it to Trey Grayson and more about sticking it to Mitch McConnell. What Bunning is trying to ensure is that his successor will cause McConnell even more trouble than he did.”

Crist Could Win as an Independent

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds Marco Rubio (R) has a huge lead over Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in their primary race for U.S. Senate, 56% to 33%.

In general election match ups, Rubio leads Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), 42% to 38%, while Crist leads Meek by an even wider margin, 48% to 34%.

Interestingly, if Crist were to run as an independent in the general election, he would get 32%, followed by Rubio at 30% and Meek at 24%. Perhaps this is why some of his advisers are pushing him to drop the primary race.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Crist appears a great deal more viable in a November three-way than he is against Rubio in a Republican primary. But having already ruled out an independent candidacy, he would have to reverse himself by the end of the month due to the filing deadline. Such a public reversal might be politically harmful to the governor, but perhaps not compared to his chances against Rubio at this point.

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

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