POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/22

Blagojevich Wants Obama to Testify

Lawyers for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich “asked a federal judge to subpoena President Obama, so they can ask him questions on videotape to be used at Blagojevich’s trial,” NBC News reports.

“Presidents are not immune from having to give testimony in criminal cases: Jefferson, Monroe, Grant, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Clinton have given evidence in criminal cases. Even so, the government can be expected to vigorously oppose this request to subpoena President Obama.”

Historical Quote of the Day

“Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm. Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment. A bill just passed by both houses of Congress would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system of guaranteeing bank deposits. Such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U. S. banking to its lowest level. They saw their deposits which they had spent a lifetime to build up and protect with their good names confiscated by the Government to pay for the mistakes and dishonesty of every smalltown bankster.”

— Time magazine, June 5,1933. President Obama quoted the article in his speechon financial reform today.

Reid Schedules Vote on Financial Reform

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said “that he will not wait for Democrats and Republicans to reach a bipartisan compromise on a Wall Street reform bill, pledging to move ahead with the first key test vote Monday,” Politico reports.

Said Reid: “I’m not going to waste any more time of the American people while they come up with some agreement. The games of stalling are over.”

Roll Call: “Reid will have to pick off at least one Republican to secure the 60 votes needed to move the bill forward, and it is not clear whether any GOP Member will break ranks to proceed.”

Americans Don’t Want Reagan on Their Money

Marist Poll finds that 79% of Americans think it’s a bad idea to replace President Ulysses S. Grant on the fifty dollar bill with that of President Ronald Reagan, while just 12% say it’s a good one and 9% are unsure

Florida Republicans Invoke Loyalty Oath

The Florida Republican Party “is making preparations in case Gov. Charlie Crist (R) runs as an independent candidate, reminding GOP office-holders they cannot back a candidate who doesn’t run under the party banner,” The Hotline reports.

A “loyalty oath” allows party officials “to back a registered GOPer in a nonpartisan race, but in a partisan election, they wouldn’t be allowed to support Crist, even if he remains a registered GOPer. What’s more, party officials have to actively ask for their contributions back if they want to keep their own jobs.”

DeMint Opens Door to Presidential Run

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) tells David Brody that while he won’t rule out making a presidential bid in 2012, “It’s not something I desire.”

But he certainly left the door wide open.

Said DeMint: “Frankly, the people that I’ve seen here in politics I realize that I can hold my ground with any of them. There are a lot of changes I’d like to make in this country and I think Americans are going to be ready for someone to tell them the truth next election.”

Attorney General as Aspiring Governor

Though state AGs are sometimes referred to as “Aspiring Governors,” Larry Sabatonotes it’s not as strong a stepping strong to becoming governor as many think.

“The attorney general post is generally viewed as a more substantive one than the lieutenant governorship, since it is full time with a large staff. Most lieutenant governorships are part time with very small staffs and salaries. But if your goal is the governorship, an aspiring politician may want to reconsider his or her first statewide elective goal.”

The numbers: “Since 1984 there have been exactly 250 state AGs, but only 28 (a mere 11%) became governor. This is precisely half the gubernatorial success rate of lieutenant governors.”

Obama Urges Orszag to Stay On

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag “was poised to become the first member of Barack Obama’s Cabinet to leave, as early as this summer. Then came an appeal from the president insisting that he reconsider,” Bloomberg reports.

“Orszag will make his decision soon, according to a person familiar with the matter… The 41-year-old budget director had been signaling to White House officials that he didn’t plan to remain for the next budget cycle.”

Democrats Close to Deal on Financial Reform

As President Obama prepares to speak about financial market regulation in New York today, the Washington Post reports passage of a sweeping reform bill in the Senate seems very close.

“Key members of both parties said Wednesday that they are close to agreeing on the main elements of a bill to overhaul the nation’s financial regulations, raising the prospect that the Senate could begin formal discussion of the landmark legislation early next week… If no last-minute hurdles arise, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV) plans to hold a test vote Monday, aides said. If he gets 60 or more votes, he could move ahead with formal debate on the bill.”

Roll Call notes that regardless of the outcome of talks, Democrats “are confident they have Republicans on the run and are in a position to force the bill to the floor next week.”

Rubio Leads Three-Way Race in Florida

A new Rasmussen survey in Florida finds that Marco Rubio (R) is the front runner in a three-way U.S. Senate race if Gov. Charlie Crist runs as an independent.

Rubio leads with 37% of likely voters, followed by Crist at 30% and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) at 22%.

A month ago the same poll found Rubio with a 17-point advantage and Crist in third place.

Quote of the Day

“You really don’t have a reason to, to be honest — we haven’t done a very good job of really giving you one. True? True.”

— RNC Chairman Michael Steele, quoted by the Chicago Sun Times, saying his party hasn’t given African-Americans a good reason to vote for Republicans.

Still Thinking of Running for Senate?

Smart Politics analysis of 166 general election contests conducted since 2000 finds that — with one unique exception — the latest a non-incumbent has announced their candidacy and gone on to win a U.S. Senate seat is April 3rd of the election year.

In fact, the average length of a successful U.S. Senate campaign has been 448 days — which would be August 11, 2009 in the current cycle.

Campbell Holds Double-Digit Lead Over Fiorina

A new Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research poll in California finds Tom Campbell (R) with a solid lead over Carly Fiorina (R) in the Republican race for U.S. Senate, 31% to 17%, followed by Chuck DeVore (R) at 14%.

However, there are still more than 37% of those surveyed still undecided.

Whitman Keeps Lead Over Poizner

A new Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research poll in California finds Meg Whitman (R) maintains a 28-point lead over Steve Poizner, 47% to 19%, with more than one-third of Republican primary voters saying they are still undecided.

It’s a smaller lead than other recent public polls.

Said pollster Adam Problosky: “Poizner is just now developing his relationship with the voters. He has been able to bring himself out of single digits in a couple of months, but  she’s still beating him more than two to one.””

Internal Probe Finds RNC Financial Controls in Disarray

“Barely 6 1/2 months before the midterm elections, an internal investigation by the Republican National Committee has revealed that the organization is beset with questionable financial management and oversight and is spending more money courting top-dollar donors than it raises,” the Washington Times reports.

“The investigation found that the Republican Party’s national governing body is losing money on its major-donors’ fundraising program — spending $1.09 for each $1.00 raised, according to RNC members privy to the investigation’s findings. It typically costs about 40 cents for every dollar raised from donors who give more than $1,000.”

Obama Has Played More Golf Than Bush

President Obama “has played golf 32 times since he took office, eight more than his predecessor George W. Bush — who was mocked by the Left for his fondness for the game — did in his entire presidency,” the Daily Telegraph reports.

Golf magazine: “The real story, is how golf seems to be used (by both sides of the political spectrum…or at least which ever side is out of power) as a sort of symbol for elitism and how out of touch the president is with the American public. The National Golf Foundation estimates that there are about 26.2 million Americans who like to unwind with a round of golf, and I think it’s safe to assume that very few of those people have as much on their minds as the POTUS.”

Obama Denies Knowledge of SEC Lawsuit

President Obama denied “categorically” any political involvement or advance knowledge of the federal fraud case against Goldman Sachs, the New York Timesreports.

“The accusations lodged against the Wall Street giant came right as the White House was pressing forward in its drive to pass new regulations on financial firms. The timing, and the party-line 3 to 2 vote by the Securities and Exchange Commission approving the lawsuit, have stoked suspicions of political manipulation.”

The Republican Strategy for Obama

Marc Ambinder explains the two-part Republican strategy to deal with President Obama and the Democrats.

First, “obstruct and delay” which “has the practical effect of gumming up the works of government, which makes the Democrats look impotent.”

Second, “portray everything Mr. Obama does as being the avatar of European socialism. This discredits the very idea that government ought to do anything at all.”

“Republicans have created a feedback loop: every Obama accomplishment is shunted to the ‘Socialism’ box, and every Obama failure is designated as a sign that Democrats can’t govern.”

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