POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/30

Blagojevich Judge Refuses Obama Subpoena

The judge overseeing the corruption case against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has denied a defense motion to issue a subpoena for the testimony of President Obama, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Fisher Pulls Away in Ohio Senate Primary

A new Suffolk University poll shows Lee Fisher (D) widening his lead over Jennifer Brunner (D) in the Democratic U.S. Senate race, 55% to 27%.

Said David Paleologos: “What was a single-digit race a couple of weeks ago has really opened up. As always in a projected low turnout, the race is down to who can turn out their core base of support on Election Day. However, this poll suggests that, although the margin may be in question, the outcome will not be.”

The winner of next week’s primary will face Rob Portman (R), who is unopposed, in the general election.

Castle Holds Huge Lead in Delaware

A new Rasmussen survey in Delaware finds Rep. Michael Castle (R) continues to hold a big early lead over Chris Coons (D) in their U.S. Senate race, 55% to 32%.

Criminal Investigation Focuses on Goldman Sachs

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into possible securities fraud in mortgage trading at Goldman Sachs, the Washington Post reports.

Law enforcement sources “said the probe by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office — which is known for aggressively investigating financial fraud cases — was not based on an SEC referral and was underway before the SEC announced the civil case April 16.”

LeMieux Won’t Support Crist

Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL) tried to distance himself from Gov. Charlie Crist, just a day after Crist announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate as an Independent, CQ Politics reports.

LeMieux, who served as Crist’s chief of staff, was appointed to the Senate by Crist last year. Many expect he’s positioning himself to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in 2012.

Said LeMieux: “Our friendship runs deep, but my commitment to the principles of the Republican Party runs deeper. I cannot walk down the path he has chosen.”

Burns Leads in PA-12 Special Election

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district finds Tim Burns (R) leading Mark Critz (D) in the upcoming special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), 46% to 40%.

If it holds, this could be the race to end the Democratic special elections winning streak.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“George loves to tell the story of how all his Midland friends would come to the Oval Office and say, ‘I can’t believe I’m here.’ And then they looked at him. Couldn’t believe he was there either.”

— Laura Bush, in an interview with Ladies Home Journal.

How Did John Edwards Fool Reporters?

Jill Lawrence says that when you write about politics, “you have to trust your instincts as well as your reporting. It’s a maze of egos, issues, personality, psychology, ambition and money, and there’s a lot that goes on under the surface. Even knowing all that, The Politician — Young’s book about his selfish and masochistic servitude to John and Elizabeth Edwards, and his complicity in their ruin — was one of the most disturbing reading experiences I’ve ever had.”

“It’s not the only tell-all about the 2008 presidential race, of course. The best-sellingGame Change has a lot of compelling material based on deep reporting. Yet for the most part that book adds juicy details to story lines and personalities that were already familiar to people who follow politics. In Young’s insider’s tale, what’s stunning are the depth and duration of the deception, the number of people who enabled it, the potentially catastrophic consequences for Democrats, the vast chasm between the family’s image and reality, and the sinking feeling among people like me that somehow we should have figured all of this out while it was going on.”

The Lindsey Graham Model

Morton Kondracke: “The Republican party is on track to score big victories in 2010, but also in danger of long-term suicide unless rescued from right-wing madness. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham will not be the GOP’s savior, but the more the party follows his advice and example, the better off it will be.”

Rejected Presidential Jokes

With the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this weekend, speechwriter Mark Katz tells Politico about two jokes he wrote for the dinner which were ultimately rejected by the speakers.

For Bill Clinton in 1998 after he had survived impeachment and fundraising scandals: “Looking back, maybe I should have raised money in the Oval Office and had sex in the Lincoln Bedroom.”

For Al Gore in 2000 after his mediocre college grades became public: “It’s true I got C’s and D’s my freshman year at Harvard, but, in my own defense, that was the year I invented the bong.”

For more on the big political dinner of the year, check out WHC Insider.

Quote of the Day

“People either love Carly and can’t get over how incredibly smart and knowledgeable she is, or they think she’s an arrogant witch.”

— Frank Fiorina, quoted in a WSJ. Magazine profile on his wife, Carly Fiorina, who is running for U.S. Senate in California.

Bloomberg Taps Goldsmith as Deputy Mayor

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has reached outside his inner circle to find a new top deputy to run New York, picking former Indianapolis mayor Stephen Goldsmith, the New York Daily News reports.

“It gives Bloomberg an outsider’s perspective on how New York operates and shakes up his inner circle even more — but it also creates a steep learning curve for a Republican dropped into New York without a deep familiarity with the city.”

Crist’s Name Will Be Buried on Ballot

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision that he will run for Senate as an unaffiliated candidate “means that his name will be placed beneath at least eight others on Florida’s general election ballot in November,” CNN reports.

Young Speaks on Grand Jury Testimony

Andrew Young told WTVD-TV about his grand jury testimony on John Edwards’ alleged use of campaign funds to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter.

Said Young: “They showed me checks from some organizations that were dedicated to causes that John Edwards led, and those checks were made out to Rielle and they were sizable checks.”

Young added: “I find it very difficult to believe that they would have spent as much time and effort as they did and are without having something they believe they have on him.”

An Edwards spokesperson declined to comment.

Kirk Expands Lead in Illinois

Just a week after federal regulators took over his family’s bank, a new Rasmussen survey in Illinois finds Alexi Giannoulias (D) slipping behind Rep. Mark Kirk (R) in the U.S. Senate race.

Kirk now leads Giannoulias by eight points, 46% to 38%.

Hodes Trails Ayotte in New Hampshire

A new WMUR/Granite State Poll in New Hampshire finds Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH) trailing most Republican candidates in the race for U.S. Senate.

Kelly Ayotte (R) has a big lead over Hodes, 47% to 32%, with 21% still undecided.

The other possible races are much closer. Ovide Lamontagne (R) edges Hodes, 37% to 36%, and Bill Binnie (R) is ahead 38% to 36%. Hodes fared best against Jim Bender (R), leading 37% to 34%.

Billionaire Jumps Into Florida Senate Race

“Just in case Florida’s Senate race wasn’t interesting enough, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene plans to file papers this morning to enter the contest as a Democrat,” the Palm Beach Post reports.

Adam Smith: “His colorful profile — Mike Tyson was best man at his 2008 wedding, ex-Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss lived in his guest house after prison, and he made many of his millions betting on the housing collapse that killed Florida’s economy — normally would make a candidate like Greene a long shot. But in a race where Democratic frontrunner Kendrick Meek is little known to most voters and Crist non-partisan candidacy means it will be a three-way race, Greene’s ability to saturate Florida TV with commercials could make him a major contender.”

In 2008, Forbes ran a profile of Greene titled, “The Reluctant Billionaire.”

Majority Favor Arizona Immigration Law

A new Gallup poll finds that more than three-quarters of Americans have heard about Arizona’s new immigration law, and of these, 51% say they favor it and 39% oppose it.

Like most policy issues that are polled, however, this is more an evaluation of media coverage than the substance of the law.

Senate Race Tightens in Nevada

The new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll paints a much nicer picture of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) re-election chances than the Rasmussen poll noted earlier today.

Sue Lowden (R) leads Reid by just four points, 45% to 41%, Danny Tarkanian (R) edges him 43% to 41%, and Sharron Angle (R) is ahead 44% to 41%.

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