POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/4

Congressman Compares Oil Spill to Chocolate Milk

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) flew over the oil spill off the Lousiana coast and told theBiloxi Sun Herald people shouldn’t be so scared because “it’s not as bad as I thought.”

Said Taylor: “This isn’t Katrina. It’s not Armageddon.”

“He described the spill as a light, rainbow sheen with patches that look like chocolate milk.”

Reid Sets Deadline for Bank Reform Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “is pushing to end consideration of the financial regulatory reform bill by next week, noting the chamber’s laundry list of priorities and narrowing timeline as the election season heats up,” Roll Call reports.

Said Reid: “I hope we can move forward and get this legislation done. We have to finish it by next week,” Reid said on the floor Tuesday, noting the bill will clear “one way or the other by next week.”

Meanwhile, Ben Smith notes the “bad politics” of a J.P. Morgan executive who wrote a memo blasting senators who displayed “an unnerving ignorance of fundamental principles of market economics” during last week’s Goldman Sachs hearing.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Don’t give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it’s all about. That would be a serious mistake at least until we find out as much information as we have.”

— Sen. John McCain, in an interview on Fox Business Network, about Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen arrested for the attempted bombing in New York City.

Paul Maintains Big Lead Over Grayson in Kentucky

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kentucky shows Rand Paul (R) continues to hold a dominating lead over Trey Grayson (R) in the Republican Senate primary, 46% to 28%.

“Whatever the reason for Paul’s large lead it’s clear that all the mud that’s been slung in both directions over the course of the last four months in this race hasn’t made a lot of difference. Paul was up 44-25 when we looked at in December, and since then he’s gained two points in support while Grayson’s gained three. It’s going to take a large turnaround in the final two weeks for Paul not to be the victor.”

Lynch Holds Solid Lead in New Hampshire

The latest WMUR/Granite State poll in New Hampshire finds Gov. John Lynch (D) leading challenger John Steven (R) by a solid margin, 49% to 32%.

Arizona Race Still Up in the Air

A new Rocky Mountain Poll in Arizona shows a whopping 51% still undecided in the Republican race for governor.

Gov. Jan Brewer (R) leads with 22%, followed by Buz Mills (R) at 13%, Dean Martin (R) at 10% and John Munger (R) at 4%.

Health Care Bump at Last?

Tucked away in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll is some possible evidence for the elusive “health care bump,” the rise in poll numbers that Democratic leadership promised would result from the passage of the health care reform legislation.

Among independents, President Obama’s approval rating is 48% approve to 39% disapprove, up from 44% each in February, before health care was passed. On the specific subject of health care, independents continue to disapprove of Obama 40% to 45%, but that is a marked improvement over February when 31% approved and 60% disapproved.

Senator Jokes About Obama Drowning

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) “got a big laugh on Saturday at a National Republican Senatorial Committee retreat, but his joke definitely wouldn’t be funny to some people,” The Hill reports.

His joke: “So Obama, Pelosi and Reid are in a row boat, and it springs a leak and starts to sink. Who gets saved?”

Answer: “The American people.”

Primary Season Kicks Off Today

Voters head to the polls today in Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio in one of the busiest days on the 2010 primary calendar. The tri-state voting also will initiate a five-week burst of election activity that will see 23 states hold primaries and three states hold special House elections.

CQ Politics: “Today’s returns will provide the clearest sign to date of the mood of the electorate six months before the midterm elections as well as test the clout of the political establishment and the national parties that have promoted preferred candidates in some contested primaries.”

The Daily Caller notes the establishment candidates for Senate are favored to win in all three states “If they don’t, the upset would be a good sign for the Tea Partiers.”

Also being tested, the AP notes: “How much influence the national parties have over their rank-and-file supporters and, in some cases, the strength of the tea party coalition.”

In Indiana, all polls are closed by 7:00 pm ET. In North Carolina and Ohio, they close at 7:30 pm ET.

Quote of the Day

‘It wasn’t that I thought that my political outreach and charm would immediately end partisan politics. I just thought that there would be enough of a sense of urgency that at least for the first year there would be an interest in governing. And you just didn’t see that.”

— President Obama, quoted in The Promise: President Obama, Year One by Jonathan Alter, on Republican obstruction being his biggest surprise since taking office.

Tracking Poll Shows Sestak Closing In

Today’s Muhlenberg/Morning Call tracking poll in Pennsylvania shows Rep. Joe Sestak (D) a mere 4 points behind Sen. Arlen Specter (D) in the Democratic Senate race, 46% to 42%.

Sestak Makes it a Race

A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania shows Rep. Joe Sestak (D) is within striking distance of Sen. Arlen Specter (D) in the Democratic U.S. Senate race.

Specter now leads by just eight points, 47% to 39%, as compared to his 21 point lead in early April. These findings are very similar to a Morning Call tracker and an internal poll we noted yesterday.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Sen. Specter switched parties because he was worried about losing in the Republican primary. His big lead among likely Democratic primary voters has disappeared and although he remains ahead, momentum is clearly on Sestak’s side at this point. In addition, Specter’s big lead in name identification has begun to erode as Sestak television commercials introduce him to the voters outside his suburban Philadelphia base.”

Lawmaker Caught Looking at Porn on Senate Floor

Sunshine State News has a video of Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett (R) “looking at pornographic material on his state-issued computer on the Senate floor.”

Read more…

Florida What-Ifs

Wondering if Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) can win the Senate race with almost no Republican support? What would it take for Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) or Jeff Greene (D) to pull ahead? What is Marco Rubio’s (R) path to victory?

Mark Blumenthal has a handy spreadsheet to game out all of the possible scenarios.

Crist Painting For Sale on eBay

The Florida Republican Party has put Gov. Charlie Crist’s portrait for sale on e-Baynow that he’s launched an independent Senate bid.

The description:

  • Canvas is naturally sensitive to changes of temperature and humidity, just as the Charlie Crist’s political convictions are subject to fluctuations in poll numbers.
  • Depending upon variety of conditions, the stretch canvas may periodically lose and regain tautness, much like Charlie Crist periodically loosens or regains positions on a variety of issues.
  • Ornate gold frame made of manufactured wood, similar to the fabricated conservative values of the politician depicted within.”

Another Poll Shows Sestak Gaining on Specter

An internal poll “conducted for another campaign” shows Sen. Arlen Specter’s lead over Rep. Joe Sestak in the Democratic Senate race in Pennsylvania has dwindled to 9 points, 47% to 38%.

Interestingly, almost all of Specter’s advantage in the more recent poll comes from African Americans. The poll found the race essentially tied among white Democrats, (44 to 42 percent, Specter) but Specter had a 4 to 1 lead among blacks – 67 percent to 16 percent.”

This confirms the findings of the new daily tracker we mentioned this morning. A new Quinnipiac poll of the race is expected in the morning.

Americans See Economy Improving

A growing number of Americans think the economy is improving, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Key findings: 41% said the economy is getting better, up from 33% about a month ago, while 15% described the economy as deteriorating.

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

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