POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/14

Powell Was Offered Cabinet Position

Ben Smith notes another interesting tidbit from Jonathan Alter’s The Promise: President Obama offered Colin Powell the job of secretary of education and gave it to Arne Duncan only after Powell turned him down.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Nobody is winning.”

— Gen. Stanley McChrystal, in a News Hour interview, on the war in Afghanistan.

Still in Iraq 16 Months Later

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to end the Iraq war “safely and responsibly within 16 months,” TPM recalls.

If the administration had followed through, the war would be over by this month.

Obama Pushed Health Care Bill Over Objections

Greg Sargent highlights a fascinating passage from Jonathan Alter’s The Promisewhen centrist Democrats were “dragging their feet” in late 2009 and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel “mounted an aggressive push to get Obama to shelve ambitious reform.”

Said Emanuel: “I begged him not to do this.”

“But according to the book, Obama overrode Rahm’s advice, privately taking a bit of a shot at Clinton by telling advisers that he hadn’t been sent to the White House to do ‘school uniforms.'”

Pennsylvania Senate Primary Remains Tight

The latest DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Pennsylvania finds what everyone else finds: An essentially tied Democratic Senate race heading into Tuesday’s primary.

Rep. Joe Sestak (D) holds a two point lead over Sen. Arlen Specter (D), 45% to 43%.

The survey also shows Sestak a slightly strong candidate in the general election against Pat Toomey (R). Toomey leads Specter by eight points, 49% to 41%, and is ahead of Sestak by just five points, 45% to 40%.

Chiles Considers Run for Florida Governor

Lawton “Bud” Chiles III, son of the late Florida governor and senator, “is seriously looking at running against Democrat Alex Sink for governor. He has been talking to friends and family across the state,” the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Said his wife, Kitty Chiles: “He’s got some very strong convictions and a yearning for a Florida that was simpler and more about solving its problems than what we see today.”

Obama Approval Continues Upward Trend

President Obama’s approval rate continues to tick up and is now at 52%, according to the Gallup tracking poll.

Voters are Anti-Politician Not Just Anti-Washington

Tom Jensen: “We hear all the time about the anti-Washington sentiments of the electorate this year and those certainly exist, but voters hate their Governors right now just as much as they hate their members of Congress.”

Key takeaway: “Folks serving in state office right now and running anti-Washington campaigns against Congressional incumbents may need to be careful- voters could be just as disgusted with what’s happening in their state capitals right now as in the nation’s capital.”

Domenico Montanaro notes that this year, “incumbent” sounds a lot more like a dirty word.

Obama Urges Voters Not to Give Keys Back to GOP

At a fundraiser last night, President Obama said that Republicans “are like bad drivers, who once drove the car into a ditch and now want the keys back,” ABC Newsreports.

Said Obama: “After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want to keys back. No! You can’t drive. We don’t want to have to go back into the ditch. We just got the car out.”

Quote of the Day

“You should really see me when I’m pissed.”

— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), in a must-see video, defending his confrontational approach to governing.

Read more…

Cuomo Will Wait Until Convention to Announce Bid

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) “plans to formally declare he is running for governor on or about May 25, when the state Democratic Party convention begins,” Bloomberg reports.

White House Blocks Access to Kagan’s Family

“White Houses traditionally put a muzzle on their Supreme Court nominees, to keep them from saying anything that might jeopardize Senate confirmation. But the Obama White House has taken it one step further. It is limiting, if not blocking, access to the nominee’s family,” the New York Times reports.

Ben Smith: “The model for this kind of broad outreach to friends and relatives, aimed maintaining central control over a person’s image, is modeled on the campaign itself, in which Obama’s own relatives and even more distant figures, like his college roommates, retreated and made themselves available only in very selective venues.”

More Jobs Could Be Created This Year Than Under Bush

Ron Brownstein: “If the economy produces jobs over the next eight months at the same pace as it did over the past four months, the nation will have created more jobs in 2010 alone than it did over the entire eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency. That comparison comes with many footnotes and asterisks. But it shows how the economic debate between the parties could look very different over time — perhaps by November, more likely by 2012.”

Palin to Endorse Haley in South Carolina

Sarah Palin will be in South Carolina this afternoon to endorse Nikki Haley (R) in the four-way primary for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to theColumbia State.

Sandoval Likely to Oust Gibbons in Nevada

A new Mason-Dixon poll in Nevada finds Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) trailing challenger Brian Sandoval (R) by 18 points with less than four weeks until the gubernatorial primary, 45% to 27%.

Crist Liberated from Partisan Warfare

Even though his decision to drop out of the Republican U.S. Senate primary was about political survival as much as anything, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist “is now talking like a man liberated from the constraints of partisan orthodoxy,” the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Said Crist: “I’m very happy. I really am. Listen, I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed being a public servant as much as I have the past few weeks because I feel really in touch with where the people are… It sickens me to watch cable TV and see these people argue all day long. I think to myself, what in the world are they doing? Do they care so much about their party first that they’ve forgotten about their country and our people?”

Specter Retakes Lead in Tracking Poll

The latest Muhlenberg/Morning Call tracking poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Arlen Specter (D) just edging Rep. Joe Sestak (D) in their Democratic Senate primary, 45% to 43%.

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