POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/21

Another Candidate Overstates His Military Record?

The Los Angeles Times notes the California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore (R) “has emphasized his service as a military officer and a young Reagan White House appointee at the Pentagon as experiences that helped make him the most qualified candidate. But at times he appears to have overstated those accomplishments, particularly his experience under fire and his role in the development of a U.S.-Israeli anti-ballistic-missile defense program.”

In one debate DeVore spoke of being “shot at in Lebanon” but did not make clear “that the shooting occurred in the 1980s while DeVore was a college student studying Arabic and other subjects in the Middle East. Nor did he note that while the shooting was in his vicinity, there was no indication he was a target or was in actual danger.”

Saturday’s Election is Already Half Over

Although the special election to replace Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) isn’t until Saturday, KITV-TV reports that as of Wednesday, 48% of the ballots were already turned in by mail.

Colleen Hanabusa (D), Ed Case (D) and Charles Djou (R) are the frontrunners in the race.

Bloomberg Approval at Lowest Level in Five Years

A new Quinnipiac poll shows New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a 57% to 29% approval rating, his lowest grade in five years.

Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “Bloomberg’s job-approval is over 50 percent, at a level most politicians would wallow in during this anti-incumbent storm, but it’s way down from the heady 70-plus heights the Mayor enjoyed before he ran for a third term.”

Angle Now Leads in Nevada GOP Primary

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Nevada finds Sharron Angle (R) now leads in the Republican race for U.S. Senate with 29%, surpassing Sue Lowden (R) at 26% and Danny Tarkanian (R) at 24%.

It’s the first poll that shows Lowden no longer in the lead.

Senate Passes Historic Financial Reform Bill

The Senate approved a far-reaching financial regulation bill, “paving the way for enactment of the most extensive reworking of financial oversight in generations and a second major legislative victory of the year for President Obama and congressional Democrats,” the Washington Post reports.

“The House passed similar legislation in December, and the two houses of Congress will now go about reconciling their approaches to financial reform. The legislation has sufficient momentum — including support from three Republican senators — that a final version could be on President Obama’s desk within weeks.”

New York Times: “While there are important differences — notably a Senate provision that would force big banks to spin off some of their most lucrative derivatives business into separate subsidiaries — the bills are broadly similar and it is virtually certain that Congress will adopt the most sweeping regulatory overhaul since the aftermath of the Great Depression.”

Dayton Leads in Minnesota Primary for Governor

A new Minnesota Public Radio/Humphrey Institute poll in Minnesota finds former Sen. Mark Dayton (D) leads in the primary to choose the DFL Party’s nominee for governor.

Dayton leads with 38%, followed by Margaret Anderson Kelliher (D) at 28% and Matt Entenza (D) at 6%.

In general election match ups with Tom Emmer (R), Dayton is the only DFLer to come out on top.

Obama Will Replace Blair

ABC News has learned that President Obama will replace Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair. His resignation will come as soon as tomorrow.

“On the heels of a number of intelligence failures involving the Fort Hood shooter, failed Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab, and questions about failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, it was no longer clear that Blair — tasked with coordinating the 16 intelligence agencies and ensuring that they cooperate and share information – still had the full and complete confidence of the president, sources say.”

Culver Loses His Briefing Book

briefing book prepared for Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) — lost and obtained by reporters — illustrates the tough challenges facing him as he seeks re-election.

Ben Smith: “The 86-page briefing book is a detailed guide for Culver to the 20 stops on the statewide tour announcing his reelection this week, and its loss is an unusual political slip. Its most striking feature is a reminder, stop by stop, of the reason Culver is often viewed as the underdog: The state’s rising unemployment.”

“The briefing book also offers a glimpse at the campaign trail from the point of view of the candidate, with its number repetition and detailed instructions from handlers.”

Flashback of the Day

“A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination, even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin.”

— Rand Paul (R), in a letter to the Bowling Green Daily News in 2002.

After two tough interviews yesterday trying to explain his views, Paul claimed today that he would have supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act which outlawed this type of discrimination.

Fact of the Day

The last Public Policy Polling survey in Kentucky found that more Republicans think Rand Paul (R) is too liberal (17%) than think he is too conservative (12%).

Reid Gets Brown’s Support on Bank Reform Bill

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) claimed yesterday that Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) broke his word and unexpectedly voted against cloture on the bank reform bill. Today, the measure passed with Brown’s support.

Reid explained to Roll Call: “He’s new here. He’s trying hard. I’m sure it was a misunderstanding.”

DeMint Clearly Frustrated with Paul

Think Progress followed Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) after a press conference to ask him about Rand Paul’s (R) views on civil rights.

DeMint, who endorsed Paul in the Kentucky Senate primary, flatly stated that he supports the 1964 Civil Rights Act, adding, “I’m going to talk to Rand about his positions.”

Sestak Jumps Out to Early Lead

A new Rasmussen survey in Pennsylvania shows Rep. Joe Sestak (D) with an early lead over Pat Toomey (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 42%.

Halter Holds Edge in Runoff

Research 2000 poll in Arkansas shows Bill Halter (D) edging Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) in their Democratic primary runoff, 48% to 46%.

DailyKos: “The poll’s methodology may be overstating Halter’s support by a couple of points — the horserace question is asked after some leading issue questions. We’ll be polling this race much cleaner next week (horserace question first). It’ll be curious to see if the results deviate much.”

Paul Now Says He Would Have Voted for Civil Rights Act

On the Laura Ingraham Show, Rand Paul sought to clarify his muddled appearanceon the Rachel Maddow Show and was asked if he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Said Paul: “Yes, because I think the preponderance of the evidence was that we had some abhorrent things going on in our society–segregation, the Jim Crow laws…I think the south had failed and that the federal government did have a role in ending discrimination in all of these practices.”

Paul also released a statement: “I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

See more…

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I wore the uniform in Vietnam and many came back to all kinds of disrespect.”

— Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D), quoted by the Stamford Advocate in 2008.

Nelson Finds ATMs a Mystery

As a proposal makes it’s way through the Senate to limit the fees charged for using a bank’s ATM, the Omaha World Herald reports Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) “pleaded ignorance when asked this week whether Congress should cap ATM fees.”

Said Nelson: “I’ve never used an ATM, so I don’t know what the fees are. It’s true, I don’t know how to use one.”

Why Did Blumenthal Never Correct Mistakes?

New London Day editorial wonders why Richard Blumenthal (D) did not act quickly to correct inaccurate reports in state newspapers over the years that described him as a Vietnam veteran.

“The candidate explains he can’t track all news reports about him. Yet this newspaper knows from experience that Mr. Blumenthal is quick to correct unflattering statements published about him or to refute opinions with which he disagrees. One reporter got a call from the attorney general for inserting a middle initial in his name. He has none.”

Palin Endorsement Boosts Haley

A new Rasmussen survey in South Carolina shows Nikki Haley (R) — recentlyendorsed by Sarah Palin — now leads the Republican primary race for governor.

Haley leads with 30%, followed by Henry McMaster (R) at 19%, Gresham Barrett (R) at 17% and Andre Bauer at 12%.

Just two months ago, a similar survey put Haley in fourth place.

In addition to the Palin nod, Dave Weigel reports Gov. Mark Sanford’s PAC just spent $400k on television ads for Haley — almost doubling her campaign spending.

Paul Posts Huge Lead Over Conway

A new Rasmussen survey in Kentucky shows Rand Paul (R) with a 25-point lead over Jack Conway (D) in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, 59% to 34%.

Paul Stumbles Trying to Defend Views on Civil Rights

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul’s (R) appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show last night will certainly make Democrats happy he won the primary.

Essentially, Paul believes that private businesses should be allowed to discriminate on race and he tied himself up in knots trying to defend his position.

Said Paul: “If you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says ‘well no, we don’t want to have guns in here’ the bar says ‘we don’t want to have guns in here because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each-other.’ Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant?”

Ben Smith notes he did the same in a NPR interview yesterday.

Joe Scarborough: “He needs to come up with an answer today, or Kentucky will be Arizona: a battleground for ugly, racial politics. He has 24 hours.”

Bennett to Announce Decision

After flirting with the idea of a write-in candidacy for Senate for 12 days, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) is expected to announce his decision today.

Salt Lake Tribune: “The options are many: Bennett could announce he’s going to finish out his seven months left in the Senate and ease into a comfy business or government role. He could rock the establishment and use the Republican Senate campaign arm podium to say he’s not leaving without a fight. Bennett could swing his arm around challenger Tim Bridgewater — who is in Washington this week — and endorse him over Mike Lee. Or he could do a combination of the above.”

UpdatePolitico reports Bennett says he will not run a write-in campaign.

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