POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/10

Fiorina Stands By Comments on Boxer’s Hair

Dave Weigel notes that Carly Fiorina (R) was asked last night about her “caught on live mic” comments but while she apologized to Sean Hannity for a dig at him she passed on a chance to apologize about mocking Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) hair.

Life as a New Senator

In the mail: The Upper House: A Journey Behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate by Terence Samuel.

The book follows four newly-elected U.S. Senators: John Tester of Montana, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Jim Webb of Virginia and Bob Corker of Tennessee.

In an overview of the book, NPR notes the senators “arrived in Washington ready to enact change, but quickly encountered the challenging reality of working in a place like the Senate — with its arcane rules and its slow, incremental pace.”

Poll Gives Angle Double-Digit Lead Over Reid

The first Rasmussen survey in Nevada since the Tuesday primary shows Sharron Angle (R) moving ahead with an 11-point lead over Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 39%.

Clyburn Says Greene Was a “Plant”

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) called for an investigation into the circumstances that led to Alvin Greene (D) to win the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in South Carolina, The Hill reports.

Said Clyburn: “There were some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary. I don’t know if he was a Republican plant; he was someone’s plant.”

Meanwhile, The Root has an interview with Greene noting that he “paid $10,400 to register as a candidate and then bought not even a single campaign sign” but “stunned the pundits with his victory, and in last 20 hours, he’s become a media research project.”

Clinton Will Campaign for Reid

Bill Clinton heads to Nevada next week to hold a campaign rally for Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

“The announcement sends a clear message that Reid’s high powered Democratic friends will be spending plenty of time in Nevada in the next five months ahead of the Nov. 2 general election, helping boost the prospects of Reid, who isn’t very popular among Nevada voters these days.”

How Biden Became Chief Spokesman

Howard Kurtz looks at how Vice President Biden’s image “has been transformed from bumbler to big blanking deal. His rehabilitation follows a concerted media strategy that has positioned him as the administration’s top on-air spokesman, buttressed by a broader White House role and a stronger relationship with President Obama.”

Lincoln Keeps Pressure on Banks

Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s (D-AR) “surprising victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Arkansas appears to have hardened an anti-Wall Street bent in Congress’s financial-overhaul bill,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Lincoln wrote a controversial provision in the bill that could force banks to spin off their lucrative derivatives-trading operations. Bankers and many lawmakers assumed the provision would wither once Ms. Lincoln lost her primary — or even if she won, given the diminished political imperative to look tough on Wall Street. But her victory appeared to have the opposite effect, with Democrats saying her standing is now strengthened, particularly as it appears the populist provision resonated with voters.”

Said Lincoln: “We’re going to work hard to keep it in.”

Blumenthal Still Holds Sizable Lead

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Richard Blumenthal (D) leading Linda McMahon (R) in the U.S. Senate race by 20 points, 55% to 35%.

Late last month, Blumenthal held a 25 point lead.

Said pollster Douglas Schwartz: “Three weeks after the Vietnam flap, Blumenthal has lost a little more ground to McMahon, but he still has a comfortable lead. Prior to the Vietnam controversy, Blumenthal led by 33 points. A week after the controversy, his lead was 25 points. Now it’s down to 20 points.”

Political Novices Shake Up Florida Races

A new Quinnipiac poll finds political neophyte Rick Scott (R) has surged in front of Bill McCollum (R) in the Republican primary race for governor, 44% to 31%.

Similarly, in Democratic race for the U.S. Senate nomination, Jeff Greene, another political unknown with deep pockets, has moved into a statistical dead heat with Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) and trails now by just two points, 29% to 27%, with 37% still undecided.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Mothers may tell their children that money can’t buy happiness, but what these results show is that money can buy enough television ads to make political neophytes serious contenders for major political office. It certainly doesn’t hurt with Greene or Scott that this is shaping up to be the year of the anti-establishment candidate.”

Fiorina Caught on Open Mic

Carly Fiorina (R) was caught on an open microphone this morning where she mocked Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) hair and crticized Meg Whitman’s decision to give an interview to Sean Hannity. It’s today’s must see video.

See more…

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I do buy into the idea that carbon emissions are not good for the planet as a whole, but they’re not going to get 60 votes to save the polar bears.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by the Huffington Post, explaining his opposition to the climate bill that he co-authored.

South Carolina Democrats Try to Push Nominee Out

The South Carolina Democratic Party is now trying to push Alvin Greene (D) — their newly-minted Senate candidate who basically didn’t campaign — out of the race after it was revealed that he was “recently charged with disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity after showing obscene photos to a University of South Carolina student.”

A statement: “We are proud to have nominated a Democratic ticket this year that, with the apparent exception of Mr. Greene, reflects South Carolina’s values. Our candidates want to give this state a new beginning without the drama and irresponsibility of the past 8 years, and the charges against Mr. Greene indicate that he cannot contribute to that new beginning. I hope he will see the wisdom of leaving the race.”

The episode sounds quite similar to the controversy in Illinois earlier this year.

Where’s the Transparency in Pollster Ratings?

Nate Silver’s pollster scorecard is an interesting experiment in trying to hold the political polling industry to a higher standard. It’s long overdue and could prove very useful to consumers of this information.

In explaining his methodology, Silver found that “the scores of polling firms which have made a public commitment to disclosure and transparency hold up better over time. If they were strong before, they were more likely to remain strong; if they were weak before, they were more likely to improve.”

But when I talk with pollsters about the latest scorecard, they’re universally puzzled as to why Silver doesn’t hold himself to the same level of transparency and release his database of polls. In fact, some even claim he’s using faulty data in putting together his rankings.

While Silver’s efforts are admirable — and even caused one of the more controversial firms to vanish from the scene — it’s a point worth considering before giving his pollster rankings too much weight.

Blagojevich Brothers Go Separate Ways

Esquire describes the scene as the separate attorneys for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his brother Robert took their clients in vastly different directions during opening statements at their federal corruption trial yesterday.

Robert’s attorney repeatedly reminds jurors that the brothers “aren’t close,” and describes the elder Blagojevich as a former military man with little interest in politics or money. Rod’s attorney, the dramatic Sam Adam Jr., argues that the governor “got fooled” by nefarious aides and that the investigations were a waste of time.

Said Adam: “The same people chasing Bin Laden are chasing HIM!”

Another Poll Shows Close Senate Race in Florida

A new Rasmussen survey in Florida shows Gov. Charlie Crist (I) and Marco Rubio (R) tied in the U.S. Senate race at 37% each with Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) in third place at 15%.

Quinnipiac poll released earlier today gave a slight edge to Crist.

Abramoff Released from Prison

Disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff was released from prison to a halfway house to serve out the remainder of his sentence, CNN reports.

“Abramoff, once a high-rolling Republican lobbyist, pleaded guilty to a raft of federal corruption charges in 2006. He admitted illegally showering gifts on officials who provided favors for his clients and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Among other things, the inquiry led to prison time for a former congressman, Ohio Republican Bob Ney; for Stephen Griles, once the Bush administration’s deputy interior secretary; and for several former congressional staffers.”

Kirk Holds Thin Lead in Illinois

A new Rasmussen survey in Illinois finds Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) with a three point lead over Alexi Giannoulias, 42% to 39%.

Writing Off Lincoln

Tom Jensen: “It’s nice for Blanche Lincoln that she won the runoff in Arkansas last night but I hope that no groups that care about getting Democratic Senators elected spend another dollar in the state this year. That doesn’t have anything to do with her ideology — judging her worthwhileness there is not part of my job as a pollster — but there are just a boatload of races where Democrats have a better chance to win this fall and could use their resources more wisely.”

Specifically, he notes there hasn’t been a poll, aside from Research 2000, which shows her down by anything less than 17 points to John Boozman in over three months.


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