POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/24

Angle Maintains Lead Over Reid

A new Rasmussen poll in Nevada shows Sharron Angle (R) with a seven-point edge over Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), 48% to 41%.

The previous Rasmussen survey gave Angle an 11 point lead.

Congressional Approval Stuck at Near Lows

A new Gallup poll finds that just 20% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.

“This year’s low approval ratings for Congress are a potentially ominous sign for President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress. Gallup has found greater party seat change in Congress in midterm elections when Congress has had low approval ratings. Specifically, in the five midterm elections in which Congress’ approval ratings at the time of the election were below 40%, there was an average net change in seats of 29 from the president’s party to the opposition.”

Quote of the Day

“I need to stop swearing. It’s terrible.”

— Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, quoted by the Chicago Tribune, on a wiretap phone conversation with his wife.

Summers Contributed to Orszag’s Early Exit

The New Yorker notes that while it’s true Obama budget director Peter Orszag isleaving his post to “spend more time with his family,” his relationship with economic adviser Larry Summers, “which was never great, had become intolerable.”

“Orszag made several attempts to mend things before deciding to leave, but eventually gave up. The Summers-Orszag tension was a classic case of the narcissism of small differences. Orszag and Summers probably agree on ninety per cent of all public-policy issues, but they were a quarrelsome pair, with turf-conscious staffs. The balance of power in the relationship shifted toward Summers last fall, when Obama decided not to make Summers Chairman of the Federal Reserve and, as a sort of consolation prize, increased his authority inside the West Wing.”

Christie Not Looking at National Bid

In an interview with Fox Business Network, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) takes his name of the list of prospective 2012 presidential candidates.

Said Christie: “Not going to happen. I want to be Governor of New Jersey. I ran for Governor of New Jersey. I’m not Woodrow Wilson. You have to be in your gut and in your heart ready to President if you decide to run for that. I simply do not have the desire to do it, nor do I think I’m ready.”

GOP Accused of Recruiting Independent Candidates

Cedric Richmond (D), who is challenging Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), accused the Republicans “of pulling a South Carolina-style political ploy by convincing black candidates to run as independents,” The Hill reports.

Said Richmond: “That’s the Republican game plan. To get as many black independents to run as they can so that in the general election they can siphon off Democratic votes.”

Confidence Waning in Obama

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Americans “are more pessimistic about the state of the country and less confident in President Obama’s leadership than at any point since Mr. Obama entered the White House.”

Key finding: “62% feel the country is on the wrong track, the highest level since before the 2008 election. Just one-third think the economy will get better over the next year, a 7-point drop from a month ago and the low point of Mr. Obama’s tenure.”

Australian Prime Minister Falls

Kevin Rudd has resigned as Prime Minister of Australia after his deputy secured enough support to overthrow him, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. Rudd, a Labor Party politician, decided to step aside rather than contest a ballot he knew he would lose.

Julia Gillard, the country’s first female Prime Minister “now has the task of leading a party traumatized and divided by the recent dramatic events to the federal election which could be held in a matter of weeks.”

Daniel Berman: “All in all, the leadership coup which toppled Kevin Rudd occurred in half a day, with less than twelve hours between the announcement of a challenge by his deputy, Julia Gillard, and his decision to resign in the face of almost certain defeat.”

Tight Race for New Mexico Governor

A new Magellan Strategies poll in New Mexico finds Susana Martinez (R) barely edging Diane Denish (D) in the race for governor, 44% to 43%.

Interestingly, both candidates are well known among all voters, with each having name recognition of 98%.

Corbett Ahead in Pennsylvania

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania finds Tom Corbett (R) leading Dan Onorato (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 35%.

“One thing that can’t be doing Onorato’s prospects any favors is the high level of unpopularity of outgoing Governor Ed Rendell. He has just a 35% approval rating with 53% of voters disapproving of him. It’s no surprise that voters are reluctant to elect another Democratic Governor when they feel so negatively toward the one already in office.”

Gore Was Focus of Sex Crime Inquiry

Prosecutors in Oregon confirmed that a woman “who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Al Gore reported it to police in 2006, and the prosecutor’s office was briefed by the Portland Police Bureau in late 2006 and January 2007,” the Portland Oregonian reports.

According to a police report, the woman “reported the encounter several weeks after the incident” but “canceled interview appointments three times, and declined police investigation, saying a civil case would be pursued.”

“There’s no evidence a civil suit had been filed.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“Alvin Greene is irrelevant to South Carolina voters and he is irrelevant to the fall campaign.”

— South Carolina Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Fowler, quoted by CNN, distancing her party’s candidates from their U.S. Senate nominee.

GOP Grabs Lead in Generic Ballot

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Republicans leading the generic congressional ballot by 45% to 43%.

“That might not seem like such a big difference, but the numbers have been trending — slowly — in the GOP’s favor. There’s been a notable decline in support for a Democratic-controlled Congress in WSJ/NBC polls. In November 2008, the public preferred a Democratic Congress by a 12-point, 48%-36% margin. By January 2010, the parties tied at 41%. Now, the GOP is in the lead.”

Kilpatrick Indicted on 19 Counts

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) has been indicted on 19 federal counts ranging from mail fraud to wire fraud to tax evasion, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The indictment accuses Kilpatrick “of carrying out a scheme, hatched 11 years ago, to use his non-profit Kilpatrick Civic Fund to pay for personal and campaign expenses in violation of the law.”

Kilpatrick is currently in prison on state charges.

Elena’s Inbox

The Sunlight Foundation releases Elena’s Inbox which allows you to search actual emails to and from Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan during her stint in the Clinton administration.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I welcome debate… but I will not stand for division.”

— President Obama, in announcing he’s accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the commander in Afghanistan.

McChrystal is Out

President Obama has relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his command overremarks made to Rolling Stone magazine.

McChrystal met with the president in the Oval Office for about 30 minutes earlier today but did not attend the national security meeting.

Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the military’s Central Command and the architect of the Iraq surge in 2007, will take over as the top commander in Afghanistan which means the existing war strategy is likely unchanged.

Why Republicans Need Barton to be Quiet

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Texas suggests Republicans are well advised to stay clear of Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) apology to oil giant BP for how they were treated by the Obama administration.

“The poll numbers indicate this is an issue where Democrats could find some resonance with independent voters. They see Barton negatively by a 35% to 14% margin, think he should lose his leadership post by a 45% to 29% spread, think Obama was right on this issue 59% to 29%, and oppose an apology to BP 75% to 12%. Given those numbers GOP leaders would probably like to see this issue disappear as soon as possible.”

World Cup Quote of the Day

“We embody what Americans are about. We can moan about it or we can get on with it, and we kept going. We believe, man.”

— Landon Donovan, after scoring the winning goal against Algeria.

See more…

Barton Unapologizes for Apology

Dave Weigel reports that just a few hours after Republicans let him keep his House Energy and Commerce Committee assignment, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) “has cheekily responded to criticism over his apology to BP by tweeting a link to anAmerican Spectator article titled ‘Joe Barton was right.'”

Update: A Barton staffer emails Political Wire to explain he was responsible. “Without thinking about it much, I added a headline from one of the daily news clips to a website that is, in turn, linked to the congressman’s Twitter account. Mr. Barton was not aware of the Tweet.”

The Senate Could Get Much Rowdier

Politico previews a U.S. Senate with three “non-conformists who tend to chafe at authority” — Rand Paul (R-KY), Sharron Angle (R-NV), and Mike Lee (R-UT) — as possible new members.

“The decorous and staid U.S. Senate could get a lot rowdier in 2011… They owe little to the establishment– party leaders largely opposed their candidacies — and much to the fear-for-my-country movement from which they emerge… these hopefuls believe that that village of Washington can only be saved by destroying it- or at least returned to what they see as first principles.”

CNN Hires Spitzer to Host New Show

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Kathleen Parker will co-host a new hour long CNN primetime news program starting in September, CNN reports.

How Nikki Haley Survived Scandal

Howard Fineman: “In the old days — and I’m talking only a few years ago — Nikki Haley wouldn’t have had a chance. Here she was, an attractive, 38-year-old married woman running for the Republican nomination for governor in solidly conservative, highly religious South Carolina, and two men come forward to allege publicly that she’d committed adultery with them.”

“In the old Bible Belt, that would have derailed Haley’s campaign– even if, as in her case, there were no videos or hotel receipts or anything other than on-the-record accusations.”

“Haley’s survival was partly due to her gender (women rallied around her), and the fact that she is a conservative Republican (Sarah Palin was for her). Haley was also helped by the backing of the estranged wife of former governor Mark Sanford — the irony was potent — who was made a laughingstock by his own sex scandal. Haley survived because she found a safe spot amid the danger/safety variables on the new personal-scandal grid.”

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