POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/29

Clinton Backs Romanoff Over Bennet

Continuing to be loyal to those who backed his wife’s presidential bid in 2008, former President Bill Clinton sent an email endorsing Andrew Romanoff (D) in his primary challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), the favored candidate of President Obama and national Democrats.

Clinton Takes More Paid Speaking Gigs

Bill Clinton “stepped up the pace” of his paid speaking engagements last year, CNNreports, earning $7.5 million from 36 paid speeches in 2009, up from the $5.7 million he earned for 25 speeches in 2008.

“Though it is not unusual for former presidents to command millions of dollars in speaking fees after leaving office, Clinton is the only one subjected to strict disclosure requirements as a result of his wife’s employment as a high-ranking federal official, first as a United States Senator and now as Secretary of State.”

Elizabeth Edwards Speaks

Elizabeth Edwards spoke with Matt Lauer in an interview that will air tomorrow on theToday Show. It’s her first public comments since separating from her husband, John Edwards.

Here are a few excerpts:

LAUER: What questions have you been forced to ask yourself about the last two, three, four, five, ten years of your marriage?

EDWARDS: You know, did I waste my time in these years? Have I thrown this part of my life away, in a sense? And I decided that I didn’t. That maybe I didn’t get the same things out of it I expected to, or that I thought I was at the time. But when I look back, there’s really lots of blessings that I’ve had. I’ve had the opportunity, you know, to have these great children. I’ve had wonderful friends. I’ve had experiences that, you know, really couldn’t be replaced. And opportunities to talk about things that mattered to me.

LAUER: When the story of John’s affair first came to light, you were told by John, and correct me if I’m wrong, that this was basically a one-night stand.

EDWARDS: It was. I– I thought that throughout the campaign. I thought that for much longer than most people would have thought reasonable. But I believed it.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I wasn’t thinking.”

— Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), quoted by NBC Chicago, explaining why he made so many “embellishments” to his resume.

Where Have All the Pollsters Gone?

One potentially interesting consequence of the fraud allegations against Research 2000 is that there are not many polling firms left that conduct credible live interview polls at the state level. Mason-Dixon and Quinnipiac seem to be the only prominent national pollsters still active in multiple states.

If you want data for state races, you’ll increasingly need to rely on automated survey firms, such as Public Policy Polling, Rasmussen and SurveyUSA.

Report Suggests Firm Made Up Polling Results

DailyKos has published a report by “three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk.”

“While the investigation didn’t look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we’ve written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.”

DailyKos will be filing suit against the polling firm “within the next day or two.”

Update: Research 2000 President Del Ali to TPM: “I will tell you unequivocally that we conducted EVERY poll properly for the Daily Kos.”

Quote of the Day

“They’re snuffing out the America that I grew up in. Right now, we’ve got more Americans engaged in their government than at any time in our history. There’s a political rebellion brewing, and I don’t think we’ve seen anything like it since 1776.”

— House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on why Democrats are in political trouble.

Feingold Has a Tough Race

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin shows Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) leading challenger Ron Johnson (R) by just two points, 45% to 43%.

Interestingly, Johnson is closer to Feingold than former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) was as he contemplated a potential challenge.

Most interesting: “Johnson is largely unknown to voters in the state. 62% have no opinion of him. Among those who do feelings are pretty divided with 20% seeing him favorably and 18% unfavorably. Johnson’s anonymity, in contrast to Thompson, may actually help GOP prospects for winning the seat… A fresher face may be helpful for Republicans as they try to pull off the upset in this race.”

The Lost Art of the Great Speech

Here’s an interesting book to add to your library: The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write One — How to Deliver It by Richard Dowis.

Wall Street Reform Now Uncertain

“The most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations since the 1930s is on a knife’s edge as Democrats scramble to secure the Senate votes needed to pass the legislation,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) robs Democrats of a vote to push the bill toward final passage. Another Democratic senator, who voted against an earlier version of the legislation, said Monday he wouldn’t support the final product either. And the late addition of a fee on banks and hedge funds to cover the cost of the legislation is roiling the few Republicans thought likely to vote for the package.”

Ezra Klein: “Conference reports can be filibustered, but they can’t be amended. Short of going back to conference and coming out with a new report, the legislation can’t, at this point, be tweaked and changed to pick up the final votes.”

Kagan’s First Day

If you missed day one of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, Garrett Epps has the best overview:

“The first day of the hearings was enough to induce coma. There really seemed to be three different groups in the room, holding parallel events by turns. Group one was the Democrats. Astonishingly, they stuck more closely to their talking points than did Republicans to theirs…Group Two were the Republicans, who seemed less able to stick to their script, perhaps because they don’t believe in it…Group Three was Kagan herself, who finally came alive when asked to give her brief opening statement…In the end, her opening statement was no more substantive than were the senators’.”

Hopefully, day two will be a bit more substantive and unpredictable.

Blagojevich Suggested Oprah for Senate

In the latest recording played at Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial, the former governor raised the idea of appointing Oprah Winfrey to the U.S. Senate, theChicago Sun Times reports.

Said Blagojevich: “She’s the kingmaker. She made Obama. We know she’s a Democrat. We know she’s for Obama… This one, she’s so up there, so high, that nobody can assail this pick. This would be huge… The odds of her actually taking it are fucking slim to none. Who’s going to complain about it? It’s going to be huge.”

He also brought up the possibility of appointing Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as a “black Albert Einstein.”

Democrats Seek “Macaca” Moments

The DNC launched a website designed to solicit and display embarrassing audio and video of Republican candidates saying offensive things or taking extreme positions,Politico reports.

In an email introducing the site, the party says they are seeking “Macaca” moments — referring to the incident caught on video where former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) used a slur to refer to a rival campaign staffer.

CQ Politics calls it “crowdsourced opposition research.”

Strickland Holds Lead in Ohio

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Gov. Ted Strickland (D) leading challenger John Kasich (R) by five points, 43% to 38%, essentially unchanged from similar polls in March and April.

Siad pollster Peter Brown: “Kasich still has four months until Election Day and Strickland’s other numbers show his potential vulnerability, but at this point the Governor remains ahead despite the anti-incumbency wave sweeping the country. The good news for Strickland is that he is ahead. Nevertheless, when an incumbent governor is getting less than 45 percent of the vote four months out, it should make him concerned.”

Update: A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Kasich with a small lead, 43% to 41%.

What Job Hunters Can Learn from the Campaign Trail

Political Job Hunt: “Politicians are the ultimate job hunters. They are continually seeking a job — often, their same job, unless they’re tossed out of that one by the voters and then they’re looking for another one… What can ordinary job hunters, who don’t need to be re-elected but must campaign for a position, nonetheless, learn from the campaign trail?”

Moran Crushing Tiahrt in Kansas GOP Primary

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kansas finds Jerry Moran (R) with a 20-point lead over Todd Tiahrt (R) in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, 53% to 33%.

Obama and History

Peter Beinart: “Even as Republicans claim political momentum, the country is in the midst of a major shift leftward when it comes to the role of government. That shift is playing itself out from infrastructure to health care to finance and perhaps eventually to the environment. No one knows whether these shifts will revive the U.S. economy and lay the foundation for stable, broad-based growth, just as no one could predict the impact of the rightward turn in American policy in the early 1980s. Decades later, liberals and conservatives still disagree about whether Reagan’s reforms changed America for good or ill. What they don’t disagree about is the fact that they fundamentally changed America. Those changes made Reagan one of the most consequential presidents in American history. Eighteen months in, it’s a good bet that historians will say the same about Barack Obama.”

Inouye to Become President Pro Tempore

The death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) puts Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) in line to become president pro tempore of the Senate, a mainly ceremonial position that ranks third in line of succession to the presidency, the New York Times reports.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“He had the courage to stand firm in his principles, but also the courage to change over time.”

— President Obama, on the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV).

Greene’s Finances Investigated

South Carolina officials are investigating the finances of U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene (D) to determine whether any laws have been broken in the way he has been representing his personal finances, the Columbia State reports.

Greene is facing felony obscenity charges and told a judge late last year that he didn’t have the money to afford a lawyer and was appointed a public defender. Then, several months later, Greene somehow came up with $10,400 in cash to pay the filing fee to run for U.S. Senate.

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