POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/30

Voter ID Law Upheld in Indiana

The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the state’s voter identification law, which requires voters to identify themselves at the polls using a photo ID issued by the state or the federal government, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Giannoulias Hits Back at Kirk

If Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) thought he could move beyond stories of his exaggerated record by attacking Alexi Giannoulias (D), his rival’s tough new ad proves otherwise.

The U.S. Senate race in Illinois has the potential to be one of the nastiest in years.

See more…

Blagojevich Didn’t Believe Obama Short List

Listening to wiretap conversations played at Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial, Daniel Libit notes the governor thought the “short list” of acceptable Senate candidates the Obama transition team had conveyed to him was “nothing more than a ploy.”

Said Blagojevich to his wife: “Yeah, I mean look at this list, it’s a politically correct list. So he can cover his ass. He’s got a white male in there, he’s got a white woman, he’s got Tammy Duckworth, veteran, veteran all of that and Asian…and Jesse Jr., the black candidate.”

In fact, the official list actually convinced Blagojevich that Rahm Emanuel had been pushing Valerie Jarrett “real hard” to be appointed so he could consolidate his own power within the newly-forming Obama White House.

GOP Holds Edge for Wisconsin Governor

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin shows Republicans with a small advantage in the race for governor.

Scott Walker (R) leads Tom Barrett (D), 45% to 38%, while Mark Neumann (R) leads Barrett, 41% to 36%.

Key problem for Democrats: Gov. Jim Doyle (D) has a lowly 28% approval rating.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas. Indeed, if you raise specific ideas and solutions, as I’ve tried to do on health care with Ron Wyden, you are attacked with the same vigor as we’ve seen in American politics all the way back to slavery and polygamy; you are attacked as being a wimp, insufficiently pure, and unreliable.”

— Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Elizabeth Edwards Talks About “Game Change”

Since we looked at what John Edwards is doing now, it’s worth noting that the Today show interview with Elizabeth Edwards is also fascinating — particularly her reaction to the unflattering picture of her in the bestseller Game Change.

“It was actually useful to have somebody say you were perceived as much harsher than you thought you were. That’s a useful piece of information…  I thought of the people who worked in the campaign not as people who worked for John or worked for me, but as people with whom I worked. I thought of us as equals… If I argued about a policy, I thought I was arguing as an equal. Clearly they didn’t have that perception — they thought I was the boss’s wife or whatever. I didn’t take that into consideration and I needed to.”

However, she also had a warning: “I know who the sources are.”

See more…

Throwing Greer Under the Bus

The St. Petersburg Times reports on the “most intriguing piece of evidence” against former Florida GOP boss Jim Greer which is an amazing 56-minute phone callbetween Greer and the party’s former executive director Delmar Johnson.

Johnson agreed to make the call to the father of his godson as part of an immunity agreement to spare himself from criminal prosecution and jail time.

The Buzz: “Greer sounds panicked, trying to determine who is a friend and who is an enemy. He even confronts Johnson with rumors that Johnson has turned on him. But a stammering Johnson keeps the conversation going, finally ending it with a promise to visit Greer in Central Florida.”

Johnson ended the call: “Kiss my godson for me.”

Kirk Goes on the Attack

Having apologized for his resume embellishments, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) goes on the attack against Alexi Giannoulias (D) with two tough ads — one that links his rival with oil giant BP and the other that ties him to organized crime.

See more…

A Little Secret About Polls

First Read expands on our point about the declining number of potentially reliable state polls.

“Good polls are expensive to do, and if you’re seeing a particular organization doing a slew of polls, you’ve to ask: 1) how reliable are those numbers, or 2) where is the money coming from to conduct those polls? Nowadays, on the state level, we trust the polling we’re getting from campaigns and state parties (although not necessarily those polls that are made public) more than the numbers we see from some non political polling organizations.”

They also institute a new policy: “When we report a public poll on the state level, it will be because we think those numbers are reflecting what we know is going on in the race. We’ll let you know if a pollster has a good reputation in that state, has a good track record (because a good pollster in one state doesn’t mean they know the nuances of another).”

Illinois May Have Two Senate Elections

“A little-noticed federal appellate panel ruling may trigger two elections for an Illinois Senate seat on Nov. 2 — one to fill a new six-year term and, in a stunning development, another to elect someone to finish the remaining days of Barack Obama’s original Senate term,” Lynn Sweet reports.

The lawsuit would have the practical effect of “slicing a few weeks off” the tenure of appointed Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) whose term was set to expire when a new senator from Illinois is sworn in on Jan. 3, 2011.

Health Care Reform More Popular

The Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll finds the new health care reform law is gaining in popularity with 48% of the public having a favorable view while 41% had an unfavorable opinion.

Last month, the split was 41% favorable to 44% unfavorable.

Angle Mostly Stands Her Ground

In a tough interview with Jon Ralston — her first mainstream media interview since winning the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Nevada — Sharron Angle (R) “softened her rhetoric on ‘phasing out’ Social Security and fearing the electorate would take up arms if conservatives didn’t win at the ballot box,” the Las Vegas Sunreports.

“But on other issues, such as abortion and her belief that unemployment benefits deter the jobless from applying for work, she stridently defended herself amid criticism from her Democratic rival, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that her views are ‘wacky’ and ‘dangerous.'”

“Only once did she flatly admit her pre-primary language was too strong, when asked to explain her comments that the citizenry will resort to ‘Second Amendment remedies‘ — referring to the right to bear arms — if conservatives didn’t win this election.”

Said Angle: “I admit it was a little strong to say.”

Betting on an Economic Recovery

A must-read New York Times piece: “The world’s rich countries are now conducting a dangerous experiment. They are repeating an economic policy out of the 1930s — starting to cut spending and raise taxes before a recovery is assured — and hoping today’s situation is different enough to assure a different outcome.”

“In effect, policy makers are betting that the private sector can make up for the withdrawal of stimulus over the next couple of years. If they’re right, they will have made a head start on closing their enormous budget deficits. If they’re wrong, they may set off a vicious new cycle, in which public spending cuts weaken the world economy and beget new private spending cuts.”

Pollster Fight Gets Ugly

Yesterday’s allegations by DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas that pollster Research 2000 fabricated polling data shook the polling world.

Nate Silver details his own past suspicions of Research 2000 — for which he’s already received a cease and desist letter — while Mark Blumenthal reports the firm has had issues with transparency before but finds “most troubling to me” that they are apparently reluctant to share raw data with their own client.

But Research 2000’s Del Ali is fighting back telling the Lexington Herald Leader, “I can tell you, we’re fine. What we’re going to reveal, that will be the end of the Daily Kos. I can say, it has to do with people owing money.”

Interestingly, Yahoo News reports the pollster knows something about owing money and has “a long and troubled financial history, according to Maryland state court records.”

Edwards Parties On

The New Republic takes a look at John Edwards’ post-scandal life in North Carolina where he “tends to his legal problems and little else” but still manages to have a good time.

“In the aftermath of the 2008 presidential campaign, Edwards was said to be distraught. He lost a precipitous amount of weight, and advisers even told reporters at the time that they worried he might be suicidal. Since then, things have only gotten worse. But Edwards is refusing to follow in the tradition of other scandal-plagued figures like Tiger Woods and Eliot Spitzer, who initially kept low profiles after they were publicly humiliated.”

The piece has stories of Edwards letting loose at a prom-themed dance party for Duke public policy students, his affinity for white wine, and the implosion of his marriage while on a celebrity volunteer delegation to Haiti.

Quote of the Day

“John’s conduct through this whole thing was terrible and it makes people want him to pay for it.”

— Elizabeth Edwards, in an interview with People magazine, on the extramarital affair that derailed her husband’s political career.

Wide Open Race for Ohio Senate

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Lee Fisher (D) and Rob Portman (R) lcoked in a tight race for U.S. Senate with Fisher holding a narrow lead, 42% to 40%, and 17% still undecided.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “The Senate race remains far, far from any kind of clear picture, mostly because neither candidate is well known to Ohioans. Even though Fisher has been a figure in Ohio politics for two decades, 54% of voters say they don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. For Portman, 66% can’t rate him. With four months until Election Day the Senate race is wide, wide open.”

Bloomberg Unscathed by Budget Problems

Despite major budget cuts in New York City, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Mayor Michael Bloomberg still holds a 57% to 33% approval rating.

Boxer, Brown Lead in California

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll in California finds 78% of registered voters believe the state is on the wrong track, with most saying the biggest problem facing California is the weak economy.

In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) leads challenger Carly Fiorina (R), 45% to 41%.

In the gubernatorial race, Jerry Brown (D) leads Meg Whitman (R), 45% to 39%.

Said pollster Clifford Young: “There’s a high level of discontentment. They’re mad. However, in California is not clear who they’re going to be mad at. It will be incumbent upon the different candidates to frame that to their advantage.”

Oil Giant Broke Policy on Political Donations

Even though BP’s corporate code of conduct proclaimed it will “make no political contributions, whether in cash or in kind, anywhere in the world,” the Washington Post reports that BP North America “has donated at least $4.8 million in corporate contributions in the past seven years to political groups, partisan organizations and campaigns engaged in federal and state elections.”

“Its most generous corporate contributions — totaling about $4 million — have gone to two Republican-aligned political action groups working to defeat state ballot initiatives in California and Colorado that could have raised oil and gas industry taxes.”


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