POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/12

Bucking Boehner

Coming this fall: Young Guns by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Politico: “The book, which is subtitled ‘a new generation of conservative leaders,’ is expected to put the trio of lawmakers on a publicity tour in the fall, giving them increased visibility. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who would be speaker of the House if Republicans capture enough seats, is not involved in the book, which pictures Cantor, McCarthy and Ryan on the cover.”

Harding Featured in Coming Political Thriller

Variety reports that The Ohio Gang by Charles L. Mee, a book about the Warren Harding administration, will be adapted into a political-thriller feature calledUnscrupulous.

“Harding, who was U.S. president from 1921 until his death in 1923, topped what is widely regarded as the most scandal-plagued political administration in history. The bribery-based Teapot Dome Scandal reps the best-known of a number of White House misdeeds, including marital infidelity, bootlegging kickbacks and possibly murder.”

McCollum Almost Out of Money

Due to Rick Scott’s (R) primary challenge, Bill McCollum’s (R) Florida gubernatorial campaign has just $800,000 left in the bank, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Chuck Todd: “This free fall is unprecedented.”

Brown Will Back Wall Street Reform Bill

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) will support the financial-overhaul bill, “taking the White House and Democrats to the verge of the support needed to pass the bill,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Brown’s support is crucial in giving Democrats and the White House the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster on the bill, which recently passed the House of Representatives. Mr. Brown’s support likely means Democrats now have the 60 votes they need.”

A vote in the Senate could come as soon as this week.

Tight Race for Maryland Governor

A new Rasmussen survey in Maryland finds former Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) edging Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in their rematch for governor, 47% to 46%.

We should see another poll of this race very soon from Public Policy Polling.

McCain Fights for His Political Life

New York magazine runs an interesting profile of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and how his unexpectedly tough re-election fight makes his think about his legacy and that “political life is fleeting, that he could one day be forgotten. It scares him.”

One interesting anecdote: “When Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s old seat and agreed to campaign for McCain in Arizona, McCain could hardly believe he needed a political neophyte from the Northeast to help him draw crowds in his own state, especially one who had declined McCain’s invitation to campaign for him in Massachusetts (fearing McCain’s Establishment taint). After a rally at Grand Canyon University, McCain was annoyed when Brown tried giving him campaign advice while they drove in a car together. Three nights later, Brown and McCain were scheduled to have dinner, but McCain canceled.”

Heineman May Run Unopposed

After the abrupt departure of Mark Lakers (D) from the race for governor, Nebraska Democrats “are weighing the pros and cons of whether or not to field a candidate,” the Omaha World Herald reports.

“Any candidate would need the equivalent of a political miracle to defeat Gov. Dave Heineman (R) and his $1.5 million war chest at this late hour. The question then becomes whether it is better to have at least someone’s name on the ballot to give voters a choice or to take the hit now and skip the election.”

Why Republicans Might Not Takeover the House

While White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made the biggest political news over the weekend suggesting that Republicans could win back the House in the fall,First Read list another four reasons why the GOP won’t win back the House:

1. Unlike in 1994, Republicans have a favorability rating that’s no better — and sometimes even worse — than the Democrats

2. Unlike in 1994, the GOP isn’t necessarily running on new ideas or even with many new faces.

3. The NRCC has a HUGE financial disadvantage compared with the DCCC and the RNC’s political/fundraising troubles won’t be able to make up the difference.

4. Winning 39 House seats is a tall order. After all, when Democrats won back the House in 2006 — during the height of violence in Iraq and after Hurricane Katrina — they picked up 30 House seats. The GOP will need almost 10 more than that.

Congress Returns to Busy Agenda

Congress returns this week to a pile of unfinished business, the Washington Postreports.

“Bills to extend unemployment benefits and impose new regulations on the financial industry have yet to be resolved. An emergency war funding bill, loaded up with unrelated spending, faces a White House veto threat. The Senate must still approve Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Add to that coming debates over campaign finance legislation, long-awaited food-safety rules and a contentious defense authorization bill that would end the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on gays in the military.”

“As if that’s not enough, the Senate could add to the list. Sensing opportunity in the public’s outrage over the BP oil spill, Democrats are considering reviving the dormant climate-change debate.”

Capito Still Weighing Senate Bid

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) “is feeling pressure to run for the U.S. Senate, but has yet to make a decision,” the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

But when asked if she’s afraid to lose, Capito’s response doesn’t sound like she really wants to run.

Said Capito: “That doesn’t scare me. I’m not afraid to lose. I’m afraid to lose momentum that I think I provide for the state.”

What Palin Really Earned

An investigation by Forbes of Sarah Palin’s income since she quit as Alaska governor last July suggests her earnings over the past year were at best $10 million — not the $12 million previously estimated.

Thune Shuts Down Campaign

With no opponents for re-election, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) “has ratcheted back his fundraising efforts in South Dakota and basically has put his re-election team in mothballs,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

Quote of the Day

“There’s no doubt there are enough seats in play that could cause Republicans to gain control — there is no doubt about that.”

— White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, in an interview on Meet the Press.

Rick Klein: “Democrats have to realize the stakes — including the possibility of losing control of Congress — for the base to respond in terms of money and organization. With the policy agenda unlikely to be of much help to the party in power, running scared is better than running in place for Democrats.”

Democrats Seek February Start for 2012 Calendar

Democrats recommended a February start for the 2012 presidential nominating contests with Iowa and New Hampshire keeping their traditional early voting spots, the AP reports.

All other states would hold their primaries and caucuses March 6 or later. The calendar must be approved by the full DNC at a meeting later this summer.

Palin Steps Up Political Fundraising

A new financial report shows Sarah Palin’s political action committee “has taken its fundraising to a higher level – and suggests that she has begun building a more sophisticated political operation in place of a bare-bones organization powered mostly by her rock star status and scrappy on-line presence,” Politico reports.

The report “shows that Palin’s political action committee raised more money in the second quarter of this year — $866,000 — than it had in any previous three-month stretch since Palin formed the group in January 2009… In short, for the first time since the 2008 campaign when she was the vice-presidential running mate to GOP presidential candidate John McCain, Palin is supported by a political operation befitting someone considering a presidential run.”

Manchin Will Wait on Senate Announcement

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) told Politico that he will not announce his decision on a Senate bid until two other steps are taken: a special session of the state legislature clarifies the law for a special election and he names an interim successor to hold that seat in the meantime.

Said Manchin: “My intentions would be third, that’s the last thing I would do.”

Oxedine Keeps Lead in Georgia

With just over a week until the Georgia primary, a new SurveyUSA poll finds John Oxendine (R) still leading the Republican field for governor with 32% but women are moving to Karen Handel (R) boosting her to 23%. Nathan Deal (R) and Eric Johnson (R) are both at 12%.

However, it looks increasingly likely that no candidate will reach the 50% needed to avoid a runoff.

The winner on the GOP side will most likely face former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) who is way in front in the Democratic primary race.

Quote of the Day

“Not appointing myself Senator.”

— New York Gov. David Paterson (D), quoted by the Wall Street Journal, when asked to give the one big regret of his term as governor.

No Convincing Them

Boston Globe: “In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.”

Vitter Gets Unexpected Challenger

A dozen candidates have filed to challenge Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), “including an outspoken former sheriff whose independent challenge could rob Vitter of conservative votes in the fall,” the AP reports.

Ernest Wooton unexpectedly entered the Senate race and quit the Republican party, “bypassing the primaries to directly face Vitter on Nov. 2 as an independent. Separately, a little-known Republican also registered by Friday’s deadline to force Vitter into an August primary.”

Greene Will Not Face Charges Over Filing Fee

Alvin Greene (D) will face no state charges over the $10,440 filing fee for his successful bid to win South Carolina’s Democratic nomination to run for U.S. Senate, the AP reports.

Police also opted not to charge Greene with misrepresenting his finances to a court where he was appointed a public defender to represent him on a pending obscenity charge.

Bennett Predicts Reid Victory

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), who failed to win his party’s nomination for re-election, says that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) likely will keep his seat and that Republicans may not win hotly contested Senate seats in Colorado or Kentucky either, the AP reports.

“The Utah senator said he fears tea party extremism could end up costing the GOP seats that they otherwise would have been able to win. He said he also worries that the GOP has no clear plan to govern if they take control of the Senate this election year.”

Is Blagojevich’s Only Defense To Admit That He’s Guilty?

Hampered by the judge’s restrictions on how he can use the FBI recordings in his corruption trial, Esquire argues that Rod Blagojevich may have “to accept that the prosecution’s evidence is overwhelming and the jurors are going to find him guilty of breaking the law.” In that case, his lawyers might subtly argue for the controversial practice of jury nullification.

“Placed under surveillance, any politician would be up on the same bevy of charges. The only just course, the defense could argue, is for the jury to nullify the charges by voting to acquit.”

A caveat: “One problem with jury nullification is that it’s selective justice. If Blagojevich can’t be convicted for these crimes, then what politician can? Are there twelve people on the jury who think that we punish our pols too lightly? Are there twelve people in the whole United States who think that?”

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