POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/15

Quote of the Day

“Here is what will happen in November. Democrats will keep control of the House. Period.”

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an fundraising email.

Obama Trails in Early 2012 Match Ups

With President Obama’s approval rating hitting new lows, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows him trailing several Republicans in a 2012 presidential match ups.

Mitt Romney (R) leads 46% to 43%, Mike Huckabee (R) is ahead 47% to 45% and Newt Gingrich (R) is in front 46% to 45%. Sarah Palin (R) and Obama are tied at 46% each.

Key takeaway: “There are two things driving these strong poll numbers for the Republican candidates. The first is a lead with independents in every match up… The other thing causing the Republicans to do so well is that their party is unified around them to an equal or even greater extent than Democrats are around Obama.”

Perry Keeps Edge in Texas

A new Rasmussen survey in Texas finds Gov. Rick Perry (D) leading challenger Bill White (D) in the race for governor, 50% to 41% — essentially unchanged from last month.

Democrats Take Reconciliation Off the Table

The Washington Independent notes that Democrats used an obscure tactic to avoid a roll call vote on next year’s budget, which will contain unpopular cuts and deficit spending. But in opting for a “budget enforcement resolution,” Democrats also forfeited their ability to use budget reconciliation next year.

“Under the arcane rules of the Senate, budget reconciliation can only be used if it was written into the budget rules passed the previous year. With no full budget, there can be no reconciliation. As a consequence, Democrats lose a valuable tool for passing budget-related items on a majority-rules vote. Stimulus and jobs measures, if they combined short-term spending with longer-term deficit reduction, would have qualified for reconciliation.”

Manchin Facing Pressure on Appointment

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) says he’s not feeling much pressure from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on who he should appoint to the state’s vacant Senate seat, but Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) contradicted that account, theCharleston Daily Mail reports.

Said Rockefeller: “The White House may be putting pressure on him, I don’t know. But I know the leader is.”

Meanwhile, Politics Daily reports former Gov. Gaston Caperton (D) is interested in the appointment.

Republicans and the Budget Deficit

Matt Yglesias: “Incidentally, if there’s anything that makes me want to lock every MSM political journalist in a small barn which I then light on fire it’s the persistent refusal of the journalistic class to internalize the fact that the conservative movement in America doesn’t care about the budget deficit. It’s not that they sometimes care more about other things. Or that they care less than the should. Or that they’re hypocrites on occasion. It’s that they don’t care about it at all. Not even a little. Indeed, they’re opposed in principle to deficit reduction.”

Ezra Klein add another point: “In the 2000s, Republicans remade the budget reconciliation process so it could be used to increase the deficit. When Democrats took power, they passed a rule saying that reconciliation needed to reduce the deficit. That is to say, they constrained themselves for the sake of deficit reduction, where Republicans unharnessed themselves from rules meant to limit the debt. That’s how the tax cuts were passed under budget reconciliation, while health-care reform had to yoke itself to unpopular taxes and Medicare cuts in order to use the same process.”

Republicans Lose Control of Expectations Game

First Read wonders what happens if Republicans pick up, say, 30 House seats in November — short of the 39 they need to take control of the chamber?

“It’s crazy to think about it, but right now for some Republicans and analysts, it would seem like a defeat if they gain 30 seats (which just happens to be approximately what Dems picked up in ’06). Why? Because the expectations game has gotten out of control — given the frenzy surrounding Gibbs’ remarks, given what the handicappers are projecting, and given what GOP leaders have said (Boehner’s “at least 100” seats in play, and Pete Sessions’ admission that he would fail as NRCC chair if Republicans don’t take back the House).”

As of now, the Cook Political Report projects Republicans to pick up 30-40 seats, while the Rothenberg Political Report projects a GOP gain of 25-30 seats.

Rove’s Biggest Mistake

Karl Rove writes that seven years ago today Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) “fired the first shot in an all-out assault on President George W. Bush’s integrity” when he said the Bush administration “put a spin on the intelligence and a spin on the truth” in order to invade Iraq.

“The damage extended beyond Mr. Bush’s presidency. The attacks on Mr. Bush poisoned America’s political discourse. Saying the commander-in-chief intentionally lied America into war is about the most serious accusation that can be leveled at a president.”

“At the time, we in the Bush White House discussed responding but decided not to relitigate the past. That was wrong and my mistake: I should have insisted to the president that this was a dagger aimed at his administration’s heart.”

Palin Could Wait Until Last Moment

Mark Halperin notes that Sarah Palin could jump into the 2012 presidential election as late as November 2011 — just a few month before the voting begins.

“There is no deadline for signing up for the Iowa caucuses, and when it comes to competing in early-state contests, she will have a far easier time than any previous insurgent. Her candidacy would require almost none of the usual time sinks that force politicians to jump in early: power-broker schmoozing, schedule-intensive fundraising, competitive recruitment of experienced strategists, careful policy development. She would have immediate access to cash, with even small Internet donations likely bringing in millions.”

Another Palin Reality Show?

The New York Times notes that when Levi Johnston’s lawyer was asked if Bristol Palin and his client had a deal for a reality television show, he said, “I can’t talk about that until the end of the week.”

Sarah Palin, Johnston’s future mother-in-law, has her own reality show in development.

Bank Reform Heads to Vote

The Wall Street reform bill should pass today, though Republicans could mount a filibuster and force Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to file for cloture which would mean the actual vote would not take place until Saturday.

After final passage, President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law by next week.

Politico: “You can argue over whether Obama’s achievements are good or bad on the merits. But especially after Thursday’s vote you can’t argue that Obama is not getting things done. To the contrary, he has, as promised, covered the uninsured, tightened regulations, started to wind down the war in Iraq and shifted focus and resources to Afghanistan, injected more competition into the education system and edged closer to a big energy bill.”

Georgia Republicans Likely Headed to Runoff

A new Mason-Dixon poll in Georgia finds John Oxendine (R) leading the GOP field for governor with 31%, followed by Karen Handel (R) at 23%, Nathan Deal (R) at 18% and Eric Johnson (R) at 6%.

The top two finishers will face a runoff if no one reaches 50% in Tuesday’s primary.

On the Democratic side, former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) has 54% — suggesting enough support to win the primary outright.

Romney Reports Big Fundraising Tally

Mitt Romney (R) has raised nearly $3.5 million for his PAC this year, the Boston Globe reports, “a sum that dwarfs that of other possible 2012 Republican presidential candidates and establishes the former Massachusetts governor as a potent political force.”

Lamont Leads Malloy in Connecticut

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Ned Lamont (D) leading Dan Malloy (D) for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination by nine points, 46% to 37%.

Either Democrat beats Tom Foley (R) — the runaway favorite in the race for the GOP nomination — in general election matchups. Lamont leads Foley, 45% to 33%, while Malloy is ahead, 44% to 33%.

Democrats have not won the Connecticut governor’s race in 24 years.

Simmons Sounds Like He’s Jumping Back In

Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) tells the Hartford Courant “it’s looking more and more like he will revive his dormant campaign for Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.”

Said Simmons: “I’m on the ballot. I’ve never said I’d get off the ballot. I had almost 48 percent of the convention vote until people began switching. I owe those supporters… I’m thinking about it.”

The other candidate on the primary ballot is Linda McMahon (R) who won the Republican party’s backing at the state convention.

Americans Losing Faith in Obama

Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling “of almost every major issue and are deeply pessimistic about the nation’s direction, offering a bullish environment for Republicans in the November congressional elections,” according to a new Bloomberg National Poll.

“A majority or plurality disapproves of Obama’s management of the economy, health care, the budget deficit, the overhaul of financial market regulations and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, almost 6 in 10 respondents say the war in Afghanistan is a lost cause.”

Said pollster Ann Selzer: “They don’t see any solutions in sight. They have been hammered by the economy and there is a disconnect between the lives Americans are living and Washington. They seem to have lost hope.”

Key finding: “Almost two-thirds say they feel the nation is headed in the wrong direction, an even more sour assessment than in March when 58% felt that way.”

Lynch Expected to Drop Race for Rhode Island Governor

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch (D) “is telling people close to him” that he is withdrawing from the race for governor, the Providence Journal reports.

“Lynch’s exit — the day before nomination papers are due — would free state Treasurer Frank Caprio (D) to pursue the governor’s office against a crowded field of candidates that includes former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, running as an independent, without having to first win a Democratic primary fight in September.”

Reid Leads in New Poll

Nevada political guru Jon Ralston emails that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has moved ahead of challenger Sharron Angle (R) in a new poll taken for the Democratic group Patriot Majority, 44% to 40%.

Says Ralson: “Yes, Democratic poll. But I know of one other non-Dem poll that shows nearly identical numbers.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Because he was smart enough to die in 2010, there is zero tax liability on the estate tax. If he had died in 2009, or 2011, there would have been a $500 million tax liability to his estate in 2009, and in 2011 — under the proposal that we have — there would have been a $600 million liability.”

— Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), quoted by The Hill, on the passing of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

Can McInnis Hang On?

As charges of plagiarism threaten to derail Rep. Scott McInnis’s (R-CO) gubernatorial campaign, Colorado Republicans tell The Fix “he’s a dead man walking, and they are exploring the ins and outs of what they can do to get another nominee.”

New charges surfaced today and “rest assured, journalists all over Colorado are scouring McInnis’s published words for more examples.”

“The final blow, though, might have been the Denver Post calling for McInnis to step aside. Even for an editorial board that doesn’t necessarily like a candidate, calling for him to get out of the race is an unusual and extraordinary step. And considering theDenver Post‘s reach in the state, it’s a significant one, too.”

McCain Widens Lead in Primary

A new Rocky Mountain poll in Arizona shows Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) crushing primary challenger J.D. Hayworth (R), 64% to 19%, with Jim Deakin (R) at 5%.

A Hayworth spokesman dismissed the results telling the AP the polling firm has “no credibility.”

Schwarzenegger Now as Popular as Gray Davis

A new Field Poll in California finds Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) approval numbers are now exactly the same as Gray Davis’ (D) numbers in August 2003, two months before he was recalled by California voters.

Just 22% currently approve of Schwarzenegger’s performance as governor, while 70% disapprove.

Gingrich Raises Big Bucks

Newt Gingrich, who said this week he was serious about considering a presidential bid, “proved in recent days that he’s well on his way, with his political groups reporting that they raised nearly $3.5 million in the past three months,” according toPolitico.

Burr Keeps Lead in North Carolina

A new SurveyUSA poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Richard Burr (R) leading Elaine Marshall (D) by 10 points in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 36%, with Libertartian Michael Beitler drawing 6%.

Palin Still Struggling with Johnston

Sarah Palin, who has spent much of the last year in a war of words with Levi Johnston, didn’t exactly give US Weekly a ringing endorsement of the news that daughter Bristol was now engaged to him.

Said Palin: “Bristol at 19 is now a young adult. We obviously want what’s best for our children. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives.”

Quote of the Day

“I think I will be part of a nucleus with Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, who are unafraid to stand up. If we get another loud voice in there, like Mike Lee from Utah or Sharron Angle from Nevada, there will be a new nucleus.”

— Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul (R), in an interview with the National Review, on what type of Senator he would be if elected.

DeMint May Seek Leadership Role

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) told the Greenville News he “wouldn’t rule out seeking an unspecified Senate leadership position but dismissed recurring speculation that he could challenge Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell as the leader of Senate Republicans.”

Reid’s Ensign Dilemma

Greg Sargent notes that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) “has a very effective argument at his disposal that he could be making to Nevadans about why they should keep him in office.”

“The problem is that he can’t — and he won’t — ever make that argument. Because to do so would be to violate his non-agression pact with Nevada’s other Senator, Republican John Ensign.”


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