POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/23

Rove Group Funded by Billionaires

Despite describing itself as a “grassroots” effort, Salon reports that “virtually all of the $4.7 million raised by Karl Rove’s new conservative outfit was contributed by just four billionaires, three of whom are based in Dallas, Texas, and two of whom made their fortune in the oil and gas industry.”

Marshall Poll Shows Her Leading Burr

An internal poll for Elaine Marshall (D) in North Carolina shows she’s moved ahead of Sen. Richard Burr (R) in their U.S. Senate race, 37% to 35%.

Angry White Men May Swing Election

The latest Public Policy Polling survey shows net approval of congressional Democrats is 16 points better than that of congressional Republicans. Yet when it came to the generic ballot there was a tie.

Key finding: “The reason for that disconnect is that Republicans are cleaning up with a voting bloc that accounts for 26% of the country and could end up being the most important group of people at the polls this fall: voters who hate both congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans. The GOP has a 57-19 generic lead with this group of voters that could perhaps be described as the angriest segment of the electorate. Their support is fueling the GOP’s success right now.”

Who are they? 44% are Republicans, 34% are independents, and 21% are Democrats. They’re largely male (60%) and white (82%).

Greene Denies Accident Despite Publicity

Five years ago, the yacht of billionaire U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene (D) ran aground a coral reef and caused severe damage. He faces fines of up to $1.87 million for the accident.

But the St. Petersburg Times notes that “oddly, Greene today says the incident never happened, despite extensive publicity about it at the time (including statements from his representatives), eyewitness accounts, scientific surveys of the damage and an extensive case file at the country’s Department of Environment.”

Asked how he could say it never happened, a Greene spokesman commented, “That’s our position. That’s our quote.”

Ben Smith: “Florida is really cornering a market once controlled by South Carolina.”

Let the Campaign Begin

Vice President Joe Biden said Congress is essentially done when it comes to the Obama administration’s legislative priorities this year, The Hill reports.

Said Biden: “Now that the heavy lifting is over, we can go out and make our case.”

Quote of the Day

“I think that all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another. And expose all the nonsense that is going on.”

— Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN), quoted by Three Fingers of Politics, on what Republicans should do if they win control of the House of Representatives.

Kerry Sees Action on Climate Bill After Elections

Though Senate Democrats have pulled the plug for now, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) tells Bloomberg that Democrats “may take up his comprehensive climate-change bill in a lame-duck session after the November elections.”

Said Kerry: “If it is after the election, it may well be that some members are free and liberated and feeling that they can take a risk or do something.”

Profile of the Tea Party Caucus

Smart Politics looks at the 40 House members who have joined the Tea Party Caucus organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

The group represents districts that voted Republican by very comfortable margins in the 2008 election cycle, with an average victory margin of 29.2 points. The districts represented by caucus members have an average Partisan Voting Index of +14 GOP, which means they voted 14 points more Republican than the nation as a whole during the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

Melancon Says Race a Dead Heat

Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) released an internal poll that shows he is in a tight race with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), 43% to 44%.

Previous Melancon polls have shown Vitter with double-digit leads.

Pack Enters West Virginia Senate Race

Ten Republicans filed to run for West Virginia’s vacant U.S. Senate seat, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

John Raese (R), an industrialist and media owner, and Mac Warner (R), recent U.S. House candidate who did not win his party’s nomination, are the best known among the Republican hopefuls.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) is expected to be the Democratic party’s nominee.

Simmons Insists He’s Not Campaigning

Rob Simmons (R) says he is not campaigning for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut despite the new TV ads he’s running and the occasional campaign appearances he’s making, The Hill reports.

Simmons, who suspended his campaign in May after losing the Republican party’s endorsement, said he thinks of the ads more as “public service announcements.”

Tight Senate Race in Kentucky

A new Braun Research poll in Kentucky finds Rand Paul (R) leading Jack Conway (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 41% to 38%.

Tancredo Issues Ultimatum

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) demanded that the two GOP gubernatorial candidates in Colorado drop out of the race, the Denver Post reports.

He gave both men until noon on Monday to agree to leave the race. If they don’t, he said he will run for governor as an American Constitution Candidate, a move likely to split the Republican Party in November’s general election.

Said Tancredo: “There’s nothing left to split. The reality is that with the two candidates we have, we will lose the general election.”

Colorado Pols: “Demanding a withdrawal by an arbitrary deadline only serves to humiliate McInnis and Maes more than they’ve already humiliated themselves. McInnis has always been too proud to admit his own errors; we just don’t see him bowing out of the race to kiss the feet of one of the Colorado GOP’s foremost lunatics.”

RNC Chaos Threatens Chance of GOP Takeover

Marc Ambinder: “The chaos at the Republican National Committee threatens to cost Republicans the chance to take control of the House of Representatives, Republican strategists fear. During midterm elections, the national committee plays two essential roles. First, it serves as a bank account that can be drawn upon to shore up House races or put others into play. Second, it coordinates the party’s field operations and funds joint Victory committees with state parties. The RNC, at the moment, is barely fulfilling the second function and has less than $10 million on hand, so it cannot help much with House races.”

Meanwhile, Politico reports Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) is considering a run for chairmanship of the RNC “and has begun talking to associates about taking on Michael Steele, should the embattled current chairman seek another term in January.”

Ethics Committee Says Rangel Broke Rules

The House ethics committee announced that “an investigative subcommittee has found substantial reason to believe that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) may have violated House rules or other laws, following a nearly two-year investigation into allegations involving his personal finances, fundraising efforts and other issues,” Roll Call reports.

Democrats Pull Plug on Climate Change Bill

Senate Democrats said they “had abandoned hope of passing a comprehensive energy bill this summer and would pursue a more limited measure focused primarily on responding the Gulf oil spill and including some tightening of energy efficiency standards,” the New York Times reports.

Explained Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “We don’t have a single Republican to work with us.”

Alvin Greene Rap

This video is priceless: “Well, Greene’s a new face in politics. And he don’t show porno to college chicks.”

See more…

Another Bush for President?

Joshua Green makes the case for a 2012 presidential bid by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) noting he “has a solid conservative record that wasn’t compiled in Washington and broad appeal in a critical state; for a party conspicuously lacking a positive agenda, he’s also known as an ideas guy.”

“Would Republicans dare coalesce behind Bush? Surely they would. The hallmark of today’s politics is a truculent refusal to concede error. What could possibly show up those arrogant liberals like nominating another Bush? Nor is it apparent that doing so would be politically perilous. As Obama’s approval ratings continue to fall, it seems ever more likely that the 2012 election will be hard-fought and close, regardless of who is the Republican nominee. And Jeb Bush’s appeal to the center is at least as strong as that of his colleagues.”

Angle Invites Press But Won’t Answer Questions

Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) invited local media to attend a press event “but when members of the media tried to ask the candidate questions she didn’t answer,” KRNV-TV reports.

“As for why this is a news story; it’s highly unusual for a candidate for major office to regularly avoid the media as Angle has done and not even take one or two questions.”

Palin Blasts Media

Sarah Palin tells the Daily Caller that she’s intentionally avoiding media outlets she says burned her as a vice presidential candidate in 2008.

Said Palin: “With the shackles off, I relish my freedom to call it like I see it, while starving the media beast that was devouring the false reports about me, my staff and my loved ones.”

She added: “The lamestream media is no longer a cornerstone of democracy in America. They need help. They need to regain their credibility and some respect. There are some pretty sick puppies in the industry today. They really need help.”

Scott, Meek Lead in Florida Primaries

In Florida’s increasingly negative Republican gubernatorial primary, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows Rick Scott (R) leads Bill McCollum (R) by a solid 43% to 29% margin.

Meanwhile, indecision reigns in the Democratic Senate primary with Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) edging Jeff Greene (D), 28% to 25%, and a very large 37% of voters still undecided.

Newspaper Pulls Endorsement of Candidate

The Hutchinson News withdrew its endorsement of Salinan Tracey Mann (R) in the crowded Republican primary in Kansas’ 1st congressional district.

“Quite simply, the reason is that it turns out Mann is what is known as a birther. He questions the citizenship of President Barack Obama despite evidence that is irrefutable to most objective, rational people – including a birth certificate released by the Hawaii secretary of state and birth announcements printed in Honolulu’s two major newspapers. That this even continues as an issue is appalling, which is why we didn’t think to pose the question to Mann or any of the other candidates.”

Public Split on Health Care Law

Pew Research survey finds Americans are closely divided on candidates who supported health care reform: 39% say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported the recently passed health care law while 35% say they would be less likely to favor such a candidate.

Throughout much of the debate earlier this year, Americans were decidedly opposed to the law.

A Three-Ring Circus

First Read: “In Obama’s first year and a half as president, there haven’t been any sex scandals, any stories of widespread corruption, or any plans to wage war against a nation without WMD. But what does it say — about the media, about Obama, and about us as a country — that when the topic turns to race, Washington instantly transforms into a three-ring circus? As for the media, we’ve allowed this story over race bury one of the more consequential weeks of Obama’s presidency thus far (the financial reform legislation becoming law, Senate passage of the jobless benefits, and Kagan clearing the Senate Judiciary Committee). Whether it’s Sherrod, Gates, or Jeremiah Wright, the topic of race pushes the media’s buttons like no other issue.”

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