POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/16

Boehner’s Orange Glow

Brad Phillips, a specialist in media communications, suggests House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R-OH) extreme tan might be getting in the way of his message.

“I know an article about Rep. Boehner’s tan may seem superficial, but it underscores a vital truth about communications: Audiences take more meaning from a spokesperson’s vocal tone and body language than they do from words alone. That doesn’t mean words don’t matter – they do. But if the audience is distracted by something in an interview – whether it’s a monotone delivery, a few dozen ‘uhhhs’ or ‘ummms,’ or an overly-tanned face – they are not going to hear what you have to say.”

Quote of the Day

“People are very concerned about the economy, people are very concerned about terrorism, and people are very concerned about controlling the border, but I don’t know that they want politicians two years in advance worrying about the presidency.”

— Newt Gingrich, quoted by the Des Moines Register, as he announces another trip to Iowa next month.

Petraeus Gets Shermanesque

Gen. David Petraeus was interviewed on Meet the Press and was once again asked if he might run for President of the United States.

PETRAEUS: Well, I am not a politician, and I will never be, and I say that with absolute conviction.

GREGORY: Well, that’s what he said. But does that mean that you’re totally clear? That you’d never run for President?

PETRAEUS: Yeah, I really am. You know, and I’ve said that I’ll adopt what Sherman said and go back and look at what has come to be known as a Shermanesque answer on that particular question.

GREGORY: No way, no how?

PETRAEUS: No way, no how.

Give ‘Em Heck

Denny Heck (D), a congressional candidate in Washington’s third congressional district, has a ready-made campaign slogan for an anti-Washington year in his newpolitical ad.

See more…

Obama Supports Gays and Lesbians, Quietly

President Obama “has quietly used his powers to expand federal rights and benefits for gays and lesbians, targeting one government restriction after another in an attempt to change public policy while avoiding a confrontation with Republicans and opponents of gay rights,” the Washington Post reports.

“Among the changes: Gay partners of federal workers will now receive long-term health insurance, access to day care and other benefits. Federal Housing Authority loans can no longer consider the sexual orientation of applicants. The Census Bureau plans to report the number of people who report being in a same-sex relationship. Hospitals must allow gays to visit their ill partners. And federal child-care subsidies can be used by the children of same-sex domestic partners.”

“Individually, none of the changes is especially dramatic. But taken together, they significantly alter the way gays and lesbians are viewed under federal law.”

Support for Palin Drops

A new Clarus Research Group survey of Republican voters finds that support for Sarah Palin to win the Republican 2012 presidential nomination has fallen by one-third since March, sliding from 18% to 12%.

Said pollster Ron Faucheux: “Palin gets more attention from the national media than presidential support from Republicans. The major change since March is that Gingrich has now edged out Palin for third place, even though the two are running well within the statistical margin of error.”

Kennedy Not Likely to Challenge Brown

Vicki Kennedy tells the Boston Globe she will not run for the Senate seat her late husband, Ted Kennedy, held for nearly 47 years.

Said Kennedy: “I think there’s more than one way to serve. And for me, that’s not it. I have enormous respect for people who do. And I think I can have a wonderful, productive life serving, but that doesn’t have to be elective office.”

Can the “Wacky” Republicans Win?

Dave Weigel dismisses the conventional wisdom that Republican Senate primary victors Rand Paul in Kentucky, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado have boosted Democrats’ prospects of winning those races, noting that “Democrats were as pessimistic about some of their races four years ago as Republicans are now,” but ended up taking the House with a wave of insurgent candidates.

Not your average Tea Partier: “But in another sense, Paul, Angle, and Buck are unrepresentative of the movement they’re co-opting: They are the best, not the norm of Tea Party candidacies. Most of the novice politicians who’ve run on Tea Party support have tumbled into lopsided primary defeats. (Angle is not a novice but lost several campaigns before hitching herself to the Tea Party Express.) The winners have built on the new, demanding, what’s-your-position-on-the-Fed with real grass-roots campaigns and busy, hustling campaign schedules. A candidate who sees a tide and rides it might also be a good candidate.”

Meanwhile, Ben Smith wisely points out “the most interesting question may be what these candidates — who owe their party no particular debt of loyalty — would be like in the Senate.”

Crist Clings to Small Lead in Florida

A new Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Ipsos poll in Florida shows Gov. Charlie Crist (I) barely ahead of Marco Rubio (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 32% to 30%, with Jeff Greene (D) trailing at 19%.

If Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) wins the Democratic nomination, Crist beats Rubio, 33% to 29%, while Meek gets 17%.

However, “in a potentially major advantage for Rubio, the poll of registered voters found that three-quarters of Republicans said they were certain to go the polls, while less than half of Democrats said they were a sure bet. The stronger motivation among Republican voters reflects polls nationwide and has boosted the party’s hopes of taking back Congress in November.”

No Surprise This Time

“In the arsenal of advantages that Republicans hold as they seek to win control of Congress this year,” the New York Times notes “one thing is missing: the element of surprise. Unlike 1994, when Republicans shocked Democrats by capturing dozens of seats held by complacent incumbents, there will be no sneak attacks this year. Democrats have sensed trouble for more than a year, with the unrest from town-hall-style meetings last August providing indisputable evidence for any disbelievers.”

“The result has been to goad many Democrats into better preparation: more fund-raising, earlier advertising, lots of time on the campaign trail.”

Whitman Writes Another Big Check

Meg Whitman (R) “has contributed an additional $13 million of her own money to her effort to become California’s next governor, bringing the Republican nominee’s personal stake in her election bid to $104 million,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Slow Progress on Big Stimulus Projects

A year and a half after Congress passed the economic-stimulus plan, “some of the big infrastructure projects touted by the Obama administration are still months from visible development,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The administration said stimulus spending was always intended to roll out in stages, over a period of two years, and that the pace of outlays for infrastructure would be slower than for other parts of the package. But recent opinion polls suggested the White House has struggled to communicate that message, particularly after its emphasis on “shovel-ready” projects during the debate over the plan’s passage in early 2009.”

Sandoval Way Out in Front for Nevada Governor

A new Las Vegas Review-Journal/Mason-Dixon poll in Nevada shows Brian Sandoval (R) still with a big lead over Rory Reid (D) in the race for governor, 52% to 36%.

Said pollster Brad Coker: “They might have changed one point here or one point there, but it is almost like a carbon copy of the last poll.”


A Post Drug Culture America?

Dave Weigel draws an interesting lesson from the story that Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) kidnapped a woman and forced her to smoke marijuana and bow to “Aqua Buddha.”

“The anonymous woman…says she wasn’t kidnappedand that ends the story. In the year 2010, a Republican Senate candidate in Kentucky is revealed to have played around with marijuana in his college days, and basically no one cares, apart from their appreciation of the neologism ‘Aqua Buddha.'”

“The election of Barack Obama hasn’t created a post-racial America, but has it created an America where we just assume our candidates have done drugs — and we don’t care? That’s progress!”

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