POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/27

Quote of the Day

“I actually think it will be even worse than what happened to Bill Clinton, because of the animosity they already feel for President Obama.”

— Former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis, quoted by Politico, on the “wave of committee investigations” planned by Republicans if they win control of the House.

Economic Growth Slows

Economic growth in the last three months was revised downward with GDP growth now estimated at 1.6% from an initial reading of 2.4%.

Paul Krugman: “The important question is whether growth is fast enough to bring down sky-high unemployment. We need about 2.5 percent growth just to keep unemployment from rising, and much faster growth to bring it significantly down. Yet growth is currently running somewhere between 1 and 2 percent, with a good chance that it will slow even further in the months ahead. Will the economy actually enter a double dip, with G.D.P. shrinking? Who cares? If unemployment rises for the rest of this year, which seems likely, it won’t matter whether the G.D.P. numbers are slightly positive or slightly negative. All of this is obvious. Yet policy makers are in denial.”

McCollum Refuses to Support Scott

Two days after he lost the Republican nomination for Florida governor, Bill McCollum (R) still refuses to support winner Rick Scott (R) and continues to raise questions about his former rival’s character, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Said McCollum: “I still have serious questions… about issues of his character, his integrity, his honesty — things that go back to Columbia/HCA. As other voters will do, I will judge him throughout this campaign.”

McCollum’s remarks “put a serious dent in the message of party unity and reopened a vulnerability Democratic candidate Alex Sink is likely to exploit in the general election.”

Senate Race Still Close in Nevada

A new Las Vegas Review-Journal/Mason-Dixon poll in Nevada shows Sen. Harry Reid (D) edging challenger Sharron Angle (R) among likely voters in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 44%.

Said pollster Brad Coker: “Republicans thought they had this race in their pockets, but they’ve seen Harry Reid rise again to make it close. The only reason it’s close is they’ve got a candidate who’s being seen as a little out of her league.”

Muslims Give Obama Highest Approval, Mormons the Lowest

Gallup: “Among major religious groups in the United States, Muslims give President Obama the highest average approval ratings and Mormons, the lowest. Jews and those with no religious identity rate Obama higher than the national average, while Protestants’ ratings are below average, and Catholics’ near the average.”

More Than 20K Ballots Left in Alaska

Joe Miller (R) is currently leading Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) by 1,668 votes but theAnchorage Daily News reports there are more than 20,000 absentee and questioned ballots left to process that could tip the tight Republican U.S. Senate primary either way.

“The state has received back 11,266 absentee ballots so far out of over 16,000 requested. The ballots had to be postmarked by Tuesday’s election but can come in as much as 15 days afterward. There are also 658 early votes not yet counted and 8,972 questioned ballots. A ballot can be “questioned” for several reasons. Often the reason is that the voter cast the ballot in a precinct other than where they live.”

The state will begin counting absentee ballots next Tuesday.

Snyder Opens Huge Lead in Michigan

A new EPIC/MRA poll in Michigan shows Rick Snyder (R) crushing Virg Bernero (D) in the race for governor, 51% to 29%.

Key findings: “Independents favored Snyder 50% to 15%, with 35% undecided. Snyder leads by more than a 2-1 margin outside Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties and by 12 percentage points in the three metro Detroit counties. The poll also showed a shift in the electorate, with slightly more voters identifying themselves as Republicans and 49% calling themselves conservatives; 23% say they are liberals.”

Hayworth Has No Plans to Call McCain

Two days after his win in the Arizona Republican Senate primary, Sen. John McCain has yet to receive the customary post-election congratulatory phone call from his opponent J.D. Hayworth, Politico reports.

Said a McCain aide: “J.D. has less class than the Salahis.”

Johnston Takes Back Palin Apology

Levi Johnston told CBS News that he now wishes he hadn’t apologized for telling lies about the former Alaska governor because he’s “never lied about anything.”

Said Johnston: “I don’t really regret anything. But the only thing I wish I wouldn’t have done is put out that apology ’cause it kind of makes me sound like a liar. And I’ve never lied about anything. So that’s probably the only thing. The rest of the stuff I can live with.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“We are looking right now to make sure that the election — that the votes — are accounted for fairly, without any type of game play. It concerns us any time somebody lawyers up and tries to pull an Al Franken, if you will. We are very concerned that there may be some attempt here to skew the results. But, we believe as soon as the votes get counted, if there is not any game play, we are going to come out where we are now.”

— Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller (R), in an interview on Fox Business News, on counting the remaining absentee ballots in his primary race with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R).

Deadlocked in Missouri

A new Missouri State University Poll shows a very tight U.S. Senate race with Roy Blunt (R) just edging Robin Carnahan (D), 49% to 48%.

Crist Said Palin Could Be a Great President

Greg Sargent obtains a video clip of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) in October of 2008 claiming that Sarah Palin would do “a great job” as president, and gushing about her qualifications.

He notes this isn’t going to help Crist in his battle with Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) for Democratic support in the U.S. Senate race.

See more…

Paterson Misled Investigators

An independent counsel’s report finds New York Gov. David Paterson (D) “misled investigators for the state ethics commission when he testified that he had intended to pay for free tickets he obtained to last year’s World Series,” according to the New York Times.

It’s now up to the local district attorney in Albany to decide whether Paterson should be prosecuted for perjury.

Quote of the Day

“Well, you know, take the consideration, though, that’s Massachusetts, and perhaps they’re not going to look for such a hardcore constitutional conservative there, and they’re gonna put up with Scott Brown and some of the antics there. But up here in Alaska, and so many places across the U.S., where we have a pioneering, independent spirit, and we have an expectation that our representatives in D.C. will respect the will of the people and the intelligence of the people — well, up here, we wouldn’t stand for that.”

— Sarah Palin, in an interview on Fox Business News, responding to whether Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is “on notice” for voting with Senate Democrats on recent legislation.

Should Crist Commit to Caucusing with Democrats?

We noted the narrowing path to victory for Gov. Charlie Crist (I) in Florida’s U.S. Senate race but a new Public Policy Polling survey found that 66% of Rep. Kendrick Meek’s (D) voters “said they would support Crist instead if he committed to siding with the Democrats if elected.

“There are perils for Crist in doing that too though. Only 63% of those currently supporting him say they would still do so if he said he would go with the Democrats while 20% say they explicitly would not vote for him if he did that and 17% aren’t sure. Most of his remaining Republican support would dry up and he’d lose a fair number of independents as well.”

Congressman Jokes that Pelosi Might Die

Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL) dodged criticism about voting for Nancy Pelosi (D) as House Speaker by suggesting she might not be available for the job next year if Democrats retain control, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

The freshman congressman joked that Pelosi “might lose her own election, decide not to run for the speaker’s job or otherwise not be available. He suggested, jokingly he insisted to his audience, that Pelosi could fall ill and die in coming months. That remark drew laughter from the crowd.”

Whitman Takes Lead in California

The latest Rasmussen survey in California shows Meg Whitman (R) leading Jerry Brown (D) among likely voters for California governor, 48% to 40%.

Earlier this month, Rasmussen found Brown with a 43% to 41% lead.

Can GOP Survive the Tea Party Takeover?

First Read: “One of the more profound changes in American politics is how much more conservative the nominees inside the Republican Party have become…”

“This rightward movement inside the GOP appears likely to pay big dividends this fall. Republicans are energized, Democrats are not (right now), and the economy is hardly humming — all of which are a recipe for significant Republican gains in November. But when we head into the 2012 presidential election, when the electorate expands, you got to wonder if a Republican Party that doesn’t have room for a John McCain of 2001-2007, a Charlie Crist of 2007-2008, or a Lisa Murkowski of 2010 can reclaim the center of American politics and the presidency, even if they gain control of Congress in the fall.”

Path to Victory Narrows for Crist

Rep. Kendrick Meek’s (D) victory in Florida’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary ensures many Democrats are unlikely to bolt to Gov. Charlie Crist’s (D) independent candidacy as they might have if the baggage-laden Jeff Greene (D) were the party’s nominee.

“All of which leaves Crist in the position of having to perform Houdini-like marvels of contortion to find a large enough space in the political middle to keep his independent bid on track,” Politico notes.

For the final two months of the campaign, Crist “will have to chart a narrow, largely untested course between both parties. He’ll have finite financial resources and few outside allies who can ride to his rescue. In short, he’ll have to be a political one-man band, relying ever more on his skills as a sunny, relentless and elastic campaigner who bends to where he thinks the people, and victory, are found.”

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