POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/9

Sink Leads Scott in Florida

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll in Florida finds Alex Sink (D) with a lead among registered voters over Rick Scott (R) in the race for governor, 49% to 42%.

Rubio Holds Small Lead in Florida

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll in Florida finds Marco Rubio (R) leading the three-way U.S. Senate race among registered voters with 36%, followed by Gov. Charlie Crist (I) at 34% and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) at 24%.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “A three-way race is producing a three-way split among Florida voters. Meek wins majority support among Democrats while Rubio picks up seven in ten Republicans. Among Independents, it’s Crist with 45 percent, distantly followed by Rubio with 29 percent and Meek with only 16 percent of Independents.”

Dead Heat in Kentucky

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research survey in Kentucky shows Rand Paul (R) and Jack Conway (R) tied at 46% among registered voters in the U.S. Senate race.

Paul is winning among conservatives by more than 40 points, but Conway has a 22-point advantage among moderates.

Whitman Holds Lead Over Brown

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research survey in California finds Meg Whitman (R) leading Jerry Brown (D) among registered voters in the race for governor, 48% to 46%.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “The gender gap means that women usually vote Democratic, but female voters are evenly divided between Brown and Whitman. That may be due to some women choosing a female candidate over a male, depriving Brown of the traditional level of support from that key group.”

Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News reports Whitman and Brown have agreed to three debates.

Boxer Holds Slight Edge

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research survey in California shows Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) holds a slight edge over challenger Carly Fiorina (R) among registered voters in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 44%.

Notes pollster Keating Holland: “In a battle between two women, female voters will be a key constituency. Right now, 48 percent of women would pick Boxer compared to 43 percent for Fiorina. Six years ago, Boxer won 65 percent of the women’s vote.”

Visitor Logs Give Clues on Woodward’s Book

Thanks to White House visitor records, The Hill reports “there are already some clues about which of the president’s advisers talked to the investigative journalist for his latest book, Obama’s Wars.”

Woodward “visited the White House complex at least 13 times from May 2009 to April 2010, according to records released by the administration. Not surprisingly, the records show Woodward had access to some of the biggest names in the White House, including David Axelrod, President Obama’s top political aide.”

Obama Speech Not a Sell Out

Cleveland Plain Dealer: “With less than an hour before President Obama’s scheduled speech, 75 seats remained empty in the recreation center at Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus. So organizers went around campus and recruited more students to fill the seats.”

Murkowski Weighs Write-In Campaign

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is strongly considering mounting a November write-in campaign to keep her seat and could make an announcement as soon as tomorrow, Roll Call reports.

Running as a write-in candidate appears to be Murkowski’s last remaining option. She met with Libertarian Party nominee David Haase yesterday to discuss taking his spot on the ballot but “even if Haase dropped out, the party’s executive board — which last week voted against allowing Murkowski on the ballot — does not appear amenable to changing its decision.”

Testifying Before Congress

I’m sure many people wished (too late) they had this book: Testifying Before Congress by William N. LaForge.

“The book is highlighted with examples from famous hearings, including Watergate, Iran-Contra, steroid use in baseball — even Mark Twain’s humorous take on copyright law. It’s loaded with insider secrets teased from congressional veterans and support staff.”

Race for Texas Governor is Competitive

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Texas finds Gov. Rick Perry (R) leads challenger Bill White (D) in the race for governor, 48% to 42%.

Key factor: “At 50% a majority of Texans disapprove of the job Perry’s doing with only 39% giving him good marks… White meanwhile has some of the best favorability numbers of any candidate anywhere in the country this year. 44% of voters see him favorably to only 29% with a negative opinion.”

Two other recent polls show the race even closer.

Another Poll Gives GOP Edge on Generic Ballot

A new Democracy Corp poll finds Republicans leading the generic congressional ballot among likely voters, 49% to 42%.

Interstingly, the survey also measured what it termed “drop off voters” — those who voted in 2008 but are unlikely to vote this fall — and found Democrats leading 47% to 40% among that group.

Republican Leads for Maine Governor

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Maine shows Paul LePage (R) leading Libby Mitchell (D) in the race for governor, 43% to 29%, with independent Eliot Cutler at 11%.

“The thing drivings the GOP poll advantage in Maine are the same we’re seeing everywhere: a unified Republican base, a lack of interest from Democratic voters, a strong GOP lean with independents, and the specter of an unpopular Democratic President and Governor hanging over the heads of the party’s candidates.”

Pelosi Could Be Least Popular Democrat

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds 51% of Americans have an unfavorable view of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with just 33% having a favorable view.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “Pelosi’s unfavorable rating hit 50 percent at the start of this year and has stayed there throughout the spring and summer. That arguably makes her the least popular Democrat in the country.”

Interestingly, just 22% have a favorable view of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), the man who hopes to replace Pelosi as speaker.

Jimmy Carter’s White House Diary

Coming this month: White House Diary by Jimmy Carter.

“Each day during his presidency, Jimmy Carter made several entries in a private diary, recording his thoughts, impressions, delights, and frustrations. He offered unvarnished assessments of cabinet members, congressmen, and foreign leaders; he narrated the progress of secret negotiations such as those that led to the Camp David Accords. When his four-year term came to an end in early 1981, the diary amounted to more than five thousand pages. But this extraordinary document has never been made public — until now.”

McCain Dishes on Palin

On the Tonight Show to promote her book Dirty Sexy Politics, Meghan McCain talked about the moment she learned that her father chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

Said McCain: “I found out about an hour before I went on stage with her. I think they were scared I’d say something and whatever and, you know, like the rest of the country, I had no idea who she was, and I was actually, like, crying on the bus on the way to the rally… And I found out who she was, and I remember being on stage and distinctly remembering, God, let her not have any skeletons in the closet, please God. And if you see any video footage of it, I looked panicked. I was just scared. I was really scared. I didn’t know her… my initial reaction was ‘who the hell is Sarah Palin’, like everybody else.”

Johnson Mulls Run for President

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R) is exploring a presidential bid even though he knows most people have never heard of him, the AP reports.

Said Johnson: “There are two courses of action. One would be to do nothing and the other would be to burn some shoe leather and see what happens. I’m burning some shoe leather.”

Johnson supports slashing government spending, including big cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but also defense spending. He also supports legalizing marijuana, expanding legal immigration and legalizing civil unions for gays and lesbians.

Donilon Seen as Favorite to Replace Rahm

Amid speculation White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel will leave to run for Mayor of Chicago, Politico reports the most likely candidate to replace him “is Tom Donilon, a deputy national security adviser, whose political experience goes back to the Carter-Mondale campaign. Donilon earned his chops in government as the first assistant secretary of State for public affairs under President Bill Clinton.”

“Another possible prospect is Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, who has served in string of sensitive positions, including chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore chief of staff during the 1996 reelection campaign.”

First Read: “On Today, White House adviser David Axelrod said there are plenty of folks in the White House ready to fill “the breech.” Is that a hint the replacement could come from the current team? Sure sounds like it, and keep this in mind: The four people in the West Wing who will have the most influence on the president about the next chief of staff are: Rahm, Axelrod, Gibbs, and VP Biden.”

Trying Too Hard to be Against It

FactCheck.org: “At least five freshman Democratic House members are running ads claiming they voted against the bank ‘bailout,’ when in fact none was in Congress when the bill setting up the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was enacted.”

Quote of the Day

“If you don’t hold us accountable, we’ll do some real bad things in Washington, D.C.”

— Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), quoted by the Reno Gazette Journal.

Another Poll Finds Tight Race in Texas

A new Zogby poll in Texas, commissioned by Democratic philanthropist Bernard Rapoport, shows Gov. Rick Perry leading challenger Bill White (D) in the race for governor, 44% to 41%.

A poll released yesterday also found the race very close.

Christie Heads to Iowa

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “is hitting the road to unveil a string of endorsements in the coming weeks,” Politico reports.

“In what constitutes his first major political trip, the blue-state governor who has the GOP enthralled by his face-off with the public-sector unions — and his passing of a budget with surprising ease — will be traveling to some of the nation’s hottest political battlegrounds in the coming weeks, including a stop in presidential proving ground Iowa.”

The Iowa stop will likely stoke speculation Christie is feeling out a presidential bid, but he’s ruled it out before. And he did so again in an interview with Don Imus yesterday.

Said Christie: “No, no. Come on. Look at me. Me for President? Come on, seriously. No way. No way.”

Reagan on the Big Screen

“The story of Ronald Reagan’s life — from boyhood to Hollywood actor to leader of the free world — is about to spill out on the big screen in a way quite different from the miniseries that caused such a stir seven years ago,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“The feature film, titled Reagan and sporting a $30 million production budget, is set for release late next year and will be based on two best-selling biographies of the 40th U.S. president by Paul Kengor: The Crusader and God and Ronald Reagan.”

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