POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/24

Castle Will Poll Three-Way Race

Rep. Mike Castle (RDE) “is planning on polling a potential three-way Senate race to test his chances as a write-in candidate,” according to Politico.

“The GOP source did not have specifics on when Castle’s team would conduct the poll, but viewed it as a practical step even if the nine-term congressman was unlikely to re-enter the race.”

Lobbyists Lose Money When Former Bosses Leave

new study from the London School of Economics found that politically connected federal lobbyists experienced a “sizable drop in earnings when their old bosses left Congress.”

Center for Responsive Politics: “Overall, the researchers found that lobbyists’ earnings dropped by 24 percent upon the departure of one of their former employers in either the Senate or a senior position within the House. This decline represents about $177,000 per year for the lobbyist — and the decrease in revenue persists for three years after the politicians exit.”

Spitzer Says Cuomo is “Dirtiest, Nastiest” Player

In a fascinating interview on CNN, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) makes clear he’s not a big fan of Andrew Cuomo (D).

Said Spitzer: “The problem that Andrew has is that everybody knows that behind the scenes, he is the dirtiest, nastiest political player out there and that is his reputation from years in Washington.”

“When his father was governor, he was the tough guy. He has brass knuckles and he played hard ball. He has a lot of enemies out there. Nobody’s been willing to stand up to him. When it appeared he was going to win, it was inevitable. If it appears not to be inevitable, things may change.”

“He has a lot of folks, he’s really been on the wrong side of who may stand up and say, wait a minute, he may not want to pretend he plays that game. He does, and he’s worse at it.”

See more…

Independent Voters Favor Republicans

A new Pew Research survey finds that for the third national election in a row, independent voters may be poised to vote out the party in power.

Republicans holds a significant edge in preferences for the upcoming congressional election among likely voters, in large part because political independents now favor Republican candidates by about as large a margin as they backed Barack Obama in 2008 and congressional Democratic candidates four years ago.

The survey finds that 50% of likely voters say they will vote for the Republican in their district, while 43% favor the Democratic candidate. Republican and Democratic voters overwhelmingly support their party’s candidates. The GOP’s advantage comes as a result of their 49% to 36% lead among independent and other non-partisan voters who are likely to vote in November.

Don’t Mess with Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) plays the heavy as a heckler tries to ask California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman (R) a question at a rally.

See more…

Momentum Shifts to Murray in Washington

A new SurveyUSA poll in Washington finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) just edging challenger Dino Rossi (R), 50% to 48%, a result within the survey’s theoretical margin of sampling error.

Compared to an identical poll one month ago, Murray is up 5 points; Rossi is down 4, a 9-point momentum swing to the Democrat.

Sink Continues to Lead in Florida

A new Mason-Dixon poll in Florida finds Alex Sink (D) leading Rick Scott (R) in the race for governor by seven points among likely voters, 47% to 40% with 11% still undecided.

Evidence of a Tidal Wave Forming

In a new poll, GOP pollster Glen Bolger finds Republicans leading the generic congressional ballot, 44% to 39%.

But here’s his stunning finding: “Besides all of the usual regional crosstabs, we also broke it out by the type of district. We looked at the sample in the 66 Democratic INCUMBENT districts that Charlie Cook lists as either toss-up or leaning Democratic at the time of the survey. In that key crosstab of Swing Democratic Incumbent Seats, the Republican lead grows to 49%-31% on the generic ballot. That is a very powerful crosstab that says the wave is coming.”

“Among the remaining Democratic districts (Likely/Safe Dem, and open seats), the generic ballot is an unsurprisingly 33% GOP/51% Dem — a sign that the historically safe Dem seat will remain so, while the swing seats will be a bloodbath.”

Palin Hints at Presidential Bid

In an interview on Fox News, Sarah Palin (R) said she’d “offer herself up” to run for president in 2012 — if no other good candidate stepped forward.

Said Palin: “A reason to run is if nobody else were to step up with the solutions that are needed to get the economy back on the right track and to be so committed to our national security that they are going to do all that they can, including fighting those on the extreme left who seem to want to dismantle some of our national security tools that we have in place. If nobody else wanted to step up… I would offer myself up in the name of service to the public.”

Boehner Admits No Solutions on Social Security, Medicare

Addressing a central criticism of the “Pledge to America,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said he doesn’t have the answer to funding problems with Medicare and Social Security, The Hill reports.

Instead, Boehner said Congress will first have to initiate “an adult conversation” with voters.

Said Boehner: “It’s time for us as Americans to have an adult conversation with each other about the serious challenges that face our country. I don’t have all the solutions. But I believe that if we work with the American people, the American people will want to work with us to come to grips with these challenges that face our country. It’s about having that adult conversation in an honest, open way that’ll get us the answers to lay out the plan that will solve this problem once and for all.”

Another Bestseller for Woodward

And just like that, Bob Woodward’s latest book, Obama’s Wars, is a bestseller. For those keeping score, that’s 16 bestsellers out of 16 books written.

Barbour’s Big Hurdle for 2012

Mark Halperin looks at a possible presidential bid by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) noting that he “is one of the chief builders and beneficiaries of the insider Beltway power structure that helped spawn the Tea Party. That puts him at odds with the most energized segment of the GOP, led by potential 2012 rivals Sarah Palin and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. Which means a Barbour candidacy would depend, at some point, on Republicans’ deciding that a traditional choice would present their party with the best chance of defeating Obama in a general-election contest.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I have never been in a tanning bed or used a tanning product.”

— House Minority Leader John Boehner (R), in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “addressing a perennial source of jokes” about his dark complexion.

Will Republicans Regret Their Pledge?

Ezra Klein on the GOP’s Pledge to America: “Their policy agenda is detailed and specific — a decision they will almost certainly come to regret. Because when you get past the adjectives and soaring language, the talk of inalienable rights and constitutional guarantees, you’re left with a set of hard promises that will increase the deficit by trillions of dollars, take health-care insurance away from tens of millions of people, create a level of policy uncertainty businesses have never previously known, and suck demand out of an economy that’s already got too little of it.”

Castle Considering Write-in Campaign

Describing himself as “hurt and stunned” by his Delaware U.S. Senate primary defeat to Christine O’Donnell (R), Rep. Mike Castle (R) told the Wilmington News Journal he isn’t ruling out the possibility of a write-in campaign.

While Castle said he “probably” would not run, but has not ruled it out “simply because it’s there, simply because I’ve had a number of people who’ve asked that I do that.”

He has until the end of the month to declare his intentions.

Very Different Poll Results in New York

A new Siena poll in New York finds Andrew Cuomo (D) leading Carl Paladino (R) in the race for governor by 33 points, 57% to 24%, and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D) leading Joe DioGuardi (R) in the U.S. Senate race by 24 points, 57% to 31% — very different from the latest Quinnipiac and SurveyUSA polls that show much closer races.

Two things to keep in mind: The Siena poll tests registered voters, not likely voters. And in the race for governor, the poll includes Rick Lazio as the Conservative Party candidate — he gets 8% of the vote — even though he’s not yet announced whether he’ll stay on the ballot.

A Marist Poll in New York will be out tomorrow.

The Lessons of Protest Politics

Today’s must-read piece is from Stratfor:

“The political lesson, worth pondering in these times of Tea Party rumbling, is that serious protest movements such as the Perot phenomenon or today’s Tea Party revolt never just fade away. They linger in American politics, sometimes largely unseen but sometimes quite overt, and exert a continuing tug on the course of electoral decision-making. Eventually they get absorbed into one major party or the other. In the process, they often tilt the balance of political power in the country, occasionally for substantial periods of time.”

Jackson’s “Social Acquaintance”

It didn’t take long after Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL) apologized to constituents for having a female “social acquaintance” before swimsuit pictures of Giovana Huidobro were found on a Peruvian website.

Reliable Source: “Colleagues and patrons described her to us as a petite, eye-catching Latin American blonde whose presence at Ozio’s front door was a potent lure at the martini-and-cigar bar that’s seen better days.”

Quote of the Day

“The momentum is with us.”

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in an interview with NPR, insisting she’s confident about Democratic chances in the midterm elections.

Independents Just as Angry as Republicans

A new Associated Press-GfK Poll finds 58% of independents and 60% of Republicans said politics is making them angry, compared with 31% of Democrats.

“Combined with other findings, independents’ sullenness underscores how difficult it will be for Democratic candidates to win them over this election.”

Reactions to the “Pledge to America”

House Republicans will unveil their “Pledge to America” today and the early reactions among conservatives are decidedly mixed.

National Review: “The pledge is bolder. The Contract with America merely promised to hold votes on popular bills that had been bottled up during decades of Democratic control of the House. The pledge commits Republicans to working toward a broad conservative agenda that, if implemented, would make the federal government significantly smaller, Congress more accountable, and America more prosperous.”

Red State: “These 21 pages tell you lots of things, some contradictory things, but mostly this: it is a series of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama… It is dreck — dreck with some stuff I like, but like Brussels sprouts in butter. I like the butter, not the Brussels sprouts. Overall, this grand illusion of an agenda that will never happen is best spoken of today and then never again as if it did not happen. It is best forgotten.”

Dead Heat in California

A new Field Poll in California shows Meg Whitman (R) and Jerry Brown (D) deadlocked in the race for governor among likely voters, 41% to 41% with 18% still undecided.

Meanwhile, a new SurveyUSA poll has Brown leading the race, 46% to 43%.

Gillibrand Holds Slim Lead Over Unknown Rival

A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) leading challenger Joseph DioGuardi (R) by six points, 48% to 42%.

Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “Gillibrand is closing in on the magic 50 percent point. But DioGuardi makes a race of it against her, even though three-fifths of New Yorkers don’t know much about him.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Schumer (D) leads his little-known Republican challenger, Jay Townsend (R), 54% to 38%.

Meanwhile, a new SurveyUSA poll shows Gillibrand barely edging DioGuardi, 45% to 44%.

Boxer Retakes Lead Over Fiorina

A new SurveyUSA poll in California shows Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) leading Carly Fiorina (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 43%.

This is Boxer’s first lead in 2 months in the poll and an 8-point swing to the Democrat over the past 3 weeks.

Axelrod to Leave White House

The Washington Post reports David Axelrod is likely to leave the White House this spring to prepare for President Obama’s 2012 reelection effort.

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