POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/12

Mixed Reaction to GOP Win

Pew Research: “The public, voters and non-voters alike, has a subdued reaction to the Republican Party’s midterm election victory. Four years ago, the response to the Democrats regaining full control of Congress was far more positive, as it was in 1994 when the GOP won a historic victory. Fewer people today say they are happy about the Republican victory, approve of the GOP’s plans for the future, and far fewer believe Republicans will be successful in getting their programs passed into law.”

Cuomo Appoints Spitzer Nemesis

Ben Smith: “Nobody hates Eliot Spitzer more than Ken Langone, the Home Depot founder whom Spitzer pursued over the compensation of New York Stock Exchange chief Dick Grasso. And it’s a mark of just how far — that is, as far as possible — Andrew Cuomo is from Spitzer that he just appointed Langone to his Economic and Fiscal Advisory Council.”

As you’ll recall, Spitzer said some very unflattering things about Cuomo during the campaign.

Congressional Approval at Just 17%

A new Gallup Poll finds Congressional approval is at 17%, down slightly from 21% before the midterm elections.

Though Republicans won control of the House in the midterm elections, history shows that the continuing low ratings of Congress are likely to continue until the next Congress is seated in January.

Murkowski on Track to Win Despite Challenges

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is likely to win the Alaska U.S. Senate race, even if Joe Miller’s (R) legal challenge to the write-in counting process succeeds, Roll Call reports.

Miller’s campaign has filed suit to throw out write-in ballots that slightly misspelled Murkowski’s name.

“But Miller could lose even if his court challenge is successful, as 89% of the write-in votes counted Wednesday were not challenged. If that pace continues for the remaining 73,776 write-in votes, Murkowski would win by more than 500 votes.”

Presidential Primary Season Closer Than You Think

It seems like the nation is just trying to put the midterm election behind it, but  The Fix reports that the first debates of the presidential primary season are just a few months away, thanks to an announcement today from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“Former First Lady Nancy Reagan today announced plans to invite all of the leading contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination to two debates at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. The Reagan Presidential Foundation plans to play host to both the first GOP presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle in spring 2011 and a second GOP debate on the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries.”

Bipartisanship at Last

The Onion: “A CNN/Gallup Poll released Monday revealed that a vast majority of registered male voters would have strongly supported a naked woman in the 2010 midterm elections.”

Proof Health Care Reform Sunk Democrats

William Galston parses recent polls to suggest that passing health care reform legislation may have been the right thing for Democrats to do, but in the short run it dealt the party a big political blow.

Key finding: The one-sixth of voters who identified health care as their most important issue voted Republican over Democrat, 59% to 35%. Among the rest of the electorate, both parties got 44% support.

“Putting all these data together, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the health-reform bill had an independent impact on Democrats in the midterm election, reducing their support below the level to which the economy alone would have depressed it. A back-of-the envelope calculation suggests that health care voters contributed about 10 percent points to the Republicans’ share of the vote and only 6 percent to Democrats — a gap of 4 percentage points.”

Quote of the Day

“If some of us have to sacrifice a political career to get this country back on track, then so be it.”

— Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), in an interview on Good Morning America, on the tough choices needed to cut the federal debt.

Dobbs Heads Back to Television

Though former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs was mulling a bid for U.S. Senate or President, he tells Howard Kurtz he’s headed to the Fox Business Network instead.

Said Dobbs: “I spent about six, seven months really entertaining a lot of thoughts, discussing it with people who were urging me to do it. My wife and I thought about it long and hard. It seemed clear that wasn’t what would be satisfying to me.”

Can Obama be Re-Elected?

Larry Sabato notes the pundits who think President Obama will be a one-term president ignore some pretty compelling evidence: “It turns out that there is no statistical relationship between a midterm result and the outcome of the next presidential election.”

Likely Rival Blasts Steele

Connecticut GOP Chairman Chris Healy “is strongly considering” a bid to replace RNC Chairman Michael Steele and in an interview with Roll Call “unleashed a scathing critique of Steele’s leadership.”

Said Healy: “I think at some point someone has to step up and say the emperor has no clothes. I’m more than willing to do that. I think I can give the RNC what it needs over the next two years. I don’t have any confidence that the current management can get it done.”

Buzz Suggests Webb Won’t Run Again

“Speculation is already ramping up in Virginia about the 2012 Senate race and, from several phone calls, there appears to be growing buzz on both sides of the aisle that Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) will not seek re-election,” The Hotline reports.

Webb himself told RealClearPolitics this week that he’s “still sorting out” whether he’ll run again.

“If Webb does step aside, the Democratic bench in Virginia is awfully thin. Democratic National Committee Chair and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is virtually the only Democrat with a statewide profile, with ousted Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) as a possible sleeper candidate to watch if Webb steps down.”

O’Donnell Begins Career as Political Celebrity

In a Tonight Show interview with Jay Leno, Christine O’Donnell said she’s fielding many job offers in the aftermath of her U.S. Senate race defeat in Delaware.

Said O’Donnell: “The offers have been interesting. Anything from a book deal to a reality show… I am not necessarily interested in a reality show…I would like to do something like a watchdog-type show.”

She also suggested she might run for public office again: “I don’t know if I will run again. I want to keep that option open.”

See more…

Boehner’s Image Improves

Gallup Poll: “Americans’ opinions of House Republican Leader John Boehner, who is in line to be the speaker of the House in the new Congress, improved after the midterm elections. Though 4 in 10 Americans are still unfamiliar with Boehner, more Americans now rate him positively than negatively, a shift from three prior 2010 readings, including one taken in mid-October.”

Obama Will Extend Bush Tax Cuts

White House adviser David Axelrod told the Huffington Post that the Obama administration is ready to accept an across-the-board continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.

“That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week’s electoral defeat.”

Said Axelrod: “We have to deal with the world as we find it. The world of what it takes to get this done.”

Interestingly, Axelrod told the National Journal the administration has not caved to GOP demands on tax cuts.

Iraq Finally Forms a Government

After shattering the record for the longest period between holding a parliamentary election and the formation of a government, the New York Times reports that Iraqi lawmakers have finally reached a tentative power-sharing arrangement.

The deal would “create a unity government embracing the country’s major ethnic and religious factions, ending an eight-month political impasse and returning Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to power for a second term as prime minister… The agreement ensured, for now at least, the participation of Sunni Arabs, who supported the bloc led by Mr. Maliki’s chief rival, Ayad Allawi, which narrowly won the most seats in the March election… the county’s current president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader, would remain as president, solidifying the role of Iraq’s Kurds.”

Chaser: “The new government that will oversee the withdrawal of American troops will look much like the one that has governed in the past four tumultuous years.”

Bristol Palin Saved by the Tea Party

“Bristol Palin survived another elimination round on Dancing With the Stars as fans including Tea Party supporters mustered enough votes to overcome low scores from the talent show’s judges,” Bloomberg reports.

Sarah Palin’s daughter will return for the ninth week of the show despite being tied for the judges’ worst score.

Said a show producer: “There’s a strong popular movement behind Sarah Palin at the moment and she’s receiving a lot of support from the Tea Party. It’s entirely possible some of those people are behind Bristol for political reasons.”

Beshear Holds Early Lead

Public Policy Polling survey in Kentucky finds Gov. Steve Beshear (D) in good shape as he heads for re-election next year. Beshear leads Phil Moffett (R), 45% to 26%, and tops David Williams (R), 44% to 35%.

Key finding: 48% of voters approve of the job Beshear’s doing to 34% who disapprove. Beshear’s on positive ground with independents at 47%/31%, unusually good numbers for a Democrat at a time when those folks are tending to lean strongly toward the GOP.

Palin is Best Known, Most Divisive of GOP Hopefuls

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds Sarah Palin is the most polarizing of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, while impressions of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney lean more positive.

Palin is the best-known and most divisive of the bunch with 46% of Americans seeing her favorably and 49% unfavorably.

Huckabee received the highest favorability rating at 49% with just 27% seeing him unfavorably. Romney had similar results with 46% viewing him favorabliy and 31% unfavorably.

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