POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/17

Murkowski Appears Likely to Win

The latest count in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race shows Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) with an apparently insurmountable 10,420-vote lead over Joe Miller (R), the Anchorage Daily News reports.

“Murkowski also now has collected more votes that went unchallenged by Miller ballot observers than Miller’s total vote count. That makes it appear as though Miller’s lawsuit to seeking to toss out misspelled votes is irrelevant, since there aren’t enough of those for him to win.”

Kyl Shoots Down Arms Control Treaty

Despite popular support, President Obama’s “hopes of ratifying a new arms control treaty with Russia this year appeared to unravel on Tuesday as a Senate Republican leader moved to block a vote in what could be a devastating blow to the president’s most tangible foreign policy achievement,” the New York Times reports.

“Obama had declared ratification of the New Start treaty his ‘top priority’ in foreign affairs for the lame-duck session of Congress that opened this week. But the chances of winning the two-thirds vote required for passage of the treaty appeared to collapse with the announcement by Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and the party’s point man on the issue, that the Senate should not vote on it this year.”

Most Want START Treaty Ratified

A new CNN/Opinion Research survey finds 73% of Americans say lawmakers should ratify a nuclear treaty with Russia that’s stalled in the U.S. Senate, while just 23% think it should not be ratified.

Greene Serious About Presidential Bid

In an interview with the Columbia Free Times while making a court appearance for a felony obscenity charge, failed U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene (D) said he was born to be president.

Said Greene: “I’m the next president. I’ll be 35 … just before November, so I was born to be president. I’m the man. I’m the man. I’m the man. Greene’s the man. I’m the man. I’m the greatest person ever. I was born to be president. I’m the man, I’m the greatest individual ever.”

As CNN reports, Greene said he will not accept a plea deal and insists on a jury trial.

 

Bloomberg Not Interested in Treasury Post

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg quashed rumors he might become U.S. Treasury secretary, Marketwatch reports.

Said Bloomberg: “I have no skills to be the secretary of the Treasury.”

Gingrich Making Arrangements for Presidential Bid

Newt Gingrich told the Des Moines Register that he is “making personal arrangements that would allow him to launch a campaign for president early next year.”

Gingrich said the nation is “at the precipice of a very large fundamental change” and “if I was convinced we could launch a movement on that scale, then I think being the candidate who articulates that movement would be overwhelmingly attractive.”

Meanwhile, Gingrich’s longtime political counsel said Gingrich is not being coy when he refers to the arrangements.

Said Joe Gaylord: “I would be very surprised if he doesn’t run.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“We had a Roosevelt moment and responded like Hoover.”

— Rep. John Larson (D-CT), quoted by The Hill, on the Democrats’ failure to do enough to address the nation’s 9.6% unemployment rate.

Rahm Didn’t Want Bipartisanship

Richard Wolffe is out with a new book, Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House, in which former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel says he departed from his boss on a key issue: to be bipartisan, or not to be? Greg Sargent with the details:

“Unlike his boss, Emanuel wasn’t interested in looking reasonable with Republicans; he wanted to look victorious. He didn’t care much for uniting red and blue America; he wanted blue America to beat its red rival.”

Said Emanuel: “My job as chief of staff is to give him 180-degree advice. He hired me, as he asked, to learn from the past, or to use my knowledge from my time in Congress and in the Clinton administration. Watching ’94, watching ’97 when we did kids’ health care, and then studying Medicare, what were the lessons? The lesson about time as a commodity is not mine, it’s Lyndon Johnson’s. You got X amount of time; you gotta use it.”

Sargent: “The decision to waste time chasing bipartisan support for health reform was clearly one of the mistakes that led to health care being such a big political liability for Dems. It extended the whole mess by months and months, which gave opponents more time to demagogue the bill and scare voters and helped turn the public against the process. Rahm seems to be suggesting here that he foresaw something like this happening, and argued against the futile quest for bipartisan support, which is certainly not the view of his legacy in the White House that has endured.”

Democrats Divided Over Pelosi

A new CNN/Opinion Research survey finds that Democrats nationwide are split over whether outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) should continue to lead her party in the minority in the next Congress. The survey finds that 45% of Democrats want Pelosi to serve as minority leader, while 47% want someone else.

Among all Americans, Pelosi’s numbers are far worse: just 26% of Americans want Pelosi as minority leader, and 66% want another Democrat.

RNC Political Director Quits

RNC political director Gentry Collins resigned from his post “with a stinging indictment of Chairman Michael Steele’s two-year tenure at the committee,” Politicoreports.

In a four-page letter to Steele and the RNC’s executive committee, Collins “lays out inside details, previously only whispered, about the disorganization that plagues the party. He asserts that the RNC’s financial shortcomings limited GOP gains this year and reveals that the committee is deeply in debt entering the 2012 presidential election cycle.”

UpdateThe Fix reports Collins is considering a bid for RNC Chairman.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“This may be the only shovel-ready project in America.”

— Former Vice President Dick Cheney, taking a jab at President Obama’s economic stimulus law at the groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Library.

Rangel Guilty of Ethics Violations

A House ethics panel has convicted Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) of 12 of the 13 ethics violations he faced, the New York Times reports, “ranging from accepting rent-stabilized apartments from a Manhattan developer to failing to pay taxes on a rental income from his Dominican villa to raising charitable donations from companies and corporate executives who had business before the committee he led.”

“Ethics experts say the committee is likely to issue Mr. Rangel only a letter of reprimand or a formal censure. While the committee has the power to expel, that has happened only rarely and is considered highly unlikely.”

Debunking the “Next in Line” Theory

Jonathan Bernstein: “I don’t know who the Republicans are going to nominate for president in 2012. I do, however, want to take another shot at knocking down one piece of conventional wisdom as it applies to the 2012 contest: that Republicans habitually nominate whoever is next in line, which would presumably mean that either Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin will be nominated. It just isn’t true, or at least it isn’t true in any sense that helps us understand this election cycle.”

Is Pelosi Vulnerable?

First Read: “While Reid offered up changes to his Senate leadership — placing Chuck Schumer in charge of messaging — Nancy Pelosi has publicly offered nothing after losing 60-plus seats earlier this month. Right now, she’s lucky that her only challenger is Blue Dog Heath Shuler instead of a non-Blue Dog from the Midwest (onDaily Rundown yesterday, outgoing Rep. Brian Baird suggested Ron Kind of Wisconsin). Here’s the honest truth: Despite having the votes on her side, Pelosi’s grip over her caucus is very shaky — and that’s without having a real challenger.”

Palin’s Perfect Candidate

In an interview on Fox News, Sarah Palin gave the qualities of her ideal Republican presidential nominee.

Said Palin: “I’m certainly going to take a good lay-of-the-land look, and see if there are others out there, who are electable, who are willing to make the tough decisions, won’t care what the heck the media says about them, but will do the right things and shrink the government so the private sector can thrive.”

She added: “If there are others out there, willing to do that and make the sacrifices, then I’ll support them. If there’s nobody else, I would do it.”

Jindal Not Running for President

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said his only political ambition is to run for governor again next year, the AP reports.

Said Jindal: “I’m not being coy at all. I’m not running for president in 2012. Period. No ifs, ands or buts, no caveats.”

Will Congress Really Ban Earmarks?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) about-face yesterday embracing a moratorium on earmarks shocked many on Capitol Hill with the Boston Globe calling it “a surprising reversal that could put a halt to the controversial federal spending practice.”

First Read: “If senators or members of Congress are no longer in charge of bringing home the bacon to their states or districts (via earmarks or another mechanism), then what becomes their primary mission? Being ideological fighters? And then there’s this: By banning earmarks, is Congress ceding all the bacon authority to the executive branch?”

The overlooked factor behind today’s earmark vote: It’s a non-binding resolution.

Obama Leads Potential Challengers

While a new Politico poll shows President Obama trailing a generic Republican opponent for reelection, 40% to 37%, he comes out at least 6 points ahead when matched up with likely Republican contenders Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee and Haley Barbour.

Quote of the Day

“You know, I can add and subtract pretty well. I don’t have the numbers to be able to win.”

— Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), quoted by Reuters, on his leadership challenge to outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Rahm Way Ahead for Chicago Mayor

A new Anzalone Liszt poll shows Rahm Emanuel far ahead of his rivals for Chicago mayor.

Emanuel leads with 36%, followed by Danny Davis at 14%, Carol Mosely Braun at 13%, Gery Chico at 10%, James Meeks at 7% and Miguel Del Valle at 4%.

Moseley Braun had the highest name identification — but also the highest unfavorables, leading the pollster to conclude “Emanuel’s lead is not purely a function of high name recognition.”

D.C. Know-It-Alls

A new Politico poll finds the general population exhibited far less certainty than Washington D.C. elites on a number of questions asking respondents to speculate about what message the midterms sent (19% of the general population answered “Don’t know,” compared to 3% of DC elites) or how the new Republican House majority will perform (20% of the general population answered “Don’t know,” compared to 2% of DC elites).

The one question where the public was more certain than Washington elites? President Obama’s chances of reelection (25% of the general population answered “Don’t know,” compared to 28% of DC elites).

GOP Freshman Angry His Health Care is Delayed

Rep.-elect Andy Harris (R-MD), a physician who ran to repeal the new health care reform law, “surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in,” Politico reports.

Harris “reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 — 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.”

Said Harris: “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed.”

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