POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/19

House to Vote on Extending Cuts for Middle Class Only

Greg Sargent reports that the House will definitely have an up-or-down vote on extending the Bush tax cuts for middle-class voters only.

“The move indicates that House Dems are growing more resolved to draw a hard line on the Bush tax cuts, forcing Republicans to choose between supporting Obama’s tax plan and opposing a tax cut for the middle class. However, the way forward still remains murky. Even if such a measure were to pass in the House, it’s unclear whether the Senate will agree to such a vote, and the White House has not endorsed the approach.”

Romney’s Race to Lose?

Philip Klein: “Romney would not be seeking the GOP presidential nomination in a vacuum. In reality, if he’s going to lose, some other candidate is going to have to beat him, and right now, all of the other prospective Republican candidates have their own set of weaknesses… And despite his weaknesses as a candidate, he also brings a number of advantages. Romney would enter the race with far higher name recognition than he did his first time around and a broad national political organization that has been building up good will by helping Republican candidates in key states. He also enjoys a vast fundraising network.”

Palin Takes On Levi Johnson (Again)

According to the Associated Press, Sarah Palin blasts Levi Johnston in her new book, America by Heart.

She says it was “disgusting” to watch Johnston, “the estranged father of her grandson, exploit his sudden fame after she was chosen as Sen. John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 election. She alleges that he was absent when her daughter Bristol Palin gave birth to Tripp and that he disgraced himself by repeatedly criticizing the Palins.”

Writes Palin: “Of course, we all had to bite our tongues — more than once — as Tripp’s father went on a media tour through Hollywood and New York, spreading untruths and exaggerated rhetoric. It was disgusting to watch as his fifteen minutes of fame were exploited by supposed adults taking advantage of a lost kid.”

Fewer Than Half Know GOP Won the House

Pew Research: “While 75% identify the Republicans as the party regarded as doing best in the midterms, fewer than half (46%) know that Republicans will have a majority only in the House when the new Congress convenes in January. About one-in-seven (14%) say the GOP won both the House and Senate; 8% say they won just the Senate; 5% do not think they will have a majority in either chamber; and 27% do not know.”

 

Rahm’s Residency Issue Grows

The question of whether Rahm Emanuel is a legal Chicago resident for the mayor’s race “is about to get real,” the Ward Room reports.

“Next week a veteran election lawyer will file paperwork in an attempt to knock Emanuel off the ballot for allegedly failing to meet residency requirements that stipulate a candidate must live in the city for one year before election.”

Key issue: Emanuel was twice dropped from voter rolls when it was determined he wasn’t a resident while working in the Obama White House.

Update: Emanuel pushed back on his website, pointing out that the Chicago Tribuneeditorial board and three former presidents of the Chicago Bar Association have “stated clearly that Rahm was — and is — a Chicago resident.”

Hatch Says He’s Not Like Bennett

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who could face a primary challenge from the right in 2012, said that “he’s confident he will not meet the same fate as fellow Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), who lost a bid for his party’s nomination in 2010 in the face of Tea Party opposition,” The Hill reports.

Said Hatch: “I think Bob Bennett should have been reelected. He’s a fine man. On the other hand, I’m not Bob. I’m a lot tougher. And I’m actually more conservative, by quite a measure.”

Changing of the Guard on Capitol Hill

Two signs of major employment shifts coming on Capitol Hill:

Traffic is way up at Political Job Hunt and they’re out of resume paper at the House office supply store.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he’d have two.”

— James Carville, quoted by Politico.

DeMint Promises Fight Over Debt Limit

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) tells Time that “we’re going to have to force a showdown with the president” on raising the debt limit when the vote comes early next year.

He added: “I’ve been fighting spending since I’ve been in Congress, so I don’t feel a responsibility to vote for an increase in the debt limit. These clowns who have been voting for more spending… They’re going to have to step up to the plate and vote for it.”

Palin Rips American Idol

The Associated Press got an advance look at Sarah Palin’s new book, America by Heart, and notes she blasts the television show American Idol and its “talent-deprived” contestants who suffer from “the cult of self-esteem.”

Writes Palin: “No one they have encountered in their lives — from their parents to their teachers to their president — wanted them to feel bad by hearing the truth. So they grew up convinced that they could become big pop stars like Michael Jackson.”

The irony: “The Internet has been abuzz in recent days about how Bristol Palin, who has consistently landed at the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard on Dancing With the Stars, has been able to remain on the show. Some critics have suggested that voters — particularly supporters of her mother — have been voting in blocs and manipulating the system.”

Huckabee Still Mulling Bid

In an WHO Radio interview, Mike Huckabee wanted to make sure everyone knew he might still run for president — even though he’s sounded ambivalent over the past few months.

Said Huckabee: “I’m not ruling it out. And that’s not a yes, but it’s definitely not a no.”

He added: “The honest answer is: I’m keeping it open as an option, I’m looking at whether or not there’s a pathway to victory. As I’ve told several people, I’m not jumping into a pool when there’s no water in it.”

Quote of the Day

“Well, it’s very flattering, and in all fairness, if you didn’t think it was flattering you should probably see a psychiatrist.”

— New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a Washington Post interview, about speculation he might run for president.

Senators Take Lessons from 2010

After an election cycle that featured major primary upsets and a Republican wave, Politico reports that “Leaders from both parties are urging a more aggressive strategy for senators to be more visible back home… They’ve also been warned not to take any challenger — whether in a primary or general election — for granted.”

“Democrats clearly have the more challenging playing field, defending 21 incumbents, along with two independents who caucus with them. The GOP only has nine seats to worry about… Republicans, who watched incumbents Lisa Murkowski and Bob Bennett lose primaries, seem more concerned about intraparty challenges going into 2012.”

Meanwhile, Roll Call has a very good primer on the 2012 Senate races.

Two Views of the Budget Deficit

Fareed Zakaria: “The fate of the U.S. is going to be decided over the next year. O.K., I know that’s overly dramatic, but here’s why I say it. The deficit-reduction commission co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson has put the long-term fiscal health of the country front and center on the national stage. If we’re lucky, we’ll have a serious debate about it. We could decide that we are willing to undertake real reforms and fix the problem. Or we could once again kick the can down the road. If we do the latter, things get worse, the political deadlock hardens, and costs rise. Historians may well look back and say this was the point at which the U.S. began its long and seemingly irreversible decline.”

Joe Klein: “I’m not opposed to long-term deficit reduction, so long as it’s equitable. But I do wonder why these righteous burghers are leading the charge on this particular issue and are so obviously AWOL on a more pressing problem: finding a way to encourage productive investment that creates jobs while discouraging the financial speculation that creates bailouts.”

Back to May

First Read: “Another set of findings from the NBC/WSJ poll is that attitudes about the White House and the economy have largely returned to where they were in May, before the impact of the BP spill was felt and before the Greek debt crisis turned into big problems for the administration. Obama’s approval/disapproval stands at 47%-47%, which is the first time since May when his job-approval hasn’t been a net-negative. Also, his fav/unfav crept up to 49%-39%, which is nearly identical to where it was in early May. And the percentage believing the economy will improve in the next 12 months (37%) is the highest since May (when 40% said that). Perhaps the biggest news in the poll as it relates to 2012: 60% say the worst of the recession is behind us, which is up 15 points from August.”

How Reid Won

In an interesting piece for Polling Report, strategists Mark Mellman and Jim Margolis explain how Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) won re-election despite poor approval ratings heading in the election.

Key point: “Reid put together perhaps the best Senate campaign operation ever” and “empowered a skilled team to devise a methodical campaign plan, long before the election, and the candidate and the team stuck to the plan, despite the naysayers and public pollsters who said the race couldn’t be won.”

Chamber of Commerce Stays Out of 2012

The Associated Press reports that U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue has decided “that the giant trade association will stay out of the 2012 presidential elections” and will work with the administration on key issues, despite the clashes between President Obama and the chamber during the midterms.

“The declaration comes after the chamber spent more than $32 million in political ads during the midterm elections, most of them aimed against Democrats. Obama criticized the chamber during the campaign for not disclosing its donors… Though more closely aligned with Republicans, the chamber worked with the Obama administration to win support for continuing the $700 billion rescue of the banking sector, for its $800 billion economic stimulus and to assist financially reeling automakers.”

Lugar Poll Shows He Remains Popular

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), who confirmed he will run for re-election, released a poll showing he had the highest approval rating for a long list of state politicians, WISH-TV reports.

Lugar is at the top with a 66% favorable rating while Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) is at 59%.

Trump Will Decide by Summer

Donald Trump told ABC News he is seriously considering a run for the White House and will make a final decision by June.

Said Trump: “I am thinking about things. And I’m looking at this country… and what’s happened in terms of respect. And the respect for this country is just not there. I have many people from China that I do business with, they laugh at us. They feel we’re fools. And almost being led by fools. And they can’t believe what they’re getting away with.”

Trump would run as a Republican and didn’t rule out a self-funded campaign on which he could “very easily” spend more than $200 million.

Voters Back Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

The latest Quinnipiac national poll finds voters overwhelmingly support the repeal of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy by a wide margin, 58% to 34%.

Also interesting: Among voters with a member of the military in their family, repeal is favored by 55% to 38% This is the first time military families have supported repeal of the policy.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “In a country sharply divided on so many things it is ironic gays in the military — once the prototypical wedge issue — has attracted a national consensus among the voting public to a much larger degree than other, seemingly less controversial issues.”

Majority Oppose War in Afghanistan

A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters think that the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan by a 50% to 44% margin — the first time a majority has opposed the war.

Key findings: Democrats opposed the war, 62% to 33%, while Republicans support it, 64% to 31%. Independent voters also oppose the war by a 54% to 40% margin.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “President Obama is in somewhat of a tenuous position politically on the Afghan war. If Republicans should desert him, he’d find himself with a very unpopular war on his hands.”

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