POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/3

Few Support Republican Plan on Taxes

A new CBS News poll finds that 53% of Americans want the Bush-era tax cuts extended only for households earning less than $250,000 per year. That roughly matches the proposal put forth by the White House which passed the House yesterday.

However, just 26% of Americans support extending the cuts for all Americans, even those earning above the $250,000 level, which is the GOP proposal.

Robitaille May Challenge Whitehouse

John Robitaille (R), who nearly defeated Lincoln Chafee (I) in the Rhode Island race for governor, is seriously weighing a challenge to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in 2012, he told WPRI-TV in his first post-election interview.

Rangel Censured

National Journal: “With the House censure Thursday of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) for ethics violations, he is the first representative to be censured since 1983, when Massachusetts Rep. Gerry Studds was censured for a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male 10 years before.”

House Passes Middle Class Tax Cuts

The House passed an extension of only the middle-class tax cuts on 231-187 vote with just three Republicans in favor and 20 Democrats opposed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he might bring the House bill to a vote in the Senate but it’s unlikely to pass without a compromise with several Republican senators.

Earlier, House Minority Leader John Boehner called the procedure “chicken crap.”

 

The President Has No Time

“How should a president respond to a job that is increasingly an endless series of emergencies?” asks Slate, noting that the president is constantly struggling “to decide what can benefit from his attention and what’s a media creation or a trick of the opposition that will waste his time.”

“The conventional wisdom has emerged that the president has not sufficiently connected with voters in his first term… When is he going to find the time? There is always going to be another WikiLeaks emergency. There is always going to be a misbehaving North Korea or a bomb plot that we never hear about but that occupies the president’s time. The expectations for presidential action must be reconfigured. The president may still have to pretend that he can do everything, but in truth he has to make wise choices in a frantic world, because the president never gets to Inbox Zero.”

Bachmann Maintains Big War Chest

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) raised a stunning $13.2 million in the 2010 cycle and “still has $1.97 million in the bank, which is more than many House candidate raise over an entire election,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“Bachmann’s large war chest will certainly fuel speculation about her political future, and whether she’ll seek a run for higher office.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’m trying to catch my breath so I don’t refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right?”

— GOP House Leader John Boehner (R-OH), quoted by CNN, on Democrats moving ahead with a vote just on extending tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less.

Republican Attacks on Palin Pick Up Steam

In the month since the midterm elections a number of prominent Republicans have begun to speak out against Sarah Palin, revealing a newfound willingness among party elites to challenge the Tea Party darling and likely presidential candidate.

The comments started a week after the elections with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who noted that Palin was unlikely to run for president  because “It’s a lot easier to charge people up than to actually govern.” Since then, former First Lady Barbara Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), Joe Scarborough and Ed Rollinshave leveled increasingly harsh critiques of Palin.

Now Ben Smith reports that Nicole Wallace, a former adviser for George W. Bush and the McCain campaign, slammed Palin for her “incredible cynicism, her bitterness, her aggressive attempts to claw anyone that points out an area for her to work on.”

Though no one with skin in the game has publicly criticized Palin, we may be seeing a preview of the backlash that could result from a Palin presidential bid.

Brown Leads All Possible Challengers

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Massachusetts finds Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) well positioned as he gears up for re-election.

Brown leads Vicki Kennedy (D), 48% to 41% and tops Deval Patrick (D), 49% to 42%. He beats Ed Markey (D), 49% to 39%, is ahead of Mike Capuano (D), 52% to 36%, and crushes Stephen Lynch 49% to 30%.

Key finding: “Brown is one of the most popular Senators in the country, with 53% of voters approving of his job performance and only 29% disapproving. He continues to have incredible appeal to independents, with whom his approval spread is 61/25.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“If you ever see me sign up for a gig on Fox News, it’ll be a clear indication that I’ve decided to run for president — that’s not in the cards anytime soon, thanks.”

— Mitt Romney, in an interview with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, when asked whether Fox News had ever approached him to work as a correspondent.

Palin Steers Clear of New Hampshire

Despite heavy speculation that Sarah Palin (R) will run for president in 2012, theBoston Herald reports that she may be running afoul of Republican leaders in New Hampshire, who “are still waiting to learn when the top GOP contender will visit the key primary state.”

“The first state in the nation to hold a presidential primary, New Hampshire is already seeing GOP presidential hopefuls canvass the state. Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty all have visited in recent months, and Mitt Romney — who owns a vacation home in Wolfeboro — is a frequent glad-hander and fund-raiser in the state. Palin, meanwhile, has repeatedly ignored requests for appearances, according to town committee leaders.”

Don’t Write Off Bloomberg Yet

Despite polls showing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with low popularitynationwide, Steve Kornacki isn’t ready to write off a potential presidential bid just yet.

“If, come early ’12, the economy is still stuck in neutral and the GOP is poised to nominate a polarizing, Palin-ish nominee, there will be similar room — at least initially — for a third-party candidate. In that environment, Bloomberg might fare better than 11 percent. When Perot’s name first began circulating in late February and March of 1992, he barely cracked double-digits in national polls; but the idea of a third option quickly caught on, and by May he was leading Bush and Clinton in three-way polls. Bloomberg is more broadly known now than Perot was in early ’92, but plenty of Americans haven’t yet formed an opinion of him — so he does, at least potentially, have room to grow.”

DeMint Has Four Targets for 2012

According to The Hotline, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has set his sights on four Democratic senators to oust in 2012: Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Said DeMint: “These senators are nice folks but they have ignored the will of the American people and they must be replaced with principled conservatives in 2012.”

Where’s Condi?

The only living former Republican Secretary of State not signing on to the Washington Post op-ed backing New START was Condoleeza Rice.

First Read: “She met privately with Obama in November. No doubt the subject came up, since Rice’s academic expertise is Soviet/Russian foreign policy. Rice has been silent on it. Is this a case where silence equals tacit support, but she doesn’t want to upset some Bush 43-conservatives?”

Republicans Hold the Power on Tax Cuts

Even though House Democrats voted on extending Bush-era tax cuts for only those families earning less than $250,000, the New York Times explains why Republicans still have the upper hand in this stand off.

“If [Democrats] cannot come up with a plan that can win 60 votes in the Senate, which means at least two Republican votes, Republicans can filibuster any bill. All of the tax cuts would then expire on Dec. 31. When the new Republican House majority arrives in January, it will be able to make its first order of business a retroactive tax cut — forcing President Obama and Senate Democrats to choose between a purely Republican plan and an across-the-board tax increase.”

First Read: “How many Democrats wish they could go back in time to, say, May when they probably could have gotten the following deal: permanent extension of the middle-class tax rates and a one- or two-year extension of the wealthy tax rates (i.e. decoupling the tax cuts)? Remember, quite a few folks were advising the White House and the congressional Dem leadership to do just that six months ago.”

Obama May Not Help Democrats Take Back House

Republican pollster Glen Bolger guarantees that even if President Obama stages a political comeback — “which is certainly within the realm of possibility” — Republicans will still control the House of Representatives after the 2012 elections.

He notes that “when re-elected Presidents have coattails, those coattails are VERY short, if they exist at all. Only newly elected Presidents might have sizable coattails.”

“The other factor putting a stake through the vampire hearts of the Democrats’ hopes of control post-2012 is the overwhelming shift in redistricting fortunes.  Because of GOP gains in Gov races and the legislatures, there will be a dramatic change in the structure of the 2012 House races.”

Orszag Headed to Wall Street

Citigroup — which is still 11% owned by the federal government after their bailout — is close to hiring former Obama administration budget director Peter Orszag, theFinancial Times reports.

“People familiar with the situation said Mr Orszag, who left the White House team in July, was likely to be offered a position dealing with clients and top government officials rather than running a business.”

Quote of the Day

“The Reagan comparisons aren’t helping. You might as well compare yourself to Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt.”

— GOP consultant Ed Rollins, writing for CNN, offering advice to Sarah Palin while noting “I knew Ronald Reagan, and you’re no Ronald Reagan.”

Bush Holds Off Palin

Sarah Palin’s America by Heart will debut on the New York Times bestseller list this weekend at number two, just behind former President Bush’s Decision Points which retains the top spot.

Interestingly, Palin’s book is not even in the top twenty on the Amazon bestseller list.

Tea Party Caucus Takes $1 Billion in Earmarks

According to The Hotline, the 52 members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, “which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available.”

Republicans Make Case for Arms Treaty

Five former Secretaries of State who served under Republican presidents — Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Colin Powell — take to the Washington Post to urge the Senate to ratify the New START treaty signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Though President Obama declared it his top priority in the lame duck session, Republican senators have insisted they will not vote on it this year.

RNC Deep in Debt

The RNC acknowledged that the party is facing a “cashflow challenge,” theWashington Post reports, “and that many of those who provided political services to it during the 2010 election would not be paid this week as originally planned.”

Politico reports an FEC report filed today will show the committee owes $15 million and Ben Smith notes the party laid off 10 staffers Wednesday.

Branstad Advises Candidates Not to Skip Straw Poll

Iowa Gov.-elect Terry Branstad (R) warned prospective 2012 presidential candidates to not skip next summer’s Republican Party Straw Poll if they want his support in the state’s caucuses, WHO-TV reports.

Said Branstad: “I think I’ve demonstrated how you can win elections in Iowa and you do it by going to all 99 counties and meeting with a lot of people and articulate a vision and plan for where you want to lead the state, or in this case, the country… Not participating is certainly not a very good strategy. So I would certainly come and participate.”

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