POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/6

Schumer Shifts from Deal Maker to Attack Machine

Politico observes that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has begun to tack back to being the “political attack machine that’s long defined him” after a two-year departure as a “behind-the-scenes, bipartisan deal maker.”

“Schumer’s stepped-up presence comes after a leadership shuffle announced by Reid following the Nov. 2 elections… Responding to concerns that the Senate Democrats lacked an effective messaging operation, Reid announced that he would give Schumer the role of running the party’s ‘war room’ while also naming him chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee… While the changes don’t officially take place until next year, Democrats and Republicans are already noticing a shift in Schumer’s approach.”

Will Huckabee Run?

Politico: “If Huckabee gets in, he will unquestionably be a force to be reckoned with in the fight for the nomination. He’d be the undisputed frontrunner in lead-off Iowa, where he won by nine points in 2008. He’d be the candidate to beat in South Carolina, which he narrowly lost to John McCain two years ago in part because of a divided conservative vote. His weekly Fox show, thrice-daily radio program and Grisham-like ability to crank out a book-per-year has given him a direct media presence akin to Palin’s – but without the sky-high negatives.”

 

Gingrich Leans Towards Presidential Bid

Newt Gingrich told Fox News that he is “much more inclined to run” for president in 2012 than not run because he’s “more inclined to think it is doable.”

However, he said he would not make a decision until the “end of February or beginning of March.”

Prospects Improve for Arms Treaty

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) says he’s more optimistic now about ratification of a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, the AP reports.

He says “the votes are there” but Democrats would have to agree to limit Senate action in the remaining days of the lame duck session to “tax legislation, a broad spending measure and the treaty — in that order.”

 

Obama Open to Deal on Tax Cuts

After the U.S. Senate defeated two attempts by Democrats to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class permanently, President Obama told Democratic leaders “he would be open to a temporary extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the affluent, but he would demand concessions from the GOP,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The concessions he’s seeking: “a year-long extension of unemployment insurance and tax cuts for middle-income and working poor Americans that were in the stimulus law but also expire at the end of this year. Those include the Making Work Pay tax cut of $400 for middle-income individuals and $800 for couples, a tuition tax credit, an expanded earned income and child credit for the working poor, and a payroll tax credit for new hires.”

Politico: “The doomed votes mean Democrats ultimately may need to agree to a deal that runs contrary to their campaign promises over the past 10 years. Rather than eliminating the upper-end tax cuts, Democrats will likely cede to Republican demands to renew all of the Bush tax cuts for several years — a move that many in the party view as a major defeat.”

Most Wanted Political Operatives

The Des Moines Register compiles a list of the 50 most wanted campaign strategists, fundraisers and communication advisers for the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

Pence Says He’ll Consult “Loved Ones”

Last night at the Gridiron Club dinner, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) poked fun at the speculation that he’ll seek the Republican nomination to run against President Obama in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reports.

He noted he’d be consulting his “loved ones” in making his decision on whether to run. “And by my loved one, I mean my finance chairman and the head of my political action committee,”

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