POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/16

Obama Still Well Positioned for 2012

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds 42% of Americans say they’d probably vote for President Obama if he runs again in 2012 while 39% said they’d probably vote for a Republican.

But when matched against real Republicans, Obama does very well. He leads Mitt Romney by seven points, 47% to 40% and tops Sarah Palin by a whopping 22 points, 55% to 33%.

House Votes to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

“For the second time this year, the House today voted to approve legislation repealing the 1993 ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law banning openly gay individuals from serving in the military, this time in an attempt to pressure the Senate to act before adjournment and get a repeal measure to the White House,” the National Journalreports.

The bill passed is identical to a stand-alone measure introduced in the Senate by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), which has attracted 47 co-sponsors in the last few days.

 

Quote of the Day

“I realized in the first couple of days that I became governor that there was so much going on that I didn’t know about.”

— New York Gov. David Paterson (D), in an interesting interview with the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

 

Kilpatrick in Trouble Again

The federal government indicted former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D), his father, and others as part one of the largest public corruption investigations ever in the City of Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Kilpatrick currently is in state prison for violating his probation on perjury-related charges in the text message scandal that led to his political downfall.

 

Emanuel Leads in Chicago

A new Chicago Tribune poll finds Rahm Emanuel leading the Chicago mayoral race with 32%, followed by five candidates in the single digits and another 30% still undecided.

If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote in the Feb. 22 non-partisan primary the top two contenders face off on April 5.

DeMint to Force Readings of Bills

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) will force readings of both the New START Treaty and the 2011 omnibus spending bill on the Senate floor, a move that could eat up over 70 hours of the remaining lame-duck Congress, The Hill reports.

“DeMint’s maneuver will no doubt cause a headache for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as he figures out how to fit all of the remaining legislative items into the waning days of the lame duck. Lawmakers had been set to leave Washington on Friday, but that deadline appears flimsy at this point. Reid had sought to avoid working the week of the Christmas holiday, as lawmakers had done last year, and has now threatened work after the holidays if necessary.”

White House statement: “This is a new low in putting political stunts ahead of our national security, and it is exactly the kind of Washington game-playing that the American people are sick of.”

Brown Could Be in Trouble in Ohio

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio shows Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) may have a tough re-election race.

Key finding: “Brown is tied in a hypothetical match up with Mike DeWine at 43% each. DeWine, having just been elected Attorney General, doesn’t seem a likely candidate but the numbers give a good idea of how much the landscape has changed since Brown defeated DeWine by 12 points for reelection in 2006.”

Brown does lead a trio of lesser known Republicans in hypothetical match ups but in none of those scenarios does his support rise above 43%.

Summers Departs

White House economic adviser Larry Summers gave his final speech before his return to academic life, National Journal reports, and “expressed no regrets for the administration’s choices. He refused to cede ground either to conservatives who said the stimulus had been ineffective or liberals who argued that it had been too small.”

Felix Salmon: “More notable, to me, is the fact that Summers did not, on leaving the White House, take the opportunity to thank the president for the opportunity to serve his country during this most tumultuous economic period. I don’t think Summers thinks that way: in his mind, the thanks should all flow the other way.”

The Great Communicators of 2012

Brad Philips ranks 18 possible 2012 Republican presidential contenders — and President Obama — on their communications skills.

Notes Phillips: “Most pundits analyze a general election by looking at the same old measurements, such as unemployment data, consumer confidence, and early polling. But they always miss a reliable predictor: the more gifted media spokesperson has won every presidential election since the beginning of the 24/7 media age in 1980.”

The leaders: Marco Rubio, Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee.

Bipartisan Budget Busting

Some perspective on the tax cut deal from Ezra Klein: “The $858 billion package does more damage to the deficit than anything other piece of legislation passed during the Obama presidency. It’s also expected to receive the largest bipartisan majority of any major piece of legislation the Senate has considered in the last two years.”

Courtney Weighs Lieberman Challenge

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tells the New London Day that he “will decide early next year whether to mount a campaign for the Senate in 2012 — adding another name to the list of those who might seek to unseat Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT).”

Huge Support for Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 77% of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Key finding: “The support also cuts across partisan and ideological lines, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans, independents, liberals, conservatives and white evangelical Protestants in favor of homosexuals’ serving openly.”

When Politics Rewards Failure

Jon Ralston notes that “failure is almost always punished in real sports; in the shameless sport of politics, it is often no impediment.”

The latest example is Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R), “who will win some of those end-of-year awards for worst candidate of 2010.” By forming thePatriot Caucus she “is simply following other high-profile losers such as newly minted millionaire and possible White House hopeful Sarah Palin, who showed that John McCain put Country Last before helping him lose, and newly elected House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who bowed in rather than out after presiding after the House Democrats’ disaster.”

Reid Accused of Disrespecting Christians

Tthe New York Times reports that after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) suggested he might schedule votes after Christmas, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) — who istrying to kill ratification of the START treaty — said that would be disrespecting of Christians.

Said Kyl: “It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out without doing — frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff.”

Congressional Approval Hits All Time Low

A new Gallup poll finds just 13% approve of the way Congress is handling its job with 83% disapproving — the worst ratings ever measured in the history of the survey.

White House Shake Up Coming?

President Obama “has delayed the most significant staff shuffle of his presidency until after New Year’s — but the changes may be more sweeping than anticipated and could include the hiring of high-profile Democrats defeated in the midterms,”Politico reports.

David Plouffe will replace Daxid Axelrod in the White House next month but Obama’s “thinking on other specifics of his reconfigured West Wing — as well as a new campaign operation and Democratic National Committee structure — is largely unknown.”

Kyl Still Trying to Kill Treaty

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said that he “will work very hard” to ensure that the treaty is not ratified if it’s brought to the Senate floor in the waning days of the lame duck session, NBC News reports.

He argues that there “is not enough time to thoroughly debate and possibly amend the START measure before the Senate adjourns for the year. Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring the treaty to the Senate floor following completion of the tax cuts bill this week.”

Reid claims he has Republican support to secure the 67 votes needed to ratify the treaty, which is a top priority of President Obama.

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