POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/14
Sarah Palin is scheduled to sit for her first extended interview since the Tucson shooting rampage on Monday night, the New York Times reports.
Mitt Romney “has secured both a pollster and a political director for his near-certain presidential bid this coming cycle,” reports Erin McPike.
Rich Beeson, a GOP operative who was political director at the Republican National Committee, will be Romney’s political director. Beeson has already moved his family to Massachusetts for his new role.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in New Jersey finds Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) is remarkably popular across the state with 46% of voters viewing him favorably to only 16% with a negative opinion.
Key finding: “What’s most striking within the figures on Booker is how well liked he is across party lines. Although he is unsurprisingly most popular with Democrats at a 51/12 favorability, he also has a 47/17 spread with independents, and even a 36/21 with Republicans.”
“Unity is great, sure, but apart from the entertainment value, there is an important practical reason to maintain the State of the Union’s partisan seating arrangement. A neat separation of the parties allows the American people to see, in real time, their positions on the president’s agenda and the issues of the day. It’s actually very informative and helpful to be able to easily assess which proposals the Republicans and Democrats support, respectively, through the decision to applaud. It also allows us to identify the few party-bucking independent thinkers who, every so often, stand up to clap while the rest of their colleagues remain seated.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds 71% of Americans “oppose raising the country’s debt limit even though failure to do so could hurt America’s international standing and push up borrowing costs.”
The poll underscores the tough task ahead for lawmakers as the debt nears its current ceiling of $14.3 trillion. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has warned that a failure to raise the borrowing limit in the coming months could lead to “catastrophic economic consequences.”
“You have to look at it and see, what are they like when they’re tested, what are they like when they’re not scripted, what are they like when they’re pushed. And I would contend to you that if Governor Palin never does any of those things, she’ll never be president, because people in America won’t countenance that. They just won’t.”
— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), in an interview with the New York Times.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) will not run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, theDallas Morning News reports.
Roll Call finds that new White House chief of staff Bill Daley donated $5000 to President Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate primary rival Dan Hynes in March 2004, about 10 days before the primary.
As Newt Gingrich prepares for another South Carolina visit, he told McClatchy Newspapers about “the state’s historic importance in backing GOP presidential nominees — and his interest in becoming a White House candidate.”
Said Gingrich: “South Carolina has picked the last five Republican presidential nominees. So it’s clear that along with Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s a key state in the presidential nominating process. There’s no question it will retain that importance in 2012.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) turned down an offer by President Obama “to travel on Air Force One to Arizona for a memorial service on behalf of the victims of Saturday’s shooting, a decision that has upset some Democrats,” Politico reports.
Boehner instead attended a reception last night on behalf of Maria Cino, “a former top House GOP aide who is seeking the Republican National Committee chairmanship.”
However, TPM notes Boehner also attended a vigil for victims on Capitol Hill and had he accepted the president’s invitation, “then the leaders of both parties would have missed the Wednesday vigil.”
“Palin’s use of the term fired up her troops, and the secular media missed the point. It’s easier to keep thinking Palin’s a dimwit than to think she knows just what she’s doing. On the other hand, even if Palin was trying to rouse her evangelical base, she may have done it in such a blunderbuss manner that it more than undercut any gains she might have made.”
North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk (R) told Roll Call that he is exploring the possibility of challenging Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) “and has formed a committee to raise money as he eyes the prime 2012 race.”
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) compared himself to a Founding Father while denying interest in running for president, reports NBC 12.
Said McDonnell: “I’ve got the best job in America. That is why Thomas Jefferson said on his tombstone, he was a President you know, he left that off his tombstone. He listed Governor, author of the Declaration and founder of the University of Virginia. So I, like Jefferson, believe this is a far better job.”
An aide close to Sarah Palin says “death threats and security threats have increased to an unprecedented level since the shooting in Arizona, and the former Alaska governor’s team has been talking to security professionals,” ABC News reports.
Mitt Romney “has stepped down from the board of directors for hotel chain Marriott International Inc. for the second time in eight years,” the AP reports.
Former House Republican leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) told NBC News his conviction on money laundering charges was a politically-motivated case brought by prosecutors in “the most liberal county in Texas.”
Said DeLay: “I was tried in the most liberal county in the state of Texas, and indeed in the United States. The point is that this is a political campaign.”
“If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.”
— President Obama, speaking at the Tucson memorial service last night.
“Wednesday was bookended by two remarkable — and remarkably different — political performances that demonstrated the vast expanse of America’s political landscape,” the New York Times reports.
“But what could not have been more different was the tone. Where Ms. Palin was direct and forceful, Mr. Obama was soft and restrained. Where Ms. Palin was accusatory, Mr. Obama appeared to go out of his way to avoid pointing fingers or assigning blame. Where she stressed the importance of fighting for our different beliefs, he emphasized our need for unity, referring to the ‘American family — 300 million strong.'”
Politico: “At sunrise in the east on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest — or capacity — in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the west, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation.”
First Read: “While Obama tried to uplift, Palin tried to settle scores. While the president called for more civility, the former Alaska governor talked about duels and ‘blood libel.’ And while Obama’s message was, well, presidential, Palin’s was not. We’ll say this: If Palin has ambitions for the White House — and we’re still not sure she does — then her tone, message, and timing from her eight-minute video was a serious miscalculation.”
Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D) will be released from prison today, WWL-AM reports, after spending more than eight years behind bars for his convictions for fixing the awarding of casino licenses in Louisiana.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is proposing that members of both political parties sit next to each other at this year’s State of the Union address instead of the normal seating which is divided along party lines, CNN reports.
Said Udall: “As the nation watches, Democrats and Republicans should reflect the interspersed character of America itself. Perhaps, by sitting with each other for one night, we will begin to rekindle that common spark that brought us here from 50 different states and widely diverging backgrounds to serve the public good.”
A new Quinnipiac Poll finds that halfway through his term, President Obama’s job approval has rebounded to 48%, almost to the magic 50% threshold for the first time since October of 2009.
Said pollster Peter Brown: “The president’s job approval has improved, whether in reaction to GOP success in November’s elections, the deals he was able to negotiate with congressional Republicans during the lame duck session or some other reasons. Whether this is the beginning of a change in public opinion about the president or just a blip we’ll see as events unfold in the coming year.”