Pawlenty’s Book Off to Slow Start

Nielsen BookScan shows a total of just 4,765 sales of Tim Pawlenty’s Courage to Stand in the first week of his national book tour, the Minneapolis Star-Tribunereports.

Kennedy Intrigue

The late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s son, Ted Jr., is among the names being floated as potential candidates for Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s (I-CT) seat in 2012, the Boston Herald reports.

Coincidence? Dave Weigel spotted Kennedy having coffee with Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) earlier today.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“What can I say? The American people are extremely smart. I’ve always said it. That proves it. What else can I say?”

— Mike Huckabee, in an interview on Fox News, responding to the latest polls showing him leading the pack of Republican presidential contenders.

Five Interviewed for White House Press Secretary

Politico reports five finalists have emerged to replace White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. They include deputy press secretaries Bill Burton and Josh Earnest, deputy communications director Jennifer Psaki, Vice President Biden spokesman Jay Carney and Karen Finney, a former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman who is a frequent Democratic surrogate on the cable shows.

Interesting, relative to news of the shakeup of the president’s political operation: “…officials are looking for a third type of press secretary, a fresh-faced newcomer who will focus less on politics — leaving that to the political operatives in Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters — and more on the mechanics of government, putting a competent professional face on an administration trying to transcend the partisan fray.”


Rove Says Romney Needs an Answer on Health Care

In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Karl Rove addresses what many consider is Mitt Romney’s biggest problem in the Republican presidential primaries.

Said Rove: “My view is this year is a year in which every candidate gets a chance to recognize their challenges, to recognize their strengths, and to overcome their challenges, and to bolster their strengths. And if Mitt Romney recognizes that his answer on why on what they did in Massachusetts looks so much like what Obama tried to do to the country, if he recognizes that is a problem, then he’ll work his way out of the problem. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”

Dingell to Seek Re-Election

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) plans to run for a 30th term, the Detroit News reports.

Said Dingell: “It’s the greatest job in the world. I can help people and… make things better, and I represent some of the finest people on earth.”

More Clues on Who Wrote the Novel

The AP reviews the anonymously written O: A Presidential Novel and says it’s “an enjoyable read for political junkies who can’t wait for the next campaign to start.”

“The mysterious author is clearly familiar with the inner workings of a presidential effort and is fluent in campaign vernacular, particularly when it comes to playing rope-a-dope with the press. But the attention to such detail slows the book’s pace at times, and may limit its appeal to the very Beltway denizens O and his team purport to disdain.”

However, Michael Scherer notes there are some details in the narrative that don’t make sense to “anyone who knows much about the White House.”

Ben Smith reports former McCain aides Mark Salter and Mark McKinnon issued non-denial denials about being the author.

Huckabee Book Tour Focuses on Early States

To promote his new book, A Simple Government, Mike Huckabee will visit six cities in Iowa and five in South Carolina during his upcoming promotion tour, CNN reports, “one more sign that the former Arkansas governor wants to keep his name in the presidential mix for 2012 even as he enjoys the comforts of a lucrative talk show career.”

Lieberman Says It’s “Too Early” to Endorse Obama

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told Newsmax it was “conceivable” he might endorse a Republican again for president in 2012.

Said Lieberman: “It’s too early to say. The reason I say it’s too early to make a decision is because it’s only halfway through the Obama administration, and we don’t know who the Republicans will put up. So I’ll watch it with real interest.”

How McConnell Could Force a Repeal Vote

First Read notes that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may be able to force a vote that would be tantamount to a repeal vote on health care.

“The chances of McConnell getting a straight up-or-down vote to repeal the law are slim. But Republicans will likely force procedural votes that serve as a proxy of sorts to get their Democratic colleagues on the record. Because any vote that would ultimately lead to repeal would require 60 or even 67 votes, no GOP-led efforts would actually pass the Senate. But Republicans say they’ll happily take the consolation prize that comes with an official roll call vote: the ability to force Senate Democrats who are up for re-election to vote again in support of a health care measure that remains unpopular in their home states.”

Two ways: “First, McConnell could withhold any deals or agreements to proceed to any legislation without a guarantee of a repeal vote, effectively throwing sand in the Senate’s procedural gears until the law is addressed. Another way to force a vote is for McConnell or any Republican senator to offer a ‘motion to suspend the rules,’ essentially asking for a change in Senate rules to require a vote on a repeal amendment. If all members are present, it would take 67 votes to succeed.”

Obama Looks Stronger for 2012

With most recent polls showing a surge in President Obama’s approval, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds the president in his best position against the major Republican contenders since 2009.

Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee each trail the president by five points. The next tier is even further behind: Newt Gingrich trails by 12 points and Sarah Palin is behind by 17 points.

Meanwhile, Larry Sabato has a nice analysis of 19 possible GOP challengers to Obama.

Obama Gears Up for Re-Election

President Obama, as expected, has chosen Chicago as the headquarters for his 2012 re-election campaign, the Chicago Tribune reports. The campaign headquarters is scheduled to open in March or April.

The Chicago Sun Times reports White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina will move to Chicago to manage the campaign. White House Social Secretary Julianna Smoot will be leaving the East Wing to join the campaign “in a larger capacity.”

Politico reports Jennifer O’Malley Dillon will leave DNC to be deputy campaign manager. White House political director Patrick Gaspard will replace her at the DNC.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“The question is — and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer — is that, is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well if that person, human life is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, ‘No, we’re going to decide who are people and who are not people.'”

–Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), quoted by Washington Monthly.

Quote of the Day

“We haven’t crossed the border yet.”

— Sen. John Thune (R-SD), quoted by the Sioux City Journal, on whether he’ll take an presidential exploratory trip to neighboring Iowa.

Why is the Presidential Race Starting So Slowly?

Mark Halperin: “No one is in a hurry to jump in because there isn’t a strong-armed front runner threatening to squash the rest of the pack the way George W. Bush did in 2000. None of the hopefuls want the scrutiny or expense that goes with becoming an official candidate. And no one but the most fervent activists and hyperpolitical reporters is itching to get another election under way.”

High Stakes Bet on Football Game

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) “have placed their bets on Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, and the loser will have to volunteer at a food pantry in the winner’s state,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

“To add insult to injury, the loser will have to wear a t-shirt featuring the winning team, as well as fly the team’s flag in the governor’s office on the day before the Super Bowl.”

Sarkozy Makes Gaffe in Alsace

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was jeered after an embarrassing gaffe in which he suggested the historically disputed Alsace region of France was still in Germany, the Daily Telegraph reports.

“Alsace, historically one of the most strategically crucial regions in France, was contested constantly between France and Germany during the 19th and 20th Century. It became part of Germany following the Franco-Prussian war in 1871 before being handed back to France at the end of the First World War as part of the Treaty of Versailles. This caused great bitterness among the Germans, resulting in the Nazis annexing the region in 1940.”

Sarkozy, who has a Hungarian and Greek background, “is regularly accused of not being French enough.”

Steele Says Establishment is Glad He’s Gone

Recently ousted RNC Chairman Michael Steele tells CNN he’s “disappointed” he lost the recent election but that many in his party are relieved.

Said Steele “I think the people in the party, particularly the establishment, are breathing a sigh of relief. They have control of the RNC now; let’s see what they do with it.”

The Jet Blue Candidacy

Time: “Aides say Romney long ago decided that his next campaign would start later, run smaller and run smarter, particularly when it comes to managing expectations… Romney will likely benefit from a new primary calendar that limits the number of states that can hold winner-take-all contests before April 2012. That technical change will allow a candidate like Romney potentially to survive losses to populists like Sarah Palin in Iowa or Mike Huckabee in South Carolina.”

Said spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom: “Last time, Mitt’s campaign was like IBM. This time, if he runs, he wants to be like JetBlue. Which is to say, more nimble and more efficient and ready to respond.”

Pelosi Taps Marketing Guru

According to Jonathan Allen, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is bringing marketing expert Roy Spence to the House Democratic retreat this weekend. He’s the author of It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For.

A Short Republican Honeymoon

First Read notes the Republican party’s favorable ratings in the latest WSJ/NBC pollhave gone from a net positive in December (38%-37%) to a net negative now (34%-40%).

Furthermore, only 25% say the Republicans in Congress will bring the right kind of change.

Said GOP pollster Bill McInturff: “I think this has been a pretty short Republican honeymoon.”

Obama Increasingly Viewed as a Moderate

The most interesting finding in the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll: 40% think President Obama is a moderate, as compared with 45% who see him as a liberal and 11% who view him as a conservative. That moderate number is the highest for Obama ever in the poll.

Boehner’s Tears

In case you were wondering, a new Quinnipiac poll finds 36% of Ohio voters see House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) readiness to cry as a strength, while 27% think it’s a weakness. Another 37% had no answer.

From That Day Forth

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy was inaugurated the 35th president and gave one of the most memorable speeches in our history.

Vanity Fair: “Washington had never seen anything like it: the tidal wave of glamour, promise, and high spirits that descended on the capital for the 1961 inauguration of the youngest president ever elected, John F. Kennedy — a movable, star-studded bash that couldn’t be stopped even by a massive snowstorm. From Frank Sinatra’s gala and Jacqueline Kennedy’s eclectic V.I.P. list to J.F.K.’s late-night revels, the author collects the memories of those who, 50 years on, are still reliving that glorious dawn.”

Robert Dallek: “The great mystery is why Kennedy, who served for only a thousand days and failed to persuade the Congress to pass any of his major domestic initiatives on taxes, civil rights, health insurance for seniors, and aid to education, enjoys such extraordinary public regard.”

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Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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