POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/31

Americans Advised to Leave Egypt

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo says it is arranging to begin flying Americans out of Egypt on Monday, the AP reports.

“The announcement Sunday evening comes hours after the embassy advised Americans in Egypt to consider leaving as soon as possible. The statement said the State Department is making arrangements to provide those who want to leave with flights to ‘safehaven locations in Europe.'”

Boehner Tired of Being Asked About Smoking

In a Fox News Sunday interview, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) got annoyed when host Chris Wallace asked, “Why don’t you stop smoking?”

Said Boehner: “Oh, why do you bring this up again? Smoking. Listen, it’s bad habit, but I have it. It’s a legal product. I choose to smoke. Leave me alone.”

Quote of the Day

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out who the top 100 activists are in New Hampshire — the people they should be calling if they’re really serious about running for president. And those calls, to the best of my knowledge, aren’t being made.”

— Former New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne (R), quoted by Roll Call, on the lack of campaign activity in the first primary state.

White House Preparing for Post-Mubarak Era

The Los Angeles Times reports of signs that the White House has preparations underway for a possible future without Hosni Mubarak as Egypt’s president.

“A tight-lipped White House is taking an even-handed approach to the crisis in Egypt, suggesting that President Mubarak might be able to hold onto power if he allows competitive elections and restores individual freedoms. But inside the Obama administration, there are signs that officials are preparing for a post-Mubarak era after three decades.”

“One former senior administration advisor said he had spoken to his old colleagues inside the Obama administration in recent days about the unrest in Egypt. As early as last Wednesday, the Obama administration recognized that they would not be able to prop up the Mubarak regime and keep it in power at all costs, the former official said.”

Challengers Close to Stabenow

Wilson Research Strategies (R) poll shows two Republicans within striking distance of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Stabenow leads Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), 46% to 41%, and tops Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), 47% to 41%.

Bachmann Mocked on SNL

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) Tea Party response to President Obama’s State of the Union address was lampooned by Saturday Night Live last night.

See more…

Al Jazeera Ordered Out of Egypt

Al Jazeera “was ordered by Egypt’s information ministry on Sunday to shut down its operations in the country, and later in the day its signal to some parts of the Middle East was cut,” Reuters reports.

The news network is pledging to remain on air. Here’s is the live feed.

Club for Growth Will Target Hatch

While Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) caught a break when the Tea Party Express announced that it would not launch a primary bid against him in 2012, he may not be out of the woods yet.

Chris Chocola, the president of the conservative Club for Growth, told Roll Call his group plans to challenge the six-term incumbent over his votes for TARP, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, among other things.

Axelrod Departs

Maureen Dowd: “The unsentimental Barack Obama and the sentimental David Axelrod said goodbye Friday night over an intimate dinner in the White House residence. (Along with their wives.)”

He sat down for an “exit interview” with ABC News.

See more…

Huckabee Leads in Iowa, Romney Up in New Hampshire

GOP political consulting firm Strategic National commissioned two polls of the Republican presidential race in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Iowa: Mike Huckabee at 28%, Mitt Romney at 19%, Sarah Palin at 12%, Newt Gingrich at 12%, Tim Pawlenty at 4% and Michele Bachmann at 4%.

New Hampshire: Mitt Romney at 34%, Mike Huckabee at 14%, Sarah Palin at 13%, Newt Gingrich at 9% and Tim Pawlenty at 5%.

Kucinich Settles Lawsuit Over Olive Pit

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) “has settled his lawsuit against the operators of a House of Representatives cafeteria that sold him a sandwich that caused dental damage when he bit into an olive pit,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Kucinich says details of the settlement are confidential, but the matter was resolved “for an amount all parties believe reflects the actual out-of-pocket expenses related to this incident.”

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