POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/3

Rumsfeld Lashes Out

The Drudge Report has a copy of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s forthcoming memoir, Known and Unknown, and teases these highlights:

  • Lashes out at Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Joe Biden for flip-flops on Iraq: “You wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with them.”
  • Disputes Secretary of State Colin Powell’s claim that he was “duped” by administration on Iraq WMD
  • Says John McCain had “hair-trigger temper” and “a propensity to shift his positions to appeal to the media”
  • Shares his side of a decades long feud with President George H.W. Bush
  • Recounts weird meetings with a “confused” President-elect Jimmy Carter
  • Quotes Kissinger during last days of Watergate: “Rummy, we don’t even argue with Nixon anymore”

The book is due out next week.

 

Senate Rejects Health Care Repeal Effort

Senate Democrats held together to beat back Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) attempt to repeal the health care overhaul law, Roll Call reports.

However, the party-line 47 to 51 vote made good on McConnell’s vow to force a vote on the measure.

The Hill: “Republicans have vowed to carry the fight forward, saying they will seek to de-fund the law as it is implemented. The GOP also has promised Wednesday’s repeal vote will not be the last in this Congress.”

Nelson Seeks Fast Supreme Court Ruling

CNN reports that Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who likely faces a difficult re-election battle in 2012, “wants the Senate to approve a non-binding resolution urging the U.S. Supreme Court to decide quickly if the new health care law is constitutional.”

“Various lower courts have issued competing rulings about the law – in particular, whether its requirement that people buy health insurance violates the Constitution. It is expected the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the case at some point.”

“If the court upholds the law, it could provide political cover for Nelson against critics of the law in his state as he seeks a third term next year.”

 

Brown Kept Pace in Final Weeks

Though Meg Whitman (R) vastly outspent Jerry Brown (D) in their race for California governor, the Los Angeles Times notes Brown nearly kept pace during the final sprint of the campaign, allowing him to make his case to voters before they cast ballots.

Said Brown campaign manager Steve Glazer: “By holding our fire, we were competitive in the final month and almost equal in the final four weeks.”

Bachmann Heads to South Carolina

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will travel to the early primary state of South Carolina later this week as she mulls a possible White House bid in 2012, CNNreports.

Steele on the Daily Show

Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele — and his puppet — are interviewed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

See more…

Kirk Says Gore Misdeeds Killed Climate Bill

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) told the New York Times that the “consensus behind the climate change bill collapsed and then further deteriorated with the personal and political collapse of Vice President Al Gore.”

David Weigel: “To recap, Gore and his wife announced that they were divorcing back on July 1, 2010. Three weeks later, Oregon media outlets reported on a lawsuit filed by a masseuse who claimed Gore had made advances against her. It was clear long before this that cap and trade was stuck in the Senate, and it was clear by September or so that the lawsuit had real problems. Also, what the hell does this have to do with anything?

Winning by Losing?

Steve Kornacki notes that running a credible, even if ultimately unsuccessful, national campaign, can improve a politician’s standing and pay off in the long run. He highlights Lamar Alexander in 1996, Pat Buchanan in 1992 and Mike Huckabee in 2008, among others, as Republicans who benefited by running a better-than-expected presidential campaign.

“I doubt Jon Huntsman will ever be the Republican nominee for president. And I doubt that if he does run in ’12, he’ll end up making much of an impact. But there’s also a chance that, just like Lamar, he could catch on in one of the key early states, become a brief sensation, and walk away with a genuine national profile — and a chance, if a few things break his way, to enter the next race for the GOP nod as a heavyweight. If he’s a politician with a healthy ego, a thirst for the spotlight and an enjoyment of campaigning, it’s not a bad chance to take.”

Bad Luck of the Irish

Must-read by Michael Lewis: “First Iceland. Then Greece. Now Ireland, which headed for bankruptcy with its own mysterious logic. In 2000, suddenly among the richest people in Europe, the Irish decided to buy their country — from one another. After which their banks and government really screwed them.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“The worst blanking job in America.”

— White House chief of staff Bill Daley, quoted by National Journal, on how predecessor James Baker described his new post.

Georgia Lawmaker Seeks to End Driver’s License

State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R) is seeking legislation to stop Georgia from issuing driver’s licenses. His bill, called the “Right to Travel Act,” states that “the government, by requiring the people to obtain drivers’ licenses, is restricting, and therefore violating, the people’s common law and constitutional right to travel.”

In an interview with CBS Atlanta, Franklin claimed “Agents of the state demanding your papers. We’re getting that way here.”

Charlotte’s Obama Ties

A political party’s choice of convention site can be electorally-motivated, but money may also be a factor.

The Center for Responsive Politics reports Charlotte is “bursting with political love for President Barack Obama… During the 2008 election cycle, political donors in the sprawling Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill metropolitan area who gave more than $200favored Obama with more than $2 for every $1 McCain received.”

Court Backed Gun Mandate

An interesting footnote to news that South Dakota lawmakers are trying mandate gun purchases as a clever way to highlight what they view as the unconstitutionality of mandating the purchase of health insurance under the new health care law.

The Financial Times notes that Kennesaw, Georgia actually passed a law in 1982 making it compulsory to own a gun. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged Kennesaw’s law as unconstitutional, but a federal court let it stand.

UpdateGlenn Reynolds says this whole effort is irrelevant to the health care mandate because in America, states aren’t limited to enumerated powers as Congress is.

Quote of the Day

“I don’t think they have a clue. I mean, I think it’s very frightening to watch this administration.”

— Newt Gingrich, in an interview on Fox News.

Florida, Wisconsin Won’t Implement Health Care Reform

The New York Times reports that a Florida court’s decision to rule the entire health care reform law unconstitutional has led some states party to the court case to “suspend planning and implementation until appeals courts could rule,” despite the lack of an injunction in the judge’s ruling.

Both Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen have said they will look to halt or slow implementation. Van Hollen declared that “the federal health care law is dead — unless and until it is revived by an appellate court… Effectively, Wisconsin was relieved of any obligations or duties that were created under terms of the federal health care law.”

Jonathan Cohn: “If you don’t comply with an injunction, you’re in contempt of court. By contrast, you can ‘violate’ a declaratory judgment with impunity. But in practice parties do not defy DJs. The reason is that, once a DJ had been entered, the person who got it can go back to court and get an injunction automatically, on the basis of the DJ… The idea is: I (judge) know that you (government official) will comply once I tell you what the law is; I don’t have to order you to comply. If he had entered an injunction, the US would immediately have sought a ‘stay pending appeal.’ That means the injunction can’t be enforced while the case is on appeal.”

Obama Meets McCain

President Obama has a private meeting in the Oval Office this afternoon with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

First Read: “The last time they met privately was during the lame-duck session of Congress, to discuss ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the DREAM Act — both of which McCain ended up opposing… A senior administration official tells NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that today’s Obama-McCain meeting is the result of a call the president placed to McCain after the Arizona senator’s op-ed praising Obama’s handling of the Tucson shootings. A McCain aide tells Guthrie that the two men will likely discuss Egypt, free trade, earmarks, and immigration.”

Huntsman Remains a Big Unknown

While most Republican presidential hopefuls have spoken on cable news shows, written books, visited early caucus and primary states and released statements on hot button issues over the last two years, the U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) has “avoided either praising or criticizing the Obama administration on virtually any foreign or domestic issue beyond his diplomatic purview,” according toThe Hill.

“A review of public records shows Huntsman has given only a handful of interviews to U.S. media outlets… he has taken no public position on his administration’s efforts to overhaul healthcare and climate-change regulation, nor has he weighed in substantively on the Tea Party movement that barely existed when he departed for China.”

Top 10 Things You Don’t Know About Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney read the Top Ten list on the Late Show with David Letterman last night and ends with a surprise for Oprah Winfrey.

See more…

Potential Candidates Stay Mum on Egypt

Politico notes that the unrest in Egypt has presented a difficult balancing act for the field of Republican presidential hopefuls, and “many of them aren’t ready to say anything at all.”

Some of the biggest names in the running, including Sarah Palin (R), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), and Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) have declined to answer questions on how they would handle the situation or whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should step down.

Meanwhile, there has been little consensus among those who have spoken up, from Mitt Romney’s (R) support for President Obama’s strategy to Newt Gingrich’s (R) denunciation of it.

Nelson in Trouble for Re-Election

Every Nebraska poll released so far has shown Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) in deep trouble for re-election and the latest survey from Public Policy Polling is no exception.

In hypothetical match ups, Nelson trails Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) by 11 points, 50% to 39%, and lags Treasurer Don Stenberg (R) by four points, 45% to 41%.

Romney Says He Would Have Lost Too

Mitt Romney told Piers Morgan that he doesn’t think he could have beaten Barack Obama had he won the Republican nomination in 2008.

Said Romney: “John McCain ran a very good campaign. And at the time we were running, the most important issue that the country was concerned about was Iraq. And John McCain was an undisputed expert on matters related to Iraq. And that was something which augured in his favor. And I think I also spent a lot of time talking about issues which were not central to the reason I was running. But you know what, even if I had been the nominee, instead of John McCain, I probably would have lost to Barack Obama too.”

Former Senator Turns Staffer

Freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) has hired former Sen. Rod Grams (R-MN) as his chief of staff, “at least for a few months while he settles into office,” the Daily Caller reports.

Said Grams: “Well, it’s a little different because I know all the work that the member does. And I see him running from meeting to meeting — not that staffers don’t have an awful lot of work and a lot of things that we have to have done — but it was just kind of a relief that it was him that was having to go attend these caucus meetings and these hearings and things like that.”

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