POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/4

White House Discussing Plan for Mubarak’s Exit

The Obama administration “is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately, turning over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military,” the New York Times reports.

“The proposal also calls for the transitional government to invite members from a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to begin work to open up the country’s electoral system in an effort to bring about free and fair elections in September.”

Politico notes White House officials pushed back against the story saying there are multiple plans being discussed.

The Lone Dissenter

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) cast the only nay vote in a measure that would make it illegal to aim a laser pointer at an airplane, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Huntsman to Speak at Jobs Forum

U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman “is set to make his first public appearance since announcing plans to resign from the Obama administration last week amid chatter that he might seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012,” CNNreports.

Huntsman will appear at a forum about jobs and the economy in Washington, D.C. next week alongside Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling.

Republicans Make First Move in Budget Battle

House Republicans will seek $32 billion in spending cuts this year, Reuters reports.

“The legislation is a warm-up to a much bigger fight over spending priorities — and possibly tax policy — that will intensify on Feb. 14 when President Barack Obama submits his fiscal 2012 budget proposal to Congress.”

The Wall Street Journal notes the cut is less than the $100 billion Republicans had promised to slash during the midterm elections, but Republicans counter that the savings are actually $74 billion when compared to President Obama’s budget requests for fiscal 2011. Congress never actually passed a budget for the year.

 

Palin Protects the Brand

The Palin brand has become so valuable that Sarah Palin and her daughter are trademarking their names.

Politics Daily has learned that the Palin family lawyer has filed applications to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark “Sarah Palin®” and “Bristol Palin®.”

Mubarak Says Obama Doesn’t Understand

Chrstiane Amanpour interviewed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak:

“While he described President Obama as a very good man, he wavered when I asked him if he felt the U.S. had betrayed him. When I asked him how he responded to the United States’ veiled calls for him to step aside sooner rather than later, he said he told President Obama ‘you don’t understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now.'”

Anonymous Novel Flops

The Washington Post notes that the anonymously written O: A Presidential Novelmade “its feeble debut at number 23 on our hardcover fiction list for Washington area sales” and “was a dud on other bestseller lists, too. It failed to make The New York Times‘s top 35 hardcover fiction list. And USA Today reports O didn’t even chart on its list of the nation’s top 400 best selling books.”

Ben Smith: “In retrospect, I wonder if it would have sold better without the misleading stunt marketing, and with Mark Salter’s name on the cover.”

Palin Skips CPAC Again

After skipping the popular Conservative Political Action Conference for the past three years, Sarah Palin has once again turned down the invitation of CPAC officials to address the conference this year, ABC News reports.

Organizers invited her to deliver the closing-night keynote speech immediately following the announcement of the results of CPAC’s annual presidential straw poll.

Dave Weigel: “It’s rare for CPAC to lack a keynote speaker this close to the day, and in the past two years the keynote speech has been a media-grabbing sensation. In 2009, Rush Limbaugh gave his hour-plus “address to the nation,” and in 2010, Glenn Beck kicked off a year of political activity with his keynote.”

McCain Likely to Stay Neutral in GOP Primary

If you’re expecting Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to make an endorsement on the GOP presidential primary, don’t hold your breath. Asked by Politico if he would be making an endorsement, McCain replied that he thinks he will stay out of the game “for the first time in many years.”

One Term or Two?

Rhodes Cook: “When it comes to presidents and reelection, two things seem clear. If they appear to be in control of events, they win. If events seem to be controlling them, they lose.”

Comeback for Herseth Sandlin?

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), who lost to Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) last year, would edge her in a potential rematch, 46% to 45%.

Key finding: Herseth Sandlin’s approval/disapproval rating is 55/36, putting her in the 90th percentile of popularity for all the politicians the firm has tested.

“Stephanie Herseth Sandlin may be the poster child for how thoroughly nationalized last year’s House races got, with how voters felt about the candidates themselves taking a back seat to how they generally felt about the direction of the country.”

Could a Book Keep Thune Out of Race?

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told Politico a personal consideration might keep him from running for president in 2012. His wife, Kimberley, read Game Change, the bestselling 2008 campaign book “that revealed an array of candidate-spouse spats and depicted a brutal life on the campaign trail.”

Said Thune: “It was not helpful.”

No Common Ground on Health Care

First Read: “Perhaps what was most surprising about yesterday’s health-repeal vote in the Senate wasn’t that all Democrats opposed the move (even West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin voted against it, saying that it didn’t make sense to throw out the good parts of the bill). Rather, the surprising part was that all GOP senators — even Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — voted for repeal. You’d normally expect that if Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, and Manchin vote for something, then Snowe, Collins, and Scott Brown probably would support it as well. This all shows that there is no common ground on this law, which is ironic given that much of it is based on past GOP ideas and measures.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“These past two years… have deepened my faith. The presidency has a funny way of making people feel the need to pray.”

— President Obama, at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning.

Golisano Pushes National Popular Vote

Tom Golisano — the millionaire who ran for New York governor three times on the Independent Party line before orchestrating the 2009 Republican coup that threw the New York state senate into chaos — is bankrolling an effort to push for a national popular vote, the New York Daily News reports.

“We hear the reclusive billionaire, who sold the Buffalo Sabres hockey team for a reported $189 million Monday, is quietly bankrolling efforts to build support for the National Popular Vote Bill… When we called Golisano, he referred us to the website nationalpopularvote.com, but declined to discuss his role in the effort.”

Will Republicans Play the Favorite Son Game?

There is some speculation Republican governors might endorse a favorite sonstrategy in the Republican presidential primary in an effort to enhance their leverage in choosing their party’s ultimate nominee.

David Broder: “The strategy has not been used for years in presidential races, but it is particularly inviting now. There is reason to believe that Barbour, a long-shot possibility for the nomination, will exploit the respect he has gained among his peers as chairman of the governors’ association to put forward the idea.”

“Ultimately I cannot tell who of the current aspirants, or such future possibilities as Gen. David Petraeus, might benefit from a successful favorite-son movement. But it would preserve the Republican governors’ leverage for the time that they might be united behind a single candidate. And meantime, it would fundamentally alter the dynamics of this intriguing, wide-open race.”

Frank Will Not Run for Senate

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) won’t be challenging Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in 2012 and will instead run for re-election, The Hill reports.

“The congressman had been eyed by party leaders as a possible candidate to challenge Brown in 2012 in one of the top-tier Senate races. Frank had considered, but passed on, running in the special election last year, in which Brown emerged victorious.”

Scott Declares War on the Press

Many politicians have had a testy relationship with the press, but as Politico notes, few have taken it to the level of newly-elected Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

Scott and his advisers “made an early priority of restoring some sense of order to a statehouse in which, in their view, the media had run wild. They resolved to limit the press’s access and to instill a new sense of ‘professionalism’ on their flip-flop-wearing, question-shouting, governor-mobbing press corps. The resulting hullabaloo — voiced on Twitter and email chains and mocking newspaper columns and in stalled negotiations between the two sides, has evolved into an undeclared, and often highly entertaining, civil war.”

A Tale of Two Mormons

Politico has an interesting piece on the tension between Mitt Romney and Jon Hunstman, who are “both Mormons, both wealthy scions of old Utah families, both ex-governors with chiseled features and terrific hair,” not to mention likely Republican presidential candidates.

The root of it all: “In Utah, the state that follows the pair more closely than any other, the distinctions between the two are obvious… The 63-year-old former Massachusetts governor earned his college degree from BYU, the church-aligned Provo college that attracts elite and devout LDS members from around the globe. Huntsman, 50, enrolled at Utah, the dominant state school, which is influenced but not defined by the church.”

Romney Denies He’ll Skip Iowa

In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Mitt Romney took issue with rumors that he might skip the Iowa caucuses.

Said Romney: “Well, if I decide to run, I’ll be planning on running nationwide. And certainly, the early states will be places where we concentrate most of our attention. So it’s nice for people who are from the outside of a campaign to offer their suggestions. But frankly, if I get in this, I’m not going to be doing so much of a political calculus as I am a calculus of what message needs to be heard by the American people, and how can I deliver it best. And that would surely take me to Iowa as well as the other early states, and probably, ultimately, quite a few of our states.”

Quote of the Day

“We eat organic, we just have to shoot it first.”

— Sarah Palin, quoted by the Huffington Post.

McCain Reacts to Rumsfeld Memoir

In an ABC News interview, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had a simple reaction to leaked excerpts of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s new memoir, Known and Unknown, that were critical of him.

Said McCain: “Thank God he was relieved of his duties.”

What Would the Tea Party Think of Reagan Tax Policy?

Walter Shapiro notes that even though Ronald Reagan “persuaded a Democratic Congress to approve his massive 1981 rate reductions, the Gipper reversed field in 1982 to staunch the deficit and agreed to a tax increase (equal to about one-third of the original cuts). That single act of tax realism would have prompted today’s tea party movement to denounce Reagan as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and to threaten to find a real conservative to challenge him in the GOP primaries.”

“That was nothing compared to the tax-code apostasy of Reagan’s second term. He championed, and in 1986 signed into law, a sweeping bipartisan tax reform bill that (warning: be sure you are sitting down before reading further) raised capital gains taxes. In one of the great progressive reforms of the last half century, Reagan eliminated tax loopholes and special preferences like capital gains in exchange for lowering individual tax brackets. At the core of Reagan’s tax reform triumph was the liberal principle that unearned income (stock market swag) should be treated the same ways as an autoworker’s wages.”

Republicans Target Manchin in First Ad of Cycle

The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s released their first web ad of the 2012 cycle — an amusing attack on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) that links him to President Obama, a duo that they have coined “Joe & O.”

See more…

Is Santorum the New Nixon?

George Will argues that former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) could be an unexpected force in the 2012 presidential race, should he decide to run, due to his strong appeal to the socially conservative party base, who are “feeling neglected.”

“How can he, having lost his last election, run for president? Isn’t he a spent political force? Well, was Richard Nixon defunct after losing the California gubernatorial race in 1962? ”

 

 

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