POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/9
In a surprise, House Republicans “were unable to secure enough votes late Tuesday to pass a bill to reauthorize three expiring government anti-terrorism powers,”National Journal reports.
“By a 277-148 margin, the bill fell just shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the House under suspension of the rules, representing somewhat of an embarrassment for House Republicans on a matter of national security.”
Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason (R) said that Alabama lawmakers “are behind in enacting tough immigration laws — but that more Republican control throughout the state will allow immigration legislation to take precedent,” the Cullman Times reports.
He ended his speech advising Republicans to “empty the clip, and do what has to be done.”
After being flooded with angry phone calls over his remarks, Beason told theBirmingham News that his comment “was completely taken out of context” and in “no way was I urging anyone to do harm to Hispanics or illegal immigrants. I would never do that.”
Despite garnering far more support in an online poll than the thicket of other suggestions, Fort Wayne’s new government center is unlikely to be named after the city’s longest tenured mayor, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports.
Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy said naming the building the “Harry Baals Government Center” was probably not going to happen because, “We’re not going to make any decisions that look bad.”
Tennessee state Rep. Julia Hurley (R) told Hooters Magazine that her experience as a waitress at Hooters “helped prepare her for a run for public office — even when opponents tried to make a campaign issue last summer about her past employment and photos from her modeling career.”
Said Hurley: “I have taken quite a bit of flack from the public at large during my run for State House in Tennessee for being a Hooters Girl. But I know that without that time in my life I would not be as strong-willed and eager to become successful.”
Bristol Palin told E! News she will “probably” run for office one day, “but that would be further down the road.”
Although Californians recalled Gov. Gray Davis (D) and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in 2003, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds 42% think it was a mistake while just 32% think it was the right thing to do.
“I’ve got to say ‘Get real’. I hear Tea Party or other people talking about they were against START. I said ‘Well, now, hang on here.’ If you want to get into START, let’s talk about it, but realistically as Americans, not as some Republican renegade. I’m trying to take warheads of Russia out of circulation so they won’t hit Indiana.”
— Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), in an interview with WANE-TV, taking on the Tea Party.
First lady Michelle Obama says President Obama has quit smoking and hasn’t had a cigarette in nearly a year, the AP reports.
A year ago, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) gave a clue for people wondering if he was going to run for president: “If you see me losing 40 pounds that means I’m either running or have cancer.”
So Jill Lawrence followed up and asked a Barbour adviser how he looks these days: “He has lost some weight. He hasn’t lost 40 pounds. He might be halfway there. So read into that what you will.”
A new Gallup poll shows that many Americans are more optimistic about the economy than they have been in years. In January, 41% of Americans said the economy is getting better, the highest level since Gallup began asking the question in 2008.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) warned potential Republican presidential candidates not to skip the Iowa caucuses, CNN reports.
Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economics professor “who crafted President Obama’s national health care overhaul now plans to explain the complex and controversial plan to the masses — in one long comic book,” the Boston Herald reports.
The AP notes that as a share of the nation’s economy, federal taxation “will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way. And for the third straight year, American families and businesses will pay less in federal taxes than they did under former President George W. Bush, thanks to a weak economy and a growing number of tax breaks for the wealthy and poor alike.”
The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Mike Huckabee leading Republican presidential hopefuls nationally with 21%, followed by Sarah Palin at 19%, Mitt Romney at 18%, Newt Gingrich at 10% and Ron Paul at 7%.
Michael Kinsley: “This column is mostly self-plagiarism. Ten years ago, on the occasion of Ronald Reagan’s 90th birthday, I tried to make a sober and compact case against the notion that he was a great, or even a very successful, president. Apparently I was not effective.”
With unprecedented access, Marc Ambinder tells the behind-the-scenes story of how the Secret Service “pulls off the most complicated security event of the year” when President Obama and two-thirds of the world’s leaders gathered in New York City last year.
“It took me more than 18 months to persuade the service to let me be the first reporter to see the process from the inside in a real-world, real-time situation. I was allowed access to command posts, operation centers, and other secure areas. I agreed only to withhold some details about protective methodology that would imperil the service’s ability to do its job. In exchange, I was able to witness how a smallish, secretive federal agency under some bureaucratic duress assures security at the General Assembly, an event for which two-thirds of the world’s leaders, many of whom have been subject to past assassination attempts, gather in one of the most crowded, open cities in the world.”
Swampland: “Ensign enters the campaign the most imperiled incumbent in the Senate — an irony given that Senate Majority Leader and fellow Nevadan Harry Reid enjoyed that uncomfortable hot seat the last time around… Republicans in the state seem to be waiting for Ensign to realize he’s unlikely to get reelected. His fundraising has dried up — he has a paltry $478,339 in the bank. That’s compared to Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, another vulnerable GOP incumbent, who’s got $7.1 million on hand. And waiting in the wings is GOP Rep. Dean Heller, a former long time Nevada secretary of state. Last cycle, Reid lived in fear that Heller might enter the race against him (and breathed a sigh of relief when his opponent ended up being Tea Party darling Sharron Angle). That fear has now been transferred to his Republican junior senator.”
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) isn’t the only possible Republican presidential hopeful with a prized videotape of a Ronald Reagan endorsement.
Josh Green notes Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) also has “a vintage early ’80s videotaped commercial that featured a glowing endorsement from Reagan.”
“A handful of moderate Senate Democrats are looking for ways to roll back the highly contentious individual mandate — the pillar of President Obama’s health care law — a sign that red-state senators are prepared to assert their independence ahead of the 2012 elections,” Politico reports.
John King notes his network has a problem covering the emerging presidential race.
“When it comes to covering the early maneuverings of the 2012 presidential race, we at CNN have what I’ll call the FOX problem, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich all possible candidates, all contractual contributors to FOX News, so they’re not supposed to sit down for interviews with CNN. So when I was out at the Reagan’s Centennial yesterday in Simi Valley, California and I saw the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, I jumped at the opportunity to sneak in a few questions about whether he’s going to run.”
Politico notes that while the Republican party has so far mustered a lackluster set of likely candidates for the presidential race, their list of potential vice presidential nominees is generating plenty of buzz.
“On the vice presidential level, Republicans are already gushing over the sheer diversity of the candidates — unprecedented in terms of race, gender, geography and political experience — who could fill out the 2012 ticket.”
By the numbers: “Between 2006 and 2008, Republicans elected only three new senators and five new governors… In 2010 alone, voters put 14 new GOP senators and 15 new Republican governors into office, giving the party a class of new leaders who could fill out a ticket in 2012 – or lead one in 2016.”
As we noted yesterday, the excitement for the next tier of Republicans is perhaps thebest reason Jeb Bush should run for president in 2012.
Given the choice between a candidate who agrees with them on the issues or a candidate who can defeat President Obama in 2012, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds Republicans overwhelming want a winner.
Key findings: 68% of Republicans say they would prefer a GOP presidential nominee who can top Obama in the next election, with 29% saying a nominee who agrees with them on every issue that matters the most is more important.
A Montana GOP lawmaker introduced a bill to deny state citizenship to U.S.-born babies of illegal immigrants, the Billings Gazette reports.
“If the bill became law, Montana would issue two separate kinds of birth certificates, one for babies of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, another for babies of undocumented immigrants. Only babies born to U.S. citizens or legal occupants would get certificates recognizing them as naturally born.”