POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/14
“The American people have the right to think what they want to think. It’s not my job to tell them.”
— House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), quoted by the Wall Street Journal, saying that while he believes President Obama is a natural born American and Christian it was not his job to challenge people who think otherwise.
President Obama will respond to “a Republican push for a drastic reduction in government spending by proposing sharp cuts of his own in a fiscal 2012 budget blueprint that aims to trim record federal deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next decade,” the Washington Post reports.
“Obama would reach his target in part by raising taxes, an idea that Republicans refuse to consider. But two-thirds of the savings would come from spending cuts that are draconian by Democratic standards and take aim at liberal priorities, such as a popular low-income heating assistance program and community development block grants.”
The Wall Street Journal notes the proposed cuts “also don’t overhaul the major entitlement programs that are the biggest contributors to the nation’s long-term fiscal woes.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times says the administration “readily concedes, even boasts, that the president will not win any race to outcut Republicans. In the House, Republicans are trying to slash up to $100 billion in the current fiscal year alone before they begin writing their own proposed budget for 2012 and beyond.”
When the Supreme Court returns from its midwinter break next week, the New York Times notes it will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument.
“If he is true to form, Justice Thomas will spend the arguments as he always does: leaning back in his chair, staring at the ceiling, rubbing his eyes, whispering to Justice Stephen G. Breyer, consulting papers and looking a little irritated and a little bored. He will ask no questions.”
“The legislative agenda of Barack Obama is over.”
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by the Lexington Herald Leader, declaring that Republicans will only work with President Obama to do what “we think is right for America.”
A new Deseret News/KSL poll finds more than twice as many Utahns would vote for Mitt Romney over Jon Huntsman in a GOP presidential primary, 56% to 26%.
Former Sen. John Edwards testified last week in a civil lawsuit his former mistress brought against a former aide over a purported sex tape involving the politician and mistress, WRAL-TV reports. “No details have been released about Edwards’ deposition, but it could be of interest to federal investigators looking into possible criminal activity involving campaign funds during his 2008 presidential run.”
Marc Lynch: “Despite the avalanche of criticism from protestors and pundits, in fact Obama and his key aides…backed the Egyptian protest movement far more quickly than anyone should have expected. Their steadily mounting pressure on the Mubarak regime took time to succeed, causing enormous heartburn along the way, but now can claim vindication. By working carefully and closely with the Egyptian military, it helped restrain the worst violence and prevent Tiananmen on the Tahrir — which, it is easy to forget today, could very easily have happened… By the way, for those keeping score in the ‘peacefully removing Arab dictators’ game, it’s now Obama 2, Bush 0.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a staunch liberal who ran in the Democratic presidential primaries in 2004 and 2008, thinks President Obama should face a Democratic primary challenge from the left, Politico reports.
Said Kucinich: “I think it’s safe to predict that President Obama will continue to be the nominee of the Democratic primary, but he can be a stronger nominee if he receives a strong challenge in a primary.” But he added, “I’m focusing on being reelected to the House of Representatives.”
The comments are a reversal from a few months ago, when Kucinich called for party unity.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece looking at the odd couple type friendship between President Obama and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
“The pair regularly communicate — by phone, in handwritten notes and in person at the White House — and lately their conversations have included strategies for how Democrats and Republicans can work together on cutting the federal budget, according to aides to both men. They say both men see potential for a political alliance.
“The unlikely friendship between Mr. Coburn, an obstetrician from Muskogee, Okla., and Mr. Obama, a state legislator and lawyer from Chicago, was hatched in 2004, after both were elected to the Senate. Seated together at dinner during freshman orientation, their wives hit it off, and soon the senators did, too.”
A new Fox News poll shows President Obama ahead of all of the most frequently named possible Republican challengers by at least seven points.
He leads Mitt Romney, 48% to 41%, beats Mike Huckabee, 49% to 41%, tops Sarah Palin, 56% to 35%, and is ahead of Newt Gingrich, 55% to 35%.
It’s worth noting that Fox News is pairing two pollsters, Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), for their polls. They’re also now calling people with cell phones.