POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/25

Casey Leads Possible Challengers

A new Municipoll survey in Pennsylvania finds Sen. Bob Casey (D) leading three potential challengers by double-digits.

Casey leads Rick Santorum (R), 50% to 38%, tops Charlie Dent (R), 51% to 32%, and beats Jim Gerlach (R), 48% to 34%.

Said pollster Ed Haggerty: “Maybe Bob Casey isn’t unbeatable but he’s looking pretty darn good for a Democrat in a swing state that Senate Republicans are supposedly talking about targeting next year.”

Tester Faces Tight Race for Re-Election

A new Flint Report/47 North Political Poll in Montana finds Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) with a small lead over Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) in a possible U.S. Senate race, 47% to 44%.

Death Penalty for Miscarriages?

Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R) — who previously sought to eliminate drivers licenses — “has introduced a 10-page bill that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal,” Mother Jones reports.

“Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any ‘prenatal murder’ in the words of the bill, including ‘human involvement’ in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death.”

 

Trump Not Surprised by Poll

Donald Trump told CNN he wasn’t at all surprised by a new poll which showed him a in a virtual dead heat with President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 presidential race.

Said Trump: “The poll came out, and we’re in a virtual tie and I haven’t campaigned…I’m not really, despite that, that surprised, because it’s a message of common sense. We can have a great country again, the problem is we don’t have the right leadership. We don’t have the right leaders. We don’t have people that have any semblance of negotiation.”

Many Think Health Care Law Was Repealed

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that nearly half of Americans either believe that President Obama’s signature health care law has been repealed (22%) or they aren’t sure (26%). Only 52% accurately say that it is still the law.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“The President is replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama. The President swore an oath on the Bible to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed, not to decide which laws are and which are not constitutional.”

— Newt Gingrich, on yesterday’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

Investigation Clears Climate Scientists

An investigation into the “Climategate” scandal found that climate scientists working with the government did not manipulate climate change data. The investigation was conducted at the request of climate change skeptic Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

The Hill: “It’s the latest investigation to clear scientists of manipulating climate data after thousands of e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit were leaked in 2009. ‘Climategate’ has become something of a rallying call for climate skeptics, who have pointed to the e-mails to suggest there is a conspiracy among the world’s scientists.”

Huckabee Says Too Much Attention Paid to Obama Pastor

Mike Huckabee told Christianity Today that he thought the attention paid to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright during the 2008 presidential campaign was misplaced.

Said Huckabee: “If people went back and heard every sermon I heard when I was a little kid and some of the more fundamentalist pastors were yelling from the pulpit at me, if they took every one of those sermons and lifted out of them certain phrases and things, it could be scandalous, but only out of the context of the bigger picture.”

When Lincoln Fled

Legislators fleeing to prevent a quorum is nothing new. In fact, KPMH-TV reports Abraham Lincoln did it in “one of the most bizarre episodes” of his political career by trying to keep the Illinois House of Representatives in session so the Illinois State Bank might survive.

On December 5, 1840, Democrats “proposed an early adjournment, knowing this would bring a speedy end to the State Bank. The Whigs tried to counter by leaving the capitol building before the vote, but the doors were locked. That’s when Lincoln made his move. He headed for the second story, opened a window and jumped to the ground!”

“For a while Lincoln’s escape denied the House its quorum, but it didn’t last long. He was returned to the chambers and the House voted to adjourn.”

Ailes Reportedly Told Employee to Lie

When Judith Regan was fired in 2006, she claimed a senior executive at News Corporation “had encouraged her to lie to federal investigators,” the New York Timesreports.

The investigators had been vetting former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik, who had been nominated to become Homeland Security secretary and who had had an affair with Regan. The executive wanted to keep the affair quiet to protect the presidential aspirations of Rudy Giuliani, Kerik’s prime supporter.

According to affidavits — and a tape Regan made of the conversation — the previously unnamed executive was Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes.

How Chris Christie Became a GOP Star

New York Times Magazine: “Some critics have posited that Christie’s success in office represents merely the triumph of self-certainty over complexity, the yearning among voters for leaders who talk bluntly and with conviction. Yet it’s hard to see Christie getting so much traction if he were out there castigating, say, immigrants or Wall Street bankers. What makes Christie compelling to so many people isn’t simply plain talk or swagger, but also the fact that he has found the ideal adversary for this moment of economic vertigo. Ronald Reagan had his ‘welfare queens,’ Rudy Giuliani had his criminals and ‘squeegee men,’ and now Chris Christie has his sprawling and powerful public-sector unions — teachers, cops and firefighters who Christie says are driving up local taxes beyond what the citizenry can afford, while also demanding the kind of lifetime security that most private-sector workers have already lost.”

“It may just be that Christie has stumbled onto the public-policy issue of our time, which is how to bring the exploding costs of the public workforce in line with reality… Then again, he may simply be the latest in a long line of politicians to give an uneasy public the scapegoat it demands. Depending on your vantage point, Chris Christie is a truth-teller or a demagogue, or maybe even a little of both.”

Neither Party Has Edge on Budget Dealings

A new Gallup poll finds Americans “are closely divided over whether the Republicans in Congress (42%) or President Obama and the Democrats (39%) are doing the better job in the current efforts to agree on a new federal budget.”

Palin Plans Trip to India

Politico reports that Sarah Palin will be traveling to India next month to speak at the India Today Conclave as the “only American politician attending the conference, which is stacked with Indian and Pakistani officials, business leaders, public figures and entertainers.”

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Union Leader takes a swipe at Palin, noting that while “presidential candidates like to travel abroad to boost their foreign policy credentials… I find it hard to believe that, presumably less than a year from the primary, someone who makes a trip to India a higher priority than a trip to New Hampshire is a serious presidential candidate.”

 

Redistricting in America

The Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College has released a must-see site for understanding the redistricting fights around the country. Redistricting in America includes an interactive map with information on reapportionment, explanations of the different processes for redistricting in each state, the newest census data on districts and the latest redistricting news.

Quote of the Day

“I don’t know. She seems to be enjoying being Sarah Palin. Being Sarah Palin seems like a pretty good gig.”

— David Axelrod, when asked on CNN if he though Sarah Palin would run for president.

Daniels’ Drug Arrest

The Daily Princetonian profiles Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) who once thought an incident in his junior year of college would end his political ambitions.

“Perhaps the most pivotal day of Daniels’ four years at Princeton was May 14, 1970 — the day of the drug arrest that Daniels thought would sully his political future. Officers found enough marijuana in his room to fill two size 12 shoe boxes, reports of the incident say. He and the other inhabitants of the room were also charged with possession of LSD and prescription drugs without a prescription. Daniels and his two roommates in 111 Cuyler Hall, Marc Stuart ’71 and Richard Stockton ’71, were arrested and, after plea bargaining, Daniels eventually escaped with a $350 fine for ‘maintaining a common nuisance.'”

Does This Sound Like Someone Running?

At yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor breakfast Roll Call reports Mike Huckabee sounded pretty happy as a non-presidential candidate.

Said Huckabee: “If I run, I walk away from a pretty good income. I don’t want to walk away any sooner than I have to because frankly, I don’t have a lot of reserve built up. Most of my life was in public service. Therefore I didn’t come away wealthy. In order to run for president last time, I cashed in my life insurance, my annuities, I pretty much went through everything that I ever had as an asset that I thought I might someday live on. One thing I committed to myself, to my wife and God, was that if I do this I’m hopefully going to be in a position that I’m not so completely destitute at the end of it, that I have no idea what to do if I get sick…”

However, Walter Shapiro says Huckabee “conveyed the impression (at least to me) that he is poised to enter the GOP fray if the politics allow him to delay until late spring or early summer.”

Flashback Quote of the Day

“If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.”

— Barack Obama, quoted by Slate, while making a campaign speech in 2007.

GOP Insiders Say Shutdown Will Hurt Party

Despite the tough budget talk by GOP leaders, a new National Journal Political Insiders Poll finds nearly 65% of the Republican operatives surveyed believe that it isn’t in their party’s interest to see a government shutdown, while most Democrats feel such a confrontation could benefit them.

Huntsman Spotted Among Protesters

Shanghaiist has video of U.S. ambassador to China Jon Hunstman standing among would-be Chinese protesters “with a pair of shades and a leather jacket sporting the US flag.”

As NBC News notes, his appearance “wouldn’t have generated much interest (Huntsman is known here for his unorthodox style as America’s top representative in China) except for the little fact that a would-be revolution was under way exactly where the ambassador was standing.”

Huntsman claims the visit was part of a “family outing” and “purely coincidental.”

Wisconsin Republicans Move on Other Controversial Bills

While Democratic senators in Wisconsin continue their “quorum break,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Republican lawmakers have begun to increase the pressure for Democrats to return by voting on controversial non-spending bills that require a smaller quorum.

“With 14 Democrats remaining in Illinois and continuing to boycott the Senate, Republicans easily passed a bill repealing a requirement that law enforcement collect data on the race of all drivers they stop. Republican leaders also scheduled a vote for Thursday on a bill to require people to show photo ID to vote.”

U.S. Army Used Psy-Ops on Senators

The U.S. Army “illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in ‘psychological operations’ to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war,” Rolling Stone has learned — “and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.”

Among those targeted: Sens. John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin as well as Rep. Steve Israel and Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The incident offers an indication of just how desperate the U.S. command in Afghanistan is to spin American civilian leaders into supporting an increasingly unpopular war. ”

Rahm Got Heads Up About Blago Arrest

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald personally called Rahm Emanuel the morning Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) was arrested in 2008 “to let him know his name would likely come up in the complaint filed against Blagojevich,” the Chicago Sun Timesreports.

Emanuel had just been tapped to be President Obama’s chief of staff. Discussion about the phone call came up in federal court yesterday.

 

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