POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/1

Majority Oppose Taking Rights from Public Sector Unions

A new New York Times/CBS News poll finds a majority of Americans “say they oppose efforts to weaken the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions and are also against cutting the pay or benefits of public workers to reduce state budget deficits.”

“Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60% to 33%. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them. Those surveyed said they opposed, 56% to 37%, cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits, breaking down along similar party lines.”

Key finding: 61% of those polled — including just over half of Republicans — said they thought the salaries and benefits of most public employees were either “about right” or “too low” for the work they do, despite rhetoric that they are overpaid or have generous benefits.

Hatch Picks Romney Over Huntsman

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told the Herald Journal of Logan that he would support Mitt Romney over Jon Huntsman Jr. — both Utah darlings — in a potential Republican presidential primary match up, noting that he has “always been a Romney supporter.”

Hatch specifically cited Romney’s work as chief executive of the 2002 Winter Olympics Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Daniels Says Budget Cuts Worth Cost in Jobs

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) was asked on NPR if government budget cuts were worth it “even if they end up seriously costing a lot of jobs right now?”

Said Daniels: “The answer is yes. And in fact, I think, if we’re gonna have more jobs in this country, now and in the future, we gotta get very serious about further significant reductions in the size of government.”

 

Wisconsin Do Over?

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that if Wisconsin voters could do it over today they’d support Tom Barrett (D) over Gov. Scott Walker (R) by a seven point margin, 52% to 45%.

Key finding: “The difference between how folks would vote now and how they voted in November can almost all be attributed to shifts within union households. Voters who are not part of union households have barely shifted at all- they report having voted for Walker by 7 points last fall and they still say they would vote for Walker by a 4 point margin. But in households where there is a union member voters now say they’d go for Barrett by a 31 point margin, up quite a bit from the 14 point advantage they report having given him in November.”

Obama Welcomes Barbour to White House

President Obama told a potential 2012 rival not to get too comfortable while visiting the White House today, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Obama: “I hope today, all of you feel free to make yourselves at home. For those of you with a particular interest in the next election, I don’t mean that literally.”

When Obama gestured toward Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) the room erupted in laughter.

GOP Budget Cuts Could Derail Recovery

Just after a Goldman Sachs report predicted that proposed House Republican budget cuts would hurt economic growth, a new Moody’s report finds the same.

Key finding: “The House Republicans’ proposal would reduce 2011 real GDP growth by 0.5% and 2012 growth by 0.2 percentage points This would mean some 400,000 fewer jobs created by the end of 2011 and 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2012.”

Furthermore, the report claims “a government shutdown lasting longer than a couple of weeks would do much more damage to the economy.”

Bank Bailouts Far Cheaper Than Expected

Nearly three years after a series of government bailouts began, the Los Angeles Times reports that expected losses from the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program will be just $25 billion — far less than the $341 billion estimated in mid-2009.

“There is now broad agreement that the bailouts worked, stabilizing the financial system and preventing an even deeper crisis. Still, many people are worried about the long-term effects of the government actions. They said that in demonstrating a belief that some companies were too big to fail, the government set a dangerous precedent, opening the door to future crises.”

Graham Wants a Bigger GOP Field

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham that Republicans who are waiting until 2016 to run for president should consider running in 2012.

Said Graham: “If you really decide to do this, now’s the time. If you think you should be president, it’s not about timing, it’s about ability.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“Every state has different demographics, every state has different problems. It’s good to allow them to work out their own problems rather than a one-size-fits-all federal government dumb-ass program. It really is an awful piece of crap.”

— Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), quoted by the Utah Statesman, referring to the new health care law

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I know that many of you have asked for flexibility for your states under this law. In fact, I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he’s proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts, [that] he supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions.”

— President Obama, quoted by Politico, praising Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts.

CNN notes it was a moment that Romney’s “future GOP opponents couldn’t have scripted better themselves.”

Why There Will Not be a Government Shutdown

John Dickerson on why there won’t be another government shutdown this time around:

“The White House wants Senate Democrats to make a deal. It cannot have a government shutdown while the economic recovery is still so fragile. Though the actual impact of a short shutdown would not be dire, it would increase uncertainty in the business community, say administration aides, sending the signal that in the bigger budget fights to come, no one in Washington can be trusted to do the right thing. Such unpredictability may cause businesses to hold on to their profits and hold off on investing or hiring new workers.

“…Republicans, meanwhile, don’t want a shutdown because they can’t risk having their first big public act be that they shut down the government. Footage of Newt Gingrich will flood the airwaves… GOP leadership aides are also worried that the narrative of the shutdown stories will be that House Speaker John Boehner is too beholden to the ‘Tea Party crazies.’ That diminishes Boehner’s stature and suggests the House is out of control.”

$152K for Book Never Published

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R), who is running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012, wrote a book on politics for Brevard Community College four years ago and was paid $152,000 in taxpayer money for the effort, the AP reports.

But the 175-page book was never published because it “doesn’t come close to meeting the original contract’s call for a publishable, textbook-quality look at the development of the Florida Legislature, state constitution, the governor’s office and judiciary from pre-statehood until present. But college officials say the book, mostly Haridopolos’ advice on running for office, is useful and will soon be distributed to students.”

Huckabee Insists He’s Still Mulling Bid

Mike Huckabee spends a lot of time these days talking about the downsides to a presidential run — especially the financial implications. But he insisted to the Quad City Times that he’s laying the necessary groundwork in Iowa should he decide to run again.

Said Huckabee: “I’m talking to some folks. It may not be as obvious.”

Rove Plots His Comeback

New York magazine: “If Karl Rove is acting like a newlywed on a honeymoon, it’s no wonder: The proverbial Brain behind the most unpopular U.S. president in modern history, a man who feared he was on the verge of being charged with a felony in 2006 for his role in the Valerie Plame case, has a new lease on life. After reinventing himself as the resident political guru on two of Rupert Murdoch’s media platforms, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal op-ed page, Rove shocked everyone last year by putting together a political-action committee, American Crossroads, that, along with its sister organization, Crossroads GPS, raised $71 million to support Republicans during the midterm elections. The two groups spent nearly $25 million on 30,000 TV ads to attack Democrats and support Republicans, helping Rove’s party take sixteen of the 30 House and Senate seats in races where American Crossroads invested.”

Branstad Vows Iowa Will be First

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) told CNN he wasn’t worried that Florida Republicans might disrupt Iowa’s place as first state in the presidential nominating process by holding their 2012 primary date in January instead of later in the year.

Said Branstad: “We will move up. We did it last time. We will do it again. We will be first and New Hampshire will be after us. We will work them on whatever we have to do.”

Thune Consulted Huckabee About Bid

Mike Huckabee told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that talked to Sen. John Thune (R-SD) about the frustrations of running for president.

Said Huckabee: “What I told him was, I wish it were about the issues and ideas and dreams and visions. Unfortunately it is about how much money you have raised or how many staffers have you got… You will want to talk about policies, you will end up talking about the process, and that can be discouraging.”

He added: “So I must have discouraged him.”

There Will be Blame

The Hill has a new poll showing likely voters are willing to spread the blame around for a government shutdown. According to the poll, 29% would blame Democrats and 23% would blame Republicans, while 43% would hold both parties accountable for failure to reach a compromise to continue funding the government past March 4.

Break from the past?: “Some GOP officials have feared, based on the history of the 1990s, they would be quickly blamed if Senate Democrats reject their calls for spending cuts and non-essential government employees are forced to stay home starting March 5. The Hill‘s poll suggests that, at least at this point, Democrats do not enjoy the tactical advantage that some assume they have.”

Patrick Not Interested in Being President

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) told Politico that he has no interest in running for president and that his only ambition is to serve out his second term.

Said Patrick: “It turns out that not everybody wants to be president.”

Boston Globe: “That’s not exactly true, though. His only ambition until 2015 is to serve out his second term. Then, he’s admitted, it’s to return to the private sector and make money — lots of it.”

Palin Favorability Slips in Iowa

A new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows Sarah Palin’s favorability has slipped among Iowa Republicans who say they will vote in 2012 to 65%, down from 71% in November 2009.

“During that time, Palin has produced two best-selling books, become a regular contributor to Fox News Channel and become the subject of a television program on TLC. She has also visited Iowa four times, including three times to promote her books and once to headline a state Republican Party fundraiser.”

Said pollster Ann Selzer: “One might ask the question: Is she wearing well? And the numbers are not moving in a favorable direction on that.”

 

Quote of the Day

“The president is one of the greatest politicians in the history of the United States.”

— Missisippi Governor Haley Barbour (R) assessing President Obama’s political skills on Sunday’s Meet the Press.

Candidate Obama

The Hotline: “As union fights continued throughout the U.S., Obama remained outside the fray from the legislative infighting in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. The approach was widely seen as a good move by Democrats, who believed Obama would risk his bipartisan clout by jumping into the fight. Instead, Obama reiterated his support for a bipartisan deal on the budget before announcing his decision not to defend DOMA.”

“The one-two punch showed how effective Obama can be when he appeals to both his liberal base and moderates looking for bipartisanship. Obama is reaching into the ‘comeback kid’ playbook he perfected the week DADT was repealed and the Bush-era tax cuts were extended. This week ‘Obama the candidate’ showed up.”

Politico: “Just four months after posting historic election gains, Republicans are experiencing a reality check about 2012: President Obama is going to be a lot tougher to defeat than he looked late last year.”

Government Shutdown Delayed

Washington Post: “The threat of a government shutdown receded Friday, as Senate Democrats tentatively embraced a Republican plan to immediately cut $4 billion in federal spending by targeting programs that President Obama has already marked for elimination. The GOP proposal, unveiled late Friday by House leaders, would keep the government running only until March 18 – two weeks past the current March 4 deadline – a shorter extension than Democrats are seeking. But by offering a stopgap measure that cuts only programs Obama has identified as unnecessary, Republicans appear to have broken an impasse over spending that has been brewing since they took control of the House this year.”

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