POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/3

Voicemails Detail Edwards Affair

WTVD-TV has obtained voicemail messages “purportedly left by John Edwards as a former aide says he tried to cover up his affair with campaign worker Rielle Hunter. The recordings were turned over to a federal grand jury that’s investigating the former senator and presidential candidate.”

The voicemails show Edwards checked in regularly on his mistress who was living with former aide Andrew Young and his wife Cheri to keep news of the affair from the media.

Meanwhile, NPR reports Edwards has hired former White House counsel Greg Craig “to help convince federal prosecutors not to bring criminal charges against him in a long-running investigation into his campaign finances.”

See more…

Akaka Will Not Run Again

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) announced that he will not run for re-election in 2012, theHonolulu Advertiser reports.

“The senator, who is of Native Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry, is considered the most beloved Hawaii politician. He is well-regarded in both Washington and in the islands for his gracious manner and spirit of aloha. But questions have been raised about his effectiveness and whether he should pursue another six-year term.”

Akaka is the 7th senator to announce plans to retire this year.

Huckabee Paints Obama as a Foreigner

Mike Huckabee insists he misspoke when he said President Obama was raised in Kenya, but his comments today in a radio interview with Bryan Fischer make clear he intends to portray the president as a foreigner.

Said Huckabee: “And I have said many times, publicly, that I do think he has a different worldview and I think it is, in part, molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I should be president or somebody better than I should be. And the only way to make sure of that is to make them go around me, through me or over me in the primaries.”

— Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer (R), quoted by Politico, on his expected presidential bid.

 

Obama Once Said He Wasn’t Ready Either

To those who think New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) declaration that he’s “not ready” to be president means he can’t run, it’s worth noting Barack Obama said something similar after he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

Said Obama: “You know, I am a believer in … in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. Uh, and I think that… if I were seriously to consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now there may be some people who are comfortable doing that, but I am not one of those people.”

Hot Air notes Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tried, unsuccessfully, to use the line against Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Roemer Will Announce Exploratory Committee

We noted the possibility a couple months ago and now National Journal reports former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer (R) will announce Thursday he will explore a bid for president.

“Roemer served four terms in Congress as a Democrat between 1981 and 1988 before being elected governor in 1987. He switched parties to become a Republican in 1991, then lost a gubernatorial primary as a Republican to former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke.”

Fox News Suspends Gingrich, Santorum

Fox News says they have put Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum on leave from the cable news channel for 60 days, as the two contemplate whether they will run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Kohl in Good Shape if He Runs Again

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin finds Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) leads by anywhere from 7 to 15 points in hypothetical contests against the trio of Republicans tested as possible challengers.

If Kohl decides to retire, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) would start out with nearly identical poll numbers against this trio of Republicans.

Also interesting: “Feingold remains a pretty popular figure with Wisconsin voters. 51% rate him favorably to only 39% with a negative opinion. That may seem counterintuitive just four months after he was defeated for reelection, but the reality is he didn’t fall out of favor with Wisconsinites as a whole, just the Wisconsinites who bothered to vote in last year’s midterm election where Democratic turnout was fatally low. With a Presidential year electorate Feingold’s standing is pretty solid.”

Strong Support for Union Bargaining Rights

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds 62% of Americans strongly oppose efforts to strip unionized government workers of their rights to collectively bargain, while just 33% are supportive.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“You just can’t help but laugh when my simple slip of the tongue, becomes a huge story — and a certain Presidential candidate claiming to visit all 57 states, gets widely ignored.”

— Mike Huckabee, in a statement, on his gaffe that President Obama grew up in Kenya.

Is Chris Christie Ready?

Rich Lowry makes the case that while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) may notfeel ready to run for president, “he’s wrong.”

“He’s at least as ready as Bill Clinton in 1991 (indecisive governor of a small state), George W. Bush in 1999 (decisive governor of big state, but in a very weak office), and Barack Obama in 2007 (no executive experience whatsoever).”

Kicker: “Consider this another piece in my continuing series taking issue with the reasons non-candidates give for not running for president.”

Surviving a Palin-Free Month

Dana Milbank explains how he coped with his self-imposed moratorium of writing about or mentioning Sarah Palin for an entire month: “I used Michele Bachmann as my methadone.”

Bringing Back Styrofoam

Now that they’re in the control of the House of Representatives, the GOP has targeted former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) “Green the Capital” Initiative, reports CNN.

Their first move: Do-away with the biodegradable cups she brought to the hill, and to bring back styrofoam cups in their place.

Failure to Communicate

First Read: “The White House and Senate Democrats don’t seem to be communicating well. This came out after the Obama White House floated an idea for a four-week continuing resolution. House Republicans complained that they heard about the request too late to do anything about, while the White House has claimed they’ve been involved in the process (though have been careful NOT to say they’ve been involved in the negotiations). No one will say for the record why the president called Speaker Boehner before the House vote yesterday. But here are a few questions worth asking: Was it the president asking the speaker for more time to develop a four-week CR? Was it the president trying to clear up confusion in communications between the Senate Dem leadership and the House GOP leadership? Here’s what we do know: The call happened at lunchtime, and the House Republicans voted for the CR about three hours later. And we also know the communication between the White House and Senate Democrats was not great during the lame duck session, in particular, with Sen. Chuck Schumer. Draw your own conclusions.”

Huntsman Filming a Documentary

Reuters reports U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman’s relatively high profile in China “has a cinematic dimension. He has allowed a video crew to follow him in a range of settings over the past year… The privately funded project ostensibly plans to make a documentary about Huntsman, although it would undoubtedly come in handy in any political campaign.”

“Huntsman and the embassy declined to confirm or comment about the video crew.”

Wisconsin Lawmakers Seek to Ban Prank Calls

A bill that would make it illegal to prank call someone is being circulated in Wisconsin’s state legislature after Gov. Scott Walker (R) was the target of a prank phone call by a reporter last month, according to the Badger Herald.

“The bill language forbids a caller from intentionally providing a false phone number and convincing the person receiving the call that it comes from someone other than the actual caller… A person in violation of the law would be subject to a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 for each call made.”

The sponsors of the bill deny any connection to the Walker incident.

Democrats Can’t Find Candidates in Mississippi

The Hotline reports Democrats “failed to get a single candidate on the ballot for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, or auditor in Mississippi, after the state’s filing deadline arrived Tuesday.”

“That’s a striking result for the party, which despite the state’s conservative politics, has competed effectively in statewide contests. Before last year’s Republican landslide, Democrats actually controlled majorities in the state Senate and state House – and even held three of the state’s four Congressional seats. (They now only hold the state House, and one of the state’s four Congressional seats.)”

Americans Divided on Government Shutdown

A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters are split over a federal government shutdown with 46% saying it would be a good thing and 44% saying it would be a bad thing.

However, voters would blame Republicans more than President Obama, 47% to 38%, if a government shut down takes place.

GOP Freshman Class Remains United

Politico has performed an analysis of 105 votes on amendments and final passage of the House bill that would cut federal spending by $61 billion, finding that the House Republican freshman class has voted in near lockstep on every issue addressed in those votes, ranging from abortion and health care to labor and environmental regulation.

“The votes paint a portrait of a freshman class that is more aggressive on budget cutting than the Republican Conference as a whole, more hostile toward organized labor, less accepting of federal environmental protections and divided over how and when to cut funding for national defense, police forces and firefighting. And it’s clear the vote-a-rama gave the freshmen a strong sense of both the potential and limits of their own collective clout.”

How the Late Start Helps Obama

Sam Youngman: “After the midterm defeat, President Obama needed time to rehabilitate himself and reinvent his administration as sympathetic to the wants, needs and anger of the American electorate. Republicans so far have been only too happy to give Obama all the time he needs.”

“First and foremost, the late start by modern standards to the 2012 race has enabled Obama to focus on being president… Note the reaction when former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) criticized Obama, saying because the president is black he should have more sympathy for the civil rights of fetuses. If Santorum said that as an announced candidate, it’s a safe bet that the White House would have been forced to respond. Instead, the comment was not even asked about at the next day’s White House briefing.”

Huckabee Leads GOP Hopefuls in South

A new Winthrop University poll shows Mike Huckabee leading a field of hypothetical Republican primary rivals among probable Republican primary voters in 11 Southern states. Huckabee got 21.9% support, followed by Newt Gingrich at 12.9%, Sarah Palin at 8.7%, Mitt Romney at 6.9%, Tim Pawlenty at 6.2% and Ron Paul at 5.7%.

Key finding: President Obama’s approval rating in the 11 states is just 38%, with 51% disapproving, and just 32% approve of his handling of the economy, with 58% disapproving.

The State: “That adults in South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia disapprove of Obama’s prescriptions for the ailing economy should surprise no one … But with the 2012 campaign about to get revved up, the South’s steadfast disapproval of the Democratic president shows he has not expanded his base of support in the region. That leaves open the door to GOP opponents including Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor whose bid to capture the Republican presidential nomination failed in 2008.”

 

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