POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/7
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) and his running mate, former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson (D), start with large leads over two possible GOP tickets in the November election for governor, a new cn|2 Poll shows.
In a must-read piece on President Obama’s reelection effort, the Washington Postnotes the president’s team “has decided it will not give Republicans a free pass to criticize the president as they fight over their nomination. The president’s reelection committee plans to put its own organizations into the early primary and caucus states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.”
Said one adviser: “We can’t cede the playing field. We can’t just play general election. So we’re going to have to organize on the ground in early states.”
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is leading a bloc of seven Senate conservatives who are “pledging to block any bill they alone deem wasteful or unconstitutional,” according toMcClatchy Newspapers.
“Defying his reputation as a 1950s square, the new, more casual Mitt Romney is popping up around the country as he readies a second run for president. He’s going tieless on network TV, strolling NASCAR pits in Daytona and sporting skinny Gap jeans bought for him by his wife,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Rudy Guiliani insisted on Fox News that he’s considering another presidential bid in 2012 but he didn’t sound very convincing.
SEAN HANNITY: Are you running for president?
GIULIANI: Not right this minute.
HANNITY: How close are you to making a final decision?
GIULIANI: I’m not close. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do, and I’m thinking.
HANNITY: But you’re considering it.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said that he’s not worried about businesses leaving for Illinois after retaliatory ads were placed in New Jersey publications criticizing the state’s business climate, the AP reports.
“I didn’t even know his name before this brouhaha erupted.”
Stephen Moore: “Conservatives in Wisconsin are getting nervous that three Republican state senators may defect on the collective-bargaining reform vote. It’s still anyone’s guess as to when that vote will take place because Democrats remain in exile to prevent the necessary quorum. But Republicans in the Senate hold a 19-14 majority, so GOP Gov. Scott Walker can afford to lose no more than two Republican senators on this pivotal vote.”
Walker himself tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his administration “was in talks with Democrats, and he also showed a sign for the first time in the budget crisis that he might be willing to make at least one marginal change to his budget-repair bill.”
Possible reason: A new Rasmussen survey finds that 57% of of Wisconsin voters disapprove of Walker’s job performance.
Former Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) tells the Penn Current the political parties are now “controlled by the fringes.”
Said Specter: “It’s just raw cannibalism. The fights between the parties have descended to a level where right now it appears we are going to have two years of chaos, until the decision is made about who is going to be elected president in 2012.”
“In one of the most brazen schemes in Nevada history,” Rory Reid’s (D) failed gubernatorial campaign formed 91 shell political action committees that were used to funnel $750,000 dollars into his campaign, “circumventing contribution limits and violating at least the spirit — and maybe the letter — of the laws governing elections,” the Las Vegas Sun reports.
“Reid, who was fully aware of what was done, essentially received more than $750,000 from one PAC — 75 times the legal limit — after his team created dozens of smaller PACS that had no other purpose other than to serve as conduits from a larger entity that the candidate funded by asking large donors for money.”
The Sunlight Foundation has an interactive chart on the rise and fall of top lobbying firms over the last decade.
“They were the pioneers of a high profile business. Politicians held strategy sessions with them, while the public saw them as the source of all evil in politics. In the last decade lobbying in Washington boomed like no other business. Expenses skyrocketed from $1.5 billion to approximately $3.5 billion by the end of the decade. Over the course of the past decade forty-three lobbying firms found themselves ranked in the top twenty firms in terms of lobbying revenue. In this expansion some firms maintained their status, some fell from their perch, others rose to prominence, while a few succumbed to some of the most memorable lobbying scandals in recent memory.”
Now that New Gingrich (R) has gotten closer to announcing a presidential bid than any of the other serious likely Republican presidential candidates, Nate Silver takes a look at just how seriously we should take Gingrich. His conclusion? Don’t get too excited.
Some of the problems: Gingrich “has not run a campaign for president (or vice president) before, as the other three brand-name candidates have… He has tried to affiliate himself with outside groups like the Tea Party, but as the former Speaker of the House, he is also one of Washington’s ultimate insiders. In theory, that could be good thing; Mr. Gingrich could appeal to a lot of different types of Republican voters. But it’s tough to win in a crowded primary when you’re few voters’ first choice.”
“After the first really positive jobs report since they took control of the U.S. House — less than two months ago — House Republicans are taking some of the credit for the economy adding 192,000 jobs in February and for the unemployment rate declining below 9%,” NBC News reports.
Sample quote from Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX): “The modest improvement can be attributed to two factors — the free-market economy is slowly moving toward a recovery from this deep recession, and with Republicans controlling one lever of the lawmaking powers, job creators know the upper limits of the Democrats’ legislative pain is behind them.”
Libertarians everywhere can rejoice! The film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged will open in theaters nationwide on April 15 — which of course is also the day federal income taxes are due.