POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/14

Could Republicans Lose Major Party Status in Indiana?

WISH-TV reports a Democratic lawsuit challenges Secretary of State Charlie White’s (R) status “on the ballot last November because his voter registration was allegedly false (a contention backed up by grand jury indictments.) If a judge rules in the Democrats’ favor and White is disqualified, the Republicans would not receive the 10% of the vote in the Secretary of State race that is required to maintain major party status.”

Possible ramifications: “The lack of major party status would make the 2012 Senate race a convention battle rather than a primary for the GOP. Richard Mourdock’s chances of upsetting Richard Lugar would be greatly enhanced in a convention.”

Is Daniels Edging Toward a Run?

With a recent poll showing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ (R-IN) presidential nomination prospects on the rise among political insiders, The Hotline notes Daniels is starting to sound “more serious about a presidential campaign.”

“And with a recent NBC/WSJ poll showing two-thirds of GOP primary voters more likely to back a candidate who puts more focus on the economy/deficit than gay marriage/abortion, his ‘social truce’ isn’t as unpopular with the base as the CW has suggested.”

Weekly Standard: “Signaling that he may indeed have national ambitions, Daniels is heading to D.C. this weekend, his third trip the nation’s capital in a month. Saturday night he’ll be speaking at the annual Gridiron Dinner as the Republican guest, joining his would-be opponent in 2012, Barack Obama. The next day, he’ll beappearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Daniels’s first Sunday morning talk show appearance outside of Fox News Sunday.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’ve made a few jokes over the years about John’s unusual coloring. I used to think that it was a tan. But after seeing how often he tears up, I’ve come to realize: That’s not a tan. That’s rust!”

— President Obama, on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) at the Gridiron dinner last night.

 

Palin’s Name Added at Last Minute

Washingtonian profile of A.B. Culvahouse, a lawyer who oversaw the vetting of the potential vice presidential candidates for Sen. John McCain during the 2008 campaign, said the short list of vice presidential candidates consisted of Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Charlie Crist and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

“As the clock was running out, [campaign manager Rick] Davis says McCain asked to have at least one woman on the short list. His advisers went back to the long list and plucked out Palin’s name.”

Why Aren’t Candidates Visiting South Carolina?

The Columbia State notes “there’s been a mere trickle” of potential GOP presidential candidates in South Carolina.

“Republicans weighing presidential bids have all but ignored the state that in modern history has played an outsized role in GOP nomination fights: Since 1980, the South Carolina primary winner has emerged with the conservative seal of approval and eventually clinched the party’s presidential nomination.”

“Blame uncertainty. The tea party has upended the political landscape in this longtime Christian conservative stronghold.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.”

— Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), quoted by the Boston Herald, while speaking in New Hampshire.

She later admitted her error saying, “It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!”

Lawmaker Jokes About Giving Guns to Schizophrenics

Iowa state Rep. Jeff Kaufman (R) was caught on microphone referring to a bill to legalize carrying weapons in public without background checks or training requirements as “the crazy, give a handgun to a schizophrenic” bill, the Des Moines Register reports.

“Kaufman made the remark while joking around with two other senators. The microphone was then shut off after someone noted that it was still recording.”

Lawmaker Complains About “Defective People”

New Hampshire state Rep. Martin Harty (R) apologized for saying that “mentally defective” people and and others should be “sent to Siberia,” according to Foster’s Daily Democrat.

Harty allegedly told a constituent, “The world population has gotten too big and the world is being inherited by too many defective people… I mean all the defective people, the drug addicts, mentally ill, the retarded — all of them.”

Obama’s Biggest Threat

Ezra Klein: “The most important political story of the day isn’t about politics at all. It’s Neil Irwin’s article arguing that ‘new worries about Europe’s debt crisis,’ ‘continued turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East’ and ‘a widening U.S. trade gap and slowing Chinese growth’ leave us with ‘a world economic recovery that is menaced from all directions.'”

“Add to that picture a House Republican majority determined to pursue contradictory fiscal policy in 2011 and it’s easy to imagine America’s shaky recovery derailing altogether. And if the recovery derails, then it’s very difficult to see Barack Obama getting reelected in 2012. Incumbents who run successful political campaigns run on ‘things are pretty good’ or ‘things are clearly and quickly getting better.’ They don’t run on ‘but weak growth in China isn’t my fault.'”

Quote of the Day

“They literally think you can just balance it, you know, by cutting waste, fraud and abuse, foreign aid and NPR, and it doesn’t work like that.”

— House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), quoted by the Washington Post, on lawmakers and Tea Party activists who believe the deficit can be reduced without substantial cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Michigan Republicans Shield Law with Gimmick

Michigan House Republicans added a $100 expenditure to Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) proposal to make pensions susceptible to a 4.35% income tax in order to ensure that it is not repealed by voters, the Detroit Free Press reports. The reason? The state Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that voters cannot repeal a law passed by the legislature with a state expenditure – even one worth as little as $1.

Dave Weigel: “If you’re surprised at the speed at which Tea Party activists have become fans of budget and procedure gimmicks, and at which liberals have become incensed at same, you are probably learning about this ‘politics’ thing for the first time.”

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