POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/15

Lawmaker Suggests Shooting Illegal Immigrants

Kansas state Rep. Virgil Peck (R) said “it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled — with hunters shooting from helicopters,” the Lawrence World Journal reports.

Peck later said he was “just joking.”

Lawmaker Resigns After Mental Illness Remarks

New Hampshire state Rep. Martin Harty (R) has resigned “after he drew fire forremarks on mental illness and population control,” the New Hampshire Union Leaderreports.

Harty admitted last month that “so far I really don’t know what I’m doing . The few votes I’ve made so far I really didn’t know what I was voting for or against. Just looked at the people around me and went along with them.”

Wisconsin Recall Petitions Quickly Collect Signatures

Greg Sargent reports that the Wisconsin Democratic Party has collected almost half of the signatures necessary to hold recall elections for eight Republican state senators in Wisconsin.

“Dems have now collected over 56,000 signatures supporting the recall drives…after another surge in organizing activity over the weekend. That’s up from rougly 14,000 after last weekend. This means Dems are well ahead of schedule: In each targeted district, Dems need to amass the required signatures — 25 percent of the number who voted in the last gubernatorial election — by a deadline of 60 days after first filing for recalls, which happened nearly two weeks ago. In other words, Dems are reporting they are nearly halfway to the finish line, with roughly three-fourths of the alloted time remaining.”

What to watch: The next half of signatures will be harder to collect, especially if the protests begin to wane in the coming weeks. Whether Democrats sustain or lose momentum now that the bill has become law will be decisive.

Obama Owns Treatment of Manning

Andrew Sullivan: “By firing PJ Crowley for the offense of protesting against the sadistic military treatment of Bradley Manning, the president has now put his personal weight behind prisoner abuse. The man who once said that forced nudity was a form of torture, now takes the word of those enforcing it over a distinguished public servant… And in the military, as with Bush, so with Obama. As commander-in-chief, Obama is directly responsible for the inhumane treatment of an American citizen. And Crowley’s firing will make it even less likely in the future that decent public servants will speak out against such needless sadism.”

 

The Rogue

The long-awaited Joe McGinniss book on Sarah Palin has an interesting cover.

It’s due to be published in September.

Trump Schedules Trip to New Hampshire

Keeping presidential speculation alive, Donald Trump confirms to WMUR that he’ll be visiting New Hampshire in June — the same month he’s promised to make a decision about running for president.

However, Ben Smith notes Trump’s plane — the same one spotted in Iowa last month — is registered in Bermuda “which may be useful for tax and regulatory purposes, but probably isn’t a great vehicle for an American candidate.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“If I were ever to run for president of the United States, I think the first thing I would do in the first debate is offer my birth certificate, so we could get that off the table.”

— Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), in a radio interview with Jeff Katz.

Kasich Off to Rough Start

The latest Ohio Poll finds 40% of Ohioans approve of Gov. John Kasich’s (R) performance as governor while 47% disapprove and 13% neither approve nor disapprove.

Brown Holds Early Lead in Massachusetts

A new Western New England College poll in Massachusetts finds 52% of registered voters say Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) deserves to be re-elected, while 28% say he does not deserve to be re-elected.

Brown leads Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA), 51% to 38%, and tops Elizabeth Warren (D), 51% to 34%.

Said pollster Tim Vercellotti: “Obviously it’s early in the election cycle and a lot can change in the coming months. But the survey results show that the Democrats have a hill to climb to unseat Senator Brown.”

Is Barbour Ready for the Scrutiny?

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s (R) press office sends emails of news clippings that have recently included jokes about former Attorney General Janet Reno’s gender and the tsunami that hit Japan, Ben Smith reports.

“The off-color jokes, circulated inside and outside of Barbour’s government office, underscore questions about whether the governor is ready for the intensity of scrutiny that will come with leaving the relatively forgiving world of Mississippi politics.”

Paladino Stiffs Campaign Consultants and Vendors

Carl Paladino’s (R) failed New York gubernatorial campaign “stiffed about a dozen consultants, vendors and staff members for some $130,000 in salaries, fees and expenses,” the Buffalo News reports.

“They are pressing for payment from a campaign committee, Paladino for the People, that is deep in debt. Public records show the committee has a balance of only $5,305 and debts of $6.1 million, most of them loans from the candidate.”

Can GOPers Adjust to the New Media Era?

Politico notes the last time Newt Gingrich “ran in a competitive election, the Internet was a few years away from going global. The only mobile device anyone chatted on was the car phone. And Matt Drudge was not yet a driving force in political news coverage.”

“Twenty-one years later, Gingrich — and a half-dozen other Republicans whose last tough campaigns were only somewhat more recent — is preparing for a presidential run in the social media era, where current videos are instantly available, and a two-hour discourse will most likely be boiled down to its most embarrassing 12 seconds before spreading like a virus across Twitter and YouTube.”

 

Pawlenty Aims to be the Anti-Romney

With the Republican presidential primary emerging as a contest between Mitt Romney (R) and the best version of not-Romney, former Minnesotta Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is beginning to define himself in very not-Romney terms, according to the New York Times.

“He is taking an old-fashioned approach, hoping to earn respect for showing up nearly everywhere. He seldom leaves a room before talking to all who are waiting. Then he makes time for reporters, unlike some of his rivals, particularly Mr. Romney.”

Remaining obstacles: “Mr. Pawlenty is positioning himself as a leading alternative to Mr. Romney… But that is the most sought-after role in the Republican field, one that Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi is also hoping to fill… But his efforts to win Tea Party support may be complicated by a fellow Minnesotan, Representative Michele Bachmann, who spent the weekend in New Hampshire, testing her own presidential bid.”

Christie Most-Liked Among Republicans

A new Daily Caller/ConservativeHome poll finds 15% of Republicans want New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) as their presidential candidate in 2012 — more than any other candidate — even though he says he’s not running.

However, 27% believe Mitt Romney is the candidate most-likely to win the nomination.

Does GOP Primary Process Help Palin?

Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) writes in The Hill that the Republican presidential nominating process could “sadly” help Sarah Palin win.

“It is entirely possible that with no presumptive winner or even favorites, a candidate who runs second or third in a great many primaries could go into the convention with a sizable block of delegates. Who would this favor? Does Sarah Palin come to mind? Although she is not viewed by most as strong enough to win, she is viewed by many as a person worth voting for to make a statement… Finishing second and third isn’t really a big deal — until you get enough delegates to be the nominee. And picking a nominee who it seems would be easily defeated by President Obama might not be the best statement.”

Lee Refunds Campaign Contributions

Former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) “is refunding all the campaign money he raised in 2010 and 2011 and sending a letter to more than 1,100 donors apologizing for theonline flirtation that led to his abrupt resignation,” the Buffalo News reports.

DNC Line of Credit Backed by Energy Company

“Duke Energy Corp., whose CEO is leading the fundraising for the Democratic National Convention, is guaranteeing a $10 million line of credit for the event,” theCharlotte Observer reports.

“Some suggest the arrangement is tantamount to a large corporate contribution at a time when the party is touting new rules that bar corporate cash and individual contributions over $100,000. Democrats have pledged ‘a people’s convention’ and say the line of credit doesn’t violate the new rules.”

Quote of the Day

“And Mitch is experienced. Before he was governor Mitch was a pharmaceutical executive and he was George W. Bush’s budget director. I don’t have a joke here. I just want to point it out.”

— President Obama, making a joke about fellow speaker and potential presidential opponent Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R).

The full speech is well worth a read.

Donors Told Obama in Weaker Positition

President Obama’s advisors “are telling potential donors that he is in a weaker position heading into the 2012 election than he was in 2008 and are detailing potential vulnerabilities of likely opponents,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The centerpiece of their pitch to donors is a 10-page slide show, which features the slogan ‘Change that Matters’ and offers an early glimpse into the thinking of the president’s re-election team… Part of Mr. Messina’s presentation is to caution donors that while Mr. Obama has recovered after the trouncing his party took in the 2010 elections and is well-positioned for 2012, he will face a tough re-election fight that will require substantial donor support.”

“The donor meetings and the recent hiring of several senior campaign staff members are among the early moves Obama aides have made before the official launch of the president’s re-election effort, which Democratic officials say will come shortly after April 1.”

Whitman Will Not Make Senate Bid

Meg Whitman (R), who was an unsuccessful candidate for California governor last year, said she is “definitely not” considering a Senate bid in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Whitman: “I want to stay involved in public policy. Now I see things in a way that I had not prior to running for public office.”

State Department Spokesman Forced Out

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley abruptly resigned over controversial comments he made about the Bradley Manning case, CNN reports.

Crowley “came under pressure from the White House, where officials were furious about his suggestion that the Obama administration is mistreating Manning, the Army private who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, under suspicion that he leaked highly classified State Department cables to the website WikiLeaks.”

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