POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/16
A Wall Street Journal forecast suggests the unemployment rate in November 2012 is expected to be 7.7% — the highest level in a presidential election month since 1976, when Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter.
However, the trend may be more important: “President Carter was defeated in 1980 by Ronald Reagan when the unemployment rate was 7.5%, lower than the level when he was elected but up from 5.6% earlier in his term. Meanwhile, President Reagan was re-elected in 1984 with the rate at 7.2%, but that was down sharply from the peak of 10.8% recorded in 1982.”
A new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin finds that if recall elections were held today, three Republican state senators would lose. State senators Luther Olsen, Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke all trail in head-to-head match-ups against generic Democratic challengers, while two others, Rob Cowles and Sheila Harsdorf, have narrow leads but fail to crack 50% support.
Democrats are currently trying to force recalls against eight GOP state senators.
Of course, one supporter of the recall movement against Hopper is his wife, who says he had an affair with a 25-year-old staffer and lives with her outside his district in violation of state law.
In a radio interview, Newt Gingrich said Bill Clinton was “an Arkansas moderate in a liberal party, who had a pretty good common sense understanding of the average person” and a “very down home Arkansas kind of guy when you talk to him,” Politicoreports.
In contrast, he said President Obama is “a Harvard, Columbia, University of Chicago elitist from the most expensive private school in Hawaii, who lives in an elite, radical worldview in his head.”
However, as First Read points out, Gingrich once called Clinton “a very smart, very clever tactician whose core system of activity is a combination of counterculture and McGovern… he and his wife were counterculture at Yale… They really are left-wing elitists…”
“I believe we can prove malice. I caution you to be careful. Don’t for a minute think that I won’t haul you into court and subpoena every e-mail and document you, spineless and Evans ever wrote about me. I can’t wait to depose the three of you. You better not destroy the records. Judges don’t like people who do that.”
Al Gore will write a new book about what he calls “the drivers of global change,” that connects the dots among social, economic and political forces shaping our times, theNew York Times reports.
Gore said he hopes the book will “start a conversation about the large-scale drivers of change that are defining and shaping our future — from the rapid development and integration of radically new technologies to the planet-changing impact of the climate crisis, to poverty, globalization and the democratization of knowledge accompanying the emergence of a ubiquitous Internet linking ever-more-intelligent devices.”
Donald Trump gave a classic interview to Human Events.
On the Supreme Court Justice he admires most: “I have to tell you, I know numerous of the Justices and I don’t want to insult any of them to be honest with you by saying that I particularly admire one.”
On George W. Bush: “George Bush gave us Obama whether you like it or not. George Bush gave us Obama, without George Bush we don’t have Obama. So I’ve never been a fan of George Bush.”
On unions: “I’ve had great relationships with unions, and I’ve made good deals. I’ve made a lot of money, I mean, I’ve made many billions of dollars and in many cases I’ve been dealing with unions. So, really, collective bargaining doesn’t bother me so much.”
If they both run for president, Mike Huckabee said he won’t consider Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour an opponent, the Biloxi Sun-Herald reports.
Said Huckabee: “I would consider him a colleague who wants the same job. I think Haley could be a very strong candidate, and I believe he has possibly the most brilliant political mind in America… I owe a lot of my political life to Haley.”
“The guy’s a stone brain.”
— Author Stephen King, quoted by the Bangor Daily News, at a political rally blasting Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R).
Bill Clinton will return next month to his boyhood home, the Texarkana Gazette reports.
Clinton will be in Hope, Arkansas on April 16 to tour the house where he spent his first four years. The home has since been established as President Bill Clinton’s First Home Museum and was taken over by the National Park Service earlier this year.
In a statement “teeming with conservative shibboleths,” Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) announced his candidacy for Sen. John Ensign’s (R-NV) seat in an email to supporters, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio finds voters having buyer’s remorse over their new governor.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds just 43% of Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling the economy. However 46% say they trust Obama on the issue as compared to 34% who trust Republicans.
“What’s more, by a 9-point margin Americans now see Obama as better able to handle the deficit than GOP lawmakers in Congress. That represents an 11-point drop for the GOP since December — a period when Republicans have made cutting federal spending a centerpiece of their agenda.”
“Appearing more and more like a presidential candidate, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour wraps up a two-day visit to Iowa Tuesday night by headlining a state Republican party dinner,” CNN reports.
First Read: “In one day, Barbour made a major speech criticizing the president in Chicago before a chamber of commerce; the speech was almost immediately refuted by the DNC’s rapid-response team; and later in the day, Barbour fired his press secretary for off-color e-mails. If that doesn’t say campaign, we don’t know what does.”
Erin McPike: “Until recently, a campaign book, usually ghost-written, was enough of an introduction for a serious presidential candidate. Then along came documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi and her unlikely hit, Journeys with George — and just like that, a gauzy documentary became part of a winning candidate’s formula.”
“And so it is that several 2012 GOP contenders have documentarians hot on their trail this year, including marginal frontrunner Mitt Romney, and his fellow Mormon, Utah governor-turned-ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman.”
Of course, the most famous of these documentaries was probably The War Room, which followed Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign in 1992. And then there’s the granddaddy of them all: Primary, on the 1960 John F. Kennedy campaign.
Wisconsin Senate Majority Scott Fitzgerald (R) has declared that any votes taken by Senate Democrats “in standing committee public hearings and executive sessions will not be counted or recorded,” the Madison Capital Times reports.
His email was obtained by WisPolitics.com: “Please note that all 14 Democrat senators are still in contempt of the Senate. Therefore, when taking roll call votes on amendments and bills during executive sessions, Senate Democrats’ votes will not be reflected in the Records of Committee Proceedings or the Senate Journal.”
With his ten year term nearly up, the Washington Post reports the “jockeying over who will replace FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has begun, with FBI agents urging that President Obama select the former head of the bureau’s Washington field office for the critical position.”
“White House officials declined to comment, but law enforcement sources said the search for Mueller’s successor is being led by Vice President Biden… It is unclear if any front-runner has emerged or precisely what qualities the administration is seeking in a nominee, though sources said counterterrorism experience is considered especially important.”
Wisconsin state Sen. Randy Hopper’s (R) wife has signed a recall petition against him, according to New York magazine.
She also tells the Fond du Lac Reporter Hopper doesn’t even live in the district as state law requires of lawmakers. Instead, he lives with his 25-year old mistress.
The St. Petersburg Times reports that former Florida state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R) has formed an exploratory committee for a now-inevitable run for U.S. Senate against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).
Hasner will join Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R), who has already announced a bid and begun fundraising in earnest. Former Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL) is also expected to jump into the race soon, setting up a crowded Republican primary.
Check out our Q&A with Adam Smith last week on Florida politics for some background on the Senate race.
A new Gallup poll finds Mike Huckabee leads the field of possible GOP presidential candidates in “positive intensity” among Republicans nationwide with a score of +25 among Republicans who are familiar with him, followed by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) with a score of +20.
Only 26% of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say they’re optimistic about “our system of government and how well it works,” the fewest recorded since 1974. Almost as many, 23% are pessimistic, the closest these measures ever have come. The rest, a record high, are “uncertain” about the system.
Ben Smith reports that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s (R) press secretary Dan Turner has resigned after the discovery that Turner included inappropriate jokes about former Attorney General Janet Reno’s gender and the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.
“Turner told me this morning that Barbour receives printed versions of the clips, not the email, and took full responsibility for the comments. But they prompted questionstoday about Barbour’s readiness for the national stage, and the resignation of the veteran aide came quickly.”
Sources close to Mike Huckabee tell Fox News the former Arkansas governor is “literally 50-50” on whether or not to make another run at the presidency in 2012.
However, his political action committee is scheduling fundraisers which is “exactly the type of activity that will raise eyebrows among the political watchers.”