POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/23
The St. Petersburg Times notes that at the end of a speech, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), “the governor who wants to run the state ‘like a business’ asked people with suggestions to write a letter and send it to the Capitol through the U.S. Postal Service — because he doesn’t use email.”
A new Democracy Corps survey in 50 of the most competitive battleground Congressional districts shows the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives very much at risk in 2012.
Key finding: “The GOP incumbents, identified by name, have an average approval rating of 35 percent across the 50 districts, with 25 percent disapproving. Another 38 percent were not able to give the candidates a rating, suggesting lack of visibility. This is about 10 points lower than the approval rating Democratic incumbents held in July of 2009 (with comparable disapproval rating).”
A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has fallen out of favor with his state’s residents even more than Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) have lost favor with their state’s residents.
Key finding: Just 33% of voters approve of Snyder’s job performance, with 50% disapproving. Additionally, respondents said if they could vote all over again, they’d pick Snyder’s opponent Virg Bernero (D), 47% to 45%.
“Snyder’s ability to win big in a blue state was due to his successfully presenting himself to the voters as a centrist but he’s lost that image with a lot of folks over the last few months. In September we found 46% of voters in the state thought Snyder was ‘about right’ ideologically to only 26% who thought he was ‘too conservative.’ Now those numbers are basically tied with 37% judging him about right and 36% too conservative.”
In an interview on CBS News, Sen. John McCain twice cited the fact that Moammar Gadhafi has “American blood on his hands” as a reason the U.S. should try to oust the dictator.
However, Salon notes that just 18 months ago McCain “led a delegation of senators including fellow hawks Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman on a trip to visit the Libyan leader in Tripoli. Discussed during the visit was delivery of — get this — American military equipment to Gadhafi (a man with American blood on his hands no less).”
“None of which is to say it was wrong to pursue better relations with Libya. But it’s ironic that McCain is now citing the fact that Gadhafi has ‘American blood on his hands’ as a reason to bomb Libya, considering McCain himself met with Gadhafi less than two years ago.”
A new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey shows Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) in a tight Democratic primary race for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Joe Lieberman. Murphy gets 40% of primary voters, while Bysiewicz gets 38%. Both candidates lead all of their possible Republican challengers in hypothetical general election match-ups.
Karl Rove tells Jennifer Rubin that he doesn’t rule out a late decider for the GOP presidential nomination, but he says bluntly, “I think December is too late.”
Although he admits the process of garnering support for candidates is “sped up” in the Internet era, “the nature of the early contests and the long race” put pressure on candidates to jump in the race earlier.
Interestingly, he notes the biggest obstacle might be andidates who have entered late “may have said repeatedly they are not running and why.” He specifically noted anyone saying “I am not ready” would come back to haunt a candidate.
“Both Ronald Reagan and Lincoln had losses. What would’ve happened to our country if they’d quit? A true leader leads by example, and I’m no quitter.”
— Sharron Angle (R), quoted by the Reno Gazette Journal, explaining why she’s not letting her U.S. Senate loss prevent her from making a congressional bid next year.
Though he was just elected to the U.S. Senate last fall, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) visited South Carolina “to talk about his possible presidential bid, how to rein in the national debt and the current military action in Libya,” the Charleston Post and Courier reports.
Paul is visiting several early presidential voting states independently of his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who is also weighing a bid.
Dave Weigel: “Publisher’s Weekly has released the sales numbers for hardcover books in 2010. America by Heart, Sarah Palin’s book of political and cultural musings, sold 797,955 copies, making it the third-highest-selling political book of the year. (She was pipped by George W. Bush and Glenn Beck.) That’s solid, but quite a drop from the sensation that was Going Rogue — released at the same time of year (pre-Christmas), it sold 2,674,684 copies in 2009.”
“The 2012 Republican field is deeply flawed, lacking a serious GOP contender without a personal misstep or policy move that angers the party base. Each of those weighing bids has at least one issue that looms as an obstacle to White House ambitions, and that could derail the candidate if not handled with care,” the Associated Press reports.
“Mitt Romney is the godfather of what Republican critics call Obamacare. Newt Gingrich is an adulterer on his third marriage. Tim Pawlenty is too green — environmentally, that is. Jon Huntsman worked for President Barack Obama. And Haley Barbour has come off as dismissive of racial segregation.”
Ben Smith digs up an ad that, “it’s safe to say, we won’t be seeing next year from Claire McCaskill, who has been apologizing for a series of issues around a private jet, including — most recently — nearly $300,000 in unpaid property taxes.”
In the ad, McCaskill looks right into the camera to say: “And we have paid every dime of our taxes.”
“They have yet to learn what a Haley Barbour is and that will be a challenge.”
— Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), quoted by the New York Times, slipping into the third person to note his biggest challenge if he runs for president.
Sharron Angle (R) opened her Nevada congressional campaign by doing the unexpected — she actually took questions from reporters, the Reno Gazette Journal reports.
“The tea party favorite, who has referred to the media as the ‘lame stream’ media, held a question and answer session with Nevada journalists Monday for nearly an hour. She took all questions, including those about the perception that she ran from reporters in her campaign against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, how she thinks she can win after three unsuccessful attempts at federal office and why she thinks she can come back after such a devastating loss in 2010.”
A Pew Research poll finds disapproval of the new Congress increasing among the American public. Key findings:
- About half of Americans think the debate over spending and deficits has been “generally rude and disrespectful,” including 48% of Republicans and Democrats as well as 57% of independents.
- The percentage of Americans who feel that the Republicans are better at handing the deficit dropped from 35% after the election to 21% currently.
- The percentage of Americans who feel President Barack Obama is better at handing the deficit has also dropped from 24% to 20%.
- About 75% of Tea Party supporters back the GOP budget plans after the election, that figure has dropped to 52%.
On the heels of Tim Pawlenty’s announcement that he is forming a presidential exploratory committee, the New York Times examines five key challenges that the former Minnesota governor must overcome in order for him to have a viable shot at victory. They are money, visibility, message, fiscal discipline, and tactics.
John Dickerson writes about politicians’ love of calling for “seriousness” during difficult debates:
“This call for seriousness is often itself not a serious charge. What most of the criticisms actually mean is ‘My opponent doesn’t believe something I’d like him to.’ The outbreak of such talk comes at just the moment that more precise language would be helpful. The debate over short- and long-term budget deficits is about priorities. You can’t start that debate, or work through it effectively, if the words used to convey the relative importance of things are all gummed up.”