POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – -3/26-28

Biden Staffer Made Reporter Wait in Closet

In order to keep Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers from mingling with guests at a Democratic fundraiser last wee, he “was escorted into a storage closet by a Biden staffer,” ABC News reports.

“You’re going to have to wait in here until the VP gets here,” the staffer told told him.

“You’re kidding me,” he recalls responding.

“Making matters worse, Biden didn’t arrive until more than an hour later… Any time he stuck his head out he’d been shooed back inside. He said he was held for more than an hour in the closet, was allowed out for 35 minutes of remarks by Biden and Nelson, after which it was back into the closet until the VP left.”

Quote of the Day

“I’ve been made very aware about its depiction of me, and it is what it is.”

— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by Politico, in explaining that he won’t be seeing the HBO film adaptation of the book Game Change and he hasn’t read the book either.

The Daniels Blueprint

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ “way of governing, introduced with a flourish in 2005, has become something of a blueprint for a new crop of Republican governors rising to prominence in the Midwest.”

Scott Walker in Wisconsin, John Kasich in Ohio and Rick Snyder in Michigan “all appear to be taking from parts of Daniels’ playbook, going toe-to-toe with the unions to quickly reshape government for the 21st century and focusing on economic development.”

However, Bruce Drake finds “all have run into some rough-sledding in public opinion polls during a period that, in better times, might have been the political honeymoon that often comes at the start of new administrations.”

Gingrich Tries to Reconcile Flip Flops

Fresh off a number of seemingly conflicting statements about what role the U.S. should take in Libya, Newt Gingrich tried to reconcile those remarks on Fox News Sunday.

“Gingrich earlier said the United States should back a no-fly zone. After President Obama sent in the U.S. military to help establish one, Gingrich said he would not have supported intervention. Asked to clarify, Gingrich said Sunday that the United States should have been for replacing Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi without using the military. But he said now that the United States is involved militarily, the goal should be to replace Qaddafi.

Said Gingrich: “If you’re not in the lake, don’t jump in. Once you’re in the lake, swim like crazy.”

 

Gingrich Will Announce Next Month

Newt Gingrich told Fox News Sunday that he will likely formalize his run for president within in a month, adding that he has already beefed up his political operation in Iowa and New Hampshire and made several visits there.

Said Gingrich: “The water’s pretty warm. My hope is that within a month that we’ll be in swimming very rapidly.”

Murphy Can Has Congress

Ian Murphy, the blogger who prank called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and is now running on the Green Party ballot line in the upcoming special election in New York’s 26th congressional district, has launched an entertaining campaign websiteMurphyCanHasCongress.com.

The website includes such features as an image of Chris Lee, who resigned from the seat over a Craigslist sex scandal, with Murphy’s head photoshopped onto it, as well as campaign video that breaks just about all the rules.

See more…

 

DeMint Sees More Candidates Coming

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said that the current GOP presidential field “might not be sufficient to inspire voters and he would welcome a last-minute entry by another candidate,” the New York Times reports.

Said DeMint: “If no one is an immediate front-runner, I think you might see a whole new cast of Republican candidates out within the next couple of months.”

He added: “I’m not going to mention any more names. But I think there are a lot of names out there bubbling around, particularly governors who have realized that doing basic common-sense things tend to inspire Americans today.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“His father was a hard core economic socialist in Kenya… So he had sort of antibusiness, anti-free enterprise influences affecting him almost all his life. It just shows you what a person with a silver tongue can achieve.”

— Conservative activist David Koch, in an interview with the Weekly Standard, on President Obama.

Government Shutdown Coming?

“The 2011 budget stalemate is about to enter a new and politically perilous stage. While a shutdown of some duration isn’t certain, time is running out, positions are hardening and the recent bipartisan willingness to indulge in face-saving gestures is entirely gone,” National Journal reports.

“If no deal is struck by Thursday, a shutdown or another CR is the only way out. House Republicans will not consider a bill that resolves the 2011 budget on an expedited basis — meaning it will require being available for three days before House action. A short-term measure could keep negotiations alive but no moves have been taken to write one and even if they were, House Republican say, they would have to include some policy riders — adding another layer of uncertainty.”

Bachmann Fires Up Iowa Conservatives

NBC News notes “the one thing missing from this budding presidential cycle, is a candidate who really fires up the base.”

However, at today’s cattle call in Iowa it was Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) “who showed the most promise in filling that void. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) and Newt Gingrich (R) were politely and well received, but it’s Bachmann who really fired them up with criticisms of the administration, an artful weaving of audience response, and backing up her points with a litany of ‘statistics.'”

Bachmann ended her speech with, “I’m in! You’re in, we’re going to take this country back in 2012.”

Quote of the Day

“She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more. The world will miss her. May she rest in peace and may her example of hard work and dedication to America continue to inspire all women.”

— Sarah Palin, posting to Facebook, commenting on the legacy of Geraldine Ferraro.

Huckabee Continues to Lead GOP Field

A new Gallup survey finds Mike Huckabee leading a large list of potential GOP presidential candidates with 19%, followed by Mitt Romney at 15%, Sarah Palin at 12% and Newt Gingrich at 10%.

“There continues to be speculation about the leading candidates’ plans. Most political experts believe Romney will eventually enter the race, but questions remain about whether Huckabee and Palin will want to abandon their lucrative media careers to pursue the presidency.”

Ferraro is Dead

Geraldine Ferraro, who in 1984 became the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket, died at the age of 75, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NPR: “But controversy accompanied her acclaim. Frequent, vociferous protests of her favorable view of abortion rights marked the campaign. Ferraro’s run also was beset by ethical questions, first about her campaign finances and tax returns, then about the business dealings of her husband, John Zaccaro. Ferraro attributed much of the controversy to bias against Italian-Americans.”

War on Fox News

Media Matters “has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of ‘guerrilla warfare and sabotage’ aimed at the Fox News Channel,” Politico reports.

“The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the ‘nerve center’ of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90.”

Media Matters “is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor.”

Wisconsin Law Published Despite Restraining Order

In a “stunning twist,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) legislation “limiting collective bargaining for public workers was published Friday despite a judge’s hold on the measure, prompting a dispute over whether it takes effect Saturday,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R): “It’s published. It’s law. That’s what I contend.”

The New York Times notes the Walker administration issued a short statement: “The administration will carry out the law as required.”

How Much Does it Cost to Run for President?

“The answer to that question is remarkably complicated,” the New York Timesreports. “It depends in large part on how much a candidate is able to raise. And it can vary wildly, from the candidate who operates on a shoestring budget to the gold-plated, multistate operations of the most serious contenders.”

“There’s no way to know, in advance, how the spending will turn out this time. But experts say they are bracing for a record year that includes extensive fund-raising and spending by the candidates themselves and huge sums from so-called ‘outside’ groups who can now raise an unlimited amount of money from corporations.”

Gingrich Says Not All Presidents are Likeable

In an interview to air on Iowa Public Television, Newt Gingrich said “you don’t have to be likeable to win the presidency” and he cited Richard Nixon as an example.

Grassley Says Just 2 or 3 of GOP Field are Qualified

In an radio interview, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) “offered a blunt, no-nonsense assessment of the potential Republican field of candidates for president. He said only two or three of them would be qualified to hold the highest office in the land,” the New York Times reports.

“And then he refused to say which ones they were.”

Inventing George Washington

Here’s an interesting book: Inventing George Washington: America’s Founder, in Myth and Memory by Edward G. Lengel.

However, a New York Times review says that “with the exception of one standout chapter about the manufacture of anecdotes and images about Washington’s religious beliefs, this book is a haphazard production, lacking the lucid cogency of works in this biographical genre.”

Carville Thinks Romney Will Win Nomination

Political strategist James Carville predicted that Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, Politico reports.

However, the famed political consultant thought Jeb Bush was perhaps a more natural choice, but suffered thanks to his last name.

Said Carville: “If Jeb Bush were named Jeb Smith he’d probably be the front-runner.”

Emanuel Considers Cutting Council in Half

Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel (D) “has broached a touchy subject during private meetings with aldermen to solicit their ideas on budget and ethics reform: cutting the nation’s second-largest City Council in half,” the Chicago Sun Timesreports.

“Several aldermen, who asked to remain anonymous, said they were stunned when Emanuel opened the discussion by asking them point-blank, ‘What do you think about going down to 25 aldermen?'”

“It was a bold opening line for a mayor-elect who will need every vote he can get to reorganize the Council, pass his programs and solve a budget and pension crisis that literally has Chicago on the brink of bankruptcy.”

Mack Not Running After All

Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) says he’s not running for U.S. Senate, after some reportsyesterday suggested he likely would announce his candidacy, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Said Mack: “I’ve got two small children and it’s hard enough to get to spend a lot of good quality time now. I have a wife. They are all very important to me and at the end of the day family has to be number one.”

Huntsman Still Voting from Governor’s Mansion

Jon Huntsman (R) “is still registered to vote as a resident of the Utah governor’s mansion even through he resigned his office some 19 months ago to become the U.S. ambassador to China,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“In fact, Huntsman voted by absentee ballot for last year’s general election using the state-owned mansion on South Temple as his Utah residence… It is generally illegal for voters to cast ballots using a residential address where they no longer reside. But state and federal law seem to back Huntsman’s ability to still vote using the governor’s mansion as his home because that was his last address before he left for Beijing to serve as an employee of the U.S. government.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I think there will be one on the ballot.”

— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by the AP, on the prospect of him or his father launching a presidential campaign.

Quote of the Day

“I’ve tried never to play games with you guys. I think it’s fair to say I haven’t and I’m not playing any now. If I had made up my mind I’d have told you. If I’d made up my mind either aye or nay, and I haven’t.”

— Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, quoted by the Indianapolis Star, on whether he’ll run for president.

Barbour’s Fundraising Secret

The Los Angeles Times looks at the “key asset” that makes Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) a potential heavyweight in a crowded GOP presidential field: “fundraising prowess born of decades as a Republican power player.”

“Part of Barbour’s secret, colleagues say, is that unlike many politicians, he has no qualms about asking for money.”

Said nephew Henry Barbour: “I’ve been there when he asks someone for a million dollars, and he enjoys it.”

Romney Strategy Depends on Extended Primary Season

Advisers to Mitt Romney tell Politico his aim “is to exceed expectations his team is working feverishly to lower in Iowa, to come back strong with a win in New Hampshire, to survive South Carolina in part by picking up an off-setting victory in Nevada and then to settle in for what many described as ‘a slog’ that they’ll emerge from thanks to superior money and organization.”

“Romney advisers view 2012 as a unique election cycle that will be not be shaped by any recent GOP precedent or the traditional unwritten rules about which states are essential.”

Iowa Cattle Call

First Read: “Saturday is the one of the first big GOP cattle calls in Iowa — conservative Rep. Steve King’s (R) Conservative Principles Conference. Five presidential hopefuls will speak: Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), Newt Gingrich, Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) (who we learned yesterday is leaning toward a run), and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who won’t run for president, but could be a GOP kingmaker in another early primary state — South Carolina — delivers the keynote address some time after 5:30 pm ET.”

The Biggest Political Story

First Read: “It’s not in Iowa… it’s not in Washington. It’s happening every single day in America – the growth of the Hispanic population. Latinos made up half of all U.S. population growth in the past decade, by far the fastest growing group. Hispanics have nearly doubled to make up 16% of the country. We’ve said it here before, and now with the new Census numbers out it’s worth repeating: Latinos are already a serious political force in America and their influence will only get bigger. And that could be problematic for Republicans on a presidential level, because overwhelmingly right now, they prefer Democrats.”

Ben Smith: “There’s no way the Republican nominee doesn’t take a very, very hard look at Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, and perhaps Jeb Bush as running mates in the hopes of at least narrowing the gap.”

Obama Boosts U.S. Image Abroad

A new Gallup poll on global approval of world leaders shows the United States continuing to garner higher ratings than Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China from 2009 to 2010, a marked change from 2007 and 2008, when the US placed sixth in the rankings.

Ezra Klein: “One of the theories offered in support of Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy was that he could boost America’s image around the world… In 2007, the world preferred the bureaucrats running the authoritarian Chinese government to the people in charge of the American government. Today, they don’t. In fact, they don’t prefer the leadership of any major power to ours. That’s a pretty effective rebranding.”

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