POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/31
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) told Entertainment Weekly his plans for the next phase of his career: “He’s going be a cartoon superhero, known as The Governator.”
Said Schwarzenegger: “When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about ‘the Governator,’ I thought the word was so cool. The word Governator combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [this cartoon] brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the True Lies…”
A new AP-GfK poll finds Americans are growing increasingly pessimistic about the economy but aren’t taking it out on President Obama.
“Obama’s approval ratings have held steady at around 50% over the past month. But the disconnect between negative perceptions of the economy and signs that a rebound are under way could provide an opening for Republicans at the outset of the 2012 campaign.”
A new Gallup Poll finds Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating from Americans is now 66%, up from 61% in July 2010 and her highest rating to date while serving in the Obama administration.
President Obama “has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi,” Reutersreports.
Obama signed the order within the last two or three weeks to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Update: The White House issues a statement: “As is common practice for this and all Administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters. I will reiterate what the President said yesterday – no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya. We’re not ruling it out or ruling it in. We’re assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people, and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters.”
The White House and congressional Republicans “edged closer to a spending-cut deal” as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) directed staff to begin negotiations with their Senate-side counterparts, The Hill reports.
The move suggests the two sides have agreed on a top-line number.
Meanwhile, Ben Smith notes “a remarkable exchange” between Politico reporter David Rogers and House Majority Eric Cantor (R-VA) which clearly shows Boehner has kept Cantor out the budget negotiations. Earlier reports of a looming government shutdown have been based on statements made by Cantor, but it seems he’s been out of the loop.
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) commissioned a poll which shows her with a slim lead over Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) in a prospective matchup for the U.S. Senate, 42% to 38%.
But a Democratic source familiar with Berkley’s thinking tells Jon Ralston she remains “torn” over the decision, unsure whether to give up a House seat for life for what would be an uncertain foray.
In an interview with Laura Ingraham earlier today, Donald Trump praised the “so called birthers” saying “these are great people, these are really great American people. These are hard working, unbelievable, salt of the earth people.”
Later tonight on the The O’Reilly Factor, Trump steps up his questioning of President Onama’s citizenship.
Said Trump: “I have a birth certificate. People have birth certificates. He doesn’t have a birth certificate. He may have one but there is something on that birth certificate — maybe religion, maybe it says he’s a Muslim, I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that. Or, he may not have one.”
On whether Obama was born in the United States: “I grew up with Wall Street geniuses. What they do in terms of fraud, and how they change documents — and I’ll tell you something, if you notice, those dates were three days later. And here’s what I ask people — who puts announcements? Two poor people, a man and a woman with no money, they have a baby. There’s announcements in the newspaper? Nelson Rockefeller doesn’t put announcements in. I’ve never seen one.”
“What this bill says is it reiterates again the deadline, and that the Senate should act before the deadline, and that’s what the American people are expecting. The bill then says if the Senate does not act, then H.R. 1 [the House-passed bill] will be the law of the land.”
— House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), quoted by the Washington Post, forgetting that bills — even symbolic ones — cannot become law without also passing the Senate and getting the President’s signature.
Despite Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) lukewarm job approval numbers, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds he has at least a 13 point lead over all of his prospective opponents for next year and against the nominal Republican front runner at this point, Mike Haridopolos, he’s already hit 50%.
Sen. Daniel Akaka’s (D-HI) retirement made some Republicans hopeful they could flip the seat if former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) were a candidate in 2012. However, a new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey finds Lingle losing badly to every single Democrat tested.
Donal Trump “isn’t just visiting New Hampshire — he’s in discussions to hire staff,”Politico reports.
“Michael Cohen, an aide to Trump who’s been hyping the real estate mogul’s latest presidential tease, is talking to New Hampshire activists and is in advanced discussions with former state lawmaker Fran Wendelboe to help consult on a potential campaign.”
Meanwhile, Politico also reports Trump “is in talks with veteran GOP pollster and strategist Tony Fabrizio as he mulls a potential presidential campaign.”
With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “as the star attraction, the National Republican Congressional Committee will rake in $10 million on Wednesday night at its annual fundraising dinner,” Politico reports.
Joe Klein: “This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism… There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected. You never know.”
Meanwhile, Steve Kornacki looks at the “five most embarrassing Republican candidates to be taken (at least somewhat) seriously by the media” since 1980: Rep. Phil Crane, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, Rep. Robert Dornan and Alan Keyes.
More proof Republicans are nervous a government shutdown will hurt them politically:
National Journal reports the House GOP “plans to pass on Friday a measure called the ‘Prevention of a Government Shutdown Act.’ Passage will do nothing to avoid a government shutdown since no deal has been reached with Democrats in the Senate and the White House. But it will give the House GOP the opportunity to claim that they’ve tried to prod the Senate toward a deal on spending cuts.”
“That’s a waste of time. He says he’s a Christian. He’s a Christian. And I do believe he was born in the United States. And I don’t think any of those things are the reason why America’s in trouble.”
— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), in an interview with ABC News, rejecting those who question President Obama’s religion and citizenship.
According to The Hill, Republicans are now trying to say a looming government shutdown is not actually a shutdown, it’s a “slowdown” or a “partial shutdown.”
“The rhetorical distinction is a subtle, but politically significant, shift in the intensifying blame game between Republicans and Democrats, who must reach agreement and pass a spending bill by April 8 to avert what is commonly referred to as a government shutdown.”
Former New Hampshire Republican chairman Fergus Cullen tells Christian Heinze: “Heck, if the Jones family from Ohio planned a summer vacation to New Hampshire, they could probably get the keynote at a county GOP barbecue.”
First Read: “Right now, just three Republicans (Cain, Pawlenty, and Roemer) have formed exploratory committees, and no one has yet to formally announce a presidential bid. By comparison, at this point in the 2008 cycle, at least 17 Democratic and Republican presidential candidates had already formed their exploratory committees or had officially declared they were running for president (as Obama did from Springfield, IL on Feb. 10, 2007). The 2012 Iowa caucuses, as of now, are set to take place 313 days from now.”
NBC News reports that the May 2 Republican presidential debate has been moved to September 14, due to the fact that no major candidate has formally announced a bid yet.
“I struggle to meet my bills right now… The benefits that were offered to me as a congressman don’t even compare to the benefits that you get as a state employee. I just experienced that myself. They’re not nearly as good.”
— Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), quoted by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, defending his congressional salary and benefits to a constituent who responded, “But $174,000 — that’s … three times what I make.”
Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) will seek a rematch against Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), the Arizona Republic reports.
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that Floridians have a net positive view of former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I), with 46% holding a favorable opinion and 42% holding an unfavorable opinion.
Key figures: Crist’s support comes primarily from Democrats, 59% to 28%, and three quarters of respondents think he should run as a Democrat or independent. Only 12% believe he should run as a Republican.
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds approval for the Tea Party movement has fallen to 32%, the lowest it’s been since CNN first asked early last year. Meanwhile, 47% have an unfavorable view of the movement, a higher negative percentage than ever.
Less than three months on the job and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is already prepping to run for governor again, according to Matier and Ross.
“A city insider who asked not to be named tells us the new lieutenant governor approached him at a charity fundraiser the other day with a request for help to start raising money for a renewed gubernatorial bid.”
A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters disapprove 48% to 42% of the job President Obama is doing and say 50% to 41% that he does not deserve to be re-elected in 2012, both all-time lows.
The judge who recently issued an injunction halting the implementation of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law has told the state for a second time to stop implementing the measure, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
Said Judge Maryann Sumi: “Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of Act 10 was enjoined. That is what I now want to make crystal clear.”
AP: “Walker and the GOP have aggressively pushed forward their effort to remove the bargaining rights of state workers, using a surprise parliamentary maneuver to break a weeks-long stalemate to get it passed and then finding another route topublish the law after Sumi’s order blocked the secretary of state from doing so.”