POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/1

Bloomberg Approval Plummets in New York

A new NY1-Marist Poll finds New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s once high approval ratings a thing of the past with just 40% of registered voters approving of the job the mayor is doing in office with 59% disapproving.

Said pollster Lee Miringoff: “Mayor Bloomberg is not immune from ‘third term-itis.’  If you mix together the rough winter weather, a sluggish economy, and the ongoing battle over public schools, he’s spending too much of his political capital.”

Giuliani Blasts Obama on Libya Action

Rudy Giuliani told Laura Ingraham that “since this whole thing in the Middle East began,” the Obama administration “doesn’t know what it’s doing.”

“This is probably the worst handled national security military action I have ever seen. From announcing — when he didn’t know what to do — that Gadhafi must go to then making that speech the other night, which was internally contradictory. You cannot say we’re there to protect the Libyan people, but we’re not going to be for regime change with Gadhafi because the reason we are there to protect the Libyan people is because of Gadhafi.”

Lessons Forgotten?

From Newt Gingrich’s 1998 book, Lessons Learned the Hard Way:

“The idea of a grand showdown on spending had long been a staple of conservative analysis. Even before Reagan’s inaugural, he had been approached by one prominent conservative who urged him to force a showdown over the debt ceiling and simply refuse to sign on to one until the Democratic Congress reined in its spending plans. Reagan rejected this idea with a comment I wish I had understood better at the time. The conservative activist who told me that story was convinced that Reagan would have won such a showdown. For fifteen years I agreed with him, but I was to learn something about the American people that too many conservatives don’t appreciate. They want their leaders to have principled disagreements but they want these disagreements to be settled in constructive ways. That is not, of course, what our own activists were telling us. They were all gung ho for a brutal fight over spending and taxes. We mistook their enthusiasm for the views of the American public.”

Iowa Map Pits Incumbents Against Each Other

Iowa’s nonpartisan redistricting commission “threw an early wrench into the state’s redistricting process” proposing a map that would put Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) into the same district, while also putting Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) into the same district, the Des Moines Register reports.

“The map is far from the final say on how Iowa’s congressional landscape will appear on the 2012 ballot. Either chamber of the Legislature or the governor can reject the LSA’s proposals twice. In the third round, they can amend the map. But if either chamber or the governor reject that, the map would be drawn by the Iowa Supreme Court.”

Obama Gets Openness Award in Private

“President Obama has accepted an award for making the government more open and transparent — presented to him behind closed doors. No media coverage or public access was allowed at the ceremony,” the AP reports.

Republicans Chastise Lawmaker for Saying “Uterus”

During a debate in Florida’s legislature, state Rep. Scott Randolph (D) argued that Republicans “are against regulations — except when it comes to the little guys, or serves their specific interests,” the St. Petersburg Times reports.

“At one point Randolph suggested that his wife ‘incorporate her uterus’ to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Republicans, after all, wouldn’t want to further regulate a Florida business.”

However, GOP leadership was not amused and chastised the lawmaker for using the word “uterus” because “it is important for all Members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers who are seated in the chamber during debates. In the past, if the debate is going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests, the Speaker will make an announcement in advance, asking children and others who may be uncomfortable with the subject matter to leave the floor and gallery.”

Obama’s Enforcer

The Nation profiles President Obama’s re-election campaign manager Jim Messina, but finds he’s not well-liked by the more progressive side of the Democratic party.

Unlike David Plouffe, “who became a revered figure among Obama supporters, Messina begins the re-election campaign with a significant amount of baggage. As a former chief of staff to Baucus and deputy to Emanuel, Messina has clashed with progressive activists and grassroots Obama supporters both inside and outside Washington over political strategy and on issues like healthcare reform and gay rights, alienating parts of the very constituencies that worked so hard for Obama in 2008 and that the campaign needs to reinspire and activate in 2012. Obama’s fixer has arguably created as many problems as he’s solved.”

Said one Democratic strategist: “He is not of the Obama movement. There is not a bone in his body that speaks to or comprehends the idea of a movement and that grassroots energy. To me, that’s bothersome.”

Colbert Launches PAC

Stephen Colbert, host of the Colbert Report on Comedy Central has announcedColbert PAC, complete with a fantastic video modeled after Tim Pawlenty’s own launch video.

Said Colbert: “I want to warn you in advance, if you’re epileptic, there are going to be a lot of quick cuts and flashing lights. and if you’re not epileptic, you will be after this.”

See more…

Lawmaker Worried War Could Escalate Into Africa

Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Scranton Times Tribune that he supports efforts to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power in Libya but said President Obama should have consulted Congress before acting.

Said Marino: “Where does it stop? Do we go into Africa next? I don’t want to sound callous or cold, but this could go on indefinitely around the world.”

Of course, Libya is in Africa.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I agree with Michele Bachmann 99% of the time on policy issues. But just like Dorothy, I’ve been to Oz and I’ve looked behind the curtain.”

— Former Bachmann chief of staff Ron Carey, quoted by Time, on why he will not support his former boss for president.

Major GOP Calendar Fight Erupts

Ben Smith reports that South Carolina Republican Party Chair Karen Floyd has “brought into the open the simmering tensions between the traditional early states and the others — particularly Florida — jockeying to break into the primary calendar. Floyd’s demand: If Florida won’t step aside, the RNC should move its convention out of the state.”

Wrote Floyd in a letter to fellow members of the Republican National Committee: “But what is disconcerting is the apparent recalcitrance of Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature, which is in effect thumbing its nose at the RNC – and feels emboldened to do so because of the 2012 convention location. Simply put, if Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected.”

Adds Smith, “It is, in other words, on.”

Brown Looks Safe in Massachusetts

Despite Massachusetts being a deeply Democratic state, Steve Kornacki reports a new DSCC poll finds that Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) popularity is soaring.

“The survey, which has been seen by at least one D.C. insider and was detailed for Salon, measured Brown’s approval rating at 73% — easily surpassing the scores for Barack Obama and the state’s two top Democrats, Gov. Deval Patrick and Sen. John Kerry. It also found him running over the magic 50% mark against every potential Democratic challenger, and crushing the strongest perceived Democrats (Reps. Michael Capuano and Ed Markey and former Rep. Marty Meehan) by double-digit margins. The results only grew closer when respondents were primed with negative information about Brown.”

Caving In

First Read: “If the current Washington fight over spending was a game of chicken, the Obama White House would already be pulled over on the side of the road, as House Republicans continue to barrel down the deserted highway. The fact is, the White House and Senate Democrats keep caving, while House Republicans — at least publicly — have yet to budge an inch. The latest development, as Politicoreports, is that the administration has agreed to an overall cut of $33 billion, which is near the number that the House leadership originally proposed (before the Tea Party caucus forced it to go higher). And now the White House appears to be backing away from its demand that no riders be attached to the deal.”

Yes, Obama Has a Computer

At a Univision town hall, President Obama was asked by moderator Jorge Ramos if he owns a computer.

Said Obama: “Jorge, I’m the president of the United States. You think I’ve got to go borrow somebody’s computer? … ‘Hey, man, can I borrow your computer? … How about you? You’ve got one?'”

Obama also revealed that he owns an iPad and uses it regularly.

The End of the Safe District?

Rhodes Cook examines recent trends in the prevalence of safe congressional districts and concludes that “safe congressional seats will always be with us, but probably not as many as their most ambitious creators would want.”

Key finding: “Nearly half (49) took place in ‘red’ districts that had supported Republicans George W. Bush and John McCain in their presidential runs of 2004 and 2008, respectively… Another 22 switches came in ‘blue’ districts that had voted in recent presidential elections for Democrats John Kerry and Barack Obama. In short, 71 of the 100 districts where partisan changes took place could be considered reasonably safe, or at least clearly leaning to one party or the other.”

Quote of the Day

“I’d gotten tired of being told to plot against Democrats to make them look bad… The games were getting old.”

— Former Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), quoted by Business Week.

Ohio Next to Curb Collective Bargaining Rights

Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature passed legislation that would “curb the collective bargaining rights of about 350,000 state employees, and Gov. John Kasich (R) said he will sign it into law,” according to Reuters.

“Similar measures have spurred protests in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan and other states. Ohio Democrats hope to put the new law on the ballot for a referendum vote in November in an effort to overturn it… While Wisconsin has gained more national attention, Ohio is far more important to unions. It has the sixth largest number of public sector union members among all the 50 U.S. states, twice the number of Wisconsin. With many auto and steel and manufacturing plants, Ohio is also a union bellwether.”

Democrats Trail in Generic Ballot

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Republicans leading Democrats in the generic congressional ballot by three points, 40% to 37%.

Arizona Democrats Waiting for Giffords

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) “is still in the hospital, but some of her most ardent backers are so enamored of the idea of her running for the Senate that they describe the inevitable campaign commercials: the deep-voiced narrator recounting what happened to her, the images of her wounded, then recovering and speaking into the camera alongside her astronaut husband to call on Arizonans to unite,” theNew York Times reports.

“While it might be wishful thinking, Ms. Giffords’s noncampaign is already having a major effect on Arizona politics; other prospective Democratic candidates say they feel compelled not to jump in unless she bows out, allowing Republicans to get a head start organizing their campaigns.”

Said one prospective candidate: “I’m in but only if she’s not. A Democrat running against her would be doomed.”

Was Schumer Just Being “Old School”?

While most saw Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-NY) mute button incident as an accidental gaffe by the veteran politician, Jonathan Cohn isn’t so sure.

“I also couldn’t help think back to a classic West Wing episode, when the fictional President Bartlet (played by actor Martin Sheen) was beginning his re-election campaign. After the end of a television interview, Bartlet lets slip that his opponent isn’t too bright–or, as Bartlet puts it, that he has a ‘.22 caliber mind in a .357 magnum world.’ It turns out the television camera was still running. The press ends up reporting the comment, ostensibly embarrassing Bartlet but, of course, reinforcing the idea that his opponent is dumb. Later, press secretary C.J. Cregg (played by Allison Janney) asks Bartlet whether he knew the camera was on, making the comment purposely. When Bartlet smiles and walks away, she says ‘that was old school.'”

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