POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/4

Kaine Will Run for Senate in Virginia

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine is “planning to announce he will run in 2012 for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat… in the next two weeks,” CNN reports.

If Kaine decides to run, this would be the second major recruit by Democrats, following Rep. Martin Heinrich’s (D-NM) announcement that he will run for the New Mexico U.S. Senate seat.

Pawlenty Invokes Charlie Sheen

Tim Pawlenty attempted to connect with college Republicans by using references to Charlie Sheen, according to Radio Iowa.

Said Pawlenty: “Now, we may not in this room have ‘tiger blood’ like he does. But we do have something else in common with him. There’s going to be a lot of winning on the Republican side in 2012.”

Romney’s Quiet Campaign

“Four years ago at this time, Mitt Romney seemed to be everywhere at once,” the Boston Globe reports, “racing from appearance to appearance, and speech to speech, focusing with special zeal on the early primary states.”

“This time around, as a still-unannounced but all but certain contender, his strategy seems strikingly different: Don’t make noise. Be the grown-up in the mix. Dare, for the moment, to be typecast as dull.”

“Because Romney already has high name recognition and a campaign apparatus largely intact, he has been able to bypass many of the public campaign activities other candidates are pursuing. Romney advisers seem thrilled not to have the attention. They have been trying to push the start of the race as late as possible — to preserve resources, and to prevent the onslaught of attacks that promise to be directed at Romney in debates.”

House Budget Plan Calls for Big Medicare Changes

CNN reports House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) “will unveil a highly anticipated 2012 Republican budget next week that proposes dramatic changes to political lightning rods: entitlements.”

“The plan, to be released Tuesday, calls for a controversial overhaul of Medicare, the health care program for seniors, and imposes deep cuts in Medicaid, which provides health benefits to low-income Americans… Starting 10 years from now, in 2021, Americans would no longer enroll in the Medicare program, but instead receive vouchers for private insurance, according to the GOP sources, who stressed anyone 55 or older now would not be affected by the change.”

Interestingly, the plan “does not call for significant change to the Social Security program. Republicans argue that while Social Security is a factor in the nation’s fiscal crisis, it doesn’t contribute as much to the soaring debt as Medicare.”

 

Graham Sees Spending Deal

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CBS News that he expected a budget deal this week to prevent a government shutdown after Friday.

Said Graham: “I think we’ll find consensus.”

Quote of the Day

“I’m thinking very, very long and hard about it. I love what I’m doing. And I’m getting a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of running a really great company. My company is extraordinary. But the country is not extraordinary; it’s doing very poorly.”

— Donald Trump, quoted by the New York Times, on possibly running for president.

 

Obama Re-Election Will Launch Any Day

President Obama is expected to announce his re-election campaign early next week in an electronic message to grassroots supporters, Mike Allen reports.

“The most likely day for the campaign to file registration papers with the FEC is Monday, but officials are not committing to a specific date in case some transcendent event in the world would overshadow the kickoff.”

“The website is ready, the donation button has been tested, and call sheets to key political supporters are set. Obama organizers have long planned to launch at the beginning of the second quarter so they can show a fundraising juggernaut in their first report to FEC. But they couldn’t pull the trigger on the first day of the quarter, April Fools’ Day, and then the next two days were weekend days. Obama will be raising money for the campaign in Chicago on April 14, and the campaign had to formally organize before that date.”

Heinrich Will Make Run for Senate in New Mexico

Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has announced he will run for the seat of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who is retiring after 2012.

The Hotline: “Heinrich’s decision is good news for New Mexico Democrats, giving the party a top-tier contender in hopes of keeping a seat it has held since Bingaman won election in 1982. He’s also the first A-list contender national Democrats have successfully recruited into any race this cycle, after a number of possible contenders in other states declined to run.”

RNC May Use Debates as Fundraisers

The RNC is considering sanctioning a series of monthly presidential candidate debates beginning in August that would be paired with committee fundraisers, The Hill reports.

Politico: “Under the plan, laid out in a one-page memo co-signed by RNC chief of staff Jeff Larson, the candidates would still be allowed to participate in other, nonparty sanctioned debates. But the RNC is offering an incentive to lure the hopefuls to their plan: access to the party’s vast fundraising list and voter file… There’s no direct suggestion that any candidates who decline to join the party’s debates would be denied the lists, but that’s how at least one adviser to a potential candidate read it.”

 

Why a Government Shutdown Isn’t Likely

John Dickerson: “If a government shutdown is averted, it will be the third time the fears about a crisis will have been unfounded. The reason will have been the same all along. Despite all of the talk and threats of a government closure, both sides have always known that a shutdown would be disastrous for everyone.”

 

New Yorkers Don’t Want Spitzer to Run for Mayor

A new NY1-Marist Poll finds that 62% of registered voters in New York City say they would prefer former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer not run for mayor in 2013 — as has been rumored — with 29% saying he should and 10% not sure.

That said, the Democratic race is wide open with 18% of Democratic voters picking Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), 15% supporting former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, 13% backing Comptroller John Liu and 13% liking City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Lawmaker Rails Against Drunk Driving Laws

During a debate in the Montana legislature over bills to toughen DUI laws, state Rep. Alan Hale (R) — a bar owner — said drunk driving laws are “destroying a way of life that has been in Montana for years and years,” the Billings Gazette reports.

“Hale’s speech was perhaps most surprising for its honesty. Until only recently, Montana had one of the most permissive drunken driving cultures in the country. Montanans could legally sip a beer while driving, and repeat DUI offenders tallied sixth and seventh offenses with little punishment.”

Trump Joins Fox News

Fox News just announced they will feature Donald Trump in a regular “Mondays with Trump” segment on their morning show, Fox & Friends.

Mediaite: “It is the exact opposite media move as that of fellow Fox News personalities Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who stepped down from their media roles when it became apparent they were after the highest political position in the country. While this does not necessarily make Trump an official Fox News personality in a way that would be a conflict of interest with running for office- the ad merely advertises a regular appearance, not a contract- it does make Trump another statistic in the Fox News contributor/2012 presidential pool, though that may certainly be worth it if it translates to either big TV ratings or big approval ratings in presidential polls.”

Boehner Warns About Government Shutdown

As we noted earlier, it look like House Speaker John Boehner wants a budget deal.

According to The Hill, Boehner told reporters that shutting down the federal government would be more costly than keeping it running and his party is against a shutdown.

Said Boehner: “If you shut the government down, it’ll end up costing more than
 you’ll save because you interrupt contracts — there are a lot of
 problems with the idea of shutting the government down — it is not the
 goal.”

Few Americans Know Boehner

According to a Pew Research poll, just 43% of Americans know that John Boehner is Speaker of the House of Representatives and just 38% were aware that Republicans had a majority in the House.

Bachmann Outraises Romney

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) raised $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2011, even more than Mitt Romney who raised $1.9 million over the same period, Fox Newsreports.

“Bachmann’s political action committee, MichelePAC, raised $1.7 million while her Congressional reelection fund took in $500,000. The funds raised for her Congressional reelection could be transferred to any federal campaign, including one for president.”

Americans Back Unions Over Governors in State Disputes

A new Gallup poll finds 48% of Americans say they agree more with the unions in state disputes over collective bargaining for public employees, while 39% agree more with the governors.

Barbour Running for President “Horrifies” His Wife

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s wife told WLOX-TV says the thought of his running for president “horrifies me” because it would be “a huge sacrifice for a family to make.”

Marsha Barbour’s comments come after one of the Barbours’ sons, Sterling, said he’s a private person and he hopes his father doesn’t run. Both, however, said they would support him in his decision.

Lobbyists and PAC Organizers

While visiting New Hampshire last week, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer (R) dished on the establishment Republican frontrunners in the presidential race, according to John DiStaso.

Said Roemer: “Can you imagine Haley Barbour and Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich as the representatives of the Republican Party? Lobbyists and PAC organizers.”

 

Deal or No Deal?

While the headlines suggest a government shutdown is looming next week, First Read advises “don’t believe the hype — at least yet. Behind the scenes, Democrats and Republicans are closer to a deal than they appear.”

Mark Halperin: “It seems almost certain now that the latest continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown will have to go to the House floor without the votes in hand for it to pass, and that it will require a joint whip operation to get enough Republican and Democratic votes combined to reach a majority… We could be headed towards a deal opposed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the tea party and every Republican presidential candidate, but that passes with the support of Speaker Boehner, Senator McConnell, and lots of Democrats.”

When $1 Billion Isn’t Enough

While President Obama’s campaign manager signaled to supporters he’s aiming to raise close to $1 billion for the re-election effort, the Los Angeles Times reports two former key White House aides “are likely to launch an independent political group in support of his bid, a direct response to the pent-up demand among Democrats for a vehicle to challenge the Republican network of well-funded allies.”

“The independent expenditure effort is being contemplated by Bill Burton, the former deputy press secretary, and Sean Sweeney, who served as the senior aide to former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Both left the White House this year. The organization is still in the planning stages, according to people familiar with the discussions, but is already being viewed by top Democratic fundraisers as the most promising effort to counter the independent political organizations that helped secure GOP victories in the 2010 midterm election.”

Which Paul Will it Be?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-TX) met with top Iowa Republican officials this weekend, Politico reports.

Both Paul and his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), “have publicly stated they are eyeing runs at the GOP nomination, but have yet to decide which one — if either of them — will choose to run.”

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