POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/6
The tax and spending roadmap put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) earlier today “is backed by a set of extremely optimistic assumptions about how the budget would stimulate private investment, hiring, and broad economic growth,” National Journalreports.
Key assumptions: “The unemployment rate will plunge by 2.5 percentage points. The still-sinking housing market will roar back in a brand new boom. The federal government will collect $100 billion more in income tax revenues than it otherwise would have. And that’s just in the first year. By 2015, the forecasters say, unemployment will fall to 4 percent. By 2021, it will be a nearly unprecedented 2.8 percent.”
President Obama has tapped Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to replace Tim Kaine as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. She will not leave her congressional seat.
Mike Allen reports Wasserman Schultz “was chosen for her strength as a fund-raiser and as a television messenger, and for her clout in the crucial swing state of Florida.”
Just three weeks after Jon Huntsman officially departs as the U.S. Ambassador to China, John DiStaso reports the potential Republican presidential candidate will be in New Hampshire as the keynote commencement speaker at Southern New Hampshire University on May 21.
“We’ve gone to 50th in education and number one in gonorrhea, and that’s the accomplishments of an all Republican government.”
— Dick Harpootlian, former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, explaining to The Fix why he’s running again for his old position.
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) told ABC News he would consider becoming Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) vice presidential pick — but not if Paul runs as a Republican.
Said Venutra: “If Ron Paul runs as an independent, I will give great consideration to being his running mate.”
Ventura dedicated his new book 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read to Paul, calling him “the only federal elected official who will stand up for America on the congressional floor.”
Former Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL) has announced that he will run for Senate to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), reports The Hotline, setting up a likely Republican primary with Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolis (R) and former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R).
The Fix notes that LeMieux’s close ties with former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) “are expected to be a major liability in the 2012 GOP primary. Republican voters quickly soured on Crist…and the governor eventually left the Republican primary to run as an independent. Through it all, LeMieux has been careful to keep his distance from his former ally. But look for his Republican primary opponents to tie the two of them together at almost every turn.”
Congress and the White House “veered toward a fiscal collision” as the Obama administration “rejected a short-term House Republican demand to cut $12 billion now in exchange for keeping the government open for one more week,” the New York Times reports.
“At an impromptu news conference at the White House, President Obama said there was ‘no excuse’ for failing to pass a budget for the rest of this year, and that he was no longer willing to accept one short-term deal after another to temporarily keep agencies running.”
Meanwhile, a senior Senate Democratic aide tells Greg Sargent that in today’s private meeting at the White House, Boehner “signaled to the President and to Harry Reid that Republicans were not willing to support any budget compromise that can’t garner the votes of 218 Republicans in the House. That would be a break from the GOP’s previous posture: Republican leaders had appeared willing to reach a deal that could pass the House with Republican and Democratic support, even if it meant losing some Republicans.”
DNC Chairman Tim Kaine announced in a video he is running for the U.S. Senate from Virginia.
The AP reports his candidacy “leaves an opening for a DNC chairman to oversee the central party as President Obama heads toward a re-election bid. The DNC also would have to help the party defend a majority in the U.S. Senate and fight to reclaim power in the U.S. House.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s parody of President Obama’s 2012 campaign launch, released Friday, now has 665,000 views as compared to Obama’s real launch video from yesterday which is at just 168,000 views.
Ben Smith notes YouTube’s metrics “tend to lag a bit, but the numbers suggest that — energy-wise — we’re in 2010, not 2008.”
First Read takes another look at the presidential battleground: There are 70 scenarios how Obama could reach 270 electoral votes or higher, 55 scenarios how the GOP nominee could get to 270 and above, and 13 different ways we could see a 269-269 tie.
“Some may argue that exploiting Governor Palin and her family helped bring attention to my low-rated TV show. I am proud to say you are wrong. My TV show still enjoys very low ratings. In fact, I think the Palin stuff may have hurt the TV show. Let’s face it, between Alec Baldwin and me there is a certain fifty percent of the population who think we are pinko Commie monsters.”
— Tina Fey, writing in Bossypants, about impersonating Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in New Hampshire shows Mitt Romney leading the GOP presidential field with 27% but finds Donald Trump just behind him at 21%.
Key to Trump’s strong showing: “He does well with birthers and Tea Partiers, two groups he has seemed to actively court with his public comments of late. 42% of primary voters firmly say they do not believe Barack Obama was born in the United States to 35% who believe that he was and 23% who aren’t sure. Trump leads Romney 22-21 with the birther crowd, but Romney holds the overall lead because he’s up by a much wider margin with the folks who dismiss the birther theory.”
If you take Trump out of the picture Romney maintains the customary wide lead he has shown in most polling of the state with 31%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 15%, Newt Gingrich at 13%, Sarah Palin at 10%, Ron Paul at 10%, Michele Bachmann at 4%, Tim Pawlenty at 4% and Haley Barbour at 2%.
A top Democrat involved in President Obama’s reelection campaign tells Politico:
“This is very much, like the last time around, going to be a Plouffe and Axelrod deal. As long as David Plouffe is in our orbit, there isn’t anyone else who is going to have final ultimate say about huge decisions on politics.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveils today — with a video, of course — his 2012 budget plan, which includes a dramatic overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid.
David Brooks: “The Ryan budget will not be enacted this year, but it will immediately reframe the domestic policy debate. His proposal will set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion. It will become the 2012 Republican platform, no matter who is the nominee. Any candidate hoping to win that nomination will have to be able to talk about government programs with this degree of specificity, so it will improve the G.O.P. primary race.”
Ezra Klein: “It’s also completely, almost gleefully, unacceptable to Democrats. Some thought that the introduction of Ryan’s 2012 budget would make it easier for the GOP to compromise on funding for the rest of this year. I’m doubtful. By raising the stakes on next year’s battle, it’s just as likely to leave both sides less willing to show weakness on this year’s battle. And then there’s the question of how Republicans and Democrats will avoid a shutdown when 2012 rolls around: Republicans are committing themselves to, and getting their base excited about, a truly radical series of changes to the federal government.”
Two elections in Wisconsin today — for state Supreme Court justice and Milwaukee County executive — “are officially nonpartisan contests, but both could be heavily influenced by strong feelings about Gov. Scott Walker, a controversial new law restricting public employee unions and the rest of the Republican legislative agenda,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
First Read: “If Democrats win one or both of these races by tying the Republican to Walker, it could be further evidence that Walker is politically toxic in Wisconsin and that Dems have the momentum in the state. And these two contests are just the beginning: The first recall election of a GOP state senator looks like it will take place a couple of months from now…”
Mark your calendars: The United States will hit the legal limit on its ability to borrow no later than May 16, ramping up pressure on Congress to act to avoid a debt default.
Reuters notes the Treasury “has authority to take certain extraordinary measures to postpone the date the United States would default on its obligations. However, those actions would be exhausted after about eight weeks and there would be ‘no headroom’ to borrow after July 8.”
The U.S. Department of Labor says Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) “violated the terms of a federal grant when he removed a labor-themed mural from a state office building last month,” the Kennebec Journal reports.
“The only thing I’m running for is the county line.”
— Former Sen. Carte Goodwin (D-WV), quoted by the Charleston Daily Mail, saying he has no plans to run for public office.
Charlie Cook says Republican pollsters and strategists see reasons for concern “that haven’t been heard in almost two years.”
“Among the worries the party now has is that a government shutdown could get blamed on the GOP. Additionally, these party insiders believe that taking on entitlements, specifically Medicare, could jeopardize the party’s hold on the House, its strong chances of taking the Senate and the stronghold that the party has been established with older white voters — not coincidentally, Medicare recipients.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who defeated former Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) at the state party convention last year by running to his right, says he will not endorse his home state colleague Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who may face a Tea Party challenge of his own.
Politico: “The 77-year-old Hatch and 39-year-old Lee have ties that span three decades, making it tricky for the freshman to keep his distance from Utah’s political patriarch. But their evolving relationship speaks volumes about both the changing dynamics of the Senate — in which freshmen are eager to employ attention-grabbing tactics to show their independence rather than fall in line behind the veterans — as well as the lingering tensions between the Washington GOP and the tea party wing that it is trying to court.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has proposed yet another short-term budget extension that would fund the military through September, provide for all other government operations for one week and cut $12 billion in funding from current levels, reports The Hill.
“Boehner told GOP lawmakers attending a closed-door conference meeting that he needed ‘leverage’ going into a meeting with President Obama and Senate Democratic leaders at the White House on Tuesday morning… By tying a one-week stopgap to legislation funding the military for the rest of the year, Boehner may have found a way to win enough votes to buy another week of negotiations.”
Fifty four House Republicans voted against the last stopgap measure, and a “number of so-called ‘dissidents’ rose to decry the idea of funding another short-term resolution” during a Republican closed-door conference meeting.
Roll Call reports that the legislative pace in the Senate, already described as a “crawl,” is about to become “glacial.”
“With the Republican-controlled House sending Senate Democrats one dead-on-arrival bill after another, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid(D-Nev.) has spent the first three months of this Congress clearing the decks of a handful of relatively noncontroversial measures. But Senate Democrats acknowledge that they could reach the end of the line this week with passage of a small-business bill that has already eaten up two weeks of floor time.”
“Senators on both sides of the aisle said the debate over how to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year and the looming clash over raising the debt ceiling have poisoned the well for House-Senate negotiations on other legislative items. They suggested that after those issues have been resolved there could be a better chance for cross-Dome compromise.”