Trump Has Investigators in Hawaii

Donald Trump told NBC News he has investigators in Hawaii looking into President Obama’s birth certificate.

Said Trump: “I am saying I want to see the birth certificate. It’s very simple. I want to see the birth certificate. How come his own family doesn’t know which hospital he was born in? How come — forget about birth certificates. Let’s say there’s no birth certificate. How come in the hospital itself, okay? This is one of the…in the hospital itself, there’s no records of his birth. In other words, it doesn’t say how much they paid, where is the doctor, here’s your room bill.”

Meredith Viera: “You’ve been privy to all of this to know this?”

Trump: “Well, I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re talking.”

Viera: “You have people now out there searching — I mean, in Hawaii?”

Trump: “Absolutely. And they cannot believe what they’re finding. And I’m serious–”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Listen, there’s no daylight between the Tea Party and me… None. What they want is they want us to cut spending. They want us to deal with this crushing debt that’s going to crush the future for our kids and grandkids. There’s no daylight there.”

— House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), in an interview with ABC News to air tomorrow morning.

Majority Backs Compromise But Not Republicans

A new Gallup Poll finds that by 58% to 33% margin, Americans “want government leaders who share their views on the budget to back a compromise and avert a shutdown rather than hold out for a budget they agree with.”

“The difficulty for House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders is that rank-and-file Republicans’ views on this question are starkly different from those of the public at large. The slight majority of Republicans nationwide, 51%, want the people in government who share their views to hold out for a budget they agree with rather than compromise. This compares with 27% of Democrats and 29% of independents who say the same.”

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll finds similar results: 68% of self-identified Democrats, as well as 76% of political independents, say they want Democratic leaders in the House and Senate to make compromises to gain consensus in the current spending debate. By comparison, 56% of self-identified Republicans want GOP leaders to stick to their position, even if it means the inability to achieve consensus.

Trump Runs Strong Among GOP Contenders

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Mitt Romney leading the GOP presidential pack with 21%, followed by Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee both at 17%. Newt Gingrich was in fourth place with 11%, followed by Sarah Palin at 10% and Tim Pawlenty at 6%.


Boehner Cries Over Looming Shutdown

Sources tell ABC News that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) thanked House Republicans for standing by him and supporting him through tense negotiations with the White House. The Republican conference responded with a standing ovation which prompted Boehner to cry.

Said one person at the meeting: “Yes. He cried, but only briefly.”

Beck to “Transition Off” Fox News

Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze reports that the host of The Glenn Beck Show will “transition off of his daily TV program” later this year.

Dave Weigel: “Beck’s ratings had been collapsing, even as he remained one of the most popular hosts on TV. In January 2010 he had 2.9 million viewers; in January 2011 he’d fallen to 1.8 million… The thing is, Beck really is in the same position that Oprah Winfrey is. Not on the same scale, not with the same audience. But he has an extremely loyal audience that has followed him as he’s built a news site (The Blaze), a ‘Beck University’ of Constitution classes, a radio empire, a comedy tour, and a book release schedule that is on track to deforest the state of Oregon.”

Rough Start in Iowa

Benjamin Foster, a staffer for Tim Pawlenty in Iowa, was drunk and banging on a family’s back door at 3 a.m. this morning before he was arrested, KCCI-TV reports.

The family also said he vomited in their backyard and scared their daughter.

Boehner Approval Sinks

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) quickly falling out of favor with the American public. His national approval rating has dropped a net 18 points in four months, from 35% to 28% in January to 25% to 36% today.

Key finding: “What’s most interesting about Boehner’s fall is that you can’t pin it to a single voter group — he’s down a good deal with everyone.”

Trump Praised Pelosi as “The Best”

Donald Trump, who is mulling a presidential bid a Republican, praised Nancy Pelosi in a personal note as “the best” when she was sworn in as House Speaker in January 2007, Politico reports.

Trump confirmed he wrote the note, but said it was “because I want her to do great, and I want this country to be great, and I didn’t want her to fail as Speaker. And I like her.”

Cartoon of the Day


Congressional Novelists

While it seems most politicians have written autobiographies or campaign manifestos, Roll Call notes that just a handful have written novels. Some amusing and telling excerpts below:

From Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) Capitol Venture:

“The good thing about the President, I had discovered, was that it didn’t matter much what you said. His definition of conversation was him talking, you listening and, of course, agreeing. I did even better with him in person because I had such a clear, direct, and forceful nod.”

From Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) Blind Trust:

“She bent her head, spent a very long time meticulously spreading a thin coating of butter on her muffin, and suddenly he lost his patience. ‘Listen, ever since I saw you across that room, fighting for your children’s bill with every nerve in your body, I’ve loved you and wanted you and I can’t stand the thought of losing you. But this is it, lady! This is the end of the line. I’m not just some colleague asking you to co-sponsor a bill. I’m asking you to marry me!’ And at last, finally, she said yes, and he vowed she’d never regret it.”

No BlackBerrys During Shutdown

Lawmakers warned “nonessential employees” to turn off their BlackBerrys during a looming government shutdown, “or risk punishment for working while on furlough,” the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, National Journal has a useful breakdown of some of the federal services likely to stop in the event of a government shutdown.

What’s Pataki Mulling?

Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) “held a secretive lunch with supporters yesterday, fueling speculation that he might make a 2012 run for president,” the New York Post reports.

Said a spokesman: “It was not a fund-raiser. He got together with some friends and supporters… They did talk about politics, they talked about the future.”

Brazile Will Be Interim DNC Chair

Donna Brazile will serve as the interim chair of the DNC helping to bridge the gap before Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) can officially take the helm, The Fixreports.

“Under DNC laws, Wasserman Schultz can’t formally ascend to the chair role until at least 15 days after she is put forward for the post — meaning that she can’t actually be elected DNC chairwoman by the committee members until April 20th at the earliest.”

Bachmann Touts Her Qualifications

In a Fox News interview, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) explained why she’s qualified to be President of the United States:

Said Bachmann: “I have a very broad, extensive background. I’m a student of many years. I’ve studied a number of, a wide berth of topics. I sit currently on the Intelligence Committee. We deal with the classified secrets and with the unrest that’s occurring around the world. I also sit on Financial Services Committee. But again, I’ve lived life. Tomorrow, I’ll be celebrating my 55th birthday, and I’ve had a wide, extensive life. And again, my background is a very practical, solution-oriented vision.”

Quote of the Day

“Don’t tread on me was a motto at and rallying cry for our founding fathers. The new motto of Congress appears to be tread on me.”

— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), in a speech, on the Senate’s tabling of a measure condemning President Obama’s use of the military without congressional authorization.

Huckabee Still the Favorite in Iowa

A new Neighborhood Research survey of likely Iowa caucus-goers shows Mike Huckabee leading with 21%, followed by Mitt Romney at 14%, Donald Trump at 9%, Newt Gingrich at 8%, Sarah Palin at 7%, Michele Bachmann at 5% and Tim Pawlenty at 4%.

Lessons Not Learned from Wisconsin

First Read: “If congressional Republicans should have learned any lesson from the budget showdown in Wisconsin, it was this: quit while you’re ahead. Despite being offered concession after concession on the budget — as long as he didn’t touch collective-bargaining rights for public employees — Gov. Scott Walker (R) went big for everything, including the collective bargaining rights. And he’s since paid a steep political price, even though the legislation ultimately passed. Walker’s poll numbers have plummeted. The legislation is now locked up in the courts. The Democratic opposition remains fired up… And the state appears headed for a slew of recall elections this spring and summer. The political lesson from Wisconsin: If you’re offered 70%-80% of what you want and will look like a hero in accepting the deal, take it. But if you go for everything, be prepared for the backlash. ”

Scott’s Approval Now Upside Down

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida shows that Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) net approval rating has plummeted, from 35% to 22% in February to 35% to 48% today.

Why is it important? Florida — like Wisconsin and Ohio, the other states with controversial new Republican governors — is a battleground state in the 2012 presidential election.

Wisconsin Race Too Close to Call

In a result fitting of the high-stakes political maneuvering in Wisconsin over the past few months, the Wisconsin Supreme Court race that many had labeled a referendum on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is still “too close to call,” with incumbent Justice David Prosser holding a narrow lead of less than 600 votes over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, according to the AP.

Recount coming? The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes that “Either candidate can request a recount once the votes have been officially canvassed. If the margin between the candidates is less than 0.5% – as it is likely to be in this race – the state charges nothing to conduct the recount.”

Meanwhile, Democrats won Walker’s old county executive seat with the defeated Republican citing the protests at the state capitol for his defeat.

Democrats Seek to Delay Massachusetts Primary

National Democrats “are asking state party officials to delay the Massachusetts presidential primary from March 6 until later in the spring, arguing in part that allowing the most Republican states to dominate the early voting would bolster the chances that a more conservative candidate will clinch the GOP nomination,” theBoston Globe reports.

Boehner Says Democrats Would “Win” Government Shutdown

House Speaker John Boehner is warning Republican lawmakers that Democrats would “win” politically if there’s a government shutdown “and the GOP would suffer a political catastrophe if the federal government runs out of money at the end of this week,” Politico reports.

Said Boehner: “The Democrats think they benefit from a government shutdown. I agree.”

Obama Picks Campaign Spokesman

“After surviving an intense tryout in the Chicago mayor’s race,” the Chicago Tribunenotes Ben LaBolt “is being given a possibly even tougher assignment for a press spokesman: President Obama’s reelection campaign.”

The 29-year-old LaBolt “will move to the Obama reelection campaign after the mid-May inauguration of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, for whom he acts as communications director.”

Christie as Kingmaker?

Politico reports that a “trio of GOP White House hopefuls has now tread an unlikely path to Princeton since the beginning of the year to pay homage to the newest presidential kingmaker”: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

“This early in the process, of course, there is a bit more subtlety involved and the hopefuls couch their presentations in analytical assessments about how they see both the campaign and the state of the country… They’re not making formal endorsement requests — it’s more a mutual feeling-out. There may be a more direct sale at the point in the evening, which few wanted to discuss, when Christie and the candidates talk privately. It’s difficult to recall an analogous situation, in which a politician has gone from unknown to coveted endorser in the space of just over a year.”

So far Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour have met with Christie, though more are sure to follow.


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