POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/12
“The biggest spending president in the history of the U.S.? The answer is George W. Bush not President Obama. Never vetoed a single bill, spending bill for six and a half years. And then the Republicans sit there and say, yeah, but this guy is worse than he is three to one.”
Though there is some speculation about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) possibly running for U.S. Senate once she recovers from a gunshot wound to the head, her husband, Mark Kelly, tells the Daily Beast that such talk is premature.
Swampland thinks it has the best answer for those who believe that President Obama was not actually born in the United States: “It turns out one man has the credibility, the standing, the firepower: Dick Cheney.”
How it works: “The entire birther charade is built on the absence of a photocopy of Obama’s original birth certificate. There is a reason such a photocopy does not exist — the law. By law, original birth certificates in the state of Hawaii can only be inspected by a specific and circumscribed group of people… As you no doubt remember, Dick Cheney and Barack Obama are 8th cousins… So instead of hiring Magnum PI to look into it, why doesn’t Donald Trump just ask Dick Cheney to make a trip to Hawaii and inspect the document and testify to its validity?”
However, NBC News reports the Hawaiian state health official “who personally reviewed Obama’s original birth certificate has affirmed again that the document is ‘real’ and denounced ‘conspiracy theorists’ in the so-called ‘birther’ movement for continuing to spread bogus claims about the issue.”
Mitt Romney announced — in a video, of course — that he is forming an exploratory committee for a possible presidential bid.
Interestingly, tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of Romney signing into law the Massachusetts health care bill that the Obama administration claims was a framework for their own national reform effort.
“I know far more about you than you know about me.”
— Donald Trump, in a handwritten note to Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, complaining about a blog post about Trump’s presidential ambitions.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) told the Des Moines Register that if she decides to run for president she would do it without any thoughts of a second term.
Said Bachmann: “I’m a principled reformer, and my goal is to see the country turn around. I’m also committed to being a one-term president if that’s what it takes in order to turn things around, because this is not about a personal ambition.”
House Speaker John Boehner signaled in a USA Today op-ed that he will only support raising the federal debt ceiling if spending cuts and entitlement reform are included.
Wrote Boehner: “President Obama also wants a debt limit increase, but says spending cuts and budget reforms shouldn’t be attached to it. Americans will not stand for that. We must follow their will.”
However, Nate Silver concludes “this as close as you can get in American politics to mutually assured destruction. No matter how Machiavellian your outlook, it’s very hard to make the case that any politician with a significant amount of power would become more powerful in the event of a debt default… But Mr. Boehner may face just as much risk as Mr. Obama, if not more. He has promised his more conservative members that he will extract significant concessions from the Democrats before he agrees to an increase in the debt limit. A White House that were willing to play hardball could put him to the test, and perhaps cause a substantial loss of face.”
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds 48% of Americans think President Obama and congressional Democrats were more responsible for last week’s budget agreement to prevent a government shutdown, while just 35% credit congressonal Republicans.
Steve Kornacki: “It’s hard to look back at the last six months and pinpoint one precise moment when the bottom fell out for Palin (although her response to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, panned as tone deaf by even many of her fellow Republicans, comes close). But at some point recently, she stopped simply being a polarizing lightning rod — one with as many fanatical followers as diehard critics — and transformed into a figure who even Republican-leaning voters have a hard time taking seriously.”
President Obama told Hearst magazines that he “enjoys golf but is not the fanatic that some have portrayed him to be because of the frequency of his golf outings.”
Said Obama: “It’s the only excuse I have to get outside for four hours at a stretch.”
He added: “I just miss — I miss being anonymous. I miss Saturday morning, rolling out of bed, not shaving, getting into my car with my girls, driving to the supermarket, squeezing the fruit, getting my car washed, taking walks. I can’t take a walk.”
Sarah Binder notes that the “dozens of roll call votes cast” to pass a budget deal for fiscal year 2011 have helped map the preferences of House Republicans.
“Most interestingly, the more you parse the votes, the more apparent it becomes that the key cleavage in the party is not between 87 freshmen and everyone else, but between members of the Republican Study Committee and everyone else. Given the economic and social conservatism of this key bloc, Boehner’s bargaining strategy this past week was brilliant. He strung the Democrats along threatening that his conference would only accept a deal that defunded Planned Parenthood. Hitting the Democrats on their Achilles heel, Boehner extracted additional billions of dollars in cuts — before finally Friday night trading a Planned Parenthood rider for a separate up or down Senate vote on the rider. Boehner clearly understood which preferences were pivotal in his conference for securing a deal.”
An Indonesian lawmaker who helped pass a tough anti-pornography law has resigned after being caught watching sexually explicit videos during a parliamentary debate, the BBC reports.
“Obviously I hit a nerve because they’re fighting me. I don’t hear them talking about Mr. Pawlenty or anybody else. They are talking only about Trump. I can tell you I’m their worst nightmare. I am not the person they want to run against. They know it and I know it.”
A must-read New York profile of former Obama budget director Peter Orszag notes he’s relieved at being out of the White House.
“By last summer, Orszag’s relations with Rahm Emanuel and others had soured — badly. Depending on whose spin you believe, Orszag quit over principle, telling friends he was upset by Washington’s refusal to get serious about the deficit. A less favorable view is that Orszag was marginalized by Emanuel and David Axelrod… His falling-out with the White House was a dramatic reversal for Orszag, his first real career stumble. Looking back, Orszag now says he didn’t even want the job.”
Said Orszag: “I didn’t want to do it. Having worked in a White House before, I knew how the infighting can become all- consuming, and I didn’t want to fall into that trap again. Many of my mentors warned me that despite the ‘no drama’ Obama campaign, once in office this White House would inevitably be like others — and possibly worse. And unfortunately that’s exactly what happened.”
President Obama “has prospered most when he’s had an obvious antagonist — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. John McCain and even former President George W. Bush — but with 2012 looming, a clearly defined target is hard to find,”Politico notes.
But Obama may have found a new one: “Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, author of a comprehensive plan to reduce the deficit that, among other things, would fundamentally change Medicare, replacing it with a system that would subsidize private insurance.”
Said Paul Begala: “The Ryan proposal could be the foil Obama needs. I hope every vulnerable Republican in Congress signs on to the Ryan plan to kill Medicare, because we will beat ’em like a bad piece of meat.”
First Read: “In our eyes, there were three big losers. The first is the Democratic left (the conversation isn’t over whether there should be budget cuts, but rather how big should they be — and is there a single policy that was being debated or was it all about dollars?). A second are Mitch Daniels and other ‘trucers’ (the budget deal was a reminder how all issues, even fiscal ones like Friday night’s deal, still hinge on social issues). And a final loser was Washington, DC (that the deal bars even local money from covering abortions is a reminder how DC’s 500,000-plus residents remain subject to Congress’ whims; the city, as it has been in the past, was tossed under the bus).”
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) tells Politico he expects a few surprise entrants in the 2012 Republican presidential race.
Said Burr: “We’re going to see other folks. If you don’t see fire that gets lit by the fall, you could see other candidates jump in even very late.”
A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll finds President Obama is in trouble in Florida as he begins his re-election campaign.
Key finding: Only 34% of independent voters in Florida approve of Obama’s job performance, and that either Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee would beat the president in Florida if the election were held today.
Tim Pawlenty will announce that his presidential exploratory committee has hired Nick Ayers as his campaign manager, Fox News reports.
“The move puts Ayers in position to fill the role of campaign manager in the likely event that Pawlenty announces a full blown presidential campaign in the next month or two.”
The Fix notes that at 28 years old Ayers “is among the youngest campaign managers in modern presidential history, will move to Minneapolis and begin in his new role on April 25.”
Sarah Palin lauded Donald Trump’s efforts to raise doubts about President Obama’s citizenship in a Fox News interview.
Said Palin: “More power to him. He’s not just throwing stones, you know — from the sidelines. He’s digging in there. He’s paying for researchers to know why President Obama would have spent $2 million to not show his birth certificate. So more power to him.”
She added: “I think he was born in Hawaii because there was the birth announcement put in the newspaper. But obviously, if there’s something there that the president doesn’t want people to see on that birth certificate, then he seems to go to great lengths to make sure it isn’t shown, and that’s kind of perplexing for a lot of people.”
President Obama’s “relationship with his hometown may be best described as a long-distance love affair. He lavishes attention on it from afar and proud Chicago pines for its hometown hero, though the two rarely see each other,” notes the AP, but “That looks like it’s about to change.”
“Obama is returning to his roots as he embarks on his re-election race for 2012… The president is putting Chicago in the spotlight again as he tries to recreate the grass-roots, start-up flavor of his first campaign and do what no incumbent president has done in decades: try to win re-election from a location outside Washington… Obama’s advisers hope a Chicago location could insulate his campaign from some of the Washington chatter and news leaks that often plague campaigns.”
Former Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) has announced in a video that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) in 2012.
Roll Call takes a look at what House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has gained from the 2012 budget compromise. In a word: credibility.
“By engaging in a protracted, often ugly partisan fight with Democrats, Boehner not only demonstrated to his Conference his commitment to spending cuts and showed his zeal for imposing conservative policies on the Obama administration, he illustrated with textbook clarity just how difficult it will be to implement a conservative agenda. When Boehner presented his Conference with a compromise spending bill late Friday night, Republicans largely hailed it as a success and lauded Boehner’s ability to force Democrats and the Obama administration into a historic discussion of how to cut spending.”
“But the agreement’s significance for Boehner has less to do with the immediate fight over cutting this year’s spending and more to do with how he manages his Conference over the next few months. Just ahead are momentous debates and votes on raising the debt ceiling and passing a budget for fiscal 2012. Boehner’s handling of the continuing resolution negotiation is now the platform he’ll use to lead his party on those issues.”