POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/14
A CBO analysis of the budget deal — which will be voted on Thursday — finds that the spending bill advertised as containing some $38.5 billion in cuts, will only reduce federal outlays by $352 million below 2010 spending rates, National Journal reports.
CBO also projects that total spending is actually some $3.3 billion more than in 2010, if emergency spending is included in the total.
Politico: “It’s not clear how big a worry CBO numbers will be for Republicans, but as the estimates gained more attention, the whip operation grew more concerned Wednesday night.”
A new Suffolk University poll in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) making very negative impressions after just 100 days in office.
Key findings: 41% said Scott has been “negative and damaging,” compared with 26% who said “positive and productive.” Another 20% felt Scott’s actions over the last three months have had “little impact.”
Said pollster David Paleologos: “So much for a political honeymoon; it’s taken Gov. Scott less than 100 days to begin a freefall in popularity and to generate negative perceptions about job performance and damaging the state he was elected to lead. There has been a backlash in public opinion on both sides of the aisle in response to his aggressive and uncompromising leadership style.”
Jon Ralston has obtained emails that show how failed Nevada gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid’s (D) campaign created a series of mini-PACs to bypass campaign contribution limits.
“The emails are evidence — and illuminating, too — of what we already knew: This was a premeditated conspiracy by Team Rory to get around the $10,000 campaign contribution limits and bolster his campaign coffers at a time he thought he could win and needed to keep pace with Brian Sandoval. The evidence of the complete integration with the campaign in the emails is compelling.”
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) told the National Review that he’s not interested in running for vice president on the Republican ticket next year.
“Send me some senators who have some gonads.”
— Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, on what he’d need to make real budget reform possible.
Newly released documents “shed a scary new light on a bizarre incident late last year” during which Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) “landed his Cessna on a closed runway at a south Texas airport, scattering construction workers who ran for their lives as the politician’s plane hopscotched over them and six vehicles,” the Smoking Gun reports.
Annie Lowrey: “First, doing nothing means the Bush tax cuts would expire, as scheduled, at the end of next year. That would cause a moderately progressive tax hike, and one that hits most families, including the middle class. The top marginal rate would rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, and some tax benefits for investment income would disappear. Additionally, a patch to keep the alternative minimum tax from hitting 20 million or so families would end. Second, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obama’s health care law, would proceed without getting repealed or defunded. The CBO believes that the plan would bend health care’s cost curve downward, wrestling the rate of health care inflation back toward the general rate of inflation. Third, doing nothing would mean that Medicare starts paying doctors low, low rates. Congress would not pass anymore of the regular ‘doc fixes’ that keep reimbursements high. Nothing else happens. Almost magically, everything evens out.”
House Speaker John Boehner “has been reaching out to top Wall Street players asking how close Congress can get to the May 16th deadline (or July 8th drop-dead date) for raising the debt limit without seriously unnerving financial markets,” Politico reports, but “the questioning is not going over well.”
Said one bank executive: “They don’t seem to understand that you can’t put everything back in the box. Once that fear of default is in the markets, it doesn’t just go away. We’ll be paying the price for years in higher rates.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that 69% of Americans believe the United States is on the wrong track — a five point jump from last month and the highest in an Ipsos poll since President Obama took office in January 2009.
First Read: “So how did we get from a budget surplus at the beginning of George W. Bush’s presidency to deficits and debt as far as the eye can see? Here’s a quick timeline: the Bush tax cuts (2001), 9/11 and the Afghanistan war (2001), the Iraq war (2003), more tax cuts, the unpaid-for Medicare prescription-drug benefit (2003), the financial collapse and economic downturn (2008), the Obama stimulus (2009), and the two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts (2010). Then you add the aging Baby Boomers to the whole mix. Back in 2009, the New York Times calculated that 37% of the deficits were due the economic downturn, 33% were due to Bush’s policies, 20% were due to Obama’s extensions of Bush’s policies, and another 10% were due to Obama’s policies like the stimulus.”
A new study published in Current Biology found that political orientations of young adults are correlated with brain structure.
Researchers conducted MRI scans of 90 young adult volunteers and found that self-described liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain believed to be responsible for rational cognitive functions and empathy. Meanwhile, those calling themselves conservatives are more likely to have a larger amygdala, an area that is associated with emotional response and social integration.
Mark Blumenthal: “The answer appears to be no, if only because Republican preferences at this point are so bunched up and tenuous. The 2012 GOP presidential nomination race lacks a dominant leader and polls show no consistent rank in voter preferences among the three to five best known candidates.”
“Even as the White House was being blasted by all sides…Obama ordered his staff to keep their heads down to preserve a possible deal with a Republican Speaker walking a tightrope in his own conference,” reports The Hill. “And the president got one.”
“For weeks, Obama and press secretary Jay Carney were given repeated opportunities to join Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in trying to drive a wedge between Boehner and his conservative Tea Party freshman class. It never happened… Joining Reid’s attack, officials said, would have only jeopardized the deal, which to this White House is what matters. The White House hopes its checklist of deals will be particularly appealing to independent voters whom Obama will need to win a second term.”
Meanwhile, the final numbers prove Obama actually negotiated a much better deal than Boehner thought he got.
In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) was asked about “the political sideshow led by Donald Trump” that led Time magazine columnist Joe Klein to beg Daniels to get into the presidential race, calling the rest of the GOP field a “freak show.”
Said Daniels, laughing: “It’s always good to be held to a low standard,” envisioning his own potential campaign might be praised with the words: “At least he’s not a freak.”
“I think the citizenship test has been passed. I believe the president was born in the United States. There are real reasons to get this guy out of office. The man needs to be taken out of office but his citizenship isn’t the reason why.”
— Mitt Romney, in an interview on CNBC, firmly distancing himself from the “birthers.”
In an interview on CNBC, Mitt Romney said, “I’m very happy that the Democrats are celebrating the fact that we put in a health-care proposal in Massachusetts as an experiment. And I have one question for them — why didn’t any one of them or the president ever call me and say what worked what didn’t?”
The problem with this defense? Romney’s health care advisers also advised the White House.
Tim Pawlenty told CNN last night, “I’m running for president.”
However, the Pawlenty campaign later told the Huffington Post that the network took the former governor’s comments out of context and that he’s technically still exploring a run for president.
White House officials seeking someone to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have so far failed to find a nominee, with several candidates rebuffing the administration’s overtures, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Interestingly, some are concerned that accepting “would undercut Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor and consumer advocate who is currently a special adviser to the president charged with setting up the bureau. She remains a hugely popular figure among many Democrats and anathema to many Republicans.”
“The nascent bureau must have a director in place by July 21 in order to get a slate of broad powers to attack fraudulent and abusive financial practices. That deadline could result in the White House nominating Ms. Warren, now a special adviser to the president charged with setting up the bureau. She is believed to want the job but her candidacy likely would trigger a Senate confirmation battle. President Obama could avoid that fight by appointing her during a congressional recess before July 21.”
As President Obama prepares to outline his plan to reduce the nation’s growing debt, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds Americans are split over whether there should be significant additional cuts in domestic spending: 47% say no, 45% yes. On this issue, there is a yawning divide between the parties. Democrats by 2-to-1 oppose more cuts; Republicans by 2-to-1 support them.
Most interesting: Americans overwhelmingly oppose making major changes to Medicare. By 2-to-1, they support minor changes or none at all to control costs, rather than major changes or a complete overhaul. Even a third of Republicans say the government should not try to control the costs of Medicare.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) recently said on the floor of the Senate that “If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does,” prompting PolitiFact to rate the statement as “False.”
Kyl’s office subsequently issued a statement to CNN noting that “His remark was not intended to be a factual statement.”
A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has a 64% to 16% job approval rating among registered voters.
For comparison, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has a 52% to 40% approval rating.
Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “Cuomo comes out of the budget vote — usually a punishing time for politicians — with impressive job-approval numbers. Christie may be getting the national attention, but the guy next door is doing better with home state voters.”