POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/19

Brewer Vetoes Birther Bill

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) vetoed a bill “that would have required presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates to appear on the ballot, and another that would have allowed guns to be carried on school grounds,” the Tucson Sentinel reports.

Said Brewer, “As a former Secretary of State, I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to artibrary or politically-motivated decisions.”

Lawmaker’s Big Fundraiser Nets Just $650

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) made a big splash at his first fundraiser after winning his House seat last year but campaign finance reports show he netted just $650 after expenses, McClatchy reports.

After paying singer LeAnn Rimes and other costs, Denham’s special fundraising committee reported spending $212,250 on the night. Unfortunately, the event raised just $212,900.

Said Democratic fundraiser Michael Fraioli: “It’s an industrial-strength waste of money, and the people who gave the money are going to resent it.”

HBO Will Air New Political Comedy

HBO has ordered a new comedy called Veep starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus,Entertainment Weekly reports.

Louis-Dreyfus “will play former Senator Selina Meyer, who becomes Vice President, only to discover the job is nothing like she expected.”

The New York Times quotes British creator Armando Iannucci: “You’re talking to someone who’s read all 3,000 pages of Caro’s biography of Johnson. I’m slightly creepier than most people in the U.K. when it comes to the American political process.”

GOP-Style Triangulation

While triangulation is most commonly associated with former President Bill Clinton and, more recently, with President Obama, Chris Cillizza makes the case that Republican presidential candidates are beginning to craft their own brand of triangulation “heavily weighted toward primary voters.”

“Late last year, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney balked at the tax-cut compromise struck between congressional Republicans and the president… Then, late last week, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty came out against the last-minute budget deal between House Speaker John Boehner and Obama that narrowly averted a federal government shutdown… And, with only one House or Senate member — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — making a White House bid, it’s near-certainty that running against Washington will be a major strategic pillar of the race.”

Palin Unveils New Site

Just as speculation about whether Sarah Palin will run for president died down, her political action committee launched a redesigned website.

Politico: “The new site, sarahpac.com, is a necessary step if Palin intends to run for president and for the first time gives her organization the ability to interact with her supporters by providing a centralized location to collect data and solicit donations. Though Palin maintains a staff of several seasoned political hands, she had yet to build out some of the basic needs of a political organization — including an email list.”

White House Releases Tax Returns

President Obama and the First Lady released their 2010 federal income tax returnwhich shows an adjusted gross income of $1,728,096, of which the vast majority is from the sale of the President’s books.

Vice President Biden and his wife also released their tax return, which reports an adjusted gross income of $379,178.

Obama Campaign Faces Audit

The FEC has launched an audit into President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign,Roll Call reports.

“The scope of the probe, which began approximately two years ago, is unknown. Presidential audits typically take years to complete and can cost millions of dollars.”

Palin Tell-All Book Coming

Frank Bailey, a former aide to Sarah Palin, has a book deal for Blind Allegiance, thelong-rumored tell-all about working for the former Alaska governor, the AP reports.

Obama Goes Local

President Obama will conduct interviews today with KCNC Denver, WRAL Raleigh, WFAA Dallas and WTHR Indianapolis on his budget plans, and Mike Allen notes that this is part of the White House’s strategy to “cut through Beltway chatter and give the president an opportunity to talk to Americans about his vision for the country, in a venue that’s familiar to them.”

“White Houses in the past have often done such interviews by satellite, but Obama’s team invites the anchors to Washington… Obama’s communicators choose stations from different regions of the country, with a particular emphasis on stations that have content-sharing relationships with other stations in the region… These interviews also illustrate the tools an incumbent president has for accruing political benefits at the same time he’s doing his job.”

Cartoon of the Day

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Trump’s Health Care Problem

If Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts is weighing down his chances in a Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump has even bigger problems.

Dave Weigel digs up this quote from Trump’s 2000 book, The America We Deserve: “We must have universal healthcare. I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses.”

Trump added that the goal of health care reform should be a system that looks a lot like Canada. “Doctors might be paid less than they are now, as is the case in Canada, but they would be able to treat more patients because of the reduction in their paperwork.”

Who’s Watching Your Domain Name?

Ben Smith gives a warning to aspiring presidential candidates: Don’t let your Internet domain name registration lapse or you might end up like Jon Huntsman, whose former website now features his handwritten letter of praise calling President Obama a “remarkable leader.”

Dems Recruit Sanchez for Texas Senate Race

McClatchy reports that Democrats have recruited retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top military commander in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Texas.

Remembering Abu Ghraid: “There is, however, the hangover from the year he spent as U.S. commander in Iraq, in 2003 and 2004. Asked if the Abu Ghraib scandal — where U.S. military personnel and contractors humiliated prisoners in photos seen around the world — had effectively terminated his military career, Sanchez said, ‘That’s pretty fair.’ He retired in 2006. Sanchez emphasized that he hadn’t known or had anything to do with the actions at the prison and was cleared by Army investigators.”

Spinning Huntsman’s Service to Obama

Richard Quinn, a strategist working for Jon Huntsman’s president campaign-in-waiting, tells CNN that serving two years as ambassador to China is going to be “a huge plus” for his candidate.

Said Quinn: “The fact that he was an ambassador under Obama, he was also ambassador to Singapore under George H. W. Bush. He will respond that it was his patriotic duty, and that partisan politics stop at the waters edge.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Bush gave us Obama. In all fairness to John McCain and Sarah Palin, nobody could have won. You could have brought back Abraham Lincoln. He couldn’t have beaten Obama.”

— Donald Trump, in an interview on Fox News.

High Stakes in 2012

First Read: “So much for the idea that the 2012 presidential election wouldn’t live up to its predecessors. While 2012 won’t feature the historic candidacies that 2008 did, and while we don’t know yet know whether it will be as close as the ones in ’00 and ’04 were, there will be so much riding on it. For starters, it could decide the future of the U.S. safety net and the basic role of government (a GOP win would make passage of Paul Ryan’s budget plan much more realistic). It will determine what happens to the Bush tax cuts (an Obama win would probably end the tax cuts for the wealthy, while a Republican win would probably extend them). It could decide the fate of the health-care law (though the Supreme Court could do that next year). And it could very well determine the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court (the winner could potentially fill two or three SCOTUS vacancies). All presidential elections have plenty at stake, but this one could have more than many realize right now.”

Why Do We Have a Debt Limit Anyway?

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Meet the Press:

“Why do we have a debt limit in the first place? We appropriate funds, we have tax law, and on reasonably adept at arithmetic can calculate what the debt change is going to be… The Congress and the president have signed legislation predetermining what that number is. Why we need suspenders and belts is something I’ve never understood… I think it is, it is inconceivable to me that we’ve put ourselves in this position. Why we are continuously going back to the well to continuously up the debt limit when we already predetermined what that limit has to be, and so, consequently, they’re trying to abrogate what the Congress did.”

Ryan Gives Democrats Something to Run Against

George Packer sees the budget plan introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as setting the agenda for the 2012 campaign season.

“The distance between the two sides is so great that it’s hard to imagine any resolution this year. So, in 2012, the question will go to the voters, where it belongs, since elections should be arguments over principles. By the current wisdom, Obama will then join Clinton in the ranks of two-term Democrats, because most Americans value economic security more than fiscal austerity. If so, Obama will have Paul Ryan, in part, to thank.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports House Democrats see Ryan’s plan “as a cornerstone of their 2012 campaign strategy. During the two-week congressional recess the party plans to use its specifics to target vulnerable Republicans.”

Is Trump Serious This Time?

“Despite an almost universal refusal by Republican establishment figures and the press to take him seriously, Donald Trump is taking very concrete steps toward forming — and announcing — a presidential campaign,” Politico reports.

Specifically, he has interviewed at least two people for a campaign manager position and is in contact with several well-known media consultants.

“Trump has, in the past, hinted at presidential bids, only to pull back after basking in the public interest. But in the same voraciously media-hungry spirit in which he has leveled an array of accusations – some overstated, others flatly false – at President Obama in recent weeks, Trump appears likely to launch a formal presidential campaign, hire staff, shake hands in Iowa, participate in debates – in short, run for president.”

However, the New York Times notes NBC executives are so far unconcerned that Trump might run and leave his highly-rated reality show, The Apprentice. Said one, “This is Donald being Donald.”

Lawmaker Retracts “Socialist” Remark

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) withdrew a statement he made on the House floor “about other members of Congress being socialists, but he said later he did not regret his remarks and thought Democrats who objected to the label were being ‘thin-skinned,'” the Birmingham News reports.

Said Brook: “Folks, we are here today forcing this issue because America is at risk. We are at risk of insolvency and bankruptcy because the socialist members of this body choose to spend money that we do not have.”

Brooks “was given two choices at that moment — either ask to have the offending comment stricken from the record, or defend his remarks and wait until later in the day for a formal ruling. He said he chose to withdraw the use of the word ‘socialist’ so he could continue his speech.”

Quote of the Day

“What we need is for you to stand up, GOP, and fight. GOP leaders need to learn how to fight like a girl.”

— Sarah Palin, quoted by CNN.

Brilliant Politician or Timid Leader?

David Gergen: “As a politician, Obama was also smart Wednesday in leaving so little for Republicans to shoot at in his own ‘plan’. On every hard policy question — e.g., would you start taxing employees for health benefits paid by employers — he said he would leave the answers to someone else. On a national dilemma that will inevitably require public sacrifices, he didn’t put forward a single, concrete proposal of his own that would disturb a majority of voters. Clever!”

“But it is that very cleverness that undermines his reputation as a leader. We look up to leaders who have been willing to make hard choices on their own, put them forward with courage and rally people to join them — think of Lincoln, Churchill, Mandela and many more. The historian Michael Beschloss wrote a stirring bookabout the courage of past presidents. Where is that courage in the White House today?”

Meanwhile, Marc Ambinder gives Obama a report card.

Obama Ignores Spending Bill’s “Czar” Ban

President Obama “is planning to ignore language in the 2011 spending package that would ban several top White House advisory posts,” signing a statement in which he says has no obligation to comply, Politico reports.

“The anti-czar language in the spending bill marked a victory for Republicans and conservative pundits, who accused the administration of giving unelected bureaucrats too much power within the White House. But the language didn’t appear to have any immediate impact on Obama’s staff. Energy and climate adviser Carol Browner resigned earlier this year; health czar Nancy-Ann DeParle was promoted to deputy White House chief of staff; Obama’s urban affairs adviser, Adolfo Carrión, left the White House to become a regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the White House said auto and manufacturing adviser Ron Bloom wouldn’t be affected by the language.”

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