POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/21
Among the notable names: Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA), who won a hotly contested special election in western Pennsylvania in 2010, and Rep. Allen West (R-FL), the first Republican to serve in the Congressional Black Caucus in nearly 15 years.
With yet another poll out showing more Americans support gay marriage than oppose it, Nate Silver argues that it’s safe to conclude that opponents no longer make up a majority but warns that it’s not safe to conclude that supporters are now a plurality or majority.
“This is the fourth credible poll in the past eight months to show an outright majority of Americans in favor of gay marriage. That represents quite a lot of progress for supporters of same-sex marriage. Prior to last year, there had been just one survey — a Washington Post poll conducted in April 2009 — to show support for gay marriage as the plurality position, and none had shown it with a majority.”
However, it is “too soon to say with confidence that support for gay marriage has become the plurality position (let alone the majority one). Other polls — like a Pew survey released in March — continue to show opinion split about evenly. However, opponents of gay marriage almost certainly no longer constitute a majority; just one of the last nine polls has shown opposition to gay marriage above 50 percent.”
The Hotline notes that the DCCC “pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book this week, buying radio ads in tiny amounts in hopes of earning local media coverage. And, despite Republicans’ best efforts, it actually worked.”
The Democratic campaign arm spent less than $6,000 on radio spots that sought to attack Republicans on the Paul Ryan budget. “In some districts, the committee plopped down money that wouldn’t make a respectable power lunch in Washington; the committee spent only $40 in Rep. Larry Bucshon’s district in southwest Indiana, and just $60 in districts in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois and South Dakota.”
“Such small buys aren’t intended to influence an electorate. Instead, they’re aimed at influencing the journalists in those districts … Those journalists won’t bother to check and see how much Democrats paid for those ads … At least 14 local news outlets wrote up the ad buys, and few of them went back to note the relative pittance Democrats put behind them.”
“The Obama administration privately urged Standard & Poor’s in recent weeks not to lower its outlook on the United States — a suggestion the ratings agency ignored,” the Washington Post reports.
“Treasury officials told S&P analysts that they were underestimating the ability of politicians in Washington to fashion a compromise to curb deficits… But S&P analysts told Treasury officials on Friday that they were unmoved — and released a report that expressed skepticism that the political parties could come together on how to bring spending in line with revenue.”
Former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack (D) announced that she is exploring a challenge to Rep. Steve King (R-IA) next year, the Des Moines Register reports.
“Vilsack has never run for elective office, but she campaigned widely and acted as a visible surrogate for her husband during his two successful runs for governor. She also helped him during his brief run for president in 2008 and later helped with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”
Tom Vilsack, currently Secretary of Agriculture in the Obama administration, said the race would be a “holy war,” according to Politico.
A new Pew Research survey finds that 53% of all Americans could not name anyone when asked which Republican presidential candidate they have been hearing the most about.
A new McClatchy-Marist Poll finds 44% of American voters say they definitely plan to vote against President Obama in 2012, while 37% report they definitely plan to vote for him, and 18% are unsure.
However, in match ups with named Republican candidates, Obama beats them all. Mitt Romney comes closest but still trails, 46% to 45%, while Mike Huckabee trails by 48% to 43%.
Coming next month: A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother by Janny Scott.
The New York Times Magazine runs a fascinating excerpt: “To describe Dunham as a white woman from Kansas turns out to be about as illuminating as describing her son as a politician who likes golf. Intentionally or not, the label obscures an extraordinary story — of a girl with a boy’s name who grew up in the years before the women’s movement, the pill and the antiwar movement; who married an African at a time when nearly two dozen states still had laws against interracial marriage; who, at 24, moved to Jakarta with her son in the waning days of an anticommunist bloodbath in which hundreds of thousands of Indonesians were slaughtered; who lived more than half her adult life in a place barely known to most Americans, in the country with the largest Muslim population in the world; who spent years working in villages where a lone Western woman was a rarity; who immersed herself in the study of blacksmithing, a craft long practiced exclusively by men; who, as a working and mostly single mother, brought up two biracial children; who believed her son in particular had the potential to be great; who raised him to be, as he has put it jokingly, a combination of Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and Harry Belafonte; and then died at 52, never knowing who or what he would become.”
Steve Kornacki: “Well into 1992, even as economic anxiety was soaring and unemployment was approaching 8 percent (a significant jump from the start of his presidency), George H.W. Bush was still seen as a good bet for reelection because of the supposed weakness of that year’s Democratic field. Eventually, Democrats settled on Bill Clinton, who finally pulled ahead of Bush in July — and then never looked back. (Note: Ross Perot had nothing to do with Bush’s defeat that November; it was the economy that sunk the president.) Rest assured, if the economy doesn’t improve — or gets worse — the GOP will be well-positioned to oust Obama in 2012, provided the party doesn’t nominate a fringe candidate.”
A must-read in the mail: Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America by James Stewart.
In addition to profiles on Martha Stewart, Barry Bonds and Bernie Madoff, the book zeroes in on Scooter Libby, the former Bush White House aide convicted of a felony in connection with the investigation of the leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.
CNN has confirmed that Horizon PAC, which is serving as a presidential campaign-in-waiting for the former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) has hired Whit Ayres, a leading GOP pollster.
The Fix: “Ayres joins strategist John Weaver, who played a senior role on Sen. John McCain’s presidential bids, media consultant Fred Davis as well as state-based operatives in South Carolina and New Hampshire are all signed on to Horizon PAC — simply waiting for a ‘go’ signal from Huntsman when he returns from China later this month.”
Newt Gingrich raised just $53,000 for his political action committee in the first three months of the year, Politico reports.
“Gingrich has raised tens of millions in huge donations into American Solutions for Winning the Future, a so-called 527 committee outside the purview of the Federal Election Commission… But his presidential campaign would not be able to accept such large contributions and would instead be restricted to limited hard money donations of $2,500 per individual — half as much as the $5,000-per-individual maximum contributions that can be accepted each year by his leadership political action committee, American Solutions PAC.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that international banks are having difficulties acting on government orders to freeze assets from Libya, Egypt and Tunisia because of the myriad ways of transliterating Arabic names.
Case in point: “The U.S. Treasury Department offers 12 possible spellings for Moammar Gadhafi, though language experts say there are more than 100 for the family name alone.”
“Dismissed just days ago as an exercise in self-promotion, Donald Trump’s flirtation with a White House run appears to be picking up steam as the real-estate magnate moves toward establishing the rudiments of a campaign,” the Wall Street Journalreports.
Trump “is reaching out to Republican Party activists, both in Washington and in early states such as Iowa, and is talking to an array of potential handlers, pollsters and operatives.”
Said Trump: “Originally they said, ‘Oh, Trump is just having a good time’ Then they were saying, ‘Well, this is getting interesting.’ Then, as of today they are really taking it seriously. I’m not playing games. I am totally serious.”
Meanwhile, Politico reports that Sarah Palin said the press is treating Trump “unfairly” by focusing mostly on his doubts about President Obama’s birthplace.
“When I voted for the Iraq War, it was one of the worst votes in my life. Today, I have grave misgivings about being in Iraq for another week. We should be out of Iraq this year altogether. We are not going to win. It is not in the cards.”
— Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), quoted by the Charleston Gazette.
A new SurveyUSA poll in North Carolina finds Pat McCrory (R) way ahead of Gov. Bev Perdue (D) in a match up for governor, 51% to 39%.
A new Quinnipiac University poll finds New Jersey voters do not believe Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) claim that he could beat President Obama in a 2012 match up and back the president by 52% to 39%.
Obama also tops Christie in job approval with 51% to 45% as compared to the governor’s split approval at 47% to 46%.