POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/25

The Campaign Spouses

Politico takes a look at the newest trend among the spouses of potential presidential candidates: “increasingly prevalent and open expressions of spousal doubts.”

“Cheri Daniels’s reticence is well-documented. The governor told Politico in February that it was ‘safe to say’ that she didn’t welcome the prospect of him running… Asked recently by a local reporter how she felt about her husband’s likely presidential run, Marsha Barbour, wife to Gov. Haley Barbour, didn’t mince words: ‘It horrifies me,’ she said.”

“Not all of the 2012 spouses have reservations, or at least admit them publicly. Callista Gingrich, who serves as president of the Gingrich Foundation and co-produces her husband Newt’s historical videos, perpetually beams from her husband’s side. Marcus Bachmann is reportedly his wife Michele’s top political adviser and strategist, while Todd Palin is Sarah’s unofficial chief of staff. Ann Romney, according to Mitt, was more eager than he was to get in the race.”

Fiscal Madness is Bipartisan

Former Reagan budget director David Stockman: “It is obvious that the nation’s desperate fiscal condition requires higher taxes on the middle class, not just the richest 2 percent. Likewise, entitlement reform requires means-testing the giant Social Security and Medicare programs, not merely squeezing the far smaller safety net in areas like Medicaid and food stamps.”

“So the Ryan plan worsens our trillion-dollar structural deficit and the Obama plan amounts to small potatoes, at best. Worse, we are about to descend into class war because the Obama plan picks on the rich when it should be pushing tax increases for all, while the Ryan plan attacks the poor when it should be addressing middle-class entitlements and defense.”

A Look Into Rahm’s War Chest

Chicago Tribune: “While Rahm Emanuel campaigned on reforming the way Chicago is governed, millions of dollars were pouring into his campaign fund from businesses and firms who have long been accustomed to the old way of doing business with City Hall… More than $1 million in contributions came from companies with recent city business.”

“Many of Emanuel’s biggest donors are the same people who filled Mayor Richard Daley’s campaign coffers over the last two decades. Daley swore off contributions from anyone with a City Hall contract following a bribery scandal, but that was only after he had banked a large campaign fund.”

How Giffords is Recovering

The Arizona Republic has an exclusive look into Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-AZ) rehabilitation from a gunshot to the head in January.

“Giffords is left-handed now. Her handwriting looks different in the letter she recently wrote to her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, than it did the last time he went into space… Her hair is short, maybe 2 inches long, says Pia Carusone, her chief of staff, so there are scars on her scalp that show through. Eventually, her hair will cover them. A thin scar across the top of her forehead is healing well and fading, and her face, though sometimes swollen, is otherwise the same as before, Carusone says.”

“Giffords speaks most often in a single word or declarative phrase: ‘love you,’ ‘awesome,’ even ‘get out’ to doctors in her room at the end of a taxing day. She longs to leave the rehab center, repeating ‘I miss Tucson’ and wheeling herself to the doors at the end of the hall to peer out.”

Barbour Expected to Enter Presidential Race

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) is “expected to join the field as early as this coming week,” according to the AP, and “has met with potential donors while traveling to early voting states. He has an extensive fundraising network from his political and lobbying careers but aides are playing down what he will raise in the April-June period. They say it will take some time for those contacts to bear fruit for Barbour.”

Trumpery

Hendrick Hertzberg, via Mike Allen: “The Presidential candidacy as joke is a perennial sideshow along the raucous midway of the American political carnival… The joke candidate of the present moment partakes of many of the qualities of those who have gone before.”

“The dismaying truth is that birther ism is part of a larger pattern of rejection of reality that has taken hold of intimi dating segments of one of the two polit ical parties that alternate in power in our governing institutions. It is akin to the view that global warming is a hoax, or that the budget can be balanced through spending cuts alone, or that contracep tion causes abortion.”

How Obama Lost the Fight to Close Guantanamo Bay

Washington Post: “For more than two years, the White House’s plans had been undermined by political miscalculations, confusion and timidity in the face of mounting congressional opposition… Indeed, the failed effort to close Guantanamo was reflective of the aspects of Obama’s leadership style that continue to distress his liberal base — a willingness to allow room for compromise and a passivity that at times permits opponents to set the agenda.”

“Administration officials lay blame for the failed initiative on Congress, including Democrats who deserted the president, sometimes in droves. The debate, they said, became suffused with fear — fear that transferring detainees to American soil would create a genuine security threat, fear that closing Guantanamo would be electoral suicide.”

Stimulus by Fed Seen as Failure

The Federal Reserve’s “experimental effort to spur a recovery by purchasing vast quantities of federal debt has pumped up the stock market, reduced the cost of American exports and allowed companies to borrow money at lower interest rates,” the New York Times reports.

But most Americans are not feeling the difference from the $600 billion program “and the latest estimates from economists, in fact, suggest that the pace of recovery from the global financial crisis has flagged since November.”

Wisconsin Recall Efforts Bring in the Lawyers

“With recall signatures filed against six Wisconsin state senators last week — making eight in all this month — those campaigns now shift in earnest to their next phase: vetting thousands of signatures, preparing objections to them and responding to objections,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

Signatures have been submitted against half the senators involved in recall efforts — five against Republicans and three against Democrats.

Why Ensign Really Quit

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) “abruptly announced his resignation after it grew increasingly clear to him that he would not be able to avoid a public review of the sordid allegations surrounding his sex scandal, including the open airing of details from his nine-month extramarital affair with a former campaign aide,” Politico reports.

Ensign told associates that he was “100 percent certain” the Ethics Committee “would hold public hearings into the scandal, turning a private matter into a media-free-for-all.”

In fact, sources tell Mike Allen that Ensign knew he could face questions about other women and at least one additional staffer.

Interestingly, the New York Times notes the Senate Ethics Committee will “take the unusual step of issuing a statement that details evidence of wrongdoing uncovered in the committee’s 22-month investigation, its largest in more than a decade. Those details could include interviews with dozens of witnesses and a review of records of Mr. Ensign and his family.”

Cartoon of the Day

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Lawmaker Claims Voting is Not a Right

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R) claimed that voting is “a privilege, it’s not a right,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Said Zellers: “When you go to even a Burger King or a McDonalds and use your debit card, they’ll ask you to see your ID. Should we have to do that when we vote, something that is one of the most sacred — I think it’s a privilege, it’s not a right. Everybody doesn’t get it, because if you go to jail or if you commit some heinous crime your rights are taken away. This is a privilege.”

Zellers later backed off the comment recognizing the right to vote is explicitly protected by several constitutional provisions, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The President We Deserve?

Andrew Leonard writes that Donald Trump, far from being a joke, is exactly the president America deserves:

“Think about it. We are currently facing the consequences of living on borrowed money in the wake of a huge real estate meltdown. Who, I ask you, has had a more intimate acquaintance with what happens when the value of your real estate holdings collapse and your creditors come calling than Donald Trump? And yet he keeps living to see another day! Donald Trump is the living, breathing proof of John Maynard Keynes’ famous maxim: “If you owe your bank manager a thousand pounds, you are at his mercy. If you owe him a million pounds, he is at your mercy.” In the 1990s, the sums Trump owed his creditors were simply too big. If forced into bankruptcy, Trump would have brought his lenders down with him. They had to cut a deal, extend him even more credit, and help him muddle through.” 

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