POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/27

Barbour Did Run for President

Jonathan Bernstein: “We call this period the ‘invisible primary‘ for a reason: just like in the state-by-state primaries to come next year, the current contest has winners and losers, and the losers tend to drop out. Now, some potential candidates really haven’t contested the invisible primary… I haven’t read anything, for example, about Jeb Bush. So I’ll chalk him up as a ‘did not run.’ But those who hired staff, sought endorsements, traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina — they contested the invisible primary. They were candidates for 2012. Even if they didn’t quite make it all the way to 2012.”

TelePrompTer Inventor Dies

Hub Schlafly Jr., who invented the TelePrompTer, died last week, ABC News reports.

“Schlafly, a TV engineer, developed the device in the 1950’s to help soap opera actors remember their lines… But it is politicians who made the device, which has evolved with technology, most famous. A seamlessly executed teleprompter-aided speech allows the speaker to read from notes while giving the impression that the speech is given from memory.”

Pollster Says Trump is Serious

Donald Trump “met last week with a high-level Republican polling and consulting firm, in yet another signal the billionaire businessman is laying the groundwork for a presidential bid,” CBS News reports.

Said pollster Jim McLaughlin: “I don’t think there’s any question he’s serious. I think he’s running.”

McLaughlin also said that Trump is putting in the work to get ready and is “doing more of his homework and preparation than people might expect.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“Any discussion of his birthplace is a code word. It calls upon ancient racial fears.”

— Jesse Jackson, in an interview with Politico, on questioning President Obama’s citizenship.

Jackson added that this “is the most personal attacks on any president ever. Whose personal religion has ever been challenged before? That has strong racial overtones.”

Should Paul Ryan Run?

James Pethokoukis say there’s “desire at the highest ranks of the Republican Party, according to my reporting and sources, to see House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan seek the 2012 presidential nomination.”

Key reason: “Since Democrats are determined to hang Ryan’s bold ‘Path to Prosperity’ budget plan around the neck of every Republican running for office in 2012, why not have its author and best salesman advocate for it directly vs. President Obama?”

Meanwhile, Politico reports Ryan is getting “overflow crowds” for his town hall meetings to explain his plan.

Balderas Running for Senate in New Mexico

New Mexico Auditor Hector Balderas (D) has jumped in the race for U.S. Senate, setting up a primary race on the Democratic side, Roll Call reports.

“If Balderas can compete financially, state insiders expect a competitive primary battle with Rep. Martin Heinrich, who announced his Senate candidacy earlier this month … As it is for both parties, Democrats would have preferred to avoid a primary, which could make it that much harder to hold the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman.”

Obama as Moderate Republican

Ezra Klein writes that President Obama, far from being a radical Marxist/socialist/anti-colonialist, is in fact “a moderate Republican from the early 1990s. And the Republican Party he’s facing has abandoned many of its best ideas in its effort to oppose him.”

“If you put aside the emergency measures required by the financial crisis, three major policy ideas have dominated American politics in recent years: a health-care plan that uses an individual mandate and tax subsidies to achieve near-universal coverage; a cap-and-trade plan that attempts to raise the prices of environmental pollutants to better account for their costs; and bringing tax rates up from their Bush-era lows as part of a bid to reduce the deficit. In each case, the position that Obama and the Democrats have staked out is the very position that moderate Republicans staked out in the early ’90s — and often, well into the 2000s.”

Anti-Marijuana Lawmaker Busted for Possession

A Rhode Island lawmaker who once criticized the state Legislature by using the image of pot-smoking immigrants was arrested for alleged marijuana possession, the Providence Journal reports.

House minority leader Robert Watson (R), who dismissed a debate over legalizing marijuana as not worthy of their time, famously questioned the state legislature’s priorities noting they were fine “if you’re a gay man from Guatemala who gambles and smokes pot.”

Heller Holds Small Lead in Nevada

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Nevada shows Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) leads Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) in the U.S. Senate race by four points, 47% to 43%.

However, that represents a 9 point swing in Berkley’s direction since Heller led 51% to 38% in early January.

Americans Getting More Federal Aid Than Ever

Americans are relying more on government aid for income, while wages as a share of income have dropped to their lowest level since 1929, USA Today reports.

“A record 18.3% of the nation’s total personal income was a payment from the government for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment benefits and other programs in 2010,” up from 12% just a decade ago. “Wages accounted for the lowest share of income — 51.0% — since the government began keeping track in 1929.”

The increasing reliance on aid “reflects several changes: the expansion of health care and federal programs generally, the aging population and lingering economic problems.”

Grassley Not Sorry to See Barbour Go

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told Radio Iowa that he’s not disappointed that Haley Barbour decided not to run for president.

Said Grassley: “I’m not sorry if anybody gets out of the presidential race at this point. I think at this point, if they’re getting out, they were not really serious competitors. The reason I’m glad to see anybody that wants to get out at this point, it means they didn’t have their heart fully into it.”

He added: “When we can get the focus on a lesser number of candidates, get it down to about a half a dozen, the better off Republicans are gonna’ be.”

Wisconsin Voters Split on Walker Recall

A new Ethridge & Associates (R) poll finds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) tied with former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in a hypothetical recall election at 48% each.

Interesting: A slight majority of 51% oppose a recall, compared to 44% in favor. This means that some of those opposed in principle to recalling Walker would nonetheless vote against him.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I do chase women, like the prime minister of Italy, but that’s about it.”

— West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Arne Moltis (D), in an interview with theBeckley Register Herald.

Cartoon of the Day

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Brown Leads All GOP Challengers in Ohio

A new Wenzel Strategies (R) poll in Ohio finds Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) with a lowly 41% favorable rating, but he still leads three potential Republican rivals in prospective election match-ups.

Brown leads Ken Blackwell (R), 49% to 36%, tops Lt. Governor Mary Taylor (R), 50% to 36%, and beats Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), 48% to 33%.

Huntsman Not Able to Self-Finance Campaign

The Salt Lake Tribune notes there’s no question Jon Huntsman “has deep pockets — though they may not be as deep as some have suggested.

“Huntsman’s net worth ranges from $11 million to $74 million, according to a 2009 personal financial disclosure — the most recent available. Some of that wealth is set aside for his children and much of it is tied up in investments.”

Ben Smith: “Which is to say that he has enough money to keep the lights on and fund the early campaign (which his prosperous Utah backers also seem to have) but that he’ll also have to fundraise aggressively.”

Premature Ecalculations

Jon Stewart explains how polls are part of a vicious cycle:

“They have to put Donald Trump on every show spewing the craziest shit he can think of, because Donald’s poll numbers are high. Mostly because they keep putting him on television to spew the craziest shit he can think of.”

See more…

Brown Gets a Challenger

Alan Khazei (D) officially declared he is running for the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Sen Scott Brown (R-MA). He unsuccessfully sought his party’s nomination in 2009.

Said Khazei: “It’s official. I’m in.”

Obama Loses the Hedge Fund Managers

“Hedge-fund managers made a big bet on Barack Obama and other Democrats in 2008. Now, with the 2012 contest gearing up, some prominent fund managers have turned their backs on the party and are actively supporting Republicans,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Managers of hedge funds — private investment partnerships that cater to institutions and wealthy people — are reacting to what some criticize as Mr. Obama’s populist attacks on Wall Street, as well as to Democrat-led efforts to raise their tax bills. They had hoped to be protected from such a tax move by their relationships with prominent Democratic members of Congress.”

Romney Misspeaks in an Op-Ed

In an unforced error, Mitt Romney wrote yesterday in a New Hampshire Union-Leader op-ed that President Obama has engaged “in one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history.”

With the country currently engaged in three separate military conflicts, “peacetime” was an odd choice of words.

A Romney spokeswoman later said, “He meant to say since World War II.” But asFirst Read notes, “how does one misspeak in an unfiltered op-ed?”

Will Mitch Daniels Run?

First Read: “Why Daniels might run: He believes that no other candidate is addressing the deficit/debt, and he now has an opening (in fundraising and establishment support) with Barbour’s no-go. Why he might not run: His national name ID/support isn’t any higher than Barbour’s, and his family is rumored to be against a White House bid.”

“We might get clues from Daniels when he addresses the American Enterprise Institute on May 4.”

China’s Economy Set to Surpass U.S. in 2016

MarketWatch: “According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.”

Why Barbour Didn’t Run

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision not run for president — after staffing up and slimming down — took many by surprise. He had even planned a May 2 campaign launch followed by quick trips to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida.

Mike Allen: “Barbour came to believe that Democrats would turn the election into a debate on the South and race, to distract from Obama administration policies. Barbour concluded this would be a divisive campaign for the country, and a tough one for Republicans to win. Barbour hopes that now the election will be a referendum on the incumbent, not a race about race.”

First Read: “You don’t become a successful RNC and RGA chairman without being a pragmatic politician, and Barbour’s decision was certainly pragmatic… Any presidential run presents a difficult path. But Barbour’s path was going to be VERY difficult.”

Fed Prepares for First News Conference

The Federal Reserve “is doing some careful stage planning for its first-ever public news conference Wednesday afternoon following a two-day policy meeting,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Details that would be extremely mundane for most other institutions — such as who gets in, how Chairman Ben Bernanke should kick things off, and how questions will be asked — have potentially market-moving importance in this instance. Analysts and traders on Wall Street have been scrambling to find out what to expect.”

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