POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/28
“Part of what happened this morning was me trying to remind the press and trying to remind both parties that what we do in politics is not a reality show. It’s serious.”
Joshua Green: “He may have gotten President Obama’s attention, but Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy is presumed by most people to be a stunt designed to goose ratings for his television show, Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. But while Trump has gotten plenty of airtime by suggesting, wrongly, that the president was not born in the United States, Nielsen ratings for Celebrity Apprentice are lower than they were a year ago — and dropping fast.”
“One reason Trump’s audience is abandoning him may be that, according to demographic research of primetime television viewers provided exclusively to The Atlantic by National Media Inc., a firm that places political ads on television, the audience for Celebrity Apprentice is among the most liberal in primetime television. Rather than add viewers, Trump foolishly appears to be driving them away.”
“I don’t know what Don was trying to say, and it really doesn’t matter. Don can be a grumpy guy. We all know that.”
A new Gallup poll finds Americans are just as likely to say they have an unfavorable as a favorable opinion of Speaker of the House John Boehner, 34% to 34%.
This is a significant shift from January when his positive rating was nearly twice as high as his negative rating, 42% to 22%.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in West Virginia finds any of the Democrats running for governor would start out as the favorite in the general election, but Ray Tomblin (D) is the most formidable.
Key finding: Democrats nominate Tomblin and he’s close to impossible to beat, Democrats nominate someone else and they still start out ahead but with much more potential for a close race.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he would hold a vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal, the Huffington Post reports.
Said Reid: “There will be an opportunity in the Senate to vote on the Ryan budget to see if Republican senators like the Ryan budget as much as the House did.”
Greg Sargent: “Dems are working extremely hard to fix the national narrative around the idea that Ryan’s proposal has left Republicans scrambling, vulnerable, and on the defensive. They are trying to turn the blowback against it into a national story on a par with the Tea Party town halls of 2009.”
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) will appoint Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) to fill the Senate seat to be vacated next week by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Jon Ralston emails.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was seen in a video for the first time since being shot in the head as she walked carefully up the steps of a plane to leave to watch her husband blast off on the final mission of the space shuttle Endeavor.
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds President Obama’s standing in Nevada “has taken a significant turn in the wrong direction since early January and it appears he could have a much tougher time in the state next year than he did in 2008, particularly if the Republicans nominate Mitt Romney.”
Romney would beat Obama by three points, 46% to 43%, in a state the president won in 2008 by 13 points.
This should be fun: Donald Trump’s condition for releasing his tax returns was met earlier today.
David Remnick: “The one radical thing about Barack Obama is his race, his name. Of course, there is nothing innately radical about being black or having Hussein as middle name; what is radical is that he has those attributes and is sitting in the Oval Office. And even now, more than two years after the fact, this is deeply disturbing to many people, and, at the same time, the easiest way to arouse visceral opposition to him. Let’s be even plainer: to do what Trump has done (and he is only the latest and loudest and most spectacularly hirsute) is a conscious form of race-baiting, of fear-mongering. And if that makes Donald Trump proud, then what does that say for him? Perhaps now he will go away, satisfied that this passage has sufficiently restored his fame quotient and television ratings. The shame is that there are still many more around who, in the name of truth-telling, are prepared to pump the atmosphere full of poison.”
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) tells the AP he doesn’t think Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) will run for president.
Said Branstad: “I don’t know if he’s got the fire in the belly, drive and desire to run for president of the United States. I haven’t seen it. At this point, I don’t think it’s likely that he’ll run.”
A White House official emails Ben Smith:
“I am not going to argue the politics of doing this are good — they probably aren’t. Allowing the GOP primary to devolve into birther mania probably would be better, but the president felt strongly that this was bad for the country.”
National Journal suggests that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), by declining to run for president, could still play a major role in the Republican presidential nomination process — as a kingmaker.
“The Mississippi governor’s surprise decision on Monday to pull the plug on a run for the GOP presidential nomination — after staffing up and slimming down in what seemed to be a methodical preparation to make one — may have turned a second-tier candidate for the nation’s top political job into a leading kingmaker … Barbour’s political savvy, fundraising prowess, and deep connections in the Republican Party will make him one of the most sought-after endorsements for candidates remaining in the race, GOP insiders said.”
Despite all the media attention and bluster, a new Gallup poll of registered voters shows that a presidential bid by Donald Trump is dead in the water, with 64% saying they will definitely not vote for him, one point below Sarah Palin.
A bipartisan affair: “While 52% of Republicans would consider voting for Trump, 46% already say they would definitely not vote for him, worse than their attitudes toward Huckabee, Romney, and Palin.”
First Read: “The question is no longer whether Donald Trump has disqualified himself from being a serious presidential candidate (because he has, a long time ago). Instead, it’s whether he’s staining the GOP by association. How much longer can serious Republicans stay silent as Trump — who visits New Hampshire today — hijacks this whole process? Simply put, what Trump is doing is the equivalent of a GOP presidential candidate in 1995 campaigning on the Vince Foster rumors, or a candidate in 1968 suggesting that LBJ was connected to the Kennedy assassination. It is crazy conspiracy talk that has gone mainstream. And while Republicans quietly dismiss Trump as a sideshow, they aren’t saying a lot publicly. What are they afraid of?”
Howard Kurtz reports that some Fox News executives are growing impatient with Mike Huckabee’s long mulling of a presidential bid.
However, Huckabee said the idea that he’s being pressured is “total nonsense. Your source is full of it.”
He added: “No pressure at all. Fox has been very understanding and they know and I know that if I take steps to be a candidate (ask for money, support, or set up a committee), then I will step aside. That’s been understood from the beginning.”
The White House said Hawaii doesn’t generally release long-form birth certificates but did so at the president’s request.
According to NBC News, Obama said he had “watched with bemusement” and been “puzzled” by the degree to which the issue of his place of birth has continued to make headlines.
Said Obama: “I’m confident the American people and America’s political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. We’re not gonna be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.”
At his own news conference, Donald Trump took credit for the action.
Justin Elliot: “Donald Trump has emerged in recent years as the nation’s foremost China basher, going after the Asian superpower for undervaluing its currency and for taking American manufacturing and jobs. So it’s at least ironic — and at most an example of gross hypocrisy — that Trump’s own line of men’s wear, the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, is manufactured in China.”
“Over-65 voters have given Obama the lowest marks of any age cohort in every weekly Gallup presidential approval survey taken since Obama took office,” Politiconotes, but Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget plan, embraced by most Republicans, “gives Obama a big opportunity in 2012 to regain lost ground in key battleground states and narrow the generation gap.”
Said one Democratic strategist: “It finally gives us an argument to make with seniors… It’s a godsend.”
New York Times: “After 10 days of trying to sell constituents on their plan to overhaul Medicare, House Republicans in multiple districts appear to be increasingly on the defensive, facing worried and angry questions from voters and a barrage of new attacks from Democrats and their allies.”
President Obama “is expected to announce long-anticipated changes in his national security team this week,” the Washington Post reports.
“The officials, who provided information on the condition of anonymity, said as many as four high-level appointments could be announced as soon as Thursday, a changing of the guard that would probably involve the naming of a replacement for Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.”
The AP reports CIA director Leon Panetta will be named to succeed Gates and Gen. David Petraeus will be nominated to replace him as CIA director
White House adviser David Axelrod told the Washington Post that Donald Trump called him last summer “asking to be put in charge of the operation in the gulf to seal the oil leak.”
Said Trump: “I know how to run big projects. Why don’t you put me in charge?”
“I told him I thought we were close to solving it and would get back to him,” Axelrod recalled. “Two weeks later, we had the leak sealed, and I called him back to thank him for his offer.”
Tennessee lawmakers are working on legislation that would allow direct corporate donations to political candidates, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
“The Tennessee Legislature last year approved a law allowing independent expenditures in state campaigns. The new bill goes beyond that to authorize corporations to directly give money to candidates and political parties for the first time in Tennessee, which has had a longstanding ban on direct corporate contributions.”
Sharron Angle (R) denied a report that she’d run as an independent if Republicans were to pass her over for replacing the possibly departing Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV).
Said Angle: “I am committed to the House race for the Second Congressional District as a Republican candidate. Regardless of a possible special election’s impact in the short term, I have hired an experienced consulting firm, Revolvis, that has a proven track record of winning complex campaigns. I am confident in my team’s ability to muster all necessary resources for success.”
Dave Catanese: “For a candidate to make the uncommon move of citing a specific consulting firm in a statement demonstrates how Angle is trying to rebuild her reputation after her disastrous 2010 effort, which many blame on mismanagement by her previous political operatives.”
Donald Trump has made more than $1.3 million in donations over the years to candidates nationwide, with 54% of the money going to Democrats, according to aWashington Post analysis.
“The donations provide another view into the odd political spectacle surrounding Trump, who may be the most unlikely of possible GOP presidential hopefuls in an already eclectic field. Although candidates such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have spent years carefully crafting and plotting a White House run, the tycoon and fixture of the New York tabloids has leapt onto the scene with loud proclamations and surprisingly strong poll numbers among likely Republican voters.”
Meanwhile, ABC News reports Trump is headed to New Hampshire today “for what is shaping up to be an unpredictable — but increasingly likely — bid for the Republican nomination.”