POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/10

Trump’s TV Ratings Way Down

A three hour edition of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice reality show on NBC last night “was the lowest-rated spring telecast for the franchise, dipping 23%,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Democrat Moves Ahead in NY-26 Race

A new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey finds Kathy Hochul (D) leading in New York’s 26th congressional district special election with 35% of likely voters, followed by Jane Corwin (R) at 31% and Jack Davis (I) at 24%.

The bottom line: “If disaffected independents and grumpy teabaggers continue to decide they like Davis more than Corwin, Hochul really could snatch this one away from the GOP.”

Cartoon of the Day

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Checking in on the Limbaugh Primary

Rush Limbaugh weighs in on last week’s Republican presidential debate:

“Pawlenty seemed the most presidential, Santorum seemed hyper and wired up, and Herman Cain made me think I was listening to me in every answer. Some of the others did, too, but this is not to be mistaken here for any kind of an endorsement, folks. I’m just telling you — and I’m not suggesting to you that any of these people could win.”

Vast Majority Say It Was Right to Kill Osama Bin Laden

A new NBC News poll finds 80% of Americans said it was the right decision to kill Osama bin Laden versus capture him.

In contrast, 11% said was the wrong decision, and 9% were not sure.

The Ripped Representative

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) — “the fittest man in Congress” — is featured on the cover of Men’s Health magazine.

“What makes Aaron Schock so different in the Washington world is that he’s committed to helping his generation embrace health and fitness as a personal responsibility–and he’s doing it not just with words, but actions.”

Is Sarah Palin Over?

Howard Kurtz: “Between February and April, according to an analysis for Newsweek by General Sentiment, a company that tracks and measures online content, posts involving Palin fell 38.3 percent, to 235,032, over the past 30 days. Social-media mentions dropped in lockstep, down 32 percent over the same period, to 135,421. And the value of all that ‘free’ media dropped roughly by half during this period, from $63 million to $33 million. While it would be foolish to count her out, it is hard to escape the conclusion that her influence has peaked. People close to Palin acknowledge that she has done virtually nothing to lay the groundwork for a campaign. But they don’t see her as toning things down, saying she is busy giving speeches (for as much as $100,000 a pop) and tending to her five kids and her grandchild.”

Gingrich is Running

Newt Gingrich will announce his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday with postings on Facebook and Twitter.

He’ll give his first interview as a candidate to Sean Hannity on Wednesday night and make his first speech on Friday at the Georgia Republican party convention.

Why Trump is No Racist

Donald Trump makes his case on Fox News:

“Well, you know, when it comes to racism and racists, I am the least racist person there is. And I think most people would me would tell you that. I am the least racist I’ve had great relationships. In fact, Randal Pinkett won, as you know, on The Apprentice a little while ago, a couple of years ago. And Randall’s been outstanding in every way. So I am the least racist person.”

Romney Supporters Tilt Upscale

A new Gallup poll finds Republican college degree holders “are more likely than those without a degree to support Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, 21% vs. 13%. Similarly, Romney’s support climbs from 9% of Republicans earning less than $24,000 annually to 21% of those earning $90,000 or more.”

“The reverse is true for Sarah Palin, who is favored by nearly twice as many Republicans without a college degree as those with one, 16% vs. 9%, and her support decreases by income from 22% among the lowest income group to 7% among the highest.”

Tea Party Turns Pro

Roll Call: “Tea party activists have long criticized President Obama’s jobs agenda, and in doing so, they may have inadvertently created one of their own. Several tea party leaders have found paid jobs for themselves in the movement as it evolves from an amateur grass-roots wave into a professional lobby.”

Can Romney Win Without Iowa and South Carolina?

Mitt Romney might not compete seriously in the South Carolina presidential primary due to concerns about his Mormon faith, Politico reports. It’s previously been suggested he might skip the Iowa caucuses which leads to the question: Can Romney win the Republican nomination by downplaying both Iowa and South Carolina?

First Read: “The consequence of Romney not winning both contests – and eyeing New Hampshire and Florida instead – probably guarantees that if he wins the GOP nomination, it will be after a LONG and potentially BLOODY primary season. And that’s if Romney does well in New Hampshire. This strategy puts a premium on New Hampshire for Romney, a state that LOVES to reject front-runners and the Conventional Wisdom. Is Romney really going to end up skipping or, better, SKIMPING, on Iowa and South Carolina? Or is this all just a mini-2011 ploy?”

Obama’s Best Week Yet

President Obama just had the best week — politically — of his presidency.

First Read: “It started with the news last Sunday of Osama bin Laden’s death, and it ended with last night’s 60 Minutes interview. In between, there was the best monthly private-sector jobs gain in years, as well as Thursday’s GOP presidential debate that was dominated by candidates who are unlikely to win the Republican nomination, a contrast that Plouffe and Axelrod couldn’t have planned better. So it was a great week for Team Obama, but there are two reality checks: 1) the national average for gasoline has now reached $4 a gallon, and 2) the 2012 presidential election is nearly 550 days away.”

An Early Test for 2012 Messaging

With just three weeks remaining in the special election in New York’s 26th District between Jane Corwin (R), Kathy Hochul (D) and Jack Davis (I), The Hotline sees both the Republican and Democratic campaign machines using the opportunity as an early test of their prospective 2012 messaging.

“It’s clear now that the Medicare issue will be the defining issue in the race, and so far Corwin has tried to turn the message back to jobs and the deficit. This is an early test for how the Democratic message will play, but the DCCC still isn’t in; though with Corwin forced to go on the attack, it could be better if they wait it out and force her hand. On the flip side, the NRCC has already begun phone-banking for Corwin, but especially if they’re forced to send resources and go up on air for her, it’s an even surer sign that they’re worried about how a loss could play into their 2012 plans.”

Iowa GOP Donors Seek to Draft Christie

“Some of Iowa’s top Republican campaign contributors, unhappy with their choices in the developing presidential field, are venturing to New Jersey in hopes they can persuade first-term Gov. Chris Christie to run,” the AP reports.

“The meeting speaks to what some Republicans nationally say is a lack of enthusiasm about the emerging roster of contenders. It’s also unusual because candidates typically court Iowans, who get the first say in presidential nominating contests, and not the other way around.”

Obama Begins Push for Immigration Reform

President Obama in recent weeks has begun to lay the groundwork for an immigration reform effort, including private meetings with the business community, law enforcement officials, religious leaders, current and former elected officials and influential Hispanics. Now he will take those efforts on the road, as he travels to Texas on Tuesday to “make the case that his administration has worked hard to secure the border” and reforming the system is the next step, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“While the legislative prospects of an immigration bill are poor, the political imperatives for Mr. Obama and his party are great. Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats need strong support from the Hispanic community in 2012, but the president has little to show for his promise to pass legislation giving some illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship. Advocates never got close to passing a comprehensive immigration bill when Democrats controlled the House and Senate by large margins.”

Majority Support Obama’s Decision on bin Laden Photos

A new NBC poll finds a majority of Americans, 52%, strongly believe President Obama made the right decision not to release the photos of Osama bin Laden after he was killed, compared to 24% who strongly oppose the decision. In total, 64% agreed with the president, while 29% disagreed.

Quote of the Day

“Well, I think you’ve got to give him a lot of credit for making the decision to have the SEAL Team 6 conduct the raid that got bin Laden. It’s no question that was his responsibility and I think he handled it well.”

— Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview with Fox News, offering rare praise for President Obama.

Gingrich’s Secret Weapon

As Newt Gingrich mulls formally entering the presidential race, the Wall Street Journal has another look at Newt Inc., noting his network “has amassed more than 1.7 million voter and donor contacts and raised $32 million between 2009 and 2010 — more than all his potential 2012 rivals combined.”

“Gingrich began building his network of advocacy and for-profit groups after he left Congress. He will have to sever his ties to the groups if he jumps into the presidential race, but can still tap into their broad network of active supporters and donors.”

The Problem with Pollster Scorecards

Harry Enten says attempts to use past pollster accuracy to foretell future pollster performance don’t work very well.

Specifically, he finds Nate Silver’s latest pollster scorecard had very limited predictive value in forecasting the accuracy of pollsters in the 2010 midterm election cycle.

Obama Gets Bounce in Virginia

Most national polls have shown President Obama receiving a nice bounce in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death, but a new Washington Post poll is the first to show the impact of the operation in a state widely viewed as a bellwether for Obama’s chances for reelection.

In Virginia, Obama stretched his margins over five GOP candidates tested. In a hypothetical matchup against Mitt Romney, for example, interviews before the bin Laden announcement showed voters splitting 48% for the president and 46% for Romney. Afterward, Obama edged ahead, 51% to 44%.

“Against former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and businessman Donald Trump, twin 19-point Obama advantages swelled to 31 points in interviews conducted in the three days after bin Laden’s death.”

SNL Parodies the Republican Debate

Tina Fey returned to play Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live  for the “GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate.”

Donnelly to Make Senate Bid in Indiana

Democrats have likely picked up their top recruit in the Senate race in Indiana, with Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) preparing to announce a bid on Monday, according to The Hotline.

“Donnelly’s decision to run for the Senate is good news for his party. In a state with a thin Democratic bench, Donnelly is considered by party strategists to be the best candidate for the race, among those seriously considering a bid. He also didn’t have too difficult of a choice, thanks to changes in the composition of his congressional district.”

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