POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/18

Bachmann Shopping Book Proposal

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is looking for a book publisher, Ben Smith reports.

“Bachmann will be in New York this week meeting with publishers with her agent… A rising conservative star with access to the conservative movements powerful distribution channels, she’d likely command a generous advance.”

Start Liquidating

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) told Reuters he doesn’t think the U.S. Treasury has been “up front with us” on the nation’s debt limit adding, “I am not convinced the sky will fall in on August 3.”

His solution: “I’m not an economist, but I have maintained a household. The federal government owns 70 per cent of Utah, for example. There are federal buildings. If you need cash, let’s start liquidating.”

Akin Will Run for Senate in Missouri

The St. Louis Beacon reports that Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has announced he will run for U.S. Senate in 2012, setting up a primary against Sarah Steelman (R) to see who will take on Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2012 (D-MO).

“Akin is currently in his sixth term in the U.S. House, where he has a very conservative record. Akin noted that he has voted against all the federal stimulus and bailout packages since the economic downturn began in late 2008.”

Romney Says He’ll Miss Huckabee

Though they dislike each other, Mitt Romney had nothing but kind words for Mike Huckabee and his decision to not run for president in 2012, according to Politico.

Said Romney: “On the one hand, I’m happy to not be facing a tough and effective competitor in Mike. But on the other hand, he’d be a veteran and we’d have good times together. And I’ll miss him on the campaign trail.”

Thompson Approves of Trump Stunt

Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) told Variety that Donald Trump got exactly what he wanted by flirting with a presidential bid.

Said Thompson: “I think in his case he is in a more solid position than ever for his show, he got publicity from the campaign, and he probably got a better deal with NBC. I think he played it beautifully.”

Perry Quietly Feels Out Presidential Bid

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has insisted on multiple occasions that he has no interest in running for president, but Real Clear Politics has learned that political associates “have begun to nose around quietly on Perry’s behalf.”

Gingrich’s Expensive Tastes

Politico digs through financial disclosure filings and finds that Newt Gingrich carried as much as $500,000 in debt to Tiffany’s, the premier jewelry company.

“Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress for two decades, retired in 1999. But his wife, Callista Gingrich, was employed by the House Agriculture Committee until 2007, according to public records. She listed a ‘revolving charge account’ at Tiffany and Company in the liability section of her personal financial disclosure form for two consecutive years and indicated that it was her spouse’s debt. The liability was reported in the range of $250,001 to $500,000.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“He doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works.”

— Rick Santorum, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, on Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) arguing that there’s no evidence “enhanced interrogation” led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

McCain, of course, was tortured while held prisoner during the Vietnam war.

Budget Bill Actually Increases Spending

The Wall Street Journal reports that the 2011 budget bill actually causes a net $3.2 billion increase in discretionary spending in the remaining months of the year instead of cutting tens of billions in spending as Republicans originally sought.

“The report marks the second time that the CBO has offered ammunition for conservatives who complained that the 2011 spending-cut bill was oversold by GOP leaders. The measure had been billed as a $38 billion cut from 2010 spending levels. That reflected how much it reduced spending authority, but because some of those cuts were slow to take effect, the short-term impact on actual outlays was far smaller.”

Daniels Near Decision on 2012

With the legislative session over, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) said that it won’t be long before he makes a decision on whether he’ll run for president in 2012, the APreports.

Said Daniels: “It’s only been a couple of weeks. I’ll decide pretty quickly… I’m not going to take much longer with it.”

The Fix: “Daniels’ hard-to-get approach to the race not only turns him into a hot commodity for those looking for a fresh face to get behind but also saves him from raising and spending money on a bid before anyone even in early voting states is paying much attention.”

Feingold Blasts Lieberman, McCaskill

In a fundraising email, former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) calls out several former colleagues — including Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) — as being fit for “shame” for being too beholden to corporate interests, The Hill reports.

Wrote Feingold: “This culture of corporate influence and corruption is precisely what we as Progressives United want to change. So we’ve decided to take on those legislators who are unwilling to stand up to corporate power, and we’re naming names.”

“That sort of act is likely to make Feingold no friends, especially as a number of Democratic leaders are looking to him as a possible Senate candidate now that Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) has announced he’ll retire at the end of his term. It’s also conceivable that Feingold might be jockeying for support in a potentially crowded primary field, which could include another liberal darling, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).”

How Bad Was it for Trump at the End?

Public Policy Polling survey finished last week found that Donald Trump trailed Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), 40% to 36%, in a (very) hypothetical presidential contest.

Media Fuels Deficit Debate

National Journal study of the frequency with which major U.S. newspapers use the words “unemployment” and “deficit” in headlines and first sentences “portrays a dramatically shifting landscape of coverage over the past two years, as the debate over how to fix the federal deficit has risen to prominence and the question of how to handle still-high unemployment has faded from the media’s consciousness.”

“More likely, the broadening gap demonstrates just how effective conservatives have been at changing the narrative of economic policy from one dominated by talk of fiscal stimulus to one now in lockstep with notions of fiscal austerity… The declining mentions of unemployment are perhaps more surprising, as the issue remains salient for millions of Americans.”

Cartoon of the Day

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Bonus Quote of the Day

“What matters to me is not the title. It’s my ability to impact policy. It would take me, you know, 12 to 16 years in the Senate to get where I am in the House. I don’t want to be in Congress for the rest of my life.”

— Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), quoted by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, explaining why he’s not running for U.S. Senate.

Haley Rips Gingrich Over Budget Comments

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) left no doubt in comments to CNN that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget plan is a conservative litmus test for potential GOP presidential candidates.

She said she was “terribly dissapointed” in Newt Gingrich for calling the Ryan plan “right wing social engineering.”

Said Haley: “What he said was absolutely unfortunate. Here you’ve got Representative Ryan trying to bring common sense to this world of insanity, and Newt absolutely cut him off at the knees. When you have a conservative fighting for real change, the last thing we need is a presidential candidate cutting him off at the knees.”

Palin Confidant Doesn’t See Her Running

Fred Malek, who has a close relationship with Sarah Palin, told MSNBC that he doesn’t think she’ll run for president.

Said Malek: “I haven’t talked to her in many months. I consider her a friend and a good person, and I think she’s a very constructive force, but I don’t think she’s going to run. I think she’s got a wonderful life, and there’s no reason for her to run.”

Oprah’s Final Guest

TMZ reports Maria Shriver will be Oprah Winfrey’s final guest on her syndicated talk show.

Shriver’s husband, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), just admittedfathering a child with a household staffer.

Newt Meets the Voters

Newt Gingrich’s first stop in Iowa since announcing his presidential bid wasn’t so smooth, if this Fox News footage is any indication.

IOWAN: What you just did to Paul Ryan is unforgivable.

GINGRICH: I didn’t do anything to Paul Ryan.

IOWAN: Yes, you did. You undercut him…. you’re an embarrassment to our party.

GINGRICH: I’m sorry you feel that way.

IOWAN: Why don’t you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself?

See more…

Back to a Do-Nothing Congress

“Following a Congress that passed laws affecting more Americans than any since the ‘Great Society’ legislation of the 1960s, U.S. lawmakers by comparison this year are taking a breather,” Bloomberg reports.

“Since the newly seated, divided 112th Congress began in January, 13 measures have been signed into law by President  Obama. Four of those cut spending and keep the government funded through this fiscal year. A couple of bills named federal courthouses, and the remainder were mostly temporary extensions of existing programs.”

Quote of the Day

“I’m not a meteorologist. All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring. If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we’d listen to them.”

— Jon Huntsman, in an interview with Time, on whether he believes in climate change.

The New Conservative Litmus Test

First Read notes how quickly Newt Gingrich walked back his criticism of the House GOP budget plan and notes it’s “more evidence that if you criticize Ryan’s budget plan — and, more importantly, its Medicare overhaul — then you’re not considered a mainstream conservative Republican. Ryan’s budget plan has become the ultimate conservative litmus test. Who is happiest about this development? The folks in charge of the Obama re-elect…”

Romney Not Ruling Out Self-Financing

Though he raised $10.25 million in a single day, Mitt Romney tells the Boston Globehe’s “not ready to rule out what could become another potent financial weapon in his all-but-certain presidential run: tapping into his own personal wealth.”

Said Romney: “That’s counsel I’m going to keep with Ann and myself, and that’s all. So I can’t give you any more update than that. We’re just going to keep that to our own counsel.”

Mubarak to Apologize

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak “is to apologize to the nation and plead for amnesty, three months after he was overthrown by a popular uprising,” Al Arabiya reports.

“Mubarak is also ready to hand over his assets to the state in a bid to have the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces “look into an amnesty”… The amnesty would apply to Mr. Mubarak, his 70-year-old wife Suzanne, and their two sons Alaa and Gamal who are held in Cairo’s Tora Prison on corruption charges, but sources say it is unlikely to be granted to the sons.”

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