POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/19
Urging lawmakers in Albany to be on the “right side of history,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged his support the reelection of any Republican state senator who votes to legalize same-sex marriage, the New York Times reports.
“In pledging to support senators who back same-sex marriage — ‘no matter where they stand on any other issue,” the mayor said — Mr. Bloomberg is dangling a potent political carrot: his money and muscle in the next election.”
A new Survey USA poll shows New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s approval rating at just 36%, with 59% disapproving of his job performance.
While the political world converges on New York’s 26th congressional district for the final week of special election campaigning, Charlie Cook warns not to read too deeply — if at all — into the outcome of this race.
“In this Republican-leaning 26th District fight, there is one Democrat, one Republican and, oh, yes, a wealthy, abortion-rights, economic protectionist, former Republican, former Democrat, current tea partier, who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006 and 2008 — spending a total of $5.2 million of his own money — and has already spent at least another $1.7 million in this race for Congress. If anyone can find a race next year with a similar configuration, be my guest and apply the ‘lessons learned’ from this race to that one. But implying that the outcome of this race portends anything about any conventional race next year amounts to cheap spin and drive-by ‘analysis’ of the most superficial kind.”
When the Huffington Post asked Newt Gingrich’s campaign about media coverage over the last week, spokesman Rick Tyler fired off this classic response:
“The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”
With Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump not running, a new Suffolk University pollfinds Mitt Romney has become the clear frontrunner among Republican primary voters nationwide with 20%, followed by Sarah Palin at 12%, Newt Gingrich at 9%, Rudy Giuliani at 7% and Ron Paul at 5%.
Romney was the closest of the Republican challengers tested to catching President Obama, but trails by three points, 46% to 43%.
“I came to the House as a real deficit hawk, but I am no longer a deficit hawk. I’ll tell you why. I had to spend the surpluses. Deficits make it easier to say no.”
— Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), quoted by The Hill in 2003.
James Taranto looks at the fact that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) remarried his wife after she left to marry another man and asks, “If a man would take back a woman after such a betrayal, is he tough enough to lead the country?”
“He is the Republican canary in the coal mine. When that canary speaks truth, he is snuffed out. What Newt seems to realize is that it would be impossible to win the White House if they embrace the Ryan plan. If Republicans make endorsing the Ryan plan the standard in the Republican primary, it will make the nominee unelectable.”
— Sen. Charles Schumer, quoted by Greg Sargent.
“So let me say on the record, any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood.”
A video was released of Tim Pawlenty campaign manager Nick Ayers being pulled over and arrested for DWI in 2006.
Ayers’ first words to the police officer are: “We’re with Governor Perdue’s campaign headquarters.”
That didn’t impress the trooper. Ayers is given a field sobriety test, refuses to take a breath test and was then arrested and put in handcuffs.
President Obama’s re-election campaign in selling “Made in the USA” t-shirts which feature his long-form birth certificate.
In a major test of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) ability to hold his conference together, the House Republican leadership is preparing to pass a dozen spending bills without support from Democrats, according to The Hill.
“The stakes are high for GOP leaders, who repeatedly mocked Democrats for failing to pass a budget last year. With 240 Republicans in the House, GOP leaders can afford only a small number of defections to pass the individual bills. Some in the Republican Conference believe the spending limits are too high, while a few GOP centrists might vote no on various bills because they believe the allocations are too low.”
Alexander Burns: “This is a good week for underdogs, as a set of long-shot candidates in state, local and special elections far outperformed expectations last night. It’s too soon to say what the national implications might be, but recall that it was mayoral races in cities like Albuquerque and Seattle that first confirmed the 2010 campaign’s anti-incumbent mood.”
Cases in point:
The Nashua Telegraph reports New Hampshire Democrats captured a strongly GOP-leaning state House seat in a special election
The St. Petersburg Times reports a Democrat may have edged out a Republican for mayor of Jacksonville calling it “a big, big deal that nobody would have remotely predicted a few months ago.”
The Los Angeles Times reports a Republican unexpectedly appears to have made it into a runoff for the seat of former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA).
Mike Allen reports that Jon Huntsman plans to put his presidential campaign headquarters in Orlando, Florida, noting that Mitt Romney’s strategists “thinks the Florida primary may be the decisive indicator of whether the frontrunner is on track, or in trouble.”
Ben Smith notes Huntsman’s stand in the Sunshine State “seems to anticipate the same unusual campaign that Romney is planning for, one that’s more about weakness than strength, in which Romney limps out of the early states wounded but breathing, and facing a rival who simply can’t keep up with his spending through the long march of the first half of 2008. Huntsman may also be able to spend a lot, if not Romney money, and seems also the bracing for a long march.”
After Rick Santorum said that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works” — despite the fact that McCain was tortured during the Vietnam War — Greg Sargent asked McCain’s office for a response and received a one-word reply: “Who?”
A series of gaffes by Newt Gingrich (R) this week have enraged conservatives and left his campaign in major damage control, observes Politico, as “Gingrich finally seemed to realize the seriousness of his political plight Tuesday, when he held three conference calls, made a personal apology to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and admitted in a Fox News appearance: ‘I made a mistake.'”
“For a host of party leaders, Gingrich seems to have proven with astonishing speed that he deserves his reputation as an undisciplined, self-destructive, shoot-from-the-lip politician. His flair for provocative rhetoric, combined with his desire to make loftier political points, might make him too combustible for the presidential campaign trail.”
First Read: “Simply put, Newt Gingrich appears to have set the modern-day bar for a disastrous presidential rollout… Everyone but him thinks he’s dead. What might be the most surprising revelation of the past 48 hours is the lack of goodwill Newt enjoys… What he’s discovered in the last couple of days: He has very few real friends in the conservative movement, and gets no benefit of the doubt. You get the sense that some conservatives were simply waiting for him to make a mistake to pounce in order to drive him out of this race.”
Sources close to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) tell the Daily Caller that “the Tea Party leader is poised to make an announcement at the end of May on a potential presidential candidacy.”
Top Republicans are increasingly convinced that President Obama “will be easily reelected if stronger GOP contenders do not emerge, and some are virtually begging Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to add some excitement to the slow-starting nomination race,” Politico reports.
“It’s a sign of the GOP’s straits that the party is depending on the bland, wonkish Daniels for an adrenaline boost.”
Meanwhile, Daniels told the Indianapolis Star that his family has now had “a lot of time to marinate” the issue and was ready to enter the final stage of the decision-making process.
He did say that if he ran, his goal would be to “take the venom” out of national politics and to “show respect for our opponent.”
A new Sunshine State (R) poll finds that Florida Republicans have yet to get behind a candidate who will challenge Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in 2012. The survey found that almost two-thirds — 64% — of likely primary voters were undecided on who they wanted to see take on Nelson.
In a seemingly major upset, Craig Huey (R) appears to have captured one of the spots in a July 12 runoff in the race to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), theLos Angeles Times reports. He will face Janice Hahn (D).
“Huey, a conservative businessman who pumped $500,000 of his own money into the race, faces long odds in the runoff, given the district’s strong Democratic tilt.”
The Hotline reports that Newt Gingrich has apologized to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for criticizing the latter’s budget proposal, after a wave of media and political backlash.
“The criticism, which ranged from the Wall Street Journal to the National Review, threatened to knock Gingrich’s not-yet-one-week-old campaign off track just as it was getting started. The damage was exacerbated by the fact that even as he reiterated he would repeal President Obama’s health care plan, he maintained Ryan’s budget was too politically toxic to pass into law.”
The Hill reports that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has pulled out of the “Gang of Six” senators working on a budget deal for fiscal year 2012. The breakdown was attributed to an impasse over reform of entitlements.
Said Coburn: “We can’t bridge the gulf of where we need to go on mandatory spending… There’s no reason to sit and talk about the same things over and over and not get any movement.”
First Read: “A Democratic source familiar with the talks says that Coburn brought new issues to the table at the last minute that prevented the group from coming to a deal and gave the members the indication he was not negotiating in good faith.”
Ezra Klein: “Gangs of well-meaning, bipartisan-leaning leaders embody how we want Washington to work, and as such, they frequently receive glowing, excited coverage. But, at least lately, they don’t seem to be how Washington actually works.”