Is Romney the Most Consistent Presidential Hopeful?

Greg Sargent surveys the current Republican presidential field and wonders how it came to be that Mitt Romney, “who in 2008 was the personification of ideological malleability and opportunism — is actually turning out to be perhaps the most consistent of the 2012 GOP candidates?”

“Counterintuitively, the only one who is not flip-flopping on his major liability among GOP primary voters is … Mitt! Say what you will about Romney, but he is standing by Romneycare in the full knowledge that he will continue to take a beating for it from the right — perhaps a fatal one…”

White House Adds Rapid Response Position

The Huffington Post reports that the Obama administration has “created and staffed a new position tucked inside their communications shop for helping coordinate rapid response to unfavorable stories and fostering and improving relations with the progressive online community.”

The position will be filled by Jesse Lee, who has “played that role in the past, including writing a semi-infamous White House blog post that said Fox News’ Glenn Beck was lying about the administration on his show. His new gig comes with its own Twitter account, precisely for the purposes of disseminating push back. An equally telling requirement of Lee’s new job, however, is that of crafting strategy for outreach to the progressive community.”

Romney Holds Big Lead in New Hampshire

A new WMUR-CNN poll in New Hampshire shows Mitt Romney is the clear frontrunner in the Republican presidential race with 33%, followed by Rep. Ron Paul at 9%, Newt Gingrich at 7%, Tim Pawlenty at 6% and Rudy Giuliani at 6%.

Said pollster Andy Smith: “The one constant is that Mitt Romney has consistently led in New Hampshire going back to 2009, and he continues to lead now.”

Lawmakers Consistently Beat the Market

new study of stock trading by members of the House of Representatives concludes that lawmakers earned “significant positive abnormal returns” — approximately 55 basis points per month or 6% annually — over standard market returns.

The results mirror a previous study that focused on trading by Senators.

Not the Whole Truth in Pawlenty’s Kickoff

In his presidential announcement, Tim Pawlenty claimed he would tell the truth about hard choices facing the nation while others — President Obama notably among them — would not.

However, the AP finds that at least seven statements in Pawlenty’s own campaign announcement “were not the whole truth.”

Meanwhile, Think Progress does its own fact check and finds many of Pawlenty’s “truths” about the state of the nation “to be either completely untrue or grossly exaggerated.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I wanted to reassure you in Mark Twain’s tradition that the reports of my campaign’s death are highly exaggerated.”

— Newt Gingrich, at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

Conservative Talk Ratings Slide

“Right-wing talk radio may have worn out its welcome, at least for now,” reports Crain’s New York Business.

A new Arbitron report shows Rush Limbaugh’s ratings down 33% from a year ago and Sean Hannitty down 28% over the same time period. Meanwhile, more centrist personalities — Don Imus in the morning and John Batchelor at night — were both up from a year earlier.

Inside Palin’s Inner Circle

The Washington Post reviews Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years by former Palin staffer Frank Bailey and notes the book “paints a portrait of an erratic, vindictive, unethical politician. Palin emerges as a woman far more interested in power, fame and fortune than in the day-to-day grind of governing.”

Blind Allegiance will confirm what Palin’s critics already believe and will be derided by her proponents as nonsense from a disgruntled former staffer. The book’s value lies in its up-close peek into the mind and motives of a highly visible politician who still manages to cloak her essence. Bailey’s claims are hard to dismiss because they come not from a detractor but from a former ‘Palin-bot,’ as the governor’s doting warriors were called, and because of the abundant insider e-mails.”

Cartoon of the Day


Carlson Blasts Pawlenty for Raising Taxes

In a blog post, former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson (R) steps on his fellow Minnesota Republican’s presidential announcement:

“One thing is certain about Monday’s Presidential announcement by former Governor Tim Pawlenty: he will not bring up the fact that he presided over one of the larger tax increases in Minnesota’s history… During his two terms as Governor, property taxes rose a stunning $2.5 billion – more than the previous 16 years combined… There is nothing personal in my assessment… However, I come from the more traditional wing of the Republican Party and truly believe in fiscal discipline and that the office of the Presidency should go to our nation’s best and brightest and not its most ambitious.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“There may be some Republicans who are waiting for a white knight to emerge. I think it’s going to be a long wait. I think the field is largely complete, and I think the field is very good.”

— GOP fundraiser Fred Malek, quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

Pawlenty Campaign Already Dead?

Tim Pawlenty’s hometown newspaper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, ran the story of his presidential campaign announcement on the Obituary page this morning, City Pages reports.


Gingrich Tries Outsider Message

Newt Gingrich told reporters that he’s positioning himself as an anti-Washington, D.C. candidate in his campaign for president, The Hill reports.

Said Gingrich: “I’m not a Washington figure, despite the years I’ve been here. I’m essentially an American whose ties are across the country and is interested in how you change Washington, not how you make Washington happy.”

“Gingrich, of course, was first elected to Congress in 1978, where he remained until 1999, when he resigned both the Speakership and his seat in Congress. In the time since then, he’s set up a network of organizations (colloquially known as Newt, Inc.) based in Washington. He’s made his home in the D.C. suburbs. ”

Biden Floats His Own 2016 Presidential Bid

Vice President Biden “surprised a gathering of donors in Cincinnati last week when he floated the prospect of his succeeding President Obama in the White House,” Ben Smith reports.

“Biden, who started in the Senate young and would be just 70 in 2012, raised the possibility unprompted during a wide-ranging conversation at the May 19 dinner with major Democratic Party donors, a source in the room said.”

Quote of the Day

“Unless it’s Palin or Gingrich, we expect a very close race no matter who emerges.”

— An adviser to President Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, quoted by the Washington Post.

Ailes Courted Christie for Presidential Bid

New York reports that Fox News Chairman is actively trying to find a candidate who can beat President Obama in the 2012 presidential election and a few months ago called New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “and encouraged him to jump into the race. Last summer, he’d invited Christie to dinner at his upstate compound along with Rush Limbaugh, and like much of the GOP Establishment, he fell hard for Christie, who nevertheless politely turned down Ailes’s calls to run.”

“The truth is, for all the antics that often appear on his network, there is a seriousness that underlies Ailes’s own politics. He still speaks almost daily with George H. W. Bush, one of the GOP’s last great moderates, and a war hero, which especially impresses Ailes.”

Is Trump Having Second Thoughts?

Donald Trump called in to Fox News this morning and blasted the Republican presidential field and refused to rule out a possible late entry into the presidential race — even though he already decided not to run.

Said Trump: “Who knows if I did the right thing. I am not seeing a lot out of the Republican candidates… I can’t rule out anything… it’s vital that we choose the right person, and at this moment, I don’t see that person.”

He added: “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election.”

Pollsters Warned Republicans About Ryan Plan

Politico reports pollsters alerted House Republicans that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget plan was a “political time bomb” before their April 15 vote in the House.

“No matter how favorably pollsters with the Tarrance Group or other firms spun the bill in their pitch — casting it as the only path to saving the beloved health entitlement for seniors — the Ryan budget’s approval rating barely budged above the high 30s or its disapproval below 50 percent, according to a Republican operative familiar with the presentation.”

Said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell: “I couldn’t believe these idiots — I don’t know what else to call them — they’re idiots… They actually made their members vote on it. It was completely stunning to me.”

Daniels Defends His Wife on the Way Out

Just by mulling a presidential bid, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) opened his family to the kind of scrutiny that ultimately led them to veto a campaign. Even after he announced he wouldn’t run, Politico notes Daniels “sought to clean up” some of the misconceptions about his wife and the years before they remarried.

A statement: “It is important to correct some factually incorrect accounts about the time when our family was divided. When Cheri and I parted, the court agreed with my view that our daughters’ best interests would be served by their staying in Indiana. Cheri and I were granted joint custody. Within a short time, she purchased a residence just a few minutes from our house. Until we remarried, we shared custody fully, the girls dividing their time between the two homes. The notion that Cheri ever did or would ‘abandon’ her girls or parental duty is the reverse of the truth and absurd to anyone who knows her, as I do, to be the best mother any daughter ever had.”

Is the Republican Field Set?

With Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ (R) surprise announcement that he will not run for president, Republicans donors who had held their money now face a major question: Is the field now set?

New York Times: “His decision left the party split between those who said the current crop of candidates would grow in stature and appeal as the campaign progresses and those who continued to hope for new entrants capable of mobilizing conservative energy… In particular, Mr. Pawlenty and Mr. Huntsman now have clearer opportunities to establish themselves as the main alternatives to Mr. Romney, who was a candidate in 2008 and has built a formidable fund-raising network this time around.”

Alexander Burns: “Some high-powered Republicans are starting to say it is, with former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie predicting: ‘The field is largely now settled, and Republican activists and donors will begin increasingly choosing between those who are declared.’ Still, Republicans continue to look toward Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Rick Perry and – most of all – Chris Christie as possible surprise entrants. All four say they won’t run, but there are degrees of saying no.”

North Dakota Governor Once Punched a Legislator

Former North Dakota Gov. George Sinner (D) has a new memoir, Turning Points, in which he tells “of punching a state legislator and once finding a teenage beer party going on at the governor’s residence,” the AP reports.

“As governor, Sinner also continued a habit of picking up hitchhikers, even though the commander of the Highway Patrol told him that wasn’t a good idea.”

Brown Will Not Back Ryan Budget

Following some initial confusion about whether he would vote for Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) wrote in a Politico op-ed that he cannot support the proposal because its Medicare reforms go too far.

Wrote Brown: “While I applaud Ryan for getting the conversation started, I cannot support his specific plan — and therefore will vote ‘no’ on his budget… Our country is on an unsustainable fiscal path. But I do not think it requires us to change Medicare as we know it. We can work inside of Medicare to make it more solvent.”

Hundreds Knew of Bin Laden Raid

The Wall Street Journal reports that “several hundred people in the U.S. government” knew about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound before it happened but it didn’t leak.

“U.S. officials took extraordinary measures to keep it quiet, often speaking in code to each other. One decided to refer to the operation as ‘the trip to Atlantic City’ to avoid accidentally tipping off colleagues.”

Former Palin Aide Releases Scathing Book

“A former member of Sarah Palin’s inner circle has written a scathing tell-all, saying Palin was ready to quit as governor months before she actually resigned and was eager to leave office when more lucrative opportunities came around,” the APreports.

Said Frank Bailey: “In 2009 I had the sense if she made it to the White House and I had stayed silent, I could never forgive myself.”

Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years “is due out Tuesday and based on tens of thousands of emails that Bailey said he kept during his time with Palin. It began with working on her 2006 gubernatorial campaign and continued through her failed run for vice president in 2008 and her brief stint as governor.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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