POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/2
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that 58% of Americans oppose Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Medicare overhaul proposal, while just 35% support it. Additionally, 74% of seniors oppose it even though it would apply only to those currently younger than 55, “suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients.”
Key finding: 54% of conservatives also oppose the plan, while Republicans are split, with 50% opposing and 48% supporting.
Said pollster Keating Holland: “Overall, a plurality still says that GOP control of the House is good for the country, but the margin on that question has narrowed from a 52 to 39 percent margin in November to just a 48 to 44 percent margin now.”
Wisconsin state Sen. Dan Kapanke (R), facing a possible recall election, is worried about all the government workers in his district, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinelreports.
In a secretly recorded talk to local Republicans last week, Kapanke said he is hoping that all the public employees in his district “are sleeping” on election day.
Said Kapanke: “We’ve got tons of government workers in my district — tons. From La Crosse to Prairie du Chien and to Viroqua and to Ontario and to Hillsboro, you can go on and on and on. We have to overcome that. We gotta hope that they, kind of, are sleeping on July 12th — or whenever the (election) date is.”
Mike Huckabee said he did not slam the door shut to running for president next year “when he announced two weeks ago that he had decided against throwing his hat into the ring,” the Arkansas News Bureau reports.
Said Huckabee: “Everything is still open. I haven’t closed doors. I found long ago that that’s not the smart thing to do.”
Update: A video of the exchange suggests Huckabee was referring to a vice presidential bid.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) told NBC News that he can’t say “with certitude” whether or not “a lewd below-the-belt photo depicted his body, but he insisted that he did not tweet the picture to a 21-year old college student in Seattle, Wash.”
Weiner “repeated his claim that his Twitter account was hacked and said that he has hired a private security firm to investigate the matter.”
A new Pew Research/Washington Post poll shows a strong plurality of Americans view the Republican Party’s field of presidential hopefuls negatively. Just 12% gave positive one-word impressions about the current field, while 44% gave negative ones and 19% gave neutral ones. Even among Republicans and Republican leaners, 37% said negative things, while just 22% said positive things and 18% said neutral things.
The most frequently used negative words were “unimpressed” with 42 mentions, “disappointed” and “weak” with 21 mentions each, “incompetent” with 17 mentions and “pathetic” with 16 mentions. The only positive word that got more than 10 mentions was “good,” with 18 mentions.
In another sign that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is gearing up for a presidential run, the Daily Caller reports that her congressional chief of staff, Andy Parrish, will be taking temporary leave “but will remain working for her” in “an exciting new position.”
The staffing shift “heightens the speculation that Bachmann will run for president, as there are few positions outside Bachmann’s office — but still under her tutelage — outside of a presidential campaign.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Minnesota voters are cool to the idea of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) running for president or U.S. Senate in 2012.
“Only 28% think Pawlenty should seek the White House to 17% who think he should run for the Senate and 45% who think he shouldn’t run for anything. There’s even less interest in a Bachmann Presidential run — 14% think she should seek that office to 23% who think she should run for the Senate, 10% who think she should run for reelection to her House seat, and 47% who just want her to go away.”
New Mexico lawmakers are asking the state’s highest court to invalidate partial vetoes by Gov. Susana Martinez (R), including one instance in which she “changed an appropriation in a budget bill from $150,000 to $50,000 for an agency that finances low-income housing. That was done by striking a single digit — the ‘1’ from the $150,000,” the AP reports.
One interesting finding in the latest Public Policy Polling survey of Iowa Republicans is the low support for Jon Huntsman, who has not visited Iowa since finishing his role as Ambassador to China, with just a single supporter, who “describes himself as ‘somewhat conservative,’ is between the ages of 46 and 65 and lives in the northeastern part of the state.”
A little more about the supporter: “He reports having voted for Obama in 2008. Huntsman is the only potential Republican candidate he has a favorable opinion of… When it comes to the general election he would vote for Romney over Obama, but he would vote for Obama if the GOP nominee was Palin or Cain. He’s undecided about match ups between Obama and Gingrich or Pawlenty… He does not consider himself to be a member of the Tea Party, and thinks Obama was born in the United States.”
Jake Sherman: “There seems to be some confusion among presidential candidates about what a budget is. Tim Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota, said if Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget ‘came to my desk and I had to choose between signing or not Congressman Ryan’s plan, of course I would sign it,’ according to ABC News. Here’s the problem: presidents don’t sign the budget. It’s an agreement between both houses of Congress.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) “has told several Utah political insiders that he plans to run against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) next year, setting up a major intraparty Republican 2012 battle,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
“All eyes have been on the second-term congressman for months. But five Utah politicos, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chaffetz has told them directly in recent weeks that he will contend for the Republican nomination… If Chaffetz does indeed challenge Hatch, it sets up a titanic battle between the 36-year incumbent senator and the sophomore congressman who has been a rising star in the Republican Party.”
Scott Conroy: “According to well-informed sources, Palin’s trip is divided into three separate segments, in which visits to each of the first three voting states — New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina — will be the geographical centerpieces.”
First Read says it’s worth paying attention to whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might reconsider running for president — particularly since his wife was present at the dinner with Iowa businessmen last night. “She was a question mark, and it’s a signal we’re told that shouldn’t be overlooked.”
“But consider these things: 1) he took the meeting, 2) he has agreed to go to Iowalater this summer to keynote an education summit there, and 3) if he were getting in late, he wouldn’t say he was getting in right now. Of all the folks sitting on the 2012 sidelines — including Palin — Christie is the one who could put together an ‘A’ campaign. Fundraising? Check (with Wall Street’s help). Elite enthusiasm? Check. Tea Party enthusiasm? Check. And then there’s this for Christie: the realization that 2012 could be easier than 2016, with a potential tough run for re-election in 2013.”
The latest Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds Mitt Romney leading the Republican presidential field with 21%, followed by Sarah Palin and Herman Cain at 15%, Newt Gingrich at 12%, Michele Bachman at 11%, Tim Pawlenty at 10% and Ron Paul at 8%.
The New York Times reports on a study of how much early-voting states affected presidential nominations. The researchers discovered “the early states were even more important than many people realized” and “estimated that an Iowa or New Hampshire voter had the same impact as five Super Tuesday voters put together.”
The authors conclude the system “represents a deviation from the democratic ideal of ‘one person, one vote.'”
Charlie Cook notes “you don’t have to look far to sense that congressional Republicans have stepped in a deep pile of manure with their embrace of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposal to convert Medicare into a voucher program. Yet they seem to want to avoid looking at their shoes.”
“The forward momentum Republicans enjoyed in 2009 and 2010 is over. We are in a jump-ball situation. Polling metrics show neither side with a meaningful edge in terms of favorability, generic ballot test, or party identification. It’s not that Democrats have gained ground but that Republicans have dropped to their level.”
First Read adds that with likely redistricting gains in Illinois and Florida, the House of Representatives “has the POTENTIAL to be more in play for 2012 than we all thought a few months ago.”
“Here’s this truism about Washington scandals: If someone is guilty, it’s never an isolated incident. Weiner has now put himself in a position of having to prove innocence — which is never a good place to be for a politician, especially one who resides in the media capital of the world.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) arrived at his son’s baseball game yesterday aboard a $12.5 million state police helicopter and then “got into a black car with tinted windows that drove him about a 100 yards to the baseball field,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.
Donald Trump told Fox News about his dinner conversation last night with Sarah Palin in New York City.
STEVE DOOCY: Did you guys talk about teaming up in some fashion?
TRUMP: We really did not. We talked about lots of things. We did not talk about that.
GRETCHEN CARLSON: Did she try to encourage you to get back in the race because you were, in fact, a couple weeks ago saying you were sticking withCelebrity Apprentice, instead?
TRUMP: She would love me to get back. I had great poll numbers but I had really a decision to make. I had NBC calling me every hour…it’s a very tough decision to make to be honest. If I’m not happy with what I see, I can very easily change my mind. I’m not happy with what I see and I will make a determination sometime into the future, absolutely. There is no deadline. If I did it as an independent, I could do it very much better.
“Remember that in 2008, with the financial markets in free fall, the House initially voted down TARP, with 95 Democrats and 133 Republicans opting for the apocalypse over risking their reelection chances. During the 2010 campaigns from South Carolina to Nebraska, both Republicans and Democrats confided to me that voting for TARP the second time around was the most difficult political vote of their careers. Having done the responsible thing back in 2008 (and then discovering that the voters will never fully forgive them), these legislators are likely to let someone else mount the scaffold for the debt-ceiling vote.”
“Looking at the arithmetic of Tuesday night’s debt-ceiling vote (97 Democrats voting aye, 7 voting ‘present’ to protest GOP gamesmanship, and party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer voting “no,” although they will undoubtedly support Obama on a final vote), it is hard to see how the legislation can ultimately pass the House without 80-90 GOP votes. Unless you believe that there will be a grand deficit bargain by the end of July (and elves are dancing in the glen), finding 80-90 Republicans willing to take on both the fury of the Tea Party movement and the doubts of independent voters is a daunting task.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will travel to Iowa this summer to participate in an education summit, the Newark Star Ledger reports.
“The governor, who has insisted vehemently that he isn’t running for president, is going at the request of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.”
Last night, Christie had dinner with a group of Iowa businessmen who want him to run for president.
Though he previously said he wasn’t going to run, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) now tellsThe Hill that he is considering a presidential bid “after frustrated conservative activists have pleaded with him to run.”
DeMint says that he “has discussed a White House bid with his wife and will pray on the question out of respect for his supporters across the country.”
As Illinois lawmakers raced towards a midnight adjournment deadline, the Chicago Sun Times reports “fisticuffs broke out at one point late Tuesday on the staid Senate floor in a dispute triggered by a GOP senator’s criticism of a Democratic senator’s lobbyist father — a fight that now appears to be in the hands of the Capitol police.”