POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/8

Majority Don’t Think Weiner Should Resign

A NY1-Marist Poll conducted just hours after Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) tearful press conference yesterday, 51% of New York City voters believe the congressman should not resign from his job, while 30% disagree and think he should step down, and 18% are still unsure.

However, 56% do not want Weiner to run for New York City mayor in 2013, including a majority of Democrats.

Said pollster Lee Miringoff: “All of this spells trouble for Congressman Weiner and his political future. For voters, there are questions of judgment — never a winner for an office-holder.”

Weiner “Sext Messages” Released

Radar Online has published the entire transcript of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s nine-month cyber sex relationship with a 40-year-old Las Vegas blackjack dealer.

Final message from the woman: “u owe me big time for keeping this all quiet.”

 

Brown Continues to Lead

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Massachusetts finds Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) leading Martha Coakley (D) by nine points, 49% to 40%, a performance slightly worse than her 5 point margin of defeat last year.

The bad news for Democrats is that Coakley fares the best of all candidates tested.

Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) each trail Brown by 10 points. Elizabeth Warren (D) trails by 15 points, Alan Khazei (D) is back 19 points and Rachel Maddow (D) would lose by 20 points.

Romney Says Palin is Good for His Candidacy

In a tough interview with Piers Morgan, Mitt Romney insisted Sarah Palin didn’ttrample the announcement of his presidential bid last week.

Said Romney: “She really didn’t ruin my day. In a lot respects, it’s the best thing that could happen to me. Right now, your greatest enemy is overexposure. People get tired of seeing the same person day in and day out.”

Lonely Capitol Hill Lunches

Roll Call profiles the bipartisan lunches of Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), an effort to try to foster bipartisanship in an increasingly partisan Congress.

“In a throwback to a more bipartisan era, the Illinois Republican and West Virginia Democrat have, for more than two months, met for a little cross-party chitchat. They’ve invited colleagues to join them. So far, few have.”

“It’s an oft-told story, but the Kirk-Manchin lunches are a reminder that Congress is no longer the bipartisan place it used to be. Aside from a few basketball games in Congressional gyms and the weekly bipartisan prayer breakfasts, Members have few opportunities to strike up friendships across the aisle.”

Bayh to Become a Lobbyist

Politico reports that former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) has joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a lobbyist, adding to his current posts at Fox News and at a law and lobbying firm. Bayh will team up with former Bush chief of staff Andy Card on a road show in which they will “carry a bipartisan message on regulatory reform.”

“The Chamber job is another eye-raising role for Bayh, who decried partisanship on Capitol Hill and the corrosiveness of money in politics when he declared his intention not to run for re-election last year.”

Boren Will Not Run Again

Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK), “the only Democrat in Oklahoma’s seven-person congressional delegation, will not run for re-election in 2012, leaving open a seat that spans much of eastern Oklahoma,” the Oklahoman reports.

“Boren, a conservative Democrat who has often been at odds with the majority of House Democrats and with President Barack Obama, had his toughest re-election fight in 2010, winning with 57 percent of the vote as the district rebelled against the president’s policies.”

Romney Leads in South Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Mitt Romney leading the GOP field in South Carolina with 27%, followed by Sarah Palin at 18%, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich at 12%, Michele Bachmann at 9%, Ron Paul at 7%, Tim Pawlenty at 4% and Jon Hunstman at 2%.

PPP’s most recent polls also have Romney leading by 6 points in Iowa, 15 points in Nevada, and 23 points in New Hampshire.

Reid’s Agenda Challenge

Senate Democrats have become frustrated with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and “are anxious about the lack of a democratic budget and the unusually slow legislative agenda,” as a Republican-controlled House and President Obama moves to the center for his reelection bid, according to Politico.

“The concerns may amount to just grumbling among the rank and file, but they point to the catch-22 for Reid: If he’s too ambitious, he’ll force Democrats to take tough votes that could backfire in 2012. But now that he’s taken on a decidedly thin agenda, some Democrats are getting restless.”

Cartoon of the Day

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Weirdest Scandal Ever?

Jon Stewart reports on the latest developments in the scandal surrounding his friend, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

See more…

Quote of the Day

“If the facts keep coming out more and more, and people start freaking out, he talked on the congressional phone or something like that, it’s going to be, it’s going to be iffy. And one of the reasons is he is a talented guy, but he’s not a particularly popular guy in the caucus… They are really mad at him. You can just see former speaker Pelosi is furious.”

— James Carville, in an interview on ABC News, on whether Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) can remain in office after admitting to lying about sending lewd photos to women online.

The Virtual Political Sex Scandal

Rick Hertzberg: “Sex scandals are an increasingly prominent, increasingly frequent, and increasingly varied part of American political life. They come in all flavors and orientations. If what the protagonist of the latest one said during his remarkable press conference this afternoon is true, if it’s essentially the whole story, then Weinergate breaks new ground: it’s the first entirely virtual political sex scandal, the first to have been conducted entirely via e-mail, and online social media.”

It’s Still a Long Way to Election Day

Bad economic news and a terrible poll this morning have to make the White House a little nervous, but First Read notes they can take comfort in this:

“In case you were wondering, back in March of 1995, Bob Dole was leading Bill Clinton, per a Los Angeles Times poll. And in June of 1995, a Newsweek survey found Dole leading Clinton, 49%-40%.”

The Google Test

In what his aides are calling “a major speech” later today, Tim Pawlenty will pledge to dramatically cut taxes and eliminate certain parts of government if elected president.

Here’s his guide: “We can start by applying what I call ‘The Google Test.’ If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it.”

It’s hardly a new idea, however. Former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith (R) called the same principle a “yellow pages test” more than 15 years ago in the pre-Google era.

 

Obama Stopped Economic Briefings

“At some point during the first two years of his administration, President Obama stopped receiving the daily economic briefing that he requested when he took office,”The Hill reports.

“White House officials said the meetings slowly petered out, but Obama still receives a daily economic briefing on paper.”

Democrats Let the Scandal Linger Again

First Read: “From our vantage point, the biggest political result from Weiner-gate is that it distracted Democrats’ message for an entire week. Instead of the GOP’s Medicare plans, the Hill story of the week focused on Rep. Anthony Weiner’s lies, followed by his never-ending, choked-up admission of sending lewd online photos and messages. Agree with his politics or not, John Boehner did his party — and its overall message — a favor by immediately pressuring the Chris Lees and Mark Souders to resign. Pelosi and team, by contrast? They allowed the Weiner story to linger, just like they did for Eric Massa (remember the Glenn Beck ordeal?) and Charlie Rangel (who twisted in the wind for months).”

“Pelosi did call for an Ethics Committee investigation, but such an investigation has the potential only to pro-long the story. What happens if an investigation of Weiner, six months or a year from now, uncovers anything else?”

Weiner Asked Porn Star to Lie for Him

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and porn star Ginger Lee exchanged “scores of emails” and that he offered her public relations help — a possible ethics violation — and asked her to lie, TMZ reports.

His advice: “The key is to have a short, thought out statement that tackles the top line questions and then refer people back to it. Have a couple of iterations of: ‘This is silly. Like so many others, I follow Rep. Weiner on Twitter. I don’t know him and have never met him. He briefly followed me and sent me a dm saying thank you for the follow. That’s it.'”

The next day he followed up: “Do you need to talk to a professional PR type person to give u advice? I can have someone on my team call.”

Can Weiner Survive?

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said he will not resign from office in the wake of his admission that he sent lewd photos to women online, but Politico notes “he’s got powerful political currents running against him: His initial false claim that he was a “victim” and hours of televised lies, his shortage of congressional allies, his very public persona, and a Republican leadership eager to make the case a partisan test.”

However, the lawmaker “appears to have the requisite mix of shame and shamelessness – as well as a wife who, friends say, has remained by his side. And many have survived in office for much more egregious underlying offenses, including some in much less forgiving precincts than a liberal New York City district — such as Louisiana Sen. David Vitter and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.”

Meanwhile, Michael Shear gives five reasons Weiner might survive — and five he might not.

The Note: “Despite Weiner’s intention to stay in the House, it’s not clear he can or will. Media outlets are hungry for details of his Internet encounters and at least a couple of women have been willing to share them. The House Ethics Committee isn’t what will ultimately force him out. The question is how much humiliation is he willing to stomach? And, of course, how long will House Democratic leadership be willing to let this drag out and distract before they “encourage” him to leave?”

Emails Show Edwards Knew About Payments

“Prosecutors have obtained emails between John Edwards and a former aide to use as evidence at trial that he knew about payments to his pregnant mistress even while he was publicly denying it,” the AP reports.

“Dozens of emails were exchanged between Edwards and his former speechwriter Wendy Button as they worked on a never-released draft statement to acknowledge paternity of his child, according to people who have seen the messages and requested anonymity because they have not been made public yet

Majority Would Never Vote for Palin

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll finds almost two-thirds of all Americans say they “definitely would not” vote for Sarah Palin for president — including 42% of Republicans.

In head-to-head matchups with President Obama, Palin trails by 17 points, the worst of the six possible GOP candidates tested.

Obama Sinks on Poor Economic News

“The public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans’ disapproval of how he is handling the nation’s economy and the deficit has reached new highs,” according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

“By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms. Nearly six in 10 say the economy has not started to recover, regardless of what official statistics may say, and most of those who say it has improved rate the recovery as weak.”

Obama leading five of six potential Republican presidential rivals tested but he is in a dead heat with Mitt Romney at 47% each but among registered voters, Romney leads 49% to 46%.

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