POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES

Giuliani Likely to Launch Bid

William Kristol is told “by two reliable sources” that Rudy Giuliani intends to run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012.

“Rudy’s theory of the race: In the fall of 2007, he decided he couldn’t compete with both Mitt Romney and John McCain in New Hampshire, and disastrously decided to try to pull back there and pitch his tent in Florida. This year, he’ll commit everything to New Hampshire, where he thinks he has a good shot at beating Romney — whom he criticized there earlier this week. He then thinks he can beat whichever more socially conservative candidate(s) is left by winning what are still likely to be winner-take-all primaries in big states like California, New York, and New Jersey.”

Democrats Begin Effort to Oust Weiner

House Democratic leaders “began an orchestrated effort on Wednesday to force Representative Anthony D. Weiner of New York to resign his seat, saying his sexually explicit Internet messages and subsequent lies about them were making him, and the party, the subject of ridicule,” the New York Times reports.

The push came as an angry Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “concluded that Mr. Weiner was becoming too much of a problem for his colleagues as they planned to retake the House in 2012.”

Roll Call notes a host of Democrats are now calling for Weiner’s resignation, including Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), a leader at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and former DNC Chairman Tim Kaine.

Washington Post: “The problem for Democrats is that Weiner has shown little inclination to step aside and, barring a full House vote to expel him, probably could hang on to his seat at least until the next year’s election.”

Patrick Turns it Around in Massachusetts

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Massachusetts finds Gov. Deval Patrick (D) bouncing back from horrible approval numbers last year. In January 2010, Patrick has a 22% to 59% approval rating; Today, it’s nearly reversed at 54% to 36%.

Key takeaway: “That’s a 55 point climb in Patrick’s net approval over the last 17 months and he’s the only politician who’s ever seen that kind of resurrection in his image during the time we’ve been polling on a national basis.”

Obama Approval Slips Below 50%

A new CBS News poll finds President Obama’s approval ratings fell to 48%, compared to a 57% in the days immediately following news of Osama bin Laden’s demise.

Key findings: “About 79% of the poll respondents said the economy is in bad shape, essentially unchanged from April but higher than the 74% who reported the condition of economy as poor in January. Perhaps more disturbing for the White House is that about a third of the people think the economy is headed in the wrong direction.”

 

Weiner’s Wife is Pregnant

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and his wife are expecting their first child, the New York Times reports.

“The pregnancy, which the couple has disclosed to close friends and family, adds a new dimension to questions about the future of their marriage. Mr. Weiner, who has admitted to engaging in salacious online conversations with at least six women over the last few years, has declared that he and his wife have no intention of splitting up, even though some of the exchanges occurred during their marriage.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“Notice, nobody’s defended Anthony. Like Spitzer, he had no friends.”

— New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, quoted by the New York Post, on Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) ability to survive scandal.

Giuliani Hints Again at Presidential Bid

Rudy Giuliani told the Boston Globe that he “is pondering whether to run again for the presidency and will decide by the end of summer.”

“If he does run, he said, he would ‘do it the right way’ this time and spend more time on person-to-person campaigning in New Hampshire.”

Poll Shows Palin Leading GOP Field

Though a Quinnipiac poll this morning found Mitt Romney pulling away from the Republican presidential pack, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Sarah Palin in the lead with 22% and Romney just behind at 20%.

Ron Paul and Herman Cain tied for third at 7% each.

Warning sign for Republicans: All the candidates polled trail Obama in a hypothetical general election matchup by double digits. Romney comes closest, trailing Obama by 13 points. Tim Pawlenty trails Obama by 19 points, and Palin trails Obama by a whopping 23 points.

Cain Admits He Doesn’t Know Much About Foreign Affairs

Herman Cain was very upfront in an interview with David Brody about his biggest weakness as a presidential candidate:

“I’m working real hard on understanding heads of state, on other countries around the world, being able to pronounce their names properly. Being able to have their proper title when I talk about them in that context. Yes, that is an area that I have not focused on because when I was doing my radio show, foreign affairs didn’t come up that often in terms of what my listeners wanted… So when it comes to other nations, friend or foe, I have a lot of homework to do, but I’m in the process of doing that homework to get up to speed.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“What’s the retraction? I say she’s serious?”

— Ed Rollins, quoted by Politico, on Sarah Palin’s team demanding a “retraction” of comments he made saying Palin is not serious.

Bachmann is Not a Palin Clone

First Read notes the most significant thing about Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) hiring of Ed Rollins as her campaign manager “is that it should end — once and for all — the simplistic/conventional Acela Corridor analysis that always puts her in the same space with Palin. The fact is, Bachmann went out of her comfort zone and hired a top Republican strategist. Palin hasn’t, and she probably wouldn’t ever do that. Bachmann’s not fighing for the same space as Palin; she’s fighting in the same space as Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, even Tim Pawlenty. So, folks: Be careful on this Palin vs. Bachmann media narrative. It borders on, well, you know…”

Interestingly, Palin’s chief of staff ripped Rollins today after he had criticized the former Alaska governor and suggested to Politico Bachmann would benefit by comparison to her.

Another Poll Shows Obama Approval Tumbling

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll puts President Obama’s approval rating at 48%, down from 54% in late May, amid new economic concerns.

Key finding: Obama’s approval rating among Republicans fell from 25% late last month to just 14% now.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “Obama’s approval among Republicans spiked after bin Laden’s death, and no one expected it to stay that high for another 18 months. But the White House is probably worried more about the much smaller drops among independents and even Democrats. Those shifts are likely due to concerns about the economy, particularly unemployment.”

Confidence Men

Announced today and out later this year: Confidence Men by Ron Suskind.

Suskind tells “the full story of America’s financial meltdown and an untested new president charged with commanding Washington, taming Wall Street, rescuing an economy on the verge of collapse, and restoring the confidence of a shaken nation.”

Weiner Struggles for Political Survival

Although he pledged to stay and fight, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) political survival was in question “as the leaders of his own party continued to distance themselves from the disgraced New York lawmaker and as Republicans persisted in calling for his resignation,” the Washington Post reports.

“Weiner became more and more isolated as the fallout settled from his admission a day earlier that he had engaged in sexually explicit exchanges with women he met online. While the means by which he committed his transgressions represent a new frontier for Washington scandal, the questions and challenges ahead of him are as old as controversy itself. Scandals move quickly in the Internet era. Weathering them takes a combination of personal resolve, crisis-management skills and the right political circumstances.”

Howard Kurtz notes “a slow-motion ethics probe could be his lifeline — unless the humiliation proves too great.”

Quote of the Day

“How can you explain that somebody can be so smart but so stupid?”

— Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), quoted by the New York Times, recounting Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) trying to apologize for “revelations of salacious online behavior.”

Romney Opens Lead for GOP Nomination

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Mitt Romney leads in the race for the Republican nomination with 25%, followed by Sarah Palin at 15%, Herman Cain at 9%, Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul at 8%, Rep. Michele Bachmann at 6% and Tim Pawlenty at 5%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Whether it’s because of the media coverage of his recent formal announcement, or the fact that Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee have dropped out, Gov. Romney has surged ahead of the Republican field. Until now Quinnipiac University’s polls have shown many candidates bunched together in the mid-teens, now he has opened up some daylight on the field and is within six points of the president.”

However, in trial heats against President Obama, Romney still trails by six points, 47% to 41%, while every other candidate trails by double-digits.

Huntsman Will Announce Later This Month

When asked how close he was to making a decision on running for president, Jon Huntsman told the National Review, “We have basically decided as a family that we are very comfortable moving forward.”

He added there will be “a formal announcement, which we expect to take place at the end of the month.”

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