POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/17

Edwards Sought Millions from Heiress

Just weeks before federal prosecutors charged John Edwards in a six-count felony indictment, ABC News reports the former presidential candidate requested millions of dollars from Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the banking heiress whose financial support of Edwards is at the center of the criminal case.

One person with knowledge of the request confirmed the amount was in the millions of dollars but was unwilling to discuss why Edwards was seeking the money.

Huntsman Will Skip GOP Gathering

Although he was scheduled to speak at a major gathering of Republicans taking place in New Orleans this weekend — just days before the official launch of his presidential campaign — Jon Huntsman has bowed out due to a bad cold, ABC Newsreports.

Mark Halperin: “This means that all three of the Big Three (Huntsman, Romney and Pawlenty) are bypassing the RLC. That will give Bachmann and Cain an even greater chance to shine. And it is a missed opportunity for Huntsman to make inroads with grassroots conservatives and to practice giving a speech for a big audience before his announcement next week.”

Obama Almost as Popular as Perry in Texas

Interestingly, a new Texas Lyceum poll finds Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) approval rating at 54%, just ahead of President Obama’s 51% rating.

How About a Weiner Comeback?

Wolf Blitzer: “If Anthony Weiner does some day want to make a political comeback, he will certainly have the cash to do it. The New York City Campaign Finance Board database shows that he has $4.5 million in cash for what was supposed to be his 2013 race for New York mayor. Until the scandal, he was widely seen as the front-runner. He also has more than $300,000 cash on hand for his Congressional election campaign.”

 

Brown Got $700K for His Memoir

Financial disclosures show Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) was paid a $700,000 advance for his book, Against All Odds, according to the Boston Globe.

Ben Smith notes what a bad investment it was for the publisher: “A publishing industry source emails that Brown’s book, according to Nielsen BookScan, has sold about 20,000 copies, and is still selling about 100 a week, which could ultimately put it near 25,000 — a respectable figure, but not a blockbuster.”

Edwards Delays Testimony in Sex Tape Case

John Edwards “will not have to take part in a question-and-answer session under oath next week related to the legal wrangle over a videotape that purportedly shows him having sex with his mistress,” the Raleigh News and Observer reports.

A judge agreed with Edwards saying “that delaying the questioning would protect the former presidential candidate and senator from any possible self-incrimination in the federal criminal case against him.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’m also unemployed.”

— Mitt Romney, quoted by the New York Times, joking to a group of jobless Floridians. He admitted, “I’m networking. I have my sight on a particular job.”

Bachmann Gets a Book Deal

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has made a deal to publish her memoir, the New York Times reports.

“The book is tentatively expected to be released this fall. John Fund, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, will assist with the writing of the book.”

Mark Halperin: “This is a classic case of Haley Barbour’s beloved maxim: in politics, good gets better. If well-executed in the writing and marketing, this book will give Bachmann access to high-profile Old Media and religious/conservative platforms in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. Before she signed up her experienced advisers, there would be reason to doubt that Bachmann could pull off a successful book launch. Instead, right now, it seems pre-ordained. And a big deal.”

Standoff Over Libyan Conflict

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers led by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have “filed a federal lawsuit against President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, asking a court to prevent the administration from using U.S. funds for military action in Libya,” according to National Journal, arguing that the president has not consulted Congress as required under the 1973 War Powers Resolution.

The Hill reports that the White House has issued a 30-page memo to congressional leaders arguing that “because the U.S. is acting in a support role with no troops on the ground, no war authorization is necessary.”

However, rather than being decided in the courts, the standoff could lead to trouble passing a supplemental appropriations bill to fund the operation.

Tea Party Group Targets Hatch

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) “is the first Republican incumbent who will be targeted by one of the nation’s most influential Tea Party-aligned organizations,” the Daily Callerreports.

FreedomWorks PAC “says targeting Hatch is symbolic. It signals the beginning of the next wave of Tea Party activists working to replace Republican incumbents they see as too moderate and out of sync with a movement stressing fiscal conservatism.”

Cartoon of the Day

6-16-11.jpg

Big Majority Dissatisfied with Nation’s Direction

A new Gallup poll finds Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the country fell to just 20%, while 78% of Americans are now dissatisfied with the nation’s direction.

Weiner Will Resign

The New York Times reports Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is telling friends he will resign in the wake of a “sexting” scandal.

“The news comes as Democratic leaders prepared to hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss whether to strip the 46-year-old Congressman of his committee assignments, a blow which would severely damage his effectiveness.”

NBC News confirms that Weiner called Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel last night to inform them he had decided to resign.

Voters Sour on the Republican Party

First Read says a big finding from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is that the Republican Party’s honeymoon after taking control of Congress is more than over.

“Consider: Congress’ approval rating is a dismal 18%, down four points from last month; it’s not been this low since March 2010 (healthcare month) The GOP’s fav/unfav is 30% to 44%, compared with the Democratic Party’s 38% to 39% score. What’s more, only 10% of respondents have a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a bit’ of confidence in Congress, and majorities of ALL respondents (including Republicans) believe the House GOP has not brought much change. And the number thinking the GOP proposal to overhaul Medicare is a bad idea has increased nine points since April to 31%; just 22% believe it’s a good idea. The one piece of non-bad news for Republicans in the poll: They’re tied on the congressional ballot with Democrats.”

Hardcopy

According to an essay for The Atlantic Wire, it appears Hardball host Chris Matthews only reads online content if it’s printed out on paper for him by his producers.

Huntsman Bets Everything on New Hampshire

Jon Huntsman has said he won’t compete in the Iowa caucuses which means he needs a good showing in New Hampshire to be a viable presidential candidate.

Campaign manager John Weaver confirms as much to the Huffington Post noting the soon-to-be-official candidate has done 40 events in the Granite State over 12 days.

Said Weaver: “We are going to run the most aggressive campaign in modern New Hampshire political history.”

Pawlenty Steps It Up in Iowa

To introduce himself to Iowa voters, Tim Pawlenty is sending his first direct mail advertisement this week, the AP reports. He also plans to spend 15 days in Iowa in July.

Very interesting: “He hasn’t ruled out running television advertising ahead of the straw poll.”

5 Ways Obama Could Lose in 2012

Mark Penn tells GQ the five ways that President Obama could lose reelection next year.

The big one: “Obama no longer has national security as a deficit. He’s answered the 3 a.m. call. But the economy is still a huge vulnerability, and there are still questions about how in touch he is with people out in the heartland. After the Gulf War, I don’t think Bush 41 got cocky. He just wasn’t mindful of the economy, and then he had the moment with the supermarket scanner. So for Obama, this is not the time for another Broadway date. And the period between now and the election is a Martha’s Vineyard-free zone.”

Struggle for the Soul of the GOP

Joe Klein: “There is a jittery sense among Republican savants that Romney is a straw man, ready to be toppled, because the party has changed irrevocably. It has traded in country-club aristocracy for pitchfork populism.”

Quote of the Day

“Look, Callista and I have a very similar relationship to Nancy and Ronnie Reagan. And people blame Nancy Reagan for things that Ronald Reagan did.”

— Newt Gingrich, in an interview on Fox News, on reports his wife didn’t get alongwith his now departed campaign staff.

Does Michele Bachmann Have a Shot?

Mark Halperin: “Not a great shot but a real one. If Tim Pawlenty fails to catch fire, Jon Huntsman flames out and Rick Perry and Palin take a pass, Bachmann can win the Iowa caucuses and head into a one-on-one matchup with front runner Mitt Romney. She may also benefit from being the only woman in a testosterone-fueled field. Unlike previous insurgents who fell short (Pat Buchanan, Mike Huckabee), Bachmann is a formidable fundraiser who should be able to buy plenty of TV airtime to go with an energized ground game.”

Romney Solidifies Lead

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Mitt Romney way ahead of the other Republican presidential candidates with 30%, followed by Sarah Palin at 14%, Herman Cain at 12%, Rick Perry at 8%, Ron Paul at 7%, Newt Gingrich at 6%, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum at 4% and Michele Bachmann at 3%.

Nonetheless, 45% said they would probably vote to re-elect President Obama, while 40% said they would choose a Republican. Against specific GOP contenders, the president’s lead widened with Obama beating Romney, 49% to 43%.

First Read: “But when you look at the Obama-vs.-Romney split by region, you see Obama’s lead over Romney is even stronger when thinking about the Electoral College. Obama is at 50% or higher against Romney in the Northeast (54%-36%), Midwest (50%-41%), and West (55%-40%). The one place that’s bolstering Romney’s numbers is in the South, where the Republican leads by a 49%-43% margin. Similarly, Obama’s overall job-approval is above 50% everywhere outside the South.”

Presidential Losers

The Crystal Ball finds that 31 of 43 U.S. presidents had been defeated in elections at least once on their way to the White House.

“Remarkably, two presidents were defeated three times (William McKinley and George H.W. Bush), and four others lost four times (William Henry Harrison and his grandson, Benjamin Harrison, as well as one of our best presidents, Abraham Lincoln; and one of our worst, James Buchanan).”

“Of the 12 presidents who entered the White House with an undefeated electoral record, Gerald Ford is the most recent. Of course, he wasn’t elected president — or vice president, for that matter — and his victories consisted entirely of a string of U.S. House wins from 1948 to 1972 in his Grand Rapids, MI district. The last elected president who won every prior political contest was Woodrow Wilson. Of course, Wilson wasn’t a professional politician and had only run once before gaining the presidency, for governor of New Jersey in 1910. (Dwight Eisenhower isn’t included, since he never ran at all before his elevation to the White House.)”

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