POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/21

Palin Trademarks Likely to Happen

The bids by Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol Palin “to trademark their names and images have cleared a major hurdle and should soon be approved, Washington Whispers reports.

Sources close to the process say nobody challenged the trademark applications. Each woman should receive their trademark within three months.

More Would Blame Republicans on Debt Default

A new Pew Research/Washington Post poll finds 42% of Americans would blame Republicans if the nation’s debt ceiling is not raised and the federal government is unable to borrow money to fund operations, while 33% think the Obama administration would be responsible.

McCain Says Illegal Immigrants Set Wildfires

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that illegal immigrants are responsible for some of the wildfires in Arizona, ABC News reports.

Said McCain: “They have set fires because they want to signal others. They have set fires to keep warm and they have set fires in order to divert law enforcement agents and agencies from them.”

McCain offered nothing to substantiate his claims.

Florida Astroturf

Here’s a good example of Astroturfing:

According to the Orlando Sentinel, one of the new features on Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) website allows supporters to send “pre-written letters of praise for Scott… written by Scott’s campaign team. Just pick the newspaper you want to contact.”

John Edwards in Exile

Michelle Cottle: “You can’t walk a block in these parts without running into someone who has a tale of John Edwards after the fall — often secondhand and overwhelmingly unflattering. In some instances, the anecdotes revolve around Edwards’ discomfort with his new infamy…”

“Even more common is the snickering over Edwards’ nightlife. Particularly during the period when Elizabeth kicked him out of the house and he was living in an apartment near the main drag where UNC students congregate, Edwards was a fixture at area watering holes. The hipsterish Bowbarr, right next door to the Rosemary Street highrise in which Edwards lived, was a favorite spot for him to unwind and chat up the (young, pretty) clientele. But there have been sightings of the senator exercising his legendary charm at plenty of other area bars as well.”

Bad News for Romney and Huntsman?

A new Gallup poll that found 22% of Americans would not vote for presidential candidate who was a Mormon.

“The largest differences in opposition to voting for a Mormon for president are by educational level, with adults who have not attended college more resistant than those with some college experience or college graduates. This educational pattern is seen in attitudes about voting for someone from almost all of the specific religious or demographic groups tested in the poll.”

They Didn’t Seem to Mind the Jokes About Obama

video of comedian Reggie Brown doing an impersonation of President Obama makes clear that the audience at the Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend didn’t have a problem with the racially-tinged “jokes” about the president but instead disliked the jokes about various GOP presidential candidates.

GOP strategist Doug Heye: “If you want to know why many minorities have a problem with the GOP — a party that believes in empowerment, and the party of Lincoln — look no further than the hiring of an Obama impersonator telling ‘black jokes’ to a Republican audience. When we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot, we have only ourselves to blame.”

See more…

Paul Didn’t Speak to His Son About Running

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told Time that he never spoke to his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), about running for president:

Said Paul: “We did not. I think he basically knew what my plans were, even though I never talked to him about it. We don’t have many conversations about votes and things. About 99% of the time we probably agree. He did stay at my condo for awhile, but he got a place closer to the Senate. So I don’t see him all that much. I see the other children a lot more because they live in Texas. Even though he’s in Washington I probably see him the least.”

All Over for Gingrich?

The Des Moines Register reports prominent Iowa Republicans say they have seen no evidence that Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign “has made efforts to hire a new Iowa staff since its entire paid crew abruptly resigned almost two weeks ago.”

First Read: “Want more evidence how Newt Gingrich is no longer campaigning in the early nominating contests? In his schedule this week, all of his events are within driving distance of his Georgia and DC-area homes. On Tuesday, he attends a screening of “A City Upon A Hill” in Savannah, GEORIGIA… On Wednesday, he delivers a speech on the federal regulations and the Federal Reserve at the Atlanta Press Club’s Commerce Club in GEORGIA… And on Thursday, he speaks at a Maryland Republican Party dinner in BALTIMORE. This is what a campaign looks like when it’s running on fumes.”

Cartoon of the Day

6-19-11.jpg

The Money Blurt

Politicians have found a new way to bring in large numbers of small campaign donors: the money blurt.

Thune Reconsiders?

Bill Kristol told C-SPAN that Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is “rethinking a bit” his decision not to run for president in 2012.

Said Kristol: “That’s what I’ve been told.”

The Immaculate Political Conception

The New York Times Magazine has a must-read profile of Jon Huntsman, who will formally announce his presidential bid tomorrow.

“It’s hard to believe that Huntsman didn’t encourage any of this in some tangible way from Beijing, perhaps through back-channel contacts. (Axelrod, who is helping to build Obama’s re-election campaign, mockingly calls Weaver’s version of events the ‘political immaculate conception.’) When I asked Huntsman directly, he told me that he had been thinking of 2016 when he made his comments to Newsweek. It was only when he began to get e-mails from relatives in the United States that he realized that there was now speculation about his plans and that Weaver had taken it upon himself to lay the groundwork. Huntsman said he had assumed that 2012 wasn’t an option for a guy who had been out of the country for two years, but that was before he had a sense of just how uninspired Republicans seemed to be by their choices.”

Black Unemployment Soars

CBS News reports that unemployment among African Americans has risen to 16.2% While African American unemployment has always been higher than the national average, it’s now at the same level it was during the Great Depression.

Quote of the Day

“Governor Romney should reconsider his decision not to sign the pledge just as he reconsidered his position on the life issue during the last campaign.”

— Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), in a statement responding to Mitt Romney’s National Review op-ed in which he says he won’t sign the Susan B. Anthony List pledge on abortion because it goes too far.

New York on Brink of Legalizing Same Sex Marriage

Supporters and opponents of gay marriage made 11th-hour appeals “as state lawmakers weighed a vote on making New York the sixth state — and the most populous — to legalize same-sex marriage,” Reuters reports.

“The measure that would make gay marriage legal, introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat and strong advocate, is currently one vote shy of passage in the state Senate.”

GOP Baby Boom

Jill Lawrence: “Presidential elections are supposed to be about the future, but more than a few Republicans eyeing the White House this year are throwbacks to the past — the 1800s, to be exact, when the typical American family had five to seven children. The math is striking: Six Republican candidates and prospects have 34 children among them. And that’s not even counting Michele Bachmann’s 23 foster children.”

Romney Leads GOP Field in California

A new Field Poll in California shows Mitt Romney way ahead of his potential rivals in a GOP presidential primary with 25% support.

His closest competition comes from two candidates who haven’t even joined the race: Rudy Giuliani at 17% and Sarah Palin at 10%. Tim Pawlenty, viewed as Romney’s leading competitor for the nomination, barely registered in the poll, earning just 3% support.

Jon Stewart on Fox News Sunday

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart went into “the belly of the beast” and was a guest onFox News Sunday. It wasn’t funny but it was a very interesting interview.

See more…

Bachmann Used Taxpayer Money for Political Rally

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and three conservative GOP colleagues — Reps. Tom Price (R-GA), Steve King (R-IA) and Todd Akin (R-MO) — each paid $3,407.50 from taxpayer-funded office accounts — a total of $13,630 — to a sound and stage company for a Tea Party rally outside the U.S. Capitol, Roll Call reports.

Bachmann billed the event as a “press conference,” which can be funded from official accounts. “But no questions were taken from the press and, unlike most press conferences, it opened with a prayer, the national anthem and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.”

Perry Sizes Up Roadblocks to GOP Bid

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) “has moved beyond thinking” about joining the presidential race “to determining whether he can build a winning campaign,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“If it drew money and media attention, a Perry bid would make the odds all the longer for lesser-known candidates, such as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman… Those candidates are hoping to position themselves as the top alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has assumed front-runner status in recent national polls.”

“Perry will sift the pros and cons of a presidential run at the end of Texas’s special legislative session later this month, aides say, with the aim of making a decision in July.”

Meanwhile, the AP reports Perry’s aides “are beginning to lay the groundwork for a campaign for Iowa’s leadoff GOP presidential caucuses by making inquiries about the process in case the Republican seeks the 2012 nomination.”

11 Chiefs of Staff in 11 Years

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) has employed 11 chiefs of staff since 2000. They have served less than a year on average, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

The average length of stay for a chief of staff in all U.S. House offices was 6.7 years, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

One possible reason? Washingtonian magazine named Jackson Lee as the “meanest” member of the House of Representatives last year.

 

Huntsman Rounds Up Establishment Support

With Jon Huntsman’s formal entry into the GOP presidential race on Tuesday, Mark Halperin reports former White House counsel C. Boyden Gray will head up the former Utah governor’s policy team.

“This is the first, but by no means the last, of eye-catching endorsements Huntsman will get from the GOP Establishment, including many with ties to Ronald Reagan and Bushes 41 and 43. Gray’s endorsement will be a semiotic dog whistle for a lot of big-time bundlers. It doesn’t mean Huntsman will get the nomination, of course, but combined with the Wall Street and corporate America backing he is already in line to receive, it will give him a leg up on becoming the Romney Alternative. And, at this point, becoming the Romney Alternative is the whole ball of wax.”

Fake Obama Stuns Crowd at GOP Event

A comedian pretending to be President Obama at the Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend launched into a comedy routine that quickly became offensive, the New York Times reports.

The comedian, Reggie Brown, joked that Obama only celebrated half of Black History Month because he is biracial and suggested Obama would look like Fred Sanford of Sanford and Son when he was older. Once Brown began mocking the GOP presidential candidates as well, he was asked to leave the stage.

Tweeted GOP strategist Doug Heye: “Wonder why many minorities have problems with G.O.P.? Our own fault,”

Hatch Faces Tough Re-Election Odds

A new Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows that a majority of Utah voters believe Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has been in office too long and should be replaced: 38% of registered voters want to re-elect Hatch in 2012 because of his seniority, but 59% said it’s time for someone new.

And that someone could even be a Democrat. If Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) gets in the Senate race, voters would be evenly split, 47% to 47%.

But should Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) win the GOP nomination as many speculate, he wouldn’t fare much better against Matheson in the general election. The poll showed 46% would vote for Chaffetz and 45% for Matheson.

First Read: “What this probably means: A bunch of Republicans might decide it’s not worth the six-year risk of a Sen. Matheson, and they could decide to save his Salt Lake congressional seat during redistricting.”

Majority Think Military Involved in Too Many Places

The Hill Poll finds an overwhelming number of voters — 72% — believe the United States is involved in too many foreign conflicts and should pull back its troops,

Importantly, voters also do not think having U.S. soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has made the country safer.

“The findings reflect a fatigue with war after a decade dominated by U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan that are now unwinding. War fatigue was also highlighted by House votes last month on Afghanistan in which more Republicans than ever before supported withdrawing U.S. troops immediately.”

 

Income Gap Widens

The Washington Post notes that today’s managerial class is earning roughly four times as much as those in the 1970s, while pay for the remaining 90% of America’s employees remains the same.

 

Conservatives Try to Break Through in Film

“With varying degrees of success, a genre of unabashedly conservative documentaries has emerged in the past five years or so, inspired by Michael Moore and other filmmakers from the left who have been among the most savvy in making an impact,” Variety reports.

Stephen Bannon, who directed the forthcoming documentary on Sarah Palin, “sees a largely untapped market for docus aimed at conservatives, with the potential to draw as loyal and fervent a following as conservative authors, AM radio and Fox News.”

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