POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/24
In an interview with the Fiscal Times, former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) “made his strongest suggestion yet that he may jump into the race for the GOP Presidential nomination.”
Pataki said he has “not as yet heard one of the Republican candidates outline a strong, comprehensive approach” to dealing with America’s debt crisis and hopes a candidate “with a serious deficit-reduction plan and the ability to defeat President Obama” steps forward.
A Republican campaign veteran tells the Wall Street Journal that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has decided to run for president, “though the official word from Team Perry is still a definite maybe.”
“Our normally reliable Republican source reports that Mr. Perry has surveyed the field and decided to get in the race later this summer, perhaps around the time of the national prayer meeting that Mr. Perry is hosting on August 6 at a Houston football stadium. Our source also reports that Mr. Perry is aiming to compete in the Iowa Straw Poll, even though it occurs just a week later, on August 13. The thinking is that apparent front-runner Mitt Romney ‘does not reflect the Republican Party’ and is therefore vulnerable to a credible challenge from the right, especially after Mr. Romney’s recent squishy remarks on global warming.”
A group of prominent Mitt Romney backers has quietly launched a “super PAC” to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of his bid for the White House, the Washington Post reports.
“The development provides further evidence that Romney is shaping up as the candidate to beat in the GOP money race, and underscores the extensive role that well-funded outside groups are likely to play in the 2012 elections.”
Almost everyone agrees Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will be on the ultimate Republican presidential nominee’s short list for vice president and Stephen Moore says his contacts in Mitt Romney’s campaign are boasting: “Doesn’t a Romney-Rubio ticket sound great?”
Said one senior Romney advisor: “We think that could be a dream ticket.”
Moore asked a close Rubio advisor what he thought of the idea of Rubio for veep. “I’ve heard that rumor too. But he may not think he’s ready yet,” the consultant said. But then he quickly added: “There’s always 2016.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Florida finds Mitt Romney has a double digit lead for the GOP presidential nomination.
David Remnick: “One of the most striking aspects of the recent Republican Party Presidential debate was the way the candidates, each in his own way, tried to out-do each other in their disdain for gay marriage and their willingness — nay, their ardent vows! — to do everything possible to make sure that homosexual couples never gain the right to matrimony. One day soon, someone will play back that debate as an exercise in historical shame, much as we now watch documentary clips of serene racial bigots denouncing the efforts of the black freedom movement in days of yore.”
Mark Halperin: “Despite the Tea Party, the Twitterverse and the multimedia dilution of traditional Republican authority, the old-school GOP rules the roost. Members of Congress, governors, big-time fundraisers, well-paid pundits and activist shoguns in early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina still have the loudest voices. Winning the party’s nomination without the backing of a majority of these groups is a nearly insurmountable challenge.”
“Some are resigned to supporting Romney as the best available option for a viable general-election challenge — especially those who fear the Michele Bachmann surge. Others want to see if Huntsman is for real, if Tim Pawlenty can muster enough dynamism to be the Romney alternative or if Perry will be as tough and determined a national candidate as he has been a Texas battler. It could be early winter — or even the spring of 2012 — before the establishment gets off the fence. They want to beat President Obama but still can’t figure out how.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he was pulling out of the bipartisan budget talks headed by Vice President Biden because the group has reached an impasse over taxes that only President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner could resolve.
“I didn’t think they would realize this early just how dangerous this campaign is and go after it so hard.”
— Newt Gingrich, in an interview with conservative talk radio host Neil Boortz, blaming his recent campaign problems on the media.
The Des Moines Register will release the first Iowa Poll focused on the Republican presidential field on Saturday at 10 pm ET.
Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL) is trying to personally call all 300,000 households in his congressional district, the Washington Post reports.
“Johnson calls from the airport. He calls from the treadmill. Over 10 years, this habit has cost him a vast chunk of his life and left him with little legacy of landmark legislation. But, if nothing else, it has meant he really knows the people in his district.”
The bad news: “This year, the Illinois legislature has drawn a new district for Johnson, leaving out a vast number of the people he’s been calling. If he gets reelected and wants to keep up the practice, he’ll have to start again with hundreds of thousands of strangers.”
At least five top advisers to Tim Pawlenty have been working for little or no pay for several months, the Washington Post reports.
“The source said next month’s reports will show that the campaign has experienced some ups and downs in its fundraising efforts — including a dip after Pawlenty’s widely panned performance in last week’s debate.”
The Chicago Sun Times reports President Obama will be celebrating his 50th birthday in Chicago with “a big blowout fundraiser” for his re-election campaign.
Fugitive South Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was captured last night in Southern California, the Boston Globe reports, “the result of a tip from FBI television spots that began airing this week. His capture ended a 16-year manhunt that spanned the globe.”
Perhaps the Pakistani ambassador’s recent comment was too embarrassing.
Former Massachusetts state president Senate William M. Bulger had little to say this morning when a reporter knocked on the door of his South Boston home and told him of his brother’s arrest: “No comment.”
Said Palin: “The next leg of the tour continues when the time comes. In the meantime, no one should jump to conclusions — certainly not the media with their long track record of getting things wrong or just making things up.”
However, the Washington Post notes Palin has canceled a trip next month to war-ravaged Sudan.
A new Bloomberg Poll finds that Americans by a 57% to 34% margin believe they would be worse off with Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan.
Key finding: 58% of independents, a critical voting bloc in most elections, say they would be worse off.
“That’s likely to encourage Democrats to bank their success in next year’s presidential and congressional races on tying Republicans to the Medicare plan, which was passed by the Republican-controlled House on April 15.”
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “As we take a fresh look at next year’s Senate races, one thing is clear: Barring an unexpected reelection landslide by President Obama, Republicans are at least slightly favored to take the Senate. It’s just a basic matter of numbers.”
“Republicans need to pick up either three or four seats, depending on whether they have the vice president’s tie-breaking vote in 2013. North Dakota is all-but-switched to the GOP already. Besides North Dakota, the hardest states for Democrats to hold will be Nebraska, Montana and Missouri, in that order, because it’s hard to imagine Obama winning any of those states.”
“The best Democrats can probably do is to retain the Senate by one vote or maybe a tied Senate broken in the Democrats’ favor by Vice President Biden if President Obama is reelected. Republicans look likely to gain three seats, and have a fair-to-good chance to pick up four or five. Anything above that could signal a GOP victory in the presidential race, with attendant coattails.”
However, J. B. Poersch sees more opportunities for Democrats: “Despite having fewer seats to pick-up, Democrats should have that chance not just in Indiana and Maine, but also in Massachusetts against the underwhelming Sen. Scott Brown and in Nevada, where Rep. Shelley Berkley holds a lead over Sen. Dean Heller.”
A new Bloomberg poll finds Americans view Republicans unfavorably by a 47% to 42% margin while Democrats are viewed favorably by 48% to 42%.