POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/19
A new CBS News poll finds that 66% of Americans back the Obama administration position on a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling — that it should include both spending cuts plus tax increases. Just 28% back the GOP position of spending cuts alone.
A new USA Today/Gallup Poll finds 50% of those surveyed say President Obama and the current Congress are doing a worse job than their predecessors in dealing with the nation’s problems, and 40% call the situation the worst they’ve seen in their lifetimes.
Wisconsin voters head to the polls Tuesday “for the first of what will be nine summer recall elections triggered by the battle earlier this year over curbs on public-sector collective bargaining in the state,” Reuters reports.
State Sen. Dave Hansen (D) will defend his seat against challenger David VanderLeest (R).
A new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey finds Hansen well ahead of Vanderleest, 62% to 34%.
A new Tarrance Group (R) poll in Nevada finds Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) with a small lead over Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) in the race for U.S. Senate, 48% to 44%.
Last month, a Democratic poll found Berkley with a five point lead.
“That’s a level of immaturity that I don’t believe even this Congress is up to.”
— Warren Buffet, quoted by NBC News, predicting Congress will not allow the United States to default on its debt after this “little fight in our sandbox.”
Brian Howey doesn’t believe that Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s (R) primary challenge to Sen. Richard Lugar (R) has lived up to the initial hype, terming Mourdock’s recent collapse the “June swoon.”
“On June 8, seven of 10 members of the Indiana Republican Central Committee who endorsed Mourdock were replaced during reorganization… On June 11, Mourdock scheduled a Tea Party rally in Kokomo at the very time U.S. Rep. Mike Pence was seeking to gather the GOP universe in Columbus for his gubernatorial campaign kickoff. The Pence campaign was not amused. Mourdock’s campaign manager Jim Holden ended up in an altercation with a video blogger, which then went viral on YouTube… On June 23, WTHR-TV reported that Treasurer Mourdock had homestead exemptions on two properties. This was an embarrassment for the state treasurer, who also heads the Indiana Bond Bank.”
The results: “Lugar reported $907,000 raised for the second quarter, with 87 percent coming from Hoosier donors, and had $3.5 million cash on hand. Mourdock raised $300,000… With the Mourdock campaign flagging on all these fronts, he is hoping for national intervention.”
President Obama reportedly met privately with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) at the White House Sunday night and the outlines of a deal seem a little clearer.
Ezra Klein: “It begins with the McConnell plan, in which the debt ceiling is raised three times between now and November, and each time, Republicans are able to offer a resolution of disapproval. Then it adds in $1.5 trillion in spending cuts harvested from the Biden talks. Then it creates a committee of 12 lawmakers charged with sending a deficit-reduction plan to Congress by the end of the year. Whatever they decide on would be protected from the filibuster and immune to amendments.”
First Read: “Perhaps the eventual deal gets reached as early as Friday. But come on: This is Washington, and it’ll probably take the weekend, and then some.”
When 28-year-old white supremacist Daren Abbey began threatening Marlon Baker at an Idaho bar and threatened to stab him because “blacks are not welcome” there, he might have read the t-shirt Baker was wearing first, the Idaho Spokesman Review reports.
A new American Research Group poll in South Carolina finds Mitt Romney leading among likely Republican primary voters with 25%, followed by Sarah Palin at 16%, Michele Bachmann at 13%, Herman Cain at 10% and Rudy Giuliani and Rick Perry both at 6%,
Michelle Cottle: “If you aren’t yet familiar with the growing whispers about Michele Bachmann’s campaign — the uncorroborated speculation that the candidate’s profoundly antigay hubby, Marcus, is a closeted gay man — you will be.”
Ross Douthat: “For months, Republican leaders used all the tools at their disposal — the anti-spending intensity of their base, the White House’s desire for a deal, the specter of dire consequences if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised — to leverage their way into a favorable position. Despite controlling just one house of Congress, they spent the spring and summer setting the agenda for the country: not whether to cut spending, but how deeply and how fast.”
“But last week, the Republican offensive suddenly collapsed in disarray. In the space of a few days, a party that once looked capable of pressing the White House into a deal that would have left liberals fuming found itself falling back on two less-palatable options instead: either a procedural gimmick that would try to pin the responsibility for raising the ceiling on President Obama, or a stand on principle that would risk plunging the American economy back into recession.”
Florida state Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R) announced he will no longer run for U.S. Senate in Florida, the St. Petersburg Times reports.
The Hotline: “His departure opens up the field for former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and former Sen. George LeMieux. LeMieux led the pack in second quarter fundraising, but still has to overcome ties to former Gov. Charlie Crist. Hasner, meanwhile, has caught the eye of many conservatives, but will have to pick up his fundraising pace in the months ahead to keep pace in the expensive state with several major media markets.”
Howard Kurtz reports that Rupert Murdoch is developing a plan to insulate his American media outlets from the fallout of the British phone hacking scandal “as the FBI launches a preliminary investigation of whether laws were broken on this side of the Atlantic. The company expects to hire another outside public-relations firm to help spearhead that effort and field inquiries involving Fox News, local Fox stations, and the New York Post.”
Moody’s suggested the United States should eliminate its statutory limit on government debt to reduce uncertainty among bond holders, Reuters reports.
The ratings agency notes the United States is one of the few countries where Congress sets a ceiling on government debt, which creates “periodic uncertainty” over the government’s ability to meet its obligations.
Key stats: “49% of Obama’s $46.3 million came in donations under $200, and 26% were maximum $2,500 donations. By comparison, however, just 6% of Romney’s were under $200, while a whopping 70% were the maximum. In other words, Romney appears to have already maxed out his base of donors. (Where is the rest going to come from?) The other small-dollar percentages of campaign contributions under $200: Bachmann 67%, Cain 58%, Paul 54%, Gingrich 46%, Santorum 25%, Pawlenty 11%.”
Also interesting: “Romney only brought in a little over $2 million the day in May when his campaign announced they raked in $10 million-plus. His campaign tells First Read that the $10 million consisted of pledges, and the checks were processed when they were received.”
Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) is moving his family from Minnesota to New Hampshire so his two children will be closer to their mother’s job, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
“Cravaack’s move comes as he faces a tough reelection race… Cravaack will maintain his congressional schedule in Minnesota, spending Saturdays and his district work time in the state. Cravaack will travel to New Hampshire to see his family on his Sunday off-days.”
Amy Walter: “Although President Obama’s job approval rating of 48% (according to Pollster.com average) isn’t exactly stellar, it is remarkably high given the level of economic pessimism and despair among American electorate… Obama’s job approval ratings defy political gravity. The only question now, is if they can do so for much longer.”
A new CBS News poll finds Americans “are unimpressed with their political leaders’ handling of the debt ceiling crisis.”
Key finding: A majority disapprove of all the involved parties’ conduct, but Republicans in Congress fare the worst, with just 21% backing their intransigent resistance to raising taxes. A stunning 71% disapprove.
“Turning right with a vengeance, Republicans will bring to the House floor Tuesday a newly revised debt-ceiling bill that is remarkable for its total absence of compromise at this late date, two weeks before the threat of default,” Politico reports.
Mark Halperin: “The main action remains in a three-ring circus: Reid-McConnell talks, the House Republican votes on various cap/cut/balance schemes, and the Obama-Boehner talks. The president has signaled movement on accepting a short-term fix, and on entitlement cuts. So far, what was true last week seems to remain true today: NOTHING can get a majority in the House. It still might take a mini-market crisis to focus the DC minds.”
Now that President Obama has chosen his pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, all eyes turn to the future of Elizabeth Warren, the agency’s founder and a long-rumored Democratic challenger to Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), according to Robert Kuttner.
“In Massachusetts, the Democratic field right now is stunningly weak, and Warren is the one candidate who can galvanize voters and take back the seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy… It is also early enough in the race that most of the state’s best campaign professionals have not yet committed, and will now back Warren. It’s not quite 100 percent definite that she will join the race, but all signs point to it.”