POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/20

House Passes Measure That Doesn’t Raise the Debt Ceiling

The House of Representatives voted 234 to 190 in favor of the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act” — an updated version of the kind of balanced-budget amendment that Republicans have coveted for years — but which the White House has said will be vetoed in the unlikely event it passes the Senate and reaches President Obama’s desk, the Washington Post reports.

However, proof that it was not a serious measure: “The debt ceiling would rise only after Congress approves sending a constitutional amendment to the states for ratification. That would require two-thirds of both chambers of Congress voting for it — an outcome widely considered unattainable.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“If we don’t get this fixed, all of us – all of us – ought to get fired.”

— Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), in an interview with ABC News, on the ongoing debt negotiations.

Dissatisfaction with Government Hits 19-Year High

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 80% of Americans say they’re dissatisfied or even angry with the way the federal government is working, up 11 points in a single month. It last was this high in 1992, during the economic downturn that cost the first President Bush a second term.

But unlike 1992, the opposition party’s taking even more heat than the president. While President Obama has fallen under 40% approval for handling the economy, congressional Republicans do even worse, 28% approval. On handling the deficit, it’s a weak 38% approval for Obama, but a weaker 27% for the GOP. And on handling taxes, Obama has 45% approval, the GOP is at 31%.

Bachmann Surges in New National Poll

The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds Mitt Romney still leading the GOP presidential race nationally with 30%, but Rep. Michele Bachmann has surged into second place with 16%.

(In the current poll’s crosstabs, Romney narrowly leads Bachmann among Tea Party supporters, 24 to 20 percent, while Bachmann is ahead among Republican primary voters who identify themselves as very conservative, 24 to 22 percent.)

Rick Perry is third at 11%, followed by Ron Paul at 9%, Newt Gingrich at 8%, Herman Cain at 5%, Rick Santorum at 3%, and Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman tied at 2%.

Earlier, a PPP poll found Bachmann just edging Romney nationally.

 

Hoekstra May Challenge Stabenow

Rumors are swirling that former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) is reconsidering a run against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the Detroit News reports.

Hoekstra has been making phone calls to judge his ability to raise money and support for the race.

Earlier this year Hoekstra announced he wasn’t running, apparently scared off by Stabenow’s fundraising ability.

Bachmann Aides Play Rough with Reporter

ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross was pushed around by Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign aides today, Michael Crowley reports.

“Ross dashed after Bachmann, repeatedly asking whether she had ever missed a House vote due to a migraine. She ignored him. Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force. In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she ignored him again.”

Greg Sargent reports there is video of the incident.

Analyzing 20 Years of Rick Perry Ads

Texas Tribune: “Reviewing two decades of Perry’s political advertising reveals his metamorphosis as a public figure — owed, in part, to an image carefully crafted (or curated, depending on how you view it) by a media team that is known for being incredibly disciplined and loyal to their client.”

Brown Holds Huge Lead Over Warren

A new Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll finds Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) leading potential challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) by a 53% to 28% margin among likely 2012 voters.

The poll also showed Brown with a 62% favorable rating.

Edwards May Owe $2.3 Million in Penalties

The campaign of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards may have to pay almost $2.3 million in penalties and primary matching funds following an audit of his 2008 White House bid, Roll Call reports.

 

Perry Meets with Money Men Tonight

Potential donors and bundlers for Texas Gov. Rick Perry are meeting tonight in Austin, TX,CNN reports.

These money men have been talking to possible financial supporters around the country weighing how much support a presidential candidacy would garner and will deliver their preliminary results during these meetings. Perry is expected to have dinner with them.

GOP Seen More Concerned About Protecting Wall Street

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that by a wide margin, 59% to 26%, Americans see congressional Republicans as more concerned than the president with protecting the economic interests of Wall Street financial institutions. Even more broadly, by 67% to 24%, they see the GOP looking out for the interests of large corporations.

In contrast, Obama leads the GOP by 18 points in looking out for middle-class Americans, 53% to 35%. He also has a 10-point advantage, 47% to 37% as being more concerned with the economic interests of “you and your family.”

Obama’s approval rate is 48%, a measure which has stayed the same since April.

Democrats Invoke Reagan in Debt Ceiling Debate

In a new video, House Democrats used audio clips of Ronald Reagan to accuse Republicans of being out of touch with reality in the debt ceiling negotiations. In a 1987 radio address the former president blamed Congress for repeatedly pushing the United States “to the edge of default before facing its responsibility.”

See more…

Majority Agree Not Raising Debt Ceiling is a Problem

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that 55% of voters — including 63% of Democrats, 59% of independents and 47% of Republicans — believe that not raising the nation’s debt ceiling would be problematic.

That’s compared with just 18% who say it wouldn’t be a real and serious problem. But that number jumps up to 33% among self-identified Tea Party supporters.

Is the “Grand Bargain” Alive Again?

Wall Street Journal: “A surprise jolt of bipartisan support emerged Tuesday for a $3.7 trillion deficit-reduction plan that had been in development for months, though it was thought to be dead just several weeks ago. Roughly half of the U.S. Senate’s 100 members sat through an hour-long briefing on the plan, which was designed by a group of lawmakers known as the ‘Gang of Six’ and would cut spending, overhaul entitlement programs such as Medicare, rework the tax code, and make significant changes to Social Security.”

See more…

Pakistani Spy Arrested for Illegal Campaign Donations

“Law enforcement sources say the FBI has arrested an agent of Pakistan’s official state intelligence service, accusing him of making thousands of dollars in political contributions in the United States without disclosing his connections to the Pakistani government,” NBC News reports.

Rick Hasen would like to see the spy challenge whether his contribution is now legal under the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Cartoon of the Day

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Bachmann Leads Nationally Among Republicans

A new Public Policy Polling national survey finds Rep. Michele Bachmann has taken the lead among likely Republican voters in the GOP presidential race.

Bachmann leads with 21%, followed by Mitt Romney at 20%, Rick Perry at 12%, Herman Cain at 11%, Ron Paul at 9%, Newt Gingrich at 7%, Tim Pawlenty at 5% and Jon Huntsman at 3%.

Key finding: “Bachmann’s rise has been fueled by her appeal to voters on the far right- and their skepticism about Romney. Romney has the lead with centrist Republicans (23-17) and with those defining themselves as only somewhat right of center (24-17). But among ‘very conservative’ voters only 48% have a positive opinion of Romney to 34% who view him negatively, weak numbers, and Bachmann’s capitalizing on that with a 26-15 lead over Romney, who’s in third place with that group of voters.”

How the Republican Party Lost its Way

Must-read piece: John Avlon retraces how the Republican Party abandoned fiscal responsibility in favor of reckless tax cuts and “deficits don’t matter” policies.

The Default Caucus

The debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling has driven a wedge between Establishment Republicans and their Tea Party counterparts and Mike Allen reports party elders “practically spit contempt” for what they call “the default caucus” — the House and Senate members who say they won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances.

Said one: “I’m embarrassed to be a Republican. These guys don’t understand capital markets. This isn’t about who wins an election. This is about whether people are going to be able to finance a house.”

Is the House in Play?

Stuart Rothenberg: “Though House Democrats start at 194 seats, the party is likely to lose at least 11 seats off the top because of redistricting and retirements… That takes Democrats down to 183 seats, meaning they will need at least an additional 35 seats — new districts or those held by Republicans — to reach 218 seats.”

“By my calculations, there are 36 districts where Democrats should win or can compete very seriously next year. The list includes a large contingent of freshman Republicans — who will face a very different political environment in 2012 — some Republican seats hurt by redistricting and some new competitive and Democratic-leaning districts that are likely to be created because of reapportionment.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“There’s a lot of different ways to be called. My mother may call me for dinner. My friends may call me for something. There are people calling from all across this country … and saying, ‘Man, we wish you would consider doing this,'”

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), quoted by the Houston Chronicle, walking back comments he made over the weekend saying he’s been “called” to run for president.

Another Attempt to Sway Christie

Mike Allen reports that Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of The Home Depot, is leading yet another effort to persuade New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to make a late entry into the presidential race.

“A bunch of Republican bigwigs — uncommitted, moderate to liberal fundraising types — have been invited to meet with Christie in Manhattan this afternoon (some in person and some by speakerphone) ‘to try to convince him to change his mind and run for president,’ said one top Republican who was invited. On May 31, Christie met in New Jersey with a delegation of Iowa donors who had the same message. Christie continues doing everything you would do if you wanted to keep the 2012 option open. Friends say he’s convinced he wouldn’t win, and won’t do it. But the unsettled field has to look tempting. And Christie might struggle with reelection, so may be politically stronger now than in 2016.”

Bachmann Suffers from Severe Headaches

Three former staffers for Rep. Michele Bachmann tell the Daily Caller that the congresswoman suffers from migraines that “incapacitate” her for days at a time.

On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.

UpdateNBC News reports Bachmann said her migraines “are easily controllable with medication… I’d like to be abundantly clear: My ability to function effectively will not affect my ability to serve as commander-in-chief.”

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