POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/21

Romney Pulls Even with Obama

For the first time since last summer, President Obama does not lead Mitt Romney in Public Policy Polling‘s monthly national poll on the 2012 Presidential race. Romney has now pulled into a tie with the President at 45%.

Also interesting: “An extremely wide electability gap has developed between Romney and all the rest of the Republican candidates. Everyone else we tested trails Obama by at least as much as John McCain’s 2008 margin of defeat and in most cases more. Obama’s up 7 on Michele Bachmann at 48% to 41%, 9 against Tim Pawlenty at 48% to 39%, 12 versus Herman Cain at 48% to 36%, and as usual has his largest lead in a match up with Sarah Palin at 53% to 37%.”

Obama Might Agree to Short Term Deal

The White House said President Obama “will do whatever it takes — including enacting a short-term debt ceiling extension — to reach a deal to raise the ceiling and reduce the deficit,” CBS News reports.

“The president would only sign a short-term extension, however, in the event that Congress needed extra time to finalize a long-term deal.”

Paul Says Government is Trying to Scare People

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told the PBS Newshour that there’s no urgent need to increase the U.S. debt limit.

Said Paul: “I think they are misled. I think they believe what they are saying, but I think they don’t understand economic policy because they’re afraid of a default and they’ve been frightened. But this is the way so often government works — they try to frighten the people.”

 

Rumsfeld Advising Perry on National Security

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld helped organize Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s foreign policy and national security briefing in Austin last week, according to Ben Smith.

“Perry’s aides have been tight-lipped about the gathering, which National Review reported included former Rumsfeld aides Doug Feith, Daniel Fata, and William Luti, as well as the magazine’s Andrew McCarthy and others . But I’m told Rumsfeld helped steer Perry’s staff to the low-key advisory group.”

Quote of the Day

“My gut tells me that we’ll need a weekend of drama — maybe a weekend of the government not paying its bills — politicians need drama to make something happen. As soon as social security checks don’t go out, the politics will change. I suspect it’ll take artificial drama to get closure past the house.”

— Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), quoted by Business Insider, on the debt ceiling negotiations.

Bachmann Headaches Left Her “Unable to Function”

A former staffer to Rep. Michele Bachmann tells ABC News he believes her migraine headaches “have been a persistent and vexing problem for years, often forcing the congresswoman to cancel meetings, shut her office, turn off the lights and lie down until they pass.”

Said the insider: “You’re probably talking once every two to four weeks… They would come on in a matter of minutes. She would be down on her couch with the lights off and unable to function.”

Karl Rove to Fox News: “It’s evidence of what happens when you jump up into the top ring of these polls, and the kind of scrutiny that you get. It’s going to be important for her to get her doctors out there quickly to provide medical records and to provide the reassurance that people are going to want to have that this is not a serious issue.”

Christie Sinking Like a Stone

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) popularity has declined significantly this year “and he would have a very difficult time winning reelection if voters in New Jersey went to the polls today.”

Key findings: Just 43% of voters in the state approve of the job Christie is doing to 53% who disapprove. Christie’s numbers are steady with Republicans. But independents have really turned on him since January, going from approving by a 55% to 39% margin to disapproving by a 54% to 40% margin.

Also interesting: Christie would now trail Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) in a hypothetical 2013 match up, 47% to 43%.

Tension City

This is a must-read book: Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain by Jim Lehrer.

As the “man in the middle seat” at eleven presidential and vice-presidential debates, Lehrer had a close up view of some of the most memorable political battles of our time.

Public Backs Obama on Debt Debate

First Read notes the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that President Obama “is clearly winning a legislative argument — in terms of public opinion — for the first time in his presidency.”

“In addition to having a 22-point lead on his deficit proposal vs. the House GOP’s, a plurality in the poll (by a 38%-31% margin) says the debt ceiling should be raised, which is a sharp reversal from June when a plurality (39%-28%) opposed the move. When told that failing to raise the debt ceiling could jeopardize payments to Social Security recipient and military personnel, 49% support increasing it. And 43% oppose it when told that an increase would make it harder to reduce the deficit.”

New Debt Plan Gains Support

President Obama “seized on the re-emergence of an ambitious bipartisan budget plan in the Senate on Tuesday to invigorate his push for a big debt-reduction deal, and he summoned Congressional leaders back to the bargaining table this week to ‘start talking turkey,'” the New York Times reports.

“The bipartisan proposal from the so-called Gang of Six senators to reduce deficits by nearly $4 trillion over the coming decade — and its warm reception from 43 other senators of both parties — renewed hopes for a deal days after talks between Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders had reached an impasse.”

Mark Halperin: “There are still thousands of ways the whole thing can fall apart, but we are back to the basic scenario where five men have to agree to a plan (Obama, Boehner, Cantor, Hoyer, and Reid), get a big bipartisan Senate vote, and then scramble to get a bipartisan House majority. If it happens, the president’s tactical maneuvering (from his winter budget onward) will look pretty clever.”

Earliest Primary States Will Stay That Way

Politico speaks with Republican party leadership in the first three caucus and primary states — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — to determine how the calendar might shift as other states like Florida and Missouri inch closer to the front of the line. The consensus: “no matter the chatter or any official moves from other early states to move up their primary dates, the first caucuses will stay first.”

“And if that means pushing the voting to January — or even December — to make sure that no other early state leapfrogs to the front, Iowa GOP spokesman Casey Mills says they’re ready to do it… New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said he won’t even think about setting a date until Missouri, Florida, Arizona and Wisconsin, among others, set theirs. He didn’t offer any predictions about what the final date would be, but said New Hampshire would go at least seven days before every other primary… But if Florida decides to hold its primary before Super Tuesday, South Carolina GOP executive director Matt Moore said his state will likely move up to Feb. 18 or 25.”

Hoekstra Will Run for Senate

Just a day after news emerged that former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) was considering launching a challenge to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the Detroit News reports that Hoekstra is about to announce that he will enter the race after the results of a poll showed Stabenow was vulnerable.

“Hoekstra, who closed out his the campaign accounts used by his Pete Hoekstra for Congress organization, would be up against a field of lesser-known challengers… Stabenow, who’s been aggressively fundraising, reported more than $4 million in cash-on-hand at the end of the second quarter, which wrapped up June 30.”

Wisconsin Democrats Survive First Recall Attempt

The Appleton Post Crescent reports that Wisconsin State Sen. Dave Hansen (D) defeated Republican challenger David VanderLeest, 66% to 34%, in the first of nine recall elections in the state.

“Hansen’s victory over a controversial candidate wasn’t a shocker. VanderLeest’s legal and financial troubles became the focus of his campaign, dragging down his bid even after he vowed not to discuss them anymore. But the margin of victory and the turnout by voters were a first-round demonstration of the Democratic Party’s ground game going into August.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the remaining recall attempts — of two Democrats and six Republicans — will be held on August 9.

Christie Steers Clear of Presidential Bid

A group of Republican “heavy hitters” was unable to push New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) any closer to launching a presidential bid in 2012, despite making “very strong pleas as to why he should run,” reports Fox News.

“According to someone at the meeting, Christie did not jump up and say he was running. He indicated he appreciated what they had to say and noted his decision not to run is based on a number of factors, including his four children.”

Kasich’s Approval Slips Further

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) “is sinking slowly into the quicksand of voter disapproval,” with a 50% to 35% disapproval rate.

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