POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/22

No Moderate GOP Governors

Nate Silver: “If the states are laboratories of democracy, then the Republican Party’s research pipeline has run dry. Moderate Republican governors, a thriving species before last year’s elections, are all but extinct.”

Obama and Boehner Close to “Major Deal”

The Obama administration has informed Democratic Congressional leaders that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner “were starting to close in on a major budget deal that would enact substantial spending cuts and seek future revenues through a tax overhaul,” the New York Times reports.

Key point: “The Congressional leaders, whose help Mr. Obama would need to bring a compromise forward, were told that the new revenue tied to the looming agreement to increase the debt limit by Aug. 2 would be produced in 2012 through a tax code rewrite that would lower individual and corporate rates, close loopholes, end tax breaks and make other adjustments to produce revenue gains.”

However, the Washington Post says congressional Democrats “were in a high state of alarm about talks they said were now leading toward a broad deficit-reduction deal that would not immediately include increased revenue.”

 

Huntsman Loses Campaign Manager

Jon Huntsman’s campaign manager, Susie Wiles, is resigning, according to The Fix, to be replaced by communications director Matt David.

“High-level staff departures early in a presidential campaign are generally not seen as a good thing, but thus far, Wiles is the only known departure from Huntsman’s team… The campaign did not expound on the reason for Wiles’s departure. Weaver said the campaign is simply shifting gears… At the same time, there has been some grumbling about the campaign’s rollout, which hasn’t gone as well as some had hoped since he announced exactly one month ago.”

Romney Plays it Safe

The New York Times notes Mitt Romney’s cautious has served hm fairly well so far.

“He has not had to accept ownership of positions being taken by Republicans in Congress. He has stuck to his message on the economy and job creation, even while navigating criticism about his health care record as governor of Massachusetts. But as the Republican presidential campaign intensifies, with Mrs. Bachmann capturing the imagination of conservative activists and Mr. Perry being forcefully recruited by Republican leaders to declare his candidacy, Mr. Romney’s determinedly low-key approach could be fraught with peril.”

Which Comes First: Debt Deal or Market Collapse?

Ezra Klein: “We’re hearing talk that the ‘Big Deal’ is being revived, but the bigger the deal, the tougher it is to pass quickly. And so if it is the case that we can’t strike a deal until the markets are beginning to bottom out or the debt ceiling is about to cave in, it’s a pretty good bet that we’re not going to strike a big deal, and it’s very hard to predict what sort of small deal the politics will permit at that point. Which is worrying. The political dynamics here imply a lot of uncertainty all the way to the end, but excess uncertainty is the one thing that could lead the market dynamics to turn sharply against us.”

Gates Gets Book Deal

Former defense secretary Robert Gates has signed a deal to publish two books, the first a memoir of his tenure under President George W. Bush and President Obama, and the second focusing on leadership, the Washington Post reports.

The memoir is scheduled for 2013, and the leadership book will follow a year later.

Mitt’s Pitch

ABC News looks at what Mitt Romney tells prospective campaign donors behind closed doors.

According to a top donor Romney repeated a consistent pitch to the crowd: “Obama was a nice guy and America did something they like to do and that is trust a likable guy, well spoken guy, handsome guy, and well meaning guy, but it turns out he’s clueless about handling the sophisticated economics stuff… Obama has never had a business job, never had to lead an organization. Never, not once.”

Romney also tells donors how he will win the GOP nomination: “they will win New Hampshire and Nevada and are hoping to ‘get lucky’ in Iowa and South Carolina. They believe if they win 3 out of those 4 contests they will sail to the nomination. If they only win two they believe they will be one of two candidates left in the race and he’ll push his jobs message to victory from that point on and they think he’ll have the cash to last, unlike last time.”

Norquist Gives Republicans an Out

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist was asked by the Washington Post whether allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled in 2012 would violate his tax pledge.

His answer: No.

“In other words, according to Mr. Norquist’s interpretation of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, lawmakers have the technical leeway to bring in as much as $4 trillion in new tax revenue — the cost of extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for another decade — without being accused of breaking their promise.”

Cartoon of the Day

7-21-11.jpg

Worst Congress Ever?

Norm Orenstein: “Partisan and ideological conflict is inherent in democratic political systems, of course, and governing is often a messy process. But this level of dysfunction is not typical. And it is not going away in the near future.”

Truth in Satire?

The Onion: “Congress Continues Debate Over Whether Or Not Nation Should Be Economically Ruined.”

 

Half Think Ending Shuttle Program is a Bad Idea

As space shuttle Atlantis returned from space this morning, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds 50% of all Americans say that the end of the space shuttle program is bad for the country. (NOTE: This action was taken by the Bush administration.)

The survey “also indicates that most of the public wants to U.S. to develop a new spacecraft that will send astronauts into space, but a majority say they would prefer that private enterprise rather than a government program achieve that goal.”

Obama Maintains Sub-50% Approval

Gallup finds President Obama earned a 46.8% average approval rating in his 10th quarter in office.

“Obama is in the company of several former elected presidents who averaged sub-50% approval during their 10th quarters in office. This includes three former presidents who won re-election — Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan — and one, Jimmy Carter, who lost. On the other hand, of the three presidents with exceptionally high average approvals at this stage, George H.W. Bush was ultimately defeated, while Dwight Eisenhower and George W. Bush prevailed.”

Perry Meets with California Donors

Texas Gov. Rick Perry “met privately with potential fundraisers in Los Angeles as he neared a decision on whether to enter the 2012 presidential race,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“The Texas governor would join a wide-open GOP field, but a key issue is whether he can raise hundreds of millions of dollars to wage a 50-state presidential battle. Many deep-pocketed donors in California, a rich source of campaign cash, have been holding back their checks while the field takes shape.”

Al Sharpton Gets a Television Show

The New York Times reports MSNBC is ready to give Al Sharpton his own show.

“Mr. Sharpton’s imminent hiring, which was acknowledged by three people at the channel on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been signed, is significant in part because MSNBC and other news channels have been criticized for a paucity of minority hosts in prominent time slots. Mr. Sharpton, who is black and is a well-known civil rights activist and radio host, has been guest hosting in the 6 p.m. time slot for the last three weeks.”

Quote of the Day

“If it’s an all-or-nothing strategy, you’re likely to end up with nothing. The notion of just standing firm for your principle at the expense of achieving your goal is just wrong.”

— Former Rep. Vin Weber (R-MN), quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

Three Tracks Towards a Debt Limit Deal

First Read: “With the clock ticking until the Aug. 2 deadline, there are essentially three tracks to resolve the debt-ceiling standoff. One track is McConnell-Reid, the ongoing negotiations between the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader to pass a ‘failsafe’ debt ceiling increase without majorities of Congress having to approve it, and it’s losing a lot of steam (right now). The second track is the talks between President Obama and House Republicans John Boehner and Eric Cantor, as they try to revive a ‘grand bargain’ — and it’s a track that is a LOT more active than folks realize. And the third track is a second grand-bargain-style deal — this one by the Gang of Six in the Senate.”

One huge problem: “There is currently no plan out there that could get through the House. And that’s raised chatter on Capitol Hill that the only way to convince enough House Republicans to support ANY track is for the Dow Jones to collapse, a la what happened with TARP in 2008.”

Santorum Brings Family to Iowa

In what Morning Score is calling the “Chris Dodd,” presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R) will bring his wife and seven children to campaign events across Iowa for the next month as the August 13 Ames straw poll approaches.

Politico: “The tour is also a fight to stay alive, with the field almost certain to narrow after Ames, and Santorum likely be discounted completely without a strong finish. Trailing badly in polls and fundraising, he doesn’t have the money to buy significant airtime or to hire much staff for a heavy boots-on-the-ground campaign, so he’ll be relying on the help of his family — his children range in age from 3 to 20 — and the conservative activists in the state whose endorsements he’s been rolling out to build a bigger army… Chris Dodd famously moved his family to Iowa in 2007, and fellow long shot GOP 2012 candidate Buddy Roemer is moving to New Hampshire this week.”

Bachmann Rolls Out Migraine Defense

It seems Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) campaign team is taking Karl Rove’s advice when it comes to responding to allegations that the presidential contender suffers from debilitating migraine headaches. Politico reports that Bachmann “released a letter from the attending physician to the Congress attesting to her ‘overall … good general health.'”

“Dr. Brian Monahan wrote he has extensively evaluated Bachmann, in consultation with a neurologist, and found that she is able to control it with as-needed doses of sumatriptan, which is used to treat migraine pain, and odansetron, an anti-nausea drug… Monahan described Bachmann’s diagnosis as ‘migraine headaches with aura,’ a reference to the minority of migraine sufferers who experience perceptual disturbances, such as visual changes or strange smells, in advance of their attacks.”

Meanwhile, the Des Moines Register runs the story on Bachmann’s migraines on the front page for the second straight day.

Rahm’s Message Machine

The Chicago Tribune looks at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first two months in office and notes “message control has emerged as a dominant theme… The mayor is trying to burn an image into the public’s mind that he’s the new guy in charge, is hard at work and has the guts to make the difficult decisions… He’s dropped potentially damaging news at times when the public is less likely to notice. He rarely gets knocked off his daily message, and he brings a new one every day.”

Interestingly, the Ward Room notes Emanuel went off message yesterday, “let his famous temper emerge” and stormed out of an interview when asked where his children went to school.

Layoffs Pickup

“Companies are laying off employees at a level not seen in nearly a year, hobbling the job market and intensifying fears about the pace of the economic recovery,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Behind the cuts are jittery employers whose faith in the recovery — and, by extension, consumers’ willingness to spend — has been shaken.”

Little Progress on Debt Talks

“Progress remains elusive as official Washington grapples day after day for a way out of a debt dilemma that has the government sliding toward a first-ever default on its financial obligations,” the AP reports.

President Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) at the White House for 90 minutes on Wednesday, but neither side would comment afterward.

Politico notes that there’s growing support in the Senate for a big deficit deal — the so-called “Gang of Six” proposal — but that House Republicans are standing firm.

Meanwhile, on Wall Street, the New York Times reports “financial players are devising doomsday plans in case the clock runs out.”

When a Tax Increase is Also a Tax Cut

Wall Street Journal: “In one draft summary of the plan by the so-called Gang of Six Democrats and Republican senators, the authors said it would raise about $1.2 trillion in additional taxes to help shrink future deficits. But in another summary, also from the Gang of Six, the plan results in ‘net tax relief of approximately $1.5 trillion’ — a tax cut.”

“If lawmakers accept these competing views, Democrats could claim victory in their push for tax increases while Republicans could say they succeeded in opposing tax increases–a convenient solution to the current budget impasse.”

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