POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/19

Republicans Could Take Kohl’s Seat

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin shows the U.S. Senate seat currently held by outgoing Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) is a real takeover opportunity for Republicans.

Only former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who doesn’t seem interested in running, leads both Tommy Thompson (R), 48% to 47%, and Mark Neumann (R), 51% to 44%.

However, Thompson leads the other possible Democratic challengers: Ron Kind (D) by 48% to 41, Tammy Baldwin (D) by 50% to 42%, and Steve Kagen (D) by 49% to 41%.

Neumann doesn’t fare as well as Thompson but still has small leads: Kind by 43% to 40%, Baldwin by 44% to 40%, and Kagen by 45% to 38%.

Coburn Warns of Economic Disaster

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) spread dire warnings “predicting economic disaster, the quick unraveling of the debt ceiling agreement and the demise of Medicare,” the Tulsa Worldreports.

Said Coburn: “We have less than 16 months to fix this. I can promise you that come July you’re going to see some tough, tough stuff in this country.”

He described his colleagues as “a class of career elitists” and “cowards,” and when talking of his frustrations, said, “It’s just a good thing I can’t pack a gun on the Senate floor.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“You watch the way we’re developing new approaches and new ideas and the way we’re using the internet — I think over the next 60 days you will see a campaign that is so fundamentally different from anything you’ve seen.”

— Newt Gingrich, talking to the Orange County Register about his presidential bid.

Bill Clinton is a Vegan

CNN: “By the time he reached the White House, Bill Clinton’s appetite was legend. He loved hamburgers, steaks, chicken enchiladas, barbecue and french fries but wasn’t too picky…”

“Clinton now considers himself a vegan. He’s dropped more than 20 pounds, and he says he’s healthier than ever. His dramatic dietary transformation took almost two decades and came about only after a pair of heart procedures and some advice from a trusted doctor.”

 

O’Donnell Hangs Up in the Middle of Interview

Christine O’Donnell’s book tour for Troublemaker is apparently going more poorly than her U.S. Senate campaign last year.

After walking out of a CNN interview, the Huffington Post reports she hung up the phone during the middle of an interview with a Utah radio station.

See more…

 

Does Perry Have an “Elmer Gantry” Problem?

GOP consultant Alex Castellanos on the newest presidential candidate:

“It would be understatement to say I’ve not been a fan of Rick Perry for president. His shoot-from-the-lips style conveys thoughtlessness. Additionally, the suburbs won’t put Elmer Gantry in the Oval Office: Perry can’t permit voters to conclude he sells his faith more than he lives it.”

Warren Forms Exploratory Committee

Elizabeth Warren (D) filed paperwork to create an exploratory campaign committee, the next step in a possible challenge to Sen. Scott Brown, the Boston Globe reports.

The former Obama administration official also launched a website to solicit donations and volunteers.

Tim Tagaris notes the source code of the site includes a phrase before a sign up form: “I’m in. Are you?”

The Obama-Huntsman Connection

Jacob Weisberg’s Vogue profile of Jon Huntsman isn’t likely to help the former Utah governor in the GOP presidential primary:

“As you listen to Huntsman’s blunt assessment of the country’s prospects, it’s hard not to notice the commonalities with the man he would challenge in 2012 — the hazard Obama hoped to forestall by sending him to Beijing. There is, to begin with, the physical resemblance. Huntsman is slender, athletic, and stylish, with a winning smile. Huntsman is 51, Obama is 50, and both have an unusual reserve, a cool unflappability. More important is a shared fundamental outlook: substantive, patient, with a preference for compromise over confrontation, and a pragmatic rather than ideological approach to politics.”

“When we chat at the airport, Mary Kaye tells me about the first time her husband and Obama met, in a holding room at Coretta Scott King’s funeral in 2006. She glimpsed some kind of spark, a connection between the two men, as if they knew that they would figure jointly in some future history.”

American Satisfaction Dips Close to New Low

A new Gallup poll finds Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the country has sunk to just 11%, the lowest level since December 2008 and just four points above the all-time low recorded in October 2008.

 

How Democrats Win

Rick Perlstein points out a lesson in his book Nixonland — which President Obama recently read, according to Joe Klein — “about how the Democratic Party wins, why it loses and the good things that happen when the party gets the formula right.”

“It concerns the two major axes upon which major national elections get fought. Sometimes they become battles over the cultural and social anxieties ordinary Americans suffer. Other times they are showdowns about middle-class anxieties when the free market fails. Normally, in the former sort of election, Republicans win. In the latter, Democrats do — as we saw in 2008, when the tide turned after John McCain said that ‘the fundamentals of the economy are strong.'”

Who Iowa Republicans Don’t Want

We Ask America asked Iowa Republicans who they didn’t want to see as their party’s nominee for president in 2012.

Sarah Palin led the pack of least wanted with 25%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 16%, Jon Huntsman at 14% and Michele Bachman and Ron Paul both at 12%.

Of those they wanted to see nominated, Rick Perry led the pack with 29%, followed by Michele Bachmann at 17% and Mitt Romney at 15%.

Have You Ever Had Sex with Rick Perry?

Salon reports that a Texas supporter of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has taken out a full-page ad in an Austin alternative weekly newspaper publicly seeking women (or men) who have slept with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“Have you ever had sex with Rick Perry? Are you a stripper, an escort, or just a ‘young hottie’ impressed by an arrogant, entitled governor of Texas? … we will help you publicize your direct dealings with a Christian-buzzwords-spouting, ‘family values’ hypocrite and fraud.”

Bachmann Promises $2 Gas

CNN Money notes Rep. Michele Bachmann made a big promise yesterday: You’ll pay just $2 for a gallon of gasoline if she’s elected.

Said Bachmann: “Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.”

Obama Begins His Summer Vacation

President Obama leaves today for a 10-day summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard but once again faces Republican criticism that he’s taking time off while the country faces tremendous problems, the Boston Globe reports.

The Chicago Sun Times notes that this is Obama’s ninth vacation since taking office and has spent all or part of 38 days on vacation away from the White House. He has also made 14 visits to Camp David spanning all or part of 32 days, for a total of 70 days.

In contrast, former President George W. Bush, at this point in his first term, had made 14 visits to his Texas ranch spanning all or part of 102 days and also made 40 visits to Camp David spanning all or part of 123 days. His vacation total at this point in his presidency was all or part of 225 days away.

Perry Says Global Warming is Unproven

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said again that global warming is “an unproven scientific theory” that has been advanced by scientists who have “manipulated data,” the Los Angeles Timesreports.

“His opinions put him at odds with the vast majority of experts. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of more than 2,500 scientists, found with 90% confidence that recent warming was caused by humans. Its conclusion is supported by years of accumulated scientific data.”

Christie Reiterates He’s Not Running

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) denied reports and increased speculation that he was contemplating a Republican presidential bid, the Newark Star Ledger reports.

Said Christie: “At the end of the day I answered this question two days ago, I said this answer isn’t changing and I don’t see any reason why it would. And I read this morning that Congressman Ryan said the same thing. So I don’t know what else to say about this, fact of the matter is I guess I have to resign myself to the idea that until the filing deadline for Iowa passes that I’m going to continue to be asked. That’s fine, you know the only thing that pains me about it is that it squeezes out other things that I wish you all were asking me about.”

O’Donnell Walks Out During Interview

Failed Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (R), and author ofTroublemaker, continued her eccentric behavior by walking off the set during an interview with Piers Morgan after being questioned about her views on gay marriage.

See more…

Quote of the Day

“They know what they’re doing, and they are ruthless, and they are going to take Perry out.”

— Howard Dean, in an interview on MSNBC, saying that former President George W. Bush’s political team will not allow Texas Gov. Rick Perry to win the GOP presidential nomination.

Matt Latimer has more on “Perry’s war with the Bushies.”

Pawlenty Rules Out Senate Bid

Tim Pawlenty “definitively ruled out a 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate after ending his Republican bid for the White House a few days ago,” the AP reports.

Some Republicans were hoping Pawlenty would take on Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) next year.

Said Pawlenty: “I don’t know what I will be doing next. However, I will not be running against Amy in 2012.”

The Dirty Thirties

Though President Obama’s approval rating dipped below 40% in a recent Gallup tracking poll, Larry Sabato notes “every president since Lyndon Johnson has become familiar with the ‘dirty thirties’ at some point in his tenure. Bad economies, failing wars and big scandals have humbled all modern chief executives, sooner or later.”

“The current White House certainly wouldn’t claim that President Obama is riding a crest of popularity just now. And there’s no guarantee that his wave will ever return. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that three predecessors — Truman, Reagan, and Clinton — were reelected after having suffered the dirty 30s in the first term. Three others were not reelected — Ford, Carter, and Bush 41 (and arguably LBJ as well, though he withdrew before facing the voters in 1968).”

“Thus, there are precedents to be cited for and against Obama’s reelection. The only thing we’re sure of is that Republicans and Democrats will choose a different set.”

Bachmann Staffer Once Arrested for Terrorism

The evangelical organizer who helped Rep. Michele Bachmann win the Iowa straw poll “was previously charged with terrorism in Uganda after being arrested for possession of assault rifles and ammunition in February 2006, just days before Uganda’s first multi-party elections in 20 years,” according to The Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Politico reports Bachmann’s staff has been involved in at least five “unusually hostile encounters” with the media in the last two months.

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