POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/23
David Frum: “Almost nothing in American politics drives more people to say more ridiculous things than the subject of presidential summer vacations… The president of the United States never gets a vacation, not really. The nuclear football follows wherever the president goes. He receives the daily intelligence briefing every morning, including Christmas. The decisions never stop, the cares of state never lighten, the burden of responsibility is never lifted.”
“When a president goes ‘on vacation,’ here’s what happens: 1) He or she is spared the ceremonial parts of the job: the state dinners, the meetings with the girl who sold the most Girl Scout cookies that year, that kind of thing; 2) The other members of the first family are liberated from living inside the White House, aptly described by Harry Truman as ‘the crown jewel of the federal prison system.'”
A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) leading challenger Pete Hoekstra (R) by nine points, 47% to 38%.
In February, Stabenow led by just two points.
Said pollster Bernie Porn: “Senator Stabenow has done a good job ramping up her visibility this year and using her important position on the Senate Agriculture Committee to stay ahead in the race. However, she is still vulnerable until she gets her number of supporters above 50-percent.”
Robert Costa looks at the reasoning behind Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) decision not to join the crowded Republican presidential primary.
“In the end, he decided that if he could amp up his political-action committee in early primary states and make more of an effort to frame the 2012 debate inside and outside the Beltway, then he could achieve many of his most important objectives without having to launch a full-scale presidential campaign… He wasn’t enthused… Ryan, if he had entered the race, would have had to start from scratch. That would mean building an organizational infrastructure and a political team while attending to a packed schedule of debates and other 2012 events. While he was getting started, his competitors would be raising funds… Ryan is young, and he could recover from a failed race, but he worried that his fiscal agenda might end up politically discredited should a Ryan 2012 campaign come to an inglorious end… There is no reason to rush.”
A Wilson Perkins Allen (R) survey — taken just a few days after news broke of Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s (R) ties to a stripper — finds Gov. Jay Nixon (D) leading Kinder in a possible gubernatorial match up, 40% to 41%.
Dave Catanese: “But more importantly than the numbers is what the release of the poll tells us about team Kinder’s intentions: Even as the support around him begins to show signs of cracking, Kinder wants to show donors and activists he’s plowing full steam ahead for now.”
Former New Jersey Assemblyman Pat Delany (R) abruptly resigned last month after his wife sent a “racially tinged email” to state senate challenger Carl Lewis, the former Olympic Gold medalist, PolitickerNJ reports.
The text of the email: “Imagine, not having to pay NJ state income taxes…It must be nice. Imagine getting a court ruling overturned so your name could get put on the ballot. Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equalled (sic) knowing something about politics. Sure, knowing someone with fat purse strings is nice, but you have no knowledge.”
Delany said he was “deeply disappointed in my wife’s decision to send that email,” adding: “In an attempt to repair the serious damage this has caused to our marriage, and to protect our kids from public humiliation, I decided to leave public life. On behalf of my family, we sincerely apologize to Mr. Lewis for any pain this caused him.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) “has decided for a final time that he will not run for president in 2012,” the Weekly Standard reports.
“Ryan, who began seriously considering a bid in late May after Indiana governor Mitch Daniels took himself out of the race, had consulted with top Republicans, including Karl Rove and Frank Luntz, as he contemplated his political future. And though many of those he talked with told him he would be a viable candidate in such a fluid race, even as a late entry, Ryan ultimately decided to continue his focus on debt and entitlement reform as chairman of the House Budget Committee.”
Said Ryan: “While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party’s nomination for President.”
A new Gallup poll of registered voters shows President Obama locked in a very tight race with four possible Republican rivals.
Mitt Romney leads Obama, 48% to 46%, Rick Perry and Obama are tied at 47%, and Obama edges out Ron Paul, 47% to 45%, and tops Michele Bachmann, 48% to 44%.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is expected to announce today that he will not challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in a primary next year, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
A poll just last week found Hatch with a double-digit lead over Chaffetz in a possible GOP primary match up.
“This is the fourth time Paul has raised more than $1 million in a day this campaign cycle, and a signal that he will have the money to compete as long as he wishes for the Republican presidential nomination.”
Former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe tells Lorton Patch that he doesn’t see a presidential campaign in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s future:
“My personal opinion is that she is really looking forward to getting back to Chappaqua, N.Y., enjoying life, hopefully being a grandmother and running a foundation for women and children. She has been first lady, a U.S. senator, secretary of state. She hasn’t stopped in 20 years. I think she’s looking forward to enjoying life, to relaxing and not having to get in a plane every single day and going to three countries.”
However, McAuliffe does seem like he’s gearing up for another run for Virginia governor.
Politico reports that three of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s four public events in the past two days “were outdoor rallies in mid-90s midday heat. She was at least half an hour late to each, and audience members invariably began drifting away in search of shade before she was finished speaking.”
Former Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) told the Greenwich Time that he’ll run for U.S. Senate next year.
After his 2008 election loss, Shays sold his Connecticut home and moved to Maryland but a “check of the election rolls in Bridgeport shows that Shays was reinstated late Friday as a voter in that city, where he and his wife Betsi bought a condominium last year when he was entertaining a run for governor.”
He’s expected to face former pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon (R) in a GOP primary.
Many wondered why Newt Gingrich was campaigning in Hawaii last week, a state that is highly unlikely to play any role in deciding the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.
The reason may be more personal, than presidential: KHON-TV notes “this Maui campaign stop coincides with Gingrich’s 11th wedding anniversary.”
“This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned — the Tea Party can go straight to hell.”
— Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), quoted by CBS News.
Just last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote in his book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington, that Social Security is unconstitutional and called it “a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal.” He wrote that the program was put in place, “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government” and compared it to a “bad disease” that has continued to spread.
But since jumping into the presidential race, the Wall Street Journal notes Perry “has tempered his Social Security views.”
In fact, a Perry spokesman recently said that he had “never heard” the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional and that more importantly Perry’s book “is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program.”
The AP reports congressional Republicans want to raise your taxes.
“Impossible, right? GOP lawmakers are so virulently anti-tax, surely they will fight to prevent a payroll tax increase on virtually every wage-earner starting Jan. 1, right?”
“Apparently not. Many of the same Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different ‘temporary’ tax cut should end as planned. By their own definition, that amounts to a tax increase.”
First Read: “The fall of Tripoli, and likely eventual ouster of Moammar Khaddafy — a thorn in American presidents’ sides for more than a generation — is welcome news to a White House in need of good news… The news should also serve to blunt criticism of the president for being on vacation and will make it even harder for Republican opponents to criticize him on foreign policy. The muted response from the GOP presidential field is evidence of that. But let’s not forget that it was just over three months ago when Osama bin Laden was killed, and his supporters were calling President Obama a shoo-in for reelection in 2012. But he remains very vulnerable next year because of the fragile domestic economy.”
“If ObamaCare had been fully implemented when I caught cancer, I’d be dead.”
Michael Tomasky: “The Huntsman strategy here is obvious: position himself as the moderate and reasonable guy on the off chance Republicans decide to be moderate and reasonable. We must assume he is aware that his odds on this are rather long, so what he’s really hoping for is to be the consensus candidate of 2016. Maybe the party just has to go through this purge, this Reign of Terror; so just let it do that, and once it does and nominates an extremist who can’t beat a weak incumbent during a time of 9 percent unemployment rates, and the heads are piled high enough in the tumbrels and enough people finally have returned to their senses, he will ride the Thermidorian wave to victory after Obama leaves town.”
John Heilemann: “It’s no secret that the White House would prefer to run next fall against the likes of Perry (or, perish the thought, Bachmann) than Romney, the easier to paint Obama’s opponent as unacceptably outré and even scary. Less appreciated is how significant a player Obama’s reelection team — along with its allied outside groups — may be in the Republican primaries. By spending millions of dollars on anti-Romney ads and pointing out the similarities of his Massachusetts health-care plan to Obamacare at every opportunity, they may be able to function effectively as a pro-Perry ‘super pac’ — and one with greater resources and media reach than anything Perry and his allies can muster.”
“The irony here would be rich, for sure, and the effect bordering on perverse. But don’t kid yourself: The possibility of things playing out just this way is one of many nightmares that keep Romney’s advisers awake at night.
Political organizer Peter Singleton, who is putting together a big Tea Party event in Iowa keynoted by Sarah Palin, tells National Review that the former Alaska governor will likely launch a presidential campaign by the end of September.
Said Singleton: “I believe that she will run. I can’t see her sitting this election out.”
He adds: “Labor Day will kick off the Republican campaign for the nomination. She is going to make a major, major speech.”
The New York Times interviews Sasha Issenberg about his new e-book out tomorrow, Rick Perry and his Eggheads: Inside the Brainiest Political Operation in America.
Over the course of Perry’s 2006 gubernatorial race, Issenberg says “the eggheads, as they were known within the campaign, ran experiments testing the effectiveness of all the things that political consultants do reflexively and we take for granted: candidate appearances, TV ads, robocalls, direct mail. These were basically the political world’s version of randomized drug trials, which had been used by academics but never from within a large-scale partisan campaign.”
The bottom line: “No candidate has ever presided over a political operation so skeptical about the effectiveness of basic campaign tools and so committed to using social-science methods to rigorously test them.”
Once viewed as a “sleepy sideshow,” the September 13 special election to fill former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) seat in Congress “has become something far more unsettling to Democrats: a referendum on the president and his party that is highlighting the surprisingly raw emotions of the electorate,” the New York Times reports.
“National Democrats, alarmed by a poll that showed the contest far closer than anticipated, are privately fretting that even a close outcome in a working-class swath of Brooklyn and Queens may foreshadow broader troubles for the party in 2012.”
New Jersey Democrats briefly considering mounting a recall effort against Gov. Chris Christie (R). the Newark Star Ledger reports.
But “myriad potential drawbacks” caused them to reject the idea, “including the real possibility that failure would strengthen Christie, and setting such a precedent could make this a chaotic weapon regularly used against governors of both parties.”
“And there are unresolved legal issues. Democrats believe the law would mean Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) would be recalled as well, since she was elected with Christie, allowing Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) to assume the office. But if they were wrong, Guadagno could simply assume office, appoint Christie as lieutenant governor, quit and allow him to get the big job again.”