POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/30
President Obama’s uncle has been charged with drunken driving in Massachusetts and is being held by immigration officials, the AP reports.
Police said that when asked if he wanted to make a phone call, Obama said: “I think I will call the White House.”
The book “will arrive in November and already has been completed.”
Politico notes the formation of a new independent expenditure committee which has been set up to support Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign. The treasurer is a Huntsman Corporation executive.
“One of the biggest questions about Huntsman’s campaign has been how – if at all – the candidate would leverage his family’s massive fortune in a presidential race. Huntsman put up some of his own money at the start of his bid, but that doesn’t scratch the surface of what his parents could throw into an independent expenditure group. It’s not clear whether Our Destiny PAC is the beginning of that kind of effort or a more standard-issue IE campaign.”
Ben Smith: “Getting your father’s money into your campaign isn’t always easy; Eliot Spitzer, for instance, got into big trouble with a ‘loan’ from his father that he used to finance his campaign. But Huntsman seems to have found the way.”
Puerto Rican lawmaker Roberto Arango (R) “wasn’t sure” the sexually explicit photosfeatured in an iPhone app for gays and bisexuals were actually him, but the New York Daily News reports he abruptly resigned anyway.
“It’s not accurate, Romney said, simply. The application he made, two years ago, was to double the living space by turning one story into two. The ‘quadrupling” was a measurement of added nonliving space, including a basement and garage.
A new CNN/Opinion Research survey of Republicans nationwide shows Rick Perry leading the primary field as their choice for president with 32%, followed by Mitt Romney at 18%, Michele Bachmann at 12%, Newt Gingrich at 7%, Ron Paul at 6% and everyone else in the low single digits.
Notes pollster Keating Holland: “Perry’s biggest support comes from Republicans who say they are supporters of the tea party movement – he wins 37 percent of their vote — but he also edges Romney by a couple of points among Republicans who don’t call themselves tea party supporters.”
“Since Rick Perry joined the presidential race this month, his campaign entourage has included not just the standard array of political advisers and aides, but a squad of Texas law enforcement agents,” the Washington Post reports.
“How much is this ever-present phalanx of state policemen costing the taxpayers of Texas? They won’t know at least until after next year’s presidential election, thanks to a provision, tucked into a school finance bill in July, that will keep the governor’s travel records sealed for 18 months.”
Houston Chronicle: “While Perry extols open government — most recently challenging Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to ‘open the books’ of the nation’s central bank — he has adopted policies that shroud his own office in a purposeful opaqueness that confounds prying reporters – or any member of the public questioning his policies.”
“My brain is like a chicken pot pie. His is like a refrigerator that is all very organized — pickles here, salad there.”
— Rick Perry, quoted by Politico, comparing himself to Karl Rove in 1994.
George Will on former Vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir: “Five hundred and sixty five pages and a simple apology would have been in order in some of them. Which is to say, the great fact of those eight years is we went to war — big war, costly war – -under false pretenses. And…to write a memoir in which you say essentially nothing seriously went wrong…if I wrote a memoir of my last week, I would have things to apologize for.”
James Joyner: “The notion that Cheney owes us an apology is interesting. It depends entirely on whether the Bush administration took us to war knowing Saddam did not have a nuclear weapons program or simply downplayed evidence casting doubt in order to make the case for war they genuinely believed was necessary.”
With a number of campaign themes emerging that involve the links between candidates and their religious views, Ross Douthat provides journalists with a few things to keep in mind as they write stories on these subjects.
“Sometimes teasing out these connections tells us something meaningful and interesting. But it’s easy to succumb to a paranoid six-degrees-of-separation game, in which the most radical figure in a particular community is always the most important one… If you didn’t spend the Jeremiah Wright controversy searching works of black liberation theology for inflammatory evidence of what Obama “really” believed, you probably shouldn’t obsess over the supposed links between Rick Perry and R. J. Rushdoony, the Christian Reconstructionist guru… Finally, journalists should remember that Republican politicians have usually been far more adept at mobilizing their religious constituents than those constituents have been at claiming any sort of political ‘dominion.'”
From the description: “This call to action has never been more needed, and in this inspirational and motivating book, bestselling author Charles Stanley offers practical steps Christians can take to turn the tide. He challenges readers to pray that God will change the direction of our country from one that is blind to the negative impact of socialism to a nation that looks to God for guidance.”
Mother Jones also takes a look at Perry’s favorite books in an attempt to learn what they might say about him.
Louisiana state Sen. Rob Marionneaux (D) appeared to be inching closer to being the first major Democrat to challenge Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) in the fall election, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Why is not entirely clear: A self-commissioned poll shows voters initially favoring Jindal by a huge 59% to 30% margin in a head-to-head match up.
If former Vice President Al Gore had won the presidency in 2000, a new Vanity Fair/60 Minutes poll finds that 56% of Americans surveyed feel the world wouldn’t be a much different place.
New York Times: “It is the worst-kept secret in City Hall. Michael R. Bloomberg has told almost everyone who asks — but only privately, so far — that he hopes the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, will succeed him as mayor in 2013.”
First Read: “The last 72 hours were evidence of the Katrina effect on everyone. Every governor watched the Kathleen Blanco model and said they’re going to do the opposite of that, which is why you saw every governor and major city mayor in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast trying to show they were on top of this (didn’t know you could get monogrammed fleeces, by the way!). And President Obama, of course, saw what Bush did (stayed on vacation) and wanted to do the opposite. Hence, why he cut that vacation short. Nobody wanted to become a member of the infamous Katrina ‘B-Team’: Blanco, Bush and Brownie. So naturally, the story is shifting a tad to, ‘Was Irene overhyped by the government, by the media.'”
“Bottom line: see the ‘B-Team’ roster again and realize, there’s no over-hyping on these stories. So while elected officials proved they could learn a lesson from Katrina (though that took the near-destruction of a city for that lesson to be learned), will the elected officials in Washington, from the president to Congress realize the damage that’s been done by the summer’s debt ceiling debacle.”
Though Texas Gov. Rick Perry “has emphasized his roots as a rural farmer,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes his bank account “no longer reflects those humble beginnings as his bottom line has soared in recent years, records show, thanks largely to a handful of real estate deals that critics allege were achieved through the presidential candidates’s political connections.”
Said Perry: “It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they’re working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie. It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can’t do that to them.”
He later added: “I haven’t backed off anything in my book. So read the book again and get it right.”
“With Rick Perry and Mitt Romney now leading the field, the Republican 2012 presidential contest is creating a new chapter in the story of two men who have occasionally clashed and who have markedly different personal styles,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
In his book, Fed Up!, Perry drew a contrast with the state Romney served as governor: “I would no more consider living in Massachusetts than I suspect a great number of folks from Massachusetts would like to live in Texas. We just don’t agree on a number of things. They passed state-run health care, they have sanctioned gay marriage, and they elected Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barney Frank repeatedly.”
“Beyond the past testiness in their relationship, the two also offer notably different campaign approaches… The two also have very different biographies and styles.”
Tim Pawlenty’s exit from the Republican presidential primary was likely hastened by the fact that his campaign was in debt, the Huffington Post reports.
“It’s not clear, however, how much debt Pawlenty has actually accrued… One source suggested the campaign’s debt was as high as $500,000, but another source with closer knowledge of the campaign deemed that figure far exaggerated. The official tally will be revealed on Oct. 15, when Pawlenty must deliver another filing to the Federal Election Commission.”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel raises a key question: In a possible recall election of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), is Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) included as part of the package?
“It’s an unprecedented question for an unprecedented period in Wisconsin politics, and so far there’s no official answer.”
“So far, any talk of a recall of Walker or Kleefisch by Democrats and unions is just that — neither official is even eligible for recall until early November, one year after they were elected to office. To do it, recall organizers would need to gather a whopping 540,208 signatures across the state within 60 days and then back a pair of candidates in a costly statewide election.”
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians.”
— Rep. Michele Bachmann, quoted by the St. Petersburg Times, suggesting the recent earthquake and hurricane were messages from God.
President Obama plans to nominate Princeton University’s Alan Krueger to be chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Krueger, a labor economist, is likely to provide a voice inside the administration for more-aggressive government action to bring down unemployment and, particularly, to address long-term joblessness.”
“Mr. Krueger, 50 years old, returned to Princeton a year ago after serving as assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy during the first two years of the Obama administration — which means he has recently cleared the sometimes treacherous Senate confirmation process.”
Politico: “Doubts about Perry’s intellect have hounded him since he was first elected as a state legislator nearly three decades ago. In Austin, he’s been derided as a right-place, right-time pol who looks the part but isn’t so deep — ‘Gov. Goodhair.’ Now, with the chatter picking back up among his enemies and taking flight in elite Republican circles, the rap threatens to follow him to the national stage.”
Said one former Republican governor: “He’s like Bush only without the brains.”
Michelle Cottle: “But in between their snickering and sneering, critics would do well to get serious about dealing with Perry. The governor may come across as a rodeo clown, but when it comes to campaigning, he has a long, proud — and undefeated — history of political savvy, respect for experts, and an awesome ability to stay on message.”
A new Pew Research survey finds a 37% plurality thinks that President Obama “should challenge the Republicans in Congress more often; 25% say Obama should go along with GOP leaders more frequently, while about the same percentage (26%) say he is handling the situation about right… In April, fewer (27%) said Obama should challenge GOP congressional leaders more often.”
“Democrats, in particular, are now more likely to say Obama should challenge Republicans in Congress more often. Today, a majority of Democrats (57%) say Obama should challenge the GOP more frequently; in April, just 39% said this. And there is little difference among Democrats on this question. Liberal Democrats and their conservative and moderate counterparts are about equally likely to want to see Obama stand up more to Republicans (60%, 55% respectively).”
Jonathan Chait: “People always want leaders to compromise. It’s amazing that a plurality wants Obama to confront the GOP more strongly.”
Powell said Cheney “had a long and distinguished career, and I hope in his book that is what he will focus on, not these cheap shots that he’s taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush.”