POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/31

Perry Isn’t a Great Debater

With commentators looking towards the five post-Labor Day debates as a major test for Rick Perry and the rest of the Republican presidential primary field, KXAN-TV reports that Perry may be in more danger than many think.

Said one Texas reporter, “Perry is not the best debater that we’ve seen. That’s one reason why he wouldn’t debate Bill White. He clearly would have been chewed up on state issues.”

Romney Will Attend DeMint Forum

Jennifer Rubin reports that, “after several weeks of schedule adjustment,” Mitt Romney will now appear at the presidential candidate forum hosted by Sen. Jim DeMint in South Carolina.

However, the Romney camp dismisses the suggestion that this is in response to Rick Perry’s rise in the polls — including a new one showing the Texas governor running way ahead in South Carolina.

Forecasting Model Says Obama Will Win

Allan Lichtman, author of The Keys to the White House, a forecasting model that has correctly called every president since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election, says President Obama will win in 2012, Washington Whispers reports.

Said Lichtman: “Even if I am being conservative, I don’t see how Obama can lose.”

“Lichtman developed his 13 Keys in 1981. They test the performance of the party that holds the presidency. If six or more of the 13 keys go against the party in power, then the opposing party wins.”

Notes Lichtman: “They’ve never missed. They’ve been right seven elections in a row. A number that goes way beyond statistical significance in a record no other system even comes close to.”

Just 2,000 Copies

After two weeks of national book promotion, Dave Weigel reports that Christine O’Donnell sold just 2,000 copies of her book, Troublemaker.

 

Powell Aide Says Cheney Acted as President

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, says Dick Cheney “was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration” and “fears being tried as a war criminal,” ABC News reports.

Said Wilkerson: “I can’t speak to the psychosomatic or the genetic problems with heart attacks or whatever, but I can speak to power. He wanted desperately to be president of the United States … he knew the Texas governor was not steeped in anything but baseball, so he knew he was going to be president and I think he got his dream. He was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration.”

Beshear Up Big in Re-Election Bid

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Gov. Steve Beshear (D) leading challenger David Williams (R) by 27 points, 55% to 28%.

“More than anything else this is because Williams is one of the worst candidates a party’s put forth in a plausibly competitive Gubernatorial race in recent memory. Only 21% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 54% who view him negatively. Even with Republicans he’s barely seen positively by a 41/29 margin and with Democrats (9/70) and independents (16/55) there are virtually no voters with a favorable view.”

Why Perry Should Beat Romney

John Ellis summarizes why Mitt Romney isn’t likely to be much of an obstacle to Rick Perry winning the GOP presidential nomination.

“Romney’s problem is four-fold: he’s politically ‘fungible’ (to put it politely), he’s from the wrong region of the country (New England), he’s of the wrong religion (Mormonism) and he’s too closely identified with Wall Street (Bain Capital). The Republican base would prefer to nominate a strong conservative, evangelical Christian from the Sunbelt who, at the least, shares their disdain for Wall Street’s reckless stewardship of the nation’s financial system.”

“Once Labor Day has passed, there will be five debates, in quick succession, on the GOP presidential candidates’ calendars. These will be important tests for Perry. If at the end of two or three, it’s clear that he’s every bit the equal of Mitt Romney on matters of policy and politics, then the Perry juggernaut becomes all but unstoppable.

Perry Has Huge Lead in South Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in South Carolina finds Rick Perry with a 20 point lead over the Republican presidential field.

Perry has 36% support, followed by Mitt Romney at 16%, Michele Bachmann at 13%, Herman Cain at 9%, Newt Gingrich at 8%, Ron Paul at 5%, Rick Santorum at 4%, and Jon Huntsman at 2%.

In early June, Mitt Romney led everyone in the field by at least 15 points.

Perry’s Less Than Transparent Record

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Rick Perry is hiding more than just his travel costs as he seeks the presidency: he has worked hard to keep many parts of his record as governor of Texas a secret.

“Over the past decade, the Perry administration has withheld information in response to about 100 open records requests… Most of the withheld documents involved contracts, bidding and oversight of programs in which state money flows to entrepreneurs, privately held companies and universities from Perry’s two economic development funds… In some cases, the requests involve entities headed by Perry campaign donors and political appointees… Reporters learned that Perry took a 2004 trip to the Bahamas with San Antonio businessman James Leininger, a campaign donor, and antitax advocate Grover Norquist after being spotted scuba diving by a tourist. The trip did not appear on his schedule released under the state Public Information Act.”

Deleting emails: Perry’s office has been “automatically purging all staff members’ computers of e-mails older than seven days.”

Hannemann Will Run for Congress

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann (D) will run in the Democratic primary to replace Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who has launched a U.S. Senate bid, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

The Hotline: “Hannemann becomes the most prominent candidate to enter the race for the safe Democratic seat… Hannemann’s decision also has implications for the Senate race. Had Hannemann opted for an upper chamber run, the centrist Democrat would have threatened to pull support away from former Rep. Ed Case. Now the Democratic contest is shaping up as a two-candidate race between Case and Hirono.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I think I’m the only senator who does not see a president when I look in the mirror.”

— Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), quoted by the Columbia State, adding that he will not run for president in 2016.

Romney Readies Attack on Perry

Marc Thiessen previews Mitt Romney’s coming attack on Rick Perry, which advisers say will commence “at a time of our choosing.”

“Romney’s campaign will argue that Perry is against the very idea of Social Security and Medicare, and that he will use Perry’s book to scare seniors in early-primary states with large retiree populations, such as Florida and South Carolina… The Romney campaign also plans to use immigration to drive a wedge between Perry and his conservative base… Team Romney intends to undermine Perry’s appeal on the right by painting him as the anti-government candidate who has spent most of his life in government…”

Ben Smith: “Perry is up now but, remember, so was Donald Trump, and most voters still have only the vaguest outline of who the Texas governor is. The pressure is building on Romney to fill in that picture before Perry does.”

Romney Likely to Compete in Iowa

Bill Kristol told Fox News that his sources indicate Mitt Romney will compete in the Iowa caucuses.

Said Kristol: “I think what Romney will decide, I think this will happen, actually — I’ve talked to some people pretty close to the campaign — I think he will now compete in Iowa with Perry, if no one else gets into the race.”

Quote of the Day

“He needs to stop staying in hotels and start staying with volunteers at every campaign stop. His job should be to take out the trash every day, and if that bag breaks, he needs to clean it up.”

— House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), quoted by the Bakersfield Californian, giving unsolicited advice to Mitt Romney.

Should Obama Go Big or Small?

When President Obama unveils a new jobs plan next week, the key question is whether he’ll pick a fight by with a divided Congress over a large economic package or push smaller measures that are more likely to pass.

The Washington Post notes that behind the scenes Obama and White House aides “had yet to reach agreement on the major tenets of that plan, and it remained unclear whether the president was looking for narrower ideas with a realistic chance of passing the Republican-led House or more sweeping stimulus proposals that would excite his liberal base and draw contrasts with the GOP.”

First Read: “The downside to going big: The American public (especially independents) is no longer in favor of stimulating the economy by spending more money, but they do want some REAL solution to this wheezing economy. The downside to going small: Obama has racked up plenty of tactical legislative accomplishments, but he hasn’t gotten credit for them.”

“Hence the dilemma for the White House — which is leading to real disagreements in the West Wing over where to go next. One gets the sense Team Obama is surprised by how much damage the president suffered during the debt ceiling debate. Many folks in the president’s circle thought he’d get more credit with the public for looking like the reasonable guy in the room. A miscalculation?”

O’Donnell’s Book Signing Bust

Christine O’Donnell had a book signing for Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again in Naples, Florida last week but the News-Press reports just five people showed up and “members of the media outnumbered customers.”

The failed U.S. Senate candidate also “politely turned down a request from a young man who asked her to sign his book on demonology instead of a copy of her book.”

Some Donors Think Bachmann is Jewish

Some Jewish donors are telling fundraisers for Mitt Romney that while they like him, they’d rather open their wallets for the “Jewish candidate,” Michele Bachmann, who they don’t realize is actually a Lutheran, the New York Post reports.

“Some in Romney’s camp have been wondering whether Bachmann and her allies are pushing the ‘Jewish’ rumor to help their own fund-raising… She has enjoyed strong popularity among Jewish voters and often talks about her stay on a kibbutz during the summer of 1974, when she was a teenager.”

Huntsman Ad Man Jumps to Super PAC

GOP ad guru Fred Davis “has left Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign to join an independent expenditure group that was established recently to support the former Utah governor’s presidential bid through unrestricted campaign donations,” Real Clear Politicsreports.

“Davis’ move appears designed to provide him and his team with a larger budget to create and distribute pro-Huntsman ads using the unlimited donations that a 2010 Supreme Court ruling allowed ‘super PACs’ to accept.”

O’Donnell Will Speak Before Palin

Tea party-backed activist Christine O’Donnell (R) will take the stage at Saturday’s tea party rally in Iowa shortly before Sarah Palin, the Des Moines Register reports.

O’Donnell, author of the book Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again, lost her bid for the U.S. Senate in Delaware last fall.

Update: Christine O’Donnell will not speak at a tea party event featuring former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Indianola, Iowa, this weekend, an organizer told Washington Wire.

Romney Taps Same States

Smart Politics study of contributions to Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns finds the same five states sit atop the list in itemized per capita giving to the former Massachusetts governor across both cycles: Utah, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, and Idaho.

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