POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/1
An Institute for Policy Studies report finds that 25 of the 100 largest U.S. corporations paid their chief executives more last year than they paid in federal income taxes.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wrote President Obama to ask if he would address a joint session of Congress next Thursday, September 8 — the opening night for the National Football League.
Obama had proposed next Wednesday, the same night as the Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library.
Boehner said a Thursday speech would “ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks.”
The Fix looks at the timing of President Obama’s big economic speech next week and notes, “There are no coincidences in presidential politics… It’s clear that this White House saw an opportunity to drive a major — and direct — contrast between President Obama and his potential Republican rivals and took it.”
“The contrast the White House is hoping to force is between a sitting incumbent spending his time trying to find solutions to the big problems facing the country and a motley crew of Republicans fighting amongst themselves as they all try to run to the extreme ideological right.”
Gawker calls it “the most gratuitously — and joyously! — dickish move of his presidency.”
Saturday is the deadline for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to decide whether to move up her state’s primary to January. That decision could lead to a chain reaction and create another “front-loading” of the primary calendar like we saw four years ago.
Aaron Blake has a good primer for what that means for other states.
William Galston writes an open memo to Mitt Romney on a “unique opportunity to define yourself… If you take it, you have a fighting chance of prevailing. If you duck it, you’ll lose, just as Tim Pawlenty did when he booted away his chance to take you on.”
“How should you do it? Well, to the extent that the Republican nominating contest is a rational process, it’s a search for a candidate with three characteristics. The nominee must be competent to serve as president, reliably conservative, and electable. You’re never going to be able to make your party believe that the longest-serving governor in Texas history isn’t fit to serve as chief executive. And despite some facts to the contrary, it won’t be any easier to challenge Perry’s conservative credentials. That narrows it down to one option: You must persuade the decisive portion of your party that Rick Perry is too extreme to be elected president.”
“Here’s your theme: Rick Perry wants to repeal the 20th century. I don’t. And neither do the American people.”
White House chief of staff Bill Daley had historian Michael Beschloss speak at a retreat for his senior staff earlier this summer, Time reports.
“The answer Beschloss provided gave some lift to Obama’s team. No law in politics is ever 100% accurate, he said. Two Presidents in the last century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936 and Ronald Reagan in 1984, won re-election amid substantial economic suffering. Both used the same basic strategy. They argued that the country, though in pain, was improving, and that the ideas of their opponents, anchored in past failures, would make things worse.”
“Though Beschloss did not intend to give political advice, that is the spirit in which it was received by those in Obama’s inner orbit. In fact, if you want a one-sentence summary of the strategic framework guiding the White House and the Obama campaign as we enter an election year, the two-part strategy outlined above pretty much fits the bill. The White House sees in the models of Roosevelt and Reagan a path to victory.”
The organizer of the Tea Party rally in Iowa this weekend told NBC News he had to cancel Christine O’Donnell’s speaking slot again — after she was re-invited — “after a conversation with Sarah Palin aides — and is now hopeful Palin will attend the Saturday rally.”
Josh Marshall: “We’re now hearing that Christine O’Donnell has been re-expelled from the Iowa Tea Party-palooza event. For those keeping score at home. She was invited, disinvited, re-invited this morning and apparently now re-disinvited.”
President Obama “intends to deliver his much-anticipated speech laying out his jobs agenda and plan to cut the federal deficit on Sept. 7 to a joint session of Congress,” theWall Street Journal reports.
Obama’s timing “steps directly on a Republican presidential debate scheduled for that same evening in Simi Valley, Calif.”
“The old adage you hear people say who are interested in politics: I would like to be the mayor, I don’t know if I want to run for mayor.”
— Alec Baldwin, quoted by CNN.
Sarah Palin canceled her Saturday appearance at a tea party rally in Iowa, a person close the former Alaska governor told The Wall Street Journal.
The person cited “continual lying” from event organizers, including a recent mixup over whether Christine O’Donnell would also speak.
“Ms. Palin is known for last-minute schedule changes that whip supporters and media across the country. But the latest decision is puzzling. Ms. Palin’s speech at the rally was viewed as her most high-profile appearance of the summer, fueling speculation she was indeed plotting to run for the Republican presidential nomination.”
Update: The story has been updated to say Palin has put her appearance “on hold.”
Jonathan Chait: “Perry isn’t a lock, but something has to happen to take him down, or he will win. Political pundits have been dismissing Perry’s lead by claiming that early polls ‘mean nothing.’ But when you examine this view closely, it turns out to mean ‘early polls meant nothing in the 2007-2008 cycle.’ In general, early polls mean a great deal in Republican primaries. They’re not perfect, but they are strong indicators.”
The news that Mitt Romney will attend a presidential candidate forum by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) on Labor Day seems to be part of a broader effort by the Romney campaign to court Tea Party votes, as the Boston Globe reports that he will also spend part of Labor Day at a Tea Party Express in New Hampshire.
First Read: “Mitt Romney has begun to shift course… Make no mistake: This isn’t a full-blown 180-degree turn by Team Romney. Rather, like in sailing, it’s a slight shift in course that — over time — will look like a bigger shift. And Romney was always going to have to do this; he couldn’t run a primary race against Obama forever. But Perry’s rapid ascension has expedited this change in course.”
TPM: “It’s a strategy that’s easy to mock… but it shows that Team Romney is actively stepping up to the Perry challenge, which could have a dramatic effect on Perry’s march to the top of the field.”
The Hill notes that as President Obama enters reelection mode, he is “preparing to fight a political war this fall on two fronts — the first against Republicans who want his job and the second against Republicans who want to make his job more difficult.”
But with falling approval numbers, “He needs a villain and fast. Enter Congress, the villain set to return to work next week. It clocks in with a 13 percent approval rating… When GOP lawmakers return, the president and his team are ready to deliver a flurry of attacks, castigating Congress for inaction on jobs, being on the wrong side of taxes and eager to destroy social safety net programs… And there’s a bonus to beating Congress to a pulp that officials think will pay off next year. By forcing the GOP to take positions on key economic issues like the payroll tax cut and tax cuts for the rich, Obama and his team are hoping to draw out and lock down the president’s 2012 challengers.”
Despite trailing in most national polls to Rick Perry, Jonathan Martin notes Mitt Romney’s campaign is not yet worried and hoping three things might happen: 1) that Sarah Palin jumps into the race and pulls Tea Party voters away from Perry, 2) that Michigan moves up its primary in the GOP calendar, and 3) that Perry will make a mistake in the series of post-Labor Day debates.
“Hoping Palin gets in and Bachmann stays strong to take a chunk of Palin’s conservative votes, hoping the calendar shuffle works in your favor, and hoping Perry falters badly under the hot lights of the debate stage could ultimately be just that — a hope.”
The race to fill former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) seat in Congress is proving surprisingly competitive with David Weprin (D) losing ground to Bob Turner (R), TPM reports.
“Making matters worse for Democrats, Weprin has turned into a gaffe machine right as voters are tuning in for the final stretch.”
Example: When asked by the New York Daily News what the national debt was, Weprin “twice guessed $4 trillion, about $10 trillion off from the correct answer. As cringe-worthy a moment as it was on its own, its impact is much worse in Weprin’s case: he’s been selling himself as a fiscal Mr. Fix-it, touting his eight years as chair of the City Council’s finance committee as his top qualification.”
The special election is on September 13.
When Dick Cheney was asked by USA Today what he’d like his epitaph to read, he declared: “No comment.”
He wants his epitaph to read, “No comment”?
“No comment, sure,” he says with a small, wry smile.
A national tea party group dropped Christine O’Donnell “from a lineup of speakers for a Sarah Palin rally in Iowa on Saturday, only to turn around within hours and re-invite her,” the Wilmington News-Journal reports.
Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), an influential member of the Congressional Black Caucus leadership, said that Tea Party-aligned lawmakers view blacks as “second-class citizens” and would like to see African Americans “hanging on a tree,” the Huffington Post reports.
Said Carson: “Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now with this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.”
“I don’t worry about reelection. I feel like I’m playing with house money anyway. Nobody expected me to win this race. The more I start thinking about reelection and trying to calculate either my actions or my decisions based upon that, I’m probably moving closer and closer to not getting reelected. Be myself, be who I am, let the chips fall where they may.”
— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), in an interview with the Daily Beast.
The Iowa Republican reports Sarah Palin will visit New Hampshire on Labor Day, just two days after her speech at an Iowa tea party event.
“Speculation has been swirling about whether or not Palin will use her Iowa appearance in Iowa over Labor Day weekend to join the field of Republican candidates. The news that Palin is New Hampshire bound after her Iowa speech will only add to the speculation that she may be entering the Republican presidential field.
Politico notes that the entry of Rick Perry into the presidential race has “done something that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney could do: wake up the left.”
“Perry panic has spread from the conference rooms of Washington, D.C., to the coffee shops of Brooklyn, with the realization that the conservative Texan could conceivably become the 45th president of the United States, a wave of alarm centering around Perry’s drawling, small-town affect and stands on core cultural issues such as women’s rights, gun control, the death penalty, and the separation of church and state.”
A new Quinnipiac poll finds Rick Perry has zoomed to the front of the line of GOP presidential candidates with 26%, followed by Mitt Romney at 20% and Michele Bachmann at 12%. All other candidates are in the single digits.
Said pollster Peter Brown: “Gov. Rick Perry has sprinted out of the gate as a candidate for the GOP nomination. Being the new kid on the block has benefited Perry. But with prominence comes scrutiny and both his Republican competitors and the Democrats are doing their best to convince voters he’s not Mr. Wonderful. The next few months will be a race between Perry and his Republican and Democratic opponents to define him for the vast majority of the American people.”
In general election match ups, Romney and President Obama are in a dead heat while Perry trails the president by 3 points.
However, the percentage of registered voters who say President Obama deserves a second term in the Oval Office has fallen to a negative 42% to 51%.