POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/3

Warren Just Behind Brown in Massachusetts

A new UMass-Lowell/Boston Herald poll in Massachusetts shows Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is barely ahead of possible challenger Elizabeth Warren (D), 41% to 38%, a statistical tie given the poll’s 3.8% margin of error.

Warren, despite never having run for elective office, is already the clear front-runner in the six-person Democratic primary race, getting 36%, while the rest of the field doesn’t even crack 5%.

Christie’s Family Decision

Three sources close to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) tell Maggie Haberman that “their perception is it’s likelier than not that he stays out of the 2012 race.”

“However, all three said the same thing — it’s a family discussion between Christie and his wife Mary Pat, and he could still decide to run.”

The Koch Method

Bloomberg investigation finds that Koch Industries — a global empire run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, prominent financial backers of conservative groups — made “improper payments” to win business in other countries and “sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.”

“Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.”

One employee “who testified against the company said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat — using techniques they called the Koch Method.”

Beshear Headed for Landslide Win

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kentucky finds Gov. Steve Beshear (D) headed for a big victory next month over challenger David Williams (R), 57% to 26%. Independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith (I) has just 9%.

 

Christie Avoids the Media

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is staying away from news reporters as he mulls making a presidential bid.

At an event today, the AP reports “two dozen national and local news reporters were escorted to a roped-off area 50 feet away from the stage where Christie spoke. The usually talkative Christie left the event without talking to the press, who were not allowed to leave until after he was out of sight. National Guard soldiers were instructed to kept media and all attendees cordoned off as Christie exited.”

Wall Street Journal: “Guards could be overheard telling each other to make sure the press are blocked from pursuing the governor when he leaves.”

The White House That Couldn’t

Despite it’s faults, Joe Nocera says Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men is “tough-minded in its assessment of the men (and they were all men) whose advice the president listened to when he first took office; penetrating in its analysis of why the administration’s approach to the country’s economic ills has been so lackluster; and ruthless in its judgment of Barack Obama himself, who Suskind bluntly says ‘wasn’t ready’ to be president, so deficient in even the most rudimentary leadership skills that it took him over a year to realize that his White House was in chaos.”

“Almost in spite of itself, Confidence Men is an important addition to the growing library of books about this president. It tells you things — lots of things — that you didn’t know before. Very few of those things reflect well on Obama and his initial team.”

House Republicans Nervous

House Republicans “return to Washington this week a restless bunch in the wake of an embarrassing legislative defeat and months before they face primary voters in the 2012 election,” The Hill reports.

“The stunning downfall of a stopgap spending bill, which 48 Republicans rejected on Sept. 21, is a clear sign that managing the House GOP Conference in the coming months will be extremely challenging. While House Republicans were able to pass a second spending bill with only 24 defections, the flawed strategy of moving the first piece of legislation has left some battle scars.”

Also producing anxiety: Redistricting pitting incumbents versus incumbents, coupled with the threat of Tea Party primary opponents.

Rick Perry’s “Niggerhead”

Washington Post: “In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance. ‘Niggerhead,’ it read.”

“Ranchers who once grazed cattle on the 1,070-acre parcel on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River called it by that name well before Perry and his father, Ray, began hunting there in the early 1980s… But the name of this particular parcel did not change for years after it became associated with Rick Perry, first as a private citizen, then as a state official and finally as Texas governor… As recently as this summer, the slablike rock — lying flat, the name still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint — remained by the gated entrance to the camp.”

Still Very Close in Virginia

A new Rasmussen survey in Virgina finds the U.S. Senate race is a statistical dead heat with Tim Kaine (D) barely ahead of George Allen (R), 46% to 45%.

 

Cain Loses Top Aide

The communications director for Herman Cain’s presidential campaign has resigned, CNNhas learned.

Christie Assessing Campaign Logistics

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s political advisers “are working to determine whether they could move fast enough to set up effective political operations in Iowa and New Hampshire in the wake of a relentless courtship aimed at persuading Mr. Christie, the governor of New Jersey, to plunge into the race for the Republican presidential nomination,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Christie has not yet decided whether to run and has not authorized the start of a full-fledged campaign operation. But with the governor now seriously considering getting in, his strategists — many of them veterans of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s 2008 campaign — are internally assessing the financial and logistical challenges of mounting a race with less than 100 days until voting is likely to begin.”

Among those pushing Christie: Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, Nancy Reagan and William Kristol.

Washington Post: “But there are other signals that Christie is giving serious consideration to a run. One Iowa businessman, who sought unsuccessfully to draft Christie into the race earlier this year, said he was preparing this week to endorse another candidate, but Christie’s political advisers asked him not to.”

The person “was told to hold off until next Wednesday.”

Political Ad of the Day

Polish parliamentary hopeful Jedrzej Wijas of the Democratic Left Alliance enlisted the help of a local death metal band to make a very unique political ad.

See more…

Santorum Blames Conspiracy for Earlier Primary

Rick Santorum told Fox News there’s a conspiracy in Florida responsible for pushing up its presidential primary to January 31, noting that “somebody in Florida” wants to shorten the primary calendar for Mitt Romney or Rick Perry.

Said Santorum: “I’m sure they’d like to have the election tomorrow. By moving up the calender, you help the favorites.”

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