POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/4
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), “who has kept the political world in suspense for weeks over his presidential intentions, told prominent California fund-raisers and donors as recently as last Wednesday he had no plans to seek the White House,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“One assurance took the form of a pledge Mr. Christie made to Meg Whitman, the newly appointed Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive, said two people familiar with the matter. As a condition of Ms. Whitman hosting a high-priced fund-raiser for him, Mr. Christie said he wouldn’t enter the Republican presidential contest.”
A new CBS News poll finds that 69% of Americans believe President Obama has not made real progress in fixing the economy, which voters overwhelmingly cite as their most important issue. Twenty-five percent say he has made real progress.
Still, most don’t blame the administration for the state of the economy. Asked who was most to blame, 22% cited the Bush administration, followed by Wall Street at 16%, Congress at 15% and then the Obama administration at 12%. One in 10 said “all of the above.”
Mark McKinnon: “The average consumer confidence index when a president running for reelection wins is 95. When they lose, it’s 76. Today the number is 55.”
A new War Room Logistics (R) survey in Florida finds Mitt Romney leading the Republican presidential field with 28% among likely voters, followed by Herman Cain at 24%, Newt Gingrich at 10% and Rick Perry at 9%.
Perry’s support has plummeted nearly 16 points since his poor performance in the Florida debate.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Connecticut finds Linda McMahon (R) crushing Chris Shays (R) in a Republican U.S. Senate primary, 60% to 27%.
Key findings: “Shays holds a slight lead on McMahon with moderates at 44% to 40% but gets completely blown out with conservative voters. With Republicans describing themselves as ‘somewhat conservative’ McMahon leads 60% to 26% and with those describing themselves as ‘very conservative’ it’s an astonishing 81% to 14% spread.”
Said Obama: “Steve Jobs actually gave it to me, a little bit early.”
The president also said he uses the iPad to read blogs, but that he doesn’t comment on what he reads because he would be worried he wouldn’t be able to stop, and that he has other work to do.
Coming soon: Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President by Dr. Justin Frank.
“Dr. Frank argues that the President’s decisions are motivated by inner forces – in particular, he focuses on Obama’s overwhelming need to establish consensus, which can occasionally undermine his personal–and his party’s–objectives. By examining the President’s memoirs, his speeches, and his demeanor in public, Dr. Frank identifies the basis for some of his confusing or self-defeating behavior. Most significantly, he looks at the President’s upbringing and explores the ways in which it has shaped him–and what this means for our nation and its future.”
The author, who also wrote Bush on the Couch, is a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 55% of those surveyed believe President Obama will be a one-term president, while 37% say he’ll win re-election next year.
Key takeaway: “It’s a challenging finding for the president because expectations can fuel voter enthusiasm — precisely the ingredient that led the GOP to its broad success in the 2010 midterms, when charged-up conservatives turned out while dispirited Democrats stayed home.”
Said Cox: “He just cannot desert his job in New Jersey. He’s a recently-elected governor with a Democratic legislature on which he’s trying hard to impose fiscal discipline. That’s the success on which his campaign rests.”
Instead, Christie’s campaign would consist of “large-scale policy addresses like his speech at the Reagan Library last week, of participation in debates, and of a basic ground organization — but none of the immersive early-state retail campaigning that’s widely seen as a necessity.”
Even though Rick Perry is still on the defensive about yesterday’s explosive report on the name of his family’s hunting camp, the Texas Tribune reports that even some of Perry’s fiercest critics “say they do not believe he is racist.”
“They point to his record of appointments as evidence: He appointed the state’s first African-American state supreme court justice, Wallace Jefferson, and later made him chief justice. (Jefferson’s great grandfather was a slave, ‘sold like a horse,’ Perry once said with disgust.) Perry’s former general counsel and former chief of staff, Brian Newby, is black; so is Albert Hawkins, the former Health and Human Services Commissioner who Perry handpicked to lead the massive agency in 2002.”
Buried in a Politico story: Americans for Prosperity, one of the biggest conservative groups that latched onto the tea party movement, paid $128,000 to the speaker’s bureau that arranged for Sarah Palin to speak at a Michigan rally in May 2010.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in West Virginia finds the special election for governor this week to be a toss up. Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) barely leads Bill Maloney (R), 47% to 46%.
Last month, Tomblin’s lead was six points and he had led by as large a margin as 33 points earlier in the year.
“It looks like this race could go either way tomorrow. Maloney’s biggest enemy might be the clock — given the overwhelming momentum he’s had another month and you have to think he would almost definitely pull out this race. But Tomblin may yet be able to hang on by the skin of his teeth.”
A new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll finds that just 45% of Americans overall correctly identify the meaning of “GOP” as Grand Old Party.
The second most popular choice, with 35% of the overall vote, was “Government of the People.” “Grumpy Old People” received 7% of the vote, “God’s Own Party” 3%, and 1% thought the abbreviation stood for “Gauntlet of Power.”
“The last time an incumbent president faced re-election, George W. Bush exploited social and national security issues to offset his economic vulnerabilities. Over the next year, President Obama will try the same thing,” the New York Times reports.
“In important electoral battlegrounds, Mr. Obama’s strategists intend to use abortion, gay rights, the environment and successes in the fight against Al Qaeda to counter economic attacks and drive a wedge between Republicans and swing voters.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has voted only 54% of the time since announcing her presidential bid June 13 — missing 150 votes and every vote during the month of September, according to data compiled by Congressional Quarterly.
ABC News: “Sources close to the New Jersey governor say he will make an announcement about whether or not he will change his mind and run for president early this week — but not today.”
NBC News: “Christie and his team have asked several Republicans who were about to endorse other candidates to hold off until Wednesday. So that means we could know something in the next 48 hours or so.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) “spent tens of millions in taxpayer money to lure some of the nation’s leading mortgage companies to expand their business in his state, calling it a national model for creating jobs. But the plan backfired,” the AP reports.
“Just as the largest banks began receiving public cash, they aggressively ramped up risky lending. Within four years, the banks were out of business and homeowners across Texas faced foreclosure. In the end, the state paid $35 million to subsidize it.”
Jason Zengerle profiles House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) noting that no one “has done more to disrupt Obama’s first term — and threaten his chance at a second — than Cantor. The two men have clashed from the start.”
He’s consolidated his own power by courting the Republican House freshmen who gave his party the majority in last year’s elections. “Some veteran GOP lawmakers find Cantor’s coddling of the freshmen irritating… But Cantor has realized that, in Washington these days, being liked is not a substantial advantage. Much better to be deemed so unreasonable that your opponents ultimately feel no choice but to bend to your will.”
Also interesting: “And yet for all the loyalty many GOP congressmen feel toward Cantor, he is surprisingly unloved. Even his admirers say he lacks the social ease and natural confidence of most politicians… Cantor rarely socializes with his colleagues, and since he doesn’t golf or fish or have any hobbies, when he does find himself in social situations, he usually talks about work.”
Byron York notes that on October 10, Chris Christie “will have been governor for 629 days. When Barack Obama announced his presidential candidacy on February 10, 2007, he had been a U.S. senator for 768 days. Yes, Obama — derided by Republicans for his lack of experience — had been a senator longer than Christie has been a governor.”
Neither the White House nor the Associated Press will say how an AP photographer came to be the only news photographer present at a Target store in Virginia to capture First Lady Michelle Obama’s shopping excursion last week, the Washington Post reports.
It is “uncommon, and perhaps unprecedented, for a single news organization to record such a trip,” so many are asking, “Was it just an innocent shopping trip, a chance to escape the White House bubble or a clever bit of image manipulation?”
The New Yorker looks at the effects the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling striking down limits on corporate spending in campaigns has had on North Carolina, and finds that conservative businessman Art Pope has achieved enormous influence in the state.
Pope helped flip the state’s legislature from Democratic to Republican, and he is poised to exert huge influence in the 2012 Presidential election — in a state that most experts say President Obama must carry in order to be re-elected.
“For years, Pope, like several other farsighted conservative corporate activists, has been spending millions in an attempt to change the direction of American politics.” Now, with the Citizens United ruling, in swing states like North Carolina “an individual donor, particularly one with access to corporate funds, can play a significant, and sometimes decisive, role.”Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics