POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/13

 

Chafee Doesn’t Recognize Romney Anymore

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) told WPRI-TV that Mitt Romney is “a completely different person” as a presidential candidate than he was as a moderate Massachusetts governor.

Said Chafee: “It’s the same thing I saw with John McCain, and I saw with George Pataki and with Rudy Giuliani.”

He added: “The appeal you have to make to the Republican primary audience — that’s just alien to what’s in our best interests as a country.”

 

Brown Plagiarizes Dole Speech

An inspirational autobiography on Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) official website “was lifted verbatim from a 2002 campaign speech by Elizabeth Dole,” the Boston Globe reports.

“In a message to students, the senator uses the exact language as remarks delivered by the former North Carolina senator at her campaign kickoff and contained on her own website.”

“Brown’s staff acknowledged yesterday the words originally were Dole’s and said their presence in Brown’s message was the result of a technical error.”

 

Another Poll Gives Cain the Lead

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Herman Cain leading Mitt Romney among Republicans nationwide, 27% to 23%, with Rick Perry in third at 16%.

After those three, it’s Ron Paul at 11%, Newt Gingrich at 8%, Michele Bachmann at 5% and Jon Huntsman at 3%.

 

New Hampshire Threatens December Primary

New Hampshire’s secretary of state warned that he could set a primary date as early as December 6 unless Nevada moves back the date of its caucuses, NBC News reports.

“Bill Gardner, who has set the date of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary since 1976, issued a memo calling Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 (both Tuesdays) ‘realistic options’ unless Nevada agrees to set its primary for Tuesday, Jan. 17 or later.”

 

Romney Leads in New Poll, Cain Second

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds Mitt Romney edging Herman Cain in the Republican presidential race, 23% to 19%, followed by Ron Paul at 13% and Rick Perry at 10%.

Said pollster Chris Jackson: “In the Republican presidential primary, everybody still says Mitt Romney’s the front-runner. And he is … but he’s certainly not any sort of dominant front-runner.”

Also interesting: The survey showed that 74% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, compared with 21% who believe it is going in the right direction.

 

Cain Leads Nationally

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Herman Cain leading Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential race nationally, 30% to 22%, with Newt Gingrich at 15% and Rick Perry at 14%.

Rounding out the rest of the field: Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul are tied for 5th at 5%, Jon Huntsman 7th at 2%, Rick Santorum 8th at 1%, and Gary Johnson 9th with less than 1%.

 

Christie Approval Jumps in New Jersey

Two polls find New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s approval rating is on the rise in the days since he decided not to run for president.

Quinnipiac poll finds New Jersey voters gave Christie a 58% to 38% approval rating. In August, the split was 47% to 46%.

Monmouth University poll finds Christie with a 55% to 37% approval rating, with an especially sharp increase in support among women.

 

Is Romney a Sure Thing?

First Read: “All of the signs continue to point to Mitt Romney being the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination. He had another strong debate performance last night; he picked up Chris Christie’s endorsement yesterday; and more and more members of the GOP establishment continue to break for him…”

“But the data — especially when you look inside the numbers — still suggest that Romney is far from a sure thing. As our NBC-Marist poll of Iowa showed, Tea Party supporters and conservatives aren’t coming around to Romney, preferring Herman Cain instead by a 2-to-1 margin. In addition, when you add the Cain-Perry-Bachmann percentages in national polls, they outscore Romney’s percentage. And even though everything appears to be going Romney’s way right now, his numbers have remained pretty stagnant. So while all signs point to the GOP race being over, somebody forgot to tell the electorate — at least for now.”

 

2012 Ad War: Conservative PAC Turns up the Heat on Romney

Another in our guest series from Inkwell Strategies analyzing the 2012 campaign ad war.

No one said being the front runner would be easy.

Mitt Romney knows this better than most. Following a tumultuous start to the 2012 campaign season, Romney has once again emerged as the front runner for the Republican nomination.

Long seen as the default nominee, Romney’s success has less to do with his popularity and more to do with an overwhelming lack of satisfaction with the rest of the GOP field.

And nowhere is this dissatisfaction more apparent than with the far-right of his party. Targeted for many of his past political positions, Romney has been accused by many in the conservative moment of being a liberal in sheep’s clothing.

Enter this video, released October 5 by the Defeat Obama Campaign, a conservative political action committee. Titled “Liberal Mitt’s Greatest Hits,” the eight minute and 46 second video outlines a handful of stances that has earned Romney that most-hated of political monikers: “flip-flopper.”

See more…

 

Miss the GOP Debate?

The Daily Beast has video clips of the seven best moments.

 

But Who’s Behind the Curtain?

Roger Simon: “The Republican race has turned into The Wizard of Oz. Rick Perry wants a brain. Mitt Romney wants a heart. And any number of candidates are Dorothy, realizing there is no place like home and they should have stayed there.”

“Herman Cain is seeking courage. He needs the courage to face the fact he is never going to be the Republican nominee, no matter how well he does in the polls. He needs the courage to settle for something far better than the presidency: His own show on Fox.”

 

Gingrich as Bulworth

First Read says Newt Gingrich “was provocative to the point of looking like the Bulworthcharacter” in last night’s debate when he suggested that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) should be jailed for their role in passing financial reform legislation.

 

Obama Says He’s a Strong Closer

President Obama “compared his re-election bid to a game of basketball, to make the point to Democratic supporters that he’s a strong closer,” CNN reports.

Said Obama: “I was mentioning to some of the basketball players who were here that this is like the second quarter, maybe the third, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do. But I want everybody to know I’m a fourth-quarter player. So I don’t miss my shots in the fourth quarter.”

 

The Establishment Takes Back the GOP

Matt Bai: “Given such fast-deteriorating conditions, many Republican veterans have come around to the view that they aren’t really going to need the perfect presidential candidate, and perhaps not even a notably good one. With Chris Christie having taken himself out of the running — again — earlier this month, the field of candidates now appears to be pretty much set, and none of them are likely to inspire any reimaginings of Mount Rushmore. But maybe all the moment requires is someone who can pass as a broadly acceptable alternative — a candidate who doesn’t project the Tea Party extremism of Michele Bachmann or the radical isolationism of Ron Paul… Establishment Republicans may prefer Romney to Perry, but their assumption is that either man can be counted on to steer the party back toward the broad center next fall, effectively disarming the Tea Party mutiny.”

“If that’s the case, then it now seems like only a matter of time before the Republican empire, overwhelmed by insurrection for much of the last two years, strikes back at last.”

 

Timing the Decision to Go After Walker

By launching a recall effort against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) next month instead of later in 2012, Democrats “are hoping to seize on anti-Walker sentiment,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. “They’re also acknowledging they can’t control exactly when a recall election would be held.”

“By starting the drive on Nov. 15, Democrats would start a clock that would require them to turn in 540,208 signatures by Jan. 17. The state Government Accountability Board, which runs elections, under state law would have 31 days — until Feb. 17 — to review them.”

“If the board found 540,208 or more valid signatures had been filed, it would call for an election on March 27. That election would become a primary if more than two members of any party ran, creating a general recall election on April 24. However, those election dates could easily be thrown off.”

 

Other Reactions to the Debate

My reaction was that Mitt Romney won easily and Herman Cain did well enough to stay in the top tier of candidates for at least a few more weeks. Other reactions:

Howard Kurtz: “The surprise of the evening was Herman Cain,  and not just because he’s an able and colorful debater. The New Hampshire event cemented his status as a top-tier contender, as much of the conversation turned on his 9-9-9 plan, which includes a national sales tax. His rivals, with one eye on his surge in the polls, kept bringing up the plan. If you just dropped in from Mars, you’d assume the former pizza magnate was leading the field.”

Erick Erickson: “Mitt Romney won the debate. No one knocked him off his game. He really is that good of a debater. Herman Cain proved himself a bit of an unstable number two. He is starting to get the tough questions on his 999 plan and his responses sound like they were crafted in the land of unicorns and rainbows…”

Andrew Sullivan: “Huntsman I can understand and appreciate. Perry is an empty bad suit. Romney lies with such facility it unnerves me. Bachmann is a fanatic, as, although I am extremely fond of him, is Ron Paul. Santorum just seems like a lost child from the 1950s, trying to have the campaign he dreamed about when he was ten. Cain is an egomaniac businessman with a talk show host patter and a mild wit. Gingrich is a giant, gaseous asshole.”

Brad Phillips: “Mitt Romney wears an almost permanently bemused expression that suggests he sees himself as above the fray. He is. Gov. Romney delivered another impressive performance tonight, successfully deflecting attacks and easily parrying with his opponents.”

Jonathan Chait: “The big question of tonight’s Republican presidential debate was whether Rick Perry, cratering in the polls and facing a party Establishment starting to accept the inevitability of Mitt Romney, would survive. I think he did. He is a bad debater, but given the history of figures like George W. Bush, I see no evidence that Republican voters want a good debater. They just want someone who doesn’t hopelessly stammer through every answer and accuse conservatives of heartlessness. Perry seemed to attain that level of competence.”

James Fallows: “Is Romney so much better than everyone else because he has made a serious run before? (On the other hand, so have Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, etc). I don’t know, but it’s a huge gap.”

 

Major Defeat for Obama as Jobs Bill Fails

“Nothing quite illustrates the depth of Barack Obama’s weakness in Washington better than the painfully public defeat the Senate handed him Tuesday by blocking his signature American Jobs Act,” the Daily Beast reports.

“The defeat was a sharp rebuke for Obama that amounted to a vote of no confidence on the economic policies of recovery spending that he’s championed for years, namely his idea that flooding the economy with public money will jump-start the private sector. But even Obama’s fellow Democrats seem to have developed sufficient spending fatigue to put the brakes on new outlays, while the most moderate Democrats say the economy will never recover as long as the deficit continues to spiral out of control.”

Los Angeles Times: “Now, Democrats will bring up individual elements of the bill that have widespread appeal in opinion polls.”

Quote of the Day

“I just try to get up every day and do my job, and debates are not my strong suit.”

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), quoted by Politico at a post-debate party, explaining his distaste for debating.

 

Weighing the Victim Card on the Campaign Trail

The Hill notes that while “All presidents are insecure about their standing and worry their power will be usurped by Congress… when it comes to Obama, whether because of his race, his name or his politics, the perception that he is being treated differently from his predecessors seems to be the largely unspoken belief in the White House and among the president’s fiercest supporters.”

As a campaign issue: “It’s possible that those people inspired by hope and change in 2008 could come to his defense if they feel like Obama’s efforts, and by extension their own, were constantly undermined by a Congress that never viewed Obama as presidential… It’s also possible that if that view is embraced by the left, it could hurt Obama. The left is viewed by swing-state independents as the same crowd as the Occupy Wall Street folks, and complaints Obama is being treated differently could lead voters in Peoria to see the president as a whiner trying to misdirect anger toward his ineffective policies by claiming to be a victim.”

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