POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES -10/19

Reaction to the GOP Debate

The fifth Republican presidential debate since Labor Day — and by far the most entertaining — had the same winner as the previous four. Mitt Romney is the only person on the stage who understands — or can at least speak clearly on — the full breadth of issues that face the president. Romney took heavy fire from nearly everyone, but his rivals usually did more harm to themselves.

The biggest story of the debate was the puncturing of the Herman Cain bubble. In the opening minutes, Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan came under attack from nearly everyone. Cain didn’t back down but he proved it’s much too hard to defend. He was nearly absent the rest of the debate.

Meanwhile, Rick Perry knew he had probably just one more chance to prove his candidacy but he swung wildly at Romney and missed. He only proved that he’s entirely out of his league. He barely makes sense when talking about public policy.

Newt Gingrich is playing a game of survival. He may well fill the vacuum when Cain finally fades as the leading Romney-alternative.

Finally, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann probably should have probably done what Jon Huntsman did — skip the debate. While they certainly serve a purpose in taking shots at the frontrunners, it’s clear they have no chance to move into that tier.

 

Anatomy of a Push Poll

Leo Weekly uncovers a push poll being used in the Kentucky governor’s race in an attempt to derail Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who leads overwhelmingly in most polls.

The audio recording is definitely worth a listen.

Dave Weigel: “Some advice: If you’re going to do a push poll in the internet age, you will be caught. So make it fun! Ask if the voter would be worried to learn that the other candidate illegally downloads videos of kittens getting crushed by cement mixers! What about a candidate who waits outside of a day care center in an unmarked fan, dangling candy to trap them into trips toward an illicit cuddle dungeon?”

See more…

 

Over-Rated Thinkers

The New Republic puts Newt Gingrich at the top of its list:

“Maybe it’s the Ph.D., his extensive bibliography, or his constant appearances on Fox News, but Newt Gingrich has held on to his reputation as the ‘ideas man’ of the Republican Party for too long… It’s certainly not evident to us. Gingrich has one of the loosest, least rigorous, most pretentious minds in politics. He loves ideas, he’s just no good at them; and the idea of ideas is not enough to make a man a serious intellectual. The bloopers in his works of history — fiction and nonfiction, and nonfiction that turns out to be fiction — are legendary.”

 

Johnson Seeks the Pagan Vote

Gary Johnson’s unorthodox presidential campaign now includes reaching out to pagan media outlets, The Hill reports.

Said Johnson: “I think the world looks down on Republicans for their socially conservative views, which includes religion in government.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Are we campaigning? Yes! We are campaigning to change this environment.”

— Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by NBC News, lashing out at critics who have claimed that his and the President’s efforts to get a job’s bill passed is mere “campaigning.”

 

Obama Approval Sinks Back to Low Point

A four point swing in the Gallup tracking poll shows President Obama’s approval rating returning to its all-time low of 38%.

 

Record Support for Legalizing Marijuana

A new Gallup poll finds a record-high 50% of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 46% say marijuana use should remain illegal.

 

Romney is Next in Line

Charlie Cook suggests Republicans once again may “wind up nominating the guy who’s next in line, like McCain, who was runner-up to George W. Bush in 2000. The GOP could be in the middle of continuing that habit in 2012, as Romney is the only top-tier retread from 2008.”

“One Romney strategist compared their situation to playing the kid’s game Whack-a-Mole, in that they must hammer down successive opponents as they stick up their heads. How much is attributable to the Romney campaign whacking and how much was self-ducking is debatable, but the metaphor still works. More twists and turns lie ahead, but the field looks narrowed, and the odds that Romney, President Obama’s most formidable potential adversary, prevails are improving. Sure, this story line may change, but every day it continues, it is a little less likely to have a different ending.”

 

Bachmann Disappointed at Rollins

Rep. Michele Bachmann told the New York Times that it was “dismaying” that former campaign manager Ed Rollins made critical comments about her presidential bid as he left.

Said Bachmann: “When it comes to personnel issues, I act professionally and respectful of former employees. I just assume that’s a two-way street. It’s disappointing when it’s not.”

When it was pointed out that Rollins has a history of speaking sharply about candidates who once employed him, Bachmann smiled and said, “I guess I should have done that Google search.”

Meanwhile, Rollins tells National Review that he should have done more research, too. “Well, if I would have Googled her, I would have found out she had 6 chiefs of staff in 5 years.”

 

Quote of the Day

“Maybe you should go ask Osama Bin Laden if he thought he was prepared.”

— David Axelrod, on Morning Joe, pushing back against the charge Barack Obama was ill prepared to be president.

See more…

 

Cain Bought Books with Campaign Funds

Herman Cain used campaign funds to buy his own books from his motivational speaking company, Bloomberg reports.

Although Cain’s autobiography, This is Herman Cain!, was published by Simon & Schuster, Cain paid his Georgia-based company $36,511 for the books. In addition, his presidential campaign paid $64,000 to his company for airfare, lodging and supplies, as well as the books.

 

Is It a Mistake for Obama to Target Wall Street?

Doug Schoen: “President Obama and the Democratic leadership are making a critical error in embracing the Occupy Wall Street movement — and it may cost them the 2012 election.”

“Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn’t represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.”

However, Greg Sargent asks, “What if working class white voters actually like and agreewith Occupy Wall Street’s message, if not always with the cultural and personal instincts of its messengers?”

 

Obama Gets Very Negative Media Coverage

A new Pew Research study finds President Obama has suffered the most “unrelentingly negative treatment” of all the presidential candidates.

“Though covered largely as president rather than a candidate, negative assessments of Obama have outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-1. Those assessments of the president have also been substantially more negative than positive every one of the 23 weeks studied. And in no week during these five months was more than 10% of the coverage about the president positive in tone.”

Of the Republican candidates, Rick Perry “has received the most coverage and the most positive coverage from the news media of any GOP contender.”

 

Obama’s Teleprompter Stolen

A truck used for President Obama’s bus trip in Virginia was stolen from a hotel parking lot,NBC News reports.

“Inside the vehicle were presidential seals, several podiums, $200,000 worth of audio equipment and President Obama’s see-thru teleprompter.”

 

Supercommittee Posts Big Fundraising Numbers

Lawmakers serving on the “supercommittee” charged with reducing the deficit “have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from special-interest groups, including a significant chunk from healthcare interests that want the panel to fail,” reports The Hill.

“Healthcare political action committees gave more to the deficit panel members than political action committees (PACs) representing energy, defense and agriculture interests, which could also be under the knife… Good-government watchdog groups have called on lawmakers to suspend all fundraising activity while serving on the supercommittee, but, so far, only Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has agreed to a moratorium. He raised only $25,575 in the third quarter of 2011.”

 

Iowa Caucuses Set for January 3

Iowa Republicans, instead of waiting until they know exactly what date New Hampshire will pick, voted to rein in the calendar chaos by locking in Janurary 3 as the date for the Republican caucuses, the Des Moines Register reports.

With Iowa’s date now set, a good date for New Hampshire would be January 10 — a week later. But New Hampshire’s Secretary of State has rejected that date as long as Nevada’s caucus date remains January 14.

“The ideal is to have at least a week between votes to give residents of the next state time to examine the winners, and to give the candidates the biggest bang for their victory. Anything less doesn’t give candidates, especially those who are lesser known or less monied, time to break through with their message, to raise money and to create commercials to help them capitalize on their success.”

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