Public Split Over Occupy Wall Street

A new Pew Research/Washington Post poll finds 39% of Americans support the Occupy Wall Street movement while 35% say they oppose it. By contrast, more say they oppose the Tea Party movement than support it, 44% vs. 32%.

Interestingly, 10% say they support both, while 14% say they oppose both.

Cain’s Invisible Campaign

Swampland: “A series of interviews with key party figures may lend further credence to this charge. Well-connected GOP operatives in New Hampshire, Florida and South Carolina say they see little or no evidence of Cain’s campaign in those key early primary states, and some are even unable to name who is leading his localized efforts just a little more than two months before voters are expected to cast the first ballots.”

Berkley Denies Pelosi Forced Her

Gambling magnate Steve Wynn told Fox News of a conversation he had with Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) when Congress was considering President Obama’s health care reform proposal in early 2010.

Said Wynn: “She said to me, quote, quote, this is not hearsay — Shelly said to me — and she is running for the Senate — ‘Steve, I know it’s terrible, my husband’s a doctor and he hates it too. If I don’t vote for it, she will punish me,’ — she being Nancy Pelosi.”

A Berkley spokeswoman suggested Wynn did not remember the conversation accurately.

Gingrich and Cain to Debate

Tea-party activists in Texas will host a “modified Lincoln-Douglas debate” between Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich next month, the National Review reports.

Both candidates have confirmed their attendance at the forum, which will focus on fiscal issues.

Unfortunately, no television network has yet agreed to show the debate.

Republicans Dominate Twitter

The New York Times looks at how Republicans have taken to Twitter as their tool of choice to get their message out.

“House Republican members have more than twice as many followers as their Democratic counterparts — about 1.3 million versus roughly 600,000 — and are far more active on Twitter with more than 157,000 individual Twitter messages, versus roughly 62,000 for Democrats.”

Perry Gets a New Campaign Manager?

In addition to adding new staffers, Paul Burka reports that Joe Allbaugh, who ran George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000, will join Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.

“I have written on several occasions that there is something wrong inside the Perry campaign. The campaign has been terribly run to this point. I can’t imagine that Allbaugh would come on board if he were not going to be in charge, which means that David Carney may be taking a back seat… The Perry inner circle just doesn’t have enough talent or experience to run a national campaign. Allbaugh has run one. They don’t know much about the country and they don’t know much about federal issues. The first thing Allbaugh ought to do is send Perry to Dallas to apologize for badmouthing W. all over the country. I believe that we will see a slow but steady rise in Perry’s fortunes from this point forward.”

Santorum Watches Football While Others Speak

Rick Santorum was caught on video watching a college football game on his tablet while Newt Gingrich gave a speech at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Forum on Saturday.

See more…

Former Bachmann Staffers Rip Campaign

As if having her entire New Hampshire staff quit wasn’t enough, Michele Bachmann’s former staffers ripped into the campaign in a blistering statement:

“The manner in which some in the national team conducted themselves towards Team-NH was rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel… Team members were repeatedly ignored regarding simple requests, sometimes going weeks with little or no contact with the national team.”

This didn’t help: The Los Angeles Times notes the former staffers had not been paid in over a month.

Big Majority Favor Eliminating Electoral College

A new Gallup poll finds that 62% of Americans say they would amend the U.S. Constitution to replace that system for electing presidents with a popular vote system.

Just 35% say they would keep the Electoral College.

Jobs’ Advice on the Lewinsky Scandal

According to Walter Isaacson’s new biography, Bill Clinton asked Steve Jobs for advice on how to deal with the Monica Lewsinsky scandal.

Jobs’ answer: “I don’t know if you did it, but if so, you’ve got to tell the country.”

“There was silence on the other end of the line.”

Romney Holds Big Lead in Nevada

A new Magellan Strategies poll in Nevada finds Mitt Romney leading Herman Cain, 38% to 26%, with Newt Gingrich in third at 16%.

The rest of the field: Ron Paul at 7%, Rick Perry at 5%, Michele Bachmann at 2%, Rick Santorum at 1% and Jon Huntsman at 1%.

Key finding: Romney leads by 67 points among Mormon voters.

Over the weekend, Nevada moved its caucuses to February 4.

Perry Rebuilds Campaign Team

With reports that Rick Perry has brought on board consultants Curt Anderson, Nelson Warfield, and Tony Fabrizio, an advisor to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) tells Ben Smith that the Texas governor has reassembled the team that helped run Scott’s “unlikely, big-spending, and successful 2010 campaign.”

Mark Halperin: “These are three smart guys. Fabrizio and Warfield both helped get Rick Scott elected governor of Florida while Warfield and Anderson have long histories with the tax reform/simplification movement — key as Perry starts selling his flat tax. Warfield also had a period of criticizing the flat tax, as a spokesman for Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, when Steve Forbes was touting such a proposal; Warfield will now be Forbes’ colleague on the Perry campaign. In some ways, the Texan’s original, relatively small team had been overwhelmed by the demands of getting a campaign up and running. How the additions will impact the balance of power within the campaign remains to be seen.”

What if the GOP Nominates Someone Unqualified?

Walter Shapiro: “Neither party has nominated a patently unqualified candidate for president in more than a century. But ever since voters in primaries and caucuses replaced party bosses at the center of the nominating process, there has always been a theoretical risk that the unofficial vetting system could break down. And this year, in particular, there’s a substantial case to be made that all bets and vets are off.”

Behind Gingrich’s Comeback

When the bulk of his campaign staff quit last summer, most thought Newt Gingrich’s presidential hopes were dead. But Robert Costa says the former House Speaker has made an unlikely comeback.

“Gingrich’s approach, his aides say, was to keep the entire campaign on a low simmer, slowly building support but never scrambling to join the news cycle. It took a few weeks for the campaign and candidate to wean themselves off near-daily television interviews. But for Gingrich, long a Beltway fixture with a penchant for pungent one-liners, it was a must. The campaign wanted him to avoid ‘becoming a reactor to events or competitors,’ as one insider puts it, and reestablish his ‘authority’ on policy and governing, not his abilities as a political pundit.”

“In the eyes of many Republicans, Gingrich had become a damaged candidate — respected, to be sure, but unworthy of support. He was, according to conventional wisdom, an aging veteran on the sidelines, nothing more. That had to be corrected. So running against the press, which largely dismissed his candidacy, became a key theme.”

Romney Reverses Himself on Flat Tax

With Rick Perry set to propose a flat tax tomorrow, the New York Times notes Mitt Romney is reversing his past criticism of such plans.

“Flat-tax plans have come and gone before, and analysts note that they have tended to lose support once they come under scrutiny. But Mr. Romney’s support of the concept of a flat tax underscores the tightrope he is walking as taxes become a larger focus of the Republican presidential race and he faces rivals’ accusations of inconsistency on the issues.”

First Read: “The reason why Romney is saying he loves a flat tax — but won’t embrace it completely, at least so far — is because he doesn’t want to seem out of sync with a political party that truly wants to transform the tax code. It will be interesting to see what Romney decides to do in the coming weeks.”

No Credit for Qaddafi’s Death

Smart Politics found that Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) was the only House Republican to issue a statement about former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s death and acknowledge President Obama’s efforts in the international effort.

That said, Lance ended up giving more praise to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton than the president in the statement.

Romney Would Back Perry

Despite being personally attacked in the last GOP presidential debate, Mitt Romney “extended an olive branch towards one of his leading GOP rivals,” National Journal reports.

Said Romney: “If Rick Perry were the nominee, I’d be voting for him. I believe every single person on the stage in that last debate would do a better job than president Obama.”

Rice Reflects on Hurricane Katrina

Newsweek has an interesting first look at former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s new memoir, No Higher Honor, which is out next week.

An especially interesting excerpt looks at the Bush administration’s delayed response to Hurricane Katrina:

“There’s never much opportunity at the time to reflect on a crisis like Katrina. In retrospect, the hurricane’s aftermath was the first in a spiral of negative events that would almost engulf the Bush presidency. Clearly the response of the federal government was slower than the President himself wanted it to be, and there were many missteps, both in perception and in reality. I’m still mad at myself for only belatedly understanding my own role and responsibilities in the crisis.”

Most Voters Say the Country is in Decline

A new The Hill Poll finds a resounding 69% of respondents said the country is “in decline,” while 57% predict today’s kids won’t live better lives than their parents.

Additionally, 83% of voters indicated they’re either very or somewhat worried about the future of the nation, with 49% saying they’re “very worried.”

Cyber Squatters Mock Bachmann

“Internet users are cyber-squatting against Rep. Michele Bachmann,” Roll Call reports.

“The GOP presidential candidate’s unconventionally spelled name — one ‘l’ in Michele and two ‘n’s’ in Bachmann — has opened the door for savvy squatters to buy similar domain names to lampoon the presidential hopeful.”

Lawmakers Ducking Obama Events?

Politico reports that as President Obama’s approval numbers dip, “many Democratic politicians don’t want to get too close to him.”

“In trips to Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — all states that he carried in 2008 — members of Congress were notably missing from the president’s side. Though none came out and said they were deliberately avoiding him, they didn’t have to: Dodging a presidential candidate who’s riding low in the polls is a time-honored political practice… For Obama, who’s led a charmed political life since bursting onto the national stage in 2004 — he was in high demand on the campaign trail even before he won his Senate seat that year — it’s a harbinger of a humbling election year to come.”


Romney’s Perfect Storm?

Mitt Romney has spent the past few weeks beating back attacks by his fellow Republican presidential contenders on the issues of his Massachusetts healthcare law and immigration. Now the Los Angeles Times brings the two issues together, reporting that the “Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.”

“The Massachusetts program, which cost more than $400 million last year, paid for 1.1 million hospital and clinic visits. It’s unclear how many undocumented patients benefited because the state does not record that data… Massachusetts officials involved in crafting the healthcare law said there was broad understanding when Romney signed it that at least some people who would benefit would be in the country illegally. That’s supported by language in the law. Although it explicitly bars undocumented immigrants from getting certain health benefits, it does not prohibit them from receiving aid through the Health Safety Net.”


The Complexities of Challenging Healthcare Reform

As the legal challenge to President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law winds its way to the Supreme Court, The Hill points out that “a thorny procedural issue could still complicate the push for a quick and decisive ruling.”

“Part of the administration’s defense of the mandate rests on the idea that the penalty for not buying insurance is a tax, rather than a regulatory fine. But a federal law known as the Anti-Injunction Act prevents courts from blocking taxes before they take effect… there are ways for the Supreme Court to get around the Anti-Injunction Act and avoid pushing the case back to 2014. But they can’t avoid it altogether, even though neither side wants a ruling on those grounds.”






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