POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/26

Congressional Approval in Single Digits

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds the approval rate for Congress at just 9%, with 84% disapproving.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s approval rating is at 46% and “appears to be elevated by positions he has taken on foreign affairs.”

 

What if Kennedy Hadn’t Been Killed?

Coming in two weeks: 11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King.

“On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination.”

 

Huntsman Tries Again to Make a Joke

Jon Hunstman appeared on the Colbert Report last night and, as Nia-Malika Hendersonnotes, he “is not a funny man. In fact, he is painfully unfunny.”

“So what does a person like Huntsman do when he’s on screen with Stephen Colbert, a trained comedian? Well, he tries even harder to be funny and ends up promptly fumbling into a ‘joke’ that is quite possibly offensive.”

See more…

 

 

Pat Robertson Calls GOP Field Too Extreme

Televangelist Pat Robertson said on the 700 Club that he thinks the Republican presidential field may be too extreme:

Said Robertson: “I believe it was Lyndon Johnson that said, ‘Don’t these people realize if they push me over to an extreme position I’ll lose the election?’ Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off of this stuff. They’re forcing their leaders, the frontrunners, into positions that will mean they lose the general election…They’ve got to stop this! It’s just so counterproductive!”

See more…

 

 

The Smoking Aide

Herman Cain’s campaign chief of staff Mark Block tells David Graham that he wasn’t trying to create a stir when he appeared in a web video for his boss while smoking a cigarette.

“There’s been feverish speculation about the video’s goals, including the idea that it might be a dog whistle to smokers and the tobacco industry, with whom Cain aligned himself as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.”

 

Romney Backs Away from Ohio Law He Supported

Mitt Romney “stepped into the middle of the charged battle over organized labor in Ohio on Tuesday, but he avoided weighing in on the contentious legislation that would dramatically limit the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions,” CNN reports.

Romney expressed generic support for Gov. John Kasich’s (R) efforts to curtail union rights, “but he would not say whether he supports or opposes the specific measures.”

Said Romney: “I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues. Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the efforts of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party’s efforts here.”

Politico reports he’s already on the record supporting the measure, making his attempt to distance himself from an unpopular law even more awkward.

 

Thompson Has Tenuous Lead in Wisconsin

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin finds Tommy Thompson (R) continues to lead the Republican Senate primary with 35%, followed by Mark Neumann (R) at 29%, Jeff Fitzgerald (R) at 21% and Frank Lasee (R) at 4%.

Considering Thompson’s name recognition is 86% compared to 61% for Neumann, 50% for Fitzgerald, and 24% for Lasee, that’s not a very big lead.

Key finding: 51% of primary voters would prefer someone ‘more conservative’ than Thompson, as compared to only 35% who are committed to him.

 

Romney Unable to Capitalize on Obama’s Weakness

The latest Democracy Corps poll finds President Obama deadlocked with Mitt Romney in a possible general election face off at 45% each.

Despite Obama’s obvious vulnerabilities, Romney has been unable to make himself a more attractive candidate.

Key findings: “Romney is stuck at 45% on the vote — virtually unchanged all year. He is not popular, and his personal ratings are not improving. His mean thermometer rating is at just 43.1 degrees, the lowest since we began tracking. As the only Republican who seems to have any staying power, for now, voters are left with this choice. As a result, more people are volunteering they will vote for a third party candidate for President.”

 

Obama Losing His Base

A new Democracy Corps survey finds President Obama’s approval rate down five points since August 40% with 53% saying they disapprove of the way he is handling his job.

Key finding: “The biggest drop-off has come among his broad base — 79% of Democrats now say they approve of the President’s job performance, the lowest in our tracking. The biggest decline has come from young people and minorities. Among minority voters, 63% now say they approve of the president’s job performance, the lowest in our tracking. More significant is the drop-off among young people, who voted for the president by huge margins in 2008. Less than 40% of young people (under age 30) now say they approve of the President’s performance, 54% disapprove. This is a significant drop since August when a majority of young voters (52%) approved of the way the president was handling his job, 42% disapproved. That is a net 26-point decline in two months.”

 

Cain Could Make Nevada Competitive

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Nevada finds Mitt Romney barely edging Herman Cain among likely Republican caucus goers, 29% to 28%.

The rest of the field: Newt Gingrich at 15%, Ron Paul at 7%, Rick Perry at 6%, Michele Bachmann at 3%, and Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman each at 2%.

One potential problem for Cain is that his supporters are not strongly committed: just 41% say that they’ll definitely vote for him, compared to 59% of Romney’s supporters.

Also note that a Magellan Strategies poll released yesterday found Romney with a double-digit lead.

 

With Liberty and Justice for Some

Just out: With Liberty and Justice for Some by Glenn Greenwald.

“From the nation’s beginnings, the law was to be the great equalizer in American life, the guarantor of a common set of rules for all. But over the past four decades, the principle of equality before the law has been effectively abolished. Instead, a two-tiered system of justice ensures that the country’s political and financial class is virtually immune from prosecution, licensed to act without restraint, while the politically powerless are imprisoned with greater ease and in greater numbers than in any other country in the world.”

 

Perry Calls on Romney to Release Tax Returns

Rick Perry’s presidential campaign called on Mitt Romney “to make public his tax returns today, something Romney has steadily refused to do,” Ben Smith reports.

“Romney has come under fire in the past for failing to release his tax returns in a series of political campaigns, beginning with his 1994 race against Senator Ted Kennedy, when he called on Kennedy to release his own returns. Neither man did, and Romney has since revealed only the required outlines of complex holdings valued at more than $190 million.”

On CNBC earlier today, Perry raised the stakes and called Romney a “fat cat.”

Think Progress speculates that Romney is worried about becoming a poster child for the “Buffett Rule.”

 

No Wave Spotted Yet for 2012

Charlie Cook: “Although plenty of political and economic diagnostic indicators are signaling danger for President Obama, this election season still doesn’t have a dominant direction. During the 2006, 2008, and 2010 cycles, the question was how many seats would the victorious party pick up, not which one the political tides would benefit most. But so far for 2012, the weather vanes are just spinning.”

 

The Most Meaningful Race of 2011

First Read: “The best — and most meaningful — statewide race of 2011 wasn’t in West Virginia (where Democrats narrowly won the gubernatorial contest). Or in Louisiana (where Gov. Bobby Jindal cruised to re-election). And it won’t be in Kentucky (where Democrats are poised for a blowout gubernatorial win). Or in Mississippi (where Republicans are expected to hold the governor’s mansion). Rather, the 2011 race with the biggest political implications is taking place here in the Buckeye State, where voters two weeks from today will decide the fate of Gov. John Kasich’s (R) law curbing collective-bargaining rights for public-sector workers.”

“It will test, once again, organized labor’s strength in the Midwest (after its mixed results in Wisconsin). It will gauge Kasich’s popularity (or unpopularity). It will serve as a trial run of sorts for next year’s presidential contest in this traditional battleground state. And it’s the same fight we’ve seen across the country — about how governments balance their budgets and about the role of the government worker.”

 

Obama Says He’s Aging in Dog Years

President Obama says that he’s aging rapidly in “dog years” but that he still has enough energy for a second term, the Washington Times reports.

Said Obama: “These president years are dog years… I may be gray, but I’m not tired. My passion is still there. My vision for this country is still there.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Perry won’t just go negative. He’ll make your television bleed and beg for mercy.”

— GOP media strategist Alex Castellanos, quoted by Politico, on the coming assault on Mitt Romney.

 

Perry Proposes 20% Flat Tax

Rick Perry used a Wall Street Journal op-ed to outline his flat tax plan, to be formally unveiled in a speech later today.

The “Cut, Balance and Grow” plan provides for a 20% flat tax and makes personal Social Security accounts optional. In contrast to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, the Perry plan keeps home mortgage interest and charitable deductions for households earning below $500,000.

The Washington Post answers five questions about the Perry plan.

 

Cain Tops Romney Nationally

A new New York Times/CBS News poll finds Herman Cain leading Mitt Romney nationally among Republicans, 25% to 21%, with Newt Gingrich at 10%, Ron Paul at 8% and Rick Perry at 6%.

However, of those likely Republican primary voters who expressed a choice in the election matchup, 80% said they had not fully made up their mind.

 

Quote of the Day

“It’s a good issue to keep alive. It’s fun to poke at him.”

— Rick Perry, in an interview on CNBC, on why he questioned President Obama’s birth certificate over the weekend.

 

Cain’s Ad Features Smoking Aide

Herman Cain’s unconventional presidential campaign released a new unconventional adwith his chief of staff taking a drag from a cigarette while speaking.

The ad is a subtle reminder that Cain used to lead a group fighting anti-smoking rules.

The Atlantic: “Making a bold statement against anti-smoking regulations would seem general election suicide but also the sort of thing that might help Cain in Tea Party circles, where voters frequently complain about what they see as intrusive government regulations that prevent them from living the lifestyles they want to.”

See more…

 

 

Strong Support for Repeal of Ohio Collective Bargaining Law

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio shows 57% of voters favor repealing a recent law that limits collective bargaining rights for public employees, while just 32% said it should be kept.

The referendum is on the November 8 ballot.

Notes pollster Peter Brown: “With two weeks until Election Day, the opponents of SB 5 have strong reason to be optimistic. The opponents had seen their 24-point margin in July close over the summer and early autumn. As we enter the home stretch, however, they have once again taken a commanding lead. Except for Republicans, just about every demographic group favors repealing the law.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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