POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/10
Mitt Romney prevailed in yet another GOP debate. He was the home team candidate on his home turf: the economy and jobs. He’s comfortable on the stage and is at least a full notch above the other candidates.
Herman Cain easily batted down an early question about the sexual harassment allegations made against him. It helped that the audience booed the questioner and Romney took a pass on challenging him. Unless the allegations get worse, it’s unlikely that any of his rivals will go near the issue.
Cain also scored well with his message of tax simplification. He’s getting better at explaining his 9-9-9 plan — however flawed it may be — and the message of a simple tax code resonates well.
Newt Gingrich was also very solid. He’s running against the media and his combativeness with the moderators was very appealing to Republican voters. If Romney doesn’t begin to attract more support within his party, Gingrich could be a surprise winner in one or more of the early primary states. He’s definitely moved into the top tier of this relatively weak field.
Rick Perry did nothing more than recite slogans — which he couldn’t even memorize. His inability to remember his own talking points made it was his worst debate yet. He’s finished as a viable candidate.
Ron Paul was the most ideologically consistent candidate but his ideas are way out of the mainstream even within today’s Republican party. Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman simply take time away from the other candidates.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) predicted a third political party will emerge in response to Americans’ economic frustrations and said it might as well be called “the Fed-Up Party,”Reuters reports.
Said McCain: “Unless both parties change, then I think that it’s an inevitability. We aren’t doing anything for the people.”
A new Rasmussen survey in Florida finds Herman Cain leading the Republican field with 30%, followed by Mitt Romney at 24% and Newt Gingrich at 19%.
Ron Paul told Fox News that President Obama use of executive orders “brings the modern presidency dangerously close to an elective dictatorship.”
Said Paul: “It is flaunting the Constitution and the whole principle of how we’re supposed to operate. The idea they can just do this and take over the legislative function and brag about it — and Congress does nothing and the courts do nothing about it, it’s very, very bad.”
He added: “He’s dictatorial, is what he is.”
A new Clemson Palmetto Poll in South Carolina finds Mitt Romney edging Herman Cain in the GOP presidential race among those who have decided on a candidate, 22% to 20%, with Newt Gingrich at 10% and Rick Perry at 9%.
All other candidates are at 3% or less.
Big caveat: 68% of those polled had not yet decided on a candidate and a similar number said they were most likely to change their minds between now and January when they do have a choice.
A new Univision poll of Latino voters in 21 states with the largest Latino populations finds President Obama with a strong advantage among that growing demographic group.
In general election match ups against the three top Republican contenders, Obama earns between 65% and 68% of the vote — roughly the same percentage of the Hispanic vote he won in 2008.
Key finding: “Latinos are not as torn about the president as the rest of the country: 66% of Latinos approve of the job Obama has done, while only 29% disapprove.”
Piers Morgan made a big mistake trying to explain “the reality of politics” to Newt Gingrich, who wasn’t pleased to hear he was jockeying to be the anti-Mitt Romney candidate in the GOP presidential field.
Said Gingrich: “Now, see, this is what I find fascinating, okay. I’ve been involved with politics since 1958. I helped grow the modern Republican Party of Georgia. I helped create a national majority, and you’re explaining to me the reality of politics.”
He added: “The reality of politics is if you have a good enough leader who is positive enough, they can ignore the other candidates, they can create a positive majority around a positive set of solutions, and let the other candidate worry about me.”
“The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility. They’re on an anti-tax jihad — one that benefits the prosperous classes.”
— Former Reagan budget director David Stockman, in an interview with Rolling Stone.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio finds President Obama leading all of his Republican opponents by margins ranging from 9 to 17 points.
Obama leads Mitt Romney, 50% to 41%, tops Herman Cain, 50% to 39%, beats Newt Gingrich, 51% to 38% and crushes Rick Perry, 53% to 36%.
The same poll got the final result of the collective bargaining referendum correct to within one point.
John Avlon: “In past recessions, populist anger was directed at either big business or big government. Now voter anger is directed at both, and the two parties are having a hard time adjusting their left/right playbooks to account for this shift. The anti-incumbent narrative likewise failed last night, as Kentucky Democrat Beshear was easily reelected. Instead, there seem to be a consistent impulse to reject ideological overreach, a reassuring sign of rational ticket-splitting even in this overheated political environment. Neither party should feel false confidence heading into 2012.”
First Read: “Voters punished elected officials for going too far. They might not be happy with public-sector unions, but they don’t support taking away their collective-bargaining rights (especially for first-responders). They might be against abortion in Mississippi, but don’t want to potentially outlaw things like birth control. They might be troubled by illegal immigration, but they don’t want their elected officials to look like they are targeting on specific community. They might believe government should do something about health care, but they don’t want to be forced to buy insurance. And they might be concerned about the idea of voter fraud, but they don’t want to lose rights they had. Politicians may be pushing absolutes, but voters are sending a different message.”
“It’s time to pause. The people have spoken clearly.”
While Grover Norquist’s group Americans for Tax Reform boasts that 238 current members of the House of Representatives have signed its Taxpayer Protection Pledge, The Hillspeaks on the record with numerous lawmakers who seem ready to have their names taken off the list.
“In its publicly displayed list of signers ‘in the 112th Congress,’ Norquist’s group includes several members who say they have specifically refused to sign the pledge during their most recent campaigns. The sheet of paper they signed years ago, the lawmakers say, is no longer valid… Some Republicans have disavowed the pledge not based on a dispute over its duration, but because they say it constrains their policy choices.”
Voters apparently recalled Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce (R), the author of the state’s controversial immigration law, according to the Arizona Republic.
“If the vote totals hold, Pearce becomes the first sitting Senate president in the nation and the first Arizona legislator ever to lose a recall election. He would be required to step down immediately once the results become official.”
Pearce appeared resigned to defeat, saying “if being recalled is the price for keeping one’s promises, so be it.”
The Austin American-Statesman reports that Texas will have to defend its redistricting plans in court, as a “panel of federal judges…ordered a trial on the state’s new redistricting plan for the state House, state Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives.”
“The redistricting maps drawn earlier this year by the Legislature must get approval from the federal government – in this case the Washington court – before the new maps can be enacted. A history of racial and ethnic discrimination in Texas and several other mostly southern states necessitates pre-clearance, which is outlined the Voting Rights Act… Another panel of federal judges in San Antonio has been hearing from the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and other plaintiffs suing the state for creating redistricting maps that they say dilute the minority vote and violate the U.S. Constitution. As the Washington court ponders pre-clearance of the maps, the San Antonio court has been working on creating interim maps to be used for the March primaries.”
Maine voters “repealed a law requiring voters to enroll at least two days before an election, restoring a four-decade policy of allowing registrations as late as Election Day,” thePortland Press Herald reports.
“The referendum was put on Tuesday’s ballot through a ‘people’s veto’ initiative after the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a law in June requiring voters to register at least two business days before an election is held. Maine’s tradition of allowing “same day” voter registrations began with a law passed in 1973.”
Mississippi voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot initiative to legally define “personhood” as beginning at fertilization.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) trounced challenger David Williams (R) and Gatewood Galbraith (I) to win another four-year term as Kentucky’s governor, the Lexington Herald Leader reports.
Phil Bryant (R) won the Mississippi governor’s race, headily defeating Johnny DuPree (D) to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour, who couldn’t seek a third term as governor, the Clarion Ledger reports.
“The 56-year-old Bryant makes history as the first Republican to succeed another Republican as Mississippi governor in modern times. Barbour unseated a one-term Democrat in 2003.”
Ohio’s new collective bargaining law was defeated “after an expensive union-backed campaign that pitted firefighters, police officers and teachers against the Republican establishment,” the AP reports.
“In a political blow to GOP Gov. John Kasich, voters handily rejected the law, which would have limited the bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers.”
National Journal: “The repeal of Issue 2 is also a blow for Kasich, whose approval numbers have already been lousy this year. Republicans in the state who supported the measure will also have to carry the baggage of vouching for something that was overturned. And looking ahead to 2012, that’s something that could potentially affect races at the federal level, as Democrats will surely blast Republicans who supported SB 5 and cast its repeal as a rejection of the GOP agenda.”
President Obama’s signature healthcare law got a boost when an appeals court agreed with a lower court that dismissed a challenge and found the law’s mandate that everyone buy health insurance was constitutional, Reuters reports.
Said one judge: “It certainly is an encroachment on individual liberty, but it is no more so than a command that restaurants or hotels are obliged to serve all customers regardless of race.”
The Wall Street Journal notes today’s ruling comes as the Supreme Court is scheduled to discuss several challenges to the health-care overhaul during the justices’ private conference. “The court decides during its closed-door conferences which cases it will consider in the coming months. The high court isn’t required to hear a health-care case, but given the disagreement in the lower courts, it is highly likely to do so.”