Obama Approval Sinks Below Carter

Washington Whispers: “President Obama’s slow ride down Gallup’s daily presidential job approval index has finally passed below Jimmy Carter, earning Obama the worst job approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern political history.”

Of course, there is little significance to approval numbers and re-election this far out, so the comparison is interesting but meaningless.


Perry Denies Campaign Shake Up

When asked about reports that campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior adviser Dave Carney had been demoted, Rick Perry called the rumors “just scuttlebutt,” according toNBC News.

Said Perry: “News to me, I’ve talked to both of them within as a matter of fact the last 24 hours. So if they have, news to me. So I would suggest to you that’s just scuttlebutt, highly technical Aggie term for ‘not correct.'”


Gingrich Learns From Others’ Failures

As Newt Gingrich looks to sustain his rise to the top of the Republican presidential field, theAtlantic Wire looks at some of the lessons Gingrich learned from watching other candidates’ who briefly enjoyed the status of front runner only to crash and burn.

Lessons from Michele Bachmann: “Don’t be anti-science: Gingrich knows he can’t say he agrees with the majority of scientists who say global warming is real and win the Republican nomination. But he’s smart enough not to flat-out say it isn’t real… Don’t forget about the church crowd: Just because we’ve spent the last few years talking about the Tea Party and it’s lack of interest in social issues doesn’t mean the culture war went away. Gingrich has been working hard to win over evangelicals.”

Lessons from Rick Perry: “Don’t be bad at debates: Obviously. Gingrich is already trash talking President Obama’s debate skills. Don’t be too mean: The top word associated with Perry in an Ohio focus group was ‘bully.’ Gingrich has worked hard to avoid criticizing his fellow Republicans on stage during debates.”

Lessons from Herman Cain: “Deal with the woman situation: In fairness, Gingrich probably didn’t learn this from Cain, but from his old foe Bill Clinton. Gingrich got out in front of his woman problem a long time ago… Know things about foreign policy.”


Perry Wants Your Support if You’re 21 or Older

Rick Perry apparently doesn’t know the legal voting age is 18, NBC News reports.

Speaking to college students in New Hampshire, he said, “Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote. Those of you who won’t be, just work hard.”

Of course, the age mistake wasn’t the only one he made: the general election is on November 6, 2012, not November 12.


Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I don’t read newspapers in the State of Ohio.”

— Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), explaining that it doesn’t give him “an uplifting experience.”

See more…


Tea Party Loses Favor

A new Pew Research poll finds that since the 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party “has not only lost support nationwide, but also in the congressional districts represented by members of the House Tea Party Caucus.”

Key findings: “More Americans say they disagree (27%) than agree (20%) with the Tea Party movement. A year ago, in the wake of the sweeping GOP gains in the midterm elections, the balance of opinion was just the opposite: 27% agreed and 22% disagreed with the Tea Party.”

“Throughout the 2010 election cycle, agreement with the Tea Party far outweighed disagreement in the 60 House districts represented by members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus. But as is the case nationwide, support has decreased significantly over the past year; now about as many people living in Tea Party districts disagree (23%) as agree (25%) with the Tea Party.”


Bonus Quote of the Day

“We want a virgin to do a hooker’s job.”

— Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein (R), quoted by CBS News, on the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain.

She added that she has known Cain for 12 years and he’s “never been anything but a gentleman — and I am not an unattractive woman.”


Romney’s Fading Popularity

Tom Jensen: “You want to know the biggest reason Mitt Romney hasn’t surged at any point in the Republican Presidential race this year? It’s because the more GOP primary voters across the country have been exposed to him, the less they’ve liked him. There are 13 places PPP has polled the Republican race in October or November where it also did a poll sometime between January and March. In those places Romney’s net favorability has dropped by an average of 15 points over the course of the year.”


The Least Influential Person Alive

GQ gives the honor to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R).

“Every election season produces a number of hilariously pointless candidates who have no chance of winning. Some of them have value as novelty items. Look! It’s Alan Keyes, the token black Republican! And over there! It’s David Duke! He’s a racist! These are the fun, fringy candidates. The Sharpton Sector, if you will. Then there are folks like Pawlenty, who fail to register even as novelties. T-Paw (as he calls himself) spent much of 2011 as a six-foot-tall paperweight, an aggressively forgettable fellow perfectly suited to the role of debate filler. The $1 million he spent to lose the Iowa straw poll might as well have been burned in front of a group of orphans.”


Cain Mulls Dropping Bid

Herman Cain told senior members of his campaign “that he is reassessing whether or not to remain in the Republican presidential race on a conference call this morning,” theWashington Post reports.

“Cain’s rethinking of his candidacy comes less than 24 hours after an Atlanta woman named Ginger White alleged that she and the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO had carried on a 13-year extramarital affair. Cain denied the allegation but a statement from his lawyer simply stated that personal matters were not relevant to the candidate’s presidential campaign.”

Interestingly, National Review has a transcript of the phone call.


O’Malley Asked Chafee to Become a Democrat

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, recently told Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) that he should become a Democrat,WPRI reports.

Asked if he is seriously considering the idea, Chafee said through a spokeswoman: “I’m happy where I am for now.”


Paulson Gave Hedge Funds Advance Word

According to Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told a group of hedge fund managers in 2008 that he was considering a plan “for placing Fannie and Freddie into conservatorship — a government seizure designed to allow the firms to continue operations despite heavy losses in the mortgage markets.”

At the same time, he was telling Congress and the New York Times a very different story: that the firms must remain shareholder owned.

Felix Salmon: “What on earth did Hank Paulson think his job was in the summer of 2008? As far as most of us were concerned, he was secretary of the US Treasury, answerable to the US people and to the president. But at the same time, in secret meetings, Paulson was hanging out with his old Goldman Sachs buddies, giving them invaluable information about what he was thinking in his new job… And the crazy thing is that we have no idea how many of these meetings there were, or how long they went on for.”


The Best and Worst Debaters

Media training guru Brad Phillips has a detailed analysis of ten Republican debates held between May and November 2011 and concludes Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are the best debaters in the Republican field, while Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry rank among the worst.


Rove Doesn’t Expect Third Party Candidate

Karl Rove tells Newsmax that he doubts a third-party candidate will emerge in the 2012 presidential race.

Said Rove: “I think there will be talk about it. But at the end of the day you have to have people who are willing to get behind that particular candidate, and I think there are too many people who feel so passionately about the necessity of removing President Obama from office that while in normal times they might be infatuated with a third party candidacy, this time around they’ll be very reluctant to do it.”


Gingrich Leads in Iowa

A new Insider Advantage poll in Iowa shows Newt Gingrich leading the Republican presidential race with 28%, followed by Ron Paul at 13%,  Mitt Romney at 12%, Herman Cain at 10%, Michele Bachmann at 10% and Rick Perry at 7%.

A new We Ask America poll finds Gingrich leading with 29%, followed by Romney at 13%, Bachmann at 13%, Paul at 11%, Cain at 7% and Perry at 5%.


Gingrich Closes the Gap in New Hampshire

A new Insider Advantage poll in New Hampshire shows Mitt Romney just ahead of Newt Gingrich in the first presidential primary state, 31% to 27%.

A new Rasmussen survey has Romney 10 points ahead of Gingrich, 34% to 24%, with Paul at 14% and Huntsman at 11%.


Gingrich Way Ahead in South Carolina

A new Insider Advantage poll in South Carolina shows Newt Gingrich running away from the GOP presidential field with 38%, followed by Mitt Romney at 15%, Herman Cain at 13%, Ron Paul at 7%, Rick Perry at 4%, Michele Bachmann at 3% and Rick Santorum at 2%.

A new American Research Group poll finds Gingrich leading with 33%, followed by Romney at 22% and Cain at 10%.


Cain Off the Tracks

First Read: “The multiple sexual-harassment allegations against Cain may not have ruined his candidacy, though they certainly knocked him off message. His pregnant pause when talking about Libya might not have killed his chances, but it did bring into question his lack of experience and knowledge about world affairs. And this new allegation of an affair might not be the final nail in his political coffin, but we aren’t seeing the same conservatives rallying around Cain that we saw after the sexual-harassment allegations first surfaced. But when you take them all together, it’s pretty clear we’re watching a replay of the Sixth Sense: Everyone knows this candidacy is dead, except the campaign. Cain and the allegations have become a sideshow, bordering on a distraction to the rest of the field.”

The Note: “The issue isn’t will this sink Cain’s candidacy — it had been slowly sinking already — the question now is: how fast will he fall and who benefits from it? Cain is still commanding significant support national and in the early primary states and those voters have to go somewhere.”


Democratic Retirements Could Hinder House Takeover

Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) decision yesterday to retire from the House of Representatives marks the 17th Democrat this cycle to opt not to run for reelection, compared to just seven Republicans, dimming the prospects that Democrats can win the 26 seats necessary to retake control of the chamber in 2012, reports The Hill.

“All [seven] GOP members are departing to run for another office, while only eight of the 17 Democrats have their eyes focused upward… Anticipating the blowback it would receive following two high-profile retirements in less than a week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released a memo Monday showing that a number of Democratic retirements are in left-leaning districts where the party is likely to retain control even without an incumbent.”

Politico: “It’s a familiar trend: When parties lose the majority, the path back to power appears too steep for many members to stick it out. After Democrats lost the majority in 1994, 29 Democrats did not seek reelection — eight more than the number of Republicans who retired. After Republicans lost the majority in 2006, 27 Republicans did not seek reelection — 21 more than the number of retiring Democrats.”


Quote of the Day

“What the hell are we paying you for?”

— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by Politico, calling President Obama “a bystander in the Oval Office” for not getting involved in supercommittee debt talks.


The Politics of Economics

Bill Keller: “There really is a textbook way to fix our current mess. Short-term stimulus works to help an economy recover from a recession. Some kinds of stimulus pay off more quickly than others. Once the economic heart is pumping again, we need to get our deficits under control… So what’s the problem? Why is our system so fundamentally stuck? Partly it’s a colossal, bipartisan lack of the political courage required to tell people what they sort of know but don’t want to hear… But also, I’ve come to think something is rotten in the state of economics. The dismal science, as Thomas Carlyle called it, has been ravaged by the same virus that has corrupted the rest of our national discourse.”

“Economists don’t live in caves, so there is no reason they should be immune to the centrifugal politics of this noisy world. Thus serious scholars are tempted to sign onto ideas that stretch their own credulity, and lesser economists are thrust forward for their moment of fame as witnesses on behalf of dubious claims. Economists cluster in ideological think tanks that promote political conformity rather than intellectual rigor. Politicians, with no generally accepted consensus to challenge them, can get away with plucking data out of context to bolster assertions that are based more on faith than on reality.”


Walker Recall Effort Has More Than Half of Signatures

Organizers seeking to oust Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) say they “already have gathered more than half of the signatures they would need to force the new Republican governor into a recall election,” the Green Bay Gazette reports.

More than than 300,000 signatures “have been gathered during the first 12 days of the recall effort, which was officially launched on Nov. 15. Organizers would need to gather 540,208 valid signatures by Jan. 17 to get the recall on the ballot next year.”

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

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