POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES -12/23

Christie Won’t Rule Out Veep

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would not rule out running for vice president, Reutersreports.

Said Christie: “The fact is if Governor Romney comes to me and wants to talk to me about that, we’ll have a full conversation about that and then (my wife) Mary Pat and I will make that decision about what we want to do with our future.”

However, he added: “I think if you fast forward the tape to a year from now it’s going to be President-elect Romney and some other VP-elect and Chris Christie the Governor of New Jersey.”

 

Bush 41 Backs Romney

Former President George H.W. Bush “offered words of support, if not an official endorsement,” to Mitt Romney, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Said Bush: “I think Romney is the best choice for us. I like Perry, but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere; he’s not surging forward.”

As for Newt Gingrich, Bush said, “I’m not his biggest advocate.”

 

Judge Ousts Indiana Secretary of State

A judge ruled that Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R) is ineligible to serve and should be replaced by his election opponent, Vop Osili (D), the Indianapolis Star reports.

“White is facing seven felony charges, including allegations of voter fraud… The Democrats’ election challenge stems from the fact that White used his ex-wife’s address to vote in the May 2010 primary, even though he had recently bought a condo.”

 

What Mitt Pays

The DNC launched a new site chiding Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns, something he’s said he will not do even if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

“Want to know why Mitt Romney won’t release his tax returns? Well, one of the reasons is that he probably pays less taxes than you do. As a corporate buyout specialist, he’s made millions of dollars in income from investments, which are taxed at a far lower rate than the wages of regular Americans — as low as 15% for the richest Americans in the country.”

 

When Flip-Flopping is Good

Todd Purdum: “By all means condemn Mitt Romney for his waffling and wriggling on every issue from abortion to gun control, global warming to immigration. But in the meantime, raise a cheer for those flip-floppers who actually got stuff done. For F.D.R., who blithely explained his abandonment of domestic priorities after Pearl Harbor by saying that ‘Dr. New Deal’ had become ‘Dr. Win the War.’ For Harry Truman, who overcame his border-state background to de-segregate the military, and for Lyndon Johnson, who abandoned his career-long opposition to strong civil-rights measures to pass the strongest ones in history as president.”

 

House Republicans Cave on Payroll Tax Cut

“Bowing under intense pressure from members of their own party to end the politically damaging impasse over a payroll tax holiday, House Republican leaders agreed Thursday to accept a temporary extension of the tax cut, beating a hasty retreat from a showdown that Republicans increasingly saw as a threat to their election opportunities next year,” theNew York Times reports.

“Under a deal reached between House and Senate leaders — which Speaker John A. Boehner was presenting to the rank and file in an evening conference call — House members would accept the two-month extension of a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits approved by the Senate last Saturday, while the Senate would appoint members of a House-Senate conference committee to negotiate legislation to extend both benefits through 2012.”

Washington Post: “If the rest of the House agrees, Obama could see the bill on his desk very soon. Under one scenario suggested by Congressional aides, the House would accept the deal in a voice vote, requiring only a handful of members to return to Washington.”

 

Romney Has Edge in Nevada

A new Cannon Survey Center poll in Nevada shows Mitt Romney just edging Newt Gingrich, 33% to 29%, in the fifth state to vote in the Republican presidential nomination process.

They are followed by Ron Paul at 13%, Michele Bachmann at 5%, Rick Santorum at 3%, Jon Huntsman at 3% and Rick Perry at 3%.

 

Gingrich the Anti-Conservative

George Will: “Gingrich radiates impatience with impediments to allowing majorities to sweep aside judicial determinations displeasing to those majorities. He does not, however, trust democratic political processes to produce, over time, presidents who will nominate, and Senate majorities that will confirm, judges whose views he approves… Gingrich’s unsurprising descent into sinister radicalism — intimidation of courts — is redundant evidence that he is not merely the least conservative candidate, he is thoroughly anti-conservative.”

 

Barbour Will Return to Lobbying

When Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) leaves office January 10, he’ll return to the lobbying firm he founded in 1991, the AP reports.

He’ll will return next month to the BGR Group, “a government affairs, strategic communications and investment banking firm. The person says Barbour’s new office is under construction in Washington, and newly hired people will work for him.”

 

Gingrich Goes After Paul

Despite claims he’ll stay “positive,” National Journal reports Newt Gingrich “took a swipe” at Ron Paul suggesting that his political base consists of “people who want to legalize drugs.”

Said Gingrich: “This is a guy who basically says, if the United States were only nice, it wouldn’t have had 9/11. He doesn’t want to blame the bad guys… He dismisses the danger of an Iranian nuclear weapon and seems to be indifferent to the idea that Israel could be wiped out. And as I said, I think the key to his volunteer base is people who want to legalize drugs.”

 

Any President?

The DNC hits Mitt Romney in a new video for saying any president would have ordered the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

See more…

 

Quote of the Day

“Incumbent presidents have enormous advantages. And I think what Republicans ought to do is what’s right for America. They ought to do it calmly and pleasantly and happily.”

— Newt Gingrich, quoted by the Washington Post, citing his own experience in warning congressional Republicans that the showdown over the payroll tax cut extension could end badly for Republicans.

 

Much Bigger Problems Await Congress Next Year

“The brinksmanship in Congress over a payroll tax-cut extension may end up looking like a quaint disagreement by next December, when lawmakers must grapple with a fiscal policy debate at least 25 times more costly,” Bloomberg reports.

“Unless Congress acts by the end of 2012, income tax cuts will expire, automatic reductions in defense and domestic spending will start and the alternative minimum tax will ensnare millions more taxpayers. The same Congress that can’t find a way to extend the widely supported payroll tax cut beyond Dec. 31 will be seeking to bridge long-held ideological differences.”

 

Not an Anti-Incumbent Year

Alan Abramowitz doesn’t see large numbers of incumbents in both parties losing their seats next November as a result of the high level of public dissatisfaction with Congress.

“Based on the historical record we can confidently predict that if a large number of incumbents lose their seats next November, it will be because 2012 is a wave election and that almost all of the defeated incumbents will come from the party on the losing side of the wave.”

 

Can Gingrich Afford to Stay Positive?

As Newt Gingrich slides in the polls amid an onslaught of negative ads and comments by his opponents in the Republican presidential primary, The Hill looks at Gingrich’s challenge: remain positive or fight fire with fire.

“In a way, running a positive campaign was almost a necessity for Gingrich. He’s so very vulnerable to attacks — from his support for an individual healthcare mandate to his consulting work to his personal infidelities — that his best shot at winning was always in an environment free from acrimony and negativity… But by promising to stay positive, he gives up the opportunity to fight back, and thus, when he does, it’s immediately called hypocritical. In short, Gingrich is fighting with a hand tied behind his back — one he’s bound himself… In order to staunch the bleeding, Gingrich might have to openly discard the promise of positivity and make someone else bleed, too.”

 

Walker’s Advantage in a Recall Election

As the petition to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) nears the necessary number of signatures to trigger a recall election, The Hotline looks at the factors that give Walker and Republicans plenty of hope.

“Walker announced that he had raised $5.1 million dollars during the latest fundraising period, finishing with a cool $3 million in the bank. That’s a huge haul. What’s more…nearly half of the money came from out of state… There is no consensus challenger against Walker. Many Democrats were hopeful earlier this year that Russ Feingold, the former senator and favorite of liberals might make a bid. But he’s said he is not running… Walker has been running TV ads, staffing up with experienced hands and raising money. He’s not simply sitting back and waiting to see if a recall will be triggered. His operation is moving ahead with the expectation that an election will take place.”

 

GOP Kamikazes

Patricia Murphy says Democrats have dubbed the Republican House freshman “the kamikazes,” because they “have shown time and again that they are willing to blow up their careers and everything around them in service to their cause.”

“The kamikazes’ casualty list this year is long. They blew up the debt-ceiling vote this summer, sparking a downgrade in the nation’s credit rating. They blew up the appropriations process so thoroughly that routine spending votes morphed into philosophical standoffs that nearly locked down the federal government three times and required seven temporary funding patches just to keep the lights on. And this week, they managed to blow up not just a tax cut that nearly everyone in Washington agrees is a good idea, but also their party’s hard-earned reputation for cutting taxes and, quite possibly, their chances at a long-term majority in the House and future control of the Senate.”

 

Why Romney is Still the Favorite

Ross Douthat: “Because the early states aren’t winner-take-all, there’s no chance of a Gingrich or a Perry doing what John McCain did in 2008, and building up an insurmountable delegate lead by March on the strength of a string of narrow victories. And the winner-take-all contests that follow are mostly in regions that seem likely to break for the former Massachusetts governor – the Northeast, the West Coast and the Mormon-heavy Mountain West. If it’s a two-man race in April, in other words, Romney will (still) have the inside track.”

 

Romney Ad Ignores Paul

Although multiple Iowa polls shows Ron Paul leading, a super PAC aligned with Mitt Romney unleashed a new ad blasting Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry as “too liberal on immigration” but ignoring Paul entirely.

Ben Smith notes the ad is “the purest indication yet of how well aligned Romney’s goals are with those of Rep. Ron Paul” who is “is uniquely hard to imagine as the Republican nominee, and could unite the party around Romney with an emotion more of panic than of just resignation.”

Said one GOP consultant: “That spot is designed to help ensure Paul stays hot in Iowa.”

See more…

 

Paul Gets Defensive Over Newsletters

Ron Paul got defensive when pressed on CNN about controversial newsletters in the 1980s and 1990s that were in his name.

Said Paul: “I didn’t write them, didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them. This is the answer.”

However, in a 1995 C-SPAN interview Paul seemed to take full responsibility for their content.

See more…

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