POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/13
Stephen Colbert announced he was launching his second run for president in South Carolina, CNN reports.
Said Colbert: “I’m proud to announce I plan to form an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my candidacy in the United States of South Carolina.”
Rick Hasen: “Since it is too late for Colbert to get on the ballot in South Carolina and the state prohibits write-in votes, it is not clear what a candidacy means here. Nor is it clear what it means to be a candidate ‘in the United States of South Carolina.'”
Andrew Sullivan watched the 30 minute film attacking Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital — and even though he notes it’s “loaded with out-of-context quotes and heavily biased” — “what makes it so dangerous to Romney, it seems to me, is that the Bain Brahmin didn’t just fire thousands of working class people in restructuring and in closing companies. He made a f&%$ing unimaginable fortune doing it. That’s the issue.”
“I simply cannot imagine a worse narrative for a candidate in this climate; or a politician whose skills are singularly incapable of responding to the story in any persuasive way. This ad is powerful. Romney has already seen a drop in South Carolina. I suspect he’ll drop some more. And I suspect once the potency of this line of attack is absorbed by the GOP establishment, there will be some full, if concealed, panic.”
Ron Paul’s campaign chairman, Jesse Benton, tells the Huffington Post, that Paul is “committed to a numerical-based operation premised on finding value where others don’t. It’s the Money Ball of campaign strategies and it’s rooted in, of all places, Obama’s 2008 campaign.”
Said Benton: “You try to look at what models have worked in the past and Obama’s model worked. Now we have different ideas about where we would like to take the country, but he ran a brilliant campaign. He unleashed his grassroots to work hard, get involved in their communities, and really fight for some principles and that’s what we are trying to do too.”
Mark Blumenthal: “For the better part of the last year… the best advice has been to either ignore national polls or at least read them with great skepticism… Now, however, with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary over, the national polls are worth watching closely… As a recent Gallup analysis shows, the leader after the New Hampshire primary usually wins the nomination.”
“In short, January is the month when the party decides.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) slammed Mike Huckabee on Fox News about his former rival’s claim that McCain convinced Fred Thompson to stay in the 2008 presidential race until after South Carolina in an effort to split the vote.
Said McCain: “I respect him, but that’s totally false. It’s totally patently false, and for him to say something like that, maybe it makes him feel better…. All I can say to Gov. Huckabee is good luck on your programming on Fox, but you’re not telling the truth.”
Staffers on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have an office pool to guess how many acres are burned by wildfires each year, according to the Washington Post.
“The contest, run since 2003 by veteran staffer Frank Gladics, was open mostly to Republican staffers on the House and Senate energy and appropriations committees that oversee federal firefighting operations.”
Grist: “At best, this little stunt could be excused as gallows humor — a peculiar inside-the-Beltway bonding ritual for disaster wonks. Since wildfires level people’s homes, imperil both residents and firefighters, and serve as a barometer for climate-change-driven havoc, the annual game might also simply be tone-deaf, tasteless, and heartless.”
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that he will step down from Congress at the end of the year.
“Lewis becomes the latest in a string of senior California Republicans to announce their retirements in recent days, signaling major changes to the state’s congressional delegation. His announcement has significant implications on a pair of races for Inland House seats this fall and is certain to trigger a series of candidacy declarations in the hours and days to come.”
“These attacks on, quote, Bain Capital is really kind of anathema to everything that we believe in.”
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by CBS News, this morning about attacks on Mitt Romney’s track record in business.
“As head of his investment company he presided over the acquisition of companies that laid off thousands of workers.”
— McCain, quoted by the New York Times, taking a different view four years ago.
Former First Lady Laura Bush told an audience she and her husband wanted her brother-in-law, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), to run for president, the Sarasota Herald Tribunereports.
Said Mrs. Bush: “George and I wish he would. We wanted him to this time.”
Political Wire has learned that two polls currently in the field — from Public Policy Polling and American Research Group — are both finding the South Carolina primary shaping up to be a tight race between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
An InsiderAdvantage survey released earlier today also shows a very close contest.
Larry Sabato: “We’ve all discovered in this strange presidential cycle that 10 days — the time between New Hampshire and South Carolina — is more than enough time for a candidate to rise or crater. No one interested in politics should take his or her eyes off the prize for a moment. We doubt the super-organized Romney forces are making that mistake, which is why their candidate has a real chance to end the effective battle for the nomination quickly.”
Sarah Palin told Fox News that attacks on Mitt Romney’s record as the head of Bain Capital by fellow Republicans is fair game.
Said Palin: “This isn’t about a politician making huge profits in the private sector. I think what Governor Perry is getting at is that Governor Romney has claimed to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain and people are wanting to know is there proof of that claim?”
She also said Romney needs to release his personal tax returns.
Greg Sargent: “But the bottom line is that at a time of rising public anxiety about inequality and undue Wall Street influence, the GOP is on the verge of nominating someone who is to the extreme right of even some leading Republicans on the morality and practicality of unfettered profit-driven free market excess. That’s the big story here.”
Missouri gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence (R) says he “earned a degree in Economics” from the University of Missouri.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that “may be true — but it is not entirely accurate. According to the university, Spence’s degree is not in economics. It is in home economics.”
Spence admitted he had to change his major in order to graduate on time: “I was not the greatest student in the world. I’ll make fun of myself: I was a 60-watt bulb in a 100-watt society.”
“I predict to you that there will be huge scandals associated with this huge flood of money.”
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by the AP, noting that the Supreme Court ruling that led to formation of super PACs was “one of the worst decisions I have ever seen.”
Said a Obama campaign strategist: “I would have preferred to wait, yes, to keep the bottle of whup-ass fresher. At the same time — and this is important to note — having the Republicans eat their own actually makes the Bain story more potent than we ever could because it instantly validates it as a line of attack and falls on independent ears as a matter of legitimate debate, not as a partisan line of attack.”
Another strategist adds: “This isn’t a primary attack in the first place — it’s why we haven’t put any resources behind Romney as a corporate buyout specialist at this stage — it’s a general election issue for independent and swing voters in places like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. We were shocked that his rivals went there but nonetheless pleased because now the charges about his status as a corporate raider enjoy the lustre of bipartisan ship.”
A new Rasmussen survey in Florida shows Mitt Romney with an overwhelming lead over his Republican presidential rivals.
Romney leads with 41%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 19%, Rick Santorum at 15%, Ron Paul at 9% and Jon Hunstman at 5%.
First Read: “If the attacks and scrutiny of Mitt Romney’s Bain record have produced one positive for the former Massachusetts governor, it’s that some conservatives — including those who haven’t been pulling for his campaign — have started to rally to his defense.”
“The bad news: One of the reasons why they’re rallying to his defense is they know the Bain attacks are potentially damaging in a general election… His work there is fair game. After all, he made it the central narrative of his candidacy — he understands the economy and can fix the economy because of his private-sector work.”
Weekly Standard: “For a variety of reasons (the general dislike of government, Romneycare) he chose to make his work at Bain central to his candidacy with constant and over-the-top talk about how he created ‘100,000’ jobs. As such, he invited voters to look at what he did there and determine if they believe it was both (a) admirable and (b) germane to the presidency.”
“In South Carolina — with its tradition of whisper campaigns, automated phone calls that no one takes credit for and possibly illegal efforts to sway voters — politics is a blood sport, supported by a cottage-industry of political strategists,” according to The State.
“Anticipation is building as to whether the next week and a half, leading up to the state’s first-in-the-South primary, will result in the bare-knuckle tactics for which the state is notorious.”
But CNN wonders if the state’s politics are still as nasty as advertised “Few here question that the state has a permissive political culture that sometimes celebrates mischief and mudslinging… But the reality is that it’s been more than a decade since devious tactics like unidentified robocalls or suspicious mailers have derailed a statewide candidacy.”
President Obama “raked in more than $68 million combined for his re-election campaign and the Democratic Party during the final three months of 2011, gearing up for a formidable challenge against his Republican opponent later this year,” the AP reports.
“The large fundraising quarter helped Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee surpass $220 million in 2011, bankrolling the president’s re-election campaign as Republicans settle on a nominee.”
A new Insider Advantage poll in South Carolina shows Mitt Romney with a small lead over his GOP rivals at 23%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 21%, Rick Santorum at 14%, Ron Paul at 13%, Jon Huntsman at 7% and Rick Perry at 5%.
Mitt Romney has “a new plan for a multi-pronged response to the Republican rivals who’ve been bashing his private equity past. Campaign advisers are polishing new messaging, tailored to rebut Republican and Democratic attacks separately. They’re cueing up new commercials,” Politico reports.
“And they’re rolling out a more aggressive approach from the candidate himself, even as the candidates who’d been waging the Bain battle appeared to be retreating from the rhetoric on Wednesday.”
“The change comes following three days of stumbling responses from Romney and campaign aides, who admit they were caught unprepared for the explosion of Bain as the dominant topic of the Republican race — ‘out of nowhere,’ one adviser said. And it comes as Romney is aiming to turn his polling lead into a primary win — an early-state hat trick they hope will quickly establish him as the presumptive GOP nominee.”Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics