POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/16
Jon Huntsman told his advisers that he intends to drop out of the Republican presidential race, the New York Times reports.
He will endorse Mitt Romney’s bid for the Republican nomination this week.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and his leading challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) have agreed to have their campaign managers meet to find a way to “keep outside groups from airing millions of dollars in ads attacking both candidates,” The Hill reports.
“The result — if both candidates make good on the meeting — could be the first attempt at a brokered arrangement between two candidates dealing with outside groups since the game was changed in 2010 by the Citizens United ruling. The dispute also has the two rivals in a marquee Senate race entering largely unchartered territory as they look for ways to restrain outside groups without violating prohibitions on coordinating with them.”
Rick Hasen: “Even if they reach agreement, I predict that there will be tremendous outside spending in this race. Control of the Senate could turn on it. Super PACs will have no incentive to listen to the candidates, whether they are sincere or not in wanting to limit outside spending.”
The super PAC founded by Stephen Colbert, and now under the leadership of Jon Stewart, has released its first ad in South Carolina attacking Mitt Romney for his work at Bain Capital.
Money quote: “As head of Bain Capital he bought companies, carved them up, and got rid of what he couldn’t use. If Mitt Romney really believes ‘Corporation are people, my friend,’ then Mitt Romney is a serial killer.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll in South Carolina shows Romney leading with 37%, followed by Ron Paul at Rick Santorum at 16% and Newt Gingrich dropping back to 16%.
A New Frontier Strategy poll shows Romney leading with 32%, followed by Gingrich at 23%, Santorum at 14%, Paul at 10%, Perry at 6% and Huntsman at 4%.
David Brody: “After a two day meeting at a ranch outside of Houston a group of 150 Christian leaders, business leaders and conservative activists have coalesced behind Rick Santorum.”
“So what does this mean? Expect conservative groups to start individually motivating their constituents to work for Santorum. Also look for more money and resources to start pouring into Santorum’s campaign. No question about it, this is excellent news for Santorum’s camp and a major blow to the Gingrich and Perry camps.”
Fred Thompson denied to Fox News a charge by Mike Huckabee that he was urged to stay in the 2008 presidential race to help split the vote for Sen. John McCain.
Said Thompson: “There’s not one shred of truth to it.”
Huckabee had claimed a day earlier that ahead of the 2008 Republican South Carolina primary, McCain had “certainly encouraged” Thompson to stay in the race.
ABC News reports that the stream of media buys from super PACs in South Carolina is more than double what the Republican primary candidates have spent so far.
“The super PACs, which are allowed to raise unlimited sums but cannot coordinate with candidates, have spent over $7 million so far in the Palmetto State compared to all of the presidential contenders, who have spent a combined total of $3.2 million.”
Stephen Colbert’s super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, now under the leadership of Jon Stewart, has started buying airtime in the South Carolina media market, according to ABC News.
The super PAC has made already purchased nearly $10,000 worth of time on a broadcast station in the Charleston, S.C. area between Jan. 15 and Jan. 19 and is reportedly in negotiations for a “substantial media buy” in the Columbia market.
A new Democracy Corps poll shows that, for the first time in two years, Democrats are winning the generic congressional ballot, 47% to 44%, the result of a major shift among independents.
Key finding: “Two-thirds of all voters now say they disapprove of this Republican Congress and its approval rating has hit a new low in our tracking — 26%. The decline has come from a complete drop-off of those who ‘strongly approve’ of this Republican Congress — down to 8%, also the lowest in our tracking.”