POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/25
Here’s the complete text of President Obama’s State of the Union address as released by the White House:
Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought – and several thousand gave their lives.
We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.
Jonathan Cohn: “Once again, today’s biggest political news isn’t about the Republican candidates or the President, even though the former are battling in Florida and the latter is about to give the State of the Union address. It’s the latest Gallup survey, which shows economic confidence has risen sharply since August and is now at levels not seen since May. That report is consistent with the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, in which confidence in the economy reaches its highest rate in months.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “The overall numbers are still not very good. But confidence as measured by Gallup has fully recovered from a summer slump, and is rallying to close to its post-recession highs, and is well above the levels from George W. Bush’s last year in office. For now, anyway.”
The latest Gallup tracking poll shows Newt Gingrich leading the Republican presidential field nationally with 31%, followed by Mitt Romney at 27%, Rick Santorum at 12% and Ron Paul at 12%.
A new Rasmussen survey has similar results: Gingrich leads with 35%, followed by Romney at 28%, Santorum at 12% and Paul at 12%.
Mitt Romney’s campaign released hundreds of pages of tax documents, the New York Times reports, “providing an inside glimpse into his sprawling investments, both in the United States and abroad, in an effort to dampen the attacks on his wealth that have become a central focus of the Republican presidential nominating battle.”
“Mr. Romney and his wife, Ann, had an effective federal income tax rate in 2010 of 13.9 percent, paying about $3 million in taxes on an adjusted gross income of $21.6 million, the vast majority of it flowing from a myriad of stock holdings, mutual funds and other investments… That rate will rise to 15.4 percent for 2011, when the couple expects to report an adjusted gross income of about $20.9 million.”
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Mitt Romney’s popularity has dropped dramatically with an unfavorable rating at 49% and favorable rating at 31%.
It’s even worse among independents: 51% don’t view him favorably while just 23% do.
Jonathan Chait: “The Obama campaign would almost certainly still prefer to run against Gingrich. But the electability gap between the two leading contenders is dwindling. No wonder more and more conservatives are frantically casting about for a new candidate to jump in and save the day.”
“My ability to organize and orchestrate things would be vastly greater than a normal politician.”
— Newt Gingrich, quoted by CBN News.
A new We Ask America poll in Florida shows Mitt Romney leading his GOP presidential rivals with 34%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 32%, Rick Santorum at 9% and Ron Paul at 8%.
A new Florida Chamber poll shows Gingrich and Romney deadlocked at 33% each in Florida.
New York magazine has a must-read piece on how political campaigns go negative:
“What these negative tacticians are attempting to do is to simplify. Psychologists talk about the ‘availability heuristic,’ the tendency of a person to judge something, or someone, by the most readily available information. If viewers are told in a well-produced movie, for instance, that Romney laid off workers at a factory to enrich himself while running private-equity firm Bain Capital — regardless of whether it was three or four instances out of 100, or whether he ultimately created more jobs than he destroyed — they’ll tend to assume the single illustration demonstrates the greater truth because it’s the most immediate example.”
“The best way to exploit the availability heuristic, political consultants know, is to find the unstable territory between the legitimate facts and a smear.”
David Frum: “It’s striking that almost none of Gingrich’s former colleagues in the House has endorsed him for president. Striking that nobody associated with a past Republican presidential association has done so. He is a candidate of talk-show hosts and local activists — and of course of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin — but not of those who know him best and have worked with him most closely. Gingrich may raise more money after his South Carolina win. But prediction: Romney will raise even more, among the great national network of Republicans who recognize that to nominate Gingrich is to commit party suicide.”
“Amidst the bipartisan banter of election season, there persists an enduring belief that people get more conservative as they age — making older people more likely to vote for Republican candidates,” according to Discovery News.
“Ongoing research, however, fails to back up the stereotype… In fact, studies show that people may actually get more liberal over time when it comes to certain kinds of beliefs. That suggests that we are not pre-determined to get stodgy, set in our ways or otherwise more inflexible in our retirement years.”
Jon Meacham: “The analogous elements are obvious. Like Nixon, Gingrich is smart, with a wide-ranging and entrepreneurial mind. Like Nixon, Gingrich is a striver who seems insecure around traditional establishment figures even though he has achieved much more than nearly all of the politicians, editors and reporters he seems to at once loathe and fear. Like Nixon, Gingrich is fluent in the vernacular of cultural populism, brilliantly casting contemporary American life in terms of an overarching conflict between ‘real’ people and distant ‘elites’ bent on the destruction of all that is good and noble about the United States.”
“At the moment, that record is held by the 2000 New York Senate race between Hillary Clinton and Rep. Rick Lazio (R). The two candidates raised and spent a combined $70 million in that contest — about $40 million by Lazio and $30 million by Clinton,” Aaron Blakereports.
“With Brown and Warren approaching $25 million raised at the end of 2011, they would need to raise and spend another $45 million in 2012 to break the record. Given the quickening pace of donations, that looks likely.”