POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/26

Improving Economy Gives Obama a Lift

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found American voters feeling more positively about the economy and of President Obama’s handling of it. Some 30% believed the country was headed in the right direction, up eight points from a month ago. Some 60% said the country was on the wrong track, down from 69% in December.

For the first time in seven months, more people approve of Obama’s job performance than disapprove, 48% to 46%.

 

Buffett Talks Taxes

In an interesting ABC News interview, Warren Buffett lashed out at assertions from Republicans that the “Buffett rule” endorsed last night by President Obama — which says that anyone earning more than a million dollars a year should be taxed at at least 30% — is class warfare.

Said Buffett: “If this is a war, my side has the nuclear bomb.”

See more…

 

Geithner Will Not Serve Another Term

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Bloomberg TV that President Obama is “not going to ask me to stay on, I’m pretty confident. I’m confident he’ll be president. But I’m also confident he’s going to have the privilege of having another secretary of the Treasury.”

 

Romney Holds Small Edge in Florida

A new CNN-Time poll in Florida finds Mitt Romney leading with 36%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 34%, Rick Santorum at 11% and Ron Paul at 9%.

Key findings: “Romney leads Gingrich among female and white voters, voters over 50, and those with a college degree… Gingrich holds leads among men, Tea Party voters, self-identified conservatives — among whom he boasts a 10-point advantage — and born-again Christians. His fans also appear to be more committed than Romney’s.”

 

What’s Up with Mormon Underwear?

Buzzfeed: “Because garments are considered so sacred, Mormons tend to recoil when they hear non-Mormons make casual reference to their underwear — especially in a political context. But if there ever was a time when discussion of the subject could be contained to Mormon circles, now is not it.”

 

Gingrich Says Clinton Comparison Not Fair

Newt Gingrich insisted that there was nothing similar about his personal failings and those of Bill Clinton — even though both were having extramarital affairs in the late 1990s, CNNreports.

Said Gingrich: “I didn’t do the same thing. I have never lied under oath. I have never committed perjury. I have never been involved in a felony. He was.”

Lois Romano: “You got hand it to the guy. He always tries to find a small patch of moral high ground on which to stand. No matter how tiny.”

 

Unemployment Forecast Lower This Year

The Federal Reserve downgraded its outlook for economic growth this year but is slightly more optimistic about the unemployment rate, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Fed expects the economy to grow between 2.2% and 2.7% this year. That’s down from November’s forecast of between 2.5% and 2.9%. But it sees unemployment falling as low as 8.2%, an improvement from November’s bottom rate of 8.5%.

 

Very High Marks for Obama’s Speech

A new CBS News poll finds that 91% of Americans who watched President Obama’s State of the Union address approved of the policy proposals he put forth, while just 9% disapproved.

Caveat: “Americans who watched the speech were generally more Democratic than the nation as a whole. Forty-four percent of viewers polled were Democrats and 25% were Republicans. (Historically speaking, that is not an unusual statistic: a president’s supporters are more likely than his opponents to watch State of the Union addresses.)”

 

Castro Calls Republican Primary Idiotic

Fidel Castro lambasted the Republican presidential race as the greatest competition of “idiocy and ignorance” the world has ever seen, the AP reports.

“Castro’s comments came in a long opinion piece carried by official media two days after Republican presidential hopefuls at a debate in Florida presented mostly hard-line stances on what to do about the Communist-run island, and even speculated as to what would happen to the 85-year-old revolutionary leader’s soul when he dies. Cuba has become an important issue as the candidates court Florida’s influential Cuban-American community in an effort to win the biggest electoral prize so far in the primary season.”

 

Just an Ordinary Swiss Account

While Mitt Romney regularly accuses President Obama of wanting to turn the United States into Europe, a new DNC video asks why Romney puts so much of his money there in secret Swiss bank accounts and other overseas tax havens.

See more…

 

Dumbest Mayor Ever?

When East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo (R) was asked by WPIX-TV what he would do for the Latino community in the aftermath of four police officers being charged with violating the civil rights of Latino residents he said that he might go home and eat tacos.

See more…

 

Gingrich Challenges Pelosi to Reveal Her Secret

Newt Gingrich told NBC News that he doubts Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has any dirt on himas she hinted last night.

Said Gingrich: “She lives in a San Francisco environment of very strange fantasies and very strange understandings of reality. I have no idea what’s in Nancy Pelosi’s head. If she knows something, I have a simple challenge: Spit it out.”

See more…

 

Bachmann Will Run for Re-Election

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) told the AP  she will seek a fourth term in the U.S. House following her failed presidential bid.

 

Romney Wants to Know Pelosi’s Secret

Mitt Romney told Fox News that he wished he knew what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hinted she knows about Newt Gingrich that would derail his presidential bid.

Said Romney: “I wish I knew what that was. I’d tell people what it is right now.”

 

Exchange of the Day

John King, CNN: “Because of your history with Speaker Gingrich, what goes through your mind when you think of the possibility, which is more real today than it was a week or a month ago, that he would be the Republican nominee and that you could come back here next January or next February with a President Gingrich?”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “Let me just say this. That will never happen.”

King: “Why?”

Pelosi: “He’s not going to be President of the United States. That’s not going to happen. Let me just make my prediction and stand by it, it isn’t going to happen.”

King: “Why are you so sure?”

Pelosi: “There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that’s their prerogative. I don’t even think that’s going to happen.”

See more…

 

Gingrich Group Launches New Ad in Florida

A Super PAC aligned with Newt Gingrich just launched a $6 million ad buy in Florida, one day after a $5 million cash infusion by the wife of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Miriam Adelson, First Read reports.

“The new ad being put into the rotation is a hard-hitting one focused on Romney’s health-care plan and him saying he’s a ‘progressive.’ The focus on health care is a shift away from Romney’s time at Bain. Romney really hasn’t taken sustained hits on health care, and it’ll be interesting to see what life is like for him a week later. The ad also likely guarantees health care as a topic at tomorrow night’s debate. The most devastating line of the ad might be — ‘the inventor of government-run health care.'”

That said, even with this new ad buy, Romney and his allies are spending more than double what Gingrich and his supporters are.

 

Walker Leads in Recall Match Ups

A new Marquette Law School Poll in Wisconsin shows Gov. Scott Walker (R) holds leads of six to ten points over four potential Democratic opponents in a possible gubernatorial recall election.

The closest match up is with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), where Walker leads 50% to 44%.

Said pollster Charles Franklin: “The old line ‘you don’t beat somebody with nobody’ is true. Other polls have asked only if Governor Walker should be recalled and have found closer races. But in the end, some specific Democrat will face Governor Walker. This poll is the first of the year to match specific potential Democratic challengers against the governor. The results show a competitive race but one in which Governor Walker starts with an advantage.”

 

Obama Orders Another Navy SEALs Raid

In a daring nighttime raid, U.S. Navy SEALs rescued two hostages, including one American, who were being held by kidnappers in Somalia, MSNBC reports.

The details are reminiscent of the raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden: “two teams of Navy SEALs landed by helicopter near the compound where the two hostages were being held. As the SEALS approached the compound on foot gunfire broke out, the U.S. officials said, and several of the militants were reportedly killed… The SEALs gathered up Buchanan and Thisted, loaded them onto the helicopters and flew them to safety at an undisclosed location. The two hostages were not injured during the rescue operation and are reported to be in relatively good condition.”

“The first indication of the rescue operation came Tuesday night in Washington from President Obama himself. As the president entered the House chambers to give his State of the Union Speech, he pointed to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta standing in the crowd and said, ‘Leon. Good job tonight. Good job tonight.'”

 

Reaction to Obama’s State of the Union Speech

In case you missed it, the Daily Beast has compiled video clips of the “best moments” from President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night.

Andrew Sullivan: “I was hoping for a vision. I was hoping for real, strategic reform. What we got was one big blizzard of tax deductions, wrapped in a populist cloak. It was treading water. I suspect this will buoy liberal spirits, but anger the right and befuddle the independents. It definitely gives the Republican case against Obama as a big government meddler more credibility. I may be wrong – but the sheer cramped, tedious, mediocre micro-policies he listed were uninspiring to say the least… We voted for Obama; now we find we got another Clinton.”

Mark Halperin: “The speech was clearly poll tested to within an inch of its life, filled with programs and themes of broad appeal running from the left to the center right. Rhetorically reached out to the opposition by invoking national security, the need to get Washington working and a few familiar areas of common ground (entitlement and education reform). But much of the speech focused on policies that divide the parties absolutely. And, judging by the press releases and tweets from the Republican leadership, this State of the Union address will serve to lay down markers for November’s election rather than break the current gridlock.”

Jonathan Chait: “The first two years of the Obama presidency were a frantic rush of policymaking with barely any concern for political messaging, which suffered as a result. Tonight’s State of the Union Address was just the opposite. President Obama knows full well that Republicans in Congress will block everything. In the absence of policy, he is backfilling the political narrative… It was the speech of a man who realizes that he has only one thing left to do, and that is to win reelection.”

Jonathan Cohn: “But after the election, there will be a chance to govern again. Expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the onset of spending cuts from last summer’s budget deal will force decisions on fiscal policy. With this speech, Obama is not merely trying to win reelection, although he is quite obviously trying to do that. He is also laying the groundwork for those negotiations, should he have a chance, as the president-reelect, to drive them.”

Glenn Thrush: “He didn’t talk like this in 2011. Or in 2010. Or in 2009 — when he was trying to cultivate the image of a post-partisan pragmatist… But voters, including liberals, are furious with Washington and demanding a more populist tone. It’s an atmosphere that gives a distinct advantage to gritty Newt Gingrich, a millionaire at ease with working-class voters, over the slicker Romney, a millionaire who isn’t. And the president’s team has clearly taken notice.”

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