POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/20

Chick Nonfiction?

Douglas Brinkley reviews The Obamas by Jodi Kantor:

“The difference when a head of state’s spouse performs an advisory role is that both the content and its consequences resonate through a lot more than one household. And that’s the point of Jodi Kantor’s new book, The Obamas. Call it chick nonfiction, if you will; this book is not about politics, it’s about marriage, or at least one marriage, and a notably successful one at that.”

 

Santorum Expands Lead Over Romney

Rick Santorum now leads Mitt Romney by eight points nationally in the Gallup tracking poll, 36% to 28%, with Newt Gingrich at 13% and Ron Paul at 11%.

 

Payroll Tax Deal Pushes U.S. Closer to Debt Ceiling

The payroll tax extension that Congress passed last week “accelerated the timeline for another battle over the debt ceiling,” The Hill reports.

“The debt-ceiling agreement lawmakers approved in August established a cooling-off period, with enough borrowing to see the country through until after the November election. But a sequel to the debt-ceiling drama could be coming to Washington sooner than planned, thanks to the billions of dollars in deficit spending in the payroll tax agreement.”

 

Starbucks CEO Not Interested in Running

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who has been floated as a possible presidential candidate for a third-party run, said that he had “no interest in public office,” reports National Journal.

 

First Look at Game Change

Variety previews the movie Game Change, premiering on March 10, based on the best-selling book about the 2008 campaign by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin,

The authors “have a cameo, as reporters hounding Schmidt during the Republican National Convention. Schmidt is complaining about the unfair, personal media coverage of Palin in the initial days of the St. Paul convention, and even points out that he’s been asked the ‘shameful’ question of when the Alaska governor’s fluid leaked during her pregnancy. Heilemann then shoots back, ‘So when did it start leaking?'”

 

Obama Trails GOP Rivals in Iowa

A new Des Moines Register poll in Iowa shows President Obama trails three of the four Republican candidates in head-to-head match-ups if the election were held today.

The Republican with the biggest lead: Ron Paul, who would defeat Obama by 7 percentage points, 49% to 42%. Rick Santorum leads Obama 48% to 44%. Mitt Romney leads Obama 46% to 44%.The president defeats only Newt Gingrich, 51% to 37%.

“Iowa is considered a swing state in the general election, critical to Obama’s re-election or victory by the Republican nominee.”

 

Arizona Republican Denies Threatening to Deport Ex-Lover

Paul Babeu (R), an Arizona county sheriff and congressional candidate — “who became the face of Arizona border security nationally after he started stridently opposing illegal immigration — threatened his Mexican ex-lover with deportation when the man refused to promise never to disclose their years-long relationship,” the Phoenix New Times reports.

Babeu told the Arizona Republic the allegations are “completely false” and that the only information mentioned in the article that’s true is “I’m gay.”

 

Senator Predicts Panic if Romney Loses Michigan

A prominent Republican senator tells Jon Karl that if Mitt Romney can’t win in Michigan, “the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race.”

“The senator believes Romney will ultimately win in Michigan but says he will publicly call for the party to find a new candidate if he does not.”

Mike Allen: “A tippy-top Republican, unprompted, yesterday sketched the germ of a plan for a new candidate if Rick Santorum upsets Mitt Romney in the Michigan primary on Feb. 28… Our friend handed us a printout of FEC deadlines for ballot access, with five of them circled and starred: California (March 23), Montana (March 12), New Jersey (April 2), New Mexico (March 16) and South Dakota (March 27). The point: Even after Feb. 28, it might be possible to assemble a Hail Mary candidacy that could garner enough delegates to force a CONTESTED convention (a different nuance than BROKERED, which implies that someone is in charge).”

 

Getting Closer in Michigan

A new Inside Michigan Politics poll shows Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum deadlocked in the Michigan GOP presidential primary with 33% each, followed by Ron Paul at 7% and Newt Gingrich at 5%.

After one night in the field, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows Santorum with a smaller lead than the 15 point lead he held last week.

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