POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/23

GOP Debate Reaction

Tonight’s Republican debate was easily one of the worst of the presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney was armed with opposition research on Rick Santorum but didn’t come close to a knock out. The audience — which was definitely slanted towards Romney — helped cover for many clumsy mistakes. His attempts to throw red meat to conservatives exacerbated his in-authenticity. Nonetheless, Romney did not lose and at the very least held his ground.

Santorum acted as though he was still a non-contender. It’s almost as if he decided in the middle of the debate to run for vice president instead. He also showed how hard it is to run for president with a U.S. Senate voting record. However, he did real damage to Romney in their heated exchange on RomneyCare.

Newt Gingrich scored many points but it’s unclear how he gains against either Santorum or Romney. In the end, he wasn’t much of a factor.

Ron Paul, as always, was consistent on both advancing his libertarian agenda and in helping Romney by attacking Santorum.

The real winner tonight was President Obama. After 20 debates, his potential rivals have done wonders for his re-election chances.

Is Arizona a Swing State?

President Obama’s re-election campaign says they will compete hard in Arizona and a newPublic Policy Polling survey suggests they should.

Obama is now tied with Mitt Romney in Arizona at 47%, a dramatic improvement from November when he trailed by 7 points. He leads Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich each by 4 points, 46% to 42% and 48% to 44% respectively. The only Republican he actually runs behind is Rick Santorum, although only by a single point at 47% to 46%.

Stock Market Does Much Better Under Democrats

“While Republicans promote themselves as the friendliest party for Wall Street, stock investors do better when Democrats occupy the White House,” Bloomberg reports.

In fact, since John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, $1,000 invested in a hypothetical fund that tracks the S&P 500 “only when Democrats are in the White House would have been worth $10,920 at the close of trading yesterday. That’s more than nine times the dollar return an investor would have realized from following a similar strategy during Republican administrations.”

“The Democratic edge is so large that the party comes out ahead even without counting Bill Clinton (the Democrat with the biggest S&P 500 gain) and George W. Bush (the Republican with the worst market record). A hypothetical $1,000 investment under Democrats excluding Clinton was worth $3,539 versus $3,296 invested under Republicans except Bush.”

Is Mormonism Off Limits?

Rick Santorum’s aides tell Byron York it’s unfair that reporters are asking questions about aspects of Santorum’s faith and not asking similar questions about Mitt Romney’s.

“Of course, Santorum has spoken more publicly about the details of his religious beliefs than Romney has, and that is why some of the questions are popping up now… But specifically religious questioning of Romney is as rare as specific Romney statements about Mormon beliefs. Given the current grilling of Santorum, that is a source of growing frustration to Santorum’s advisers.”

Asked one aide: “Why is Mormonism off limits? I’m not saying it’s a seminal issue in the campaign, but we’re having to spend days answering questions about Rick’s faith, which he has been open about.”

Santorum Up Big in Oklahoma

A new Rasmussen survey in Oklahoma finds Rick Santorum with a big lead over Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential race with 43%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 22%, Mitt Romney at 18%, and Ron Paul at 7%.

The Oklahoma primary is on March 6.

Radioactive Rhetoric

John Avlon notes that for all the entertainment of the GOP presidential debates “there is a civic cost to the radioactive rhetoric that gets thrown out to excite the conservative crowds.”

“It’s not just that the most irresponsible candidates can play to the base and get a boost in the polls, while more sober-minded candidates like Jon Huntsman fail to get attention. The real damage is to the process of running for president itself. Because when low blows get rewarded, the incentive to try to emulate Lincoln — holding yourself to a higher standard — is diminished. And one barometer of this atmospheric shift is in the increasingly overheated rhetoric by candidates attacking the current president. This serial disrespect ends up unintentionally diminishing the office of president itself.”

Gingrich Urged to be Himself

(But that would be a horse’s a _ _! fvm)

The New York Times notes that Newt Gingrich, “more than any other candidate, has seen his fortunes ebb and flow with debates, and there is a consensus in his team that his big loss in Florida’s Republican presidential primary last month was in no small part because of debates in which he strained to look above the fray. According to one top aide, Mr. Gingrich’s two daughters had advised him to strike a presidential pose, but that was not the Newt Gingrich voters craved.”

Five Money Men

National Journal analysis of January’s campaign-disclosure filings reveals that 25% of all the money raised by Super PACs came from just five donors.

Georgia Democrats Propose Limits on Vasectomies

As a Georgia lawmakers weigh a ban on most women getting abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, Democratic lawmakers protested the move by introducing a bill that would drastically limit vasectomies, the Augusta Chronicle reports.

The biil calls for no more vasectomies that leave “thousands of children… deprived of birth.”

Said state Rep. Yasmin Neal (D): “Women’s reproductive rights are always debated. No one ever talks about the male side of the issue. We just want them to know how it feels just this once… It’s about fairness and showing how preposterous the abortion bill is.”

Cantor’s New Leadership Style?

The Hill provides a behind-the-scenes look at how House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) successfully navigated the STOCK Act, the bill that would apply insider trading laws to members of Congress, through the House with bipartisan support.

“Cantor…wanted to study, expand and build support for an insider-trading bill that would garner support from a large majority of House GOP legislators. In doing so, the majority leader read Throw Them All Out, the book by Peter Schweizer that served as the basis for the ’60 Minutes’ report… As the House deliberated, the Democrat-led Senate pounced. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) bypassed committee action and quickly passed the chamber’s version of the STOCK Act. ”

“Cantor, who is not shy in mixing it up with Democrats, refrained from responding to the attacks and worked to win over skeptical House Republicans. From late December until its passage in February, Cantor met with scores of members, talked with the counsels on six of the committees with jurisdiction and briefed the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) and the entire House GOP conference… In an unanticipated twist as the measure neared consideration on the House floor, Cantor praised Walz and Slaughter in a press release. He also called Walz for help to pass the insider-trading bill.”

Trump Does Robo-Call for Romney

Mitt Romney enlisted Donald Trump for a robo-call in Michigan which is highly critical of Rick Santorum, ABC News reports.

Says Trump on the call: “This is Donald Trump and I have to tell you that I’m tired of Rick Santorum pretending that he’s some kind of DC outsider.”

He notes Santorum is a “career politician” who has “never had a job in the private sector” and also accuses Santorum of working as a lobbyist.

Perry Leaning Towards Re-Election Bid

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) told the Texas Tribune that he is leaning toward running for re-election in 2014 and possibly another stab at the White House two years after that.

“There are no term limits in Texas… If he does run, Perry could wind up serving a total of 18 years in the governor’s office and he would complicate the plans of a host of other statewide elected officials.”

The Memo Summers Didn’t Want Obama to See

Noam Scheiber has a memo from the early days of the Obama administration in which chief economist Christy Romer argued that a more substantial economic stimulus was needed. However, top economic adviser Larry Summers thought it politically impractical and made sure the larger recommendation was never shown to the president.

“When Romer showed Summers her $1.7-to-$1.8 trillion figure late the week before the memo was due, he dismissed it as impractical. So Romer spent the next day or two coming up with a reasonable compromise: $1.2 trillion. In a revised document that she sent Summers over the weekend, she included the $1.2 trillion figure, along with two more limited options: about $600 billion and about $850 billion. At first, Summers gave her every indication that all three figures would appear in the memo he was sending the president-elect. But with less than twenty-four hours before the memo needed to be in Obama’s hands, Summers informed her that he was inclined to strike the $1.2 trillion figure.”

Roemer to Launch Independent Bid

Buddy Roemer will end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and announce he’ll seek to run as an independent candidate.

Said Roemer in a statement: “I have decided to take my campaign directly to the American people by declaring my candidacy for Americans Elect. Also, after many discussions with The Reform Party, I am excited to announce my intentions of seeking their nomination.”

Santorum Leads GOP Field in Wisconsin

A new Marquette Law School Poll in Wisconsin finds Rick Santorum leading the GOP presidential field with 34%, followed by Mitt Romney at 18%, Ron Paul at 17% and Newt Gingrich at 12%.

The Wisconsin GOP primary, which allows any registered voter to participate, is scheduled for April 3.

In general election match ups, President Obama leads each of his GOP rivals by double digits.

Republicans Losing Interest in Presidential Race

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds nterest in the Republican presidential race is slipping: Just 40% of Republicans say they have a great deal of interest in following the contest, compared with 48% in December.

Key findings: Only 23% are strongly satisfied with the field and 40% said they are dissatisfied with the candidates running.

Barbour Says Brokered Convention Unlikely

Former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour (R) tells National Review that a contested Republican convention is a possible, though “highly unlikely,” scenario.

Said Barbour: “There is an outside chance, unlikely though it is, that you could get to the convention and have three or four candidates still in the race, none of them close to having a majority of delegates. But the idea that there would be a contested convention, where you actually arrive in Tampa and nobody has the votes, would defy decades of history.”

He added: “The operative word is ‘could.’ Could? Yeah. Likely? No.”

Meanwhile, a new Quinnipiac poll finds that if none of the candidates currently running wins enough delegates to earn the nomination, Republicans prefer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over Sarah Palin, Jeb Bush and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Sink Floats Rematch with Scott

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, failed Florida gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink (D) floated the possibility of a rematch against the man who defeated her, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who remains unpopular in the state.

Said Sink: “Of course, I’ve thought about it. Many, many people are encouraging me. Even strangers who I’ve never met before would like to see me back.

Neck-and-Neck in Michigan

A new NBC News-Marist poll finds Mitt Romney edging Rick Santorum in the GOP presidential race, 37% to 35%, followed by Ron Paul at 13% and Newt Gingrich 8%.

Romney Hold Solid Lead in Arizona

A new NBC News-Marist poll in Arizona finds Mitt Romney leading the GOP primary with 43% of likely voters, followed by Rick Santorum at 27%, Newt Gingrich at 16% and Ron Paul at 11%.

Santorum Still Leads Nationally

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Rick Santorum leads the Republican presidential field with 35% among Republican voters, followed by Mitt Romney at 26%, Newt Gingrich at 14% and Ron Paul at 11%.

Santorum leads Romney in a head-to-head match up by 50% to 37%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Santorum’s lead among Republican voters and GOP-leaning independents is built on the votes of Republican men, Tea Party supporters and white evangelical Christians.”

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds Santorum at 33%, Romney at 32%, Gingrich at 15% and Paul at 15%.

Obama Spends More, Raises Less

An analysis by the Boston Globe shows that President Obama “did not raise as much money from supporters last month as he did during January 2008 in his first campaign for the White House,” and he is also “using up cash at a far greater rate than the last incumbent to seek reelection, George W. Bush in 2004.”

The numbers: “Contributions to Obama and the Democratic National Committee combined were down 30 percent last month compared with January four years ago. Together they raised $29.1 million in January. That is down from $41.7 million in January 2008… The Obama campaign spent $17.2 million last month, leaving $76 million cash on hand. Eight years ago, Bush raised $12.9 million in January, spent $7.6 million, and had $104.4 million in the bank heading into February… But the campaign also had a payroll of nearly 360 employees in the last quarter of 2011, about 200 more than Bush-Cheney during a comparable period eight years earlier.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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