POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/10

Romney at 23

Here’s some fascinating video of a 23-year-old Mitt Romney discussing his mother’s U.S. Senate campaign in the summer of 1970.

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Bonus Quote of the Day

“Romney trying to say someone’s out of touch is a little difficult when he’s shopping for car elevators.”

— Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, quoted by Politico.

Swing State Independents Favor Obama

A new Third Way/Global Strategy Group poll of independent voters in a dozen battleground states finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney in a general election match up, 35% to 29%, with 36% still undecided.

Key finding: Obama’s favorability rating is 49% to 47% with these political independents, while Romney is underwater at 41% to 47%.

Greek News Anchor Bombarded on Live TV

Greek protestors hurled eggs and yogurt at television anchor Panagiotis Bourchas while he was interviewing a spokesman for a far-right political organization called Golden Dawn.

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Warren Posts Strong Fundraising Quarter

Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) raised $6.9 million in the first quarter of 2012, more than doubling the incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who raised an impressive $3.4 million, according to The Hotline.

Aaron Blake: “The two candidates have agreed to a pact that discourages outside groups from taking part in their campaign, but their race still promises to be the most expensive Senate race of the year and possibly the most expensive ever. That title belongs to the the Hillary Clinton/Rick Lazio campaign in New York in 2000, when the two combined to raise and spent $70 million. With seven months to go in the 2012 campaign, Brown and Warren have already combined for $35 million — a strong indication that they may eclipse that race.”

Why Deep Throat Leaked

Just published: Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat by Max Holland.

The book claims that Felt was motivated mainly by his desire to become J. Edgar Hoover’s heir at the FBI and calculated his leaks to torpedo President Nixon’s handpicked FBI director, L. Patrick Gray III, along with other rivals for the top job.

However, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein insist to Lloyd Grove that Felt’s motive was patriotism.

Romney Talks More with Gingrich Than Santorum

Mitt Romney said he was in touch with rival Newt Gingrich more often than Rick Santorum,CNN reports.

Romney said he and Gingrich “have spoken from time to time, and actually we have also gotten together with our wives and spoken” while he and Santorum “haven’t had as much interaction, although at each contest’s conclusion we speak with each other. I call him, he calls me, we exchange congratulations. And we’ve had a chance to chat from time to time, and we continue to have a personal respect for one another.”

Vast Majority of Republicans Say Romney is Inevitable

A new Pew Research poll finds 74% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say that Mitt Romney will definitely be the Republican Party’s nominee this fall.

By a 47% to 36% margin, more say it is bad for the party, not good, that the nomination race has not yet been decided and is still going on. Just a month ago, Republicans were split on this question.

Romney Looks for Knock Out in Pennsylvania

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign will spend $2.9 million on advertisements in Pennsylvania over the next two weeks, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports.

National Journal: “That’s more than Romney has spent in any primary state to date, save Florida — more than they spent in Iowa, New Hampshire, even South Carolina… That money gets them saturation-level buys in every major Pennsylvania market except one: Santorum’s home base of Pittsburgh.”

UpdateABC News reports Romney is pulling negative ads in Pennsylvania until Santorum’s daughter is out of the hospital.

Window Closing for a Graceful Santorum Exit

Rick Klein suggests Rick Santorum should strongly consider leaving the GOP presidential race before the April 24 Pennsylvania primary.

“Santorum has now gone from ex-senator who lost his last race in a landslide, to the silver medalist in a chaotic, once-crowded GOP primary. At 53, he’s young enough to have a long future in the party, maybe even as a candidate again some day.”

“Romney’s timely exit in his race against Sen. John McCain in 2008 has been widely cited as the first step toward what’s on track to be a successful bid for the nomination in 2012. For Santorum to follow a similar path, getting out on his own terms is a must. And losing on his own turf would hurt that prospect, perhaps beyond repair.”

Martinez Insists She Won’t Be VP Nominee

The Albuquerque Journal spoke with New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) about her expressed disinterest in the Republican vice presidential nomination this year, noting that “‘no’ doesn’t always hold true when a call from a presidential candidate comes.” However, Martinez back up her “no” with some explanation.

“Martinez told the Journal recently that her responsibility as guardian of her developmentally disabled sister, Lettie, in Las Cruces is one that she can’t take to Washington, D.C., regardless of who calls… Staying in Las Cruces allows Martinez’s 54-year-old sister to remain near their father, Jake, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and lives nearby in El Paso… In an interview a month after her November 2010 election, then-district attorney Martinez said leaving the state in 2012 to become a candidate for vice president would cause doubt among the young New Mexican girls who look up to the governor as a role model partly because of her commitment to the job.”

Ron Paul’s Leverage

As the Republican presidential primary enters its endgame, many pundits and party insiders are asking what role Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul will play for the remainder of the race. The Fix notes that when it comes to making demands, Ron Paul may be in the stronger bargaining position.

“Paul has a group of supporters whose ardor for his message is far greater than any other candidate can boast. Not only that, but Paul’s backers are loyal first and foremost to Paul — not to the Republican party. And that’s what makes Paul potentially influential as the race moves forward… At some point between now an August, Paul and his people will want something — a speaking slot at the national convention? Consideration of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul as a running mate? — from Romney World. They may not get it. But Paul is in a much stronger bargaining position than Gingrich to extract promises from Romney because he can do far more damage if he isn’t placated. ”

Why Romney’s “Out of Touch” Argument Works

Michael Crowley notes that while Mitt Romney has begun attacking President Obama using issues on which he is weak himself, the odds are low that Romney will be “shamed out of these zingers. He is happily taking advantage of two enduring political truths.”

“One is that, while the presidency offers countless political advantages, it does trap its occupant in a bubble of prestige and security that is impossible to avoid. The bubble is especially dangerous in hard economic times, when voters are on watch for politicians who may not be aware of their day-to-day hardships… The second is that stereotypes die hard in politics, and certain attacks are more effective against one party than against the other. Romney may be even more of a Harvard man than Obama is. But he knows that Americans are probably more inclined to think of Democrats as the party of know-it-all academic elites. (It helps that Obama was actually a professor.) In fact, anti-elitism has been a crucial GOP line of attack in every recent election; never mind that in each case the substantive difference was almost nonexistent.”

National GOP Worried About State Parties

National Republicans “have begun to intervene in a handful of key Senate and House battlegrounds where state parties are in disarray, seeking to head off the possibility that local mismanagement could cost the party control of Congress,” Politico reports.

“These ‘orphan states,’ most notably behemoths with traditionally weak parties like California, Illinois and New York, are increasingly the focus of top GOP officials in the nation’s capital this spring.”

Huckabee Lands Romney as First Guest

Mediaite reports Mitt Romney will be the first guest on his former campaign rival Mike Huckabee’s new radio show, debuting today.

Lawmaker Questions Obama Birth Certificate

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) told constituents that she is not convinced President Obama was born in the United States.

Said Hartzler: “I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. I’m just at the same place you are on that. You read this, you read that. But I don’t understand why he didn’t show that right away. I mean, if someone asked for my birth certificate, I’d get my baby book and hand it out and say ‘Here it is,’ so I don’t know.”

She added later: “I have doubts that it is really his real birth certificate, and I think a lot of Americans do, but they claim it is, so we are just going to go with that.”

The Case for Rob Portman as Romney’s Running Mate

Paul Begala: “You heard it here first: Mitt Romney is going to select Rob Portman, the junior senator from Ohio, to be his running mate. I have no insight into how Romney will make this decision. But I had a front-row seat at what I believe was the best veep choice of my lifetime.”

Bill Clinton “was blown away by his meeting with Al Gore and settled on him quickly, even though Gore was the same age, same region, same religion, and same ideology… I’m betting that Romney’s choice will reflect who he is: a bloodless technocrat who wants to double down on trickle down.”

Quote of the Day

“There is still ambivalence on the part of people. Perhaps people are too complacent because the Republican race has been so much of a spectacle.”

— David Axelrod, quoted by BuzzFeed, on the ambivalence of some Democratic campaign donors.

Obama Approval Edges Higher

President Obama’s job approval rating averaged 46% in March, according to Gallup, up from 45% in January and February, and significantly improved over his term-low 41% monthly averages recorded last summer and fall.

Super PAC Readies Anti-Obama Blitz

American Crossroads “is planning to begin its first major anti-Obama advertising blitz of the year, a moment the Obama re-election campaign has been girding for and another sign that the general election is starting in earnest,” the New York Times reports.

“With an anticipated bank account of more than $200 million, officials at American Crossroads said they would probably begin their campaign this month. But they said they would focus the bulk of the first phase from May through July, which they believe is a critical period for making an impression on voters, before summer vacations and the party conventions take place.”

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