POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/16

 

Politics No Longer Stops at the Water’s Edge

Reid Wilson: “Politics, it appears, no longer stops at the water’s edge. Once upon a time, in the good ol’ days, both parties avoided criticizing each other in front of foreign audiences. But as national politics have grown more partisan, trashing a rival is now par for the course regardless of location.”

Romney Campaign Staff Grows

The Boston Globe notes Mitt Romney’s often “secretive and always loyal” group of advisers “now face their ultimate test: transitioning from a relatively small circle that guided Romney through bruising primaries to a group that is expected to grow far larger in just a matter of weeks in order to reset the campaign for a general election fight against President Obama.”

“A number of those in the inner core have not previously worked in a presidential general election campaign, and new players with national experience recently have begun joining the campaign, potentially challenging the hierarchy with which Romney feels so comfortable… The expansion, and the potential change that comes with it, will be swift. Romney’s campaign is preparing a dramatic increase in manpower, with the current full-time staff of about 80 expected to reach 400 in the coming weeks, according to a Romney aide.”

Quote of the Day

“I haven’t gotten the call and I doubt I will. I just go merrily on about doing my business.”

— Mike Huckabee, in an interview on Fox News Sunday, about whether he’ll be picked as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

A Tale of Two Incumbents

The Hotline notes the vastly different circumstances of two old bull Republican Senators: Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

“The consensus around Sen. Richard Lugar’s re-election bid has changed markedly, from all-out optimism that he would easily dispatch challenger Richard Mourdock to downright pessimism, bordering on resignation… Meanwhile, things keep looking better for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. He announced strong fundraising numbers this week — over $3 million in the bank for a potential primary (former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist has $242,000 after putting in $300,000 of his own money). And it still seems possible he could avoid a primary altogether: a poll his campaign released of convention delegates showed him with 61 percent support, just above the 60 percent threshold needed to win the nomination outright.”

Republicans Angered By Cantor Donation

A number of Republican lawmakers anonymously vented to The Hill about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) recent $25,000 donation to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a super PAC that aims to defeat incumbents.

“One veteran lawmaker, upset with the majority leader’s perceived aggression toward members of his own party, said House GOP members will now fear payback when they speak out or vote against leadership… The drama is a continuation of Cantor’s move to take sides in the member vs. member Illinois Republican primary that pitted freshman Adam Kinzinger — Cantor’s pick — vs. 20-year incumbent Don Manzullo.”

Big Donors More Likely to Visit White House

New York Times review of campaign donations and White House access logs shows that those who donated the most to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party since he started running for president were far more likely to visit the White House than others.

“Among donors who gave $30,000 or less, about 20 percent visited the White House, according to a New York Times analysis that matched names in the visitor logs with donor records. But among those who donated $100,000 or more, the figure rises to about 75 percent. Approximately two-thirds of the president’s top fund-raisers in the 2008 campaign visited the White House at least once, some of them numerous times.”

Secret Service Scandal Widens

The rapidly unfolding prostitution scandal involving as many as a dozen Secret Service agents has upstaged President Obama’s trip to Columbia, where he is discussing trade and the economy with 32 other heads of state, the Washington Post reports.

“Though the agency has said Obama’s security was not compromised, the allegations of misconduct have brought intense scrutiny to an agency that had not had any major lapse since 2009, when two party crashers entered the White House uninvited. But the incident continued to grow Saturday when the Defense Department announced that five military personnel, who also are staying at the Hotel Caribe, violated curfew Wednesday night and have been confined to their rooms.”

New York Times: “Much remained murky, including the precise number of agents under scrutiny and the timeline, and officials emphasized that the investigation was still in its early stages.”

What We Learned from the GOP Primaries

Peggy Noonan: “The next king is the firstborn son of the current king. In political terms, the guy who came in second in the last presidential cycle stands most likely to be crowned and anointed in the current one. Republicans, for all their drama, still tend toward the orderly and still credit experience.”

Secret Service Agents Relieved of Duty in Prostitution Scandal

Secret Service agents sent to Colombia ahead of President Obama were sent home amid allegations of misconduct, CNN reports.

“The incident — reportedly related to involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena — overshadowed the start of the sixth Summit of the Americas, where the president was to focus on trade, energy and regional security.”

Ronald Kessler, author of In the President’s Service, said it’s “the biggest scandal in Secret Service history.”

According to Kessler, “One of the agents did not pay one of the prostitutes, and she complained to the police.”

Adviser Says Romney Not as Anti-Immigrant as he Sounds

Fred Barnes suggests Mitt Romney “would be wise to move away from his harsh position” on immigration in the primaries because he “can’t afford to lose the Hispanic vote as decisively as John McCain — who won just 31% of it — did in 2008.”

“According to a Romney adviser, his private view of immigration isn’t as anti-immigrant as he often sounded.”

E.J. Dionne: “How many other ‘private’ positions does Romney hold that we don’t know about?”

Today’s Republicans Most Conservative in 100 Years

NPR reports on research by political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal who find that the Republican Party is the most conservative it has been a century.

Said Poole: “The short version would be since the late 1970s starting with the 1976 election in the House the Republican caucus has steadily moved to the right ever since. It’s been a little more uneven in the Senate. The Senate caucuses have also moved to the right. Republicans are now furtherest to the right that they’ve been in 100 years.”

Obama Celebrates RomneyCare

President Obama’s re-election campaign puts out a video to mark the 6th anniversary of Mitt Romney’s health care reform in Massachusetts.

See more…

Why Clinton 2016 Speculaton Won’t Die

Paul Begala notes the speculation that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will run for president in four years has only intensified in the months since she declared she wouldn’t run.

It helps that she’s required to stay out of electoral politics.

“Hillary benefits from the fact that the job is designed to be above the political fray; she hasn’t had to comment on, say, gay marriage or the Trayvon Martin case. It’s a paradox Hillary must understand: the less political you are, the more popular a politician you become; the less you yearn for the presidency, the more the country yearns for you.”

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