POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/26

Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to the Polls Yet

With more polls of the presidential race every day, Nate Silver reminds that “the election is still more than six months away, and in the past 10 presidential campaigns, the national polling leader in late April has won the election only half of the time.”

 

Very Tight Race in Four Key States

The latest Purple Poll finds an extremely close presidential race in four key swing states which “represent the crown jewels of both campaigns’ strategies to win 270 electoral votes.”

President Obama leads Mitt Romney in Ohio 49% to 44%, and holds a slight lead in Virginia, 48% to 46%. The candidates are tied in Colorado, 47% to 47%, while Romney has the edge in Florida, 47% to 45%.

 

Why Romney Owes Gingrich and Santorum

Molly Ball: “By behaving childishly and running totally amateurish campaigns, they made Romney look good. Next to Santorum’s inability to stay on message, Romney’s gaffes looked minor. Next to Gingrich’s petulant posturing, Romney looked like a grown-up. Next to both men’s improvised, bare-bones efforts, Romney’s flawed operation looked like the Cadillac of political campaigns. In losing in the most undignified manner possible, Gingrich made Romney shine. And for that, Romney owes Gingrich his gratitude.”

 

GOP Leaders Began Plotting on Inauguration Night

Another tidbit from Do Not Ask What Good We Do by Robert Draper, courtesy of theHuffington Post:

“As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington, D.C… For several hours in the Caucus Room (a high-end D.C. establishment), the book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform.”

“The dinner lasted nearly four hours. They parted company almost giddily.”

 

Romney Spent $18.50 per Vote

CNN Money analysis finds Mitt Romney spent a total of $76.6 million on his presidential campaign through the end of March, more than the combined spending of Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

That’s equal to $18.50 per vote and $126,000 per delegate won in the primaries and caucuses.

 

Dead Heat in Arizona

A new Rocky Mountain Poll in Arizona finds President Obama edging Mitt Romney, 42% to 40% with a high 18% undecided.

Two days ago, a Merrill/Morrisson Institute poll found Romney ahead by two points.

 

Romney’s Backbone

Jason Zengerle has a must-read profile of Erik Fehrnstrom, the Mitt Romney aide probably now best known for his Etch-a-Sketch comments.

“He wears the uniform of the modern political consultant — iPad tucked in the crook of his arm, open-collared shirt, rectangular-framed glasses — but his fleshy face and thick New England accent betray a rougher core. And far from reining in Romney, he performs the opposite service for his client: Fehrnstrom toughens him up… The best political operatives are the ones who provide their clients with a tangible quality the candidate himself lacks. If Karl Rove was Bush’s brain, then Fehrnstrom is Romney’s balls.”

 

Marco Rubio, Then and Now

“The most articulate and talented teleprompter reader in America.”

— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), quoted by the New York Times, mocking President Obama in 2010.

“I left my last page of the speech, does anyone have my last page? Did I Ieave it with you?”

— Rubio, while giving a speech today at the Brookings Institution.

See more…

 

Bush Foreign Policy, Inc.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is going into business with two other top officials from the George W. Bush administration, the AP reports.

“Gates will join an international consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley. The new firm, to be called RiceHadleyGates, is based in California and Washington, D.C.”

 

Carter Would be Comfortable with Romney

Former President Jimmy Carter told MSNBC that President Obama would likely win re-election this fall, but said that he would be fine with Mitt Romney as president.

Said Carter: “I’d rather have a Democrat but I would be comfortable — I think Romney has shown in the past, in his previous years as a moderate or progressive… that he was fairly competent as a governor and also running the Olympics as you know. He’s a good solid family man and so forth, he’s gone to the extreme right wing positions on some very important issues in order to get the nomination. What he’ll do in the general election, what he’ll do as president I think is different.”

See more…

 

When the Adviser Becomes the Story

One risk that Mitt Romney (R) — or any candidate for president — faces as he rapidly builds a presidential campaign geared towards the general election is the close scrutiny paid to staff selections. Nowhere is this more evident than in the backlash “from the left and right” against Romney’s selection of Richard Grenell as a national security and foreign policy adviser, reports the Washington Post.

“Grenell, who spent seven years at the United Nations heading the communications department for the U.S. mission, has had to scrub snarky tweets aimed at women — particularly Democrats and liberals — and the media, while the Romney campaign has had to fend off criticism from social conservatives who object to Grenell’s appointment because he is gay.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, ‘Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean.’ I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying.”

— President Obama, in a Rolling Stone interview.

 

Has Obama Found a Way to Attack Romney’s Wealth?

As the presidential campaign gets underway and President Obama and Mitt Romney search for useful attacks on one another, Tim Alberta thinks the Obama team has “achieved plausible deniability” for running against Romney’s wealth “without ever explicitly mentioning their target.”

“They know that attacking Romney for his prosperity and privileged background is terrible politics. But they also recognize that Romney’s wealth speaks to his single biggest vulnerability, the perception of being an out-of-touch aristocrat who can’t empathize with the struggles of everyday Americans. Obama, on the other hand, possesses the unique ability among politicians to connect with voters by saying he feels their pain — and then proving it… With Romney finally emerging as their all-but-official opponent, it appears Obama’s team thinks the most effective way to force this implicit comparison upon the American electorate is by reminding them not of Romney’s rich background, but of Obama’s humble beginnings. And America loves an underdog.”

 

Raese Defends Nugent for Obama Comments

video at a campaign event shows West Virginia U.S. Senate candidate John Raese (R) coming to Ted Nugent’s defense, calling the musician a “patriot” and saying that “it’s a concern” that the Secret Service investigated Nugent’s inflammatory remarks threatening President Obama.

See more…

 

Santorum Reluctantly Endorses Romney

Piers Morgan put Rick Santorum on the spot last night and squeezed out an unenthusiastic endorsement of Mitt Romney:

MORGAN: You believe that Mitt Romney’s the right guy?

SANTORUM: I believe he’s the better — obviously I believed I was the better choice. But I’m not in the race anymore.

MORGAN: He has won the race. Is he therefor the right guy?

SANTORUM: Absolutely. He is the person that is going to go up against Barack Obama. It’s pretty clear. We need to win this race.

MORGAN: Unless I’m mishearing things, you just endorsed Mitt Romney.

SANTORUM: If that’s what you want to call it, you can call it whatever you want.

First Read: “After reading that exchange and also seeing Gingrich stay in the race probably a month too long (after not winning Alabama and Mississippi), we have this question: Did both Santorum and Gingrich hold out too long? What does Romney owe them now? Hope they enjoy speaking in the afternoon in Tampa.”

 

President Obama “Slow Jams” the News

Must-watch video: President Obama “slow jams” the news with Jimmy Fallon.

See more…

 

Former Aide Testifies Against Edwards

“The second day of testimony at the John Edwards campaign-financing trial was like sitting down to reread the juiciest and most salacious parts of Andrew Young’s book, The Politician. In other words, it was filled with exactly the kinds of allegations that the two-time presidential candidate never wanted aired in public again,” Diane Diamond reports.

Melinda Henneberger: “As star witnesses go, Young was none too shiny; he repeatedly got flustered, annoyed the judge by mumbling, and raced through those answers that were at variance with his tell-all book… Still, two crucial things Young said under oath Tuesday did ring true: His detailed description of how Edwards persuaded him to claim paternity for the child the candidate himself had fathered with Rielle Hunter was credible. And when Young said his motivation for agreeing to do such a thing was completely opportunistic — ‘I wanted my friend to become president because a lot of benefits go along with that’ — he was at his most convincing.”

 

A Weak Nominee

While there is little question that Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee,Smart Politics notes that Romney continues to wrap up the nomination in a historically weak fashion.

“Over the last 40 years there have been nearly 80 contests in which the presumptive Republican nominees played out the string after their last credible challenger exited the race. In every one of these contests, the GOP frontrunner won at least 60% of the vote, even when ex- and long-shot candidates remained on the ballot. But on Tuesday, Romney won only 56% of the vote in Delaware and 58% in Pennsylvania, home to Rick Santorum who dropped out on April 10th.”

 

Rubio’s Grandfather Ordered Deported

forthcoming biography of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says that Rubio’s Cuban-born maternal grandfather “was ordered deported from Florida because he flew in from Cuba without a visa, a decade before Rubio’s birth,” Politico reports.

The book says the grandfather “did not leave the U.S. as ordered, but remained in Miami, possibly on retroactive refugee status.”

“The episode could draw renewed scrutiny of the personal narrative of Rubio, a possible running mate for Republican nominee Mitt Romney.”

The Rise of Marco Rubio by Manuel Roig-Franzia will be out June 19.

 

Quote of the Day

“Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired.”

— Mitt Romney, quoted by the New York Times, in a victory speech to supporters after winning five primaries.

 

Clinton Favorability Hits New High

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating at 65%, the highest mark that the former first lady has ever reached in the history of the poll. Just 27% of respondents viewed Clinton unfavorably.

The Fix: “Great poll numbers and high-profile supporters don’t matter at all if Clinton has, in her heart of hearts, put away the idea of running for president again. If that door is left open even a crack, however, these are the sorts of developments that could push it open wider.”

 

Obama Gets Personal Again

As he heads into a general election against Mitt Romney, President Obama’s speeches “are revisiting parts of the life story that helped propel his rise,” the Los Angeles Timesreports. “There are nods to his humble beginnings, his hardworking grandmother and the stresses of debt — in short, stories that best connect with the middle-class voters his reelection may depend on.”

The reason: “After more than three years in office, the trappings of the presidency can begin to take a toll, causing voters to see the incumbent more as a high-priced suit behind a podium than as a person whose life once resembled theirs. Obama campaign aides are mindful of that potential problem.”

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