POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/14

North Carolina Democratic Chairman to Stay in Job

David Parker, the embattled chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, says he’s staying on the job after party activists rejected his resignation, the AP reports.

“Gov. Beverly Perdue (D), Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton (D) and others had wanted Parker to step down because they said he was a distraction in the wake of sexual harassment allegations at party headquarters. Parker’s allies didn’t want him to leave.”

Maggie Haberman: “This is not what President Obama’s team was hoping for, as it pushed for order to return after a sex-harassment allegation against a state party official and a drip-drip of headlines about the scandal in the host state for the party’s convention, which has not been a bearer of good news for the Democrats in the past week.”

Quote of the Day

“Call me cynical, but I didn’t think his views on marriage could get any gayer.”

— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting in Iowa.

Obama Leads in Maine

A new Critical Insights poll in Maine finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by eight points, 50% to 42%.

Majority Agree with Obama on Gay Marriage

A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds 51% of Americans say they approve of President Obama’s stance that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry legally, but 60% say that his shift in position will have no bearing on how they vote in the November election.

Romney Leads in Georgia

A new Landmark/Rosetta Stone poll in Georgia finds Mitt Romney leading President Obama by 11 points, 51% to 40%.

Obama Leads in Michigan

A new Glengariff Group poll in Michigan finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney in the GOP candidate’s native state, 45% to 40%.

Views on Gay Marriage Changing Rapidly

Former Bush pollster Jan van Lohuizen warns Republicans in a new memo they are increasingly on the wrong side of the gay marriage issue:

“The increase in support is taking place among all partisan groups. While more Democrats support gay marriage than Republicans, support levels among Republicans are increasing over time. The same is true of age: younger people support same sex marriage more often than older people, but the trends show that all age groups are rethinking their position.”

Andrew Sullivan: “Read the bluntness of this. This is the GOP establishment talking to itself. And the Republican pollster who arguably knows more about the politics of the gay issue than anyone else (how else to explain the Ohio campaign of 2004?) is advising them in no uncertain terms that they need to evolve and fast, if they’re not going to damage their brand for an entire generation:”

Health Care Game Changer?

The Obama administration will soon announce $1.3 billion in rebate checks to nearly 16 million Americans from health insurance companies.

Mark Halperin: “From almost the moment the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “ObamaCare”) was signed into law, the administration has been playing defense… But the rebate provision of the law — the fruits of the so-called ’80/20 rule’ — is about to kick in big time, as millions of Americans receive rebate checks or premium reductions from insurance companies who have failed to spend enough on patient care. This cash could be a true game changer in public attitudes about whether the law actually is beneficial and good public policy.”

Who is Mitt Romney?

First Read notes the Romney campaign “appears to have picked the fastest path” of trying to get the bullying story behind them. “Let the candidate vaguely address, accept the fact you’ll have a bad news cycle or two and hope it’s done by next week.”

“But this story exposed a bigger problem for Romney. The first thing anyone running for office has to do is own their own narrative; they need to define themselves before the other side does it for them. And the bigger issue here is that the story brings to light how Romney – despite running for president for five years – is still not completely defined; his narrative is still being formed. The question of, ‘Who is Mitt Romney,’ is still out there. Just because you have high name ID, doesn’t mean people know who you are. It’s the great mistake that John Kerry made in 2004. When you first start running as a presidential candidate, you’re usually a two-dimensional figure. By the general election, you’re 3D; you’re fully formed. Romney’s STILL not yet fully formed despite fact that he’s run for president for so long. The story’s a reminder of how easily others are trying to fill in the blanks. Which begs the question: why is Romney still not fully-formed in the minds of the public?”

Romney’s Memory

Joe Klein: “I fear that I went too easy on Mitt Romney with regard to his high school bullying escapades. It’s not the incident itself that troubles me — though it was, obviously, outrageous and disgraceful — so much as his current response: He doesn’t remember it. This is patent nonsense. How could he not remember it? Obviously, he remembers it or he wouldn’t have been so quick to issue his blanket apology yesterday for any and all hurt he may have caused at Cranbrook. And this transparent fudge once again raises questions about his character.”

Andrew Sullivan: “I do not believe Romney has no memory of this. I believe he is lying. His absurd statement that he has no memory of the event but that he didn’t target the boy for being gay is hilarious for its self-contradiction. A boy who routinely snickered ‘Atta girl!’ when one young gay kid in his class spoke up is not just bashing hippies. I went to an all boys high school in the 1970s. What Romney did was a gay-bashing.”

Like Lord of the Flies

In the wake of a report on Mitt Romney bullying a fellow student in boarding school, a former classmate and old friend of Romney’s – who refused to be identified by name – tells  ABC News there are “a lot of guys” who went to Cranbrook who have “really negative memories” of Romney’s behavior in the dorms, behavior this classmate describes as “evil” and “like Lord of the Flies.”

What Do Romney’s Teenage Years Tell Us About Him?

Jonathan Chait: “My cautious, provisional take is that this portrait of the youthful Romney does suggest a man who grew up taking for granted the comforts of wealth and prestige. I don’t blame him for accepting the anti-gay assumptions of his era. The story does give the sense of a man who lacks a natural sense of compassion for the weak. His prankery seems to have invariably singled out the vulnerable — the gay classmate, the nearly blind teacher, the nervous day student racing back to campus. It’s entirely possible to grow out of that youthful mentality — to learn to step out of your own perspective, to develop an appreciation for the difficulties faced by those not born with Romney’s many blessings. I’m just not sure he ever has.”

Why Romney Might Not Want to Define Marriage

Andrew Sullivan takes exception with Mitt Romney’s statement — highlighted in a new Obama video — that we should not discard 3,000 years of history of marriage.

“Ahem. His own family were ardent polygamists only a century ago — and went to Mexican colonies to escape US federal oppression of their version of marriage (which also goes back a long, long way and still exists across the world). Romney’s great-grandparents were polygamists; one of his his great-great-grandfathers had twelve wives and was murdered by the husband of the twelfth. For Romney to say that the definition of marriage has remained the same for 3,000 years is disproved by his own family. It’s untrue. False. A lie.”

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