POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/15

Most Think Obama Decision on Gay Marriage was Political

A new New York Times/CBS News poll finds 67% of Americans suspect that President Obama was motivated by politics, not policy, when he declared his support for same-sex marriage, while 24% said it was “mostly because he thinks it is right.”

“The results reinforce the concerns of White House aides and Democratic strategists who worried that the sequence of events leading up to the announcement made it look calculated rather than principled.”

In a head-to-head general election match up, Mitt Romney now leads Obama 46% to 43%. The two men were tied in a similar poll last month and Romney has a similar lead in thepolling composite.

 

Most Not Influenced by Obama’s Views on Gay Marriage

A new Pew Research survey finds 52% of Americans say President Obama’s expression of support for same sex marriage did not affect their opinion of the president, while 25% say they feel less favorably toward Obama and 19% feel more favorably.

 

Paul Effectively Suspends Campaign

Ron Paul announced he will “no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not voted,” for all practical purposes suspending his presidential campaign,Politico reports.

“Paul, however, will continue his bid to collect delegates to the national convention in Tampa this summer. He has earned additional delegates in recent weeks by performing strongly at state conventions in states that have already voted.”

 

Obama Safely Ahead in Minnesota

A new SurveyUSA poll in Minnesota shows President Obama with a comfortable lead over Mitt Romney, 52% to 38%.

 

Robertson Backs Romney

Pat Robertson threw his support to Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy — but only because Jesus Christ isn’t running, BuzzFeed reports.

Said Robertson: “The question is, if you have two candidates, you don’t have Jesus running against someone else. You have Obama running against Romney.”

 

Florida Governor’s Top Aide Quits

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, resigned after a brief meeting with the governor, concluding that “media attention” focused on him had begun to “interfere with the day-to-day operations of this office,” the Palm Beach Post reports.

His departure “was hastened by media reports questioning his awarding no-bid contracts — one worth $5.5 million — to close associates while he worked for Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R).”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I think I’m better suited to stay where I am in the Senate. The folks in Ohio expect me to stick around and do my job.”

— Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), quoted by The Hill, giving the preferred answer to questions asked of possible vice presidential running mates.

 

McCaskill Holds Small Leads Over Possible Rivals

A new Mellman Group (D) poll finds Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) holds a single-digit lead over all three of her Republican opponents.

McCaskill leads Sarah Steelman (R), 45% to 36%, tops John Brunner, 46% to 38%, and beats Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) 44% to 39% .

 

Wisconsin Democrats Frustrated with Lack of DNC Support

Greg Sargent: “Top Wisconsin Democrats are furious with the national party — and the Democratic National Committee in particular — for refusing their request for a major investment in the battle to recall Scott Walker… The failure to put up the money Wisconsin Dems need to execute their recall plan comes at a time when the national Republican Party is sinking big money into defending Walker, raising fears that the DNC’s reluctance could help tip the race his way.

 

Walker Ahead in Wisconsin Recall

A new We Ask America poll in Wisconsin shows Gov. Scott Walker (R) so far successfully fending off a recall challenge from Tom Barrett (D), 52% to 43%.

Caveat: “While other polls also show Walker in the lead, no one is suggesting that this race is anywhere near over. Walker only leads among self-described Independent voters by 47.6% to 44.6%, and the underlying numbers seem fluid.”

 

Vitter for Governor?

The New Orleans Times-Picayune speculates that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) may want to run for Louisiana governor because he’s “a second-term senator without further national prospects, for reasons entirely of the senator’s own making.”

“Vitter, though, may well want what Jindal has. While his profile isn’t on the rise in D.C., Louisiana voters have proved willing to overlook his call girl trouble, and lawmakers clearly recognize and appreciate his strategic sense and aggressive tactics. If he craves a formal leadership role, a future run for Louisiana’s powerful governorship might be his best bet.”

 

How Did a Felon Get 41% of the Presidential Primary Vote?

The Charleston Gazette looks at two conspiracy theories behind the surprisingly strong showing of federal prison inmate Keith Judd in West Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary.

“One was former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Charlotte Pritt, who speculated that Karl Rove-type GOP operatives were behind the Judd candidacy, as a way to embarrass the Obama campaign in the national media… Another theory is that, in addition to assuring that Judd had smooth sailing to get on the ballot, powers-that-be in the state Democratic Party went to lengths to assure that West Virginia voters would not be aware that he was a convicted inmate sitting in a federal prison in Texas.”

 

Quote of the Day

“To pick a VP thinking it will be a game-changer is highly unlikely.”

— Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), in a CBS News interview, downplaying expectations for Mitt Romney’s running mate search.

 

Tea Party Sets Sights on Senate Races

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may soon have the same problem that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has in trying to tame the Tea Party.

New York Times: “In Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas, Republican Senate candidates are vying for the mantle of Tea Party outsider. A number of them say that they would seek to press an agenda that is generally to the right of the minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and that they would demand a deeper policy role for the Senate’s growing circle of staunch conservatives. Some say they have not decided whether they would support Mr. McConnell, who could find himself contending with the type of fractious rank and file that has vexed the House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio.”

First Read: “Here’s a question to ponder: If Senate Republicans don’t win a majority in November, will McConnell hold on to his job?”

 

How Romney Will Avoid Being McCain

Politico: “Many of the current strategy discussions are centered on not falling into the traps McCain did: looking wobbly as a leader and weak on the economy in the final weeks of the campaign. The private discussions include ruling out any vice presidential possibilities who could be seen as even remotely risky or unprepared; wrapping the entire campaign around economic issues, knowing this topic alone will swing undecided voters in the final days; and, slowly but steadily, building up Romney as a safe and competent alternative to President Barack Obama.”

“McCain, according to Romney advisers, blew it on all three scores. And of the three, the most conscious effort by Romney’s team to do things differently will be in the V.P. selection process. One Republican official familiar with the campaign’s thinking said it will be designed to produce a pick who is safe and, by design, unexciting – a deliberate anti-Palin. The prized pick, said this official: an ‘incredibly boring white guy.”

 

How the Supreme Court Deregulated Campaigns

Jeffrey Toobin has an excellent look at how Chief Justice John Roberts orchestrated the Citizens United decision to effectively remove campaign finance limits.

“It was once liberals who were associated with using the courts to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government, but the current Court has matched contempt for Congress with a disdain for many of the Court’s own precedents. When the Court announced its final ruling on Citizens United, on January 21, 2010, the vote was five to four and the majority opinion was written by Anthony Kennedy. Above all, though, the result represented a triumph for Chief Justice [John] Roberts… As American politics assumes its new form in the post-Citizens United era, the credit or the blame goes mostly to him.”

“By the customary vote of five-to-four, with an opinion by Roberts, the Court declared the system unconstitutional… The Roberts Court, it appears, will guarantee moneyed interests the freedom to raise and spend any amount, from any source, at any time, in order to win elections.”

 

GOP Backed Super PAC Targets Young Voters

President Obama “counted on the support of younger voters four years ago. Now, a new Republican-leaning ‘super’ political committee wants to bring them to the GOP’s side,” theAP reports.

“Crossroads Generation, a new super PAC formed with the help of a handful of established GOP groups, is tapping into the economic frustrations of under-30 voters facing dim job prospects, crippling student loans or the prospect of having to move back home with their parents.”

 

Age and Partisanship are Dividing Lines on Gay Marriage

A new New York Times/CBS News poll asked respondents a three-part question: whether same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, or if they should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry, or if there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.

“Nearly 4 in 10, 38 percent, said they should be allowed to marry, similar to recent surveys, but up significantly from just 2 in 10 who said so in 2004. Another 24 percent said same-sex couples should be allowed to form civil unions. But 1 in 3 said there should be no legal recognition at all of the relationships. In November 2004, 44 percent said same-sex relationships should not be legally recognized.”

“Age plays an important role, with younger Americans more apt to support same-sex marriage than older Americans. Political partisanship is a factor as well. A majority of Democrats and about 4 in 10 independents back same-sex marriage, while Republicans are far more likely to say there should be no legal recognition of the relationships, the poll found.”

 

Obama Attacks Romney as Job Destroyer

President Obama “is casting Mitt Romney as a greedy, job-killing corporate titan with little concern for the working class in a new, multi-pronged effort that seeks to undermine the central rationale for his Republican rival’s candidacy: his business credentials,” the APreports.

“The ad, at the unusual length of 2 minutes, will run in five battleground states: Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado. The campaign declined to describe the size of the ad buy though it’s in the middle of running a $25 million, month-long ad campaign in nine states. A longer version of the ad was being posted online Monday.”

Howard Kurtz: “By unleashing it in May, the Obama team is signaling that it wants to define Romney now, while his public image is still gauzy, rather than wait until attitudes have hardened in the fall.”

First Read: “We have three additional thoughts on the anti-Bain ad. One, it’s another reminder — coming after last week’s bullying story — that the Romney campaign isn’t defining its candidate first; others are doing that… Two, the Obama ad does bring the discussion back to the economy, after weeks of conversation about anything but… And three, this VERY NEGATIVE Obama ad comes after last week’s positive ones. There’s a belief by some strategists that once Memorial Day hits, it’ll be harder and harder to secure the attention of voters as they focus on their summer plans.”

 

The Next Kennedy

Bloomberg notes that veteran politicians say 31-year-old Joseph Kennedy III (D), running for Congress in Massachusetts, “is the real deal. He draws comparisons to the young Jack Kennedy, and especially to Ted Kennedy in his first race for the Senate in 1962: Both were a little beyond their 30th birthdays, and it was their first bid for office after serving stints as county prosecutors.”

“An even more relevant analogy, longtime politicians say, is that Joseph Kennedy is a natural, as were his illustrious great- uncles.”

Said former Sen. Chris Dodd: “I have been around politics for a long time and only occasionally you meet someone with special skills and ability and genuine warmth. I don’t care what his name is; that’s Joe.”

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