POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/17

RNC Will Bypass Nevada GOP

“Fed up with an inept and self-destructive GOP apparatus in Nevada, the Republican National Committee and the Mitt Romney campaign have decided to erect a ‘shadow state party’ in this critical swing state,” Jon Ralston reports.

Said one GOP strategist: “They are still bogged down in the minutiae of whether Romney will be the presumptive nominee. We don’t have time for that when the Obama campaign already is in full campaign mode. We have no use for them (the state GOP).”

Kucinich Will Not Run for Another Seat

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told supporters he will not seek a House seat in Washington state this year after losing a primary to a fellow Democrat earlier this year, Roll Call reports.

Said Kucinich: “After careful consideration and discussions with Elizabeth and my closest friends, I have decided that, at this time, I can best serve from outside the Congress.”

Crist Thought Greer was Trying to Extort Him

About a year after former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer was indicted on felony charges of organized fraud, theft and money laundering, the Tampa Bay Times reports he left a message for former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist:

“Listen I just wanted to call and tell you something as a man, not like these other people that have put knives in your back and never had the courtesy of calling you directly or talking to you… there’ll probably be things coming out that are going to be very hurtful to both you and Carole (Crist’s wife), but I’ll be honest with you, I don’t care any more because I did everything I could for you.”

To Crist, it sounded like Greer was attempting to extort money from him and he reported the messages to law enforcement.

Wisconsin Now a Toss Up in Presidential Race

A new Marquette Law School Poll in Wisconsin shows President Obama and Mitt Romney tied in the presidential race, 46% to 46%, among likely voters.

In April, Obama led Romney by 49% to 45%.

Spending, Taxes, Deficit are All Lower Today

Think Progress: “In January 2009, before President Obama had even taken the oath of office, annual spending was set to total 24.9 percent of gross domestic product. Total spending this year, fiscal year 2012, is expected to top out at 23.4 percent of GDP.”

“Here’s another interesting fact. Taxes today are lower than they were on inauguration day 2009. Back in January 2009, the CBO projected that total federal tax revenue that year would amount to 16.5 percent of GDP. This year? 15.8 percent.”

“One last nugget. The deficit this year is going to be lower than what it was on the day President Obama took office. Back then, the CBO said the 2009 deficit would be 8.3 percent of GDP. This year’s deficit is expected to come in at 7.6 percent.”

The Joke Jimmy Kimmel Didn’t Tell

Jimmy Kimmel told Howard Stern a joke he decided not to use at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

Said Kimmel: “I had some jokes about — like Rick Santorum. I said something like — well, I didn’t say it, but: Newt Gingrich’s campaign is so dead Mitt Romney wants to baptize it and Rick Santorum wants to put it in a jar and show it to his kids.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Mr. Speaker, I like it when you cry. You give new meaning to compassionate conservative.”

— Bill Clinton, quoted by Washingtonian magazine, to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

Another Poll Shows Walker Ahead in Wisconsin

A new Marquette Law School Poll in Wisconsin shows that with three weeks to go until the recall election Gov. Scott Walker (R) has taken a six point lead over Tom Barrett (D), 50% to 44%, among likely voters.

Three weeks ago, Walker’s lead was just one point.

Said pollster Charles Franklin: “While both parties show unusual levels of involvement in the campaign, Republicans appear to hold an advantage in likely turnout, although Democrats are more likely to have been contacted by a campaign. In a close election with so few undecided voters, enthusiasm, turnout and campaign contact with voters may make the difference.”

Obama Barely Ahead in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds President Obama just edging Mitt Romney, 48% to 47%.

“There’s been a lot of debate over the last month about whether North Carolina is really a swing state. Our polls over the last year and a half certainly suggest that it is, and I doubt either Obama or Romney will end up taking it by more than 3 points… Barring a huge shift in the national political climate over the next six months it’s going to be close.”

How Much is Romney Really Worth?

Forbes does an extensive analysis of Mitt Romney’s wealth and estimates he’s worth approximately $230 million.

Asked earlier this year for his own estimate, Romney told Univision that “It’s between $150 and about $200-and-some-odd million dollars.”

Crossroads Matches Obama Ad Spending

Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS is up with a blistering new ad in 10 states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Politico reports it’s an $8 million buy beginning Thursday — “part of a larger, $25 million effort that will go up over a month. That basically means Crossroads is matching the Obama campaign’s announced plans for $25 million in TV time over a similar period – providing Mitt Romney with needed air cover as he tries to husband resources.”

See more…

Another Debt Ceiling Fight?

First Read: “Last summer’s debt-ceiling fight ended like a typical Tarantino flick — with casualties and blood everywhere and no real winners. President Obama’s approval ratings sunk to the low 40s, from which he’s somewhat recovered. Congress’ number fell much more, and they remain at historic lows. Standard & Poor’s lowered its credit rating for the United States. Economic activity stalled, and economic confidence tanked. And guess what: House Speaker John Boehner is now vowing for a sequel. Call it ‘Kill Bill (and Everyone Else), Vol. 2.’ In remarks he delivered yesterday in DC, Boehner demanded that the next debt-ceiling increase — slated for early 2013 — have commensurate spending cuts and no tax increases.”

Said Boehner: “I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance.”

“On the same day that Boehner made his remarks about the debt ceiling, Romney was also talking about deficits and debt while campaigning in Iowa. (One thing is clear this week: The GOP is coordinating as well as they have in years. The entire GOP message machine has turned toward the debt issue, from Boehner to Romney to Crossroads.)”

The First Gay President?

In a discussion with Conan O’Brien, Bill Maher takes issue with the concept that President Obama is the “first gay president.”

See more…

It’s Still Early

Nate Silver: “One of the reasons that campaign stories have been so trivial lately is because if one of the campaigns has an especially strong line of attack on their opponent, or a great piece of opposition research, it does not make a lot of sense to drop it now when most voters are not paying attention yet. It is still extremely early for a general election campaign. If the period after Labor Day qualifies as the pennant race, and the summer of the general election year the regular season, we are still playing preseason baseball now.”

Obama Raised $43.6 Million Last Month

“President Obama and the Democrats raised $43.6 million in April, adding to the president’s edge over his rival, Mitt Romney, even as money continues to pour in to outside groups ahead of the fall campaign,” the New York Times reports.

“The $43.6 million is a slight dip from March, when Mr. Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised a combined $53 million. But it does not count several large fund-raisers — including one in Hollywood that reportedly raised $15 million — that took place in early May.”

Quote of the Day

“Romney made sure the guys on top got to play by a separate set of rules, he ran massive debts, and the middle class lost. And folks, he thinks this experience will help our economy.”

— Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by Politico, from advance excerpts of a speech taking aim at Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.

GOP Primary Voters Could Help Democrats Retain Senate

Steve Kornacki: “At the very least, the Republican Party base’s revolt against its own establishment cost the GOP a 50-50 Senate tie in 2010, with primary voters forcing unelectable nominees on the party in three races that it had otherwise been on course to win. A decent case can be made that the uprising actually cost Republicans outright Senate control.”

“And now the same thing may be happening all over again, with Nebraska joining a growing list of unexpected 2012 Senate battlegrounds – at least for the moment.”

Fischer Wins in Nebraska

In a “dramatic, come-from-behind dash to the finish line,” Deb Fischer (R) won the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Nebraska, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.

“Her late surge, perhaps unprecedented in modern-day Nebraska political history, upended a Senate race that appeared to be settled as recently as 10 days ago with the GOP prize within the grasp of Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning.”

The Omaha World Herald notes Fischer “ran a stealth campaign” and “started to surge in the polls at the perfect time — early enough to win and too late for her opponents to respond.”

Walker Maintains Edge in Recall Race

A new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) leading Tom Barrett (D) in race to recall him from office, 49% to 45%.

Christie Wouldn’t Help Romney in New Jersey

A new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey finds Gov. Chris Christie (R) gives no measurable boost to Mitt Romney if he were picked a vice presidential running mate.

President Obama and Vice President Biden would defeat the ticket, 50% to 41%. In a matchup with no running mates named, Obama wins 49% to 39%.

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