POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/21

Booker Criticizes Obama Attacks on Bain Capital

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) said on Meet the Press he was “uncomfortable” with the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s record with Bain Capital.

Said Booker: “I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses — to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable.”

Meanwhile, The Hill reports Democrats have accepted more political donations than Republicans from executives at Bain Capital, “complicating the left’s plan to attack Mitt Romney for his record at the private-equity firm.”

See more…

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’ve never been shy about leading. But you know, leaders need followers. And we’ve got 89 brand new members. We’ve got a pretty disparate caucus. It is hard to keep 218 frogs in a wheelbarrow long enough to get a bill passed.”

— House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), in an interview on This Week.

Time to Pick the Convention Speakers

Just 100 days away from the Republican convention and the Tampa Bay Times reports organizers are “starting to tackle one of the trickiest and most important elements of the convention — selecting the speakers.”

“It’s a matter of juggling monumental political egos, precious little time for maximum TV exposure, appeasing people whose help is needed, and ensuring the best message comes through to win over swing voters just starting to focus on the presidential contest.”

“The job is daunting. The networks at best will devote five or six hours over four days to convention coverage, and a good chunk of that is taken by all-but required speeches — the nominee, his spouse, the vice presidential nominee — so planners have to make the very most of the limited time they have.”

Cutting Out the Generals

The New York Times looks at the evolution of the President Obama’s thinking on Afghanistan.

“Not long before, after a highly contentious debate within a war cabinet that was riddled with leaks, Mr. Obama had reluctantly decided to order a surge of more than 30,000 troops. The aide told Mr. Obama that he believed military leaders had agreed to the tight schedule to begin withdrawing those troops just 18 months later only because they thought they could persuade an inexperienced president to grant more time if they demanded it.”

“A year later, when the president and a half-dozen White House aides began to plan for the withdrawal, the generals were cut out entirely. There was no debate, and there were no leaks.”

How Politics Put Toxic Chemicals in Your Sofa

A must-read report from the Chicago Tribune:

“The average American baby is born with 10 fingers, 10 toes and the highest recorded levels of flame retardants among infants in the world. The toxic chemicals are present in nearly every home, packed into couches, chairs and many other products. Two powerful industries — Big Tobacco and chemical manufacturers — waged deceptive campaigns that led to the proliferation of these chemicals, which don’t even work as promised.”

Nicholas Kristof: “This campaign season, you’ll hear fervent denunciations of ‘burdensome government regulation.’ When you do, think of the other side of the story: your home is filled with toxic flame retardants that serve no higher purpose than enriching three companies. The lesson is that we need not only safer couches but also a political system less distorted by toxic money.”

Obama Closes the Gap in Tennessee

A new Vanderbilt University poll shows President Obama has pulled into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in traditionally conservative Tennessee.

Romney barely edged Obama among likely voters, 42% to 41%. However, Romney has a much larger lead among registered voters, 47% to 40%.

Walker Gets Key Endorsement

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel endorses Gov. Scott Walker (R) in next month’s recall election:

“No governor in recent memory has been so controversial. No governor in America is so polarizing. Everyone has an opinion about Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Here’s ours: We see no reason to remove Walker from office. We recommend him in the June 5 recall election.”

The Missing Issue from the Campaign

Dan Balz: “Big issues are on the table as President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney begin the general election campaign: jobs and the economy, the future of health care, taxes, spending, the size and scope of government. What is missing is any serious discussion of the one question that overrides all others: Can Washington govern?”

Is GOP Trying to Sabotage the Economy?

Associated Press: “Are Republican lawmakers deliberately stalling the economic recovery to hurt President Barack Obama’s re-election chances? Some top Democrats say yes, pointing to GOP stances on the debt limit and other issues that they claim are causing unnecessary economic anxiety and retarding growth.”

Regardless of whether the suspicions are right, “there’s evidence that unceasing partisan gridlock and the prospect of big tax increases and spending cuts in January are causing some companies to postpone expansions.”

Lawmakers Seek to Lift Propaganda Ban

An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed reports.

The amendment to the defense authorization bill would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon.”

“The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts — the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 — that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.”

Quote of the Day

“Unless you run a financial institution whose business model is built on cheating consumers, or making risky bets that could damage the whole economy, you have nothing to fear from Wall Street reform.”

— President Obama, in his weekly address, calling for stricter reform after J.P. Morgan’s multi-billion dollar loss.

See more…

Connecticut Republicans Pick McMahon Again

Linda McMahon (R) won the Republican endorsement for U.S. Senate in Connecticut for the second time in two years, the Hartford Courant reports, but she’ll face former Rep. Chris Shays (R) in an August primary.

“McMahon said she learned much from her 2010 run, her first bid for elective office. Her 2010 campaign was notable for its lack of support from women voters. Although she would have been the state’s first female U.S. senator, polls repeatedly showed her lagging behind Blumenthal among women, who seemed particularly turned off by her ties to the professional wrestling industry and its reputation for violence and sexually exploitative images of women.”

Can Romney Win While Losing His Home and Native State?

Greg Sargent: “If Mitt Romney is to win the presidency, he’ll likely have to clear a high historical hurdle: Getting elected while losing both his state of residence (Massachusetts) and his native state (Michigan)… The last person to get elected president while losing his home state and his state of birth was James Polk, in 1844.”

Obama Invites Bush Back to White House

The White House confirmed that George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, will return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue later this month to be honored by President Obama with the unveiling of their official portraits, the Dallas Morning News reports.

It’s a “rare joint appearance between the current and past presidents… It could also provide an interesting interaction between Bush and Obama, whose re-election campaign continues to remind voters of the economic troubles the Democrat inherited when he took over from Bush.”

Clinton Will Not Endorse Rangel

Bill Clinton will not back longtime ally Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) in his re-election bid, theNew York Post reports.

“Clinton strongly backed Rangel’s re-election in 2010 when the incumbent was under fire for House ethics-rules violations that later led to a congressional censure… Rangel, in turn, vehemently defended Clinton during the ex-president’s impeachment proceedings, and led the charge to launch Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political career, helping her get elected to the US Senate from New York.”

However, a Clinton source said the former president “has a personal conflict this time around. One of Rangel’s rivals, Clyde Williams, was a top aide at the Clinton Foundation and worked in the Clinton administration.”

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