POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/11

Spitzer Says Cuomo is Encouraging Presidential Chatter

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) suggested current Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is quietly encouraging talk of him as a presidential candidate in 2016 as “a way to build and accentuate power,” the Politicker reports.

Said Spitzer: “Clearly you have somebody out there in Andrew’s case, I presume, who’s sparking the conversation. In his case it’s his dad. It’s a good co-conspirator in this game. On the other hand, you pretend that you’re not paying any attention, you’re only going to focus on doing the job because you don’t want to seem to want it.”

He added: “But you want the chatter to continue because the chatter… is beneficial. It builds support, it permits people to join the team, it shows interest. In politics people measure you by what you think you will be next. And so the chatter is a way to build and accentuate power.”

 

Democrats Want Jackson to Disclose Medical Condition

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) “joined a growing chorus of Illinois Democrats warning that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) needs to be more forthcoming with voters about an undisclosed medical condition that has kept him out of Congress for a month,” the Chicago Tribunereports.

Said Gutierrez: “I know that we want to say that we have private lives, and I do have a private life. I also have a public life. If I don’t show up to work, then I need to give — I don’t have this immunity of this shield of privacy — because it’s about my job. And any time I haven’t shown up to work, I’ve given you a clear answer about why it was I wasn’t there.”

 

Romney Considers Naming Veep Early

Mitt Romney acknowledged he is considering naming his vice presidential running mate earlier than usual to better compete with President Obama, Reuters reports.

“The reasoning, advisers say, is that two candidates would be able to raise more money and engage Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in battle with polls showing Americans closely divided on whether to pick the Republican challenger or Democratic incumbent in the November 6 election.”

“Picking the choice early could also serve to guarantee some positive news coverage at a time when Romney is under fire from Obama over whether he should release more financial information about his wealth.”

 

Extra Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“It’s really American to avoid paying taxes, legally.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by Huffington Post, arguing that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be criticized for using off-shore tax havens.

 

The Strategy Behind the Bain Attacks

Democratic pollster Geoff Garin tells Greg Sargent that new polling out tomorrow will show the coordinated attack on Mitt Romney’s experience at Bain Capital is working in five key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The poll done for Priorities USA Action will show “a clear jump in the number of voters in those states who are less, rather than more, likely to vote for Romney on the basis of his business background” and “a sizable jump in the number who believe Romney’s priority was making lots of money for himself and his investors, regardless of the impact it had on jobs and employees.”

Explains Garin: “We’ve firmly established that Romney’s tenure was not about creating jobs. This sets the stage for what we’ll be doing later on.”

 

Obama Widens Lead Over Romney

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds President Obama expanded his lead over Mitt Romney to six points in the presidential race, 49% to 43%.

Last month, Obama held a one-point lead.

“Obama’s improved standing was fueled by a rise in optimism about the future, with the number of Americans who think the country is on the wrong track dipping 5 percentage points to 58%.”

 

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“Mitt Romney wants you to show your papers, but he won’t show us his.”

— Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by CNN, in a speech to a Latino group mixing the issues of immigration and Romney’s financial disclosure.

 

Mystery Grows Over When Romney Actually Left Bain

We noted last week discrepancies between Mitt Romney’s claims that he left Bain Capital in early 1999 and SEC filings which suggest he was still at the firm later in the year.

Now Josh Marshall finds two additional SEC filings from July 2000 and February 2001 in which Romney lists his “principal occupation” as “Managing Director of Bain Capital, Inc.”

“Romney’s argument is that it doesn’t matter what he said on these SEC filings. Even though he said he was running Bain, he really wasn’t. He was really running the Olympics and didn’t have any role at Bain. But absent of any evidence, how is it that anyone can be expected to disregard what Mitt actually told the SEC at the time?”

 

Senate Race Close in Wisconsin

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Eric Hovde (R) has surged in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate Republican primary, taking a 31% to 29% lead over Tommy Thompson (R) followed by Mark Neumann (R) at 15% and Jeff Fitzgerald (R) at 9%.

The general election also looks very close whoever the Republicans end up picking. Hovde leads Tammy Baldwin (D) 45% to 44%, while Thompson and Baldwin tie at 45% each.

 

Union Political Spending Far Greater Than Estimates

The Wall Street Journal finds that organized labor “spends about four times as much on politics and lobbying as generally thought, a finding that shines a light on an aspect of labor’s political activity that has often been overlooked.”

“Previous estimates have focused on labor unions’ filings with federal election officials, which chronicle contributions made directly to federal candidates and union spending in support of candidates for Congress and the White House. But unions spend far more money on a wider range of political activities, including supporting state and local candidates and deploying what has long been seen as the unions’ most potent political weapon: persuading members to vote as unions want them to.”

 

Buchanan Cleared on Ethics Charges

The House Ethics Committee cleared Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) on charges that he violated House rules by intentionally misleading Congress about his finances, The Hillreports.

 

Strategist Says GOP Needs Fewer Old White Fat Guys

GOP strategist Ed Rollins told Fox News the Republican party has a serious demographic problem.

Said Rollins: “It is a bunch of old, white guys, and unfortunately, a lot of them are fat like me — like Haley Barbour, my former deputy, and others. We need to basically broaden the base, we need to have more women, we need to have more Latinos, we need to have more African-Americans.”

 

Quayle Hits Obama Again as Worst President

Rep. Ben Quayle’s (R-AZ) recycles a theme from his 2010 Republican primary in a new ad:

“President Obama has failed the country. He promised unity, but brought division. He peddles dependency, to buy votes. His stimulus was nothing but a corrupt and shameless payoff to interest groups. And his healthcare takeover is worse. Two years ago, I called him ‘the worst president in history‘ — I overestimated him.”

Quayle faces Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) in a August 28 primary forced by redistricting.

See more…

 

Obama Holds Lead in Virginia, North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney in two critical Southern battleground states.

In Virginia, Obama leads by eight points, 50% to 42%.

In North Carolina, Obama has a one point edge, 47% to 46%.

“Our polling in both of these states has been pretty steady over the last year and a half. Obama has consistently fared very well in Virginia, leading by 6 points, 8 points, and now 8 points again on our last three polls. This is looking like it could be something of a firewall state for him. We have now polled North Carolina 22 times since late November of 2010. 21 out of those 22 times Obama and Romney have been within 3 points of each other. The state’s about as much of a toss up as it could possibly be.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I understand there is a plane out there saying Mitt Romney has ‘a Koch problem.’ I don’t look at it as a problem; I look at it as an asset.”

— Mitt Romney, quoted by the New York Post, as he attended a $50,000-a-head fund-raiser hosted by conservative billionaire David Koch.

 

Kerrey’s Wife Writes About Wanting to End His Campaign

Bob Kerrey’s (D) wife “may be the only political spouse who has ever voiced hope that her husband would become embroiled in a sex scandal,” the Omaha World Herald reports.

Sarah Paley, a lifelong New Yorker and writer who once worked for Saturday Night Live, “goes where few political wives go in the article. She openly discusses her personal campaign to end his candidacy before it began — ‘hysteria, tantrums, sulking’ — and the discomfort a self-described private person feels on the campaign trail as she is hugged by strangers.”

Writes Paley: “I am not a political animal. I’m not even a social animal. My idea of a good time is when people cancel.”

 

Health Care Law Boosted by Court Decision

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Americans split evenly on the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding President Obama’s health-care law, with 42% approving of the decision and 44% opposing it.

But in a significant change, the legislation is now viewed less negatively than it was before the ruling. In the new survey, 47% support the law and 47% oppose it. In April, 39% backed it and 53% opposed it.

 

Mitt Romney Stinks at Being Rich

Joshua Green: “Romney’s problem is that while he was very good at getting rich, he isn’t any good at ‘being’ rich. In fact, he’s downright terrible at it.”

 

Democrats Losing Voters in the Swing States

A new Bloomberg analysis finds independent voters “are growing in numbers at the expense of Democrats in battleground states most likely to determine this year’s presidential election.”

“The collective total of independents grew by about 443,000 in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina since the 2008 election, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from state election officials. During the same time, Democrats saw a net decline of about 480,000 in those six states, while Republicans — boosted in part by a competitive primary earlier this year — added roughly 38,000 voters in them, the analysis shows.”

 

Quote of the Day

“You’ve got a few very wealthy people lining up trying to purchase the White House for Mr. Romney.”

— Obama strategist David Plouffe, quoted by The Hill.

 

Beware in Comparing Fundraising Figures

First Read: “We want to make an additional point about the money race: Way too many people are jumping to conclusions right now. What appears to be going on is that Romney — since becoming his party’s presumptive presidential nominee — is grabbing the big checks from his party (up to $75,000 per donor that goes to the campaign, RNC, and victory fund). If he can keep up this pace in July and August, then we know he has a financial juggernaut on his hands. But if the pace slows down, then you know that his campaign has picked all the low-hanging fundraising fruit.”

“Another thing to keep in mind: While the Romney camp controls the RNC and victory-fund money, there are strings attached to those dollars. (For example: In this presidential contest, coordinated party expenditures are limited to $21.7 million.) And here’s one other point to make: It’s likely that Obama’s June campaign-only haul isn’t far off from the $54 million it raised in June ’08.”

“Those comparisons for the remaining months will be important. Both campaigns are pursuing DIFFERENT financial strategies. Team Obama is going for maximum spending FLEXIBILITY and because they didn’t have to spend primary money on a primary, they have that luxury. Team Romney is looking for maximum fundraising capacity, but it comes with more strings on how much of the money they are raising can be spent on TV advertising.”

 

Romney’s Identity Crisis

Charlie Cook: “If President Obama’s campaign machine can define Mitt Romney before his own campaign even tries, my bet is Obama wins reelection.”

“It seems the Romney campaign believes that any day or dollar spent talking about anything other than the economy is a day or dollar wasted… A willingness to fire the president, however, is only one step. Voters also have to be willing to hire Romney. If the challenger is deemed unacceptable, a potentially decisive slice of the electorate could reluctantly return to the incumbent. Voters’ willingness to hire Romney is being severely damaged, at least in swing states, by the advertising efforts of the Obama campaign and Priorities USA, a pro-Obama super PAC. The ads are devastatingly tough, portraying the former Massachusetts governor as a private-equity version of Gordon Gekko, a heartless corporate barracuda who has made a fortune acquiring and looting companies, laying off workers, and ruining lives and communities.”

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