POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/16

McCain Suggests Dumping Biden

(And we all know how good his judgement is when it comes to selecting a VP  nominee! fvm)

Sen. John McCain said he thinks “it might be wise” for President Obama to replace Vice President Joe Biden on the ticket with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Politico reports.

Said McCain: “I think it might be wise to do that. But it’s not going to happen…If I were Hillary Clinton, I’m not sure I’d want to be on that team.”

 

Ryan’s Clothes are Too Big

The fashion critics looked at the announcement of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate and agree on one thing: Ryan needs better fitting clothes.

New York Times: “Yet if Mr. Ryan was chosen to bring youth and vigor and a kind of Ayn Rand boldness to the G.O.P., as the commentators kept saying, then his jacket was killing it. So much for his lethal six-pack. He was swimming in his coat, like Tom Hanks in Bigwhen he becomes a kid again.”

Washington Post: “Ryan, a high-ranking House Republican, known as a stickler for numbers and a devotee of hard-core workouts, seemed oddly unconcerned about the clothes he wore during the most important announcement of his political career. How could a fitness buff with 6 to 8 percent body fat wear a suit that looked two sizes too big?”

 

Romney Grabs Lead in Three Swing States

The latest Purple Poll shows Mitt Romney with some positive momentum over President Obama for the first time in months.

Colorado: Obama 49%, Romney 46%

Florida: Romney 48%, Obama 47%

Ohio: Romney 46%, Obama 44%

Virginia: Romney 48%, Obama 45%.

 

Romney’s Laugh

Paul Waldman: “Some public figures get defined by a single image, or a single statement (‘Ask not what your country can do for you’; ‘I am not a crook’). Others have a characteristic linguistic tic or hand gesture that through repetition come to embody them; think of Ronald Reagan’s head shake, George W. Bush’s shoulder-shimmy, or that closed-fist-with-thumb-on-top thing Bill Clinton used to do.”

“For Mitt Romney, it’s the laugh. I’m sure that at times Romney laughs with genuine mirth, but you know the laugh I’m talking about. It’s the one he delivers when he gets asked a question he doesn’t want to answer, or is confronted with a demand to explain a flip-flop or a lie. It’s the phoniest laugh in the world, the one New York Times reporter Ashley Parker wrote ‘sounds like someone stating the sounds of laughter, a staccato Ha. Ha. Ha.’ Everything Mitt Romney is as a candidate is distilled within that laugh — his insincerity, his ambition, his awkwardness, and above all his fear. When Mitt laughs that way, he is not amused. He is terrified. Because he knows that what he’s saying is utter baloney, and he knows that we know it.”

 

King Still Way Ahead in Maine

A new Moore Consulting (R) poll in Maine finds Angus King (I) leading the race for U.S. Senate with 46%, followed by Charlie Summers (R) at 28% and Cynthia Dill (D) at 8%.

 

No Holding Back

Dan Balz: “No one expected Campaign 2012 to be positive or uplifting. The country’s problems are too severe and the battle lines between Republicans and Democrats have been hardened by almost four years of conflict between the White House and Congress.”

“But what is most striking about the campaign at this point is not just the negativity or the sheer volume of attack ads raining down on voters in the swing states. It is the sense that all restraints are gone, the guardrails have disappeared and there is no incentive for anyone to hold back. The other guy does it, so we’re going to do it too.”

 

The College Student Who Knew Romney’s Pick First

The Albany Times-Union interviews Curt Myers, the 19-year old college sophomore who secretly picked up Rep. Paul Ryan at the airport on the way to an announcement that the Wisconsin lawmaker was Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate.

Said Myers: “It was sort of a surreal experience. You hear about these kind of things, but you don’t think it’s a real thing… It was pretty cool to see it firsthand.”

“Myers was not chosen for the assignment randomly. His mother is Beth Myers, a longtime Romney confidante who oversaw the candidate’s vice presidential search process.”

 

Quinn Holds Solid Lead for New York City Mayor

A new Quinnipiac poll in New York City finds Christine Quinn (D) way ahead of her other Democratic challengers for mayor with 29%, followed by Bill Thompson (D) at 10%, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) at 10%, City Comptroller John Liu (D) at 9% and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (D) at 4%.

Big caveat: The mayoral race isn’t until 2013.

 

Least Productive Congress Since World War II

Congress is on pace to make history with the least productive legislative year in the post World War II era, USA Today reports.

“Just 61 bills have become law to date in 2012 out of 3,914 bills that have been introduced by lawmakers, or less than 2% of all proposed laws, according to a USA Today analysis of records since 1947 kept by the U.S. House Clerk’s office. ”

 

Judge Refuses to Block Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

A Pennsylvania judge denied a bid by civil rights groups to block the state’s new voter identification law, delivering a victory to Republicans who pushed the measure through saying it was needed to prevent voter fraud, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Rick Hasen: “In essence, the judge determined the following: the new voter ID law is likely to affect more than 1% but significantly less than the alleged 9% of Pennsylvania voters who plaintiffs alleged lacked the ID He thought it credible that state officials could get IDs into the hands of most voters who wanted them on election day.”

 

Former GOP Leader Warns Party on Medicare

Former Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY), who chaired the NRCC from 2003-2006, told The Hill that he sees in this election shades of President Bush’s fight to create a voucher program for Social Security which cost the GOP seats in 2006.

Said Reynolds: “You saw what happened to Bush with Social Security in the 2006 election. This is déjà vu.”

 

Leader of Anti-Semitic Party Learns He’s a Jew

Csanad Szegedi, a rising star in Hungary’s Jobbik Party, which overtly campaigns with anti-Semitic materials, has discovered that he is himself a Jew, the AP reports.

“Following weeks of Internet rumors, Szegedi acknowledged in June that his grandparents on his mother’s side were Jews — making him one too under Jewish law, even though he doesn’t practice the faith. His grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandfather a veteran of forced labour camps. Since then, the 30-year-old has become a pariah in Jobbik and his political career is on the brink of collapse.”

 

Ryan Pick Has Little Impact on Race

A new Economist/YouGov Poll finds no significant impact from Mitt Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. President Obama leads Romney by three points, 47% to 44%. Last week, Obama had a one point lead.

The Gallup daily tracking poll also shows Romney getting no bounce from his selection of Ryan.

Looking back at past campaigns, Harry Enten finds a net gain of four points in the polls for the party that picks a new running mate.

 

Why Romney is Getting Personal

First Read: “What’s fascinating is the Romney campaign’s decision to bring a gun to a knife fight yesterday. It could have knocked Biden for making yet another gaffe or another odd statement. But instead, it decided to step on the gas and use the harshest language possible — ‘anger’ and ‘hate’ — against Obama. And there seems to be an obvious strategy here: The Romney camp seems intent on muddying the Obama brand to narrow the likeability gap; it’s too hard to bring Romney up to Obama’s favorability levels, so they want to drag him down instead.”

“But there also is a potential danger here for Romney: For one thing, he opens himself up to criticism that he can dish out the attacks… but that he can’t take them. And two, the entire conversation about negativity distracts from Romney’s message. After all, we’re no longer talking about the economy or Romney’s plan, or now even his new running mate.”

 

Ann Romney Says No More Tax Returns

Ann Romney told NBC News that her husband will not be putting out any additional tax returns: “We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us. There’s going to be no more tax releases given.”

She added that if they release any more information, “it will only give them more ammunition” while adding “there’s nothing we’re hiding.”

 

Why the Campaign Got So Mean

Over the weekend, pundits predicted Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan would transform the presidential race into a debate about real issues and ideas.

But Ben Smith notes three days later, the campaign “has reached its ugliest, most fevered moment. President Obama himself invoked an old story about Romney strapping a dog to the roof of his car. The Chairman of the Republican National Committee shot back with a jibe about Obama having eaten dog as a schoolboy in Indonesia. Biden suggested that Republicans want to put voters back ‘in chains.’ Romney demanded Obama takes his campaign of ‘division and anger and hate back to Chicago.’ Obama’s spokesman called him ‘unhinged.’ The atmosphere bristled with conflict, Twitter spilled over with gleeful vitriol, and the campaign reached the sort of fevered political moment when it feels like anything can happen.”

“But if we didn’t predict this moment, we should have. The logic of President Obama’s campaign has always been, as a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House told me this time last year, that ‘unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney.'”

 

Ryan Meets with Billionaire Casino Mogul

In keeping with laws that prohibit elected officials from explicitly asking donors for super PAC money, Romney campaign aides insisted a meeting between Rep. Paul Ryan and billionaire Sheldon Adelson at a Las Vegas hotel was not a fundraiser, the New York Timesreports.

Said an aide: “It’s a finance event, not a fundraiser.”

When asked if people were paying to attend, the aide repeated, “It’s a finance event, not a fundraiser.”

 

Quote of the Day

“I mean, I think that he’s a practical conservative. He’s got a very conservative voting record, but he’s not a knuckle-dragger, all right? He understood that TARP, while none of us wanted to do it, if we were going to save — save our economy, save the world economy, it had to happen. I wish we didn’t have to do it, either, but he understood that.”

— House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), defending Rep. Paul Ryan on Fox News while suggesting opponents to the bank bailouts were “knuckle-draggers.”

 

Obama Spokesman Says Romney Seems “Unhinged”

Obama campaign press secretary fired back against Mitt Romney’s tough speech in Ohio, saying that GOP nominee seemed “unhinged,” Politico reports.

Said LaBolt: “Governor Romney’s comments tonight seemed unhinged, and particularly strange coming at a time when he’s pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative ads that are demonstrably false.”

 

Stearns Faces Primary Upset

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) was headed toward a stunning primary defeat last night, undone by a tea party candidate named Ted Yoho (R), the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Said Yoho: “I’m going to thank God. I’m going to do a Tebow right here.”

“Yoho, unknown in Florida political circles until now, has lived in North Central Florida for more than 3 decades. He ran an aggressive campaign against Stearns, including a TV adshowing men in suits feeding from a pig trough.”

Politico reports Stearns trails by more than 800 votes but is refusing to concede.

 

Non-Voters Overwhelmingly Back Obama

A nationwide USA Today/Suffolk University Poll of people who are eligible to vote but aren’t likely to do so finds that these stay-at-home Americans back President Obama’s re-election over Mitt Romney by more than 2-1.

“Two-thirds of them say they are registered to vote. Eight in 10 say the government plays an important role in their lives. Even so, they cite a range of reasons for declaring they won’t vote or saying the odds are no better than 50-50 that they will: They’re too busy. They aren’t excited about either candidate. Their vote doesn’t count.”

 

McMahon Obliterates Shays for Senate Nod in Connecticut

Linda McMahon (R), the former CEO of wrestling juggernaut WWE, once again won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, crushing former Rep. Christopher Shays (R) by a 3-to-1 ratio, the Hartford Courant reports.

She faces Rep. Chris Murphy (D) in the November election.

 

Thompson Wins Senate Primary in Wisconsin

Tommy Thompson (R) won a fierce Republican primary for U.S. Senate “on the theme of electability, as voters agreed with the former governor’s claim that he represented the best chance to win the seat in November and help the GOP regain control of the Senate,” theMilwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

He now faces Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) in a race that “presents voters with a sharp ideological choice that could help determine which party controls the Senate.”

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