POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/17

O’Donnell Mulls Another Senate Bid

Failed U.S. Senate candidate Christine (“I’m not a Witch”) O’Donnell (R) told the Wilmington News-Journal that she’s considering another bid in 2014.

Said O’Donnell: “I think I owe that to my supporters, to at least consider a run. People sacrificed. Not only came out of their comfort zone — sacrificed to work hard in order to win the primary. And I think that I owe it to them to give it every consideration.”

Is Ben Bernanke Trying to Help Obama Win?

The Week looks at the Federal Reserve chairman’s new effort to bolster the economic recovery as Republicans argue that he’s in the tank for President Obama.

Romney Refocuses on 5-Point Plan

Mitt Romney’s campaign speeches “now center on his five-point economic plan that, he says, will create 12 million jobs over the next four years,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

The current plan boils down Romney’s 59-point primary season proposal on jobs and the economy.

“It’s surprisingly difficult to find substantive, independent analysis of the plan… The bottom line seems to be that few people are certain that the plan would work because aspects of it remain vague. Still, it includes some of the most specific policies that Romney has described for how he proposes to jump-start the economy. And its importance has only been underscored in recent days by polls showing that President Obama has drawn even with Romney on the question of who is better equipped to manage the economy.”

Warren Opens Up Lead in Massachusetts

A new Western New England Polling Institute poll in Massachusetts finds Elizabeth Warren (D) pulling away from Sen. Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race and now leads 50% to 44%, among likely voters.

Said pollster Tim Vercellotti: “This may be not just due to her speech, but the overall enthusiasm Democrats have had coming out of their convention. The data shows that Democrats are more fired up right now than independents or Republicans.”

A new Public Policy Polling survey is coming later tonight and a Suffolk University poll is due out on Monday.

Pelosi Says Ryan Pick Will Help Democrats Retake House

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CNN that Mitt Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate will give Democrats a better shot at retaking control of the House of Representatives.

Said Pelosi: “On August 11, when Gov. Romney chose Ryan, that was the pivotal day. That is the day things really changed. We were on a path. I would have said to you then we were dead even. Well, the momentum is very much with us, the Medicare issue in this campaign.”

Lawmaker’s Children Still Vote for Him Despite Moving Away

Three of powerful New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s (D) adult children “remained registered to vote in their father’s Lower East Side district long after moving out,” the New York Post reports.

“And they continued to vote for years at the same Delancey Street polling place as their parents — presumably pulling the lever for Papa in his re-election bids — even when, as in the case of one child, they lived out of state.”

Said a Silver spokesman: “The election law is clear that voters have wide latitude to vote from the residence they choose, so long as they are not dually registered. They all vote from only one place, and under New York law that is clearly legal.”

GOP Lawmakers Nervous About Romney Campaign

Republican lawmakers “are grumbling about the direction of Mitt Romney’s campaign and say he needs to change course,” The Hill reports.

The GOP members say Romney must do a better job of communicating to voters what to expect of him, either by making a bold pledge or fleshing policy proposals with more details.

Said one Republican senator: “Papa Bush was down after the Democratic convention in 1988, people worried he couldn’t come back and then he made his ‘read my lips, no new taxes’ pledge.”

Said another: “My advice is don’t try to turn him into something he’s not. You’re never going to turn him into a teddy bear.”

The Foreign Relations Fumbler

Nicholas Kristof: “Diplomacy is a minefield, and Mitt Romney spent the last week blowing up his foreign policy credentials to be president. He raised doubts about his capacity to deal with global crises, and we were left hoping that if that 3 a.m. call ever went to him, he’d have set up call forwarding.”

“The essential problem is that every time Romney touches foreign policy, he breaks things. He went on a friendly trip to Britain — the easiest possible test for a candidate, akin to rolling off a log — and endeared himself by questioning London’s readiness to host the Olympic Games. In the resulting firestorm, one newspaper, The Sun, denounced ‘Mitt the Twit’…”

“Then there was the Romney trip to Israel, where he insulted Palestinians and left some Jews uncomfortable with stereotyping by praising Jewish culture in the context of making money… Yet with the Middle East exploding in recent days because of a video insulting the Prophet Muhammad, Romney dived in with a statement that hit a trifecta: it was erroneous, inflammatory and offensive.”

Hidden Video Shows Romney at a Fundraiser

A fascinating hidden camera video shows Mitt Romney talking at a fundraiser about investing in a Chinese factory that he described as surrounded by barbed wire and packed with 12 women per dormitory room.

Romney’s point in telling the story was that “95% of life is settled if you’re born in America.”

See more…

Romney Campaign in Crisis

John Heilemann: “And so it does, with the past week proving another maxim: that when shit rains, shit pours. In the space of 72 hours, what began, horrifically enough on September 11, with the murder of four Americans (including one of our best and bravest, Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya) at the consulate in Benghazi spiraled into a region-wide upheaval, with angry Muslim protests directed at American diplomatic missions erupting in sixteen countries. Suddenly, the president was facing just the kind of externality that his team had been bracing for: a full-blown ­foreign-policy crisis less than eight weeks out from Election Day. And a campaign marked by stasis and even torpor was jolted to life as if by a pair of defibrillator paddles applied squarely to its solar plexus.”

“Moments like this are not uncommon in presidential elections, and when they come, they tend to matter. For unlike the posturing and platitudes that constitute the bulk of what occurs on the campaign trail, big external events provide voters with something authentic and valuable: a real-time test of the temperament, character, and instincts of the men who would be commander-in-chief. And when it comes to the past week, the divergence between the resulting report cards could hardly be more stark.”

Judge Throws Out Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Law

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) law repealing most collective bargaining for local and school employees was struck down by a judge, “yet another dramatic twist in a year and a half saga that likely sets up another showdown in the Supreme Court,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

Are You Better Off?

President Obama’s campaign answers the question Mitt Romney keeps asking.

Greg Sargent: “The use of Clinton in the new ad is also interesting: As noted here recently, the Obama campaign believes that true undecided voters see Clinton as a kind of ‘referee’ figure on the economy — hence the ad’s back-to-back footage of Clinton and Obama both making the case that electing a Republican president would take us back to the policies that got us into trouble in the first place. Clinton will play a major role in trying to get swing voters to feel that things are indeed recovering.”

See more…

Are You Better Off?

President Obama’s campaign answers the question Mitt Romney keeps asking.

Greg Sargent: “The use of Clinton in the new ad is also interesting: As noted here recently, the Obama campaign believes that true undecided voters see Clinton as a kind of ‘referee’ figure on the economy — hence the ad’s back-to-back footage of Clinton and Obama both making the case that electing a Republican president would take us back to the policies that got us into trouble in the first place. Clinton will play a major role in trying to get swing voters to feel that things are indeed recovering.”

See more…

Obama Erases Romney’s Edge on the Economy

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds President Obama has taken away Mitt Romney’s longstanding advantage as the candidate most likely to fix the economy and create jobs.

“The poll also found that more likely voters give an edge to Mr. Obama on foreign policy, Medicare and addressing the challenges of the middle class. The only major issue on which Mr. Romney held an advantage was handling the federal budget deficit.”

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