POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/4

New Insights Into the 2012 Presidential Race

Here are some interesting nuggets from last week’s conference at Harvard:

Huffington Post: “Mitt Romney’s campaign manager admitted regret that the Republican challenger took such a hardline stance on immigration during the GOP primary, one of the first clear acknowledgements by the Romney campaign that its candidate hurt himself among Latino voters… Rhoades went on to describe how the Romney campaign may have regarded Perry as a mortal threat for too long, leading it to engage him beyond the point when it was necessary, and setting itself up for a hard-right turn on immigration.”

The Atlantic notes campaign manager Matt Rhoades was “completely blindsided” by the 47% hidden camera video of Mitt Romney speaking at a Florida fundraiser and that chief strategist Stuart Stevens claims he left the room for Romney’s infamous remarks.

BuzzFeed reports that Obama digital director Teddy Goff said that the nearly 34 million Facebook users who “like” Barack Obama on the social networking sites are friends with 98% of the U.S. Facebook population, making it an effective tool to reach out to younger voters.

The audio is definitely worth listening to.

Obama Looks to Reward Big Bundlers

President Obama is considering nominating Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, to be either his next ambassador to the U.K. or France, as he looks to reward his biggest fundraisers, Bloomberg reports.

Wintour, 63, may have some competition for the London posting, with Matthew Barzun, the finance chairman of Obama’s presidential campaign, also interested in the job, officially known as ambassador to the Court of St. James’s.

Both Wintour and Barzun were among Obama’s biggest bundlers in the campaign, with each raising more than $500,000 to help re-elect the president.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I don’t believe the Dems want to go over the fiscal cliff — don’t believe it at all. But they are prepared for it, and are in a better position than the Republicans should it occur.”

— Paul Begala, quoted by the Washington Post.

House GOP Makes Counteroffer to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

House Republicans “made a new deficit proposal to the White House that calls for $800 billion in tax increases, half of what President Obama proposed and an amount Republicans say could be achieved without raising tax rates,” the Wall Street Journalreports.

“The proposal represents an effort to strike a middle ground after the White House last week infuriated Republicans by making an opening bid in the budget talks largely summarizing the president’s most recent budget proposal.”

Republicans Have No Game Plan

Daniel Gross: “The reality should be seeping in to viewers of the Sunday shows that the Republicans don’t have a game plan. They don’t have a single, specific proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff. And even if they had one, they don’t have a roadmap to get there. They keep expecting Obama to come back with something more to their liking, which they’d also reject. Many Republicans literally don’t understand what is happening. Sen. Charles Grassley tweeted over the weekend that he was frustrated that President Obama hadn’t embraced the recommendation of the Bowles-Simpson Commission. Apparently, he is one of the many people in Washington who doesn’t understand that Bowles-Simpson recommended letting the Bush tax rates on the wealthy expire, while also proposing to cap or eliminate deductions primarily enjoyed by the wealthy.”

Wonk Wire: Republicans shift back to Ryan budget.

Quote of the Day

“When I decided to run, I said either you come out and become an activist and have a major role there or I run for Congress. There was no way I could have been out and won. In the end I almost lost on suspicion.”

— Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), in an interview with the Washington Post, on whether to publicly disclose his homosexuality.

The 2012 Presidential Campaign Post-Mortem

The Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School just released audio files from last week’s conference featuring campaign mangers, strategists and pollsters from the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns.

I found the discussions of Democratic strategy before the conventions and of the general election campaign the most interesting.

These are highly recommended and well worth the time.

See more…

Obama Quietly Working Towards Climate Deal

President Obama is “putting in place the building blocks for a climate treaty requiring the first fossil fuel emissions cuts from both the U.S. and China,” Businessweek reports.

“State Department envoy Todd Stern is in Doha this week working to clear the path for an international agreement by 2015. While Obama failed to deliver on his promise to start a cap-and-trade program in his first term, he’s working on policies that may help cut greenhouse gases 17 percent by 2020 in the U.S., historically the world’s biggest polluter.”

The Republican Doomsday Plan

Republicans “are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely,” ABC News reports.

“It’s quite simple:  House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more:  no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes.  Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.”

Two senior Republican elected officials say this doomsday plan “is becoming the most likely scenario” with one variation being that House Republicans “would allow a vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts and Republicans, to express disapproval at the failure to extend all tax cuts, would vote “present” on the bill, allowing it to pass entirely on Democratic votes.”

Pelosi Threatens Vote on Tax Bill

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) threatened to bring about a House vote on a bill that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for families making $250,000, but would allow the tax breaks to expire for those above the threshold, CNN reports.

“Under a ‘discharge petition,’ a bill can be brought to the floor without going through a committee or without approval of House leadership. The bill would need an absolute majority — 218 votes — to pass.”

Roles Reversed on Budget Talks

First Read: “What is striking, however, is that Democrats and Republicans now find themselves in COMPLETELY OPPOSITE places than they were in 2011. A year ago, Republicans were the ones – after their victory in the midterms – who had the political winds at their back and felt like they had the mandate. Now it’s the Democrats. In 2011, Republicans were the ones with more detailed plans about spending cuts (think the Ryan plan). Now it’s the White House with a more detailed plan. And back then, Republicans had the leverage with the debt ceiling. But now Democrats are the ones with the leverage, because of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.”

Meanwhile, Greg Sargent notes, “If we do nothing, Democrats will get their way. All the tax cuts will expire, and Dems can come back and push a new tax cut just for the middle class — a circumstance that will only increase the Dems’ leverage further.”

Governors Had Little Pull in Presidential Race

Despite numerous claims in 2010 that Republican gubernatorial gains in battleground states would impede President Obama’s ability to win these states in 2012, Smart Politicsconfirms its projections from two years ago finding there remains no correlation between a presidential nominee winning a state and the party of that state’s sitting governor:

Fiscal Cliff Talks at Stalemate

The White House and congressional Republicans “remained at loggerheads–in both public and private–over how to design a deficit-reduction package, with just a few weeks remaining before the nation hits the fiscal cliff,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The New York Times notes that President Obama, “scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table.”

“Disciplined and unyielding, he argues for raising taxes on the wealthy while offering nothing new to rein in spending and overhaul entitlement programs beyond what was on the table last year. Until Republicans offer their own new plan, Mr. Obama will not alter his. In effect, he is trying to leverage what he claims as an election mandate to force Republicans to take ownership of the difficult choices ahead.”

Paul Brandus: A grand canyon separates Obama and the GOP on the fiscal cliff.

2016 Contenders Already Courting Mega Donors

Politico: “A week after Election Day, three Republican governors mentioned as 2016 presidential candidates — Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Bob McDonnell — each stopped by the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to meet privately with its owner Sheldon Adelson, a man who could single-handedly underwrite their White House ambitions.”

“Planning a presidential campaign used to mean having coffee with county party chairs in their Iowa or New Hampshire living rooms. The courting of Adelson, a full four years out from 2016, demonstrates how super PAC sugar daddies have become the new must-have feature for White House wannabes.”

Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) “is meeting with big donors in Los Angeles this week and has a fundraiser scheduled for next Monday in the Washington suburbs. Vice President Joe Biden, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) have been meeting with big donors, leaving the impression that they’re ready to run.”

J.C. Watts Mulls Bid for RNC Chair

Former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) says he is being “encouraged” by supporters to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee, “a move he says could broaden the party’s appeal to minorities,” Politico reports.

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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