POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/18
Gabriel Sherman: “According to sources, David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air… The directive created a rift inside the network… During the weekend, one frustrated producer went around Clark to lobby Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice-president for news editorial, but Clemente upheld the mandate.”
Inouye’s death “also marks a significant generational shift in Senate history: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) will be the only — and likely the final — veteran of World War II serving in the Senate next year.”
“The death of Hawaii’s senior senator also creates a vacancy atop the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Here too Leahy is next in line, giving him the right of first refusal to the chairman’s gavel.”
The Week: Not since FDR has a president transformed so many senators into Cabinet secretaries.
Jeff Greenfield: “A shocking event is exactly the right time to start, or restart, an argument about public policy. A story like the Newtown killings rivets our attention, forces it to the front of our consciousness, insists that we sweep aside the thousand and one distractions that compete for our brain space, and demands that we ask: Is this how we want things to be, and, if not, what do we do about it?”
Ad Week: “The National Rifle Association shut down a key Twitter account last summer in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colo. theater shootings. On Saturday, one day after the unthinkable shootings at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school, the NRA took a more drastic measure by deactivating its Facebook page after celebrating getting to 1.7 million fans on the social site earlier in the week.”
“While the group has not commented since Friday’s tragedy, it appears to have staked out a strategy to take its brand out of the social media picture in the wake of a mass-shooting news event. Given its guns-rights cause, the social media buzz after such events seems to be an unenviable conversation for the org to partake in.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) says he’s taking a new perspective on gun control since Friday’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, the Washington Post reports.
Said Warner: “I’ve been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. I’ve got an A rating from the NRA. But the status quo isn’t acceptable. I’ve got three daughters. They asked me on Friday evening, ‘Dad, what are you gonna do about this?’ There’s got to be a way to put reasonable restrictions, particularly as we look at assault weapons, as we look at these fast clips of ammunition.”
Sen. Joe Machin (D-WV) took a similar position earlier today.
First Read: “But no Republican leader – so far – has joined this Democratic chorus in calling for stricter control of guns in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre.”
“Tradition trumped suspense Monday as members of the Electoral College cast the official, final votes in an exhausting 2012 presidential election, a constitutional formality on President Barack Obama’s march to a second term,” the AP reports.
“The rite playing in state capitols involved party luminaries and tireless activists carrying out the will of each state’s voters. The popular vote from state-to-state dictates whether Democratic or Republican electors get the honor, but the outcome is not in doubt.”
President Obama and House Speaker Boehner “are discussing a $2 trillion framework on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, that would include roughly a trillion in tax increases and roughly a trillion in savings from entitlement programs,” CNN reports.
“Boehner and the president met in person on Monday, but sources familiar with the talks indicate that the framework under discussion is what Republicans are pushing to get to agreement, but it’s unclear whether the make up of the $2 trillion framework could get support from Democrats.”
Wall Street Journal: “While the White House objected to major parts of the proposal, senior Democrats described it as a tipping point that moves talks away from deadlock. Instead, it cleared the way for both sides to engage in nitty-gritty haggling over exactly where the new income threshold might be set and what should comprise the spending cuts.”
Meanwhile, a new USA Today/Gallup Poll finds 66% said both sides should compromise “on their principles and beliefs on tax increases and spending cuts.”
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 54% of Americans now favor stricter gun control laws, numerically a five-year high, and 59% support a ban specifically on high-capacity ammunition clips.
In addition, more than half of Americans “say the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, reflect broader problems in society rather than an isolated act of a troubled person – more than after other recent shooting incidents, suggesting the possibility of a new national dialogue on violent crime.”
The Week: Is the Connecticut massacre a game changer for gun control?
Supporters of the “talking filibuster” are closing in on the majority needed to reform the rules, according to a whip count compiled by the Huffington Post.
“Nailing down at least 50 votes, however, doesn’t guarantee success. Advocates worry that Reid may use the prospect of victory on the most ambitious reform to persuade Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to cave and agree to a milder set of reforms. Those would likely include provisions that would speed up the pace of action in the Senate without altering the fundamental nature of minority rights.”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has chosen Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) to replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the United States Senate, the New York Times reports.
“The move will make Mr. Scott the first black senator from the South since the late 19th century.”
Washington Post: “His selection is little surprise, as his name quickly rose to the top of most people’s lists mere hours after DeMint announced he was going to resign. There are plenty of ambitious Republican politicians in South Carolina, but Scott made sense for the appointment for a whole host of reasons, including his close relationships with Haley and DeMint and his ties to both the conservative base and the party establishment.”
Joe Scarborough, a conservative Republican who received the NRA’s highest ratings over four terms in Congress, has changed his mind on gun control.
“It’s time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas while we’re losing the war at home… We must give no more ground… I choose life, and I choose change. And for the sake of our children, we must do what’s right. And for the sake of this great nation that we love, let’s pray to God that we do.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a conservative Democrat and National Rifle Association member, said that after the school shooting in Connecticut, it’s time to discuss new regulations on assault weapons, the Washington Post reports.
Said Manchin: “I dont know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.”
CNN: “There are an estimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the United States, making Americans the most heavily armed people in the world per capita. Yemen, a tribal nation with no history of strong central government or the rule of law, comes in a distant second.”
A must-read out today for the Kindle: The End of the Line: The 34 days That Decided the Election by Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin.
A couple highlights:
“Romney instituted a point system that assigned a specific numerical value to each event — rallies, speeches, fundraisers and so on. The more labor-intensive the event, the more points it was assigned. Romney’s instructions to his assistant were that he was not to exceed 900 points on a given day, the better to manage his time.”
“Obama’s unshakeable confidence was deeply shaken by his own failure in Denver — far more than anyone on the outside could have known at the time. Obama and his top advisers quietly waged a campaign-within-a-campaign to buck up their bummed-out candidate and, even more quietly, to purge distractions and negativity from his midst.”
“Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office,” National Journal reports.
“Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis.”
“Already, two states — Maine and Nebraska — award an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district… But if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally, Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic advantage.”
Unlike his past remarks after other tragic shootings, President Obama last night made anexplicit call to action to stem gun violence. His speech could end up being the most memorable of his presidency.
The Wall Street Journal notes the White House “is looking at various options, and the scope and details of the president’s approach aren’t clear. One possibility likely to be considered is a ban on high-capacity magazines, the devices attached to firearms that store large numbers of bullets and reload them rapidly.”
First Read: “To pull this off in the gun area, the president is going to have to tackle every issue associated with these heinous crimes: gun laws, our gun culture, mental health, the de-sensitization of violence thanks to Hollywood and video game makers, and of course parental responsibility. If it’s a LARGER policy discussion, it’s much harder for the most ardent NRA-supporting lawmaker to walk away.”
President Obama is likely to pick Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the next secretary of state but the New York Times reports that the announcement will be delayed, at least until later this week and maybe beyond, because of the Connecticut school shooting and what one official called ‘some discomfort’ with the idea of Mr. Obama’s announcing a national security team in which the top posts are almost exclusively held by white men.”
The Boston Globe adds that the possibility of picking Kerry for state and former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) for defense “could also create pressure on the White House to add gender or racial diversity to the team with its selection of a permanent replacement for David Petraeus as CIA director.”
Among the possible candidates in that case would be Michele Flournoy or former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA).
Retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told WFSB-TV that it is time for sweeping changes in the way the United States chooses its leaders and said he supports the elimination of the electoral college and supports term limits for his colleagues in the Senate.
Said Lieberman: “My position on this has changed. Some say there are term limits for senators every six years and it is up to voters to decide. When I started here (24 years ago) I was 99th in seniority, and now I am 20th, so it does change, but needs to change more often… I think it would make the senate less partisan and healthier if it turned over more often.”
He also said he was surprised there wasn’t a movement after the 2000 election to eliminate the electoral college.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) told the AP that he’s considering joining the Democratic Party to help his chances of winning a second term.
Chafee said that “he shares many views with Democrats and that joining a major party might make it easier to raise money for the 2014 campaign. He said there’s no timetable for his decision but he is actively raising money to run for re-election, which he said is a ‘good indication’ of his plans.”
Michael Dukakis (D) “may be headed back to the political spotlight as he’s considered a likely interim replacement for Sen. John Kerry (D-MA),” The Hill reports.
If Kerry is named Secretary of State as expected, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) “needs to find someone to fill Kerry’s seat until a special election can be held in the late spring or early summer… The Democratic primary for Kerry’s seat will be intense and Patrick is expected to tap someone as an interim replacement who would promise not to run in the special election.”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), “who just lost an expensive, hard-fought re-election campaign, may soon get a shot at redemption.”Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics