POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/25

Bipartisan Filibuster Deal Close

“Senate Democratic and Republican leaders are nearing an agreement on new limits to the filibuster, an effort to speed action in the often-clogged chamber by prohibiting senators from using a common tactic to slow the legislative process,” the New York Times reports.

“Lawmakers and aides said the new rules, which both sides were preparing to announce on Thursday, would end the use of a procedural tactic that forces the majority party — Democrats currently — to marshal 60 votes to even bring a bill to the floor, sometimes killing it before it ever gets debated.”

200,000 Didn’t Vote in Florida Because of Lines

Remember the analysis that found that long lines cost nearly 50,000 votes in Central Florida? Well, the Orlando Sentinel reports that if you extend that to the whole state, it’s more than 201,000.

“Analyzing data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel, Ohio State University professor Theodore Allen estimated last week that at least 201,000 voters likely gave up in frustration on Nov. 6, based on research Allen has been doing on voter behavior. His preliminary conclusion was based on the Sentinel’s analysis of voter patterns and precinct-closing times in Florida’s 25 largest counties, home to 86 percent of the state’s 11.9 million registered voters.”

Clintons Go House Hunting

Bill and Hillary Clinton are house hunting in the Hamptons, the New York Post reports.

“The former president, 66, and wanna-be future president, 65, are looking for an oceanfront property where they can unwind and prepare for their next phase of life.”

Obama’s 4th Year Ties as Most Polarized Ever

Gallup: “During his fourth year in office, an average of 86% of Democrats and 10% of Republicans approved of the job Barack Obama did as president. That 76-percentage-point gap ties George W. Bush’s fourth year as the most polarized years in Gallup records.”

Clinton’s Strong Swan Song

Suzi Parker: “Remember how Hillary Rodham Clinton’s critics said she faked her December stomach illness, which included a concussion and a subsequent blood clot, because she was scared to face scrutiny from Congress? As the kids say, whatevs. Hillary conquered Capitol Hill on Wednesday. She looked anything but frightened … Naturally, the right-wing media went into overdrive about Hillary not caring about four dead Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, because she said, ‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’ Of course, they must have missed her earlier testimony when her voice cracked with emotion as she described meeting the caskets at Andrews Air Force Base, President Obama by her side.”

“For Hillary, the testimony was a triumphant capstone on her term as the chief U.S. diplomat. If Hillary had not dealt with the Benghazi affair before she left office, she could have been viewed as a failure and a weakling. Instead, she came blazing onto Capitol Hill in true Hillary style, concluding the Libya drama on her terms and exiting the Washington stage to regroup for her next adventure — a new book, global speeches or a presidential run.”

The Week: Will Clinton’s testimony come back to haunt her?

Study Casts Light on Robo-Polls

A new study “makes a startling suggestion about so-called ‘robo-polls’ in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, raising the question of whether these automated surveys may have been adjusted to match live-interviewer polls,” Gary Langer reports.

Key excerpt: “There is no difference in the accuracy of IVR polls and human polls when IVR polls occur after a human poll, but IVR polls do significantly worse if human polls are not conducted first. The apparent equivalence of IVR polls and human polls in the 2012 Republican primary appears to depend on human polls being conducted prior to the IVR polls.”

That said, the authors admit they “did not test the reverse possibility, that traditional polls were altered to match automated ones.”

Bill Would Require Rape Victims to Keep Pregnancies

New Mexico state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R) has introduced a bill that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial, the Huffington Post reports.

Americans Back Obama’s Gun Control Proposals

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds a slight majority of Americans give positive marks to new gun control proposals put forward by President Obama, 53% to 41%.

Fully 76% of Democrats rate Obama’s proposals favorably, while 72% of Republicans say the opposite. Independents tilt positively toward the newly announced restrictions: 51% favorable and 44% unfavorable.

Gallup: “Given the chance to vote ‘for’ or ‘against’ each of nine key proposals included in President Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence, Americans back all nine.”

Very Close Race for Virginia Governor

A new Christopher Newport University poll shows a very tight race for Virginia governor with Terry McAuliffe (D) barely ahead of Ken Cuccinelli (R), 31% to 30%.

A three-way race is even tighter with McAuliffe and Cuccinelli tied at 27% and possible independent candidate Bill Bolling (I) way back at 9%.

Al Gore Now Wealthier Than Mitt Romney

Time looks at Al Gore’s recent business dealings — including a new book — and notes he “has built his net worth to some $300 million, according to the scorekeepers at Forbes. By their measure, he is now richer than the renowned super­capitalist Mitt Romney.”

Jindal Offers Tough Love to Republicans

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) “will deliver a forceful denunciation of his party’s Washington-centric focus in a speech to the Republican National Committee on Thursday evening, arguing that the GOP is fighting the wrong fight as it seeks to rebuild from losses at the ballot box last November,” the Washington Post reports.

“Jindal’s speech — and his call to ‘recalibrate the compass of conservatism’ — is the latest shred of a growing amount of evidence that the Louisiana governor is positioning himself to not only run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 but do so in direct (or close to it) opposition to his party in the nation’s capital.”

House GOP Gambles on Pledge to Balance Budget

“Stepping up their austerity campaign, House Republicans plan to demand far deeper spending cuts from President Obama to balance the federal budget in just 10 years, an extraordinary goal that would hit Medicare and other safety-net programs,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “agreed to the dramatic initiative to coax reluctant rank-and-file lawmakers Wednesday to approve a temporary suspension of the $16.4-trillion debt limit without any cuts in spending.”

The Hill: “Democrats eyeing a takeover of the House in 2014 view the move as a gift, since the GOP budget plan will likely make deeper cuts to popular government programs that any leadership-backed blueprint has before.”

Democrats Launch Plan to Make Texas a Swing State

National Democrats “are taking steps to create a large-scale independent group aimed at turning traditionally conservative Texas into a prime electoral battleground, crafting a new initiative to identify and mobilize progressive voters in the rapidly-changing state,” Politicoreports.

“The organization, dubbed ‘Battleground Texas,’ plans to engage the state’s rapidly growing Latino population, as well as African-American voters and other Democratic-leaning constituencies that have been underrepresented at the ballot box in recent cycles. Two sources said the contemplated budget would run into the tens of millions of dollars over several years – a project Democrats hope has enough heft to help turn what has long been an electoral pipe dream into reality.”

Obama Picks New Bank Regulators

President Obama will nominate Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, “tapping an attorney with broad experience in prosecuting white-collar crimes to lead an agency that has a central role in implementing Wall Street reform,” the APreports.

Obama will also “renominate Richard Cordray to serve as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau… The president used a recess appointment last year to circumvent Congress and install Cordray as head of the bureau. That appointment expires at the end of this year.”

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