POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/29

Obama Just Wants to Cripple the Republican Party

Richard Benedetto: “When an irate House Speaker John Boehner declared last week that President Obama was out to ‘annihilate‘ the Republican Party, he was exaggerating, or at least engaging in a bit of hyperbole. Obama is not out to destroy the Republican Party, just severely cripple it, and thereafter to cement his legacy in the final two years of his presidency.”

“What upset Boehner and many of his Republican colleagues is that they have finally recognized what Obama’s second inaugural address really was: the first speech of the 2014 congressional campaign.”

“That has them in a panic. It is now obvious to Republicans that Obama has no intention of becoming a lame duck president at the end of his second term. He’s seems willing to bide his time and push for a more-friendly Congress.”

Super PAC Backs Hillary

Marc Ambinder reports that a Super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton has already formed.

“ReadyForHillary aims to have its ducks in a row should Clinton decide to press go on a 2016 bid. It will serve as a virtual gathering place for supporters and donors. When prominent Democrats like Donna Brazile offer their endorsements — like Brazile did today in a tweet — the organization, which already claims close to 50,000 Twitter followers, will document them and push them out to the world.”

Cuccinelli Grabs Early Lead in Virginia

A new Roanoke College poll in Virginia shows Ken Cuccinelli (R) topping Terry McAuliffe (D) in this year’s gubernatorial race, 33% to 26%.

In a three way race, Cuccinelli leads with 25%, followed by McAuliffe at 19% and Bill Bolling (I) at 12%.

Obama’s Parting Gift to Hillary

Josh Green reports that a team of top Obama donors decided to surprise Hillary Clinton — “and thank her for her loyal service” — by raising enough money to pay off her 2008 campaign bills.

“The challenge was tougher than it may appear, since it required a particular kind of donor. In order not to run afoul of campaign finance laws, the Obama team had to find people who had not already given Clinton the 2008 maximum primary donation of $2,300 or maxed out their total federal candidate donations during the 2012 cycle ($46,200). And of course, those people also had to be warmly disposed toward Clinton and still have plenty of free cash on hand.”

“In the end, it took the checkbooks of about 120 people and several months to retire the debt… And as it turned out, the Obama folks substantially overshot the mark. Clinton’s campaign, which has not yet formally been shut down, now shows a surplus of about $205,000.”

Is Sarah Palin Over?

The Fix says that Sarah Palin “was that rare politician about whom there was no gray area in terms of how people regarded her. If you loved her, you LOVED her. And if you hated her, well, you HATED her. That division of opinion made Palin perhaps the single most compelling Republican politician over these past four years. No matter what you thought of her, you wanted to see what she would do next. In that way, Palin had as much in common with a celebrity as she did a politician.”

“Palin had as much natural ability as anyone this side of Barack Obama or John Edwards but was unable to translate that talent into results once the bright lights came on. That she never made good on her remarkable natural talents is a sign of how the political process can chew up and spit out those who aren’t ready for it.”

Marc Ambinder: “Sarah Palin won’t be able to make a political comeback until she decides to put in the work necessary to make Sarah Palin mean something other than it now does.”

Palin Was Paid $15 a Word

Smart Politics review of the more than 150 Fox News broadcasts in which Sarah Palin appeared as a paid commentator from 2010 through 2012 finds that she spoke 189,221 words on air during this span, for an average pay rate of $15.85 per word.

Obama Not Expected to Make 2016 Endorsement

Former Clinton chief of staff Mack McLarty told CNN that despite President Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s strong working relationship, the president would likely refrain from making an endorsement in the early stages of the 2016 race.

Said McLarty: “He probably stays neutral, certainly during the primaries. I think that’s been the standard for any sitting president. And look, it’s a long time. Four years is a long time.”

Why Obama Thanked Hillary

National Journal notes the highlight of last night’s 60 Minutes interview with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the president’s public thank you to his former rival.

“Obama has, in truth, good reason to feel grateful to his former political rival — far more than the public generally knows. In a remarkable display of discipline and devotion after one of the fiercest primary fights in American political history, Clinton managed to submerge her political ego almost totally during her four years in office. Yet her journey from dominant Democratic political figure — a presidential candidate seen at one point as an easy winner over the upstart Obama — to loyal messenger and defender of the Obama faith wasn’t easy. And, to Clinton’s credit, it happened almost entirely out of the headlines.”

First Read: “Here’s a thought exercise: Imagine what Obama’s presidency would have been like had Clinton stayed in the U.S. Senate. During the tough times (health care, the debt-ceiling debate), everyone would have looked for any kind of daylight between the two politicians, and Hillary potentially launching a primary challenge would have been a constant story, even if she had no plans on such a move. But what’s been extraordinary is how loyal Obama and Clinton have been to each other.”

Democrats Ready to Back Tea Party Candidate in Kentucky

Politico reports tea party activists “looking to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a GOP primary may get some help from an unlikely source: Democrats.”

“Big Democratic donors, local liberal activists and a left-leaning super PAC in Kentucky are telling tea partiers that they are poised to throw financial and organizational support behind a right-wing candidate should one try to defeat the powerful GOP leader in a 2014 primary fight.”

Treasury Gets a Citibanker

The Wall Street Journal blasts President Obama’s pick of Jack Lew to be the next Treasury secretary, noting his “only business credential is a stint at the most troubled too-big-to-fail bank.”

“The greatest irony is that given Mr. Lew’s crisis-era resumé, he bears a remarkable resemblance to the bankers who President Obama says created the financial crisis and deserve federal investigation. But apparently there’s an exception as long as your liberal intentions are noble and you’re a loyal Democrat. Then you can get rich at one of Wall Street’s biggest failures and end up running the entire financial system.”

Senators Agree on Immigration Blueprint

“A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a set of principles for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, including a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants that would hinge on progress in securing the borders and ensuring that foreigners leave the country when their visas expire,” the New York Times reports.

“The senators were able to reach a deal by incorporating the Democrats’ insistence on a single comprehensive bill that would not deny eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants, with Republican demands that strong border and interior enforcement had to be clearly in place before Congress could consider legal status for illegal immigrants.”

Politico: “The group is expected to unveil the basics of its proposal at a Monday news conference on Capitol Hill, essentially laying down a marker on the issue one day before President Barack Obama heads to Las Vegas to unveil more details about his own immigration proposal.”

Why Obama Chose Hagel

Bob Woodward: “The two share similar views and philosophies as the Obama administration attempts to define the role of the United States in the transition to a post-superpower world. This worldview is part hawk and part dove. It amounts, in part, to a challenge to the wars of President George W. Bush. It holds that the Afghanistan war has been mismanaged and the Iraq war unnecessary. War is an option, but very much a last resort.”

“So, this thinking goes, the U.S. role in the world must be carefully scaled back — this is not a matter of choice but of facing reality; the military needs to be treated with deep skepticism; lots of strategic military and foreign policy thinking is out of date; and quagmires like Afghanistan should be avoided.”

Obama Campaign Gives Database to New Advocacy Group

President Obama’s presidential campaign “has turned over its most valuable asset — a massive computer database containing personal data on millions of American voters — to a new advocacy group created to advance the White House agenda on issues ranging from gun control to immigration reform,” NBC News reports.

“Dubbed the ‘nuclear codes’ by campaign aides, the Obama campaign database is widely described as one of the most powerful tools ever developed in American politics. According to published reports, it contains the names of at least 4 million Obama donors – as well as millions of others (the campaign has consistently refused to say how many) compiled from voter registration rolls and other public databases. In addition, the campaign used sophisticated computer programs — with code names like ‘Narwhal’ — to collect information through social media: Anybody who contacted the campaign through Facebook had their friends and ‘likes’ downloaded. If they contacted the campaign website through mobile apps, cellphone numbers and address books were downloaded. Computer “cookies” captured Web browsing and online spending habits.”

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