POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/5
Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) told the Richmond Times Dispatch about a meeting requested by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), the man who outmaneuvered him for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
“Losing has liberated Bolling, loosening his image and his tongue. The loyal Republican who deferred to others defers no longer. Bolling is especially direct in expressing his distaste for the negative image the GOP projects and the just-say-no issues promoted by its new titular leader: Cuccinelli. This is an uncharacteristic role for Bolling — he is refusing to endorse Cuccinelli and will decide by mid-March on an independent candidacy that could sink Cuccinelli’s — and it is generating attention from an unlikely quarter.”
Said Bolling: “It’s like he’s written off trying to reach mainstream voters.”
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) “raised just more than $11,000 in the last three months of 2012 — a paltry total for any incumbent preparing to seek re-election,” Roll Call reports.
“Lautenberg faces a tough Democratic primary challenge from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who announced last month that he is exploring a bid for the seat.”
Washington Post: “So, what happens if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run in 2016? It is hard to imagine the presidential field without a woman contender, and here’s one to keep your eye on: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Napolitano is quietly making it known that she is considering the race, and there is reason to take her seriously.”
“Still, running for the White House from the cabinet is not an easy thing to do. Not since then-Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover did it in 1928 has anyone successfully made the leap from the president’s cabinet to the Oval Office.”
President Obama “traveled to the nation’s heartland to press his case for tougher gun laws on Monday, even as evidence mounted in Washington that expanded background checks on gun sales may emerge as a legislative compromise in the bitterly divisive cultural debate,” the New York Times reports.
“At the event, Mr. Obama declared ‘universal background checks’ to be supported by the ‘vast majority of Americans’ and called for quick passage in Congress of legislation expanding their reach… But the president set a different political standard for a potential assault weapons ban, saying only that it ‘deserves a vote in Congress because weapons of war have no place on our streets.'”
Politico notes Obama “lamented a key lesson he learned during his first term as president: That no legislation is done until the moment he affixes his signature — which leaves a lot of work left to do.”
“The most important influence on how members of Congress vote is not their constituents, but their party. This makes them out-of-step not only with the average American… but also, and ironically, with even their base. Members are more partisan than even voters in their party.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tells the Wisconsin State Journal that he doesn’t favor switching the way Wisconsin apportions its Electoral College votes.
Said Ryan: “I’ve always kind of liked the idea of being targeted as a state. I’d hate to be a flyover state. I’d like to be in the hunt for being a targeted state. I think it’s good for us.”
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) “raised $13,000 in the last three months of 2012 and has just $233,000 in the bank, a sign that he may be leaning toward retirement at the end of his term,” The Hill reports.
“Levin, the chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, has not said publicly whether he’ll run in 2014. His office has said previously he’d make a decision early this year.”
Chris Wallace called out National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre on Fox News Sunday for saying that President Obama’s children face the same threats to their security as other school children.
Said Wallace: “You really think that the president’s children are the same kind of target as every other school child in America? That’s ridiculous and you know it, sir.”
Donald Trump ripped into Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) over his suggestion that Republicans needed to “stop being the stupid party,” The Hill reports.
Said Trump: “He was stupid for using that term. Because that term is so obnoxious, and so good for the other side, he should not have used that term. That term is going to be living now for a long time, and they’re going to have his face on television using it.”
Politico says that In some states the allegations against Sen. Robert Menenedez (D-NJ) — improper flights to the Dominican Republic and alleged patronizing of prostitutes, including underage girls — “would be enough to sink Menendez. But in New Jersey, that may not be enough to topple the Hudson County political boss, who runs the political machine for a part of Jersey known for being rough and tumble and who easily won reelection last year.”
Meanwhile, a Newark Star-Ledger editorial said the scandal surrounding the senator raised “serious doubts about his fitness to serve as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
“Before he takes that post, Menendez needs to break his silence and explain himself.”
Los Angeles Times: “Reelected and re-inaugurated, Obama is going back to one place he knows he can succeed: the campaign trail.”
“During a second term, presidents often head off on a tour of the country after their State of the Union assessment, seizing the high mark of their political capital to press their agenda. The clock is ticking with less than two years, maybe only months, before lame-duck status sidelines the chief executive.”
“Obama isn’t waiting. He’s running opinion leaders through the White House at a daily clip to build support for immigration reform and gun control, as well as his economic vision. And, more than any other president, he’s using his campaign’s grass-roots network to amplify his message in social media and email inboxes.”
New York Times: “Welcome to another night in the life of Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court justice, current queen of the best-seller list and suddenly the nation’s most high-profile Hispanic figure. She may be a relative newcomer to national life, plucked from circuit-court obscurity less than four years ago. But the release of her new memoir, My Beloved World, suggests that she has broader ambitions than her colleagues, to play a larger and more personal role on the public stage.”
“Prior generations of justices mostly hid behind their robes to preserve their authority, and some current members of the court seem more like legal technicians, dispassionately adjusting the law… To say that Justice Sotomayor is less cloistered than most of her predecessors and colleagues may be an understatement: among many other appearances to promote her book, she salsa-danced with the Univision anchor Jorge Ramos in her chambers.”
“As President Obama and lawmakers from both parties begin to take their first tentative steps toward again rewriting the nation’s immigration laws, opponents warn that they are repeating the mistakes of the 1986 act, which failed to solve the problems that it set out to address. Critics contend that the law actually contributed to making the situation worse,” the Washington Post reports.
“An estimated 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States when the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed. Now there are upwards of 11 million. And the question of who gets to be an American, far from being settled, has been inflamed.”