POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/14

Erasing Romney

“His desperate need for a drink of water created the immediate headline, but Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) much-anticipated speech Tuesday night had a very serious intent: It was as much an exercise in erasing Mitt Romney’s legacy on the Republican Party as it was a traditional response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address,” Jonathan Martin reports.

“The selection of Rubio to speak for his party marked the latest, and perhaps most overt, step in the GOP’s rehabilitation project since Election Day, an effort to repackage its identity without altering its policies.”

First Read: “But here’s a separate question we have: Did Rubio broaden his party’s reach? While he’s younger than Mitt Romney and has a more relatable life story, Rubio’s speech was almost a rehash of almost everything we heard from Romney and the GOP in 2012.”

Pollster Warns GOP Not to Count on Six-Year Itch

GOP pollster Neil Newhouse warned Republicans to beware of President Obama’s use of thebully pulpit this election cycle, Roll Call reports.

He also suggested they not count on the six-year itch.

Said Newhouse: “I kind of emphasized to the members that second midterm elections have never been friendly to the president. You can’t count on that. That’s not going to happen. We’ve got to realize that the House Republicans are going to be Obama’s top target.”

Reid Will Not Honor Hold Against Brennan

After Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced he is prepared to hold John Brennan’s nomination to be CIA director, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he wouldn’t honor the hold, NBC News reports.

Reid also refused to honor holds on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary which is scheduled for a Friday vote.

Senate Schedules Friday Vote on Hagel

“Facing stiff Republican opposition to moving quickly on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a cloture motion this afternoon to cut off debate,” Politico reports.

“Sixty votes will be required to cut off debate and then move to an up-or-down vote on the nomination; the vote is scheduled for Friday unless a deal can be reached to hold it earlier.”

Said Reid: “This is the first time in the history that a presidential nominee for secretary of defense has been filibustered. What a shame.”

McConnell Leads Judd in Possible Match Up

A new Harper Polling survey in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) would handily beat Ashley Judd (D) in a race for U.S. Senate, 49% to 40%.

Lawmaker Brags He Was First to Call Obama a Socialist

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) declares in a new fundraising letter that he was “the first Member of Congress to call him a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Broun is running for U.S. Senate in Georgia for the seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Rubio’s Home for Sale

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told the nation in his State of the Union rebuttal last night, “I still live in the same working-class neighborhood I grew up in.”

But the Miami New Times reports that Rubio “has been trying to sell that house for an un-working-class-like $675,000 so he can up and move his family to godless elite D.C.”

Gore Says Internet Will Reduce Influence of Money in Politics

Al Gore said the Internet would eventually lessen the role of money in politics, Tech Crunchreports.

Said Gore: “Over time, the rise of the Internet will inexorably diminish the role of money in politics, which is driven today in significant measure by the need on the part of politicians to amass these huge war chests primarily for buying 30-second television advertisements.”

He added: “And as the Internet becomes more prominent and eventually the central way in which we communicate, it does bring the promise of re-empowering individuals to play their roles as citizens and to revitalize representative democracy.”

Funniest Endorsement Ever?

Will Ferrell endorses Eric Garcetti for Los Angeles Mayor in a hilarious new ad.

See more…

Advice from a Daughter

With a burgeoning scandal involving a donor distracting Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) these days, Roll Call finds some advice written by the senator’s daughter in 2011 “to a generic embattled politician brought down by scandal.”

Writes Alicia Menendez: “So you’ve found yourself embroiled in a scandal, huh? In a perfect world we’d rewind to before this ever happened, when you were just some up and comer who was running for city council or state assembly. I’d tell you to make a list of your real, true friends. No big donors. No one who trades your name like a baseball card. No one who is more invested in you, the mighty and powerful than in the real you. My instinct is to tell you that that person is someone from your childhood, someone who knew you when you were still wearing bad suits and actually eating the chicken dinners they serve at political functions.”

Spitzer Denies He’s Mulling Comeback Bid

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) denied a New York Daily News report that he was considering a bid for Comptroller in 2014, the Politicker reports.

Said Spitzer: “Look, I haven’t even seen the article. I got a call or two about it. I think-I hope-the article said I did not speak to the reporter, have never spoken to him about it. It’s just made up out of nowhere. I have no idea where it comes from.”

No New Ideas from Republicans

Ezra Klein: “After an election, the winning party typically tries to pass the policies it campaigned on while the losers go back to the drawing board to try to work up a more appealing agenda. But last night’s dueling speeches revealed, strangely, the reverse.”

“President Obama’s agenda has become much more ambitious since the election, ranging from universal pre-kindergarten to raising the minimum wage to gun control to immigration reform. But neither the Republican Party’s agenda nor its rhetoric has changed a whit.”

Wonk Wire has a good round up of the policy proposals included in President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Mississippi is the Most Religious State

Gallup analysis finds Mississippi remained the most religious state in the union in 2012, with 58% of its residents classified as very religious.

At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont remained the least religious state, with 19% of its residents classified as very religious.

(This is a classic case of what they SAY is out of sync with what they DO. More people in Mississippi may SAY they’re religious, BUT if you look at some measures of “family values”, which is a favorite for “religious” folks to talk about, you get a different picture. The marriage rate is significantly higher in Vermont than it is in Mississippi, and the divorce rate in Vermont lower than it is in Mississippi.  So, who is REALLY more “religious”? fvm)

Obama Hints at Budget Compromise

First Read: “Buried in this speech is something that the president didn’t want to advertise, but that was placed in there as a hint to Republicans at where he’s ready to compromise on the deficit: He called for cuts to Medicare equal to what Bowles-Simpson proposed. He never said the number (not popular politically), but he stated the goal. Folks, this is where the compromise in March could happen.”

Lautenberg Isn’t Going to Go Gently

If Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) was hoping to nudge Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) toward retirement, the New York Times notes “his announcement has had precisely the opposite effect. Mr. Lautenberg, a fighter dubbed ‘swamp dog’ by a past opponent, has embraced his job with new vigor.”

“And he brightens at the prospect of tussling with a man half his age, even speaking openly to his staff about running again. He has jabbed at Mr. Booker, joking that he deserves a spanking for trying to unseat a fellow Democrat, and noting that the well-traveled mayor has no shortage of work to do in his own struggling city.”

Said Lautenberg: “I’m going to finish the work I’m doing. And he should finish the work he is doing instead of traipsing around the country.”

The Gun Control President

Steve Kornacki says November 2014 “is setting up as a crucial moment in the renewed battle for gun control. There may well be enough momentum for Obama to push through some new laws this year. They won’t be sufficient, but doing so will make gun control a major issue in the ’14 midterms. If those who support the news laws pay a price at the polls, the issue will again recede. But if they survive – and, especially, if those who vote against any of the laws Obama is calling for are defeated – it should create new momentum for further, more far-reaching reforms.”

“Obama made a passionate, convincing case on Tuesday night that his gun agenda deserves a vote in Congress. It may even be enough for him to get his way. But he won’t get everything he wants. For that, he and his allies are going to have to be patient and persistent. For real gun control, the fight won’t take months; it will take years.”

Gulpgate

Politico: “Twitter exploded during Sen. Marco Rubio’s Republican response to the State of the Union, as the Florida senator appeared a little sweaty and dry-mouthed at mid-speech, taking an awkward swig from a bottle of water that had been placed off-camera. Rubio handled the hullabaloo with some humor, later tweeting a picture of the water bottle.”

See more…

Most Who Watched Liked Obama’s Speech

A new CNN/ORC instant poll found that 77% of those watching President Obama’s State of the Union had a somewhat or very positive view of the address, while 22% had a negative response.

However, Obama was speaking to a relatively friendly audience. Of those who watched the speech, 44% were Democrats and 17% were Republicans.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “Tuesday night’s State of the Union audience is more Democratic than the nation as a whole, which is typical for a President Obama speech and indicates that the speech-watchers were predisposed to like what Obama said. When George W. Bush was president, his audiences were more Republican than the general public at that time, and his speeches were usually well-received for that same reason.”

The Case for Government in an Era of Spending Cuts

“Thirty-two years after President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that ‘government is the problem’ and 17 years after President Bill Clinton offered a surrender of sorts on that issue by stating that the ‘era of big government is over,’ President Obama made a case Tuesday night for closing out the politics of austerity,” the New York Times reports.

“In a State of the Union address largely focused on economic themes, he asserted that ‘we can’t just cut our way to prosperity’ and suggested that it is time for a more balanced approach, including accepting that government has a vital role to play in ensuring economic growth and a secure middle class.”

Marc Ambinder says that “by not proposing a new ‘Grand Bargain’ tonight, Obama has effectively foreclosed on the idea. Forever.”

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

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