POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/8

Boehner Says Outreach Won’t Cause GOP to Budge on Taxes

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he was “optimistic” about President Obama’s new outreach to rank-and-file Republicans, but warned it will not make the GOP bend on taxes,The Hill reports.

Said Boehner: “I think it’s a sign, a hopeful sign, and I’m hopeful that something will come out of it. But, if the president continues to insist on tax hikes, I don’t think we’re going to get very far. If the president doesn’t believe that we have a spending problem, I don’t know if we’re going to get very far. But I’m optimistic.”

Obama Sets Timeline for Grand Bargain

President Obama “wants to complete a grand bargain to reduce the deficit by the end of July, an aggressive timeline coinciding with the expiration of the nation’s debt limit,” The Hillreports.

Obama told the Republican senators who had dinner with him last night “that a deficit-reduction deal needs to happen in the next four to five months.”

Paul Says He’s Considering White House Bid

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) acknowledged to Politico that he was “seriously” considering running for president in 2016.

Said Paul: “I think our party needs something new, fresh and different. What we’ve been running — nothing against the candidates necessarily — but we have a good, solid niche in all the solidly red states throughout the middle of the country.”

Madigan Mulls Bid for Illinois Governor

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) “spoke with several of the nation’s top progressive groups during a visit to Washington D.C. last week, further fueling expectations that the popular Democrat will run for governor in 2014,” Politico reports.

“Madigan is weighing a campaign for the state’s top office even though the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Pat Quinn, has said he plans to seek another term.”

Levin Will Not Run Again

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) said he will not seek re-election in 2014, the Detroit News reports.

Levin, chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, has been in the Senate since 1979. He said it was an “extremely difficult” decision.

Detroit Free Press: “Levin’s departure could come at a bad time for Democrats as they look for a strong candidate to take on Republican Gov. Rick Snyder but Michigan has had few Republicans succeed at winning U.S. Senate seats in recent elections – the most recent being Spencer Abraham in 1994, who served one term before being beaten by the state’s junior senator, Democrat Debbie Stabenow.”

Behind the Apathy in Los Angeles

Just 16% of registered voters in Los Angeles actually voted in this week’s mayoral election.

One possible reason: The Los Angeles Times reports that most “get their news from local television stations, which devote far more time to covering the weather — which is exactly the same 320 days a year — than to local politics and government.”

Snyder Trails in Michigan

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) trailing three possible Democratic challengers in 2014 match ups.

Virg Bernero (D) beats Snyder 43% to 38%, Gary Peters (D) tops him 44% to 37% and Mark Schauer (D) is ahead 40% to 36%.

A Useful Filibuster

First Read: “Say what you will about Rand Paul’s marathon filibuster — whether it was a noble cause, a vanity project with 2016 overtones, or a protest over a hypothetical — but it makes the case for filibuster reform requiring senators to actually SPEAK if they want to hold things up. Why? Because it truly forced a debate, in this case over the administration’s drone policy targeting terrorists.”

Clinton Tops 2016 Presidential Contenders

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Hillary Clinton tops the presidential 2016 field in hypothetical matchups with Chris Christie, 45% to 37%, Paul Ryan 50 to 38%, and Marco Rubio 50 to 34%.

By contrast, Christie would beat Joe Biden 43 to 40%. Biden, however, beats Rubio 45 to 38% and Ryan 45 to 42%.

Messina Defends OFA

Jim Messina defends Organizing for Action in a CNN piece saying it’s “an issue advocacy group, not an electoral one. We’ll mobilize to support the president’s agenda, but we won’t do so on behalf of political candidates. The president has always believed that special interests have undue influence over the policymaking process, and the mission of this organization is to rebalance the power structure…”

“But just as the president and administration officials deliver updates on the legislative process to Americans and organizations across the ideological spectrum, there may be occasions when members of Organizing for Action are included in those updates. These are not opportunities to lobby — they are briefings on the positions the president has taken and the status of seeing them through.”

First Read: “In other words, these folks will be able to meet with the president. Here’s another thing to consider: While OFA won’t take corporate money, nothing is there to stop, say, a particular CEO from writing a $500,000 check. This op-ed was clearly intended to calm down the critics, but other than eliminating the possibility of corporate donors, it doesn’t get to the larger criticism that campaign-finance advocates are upset about.”

Democrats Settle In for a War of Attrition

Greg Sargent says President Obama’s efforts to woo Republicans is part of long term strategy to break his rivals.

“Democrats are increasingly pessimistic about forcing real concessions from Republicans in the near term — for example, by using the threat of a government shutdown to force them back to the table — and are instead settling in for what will amount to a months-long war of attrition in hopes of ultimately getting Republicans to cave on new revenues.”

Jonathan Chait: “As sequestration begins, Republicans have been overtaken with something close to giddiness, and Democrats seized with gloom.”

Obama Woos Republicans for Broad Deficit Deal

President Obama “stepped up his wooing of rank-and-file Republican lawmakers Wednesday, hosting a dozen senators at a dinner at a Washington restaurant and setting a visit to the Capitol in hopes of reigniting talks on a broad budget deal,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The efforts mark his most aggressive outreach to lawmakers in years and show Mr. Obama is trying to build his own coalition in Congress at a time when his past negotiating partners in the GOP leadership are under renewed pressure to accommodate the party’s conservative base.”

Washington Post: “Obama picked up the tab personally, and two of his guests, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), emerged flashing a thumbs-up.”

Meanwhile, Politico reports Obama invited Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to lunch at the White House.

Governorships a Big Opportunity for Democrats in 2014

Stu Rothenberg: “While the fight for the House of Representatives will take center stage next year, another battle could be almost as important for the two parties: control of a handful of big-state governorships.”

“Republicans like to point out that while they lost the presidency and seats in both chambers of Congress in 2012, their party continues to hold governorships in 30 states, including nine of the country’s 12 largest states. But most of those governors — 23 to be exact — were elected in 2010, a great GOP year that doesn’t reflect the nation’s (or many states’) political fundamentals.”

How the White House Silenced Gun Control Advocates

Even though President Obama’s gun control proposals are stalled on Capitol Hill, Politiconotes gun control advocates “still haven’t said a word to complain. That’s no accident.”

“The White House knew its post-Newtown effort would require bringing key gun-control groups into the fold. So the White House offered a simple arrangement: the groups could have access and involvement, but they’d have to offer silence and support in exchange.”

“The implied rules, according to conversations with many of those involved: No infighting. No second guessing in the press. Support whatever the president and Vice President Joe Biden propose. And most of all, don’t make waves or get ahead of the White House.”

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