POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/11

GOP Strategist Says Party is Not Good Place for Women

Republican strategist Steve Schmidt told Meet the Press that his party is not very friendly to women.

Said Schmidt: “It’s one of the problems we have structurally in the Republican Party… Any company, any organization in today’s day and age that doesn’t give equal opportunity to women, that doesn’t advance women to the table, is going to be an organization that has difficulty competing.”

Judd Tells Advisers She’s Running

Ashley Judd (D) has told key advisers that she is planning to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Huffington Post reports.

“Judd told one close ally that she plans to announce her run for the Democratic nomination for the 2014 race ‘around Derby’ — meaning in early May when the Kentucky Derby brings national attention to Louisville and the Bluegrass State.”

House GOP Leaders Blindsided by Defections

House Republican can no longer “count on their members to support them on procedural votes,” The Hill reports.

“Sixteen Republicans defected Wednesday in a vote on the rule governing consideration of a government-funding bill meant to prevent a government shutdown. The defections could have caused the rule to fail since most Democrats voted also voted against it.”

“Even more striking? Seven of the Republicans who voted against the rule then voted for the funding bill.”

“Votes on rules are supposed to be party-line and serve as tests of a caucus’s unity. So it was disconcerting for leaders to see so many Republicans vote against the rule they had crafted. Worse, from a leadership perspective, is that some Republicans say they plan on doing it again if they feel leaders are limiting them from offering controversial amendments on the floor.”

Quinn Declares for New York City Mayor

New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn (D) “declared her candidacy for mayor on Sunday with a glossy biographical video and a walking tour of the city, a signal that her campaign hopes to attract voters with her outsize, off-the-cuff personality — or at least a carefully curated version of it,” the New York Times reports.

Jeb Bush Says There’s No Bush Baggage

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) says the Bush family name “will not drag down his political ambitions as he left open the possibility of running for president in 2016,” The Hillreports.

Said Bush: “I don’t think there’s any Bush baggage at all. I love my brother. I’m proud of his accomplishments. I love my dad. I’m proud to be a Bush and if I run for president it’s not because of something in my DNA that compels me to do it.”

He added: “It would be that it’s the right the thing to do for my family, that the conditions are right and that I have something to offer.”

Obama Might Tap Rice as National Security Adviser

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who lost out in a bruising bid for the job of secretary of state, “has emerged as far and away the front-runner to succeed Thomas Donilon as President Obama’s national security adviser later this year,” the Washington Post reports.

“The job would place her at the nexus of foreign-policy decision making and allow her to rival the influence of Secretary of State John F. Kerry in shaping the president’s foreign policy.”

“The appointment would mark a dramatic twist of fortune for Rice, whose prospects to become the country’s top diplomat fizzled last year after a round of television appearances in which she provided what turned out to be a flawed account of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.”

GOP Senators Want Obama Involved in Grand Bargain

Peggy Noonan spoke with two senators who dined with President Obama on Wednesday night. One was “heartened and impressed by the meeting while retaining his skepticism” while the other “was more optimistic and left the meeting moved.”

“Each independently mentioned one aspect of the conversation that troubled them both: The president, while friendly and forthcoming, seemed to withdraw somewhat when talk turned to continuing the process.”

“Both senators said that near the end of the two-hour, 20-minute dinner, a senator or senators pressed the president: This has been a good discussion, it’s promising, but we need a plan, a process, so that whatever momentum comes from this talk isn’t squandered. The Republicans fear that members of the Senate from both parties will not be able to come to serious agreement unless the president is actively involved and puts the prestige of his office behind it.”

Illinois Republicans Back Off Threats to Fire Chairman

“The Illinois Republican Party’s central committee backed off an attempt to fire party chairman Pat Brady on Saturday, amid concern that ousting him because of his support for gay marriage could damage GOP efforts to appeal to more moderate voters,” the APreports.

Remembering Watergate

George Will reads Saving Justice: Watergate, the Saturday Night Massacre, and Other Adventures of a Solicitor General by the late Robert Bork and notes it’s “an antidote to today’s tendency to think that things in Washington have never been worse.”

“Watergate now seems as distant as the Punic Wars. Nixon, born 100 years ago in January, is remembered for large diplomatic, as well as criminal, deeds. Agnew is deservedly forgotten. Bork deserves to be remembered by a grateful nation for the services he rendered in preventing disarray in the Justice Department at a moment of unprecedented assault on the rule of law, and for facilitating the removal of a president during Washington days that were darker than most people today can imagine. His book confirms the axiom that our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times.”

Scott Romney Mulling Senate Bid

Scott Romney, brother of Mitt Romney, is looking at running for retiring Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-MI) seat, Roll Call reports.

McCain Aide Rips Rand Paul

An aide to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended the senator’s criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and his filibuster this week, BuzzFeed reports.

Said the aide: “Senator McCain is obviously well aware of the politics of this — he just doesn’t care. He’s doing what he thinks is right. Unlike many of these guys, he’s actually been involved in a few national security debates over the years. He knows that jumping on the Rand Paul black helicopters crazytrain isn’t good for our Party or our country, no matter what Twitter says.”

Paul Responds to Being Called a “Wacko Bird”

After Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called him a “wacko bird“, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Mike Huckabee, “You know, I think he’s just on the wrong side of history, and on the wrong side of this argument, really.”

He added that he respected McCain’s service and record, but that that experience didn’t mean his colleague was always right: “I treat Sen. McCain with respect. I don’t think I always get the same in return.”

Obama Losing His Advantage on Budget Battle

Harry Enten: “More Americans trust Obama on the sequester than Republicans, but the margin between the two seems to be down. Obama held a 26pt lead over congressional Republicans in December per Pew Research, which dropped to 18pt in mid-February and 13pt by the end of the month. After the sequester took effect on 1 March, CBS, which has generally found better numbers for Obama than other pollsters, had the margin down to 5pt.”

“Interestingly, a lot of this movement isn’t because more people are blaming Obama alone – more people are blaming both parties equally.”

Andrew Sullivan: “There is a Grand Bargain here and I suspect Obama knows that this legacy will be tainted if he cannot find it. He should, in my view, have grasped this earlier and more clearly. But it’s not in any way too late.”

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