POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/14
President Obama told House Republicans “that balancing the budget is not his top priority,”Roll Call reports.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) reported that the president “diplomatically said ‘no’ to a balanced budget, explaining that eliminating the deficit is not his priority. Instead, the president said he is worried that the deep spending cuts that would be required to balance the budget would slow the nation’s economic recovery.”
Wonk Wire: The failure of austerity.
Tim Dickinson: “After watching voters punish the GOP in the 2012 elections, Republican elites have been talking a brave game about reforms that would make the party less repulsive to Latinos, women and gay-friendly millennials…”
“Don’t be fooled. On the ground, a very different reality is unfolding: In the Republican-led Congress, GOP-dominated statehouses and even before the nation’s highest court, the reactionary impulses of the Republican Party appear unbowed. Across the nation, the GOP’s severely conservative agenda – which seeks to impose job-killing austerity, to roll back voting and reproductive rights, to deprive the working poor of health care, and to destroy agencies that protect the environment from industry and consumers from predatory banks – is moving forward under full steam.”
Jill Lawrence says President Obama squandered an opportunity in his ABC News interviewbecause he “talked almost entirely in the cerebral, inside-Washington policy and strategy terms befitting two cerebral, inside-Washington strategists and policy wonks. In other words, Obama talked to Stephanopoulos instead of his audience.”
“Analogies and connections and details were missing. The human impact was missing. Even talking points seemed to be missing. I’d also take issue with Obama’s downbeat assessment of whether a grand fiscal bargain is achievable. Don’t we need a little presidential optimism and encouragement at this point? Where’s that yes-we-can spirit?”
If President Obama “had piled up political capital with his impressive re-election, it’s largely gone. His approval rating has dropped to the lowest level in more than a year, with more voters now turning thumbs down on his performance than thumbs up,” according to a newMcClatchy-Marist poll.
“The measure of how much people like him also has dropped. He’s still vastly more popular than Congress, particularly congressional Republicans. But in the biggest political clash of the year – over the federal budget and how to curb deficits – voters split 44 percent to 42 percent between preferring Congress or Obama. At least some of the president’s fall to Earth lies in the fact that voters no longer see him in the context of an election. He has to stand alone in the eyes of voters again and doesn’t benefit from the comparison with Republican rival Mitt Romney.”
Politico: “Minnesota topped the turnout list for the eighth time in the last nine presidential and midterm elections, with 76.1 percent turnout. Hawaii came in last, with turnout at a mere 44.1 percent. Overall turnout was down from 62 percent in 2008, when the possibility of the nation’s first black president caused a surge at the polls, to 59 percent in 2012. Low turnout in the nation’s three most populous states — Texas, New York and California — contributed to the drop. All saw declines of nine percent or higher.”
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) “abruptly resigned amid law enforcement questions about a Florida Internet sweepstakes company at the center of a nationwide criminal investigation,” the Miami Herald reports.
“It’s unclear if Carroll is the target of any criminal charges. Attorney General Pam Bondi and law enforcement officials have scheduled a 2:30 p.m. press conference in Orlando to discuss the case. Gov. Rick Scott also has announced an afternoon press conference.”
270 to Win has a very nice interactive map that lets you test some of the alternative scenarios to the ‘winner-take-all’ electoral vote allocation that are being considered by several state legislatures.
A new Pew Research survey of gun owners finds that 48% said they own them for protection, while 32% said they own a firearm mainly for hunting purposes.
That’s a large shift from 1999 when 26% of those surveyed said they owned a gun for protection, while 49% said they used it mainly for hunting.
David Hawkings reports that “never before in the history of the modern budget process (which dates to 1975) has the president submitted a budget after the House and Senate have produced budget resolutions of their own.”
“That’s what’s happening this year. President Obama’s proposal looks likely for a rollout on April 8, the Monday Congress returns from its spring break. And he’s not likely to offer any specifics about it during his meetings with the four congressional caucuses during the next three days.”
President Obama “pushed Senate Democrats to support a grand budget bargain, even as the prospects for such a deal seemed as distant as ever,” Roll Call reports.
“Seeking to unite his party during the first of three expected sojourns to Capitol Hill this week, the president again vowed not to negotiate over the expiring debt ceiling later this year — even as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was telling reporters that he hopes the debt ceiling brings the president to the table to cut entitlements without securing new taxes.”
David Drucker: “Republicans remain skeptical of President Obama’s charm offensive — very, very, very skeptical.”
Scott Romney told the Michigan Information & Research Service that he will not run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Michigan in 2014.
Roll Call notes Romney “would have kicked off the primary in the strongest position in the field.”
President Obama “faces huge, and probably insurmountable, obstacles to reviving a grand bargain — none higher and more difficult to overcome than his decision to increase taxes by $600 billion in December,” Politico reports.
“Obama thought he would be able to stare down Republicans over the sequester, and get them to double the size of his tax increase to avoid heavy defense cuts. He was wrong. Once Republicans swallowed the $600 billion in hikes, they made plain they were done raising taxes for this Congress. And they really are done, Republicans say.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania finds Gov. Tom Corbett (R) with a dismal 33% job approval rating and trailing five potential Democratic challengers — some by double-digits.
Corbett is down by 11 points each to Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D), Joe Sestak (D), and Rob McCord (D) all by margins of 45% to 34%. Tom Wolf (D) leads by 9 points at 42% to 33% and John Hanger (D) is up by 7 at 41% to 34%.
A new Quinnipiac poll shows Corbett doing slightly better but still in jeopardy of losing his re-election bid.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds the afterglow of President Obama’s reelection “appears to have vanished as increasingly negative views among Americans about his stewardship of the economy have forced his public approval rating back down to the 50 percent mark.”
“In December, just after he won a second term, Obama held an 18-percentage-point advantage over congressional Republicans on the question of whom the public trusted more to deal with the economy. Now, it’s a far more even split — 44% to 40%, with a slight edge for the president — but the share of those saying they have confidence in “neither” has ticked up into double digits.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s approval rate has dropped five points in the last month to 50%.
Daily Beast: “On one fateful night in Boston, two dynamic speakers made waves at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Both men, young, black, and products of hardscrabble Midwestern cities, were considered rising stars and were getting major exposure on one of the country’s biggest stages. One of those men was a first-term state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. The other was the charismatic first-term mayor of Detroit: Kwame Kilpatrick.”
“To say that the fortunes of those two men have gone in opposite directions is an understatement. Obama’s DNC speech, which followed Kilpatrick’s that night, helped propel him to national stardom, a seat in the U.S. Senate, and eventually the presidency. On the other hand, Kilpatrick, who narrowly won re-election in 2005 before a sex scandal and perjury conviction cost him the job in September 2008, was convicted on 24 counts including federal racketeering, extortion, mail fraud, and tax evasion on Monday. He was later sent to prison to await sentencing. He is one of 35 former city employees, including other elected officials, to be convicted by the federal government in the past eight years.”
Sarah Palin is writing a her next book about Christmas, the AP reports.
The former Alaska governor has a deal with HarperCollins for A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas and will criticize the “over-commercialism” and “homogenization” of the holiday and call for a renewed emphasis on the religious importance.
Andrew Sullivan: “Well, if anyone’s an expert on miraculous births…”Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics