POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/12

Posted March 12, 2013 by fvmoore
Categories: Candidates, National, Politics

Why Jeb Bush Won’t Be President

Peter Beinhart: “No Republican will enjoy credibility as a deficit hawk unless he or she acknowledges that George W. Bush squandered the budget surplus he inherited. No Republican will be able to promise foreign-policy competence unless he or she acknowledges the Bush administration’s disastrous mismanagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. It won’t be enough for a candidate merely to keep his or her distance from W. John McCain and Mitt Romney tried that, and they failed because the Obama campaign hung Bush around their neck every chance it got. To seriously compete, the next Republican candidate for president will have to preempt that Democratic line of attack by repudiating key aspects of Bush’s legacy. Jeb Bush would find that excruciatingly hard even if he wanted to. And as his interviews Sunday make clear, he doesn’t even want to try.”

Trump Offers to Fund White House Tours

Donald Trump told Fox News that he would be happy to pay for public tours of the White House since they’ve been paused because of the sequester.

Said Trump: “It’s always been open, it’s not a lot of money.”

Craig’s Use of Campaign Funds Challenged

Former Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) “may face an uphill battle trying to convince a federal judge that he properly used campaign funds to pay for his legal defense after being arrested for soliciting sex in an airport bathroom,” Roll Call reports.

A  judge “likened it to using official re-election funds to pay for being arrested for robbing an airport kiosk or propositioning a prostitute.”

“Craig was arrested for lewd conduct in July 2007 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after allegedly soliciting sex in an airport bathroom. Craig tapped his foot inside his stall to indicate to other restroom patrons that he was seeking sex… Craig pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct the next month.”

The Budget is the Big Story This Week

First Read: “On Tuesday, Obama heads to Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Democrats; on Wednesday, he visits House Republicans; and on Thursday, the meetings are with Senate Republicans and House Democrats. Also this week, House Republicans and Senate Democrats are expected to unveil their budgets. One of the big reasons for Obama’s meetings with Democrats and Republicans is to keep the budget momentum going — to see if Washington can reach some kind of larger budget agreement (to eliminate or soften the sequester cuts) without disrupting the other parts of Obama’s agenda (like on immigration and guns).”

“The more positive momentum there appears to be for now, the less likely it is there’s a disruption before the fall on, say, government funding or debt ceiling. If there’s the sense of stalled momentum on budget, then the acrimony could bleed into other areas, like immigration, and stall everything. That’s what the White House is trying to avoid. But let’s also realize the other motivation for the Obama outreach: The president wasn’t gaining points by being in standoff mode (if anything, he was losing them in the polls). The White House wants that high ground back.”

Meanwhile, Roll Call notes the Senate will debate a budget resolution for the first time in 4 years this week.

Kilpatrick Headed Back to Prison

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was convicted of corruption charges, “ensuring a return to prison for a man once among the nation’s youngest big-city leaders,” theWashington Post reports.

“Jurors convicted Kilpatrick of a raft of crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years behind bars. He was portrayed during a five-month trial as an unscrupulous politician who took bribes, rigged contracts and lived far beyond his means while in office until fall 2008.”

Detroit News: “Kilpatrick will learn shortly whether he is headed directly to prison today after being found guilty on 24 counts in his corruption trial earlier Monday morning.”

Will Charlie Crist Make a Comeback?

Former Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist admitted to CBS Miami he’s considering running for his old job as a Democrat this time.

Said Crist: “Well I’m thinking about it, there’s no question about that.”

He added: “I haven’t reached any conclusion, I’m just taking the opportunity to listen to my fellow Floridians and give it serious thought.”

Durbin Readies Re-Election Push

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will run for another term in 2014, according to Lynn Sweet, “and is ramping up for a campaign with five fund-raisers here in the next two weeks.”

“Durbin is in absolutely no rush to make any official announcement and his core supporters have understood for some time that he will seek re-election, I’m told.”

House Democrats Resort to Press Releases

Out of power and unable to control the agenda in the lower legislative chamber, a new Smart Politics report finds that House Democrats are utilizing the press release in greater numbers than Republicans to get their message out to the public.

Key findings: Of the more than 6,200 press releases issued during the first two months of the 113th Congress finds that Democratic lawmakers have issued statements at a 31.5% higher rate per member than Republicans, and hold 11 of the Top 15 spots.

Paul Moves to National Player Status

Veteran Republican operatives tell The Fix that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “is already a national leader within the party and will be a major factor if (but really when) he runs for president in 2016.”

“Paul demonstrated two very important political traits during the filibuster: 1. He is a person of principle, taking a stand on an issue (drones) that almost no one cares about. 2. Paul has a showman’s sense of the moment, a rare and underrated ability in politics.”

House Republicans Seek to Revamp Polling

The National Republican Congressional Committee “is moving to reboot its polling operation after a messy 2012 cycle, the first concrete remedy taken by the Republican side since candidates and outside groups were left stunned on Election Day by results that their internal data never came close to predicting,” Politico reports.

The NRCC “is the first GOP entity to take specific steps to try to rectify the party’s widely acknowledged polling debacle. Republican strategists confirmed after the end of the 2012 race that a huge slice of their survey data was based on flawed assumptions, and failed to anticipate the diversity and scale of turnout on the Democratic side.”

How Ashley Judd Can Win

With reports that Ashley Judd is telling advisers she’ll announce a U.S. Senate bid from Kentucky this spring, Ruby Cramer talks with staffers who ran campaigns for Clint Eastwood, Sonny Bono, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Al Franken who say the actress “can win if she gets in early, stays local, and works like hell.”

Unemployment Would Be Lower Without Government Cuts

The Wall Street Journal estimates the unemployment rate would be just 7.1% without government job cuts over the last three years.

“Federal, state and local governments have shed nearly 750,000 jobs since June 2009… No other sector comes close to those job losses over the same period. Construction is in second worst place, but its 225,000 cuts are less than a third of the government reductions. To be sure, construction and other sectors performed worse during the depths of the recession, but no area has had a worse recovery.”

Heller Won’t Give Up Office Space

Staffers for Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) “have been bullying other senators’ aides to protect the Nevada Republican’s space in the Russell Senate Office Building,” Roll Call reports.

“As part of the biennial Senate office lottery, junior members are obligated to show their office suites to more senior members, who then have 24 hours to decide whether to claim that space as their own. Heller’s office suite — which he inherited after the scandal-fueled resignation of Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) — may be particularly attractive to other senators because its floor plan includes a larger-than-average member office.”

“Though special courtesies are usually extended to aides and members visiting offices, Heller staffers repeatedly tried to keep them from seeing the spacious member office, sources reported, saying meetings were ongoing and could not be interrupted.”

Cuts Give Obama Path to Create Leaner Military

“At a time when $46 billion in mandatory budget cuts are causing anxiety at the Pentagon, administration officials see one potential benefit: there may be an opening to argue for deep reductions in programs long in President Obama’s sights, and long resisted by Congress,” the New York Times reports.

“On the list are not only base closings but also an additional reduction in deployed nuclear weapons and stockpiles and a restructuring of the military medical insurance program that costs more than America spends on all of its diplomacy and foreign aid around the world. Also being considered is yet another scaling back in next-generation warplanes, starting with the F-35, the most expensive weapons program in United States history.”

Karzai Inflames U.S. Tensions

“America’s fraught ties with Afghanistan suffered a jarring blow Sunday, when Afghan President Hamid Karzai said during a visit by the new U.S. defense secretary that the Taliban were killing Afghan civilians ‘in service to America,'” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Washington Post: “The remarks painted an embarrassing picture of discord that marred a visit by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, his first foreign trip as Pentagon chief, and plunged the tenuous allies into crisis mode at a time when the United States is struggling to wind down the unpopular war.”

POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/11

Posted March 11, 2013 by fvmoore
Categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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.”

POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/8

Posted March 8, 2013 by fvmoore
Categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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.”

POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/6

Posted March 6, 2013 by fvmoore
Categories: Candidates, National, Politics

Lawmakers Think Voters are More Conservative

A fascinating new study finds that politicians significantly overestimate the conservatism of their constituents on several key issues, including universal health care and same-sex marriage, the Huffington Post reports.

For example, a survey of voters found they supported gay marriage and universal health care by 10 percentage points more than their own politicians had estimated in a separate survey. For conservative politicians, the spread was near 20 percentage points.

The authors conclude: “Most politicians appear to believe they are representing constituents who are considerably different than their actual constituents.”

Former GOP Lawmaker Slams Boehner

National Journal reports that disgraced former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) makes dramatic accusations against Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in his new memoir, Sideswiped.

Writes Ney: “If the Justice Department were ever to make John produce receipts for his addiction to golf just for the years from 1995 to 2004, he would be hard-pressed to comply. John got away with more than any other Member on the Hill.”

Dealing with Bush

Samuel Goldman: “It takes a long time for political parties to recover from defeat. Since winning suggests that they’re doing something right, it takes even longer to recover from victory. Because it reassured Republicans that aggressive war, fiscal policies that favor the rich, and the ideologically-inspired transformation of beloved domestic programs were fundamentally popular, the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004 was like a drug that relieves symptoms without treating the underlying disease. Conservative intellectuals must help the GOP break its dependence on these dangerous nostrums — and its continuing allegiance to the doctor who prescribed them.”

Bush Quietly Lays Groundwork for Campaign

BuzzFeed: “If Jeb Bush decides to convert his media tour into a presidential bid in a couple years, he won’t have to look far for a campaign staff: The well-funded education foundation he runs out his office in a Miami hotel is stacked with former political operatives, a large communications team, and a rapidly growing staff whose work stretches into 40 states.”

“It is common practice for undeclared presidential candidates to build a campaign infrastructure under the guise of a political action committee, but Bush appears to be laying the groundwork for a potential campaign through his foundation.”

Brennan Clears Hurdle After White House Concession

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12 to 3 to confirm John Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, “hours after the White House agreed to provide more information on the legal basis for targeted killings of Americans believed to pose a terrorist threat,” the New York Times reports.

“The vote, in a closed committee meeting, clears the way for Mr. Brennan, a 25-year C.I.A. veteran who has been President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, to be confirmed by the full Senate later this week.”

Lawmaker Worries Divorce Makes Girls Promiscuous

Seven Republicans in the Iowa House are pushing a bill to prohibit parents of minor children from getting a “no fault” divorce, Radio Iowa reports.

Rep. Tedd Gassman (R) explained the issue is “near and dear” to his heart because his daughter and son-in-law recently divorced, putting his granddaughter at risk.

Said Gassman: “There’s a 16-year-old girl in this whole mix now. Guess what? What are the possibilities of her being more promiscuous? What are the possibilities of all these other things surrounding her life that a 16-year-old girl, with hormones raging, can get herself into?”

Booker Has Earned $1 Million in Speaking Fees

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) has earned about $1 million from public speaking engagements during his seven years in office, the New York Times reports.

Said Booker: “Even though I am entitled to keep it, after Uncle Sam takes his share and after I’ve given away hundreds and hundreds of thousands, I’ve kept very little of it, if any.”

The Power of Boehner

Noam Scheiber: “Yes! Boehner is goofy, poorly informed, and frequently incoherent. He often sows confusion among the very people he’s supposed to be leading. But despite this–or perhaps because of it–he has been remarkably effective at saving the Republican Party from complete self-destruction. Through heroic improvisation, he’s avoided the global economic apocalypse House Republicans are so intent on provoking.”

“Under the circumstances, Boehner has, in fact, been a raging success. I hesitate to call him ‘sophisticated’ because that would imply a level of self-awareness and reflection I’m not sure he’s capable of. But the man’s instincts are damn-near impeccable.”

Christie Rips Washington

In his classic style — and on camera — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) blasted political leaders in Washington: “I don’t have the first damn idea of what they’re doing down there.”

See more…

When Politics Comes Down to Simple Math

Ryan Lizza: “A fundamental fact of modern political life is that the only way to advance a coherent agenda in Washington is through partisan dominance. When Obama had large Democratic majorities in Congress during his first two years in office, he led one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. After he lost the House, his agenda froze and the current status quo of serial fiscal crises began. Like it or not, for many years, Washington has been most productive when one party controlled both Congress and the White House.”

“The boring fact of our system is that congressional math is the best predictor of a President’s success. This idea is not nearly as sexy as the notion that great Presidents are great because they twist arms in backrooms and inspire the American people to rise up and force Congress to bend to their will. But even the Presidents who are remembered for their relentless congressional lobbying and socializing were more often than not successful for more mundane reasons–like arithmetic.”

Bush’s Poorly Timed Flip Flop

The stunning reversal by Jeb Bush on supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants “comes down to a colossal political miscalculation,” National Journal reports.

“When Bush and co-author Clint Bolick were writing the book during the 2012 presidential campaign, the GOP was veering far to the right. Republican nominee Mitt Romney had staked out a hardline position against illegal immigration, blasting his primary rivals as pro-amnesty and promoting ‘self-deportation’ for undocumented workers. Bush sent the book to the printer before Christmas – weeks before a handful of Senate Republicans embraced a sweeping overhaul that, like the proposals backed by Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, would allow illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.”

“In other words, Bush’s party unexpectedly moved a lot faster than the book publishing world.”

The Miami Herald quoted an angry adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential run: “Where the hell was this Jeb Bush during the campaign?”

More Blame Republicans for Sequester

A new CBS News poll finds Americans blame the Republicans in Congress more for the difficulty in reaching agreement on automatic spending cuts that took effect last week.

Key findings: 38% place more blame on the Republicans in Congress for the failure, while 33% blame President Obama and the Democrats in Congress more. Nineteen percent volunteer that they blame both sides.

Obama Lets Cabinet Play Bigger Role

President Obama, “facing a limited window of time to enact an ambitious second-term agenda, is rounding out his Cabinet with relative outsiders and empowering them with more policymaking responsibility than secretaries had during his first term,” the Washington Post reports.

“The appointees and others named in recent weeks mark a departure for Obama, who stocked his first-term Cabinet with politicos but has recruited more business executives and other outsiders for his last four years. The new nominees are expected to play an expanded role in helping develop executive actions and other policy initiatives, according to officials who detailed the second-term plans.”

With his EPA and Energy nominees unveiled yesterday, the New York Times notes they “send an unmistakable signal that the president intends to mount a multifaceted campaign in his second term to tackle climate change by using all the executive branch tools at his disposal.”

GOP Still Sniping Over 2012

Politico: “Each week brings a new diagnosis of the party’s woes. Karl Rove says it’s candidate quality. Mitt Romney chief strategist Stuart Stevens argues Democrats have won over minority voters through government programs like Obamacare. Some Bush White House vets say it’s the GOP’s trouble understanding how to approach a changing electorate. Techy conservatives blame the party’s inferior social media presence and outdated voter targeting and data-mining.”

“With fault to go around for allowing a president mired in a weak economy to handily win reelection, the finger-pointing and blame-shifting from various corners are showing no sign of abating.”

POITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/5

Posted March 5, 2013 by fvmoore
Categories: Candidates, National, Politics

Why Jeb Bush Will Never Be President

Marc Ambinder: “Bush is an ideal Republican presidential candidate. He has a national stature, an enviable record as governor, a solid temperament, and nothing significantly scandalous in his past. He is one of his party’s best voices on immigration.”

“But he is a Bush. That’s going to be a problem. It’s not going to be an insurmountable problem, but the Republican base is definitely wary of the Bush brand and will not embrace him, no matter how hard he tacks to the right.”

Escort Says Menendez Prostitution Claims Were Made Up

An escort who appeared on a video claiming Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) paid her for sex has told Dominican Republic police that she was instead paid to make up the claims and has never met the senator before, the Washington Post reports.

The woman identified a lawyer who approached her and a friend to make the videotape. That man has in turn identified another lawyer who gave him a script for the tape and paid him to find women to fabricate the claims.

Latest Cabinet Nominees May Face Confirmation Delays

President Obama “pushed for quick Senate confirmation of his new picks for budget director, EPA administrator and Energy secretary — although the nature of the positions themselves all but ensures plenty of partisan fireworks on the Hill,” Roll Call reports.

Bush Reverses Himself on Immigration Reform

In his new book, Immigration Wars, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) makes a notable reversal on immigration reform, “arguing that creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would only encourage future unauthorized immigration,”Huffington Post reports.

Writes Bush: “It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences — in this case, that those who violated the law can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship. To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship.”

Obamacare Is No Longer Radioactive

The Cloakroom: After years of deriding the law, even Republicans now see its benefits.

Obama Team Had Secret Meeting About Walker Recall

Out this month: More than They Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsin by Jason Stein and Patrick Marley.

One interesting highlight from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “The top two officials within Obama’s re-election campaign quietly met with key Wisconsin Democrats and union leaders in October 2011 and expressed skepticism about the looming effort to recall Walker and how it could affect the president’s own re-election chances.”

Gingrich Says GOP Suffers From an Echo Chamber

Newt Gingrich spoke to Steve Kornacki about why Republicans felt so confident they were going to win last year’s presidential election:

“I think conservatives in general got in the habit of talking to themselves. I think that they in a sense got isolated into their own little world. So our pollsters, many of whom were wrong about turnout. No Republican pollster thought you could get 87 percent turnout in Milwaukee. You just sort of have to say that to some extent the degree to which we believed that the other side was kidding themselves, it turned out in fact in the real world – this is a part of what makes politics so fascinating – it turned out in the real world we were kidding ourselves.”

Boustany Will Not Challenge Landrieu

Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) told Roll Call he will not take on three-term Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in 2014.

Perry Appears to Have Clear Shot at Another Bid

A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll finds Gov. Rick Perry (R) would defeat Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) by a nearly 3-to-1 margin if a Republican gubernatorial primary were held today, 49% to 17%.

“Such a contest might never come: Neither man has declared for that 2014 race, with each saying he will wait until June or later to make a public announcement of his political plans. Perry recently said they have talked and that Abbott wouldn’t run if the governor sought re-election.”

Organizing for Access

Karl Rove’s American Crossroads released an amusing video slamming President Obama’s outside advocacy arm seeking $500,000 for quarterly meetings with the president’s team.

“Or pay $1 million and you don’t have to meet with Biden–ever!”

See more…

Graves Won’t Make Senate Bid in Georgia

Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he will not run for Senate in 2014.

“The news… is not particularly shocking given the difficulties Graves would have faced against some of his more seasoned U.S. House colleagues, but Graves used the interview to make the point — unsolicited and repeatedly — that he still has statewide goals.”

Washington Post: “Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey are so far the only Republicans in the race for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s (R-GA) seat. Democrats are still in search of a standard-bearer, with Rep. John Barrow appearing to be their best hope if he runs.”

The Inside Story of White House Diplomacy

Vali Nasr writes about his time working for Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009 and 2010, noting it “turned out to be a deeply disillusioning experience. The truth is that his administration made it extremely difficult for its own foreign-policy experts to be heard. Both Clinton and Holbrooke, two incredibly dedicated and talented people, had to fight to have their voices count on major foreign-policy initiatives.”

“Holbrooke never succeeded. Clinton did — but it was often a battle. It usually happened only when it finally became clear to a White House that jealously guarded all foreign policymaking — and then relied heavily on the military and intelligence agencies to guide its decisions — that these agencies’ solutions were no substitute for the type of patient, credible diplomacy that garners the respect and support of allies. Time and again, when things seemed to be falling apart, the administration finally turned to Clinton because it knew she was the only person who could save the situation.”

Behind the Doors of the Senate Gym

Roll Call: “Behind a discreet set of double doors on the first floor of the Russell Senate Office Building lies one of the last oases of what was once the world’s greatest good-old-boys club: the Senate’s members-only gym, one of the few places where members… can just be themselves without fear of repercussions.”

Said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): “The sweat-filled room has now replaced the smoke-filled room.”

The One Thing Republicans Agree On

The New York Times reports Republicans are now split on Obamacare, immigration and even same-sex marriage. But they remain firm on spending and taxes.

“Four months after Mr. Obama won a second term, the only issue that truly unites Republicans is a commitment to shrinking the federal government through spending cuts, low taxes and less regulation. To have compromised again and agreed to further increase taxes or roll back spending cuts would have left Republicans deeply split and, many of them say, at risk of losing the core of the party’s identity.”

How a Grand Bargain Could Still Happen

First Read notes that “if everyone gets a break and if the sequester cuts do have impact in the next few months, count us as ones who are a bit optimistic that a Grand Bargain on the budget could be reached in September.”

“Yes, we know that a Grand Bargain has been harder to find than the Loch Ness Monster. But here’s how it could happen: After some breathing room, after both parties let their budget processes play out, and after evidence that the U.S. economy has been negatively impacted by the sequester, both sides could determine that a Grand Bargain is in their interest — Republicans decide they really, really want entitlement reforms and are willing to put up some additional revenue; Democrats decide they really, really want additional revenue and are willing to put up additional entitlement reform. And in September, the president and Democrats will have this response when Boehner and Republicans say, ‘The president got his tax increases.’ They’ll be able to say, ‘The Republicans got their spending cuts.'”

GOP Deals to Gain Power Come Home to Roost

Elizabeth Drew: “As the Republicans search for a new and more electable identity they have a fundamental problem. Ever since they took their major right turn in 1964, they have made a series of bargains in order to strengthen their ranks: the Southern strategy, which validated racism; the Christian right; the Sagebrush Rebellion, which represented big ranching and farming interests as well as the mining industry; and the Club for Growth, a highly conservative anti-tax, anti-spending group that can pour money into primaries to knock off incumbents who don’t vote according to their views. However successful momentarily, this series of deals ultimately cost the Republicans broad national appeal and flexibility.”

Bader Has No Intention of Stepping Down

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tells Jeffrey Toobin she intends to stay on the court “as long as I can do the job full steam.”

Said Ginsburg: “There will come a point when I — It’s not this year. You can never tell when you’re my age. But, as long as I think I have the candlepower, I will do it. And I figure next year for certain. After that, who knows?”

GOP Consultants Plot New Tech Infrastructure

Time reports on a group of Republicans consultants who believe the the conservative movement does not have what liberals have: “An infrastructure to train and nurture the next generation of campaign operatives and develop cutting-edge techniques. So they decided to take a shot at filling the void, by developing a proposal for a suite of new outside groups that would mimic, and eventually outpace, Democratic efforts.”

“The first part of that ecosystem, for which incorporation papers were filed last week, will be called the Empower Action Group. It is envisioned as a conservative answer to the New Organizing Institute, a place for training and connecting young conservative talent. It will aim to increase the ranks of people with digital, data and organizing know-how working for the GOP.”

POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/4

Posted March 4, 2013 by fvmoore
Categories: Candidates, National, Politics

GOP Leaders Open Door Again to Grand Bargain

Republican congressional leaders opened some room “for a longer-term deficit reduction agreement that eventually could blunt the effects of the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts now in place,” Roll Call reports.

The catch: GOP leaders “insisted that any revenue from a tax overhaul would have to be reserved for reducing tax rates and not used to fund government spending or lower the deficit.”

“The leaders appeared determined to keep the level of spending cuts in place but signaled that a longer-term deal to lower the deficit, overhaul the tax code and rein in spending on entitlement programs could still be had.”

Adelson Admits to Bribing Foreign Officials

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the largest Republican donor in last year’s presidential campaign, has informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that his company likely violated a federal law against bribing foreign officials, the New York Times reports.

Why Obama Can’t Make a Deal with Republicans

Ezra Klein: “The bottom line on American budgetary politics right now is that Republicans won’t agree to further tax increases and so there’s no deal to be had. This is not a controversial perspective in D.C.: It’s what Hill Republicans have told me, it’s what the White House has told me, it what Hill Democrats have told me. The various camps disagree on whether Republicans are right to refuse a deal that includes further tax increases, but they all agree that that’s the key fact holding up a compromise to replace the sequester.”

“There’s no deal even if Obama agrees to major Republican demands on entitlements. There’s no deal because Republicans don’t want to make a deal that includes taxes, no matter what they get in return for it.”

Paul Krugman: Well, duh.

Boehner Sees No Resolution for Sequester

House Speaker John Boehner told NBC News there “is no easy way to stop the budget cuts — known as the ‘sequester’ – that began taking effect Friday night, and voiced uncertainty over how Washington can solve the overall fiscal problems that have consumed the nation’s politics for more than two years.”

Said Boehner: “I don’t think anyone quite understands how it gets resolved.”

Romney Admits He Thought He Would Win

Mitt Romney told Fox News that “his heart said he was going to win the presidency, but when early results came in on election night, he knew it was not to be.”

“Romney says the loss hit hard and was emotional. Ann Romney says she cried.”

Obama Making Push to Take Back Congress

President Obama “is taking the most specific steps of his administration in an attempt to ensure the election of a Democratic­-controlled Congress in two years,” the Washington Post reports.

“Obama, fresh off his November reelection, began almost at once executing plans to win back the House in 2014, which he and his advisers believe will be crucial to the outcome of his second term and to his legacy as president. He is doing so by trying to articulate for the American electorate his own feelings — an exasperation with an opposition party that blocks even the most politically popular elements of his agenda.”

Fox News Took Graphics Directly from GOP Press Release

Fox News took research and graphics directly from a National Republican Campaign Committee press release without disclosing their origin in order to attack President Obama’s “sequester priorities,” Media Matters reports.

Lawmaker Says He Only Wants Male Interns

Connecticut state Rep. Ernest Hewett (D) refused to resign after making a lewd remark to a teenage girl at a legislative hearing and denied he has a problem with women, the Hartford Courant reports.

Said Hewett: “I purposely will not have female interns. My intern now is a male. I want to keep it like that. I’ve had female interns in the past that sit in my office all day. I thought it was totally weird and I didn’t want another. As a matter of fact, I went four, maybe six years without having an intern at all because of stuff like that. I have a male intern, the last two I’ve had were male.”

He added: “I don’t get to choose. That’s why I was so leery about staying away from interns. I don’t know what they’re going to give me. They may give me a female, but I don’t want a female intern. That may sound sexist but I really don’t. That way that keeps me good and that keeps everybody else good.”

Chief Justice Misconstrued Census Data

“At the voting rights argument in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts tore into Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, grilling him on his knowledge of voting statistics,” NPR reports.

“The point the chief justice was trying to make was that Massachusetts, which is not covered by the preclearance section of the Voting Rights Act, has a far worse record in black voter registration and turnout than Mississippi, which is covered by Section 5 of the act.”

“But a close look at census statistics indicates the chief justice was wrong, or at least that he did not look at the totality of the numbers.”

What is Obama’s Next Move?

The only thing President Obama can do now is wait, Politico reports.

“Obama’s decision Friday to remove the threat of a government shutdown in late March as a leverage point in the standoff means that the sequester will remain in place for weeks — if not months, or longer. He set into a motion a risky strategy that rests entirely on the slim chance that Republicans do an about-face on tax hikes after a public outcry.”

John Avlon: “It is a dangerous game. While polls show Americans more likely to blame Republicans for the obstructive gridlock than the president, if the economy turns south and chaos continues to reign supreme, ultimately people will blame the president. There are no doubt some conservative strategists counseling a hard-line betting on this outcome with an eye toward the 2014 and 2016 elections.”

Close Race in Virginia

A new McLaughlin poll conducted for Bill Bolling shows that he’s way behind in a three-way race for Virginia governor.

Terry McAuliffe (D) is just ahead of Ken Cuccinelli, 38% to 37%, with Bolling at just 15%.

Rice Says Politics Isn’t In Her DNA

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said again that she currently has no plans to run for president in 2016, The Hill reports.

Said Rice: “I learned that running for office really wasn’t in my DNA when I helped George W. Bush run in 1999. We’d go to maybe five campaign events in a day..and at the end of the day, he was raring to go and I was raring to go to bed. And I thought, ‘Maybe this just isn’t for me.”

She added: “But I do miss the people that I worked with in Washington. I don’t miss anything else about being in Washington.”

Republicans Warn Obama Has Poisoned Relations

“President Obama’s public shaming of congressional Republicans to act on a range of issues may be winning at the polls — but it risks alienating the people needed to reach bipartisan compromise,” The Hill reports.

“While Obama has made a strategic calculation that he needs to marshal public support to push through his agenda, centrist Republicans warn the president and his allies could go too far with partisan events and campaign-style ads targeting GOP lawmakers.”

Support for Same-Sex Marriage Jumps in California

Just as the Obama administration filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, a new Field Poll finds that support for same-sex marriage in the state has increased drastically since the ban was passed.

Key findings: 61% say they support same-sex marriage, with just 32% were against. The ban passes in 2008 by a 52% to 48% margin.

POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/1

Posted March 1, 2013 by fvmoore
Categories: Candidates, National, Politics

Rove Defends Effort to Back “Electable” Candidates

Karl Rove defended his move to get involved in Republican primary races across the country, saying a new vetting process would prevent “poor candidates” from giving Democrats an edge in critical races, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Said Rove: “My posterior was shredded a little bit by donors wondering why we are writing checks for people who then turn around a run such lousy campaigns.”

Boehner Bypasses Hastert Rule Again

After roughly a year and a half after its expiration, the Violence Against Women Act passed the House by 286-138 vote and will soon be reauthorized once it garners the president’s signature, NBC News reports.

The House vote was significant, because, for the third time this year, on a significant piece of legislation, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) showed a willingness to bring a bill to the floor without abiding by unwritten, so-called Hastert Rule.

(Hastert rule – A philosophy that requires the “majority of the majority” to bring up a bill for a vote in the House of Representatives.

Republicans have used this rule consistently since Speaker Dennis Hastert wielded it in the mid-1990s to effectively limit the power of the minority party. Democrats were prevented from passing bills with the assistance of a small number of members of the majority party.)

What is Rand Paul Up To?

Ross Douthat: “Paul has done what successful politicians tend to do: He’s picked his battles, done outreach to his critics, and consistently framed his arguments in language that conservative voters and activists understand. This has enabled him to break with the party’s hawkish tilt on a number of substantive questions, from the Libya and Syria debates to issues of executive power to the question of whether containment should be an option for dealing with Iran, without coming in for anything like the attacks that greeted Hagel’s nomination. He’s put his foot in his mouth here and there and taken fire from both his friends and foes along the way, and future world events (particularly events related to Iran) may upset his tightrope walk. But at the moment he seems like living, breathing proof that there’s room for actual foreign policy debate within the Republican coalition, and that not every non-hawk need be dismissed as a RINO and read out of the party.”

How the GOP Sees the Sequester Fight

Ezra Klein: “Insofar as there’s a long-term strategy here, it comes down to 2014. Republicans feel that this is a defensive year for them, and if they can resist further tax increases while locking in some spending cuts, that will be more than they could reasonably have expected in the days after the election. But in 2014, they expect the implementation of Obamacare to be a debacle that will give them an opportunity to mount a policy offensive against the White House. If they can just get through this year and get to 2014, their position will strengthen considerably.”

Republicans Pick Convicted Felon to Run for Jackson’s Seat

Republican voters picked ex-convict Paul McKinley (R) as their nominee to run for the seat recently ceded by former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, the Chicago Tribune reports.

McKinley, a convicted felon who served nearly 20 years in state prison for burglaries, armed robberies and aggravated battery, declared victory, beat businessman Eric Wallace (R) by 23 votes.

Why Iowa Is So Important for Senate Republicans

First Read explains why yesterday’s decision by Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) not to run for Senate in Iowa — opening a much clearer path for Rep. Steve King (R-IA) — is so important: “If you take this seat off the map for Republicans – and it’s very premature to do that – then they almost have to run the table on all their other Senate opportunities to win back the Senate.”

“Remember, Republicans have to pick up six seats to take control of the upper chamber. If you give them West Virginia (Rockefeller retiring) and South Dakota (possible Tim Johnson retirement), then Republicans still needs to win four out of these five seats where Dems are probably running for re-election: Alaska (Begich), Arkansas (Pryor), Louisiana (Landrieu), Montana (Baucus), and North Carolina (Hagan). In other words, if Iowa is in play for Republicans, they don’t need to knock off as many Dem incumbents. If it isn’t in play, then they almost have to run the table.”

“One other point here: King would probably have little chance of winning a Senate contest in a presidential year, but he does have a chance in a midterm cycle, so folks ought to be careful making assumptions.”

The March to War with Iran

Time has new details on the White House debate in which President Obama ultimately committed to preventing an Iranian nuke by force if necessary.

“Every current and former official interviewed for this story believes Obama will resort to war if necessary to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. But only Obama knows for sure… As a former senior official says of the coming year, ‘we are entering the final stages of this drama.'”

Chafee Widely Disliked in Rhode Island

A new Brown University poll in Rhode Island finds Providence Mayor Angel Taveras (D), a likely candidate for governor next year, is the most popular politician in Rhode Island with a job approval rating of 64%. Another potential candidate, Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D), scored a 56% approval rating.

In contrast, Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s (I) approval rating is a dismal 26%.

Why the Sequester is Here to Stay

First Read: “A bad spending cut for many Republicans is easier to defend than any supposed fair tax hike on anyone. So if the White House really wants to stop the sequester, they might have to come up with their own set of $85 billion in spending cuts for this year to replace it. In this political environment, there is no way Boehner, McConnell and Cornyn can politically survive doing anything short of that. The president can still get more revenue down the road on tax reform, but he may have to fold on sequester if he wants a chance at winning in the long run. But that’s also a hard thing to ask a president who just won re-election on this very issue.”

According to Roll Call, Boehner yesterday told Republicans, “We’re on the side of the angels.”

Don’t Count Christie Out

Steve Kornacki says that, despite his snub by CPAC, Chris Christie still should be considered a very viable candidate for the 2016 presidential nomination.

“He hasn’t passed the ideological point of no return on any litmus test issues, is much more conservative than the ‘moderate’ label that’s frequently attached to him suggests, and will be free after this November to recalibrate himself for the national GOP stage. There’s also the matter of his personality. Political science tells us that this doesn’t matter in campaigns, but I don’t quite agree. His charisma isn’t the only reason Christie rocketed to national political fame over the past few years, but it’s certainly a big part of the equation. I may be a little biased on this, since I began watching Christie up-close a decade ago, but I’ve long believed there’s is something about his style that makes people – especially Republicans – want to like him and support him.”

Matt Lewis: Christie is the new Jon Huntsman.

Sperling Was Official Who Talked to Woodward

Bob Woodward said last night that a senior White House official threatened him andBuzzFeed reports the official in question is Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the president.

Politico has the email exchange between the two and Woodward seems not bothered by the exchange. In response to Sperling, he wrote, “I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening.”

Woodward Says He Was Threatened by White House

Bob Woodward told CNN he was threatened by a senior Obama administration official following his reporting on the White House’s handling of the sequester.

Said Woodward: “They’re not happy at all. It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this.”

Kasich Approval Jumps in Ohio

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich’s (R) job approval is at an all-time high, 53% to 32%, the first time in two years that he tops 50 percent.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “What a difference a few months make. Not that long ago, Democrats were licking their lips at the prospect of taking on an unpopular governor who had a disapproval rating in the 50s. Now his job disapproval rating is just 32% and his chances of re-election appear to be much better than they were thought to be as recently as December.”

Lawmaker Says Homosexuality is an Addiction

Minnesota state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R) said that homosexuality is a choice and form of sexual addiction, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Said Gruenhagen: “It’s an unhealthy, sexual addiction.”

“Gruenhagen made the statements after advocates unveiled their proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, which would make Minnesota among nearly a dozen states that allow gays and lesbians to wed.”