March 11, 2014
David Jolly (R) beat Alex Sink (D) in the "closely-watched, extremely expensive and relentlessly negative battle for Florida's 13th Congressional District, signaling trouble for Democrats as they head into the midterm elections and face the weight of Obamacare," the Tampa Bay Times
"It was a deflating moment for Democrats, who were already facing a
tough November and saw in Sink a buffer from the health care attacks.
And it was a crushing blow to Sink, the former state CFO who narrowly
lost her 2010 race for governor to political rookie millionaire Rick
A new Bloomberg Poll
finds President Obama "is rebounding from record-low approval ratings as he remedies the botched rollout of his health-care website and moves past the budget standoffs of the last several years."
"Less than eight months before the November midterm elections, Americans are evenly split, with 48% approving of Obama's job performance, up from 42% in December -- the biggest positive change of his presidency... He's also registering an improved favorability rating at 49%, the highest since last June."
A new Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll
finds New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) popularity at an all-time low after dropping 20 percentage points since November.
"What's more, 41% of voters surveyed said they approved of Christie's job performance and 44% disapproved -- the first time the poll has shown results to be more critical than supportive of the Republican governor since he took office in January 2010."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
finds Democrats have reclaimed the lead on the generic Congressional ballot, 43% to 40%, after trailing by two points in January. Democrats have poor approval ratings at 35% to 56%, but they're better than Republicans at 23% to 67%.
Also interesting: "One key difference is that Democrats are at least happy with their own party in Congress, giving it a 66/21 approval, while Republicans give their own a negative assessment at 43/48."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) "torched the Central Intelligence Agency in a floor speech Tuesday morning, charging the agency with spying on her committee's computers in a possibly illegal search that has been referred to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution," Roll Call
During her speech, Feinstein "said she learned in January that the Central Intelligence Agency improperly searched committee computer files, confirming several media reports. She said the incident has been referred to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution. But Feinstein was also riled by a separate referral by the CIA to the Department of Justice suggesting that the committee staff had improperly received classified information."
notes that tonight's special congressional election in Florida between Alex Sink (D) and David Jolly (R) can help us answer this question: "What's the more powerful force right now -- an individual campaign or the overall political environment?"
"Sink has a lot of the intangibles on her side. She has more money, a higher name ID (after running for governor in 2010), an opponent whose previous job was a lobbyist (about as despised of a political occupation as you can have), and a third-party candidate (Lucas Overby) who would probably take more votes away from the Republicans. So a Sink win would be a blueprint for survival for skittish Democrats: If you run a superior race, hold most of the intangibles, and take the health-care issue head on, you can survive."
"On the flip side, a Sink loss and Jolly win will rattle a lot of Democrats, because it would prove that the environment -- including a more GOP-leaning electorate -- trumps everything else. If a B-minus candidate running a C+ campaign who happens to be a lobbyist can beat someone who has more of the intangibles on her side, then that is going to scare the Mark Udalls, Jeanne Shaheens, and Jeff Merkleys running for re-election in blue/purple states in November."
"There is a bogus poll out there. I can sense the people of my state. When I travel around, which I do constantly, they like me, and I am very grateful."
-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by The Hill
, disputing a poll that showed him with a 30% approval rate in Arizona.
Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire
"I think the thing that is getting a little tiresome, the gay community, they have so bullied the American people, and they've so intimidated politicians. The politicians fear them, so that they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere."
-- Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), quoted by the Huffington Post
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) "is putting the strength of his formidable political machine behind a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor whose fate could have major implications for Reid's own three-decade congressional career. The race is rapidly becoming a proxy war between Reid and popular Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), who is viewed by both parties as the toughest potential challenger to Reid in 2016," Politico
"If a Democrat were to win the lieutenant governor's race, it's widely believed that Sandoval wouldn't challenge Reid, since it would mean turning over the governorship to a Democrat if Sandoval won. But that calculation changes if a Republican captures the lieutenant governor's seat in November."
: "House Republican leaders are planning to bring up three changes to Obamacare next week -- but unlike dozens of prior bills, these are more minor measures that are not expected to be controversial. All three bills essentially fix drafting errors, perceived oversights or unintended consequences in the president's Affordable Care Act. They have bipartisan support and are scheduled to be considered under a suspension of the rules, which limits debate and requires support from two-thirds of House members -- a signal that leaders of both parties do not expect any heated debate."
President Obama will appear on "Between Two Ferns," an off-color online parody of celebrity interview shows with the comedian Zach Galifianakis, the New York Times
The pop-culture appearance "is the latest public relations gamble that Mr. Obama and his aides have taken in their pursuit of new ways to deliver their message to the connected-but-distracted generation... Aides said Mr. Obama's immediate reason for subjecting himself to Mr. Galifianakis is to urge young people to sign up for health insurance on the government's website, healthcare.gov. As a March 31 deadline for enrolling for 2014 approaches, the White House is making one final push to try to increase the numbers."
"All the attack ads and campaigning end today, as voters in Pinellas County's nationally watched political battle send a new representative to Congress," the Tampa Bay Times
"An unprecedented $12 million has poured into the hotly contested race between Republican David Jolly and Democrat Alex Sink, with politicos split on who will claim victory, what it will mean for the political parties, what it will say about Obamacare and what it will signal for the nationwide congressional elections later this year."Politico
: What to watch for tonight
: "Whatever the outcome of Tuesday's tight congressional contest in Tampa Bay, this footnote is assured: The winner will become the 64th person in the current House first sent to the Capitol by a special election. That's an astonishing 15 percent of the membership."
"Whoever wins the next presidential election has at least one definite perk to look forward to: A new presidential limo, complete with classified armor specifications, that'll replace the current 'Beast' introduced for President Obama's 2009 inaugural parade," Time
"Does Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell own a gun? The McConnell campaign doesn't want to talk about it, and neither does McConnell's staff in the Senate," the Washington Examiner
"McConnell's campaign revealed on Monday that McConnell had fired a gun, but that statement made no mention of the Kentucky Republican owning any firearms."
"In the summer of 2010, it was Harry Reid, the Senate's Democratic leader, who squelched his party's efforts to pass a climate change bill, declaring it could never attract enough votes to pass. In the years since, he has rarely spoken publicly about the issue," the New York Times
"But on Monday night, an impassioned Mr. Reid took to the Senate floor to kick off a nearly 15-hour climate-change talkathon by about 30 Senate Democrats, part of a campaign by a new Senate "climate caucus" to make it a politically urgent issue."
: "Thirty Senate Democrats are scheduled to stage an all-night talkathon to address climate change and its deniers, but notably missing from the extensive roster of speakers are moderate Democrats, especially those who are up for re-election in 2014."
March 10, 2014
Jennifer Duffy of the must-read Cook Political Report
joins us on the Political Wire podcast
for a state-by-state discussion of the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.
Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes
to get episodes automatically downloaded.
Special thanks to PillPack
, the first pharmacy that makes it incredibly easy to take all your medications at the right time, every time. It's a really great service.
: "The United States is at a constitutional tipping point: The rise of an uber presidency unchecked by the other two branches."
"This massive shift of authority threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system of checks and balances. To be sure, it did not begin with the Obama administration. The trend has existed for decades, and President George W. Bush showed equal contempt for the separation of powers. However, it has accelerated at an alarming rate under Obama. Of perhaps greater concern is the fact that the other two branches appear passive, if not inert, in the face of expanding executive power."
: Only one country recovered from the financial crisis faster than the United States.
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Florida's 13th congressional district finds Alex Sink (D) leading David Jolly (R) by three points, 48% to 45%.
The special election is tomorrow.
The Washington Post
reports Jeffrey Thompson "was set to plead guilty Monday to funneling more than $2 million in illegal contributions to federal and local political campaigns, including Vincent Gray's (D) 2010 bid to become mayor."
Prosecutors also revealed for the first time that Gray knew about the "shadow campaign" -- "a secret and illegal effort to bolster Gray's mayoral run" and personally asked for Thompson's help.
Coming later this year: Stonewalled: One Reporter's Fight for Truth in Obama's Washington
by Sharyl Attkisson, who Politico
reports just resigned from CBS News.
: "You've probably seen this before from other sources, but the chart
... basically shows that for the past 40 years voting patterns haven't differed much by age. In fact, there's virtually no difference between generations at all until you get to the George Bush era. At that point, young voters suddenly leave the Republican Party en masse. Millennials may be far less likely than older generations to say there's a big difference between Republicans and Democrats, but their actual voting record belies that."
"Whatever it was that Karl Rove and George Bush did--and there are plenty of possibilities, ranging from Iraq to gays to religion--they massively alienated an entire generation of voters. Sure, they managed to squeak out a couple of presidential victories, but they did it at the cost of losing millions of voters who will probably never fully return. This chart is their legacy in a nutshell."
Federal prosecutors "have subpoenaed records from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey related to the business interests of its chairman, David Samson," the Wall Street Journal
"The demand for records comes as scrutiny of Mr. Samson--a close ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie--has increased since allegations emerged that the Port Authority closed George Washington Bridge access lanes for political purposes."