April 15, 2014

Landrieu Staged Hearing for New Ad

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) released a very effective ad using footage from local and cable news broadcasts.

However, the Weekly Standard notes at least one scene -- Landrieu speaking at a committee hearing -- was re-enacted for the ad.

"The reenactment fixes a verbal flub from Landrieu's original speech. Originally, she said 'Do you think there are a bunch of fairy godmothers out there that just wish a magic wand?' The line is cleaned up for the campaign ad."

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Mayor Quits After Saying Disabled Shouldn't Have Sex

"The Conservative mayor of Swindon has resigned after he called disabled people 'Mongols' and questioned whether they should be allowed to have sex," Huffington Post UK reports.

Abbott Comfortably Ahead in Texas

A new Public Policy Polling (D) survey in Texas finds Greg Abbott (R) leading Wendy Davis (D) in the race for governor by double-digits, 51% to 37%.

Key findings: "Those numbers are largely unchanged from our last poll of the state in early November when Abbott had a 50/35 advantage. Davis had a 39/29 favorability rating right after her famous filibuster last June, but since then voters in the state have mostly moved toward having negative opinions about her and now she's at a 33/47 spread."

The U.S. Is an Oligarchy

A new study finds that rich and powerful interest groups have a much greater impact on government policy than the majority of citizens.

"The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

Gawker: "The study notes that the position of the median American and the position of the affluent American are often the same; therefore, regular people tend to think that their political interests are being represented when they see the triumph of some political position that they agree with. In fact, the researchers say, this is a mere coincidence. Yes, the average American will see their interests represented--as long as their interests align with the interests of the wealthy."

Sink Will Not Run for Congress Again

Alex Sink (D) has decided not to run for Congress again this year, meaning there will not be a rematch of the nationally watched and extraordinarily costly campaign that Sink lost a little over a month ago to Rep. David Jolly (R), the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"If you have a Boehner lasting more than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention."

-- A new ad from J.D. Winteregg (R), who is challenging Speaker John Boehner in next month's Ohio congressional primary.

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Most Republicans Undecided in Iowa

A new Loras College Poll in Iowa finds Mark Jacobs (R) edging Joni Ernst (R) in the GOP Senate primary, 19% to 18%, with the other candidates were in single digits: Sam Clovis at 7%, Matt Whitaker at 4% and Scott Schaben at 4%.

Is Obama Data Too Much for Democratic Candidates?

Advertising Age says that local Democratic campaigns across the country "may struggle to use something as big and complex as Obama's data trove, which was built for a nationwide campaign. Think of taking a fire hose to your flower garden, or asking the local marina's security guy to dock a submarine."

"The fact is, even if the political topics had stayed the same, most state legislative or U.S. House candidates can't possibly use all the data that's been given to the party. And, just as important, a single candidate simply doesn't have the resources to hire more than one internal data handler, much less replicate the 50-plus crew that steered the Obama analytics ship."

Rowland's Book That Wasn't

John Murray says former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland (R) wrote a book while on a "government sponsored sabbatical."

"While in prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, Rowland had written a book, and had unsuccessfully tried to sell it to publishing houses in NYC. He asked me to edit the book, and he was determined to get it published even if he had to do it himself. The book had tremendous information in it, especially his descriptions of prison life, but it largely missed the mark. There was little mention of the troubles that led to his resignation, and for someone who had spent 25 years in public office, there were no keen insights into the political process."

Barry Goldwater's Campaign Legacy

Arizona Republic: "Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign, which is getting new attention because 2014 marks its 50th anniversary, made plenty of mistakes in the Arizona Republican's landslide loss to Democrat Lyndon Johnson. But one lasting innovation was its practical application of large-scale direct-mail fundraising to national politics, an idea that contributed to the conservative movement's subsequent successes."

"Direct mail allowed the anti-establishment Goldwater and his conservative supporters to circumvent the wealthy benefactors who at the time were relied on to bankroll White House campaigns. In the GOP primaries, Goldwater's main rival was moderate Republican New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, who was tight with the big-money crowd. Instead of focusing on a few big donors who could write a check for a large sum, the Goldwater campaign reached out to larger numbers of potential supporters who could contribute smaller amounts."

Blackburn Denies Weighing Presidential Bid

"A report over the weekend that Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn might launch a 2016 Republican presidential bid spurred a non-denial denial from her campaign staff, though she appeared to be more explicit during a visit to New Hampshire," the Tennessean reports.

Said Blackburn: "Not at all. No. No. I am running for re-election in Tennessee."

Quote of the Day

"I received that letter, ostensibly coming from Sen. Ino­uye himself, a half an hour before he died in Washington, D.C. Literally. Whether or not this could be construed as Sen. Ino­uye's dying wish -- let me put it this way -- is problematic."

-- Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), quoted by the Los Angeles Times, on whether a letter requesting that he appoint Rep. Colleen Hana­busa (D) to the Senate was authentic.

Christie Remembered What He Ate as Scandal Unfolded

The law firm hired by Gov. Chris Christie (R) "to investigate the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge released more than 400 pages of documents Monday that describe in detail interactions among the governor's aides as the controversy over the closures unfolded," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

"In one passage, Christie recalls eating raspberries while at a retreat with his senior staff and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno."

Jindal Won't Comment on Vitter

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) continued to call for "kissing congressman" Vance McAllister's (R) resignation, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.

But he refused to weigh into questions about the "double standard" of Republicans who continued to support Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) after his name surfaced in a prostitution scandal.

Said Jindal: "I'm not going to go down that path."

McAllister and Ex-Aide Tied to Unusual Production Firm

Scandal-plagued Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) "owns an event production company that is affiliated with the former staffer he kissed on a video that went viral last week," The Hill reports.

"McAllister Promotions lists Melissa Peacock, the married former staffer that McAllister kissed, on its contact page. It's unclear what the promotion company has done in the year since it was first registered."

Hillary Clinton Sequel Being Written

A sequel is in the works to the bestseller about Hillary Clinton's years at the State Department, The Hill reports.

"Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen are writing a new book that will look at what is probably Clinton's last chance at the presidency... The sequel will take readers "inside the inner-most circles of 'Hillaryland' as the clock ticks toward 2016."

Senate Republicans Seek Truce with Tea Party

"A lot of stars seem to be aligning for Republicans in this year's midterm elections, and here's a crucial one that hasn't gotten sufficient attention: Party leaders have used quiet diplomacy to reduce the chances the GOP's tea-party wing will crown primary candidates who can be easily portrayed as odd or extremist," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"This is no small thing in the pursuit of this year's grand prize, which is winning control of the Senate."

The Week: Will the GOP sideline social conservatives too?

Berlusconi Must Do Community Service

"An Italian court ruled that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi must visit a center for the elderly at least once a week as he serves a one-year sentence for tax fraud doing community service," Reuters reports.

"It was not immediately clear from the court ruling if Berlusconi would be able to campaign for his Forza Italia party ahead of European Parliament elections next month."

April 14, 2014

Chelsea Clinton Won't Rule Out Run

Chelsea Clinton told Fast Company that she might run for public office one day.

Said Clinton: "I live in a city and a state and a country where I support my elected representatives. If at some point that weren't the case, and I didn't support my mayor or my city councilwoman or my congresswoman or either of my senators -- and I'm lucky to live in a state where I have lots of women representing me, you know -- maybe then I'd have to ask and answer the question for myself, and come to a different answer."

Supreme Court Will Decide If Politicians Can Lie

David Hawkings: "The Supreme Court has made pretty clear that putting your money where your mouth is deserves broad protection as a form of free political speech. The justices are about to consider whether outright lying in a campaign deserves a similar First Amendment shield."

"The court's recent decisions easing the flow of generous campaign contributions already shifted the electoral landscape. If the court finds that even the most patently outrageous statements about candidates may not be barred by law, those two decisions combined could expand the rhetorical battlefield of the midterm elections and raise the attack ad volume as never before."

Obamacare Insures More and Costs Less

Wonk Wire: New CBO report shows Obamacare will cost $100 billion less than expected while insuring more people.

Ernst Misrepresents National Guard Service

Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) has cited her National Guard duty to rebuff criticism for missing more than half of the votes in the Iowa Senate this year.

But a review by The Gazette shows that few -- 10%, or 12 of the 117 missed votes -- came on days when she was on active duty.

Port Authority Official Resigns as New Investigation Starts

In the wake a new investigation, a longtime commissioner at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey resigned, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Anthony Sartor submitted his resignation just days after a new investigation into activity at the Port Authority by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, including the agency's work rebuilding the World Trade Center, came to light. Sartor is a New Jersey appointee who has long chaired the agency's subcommittee on World Trade Center redevelopment."

Conversation with Anna Greenberg

Anna Greenberg, recently named Democratic Pollster of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants, joins us on the Political Wire podcast for a look at three key voting groups -- unmarried women, young voters, and minorities -- who will decide the 2014 midterm elections.

Listen here:

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Special thanks to Nature Box for sponsoring this episode. Use this link and get 50% off your first box of snacks that you can feel good about.

Would a GOP Senate Approve Obama's Supreme Court Pick?

Jonathan Chait: "It may seem implausible that Republicans would simply refuse to allow Obama to appoint any justice to such a vacancy. That is only because things that haven't happened before are hard to imagine. But such a confrontation is not only a logical outcome but the most logical outcome. Voting to flip the Supreme Court would be, if not a political death warrant for a Republican Senator, then certainly taking one's political life into one's own hands. Politicians do not like political death warrants -- certainly not for the benefit of the opposing party's agenda."

"The modern pattern in American politics is that tactics that are legally available, but never used for reasons of custom, eventually become used. The modern pattern is also that the Republican Party, which is the most ideologically cohesive and disciplined party, leads the way."

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