March 11, 2014
"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."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Georgia finds Rep. Paul Broun (R) leading the GOP Senate primary race with 27%, followed by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) at 14%, Rep. Jack Kingston (R) at 13%, David Perdue (R) at 12% and Karen Handel (R) at 9%.
In head-to-head matchups, with Michelle Nunn (D) and Broun were tied at 38%, while Nunn with slight leads over Kingston, Handel and Gingrey.
: "Today, 61% of Republicans and Republican leaners under 30 favor same-sex marriage while just 35% oppose it. By contrast, just 27% of Republicans ages 50 and older favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry."
The Huffington Post
has photos of Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) drinking "at a hotel party next to a man lounging in a bathtub."Dave Weigel
has a report from the party.
A new Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll
in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds a massive lead over primary challenger Matt Bevin (R), 61% to 23%.
: "For all the bad press over Bridgegate, Christie hasn't been abandoned by party leaders or major donors. True, some conservatives don't like him. But the media's criticism has prompted others to rally behind him. His CPAC reception hardly left the impression that he's unacceptable to the base. All things considered, Christie may be better positioned to win the Republican nomination than he was a year ago."
"As for that poll of Republicans swearing up and down they'd never vote for him? Don't believe it. In 2011, Gallup found that 26 percent of Republicans would "definitely not vote for" Mitt Romney, who, of course, went on to win the nomination and the vote of just about every Republican in the country."
"Oh, I'm probably .01 percent."
-- Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (R), quoted by the Chicago Sun Times
, when asked if he was among the one percent of wealthiest Americans.
"I don't think there's really this vast civil war in the Republican Party
that like many in the left suggest there is. I think we're a party with
a vibrant debate, adding ideas, solving problems, and I think that's
going to be -- I think we're going to be okay."
-- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), quoted by Huffington Post
"Two figures in a political payback plot that has overshadowed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) administration will attempt to convince a judge that they shouldn't be forced to turn over documents to a legislative panel," the AP
"Lawyers for former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien and fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly have asked the judge to throw out their subpoenas. They say handing over personal emails, text messages and planning calendars would be like testifying against themselves."