April 18, 2014

Most Think Obama Lies

A new Fox News poll finds 37% think President Obama lies "most of the time," while another 24% say he lies "some of the time." Twenty percent of voters say "only now and then" and 15% "never."

Which States Get Screwed by the Electoral College?

Ryan Cooper: "I assumed that since the least populated states are the most preposterously over-represented, the largest states, like California and Texas, would suffer the most when compared against the ideal of a 'one-person, one vote' standard..."

"Wait, Pennsylvania is number one?"

Crist Loses Another Campaign Spokesman

Charlie Crist's (D) new campaign spokesman quit after less than a week on the job "to pursure other opportunities," the Miami Herald reports.

"This is a potential leading indicator of why some establishment Democrats, namely those who wanted Sen. Bill Nelson to run, were so nervous about Crist. Like a gifted athlete, Crist relies on his own talents. But he resists coaching. He doesn't always take good advice. He acts spur of the moment. His campaign is more of a cult of personality compared to Scott's campaign, which is more like a disciplined business start up."

House Democrats Put Up the Defenses

"House Democrats, battered by Koch brothers ads and facing a grim outlook for the midterms, are providing the clearest indication yet of how they plan to respond: By shoring up imperiled incumbents and only the most promising challengers, but most likely leaving some of the party's upstart hopefuls to fend for themselves," Politico reports.

"The aim of the strategy, detailed in nearly two dozen interviews with party officials and strategists, is a tacit acknowledgement of the ominous political environment Democrats are up against this year. The goal is to stop Republicans from padding their 17-seat edge and keep the party within striking distance of the majority in 2016, a presidential election year that could well be more favorable to Democrats."

Monkey Cage: How big could the GOP majority get?

Mitt Romney Returns to the Spotlight

Washington Post: "After retreating from public view following his crushing loss to President Obama in the 2012 election, Romney has returned to the political stage, emerging as one of the Republican Party's most coveted stars, especially on the fundraising circuit, in the run-up to November's midterm elections."

"He may not direct a high-powered political-action committee or hold a formal position, but with the two living former Republican presidents -- George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush -- shying away from campaign politics, Romney, 67, has begun to embrace the role of party elder, believing he can shape the national debate and help guide his fractured party to a governing majority."

Americans Differ On Why People are Poor

A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that 44% of Americans think poor people are poor mostly because of a lack of opportunities, while only 30% said it's mostly because of their individual failings.

"While Democrats and independents in the new survey were more likely to think the rich, poor and unemployed got where they are mostly due to outside circumstances, Republicans in the poll largely said the opposite. They tended to think the poor are poor because of individual failings, rather than lack of opportunities (48% to 23%), and that they have a poor work ethic rather than good jobs being unavailable to them (49% to 21%)."

Tweet of the Day

Super PACs Try Positive Ads

"Outside political groups, long known for their negative advertisements featuring ominous music and foreboding narration, are trying something new this campaign season: a pivot to the positive," the New York Times reports.

"Some of the best-known 'super PACs' and outside groups... are making an effort to also cast their candidates in an appealing way instead of solely attacking opponents."

"The shift is the product of several factors -- the renewed hope that positive commercials can break through the advertising clutter; lessons of the 2012 presidential race, when Mitt Romney and outside Republican groups largely failed to offer an alternate message to an onslaught of negative spots; and the increasing prevalence of stock footage made public by campaigns that makes producing positive ads easier."

As Many As 14 Competitive Senate Races

Wall Street Journal: "Control of the Senate hangs in the balance with the November elections less than seven months away. Pollsters believe as many as 14 seats could be competitive, and Republicans need a net pickup of six seats to take control of the upper chamber. But each state has its own dynamics, tensions, and - ultimately - economies."

Sean Trende: "I'm not 100 percent confident that Republicans will gain seats. In fact, when I analyzed the Senate races in February, my simulation created a few scenarios where Republicans did, in fact, lose seats."

Axelrod vs. Messina

"The British general election next year will pit one Obama campaign mastermind against another," the Washington Post reports.

"Jim Messina, who managed Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, had already signed up last August to consult for Prime Minister David Cameron and the ruling Conservative Party. Now, David Axelrod, architect of Obama's rise from first-term senator to the White House, will be working for the opposition Labor Party."

Clinton's Book Has a Title

Hillary Clinton's forthcoming memoir of her four years as secretary of state will be titled Hard Choices, the Washington Post reports.

The book is being billed as Clinton's "inside account of the crises, choices, and challenges that she faced during her four years as America's 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future."

New Polls Show Many Close Senate Races

Here are some new polls from Harper Polling (R) on key U.S. Senate races:

Arkansas: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 39%, Tom Cotton (R) 39%

Colorado: Sen. Mark Udall (D) 45%, Cory Gardner (R) 43%

Louisiana: Bill Cassidy (R) 47%, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) 43%

Michigan: Terri Lynn Land (R) 43%, Gary Peters (D) 40%

Montana: Steve Daines (R) 42%, Sen. John Walsh (D) 35%

April 17, 2014

8 Million People Signed Up for Obamacare

President Obama announced that "eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and that 35 percent are under the age of 35, countering the criticism that it would attract mainly older and sicker people," the New York Times reports.

"Obama also said that millions of the enrollees had purchased private insurance for the first time, strengthening the administration's case that the new health law was expanding coverage, not simply moving people from one insurance plan to another."

Said Obama: "This thing is working."

Wonk Wire has more on the surprise announcement.

Every Member of Congress Gets Porn in the Mail

"Since 1983, Larry Flynt has sent the monthly magazine he founded, Hustler, to each and every member of Congress," National Journal reports.

"The dirty mag comes in a plain manila envelope, fairly undetectable to the poor intern or staffer tasked with opening the mail. And every month, there it is: Hustler, featuring dozens of naked or scantly dressed women, vulgar comics, and articles, some satirical, on politics, society, and sex."

"It's not like members of Congress haven't tried to stop the magazines from coming. They just can't stop it legally."

Biden Will Tell Obama First

Vice President Joe Biden "says he hasn't decided whether to seek the presidency in 2016 -- and when he does he'll tell the incumbent about it first," USA Today reports.

Said Biden: "If I decide to run, believe me, this'll be the first guy I talk to. But that decision hasn't been made for real, and there's plenty of time."

Ohio Governor Up for Grabs

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) in a dead heat with challenger Ed Fitzgerald (D), 44% to 44%.

Biden to Run for Governor

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (D) will not run for re-election to a third term this year, instead setting his sights on the governor's office in 2016, The Week reports.

Said Biden: "What started as a thought -- a very persistent thought -- has now become a course of action that I wish to pursue."

Paul Won't Talk About McConnell Endorsement

The Glasgow Daily Times reports that a constituent asked Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) why he came out in support of the re-election of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

"Paul declined to answer the question publicly, saying he would speak with her in private and explain his reason for supporting the senior senator."

Haley Up By Double-Digits

A new Rasmussen poll in South Carolina finds Gov. Nikki Haley (R) way ahead of Vincent Sheheen (D) in her re-election race, 52% to 37%.

Quote of the Day

"I don't have sizzle."

-- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, quoted by ABC News, when asked if he'd consider running for president again.

Could Sebelius Win a Political Trifecta?

A Smart Politics analysis finds that if Kathleen Sebelius (D) ran for and won Kansas' U.S. Senate seat in 2014, she would become the first woman ever to serve as governor, cabinet head, and U.S. Senator and just the ninth person to serve in all three offices during the last 100+ years.

Republicans Stay the Course on Bashing Obamacare

Wall Street Journal: "Republican leaders are telling the party's House members that persistent criticism of the federal health-care law is the best path to victory this fall regardless of how the law's implementation evolves ahead of the November elections."

Wonk Wire: Where's the Obamacare death spiral?

White House Scrambled After Biden Comments

Vice President Biden "really did get ahead of" President Obama "on accepting gay marriage in 2012 -- and the White House really wasn't happy about it, despite the two leaders' many attempts to claim otherwise. That's the story laid out in Jo Becker's new book, Forcing the Spring, which documents the past few years of successful efforts to expand the legalization of gay marriage," Politico reports.

However, Andrew Sullivan is not impressed with the book saying the it "descends into more jaw-dropping distortion."

Coakley Leads Democratic Pack in Massachusetts

A new University of Massachusetts at Amherst poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading the Democratic race for governor with 39%, followed by Steve Grossman at 9%, Don Berwick at 3% and Juliette Kayyern at 3%.

LePage Leads in Three-Way Race

A new Pan Atlantic SMS poll in Maine shows Gov. Paul LePage (R) leading his re-election race with 39%, followed by Michael Michaud (D) at 37% and Eliot Cutler (I) at 20%.

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