March 12, 2014
"Utah could offer the nation's first presidential primary in 2016," the Salt Lake Tribune
"The House voted 58-14 Monday to pass HB410, sending it to the Senate. The bill would allow Utah to hold a presidential primary a week before any other state -- conducted solely by online voting."
"However, the early date could bring punishment from national political parties, which have rules to protect New Hampshire as the country's first primary and Iowa as the first caucus."
"They needed a token non-wealthy person, so I was there. They called me in."
-- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), quoted by the New York Observer
, before speaking at an Obama fundraiser.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
finds positive feelings about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) "are eroding across the board -- even among his once-loyal base of Republicans and Northeasterners - in the wake of allegations that top deputies engineered a massive traffic jam to get back at Democratic mayor who withheld an endorsement."
"Overall, the potential 2016 contender was viewed positively by 17% and negatively by 32%... That's a stark contrast from October, when the Republican governor was on the verge of a landslide re-election on Democratic turf and viewed positively by 33% and negatively by 17%."
: "Tuesday night's special election in Florida should be a serious scare for Democrats who worry that Obamacare will be a major burden for their party in 2014. Despite recruiting favored candidate Alex Sink, outspending Republicans, and utilizing turnout tools to help motivate reliable voters, Democrats still lost to Republican lobbyist David Jolly--and it wasn't particularly close."
The Republican National Committee "is pouring resources into Colorado, adding more than a dozen staffers as a new Senate candidate and sagging poll numbers for Democrats raise GOP hopes of ending the party's decade-long drought on top-of-the-ticket wins in the state," the AP
"The additions come after Republicans got a top-tier recruit to challenge Sen. Mark Udall and a prominent former Congressman entered the crowded primary to challenge Gov. John Hickenlooper."
: "Wall Street Republicans have begun their White House dance less than halfway into a second Barack Obama term they tried to prevent with record donations to Mitt Romney. As investigations slow Chris Christie, whose backers have included a troop of billionaires, donors are looking for a candidate who can replace the constraints they detest with appreciation they think is due."
"That's led to fervor for Jeb Bush, admiration for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and even flirtation with Tea Party senators, according to more than a dozen interviews with fund managers, bankers and investors who open wallets for politics."
: "A longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton personally sought and secured the funding for what prosecutors say was an illegal shadow operation to boost Clinton's 2008 presidential bid, according to court papers released as part of a wide-ranging campaign finance investigation."
: "There is now talk among Ready officials about finishing 2014 with 5 million supporters and 2 million active volunteers, numbers that would likely dwarf the assets of all the GOP wannabes combined. If realized, that would be substantially more than the piddling grassroots effort that Clinton mounted against Obama six years ago."
"The other boost for Ready for Hillary has come from Obama's political machine. Inside Obama world, the battle scars of the 2008 nomination fight have faded, and there is widespread excitement about a Clinton candidacy; her service in the Administration has made her the clear, if unofficial, legatee."
Despite one new poll
showing President Obama's approval bouncing back, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
finds his approval rating has dropped to a low point of 41%.
Key findings: By a 33% to 24% margin, Americans say their midterm election vote will be to signal opposition to the president rather than to signal support, though 41% say their vote will have nothing to do about Obama. In addition, 48% of voters say they're less likely to vote for a candidate who's a solid supporter of the Obama administration, versus 26% who say they're more likely to vote for that candidate.
Meanwhile, Republicans hold a one-point edge over Democrats on which party registered voters prefer to control Congress, 44% to 43%,
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."