February, 2012

Brown Leading in Massachusetts

A new Mass Insight poll in Massachusetts shows Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) leading challenger Elizabeth Warren (D), 52% to 42%.

Key finding: “While 58% thought it was good for the state to have ‘an independent Republican like Scott Brown representing us in Congress,’ and 39% disagreed, voters were clearly begrudging about watching Republicans retake the Senate. Forty-nine percent thought the state needed to elect a Democrat to prevent the chamber from going Republican, 47% disagreed.”

Does Romney Really Own Guns?

In response to a question about gun control today, Mitt Romney claimed he owns guns himself.

Said Romney: “I believe in the second amendment, I’ll protect the second amendment, I have guns myself. Not going to tell you where they are. Don’t have them on myself either, alright.”

However, ABC News reports that in 2007, “after Romney claimed that he did have guns he later retracted his statement, saying that he himself does not have guns but his sons do.”

The End of the Mod Squad

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) told WPRI-TV that when he was a Republican U.S. Senator he ate lunch each week with four other GOP moderates: Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Jim Jeffords of Vermont and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. They referred to themselves as “the Mod Squad.”

“In 2001, Jeffords left the party to caucus with the Democrats. In 2006, Chafee lost his seat to Sheldon Whitehouse after a primary challenge from the right. In 2009, Specter switched parties and went on to lose his first Democratic primary. And on Tuesday, Snowe shocked Washington by announcing her retirement… The last remaining member is Collins, who was re-elected in 2008.”

Kerrey Will Run for Senate

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) announced today that he would run for U.S. Senate, “setting the stage for a competitive election year in Nebraska as Democrats fight to retain the seat and Republicans battle to take it back,” the Omaha World Herald reports.

“Kerrey acknowledged that his thought-making process may have been unconventional — he initially said he was out, then said he was in — but he ultimately decided he wanted to be a part of the national debate.”

Said Kerrey: “Doing things the conventional way has never been my strong suit. This afternoon, I will file to become a candidate for the United States Senate in Nebraska. I came to realize that my previous decision was the easy one, not the right one.”

Fed Chairman Says Nation Headed for a Cliff

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress it risked taking the nation over a “massive fiscal cliff” at the end of the year, The Hill reports.

He warned expiring tax cuts and spending cuts set to be triggered at the end of the year could hurt the economic recovery.

Said Bernanke: “All those things are hitting on the same day, basically. It’s quite a big event.”

“This year’s lame-duck session of Congress is expected to be one of the busiest in history given the expiring tax cuts and the spending cuts, which were triggered by the supercommittee’s failure last year to agree to a deficit-cutting plan. Congress will also need to raise the debt ceiling quickly after Election Day.”

Six Years Since Cheney Shot His Friend

“The sixth anniversary earlier this month of Dick Cheney shooting his buddy in the face during a quail hunt went largely unnoticed… except for the ceremonial consumption of a quail snack,” The Daily reports.

Said Harry Whittington: “It was a commemorative hors d’oeuvre.”

“Six years after the incident, Whittington, 84, is still riddled with the bird shot Cheney accidentally hit him with. Some 30 odd pellets are lodged in the lining of his heart, his gums, his hand, his forehead, and the bridge of his nose… But rather than complain, Whittington refers to the lead embedded in his
body as ‘memorabilia,’ and says that he and Cheney remain in touch and
still trade hunting tales.”

No More Talk of a White Knight?

First Read: “The biggest impact of Romney’s narrow victory in Michigan: It silences the talk of a white knight riding to the GOP’s rescue. While such an outcome might not have occurred even if Romney lost — was a Christie/Daniels/Jeb Bush really going to jump in this late in the game? — last night pretty much closed the door on that kind of speculation, even if Romney struggles next week on Super Tuesday (which is entirely possible).”

But Michelle Cottle disagrees, saying “don’t look for the dream to die anytime soon. Mitt Romney’s win wasn’t pretty and will continue to fuel concerns that the GOP electorate, despite its visceral hatred of Obama, won’t be as fired up as it needs to be to kick ass in November.”

Snowe Finally Helpful to Obama

Steve Kornacki notes Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-ME) retirement was a huge gift to Democrats.

“A pickup in Maine would alter the playing field nationally, where Democrats can survive a net loss of three seats and still retain control of the chamber (if Obama is reelected, with Vice President Joe Biden breaking a 50-50 tie). The party is facing potential losses in Virginia, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico and elsewhere, with only two obvious pickup targets (Massachusetts and Nevada) — until now. If there is a second term for the Obama White House, Snowe may end up being a lot more helpful to it than she was in the first term.”

First Read says Snowe’s exit “gives Democrats a better than 50%-50% chance of holding the Senate in November. If Democrats win in Maine and Massachusetts, then they’ve moved the bar to Republicans needing to win five seats (if Obama loses) and six (if he wins). We can see how Republicans get to four (North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, and Missouri). And we can see how they maybe get to five (adding Virginia or Wisconsin or Ohio). But six? That would mean that Republicans would need to win in a New Mexico or a Florida or a Michigan.”

Odds of Deadlocked Convention Increase

Sean Trende: “We’re finally close enough to Super Tuesday to get a sense of how the overall delegate count might work out in the GOP primary. The end result: Assuming that none of the four candidates drops out of the race, it looks increasingly as if no one will be able to claim a majority of the delegates. The candidate with the best chance is Mitt Romney, but he probably wouldn’t be able to wrap up the nomination until May or even June. The other candidates will probably have to hope for a brokered convention.”

Dreier Announces He’ll Retire

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) announced on the House floor that he will not seek re-election, The Hill reports.

Said Dreier: “We all know that this institution has an abysmally low approval rating, and the American people are asking for change in Congress, and so I’m announcing today that I will leave the Congress at the end of this year.”

Los Angeles Times: “Dreier is the sixth California House member to announce his
retirement when his term expires, further shaking up a delegation that
has built up clout on Capitol Hill because of its stability over the
years.”