April, 2014

Ford Halts Campaign to ‘Get Help’

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford tells the Toronto Sun that he is “ready to take a break” from the mayoral election campaign to “go get help.”

“The decision to immediately step away from the campaign — while staying on the ballot — comes after… a new raunchy audio recording of Ford ranting and swearing [which] captures the mayor being unruly as he’s ordering booze, complaining about his wife Renata and making lewd comments about mayoral contender Karen Stintz.”

If that’s not enough, the Globe and Mail reports a second video of Ford “smoking what has been described as crack-cocaine by a self-professed drug dealer was secretly filmed in his sister’s basement early Saturday morning.”

Gawker has still shots from the new video.

Cruz Hosts Secret Meeting for House Conservatives

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “gathered a group of House conservatives in his office Tuesday night, talking about immigration and House GOP leadership elections slated for after the midterm elections,” Roll Call reports.

“Cruz’s office would not give further details, calling the pow-wow a ‘private meeting.’ And members were reluctant to spill the beans on just who attended the session, or to gab about what was discussed.”

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) described Cruz as a “facilitator” while the group “talked about a variety of different public policy issues.”

GOP Filibusters Minimum Wage Hike

Republican senators blocked taking up a Democrat-led effort to raise the federal minimum wage, Roll Call reports.

“The Senate voted 54-42 to limit debate on taking up the proposal, falling short of the 60 votes needed. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) was the only Republican to break ranks and vote in support of cloture.”

New York Times: “Democrats are staking their hopes of retaining a majority in the Senate on issues like the minimum wage, which they hope will allow them to appeal to voters despite the unpopularity of the president in many states and the bungled rollout of the Affordable Care Act.”

Quote of the Day

“If a policymaker is a political leader and is covered primarily by the political press, there is a craving that borders on addictive to have a storyline,” Clinton said. “And then once people settle on the storyline, there is a craving that borders on blindness to shoehorn every fact, every development, every thing that happens into the story line, even if it’s not the story.”

— Bill Clinton, quoted by the Washington Post.

Dick Morris Predicts Rick Perry Can Win

Dick Morris: “Of the defeated candidates left over from 2012, Santorum is probably too focused on social issues to win. Cain and Bachmann can be dismissed as flashes in the pan and the problems that knocked them out of contention have not gone away. Romney probably won’t get a third chance. Even Nixon only got two. Newt inflicted too many wounds on others and on himself.”

“That leaves Rick Perry. Acceptable to Latinos based on his Texas record. Draws strong Tea Party support without being defined by it. A southerner, he is clearly ready to play on the national stage. A big state governor whose record on jobs has only gotten better. He can’t be dismissed.”

What’s Wrong with Senate Forecasting Models

Josh Kraushaar: “It’s not that the models aren’t effective at what they’re designed to do. It’s that the methodology behind them is flawed. Unlike baseball, where the sample size runs in the thousands of at-bats or innings pitched, these models overemphasize a handful of early polls at the expense of on-the-ground intelligence on candidate quality. As Silver might put it, there’s a lot of noise to the signal.”

“The models also undervalue the big-picture indicators suggesting that 2014 is shaping up to be a wave election for Republicans, the type of environment where even seemingly safe incumbents can become endangered.”

The Upshot gives Republicans a 54% chance of winning control of the Senate.

GOP Presidential Race Wide Open

“The 2016 Republican presidential nominating battle is shaping up as the most wide-open in a generation, with a new Washington Post-ABC News poll showing five prospective candidates within four percentage points of one another at the top and a half-dozen more in the mix.”

“The picture is very different on the Democratic side, where former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton is the clear front-runner. In a hypothetical matchup, Clinton leads former Florida governor Jeb Bush — seen by many GOP establishment figures as the party’s strongest general-election candidate — 53% to 41%.”

Americans Want to Pull Back From World Stage

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that “Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs even as a showdown with Russia over Ukraine preoccupies Washington.”

“In a marked change from past decades, nearly half of those surveyed want the U.S. to be less active on the global stage, with fewer than one-fifth calling for more active engagement–an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines.”

“The poll showed that approval of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy sank to the lowest level of his presidency, with 38% approving, at a time when his overall job performance drew better marks than in recent months.”

Richard Haass:
“American foreign policy is in troubling disarray. The result is
unwelcome news for the world, which largely depends upon the United
States to promote order in the absence of any other country able and
willing to do so. And it is bad for the U.S., which cannot insulate
itself from the world.”