January, 2015

Most Americans Want Action on Climate Change

A new New York Times/Stanford University poll finds an overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming.

“In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science of human-caused global warming.”

The Fierce Urgency of Now

Just published: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society by Julian E. Zelizer

“Between November 1963, when he became president, and November 1966, when his party was routed in the midterm elections, Lyndon Johnson spearheaded the most transformative agenda in American political history since the New Deal, one whose ambition and achievement have had no parallel since. In just three years, Johnson drove the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts; the War on Poverty program; Medicare and Medicaid; the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities; Public Broadcasting; immigration liberalization; a raft of consumer and environmental protection acts; and major federal investments in public transportation.”

Romney to Have Dinner with Christie

Mitt Romney, who announced he will not run for president in 2016, is scheduled to have dinner with Gov. Chris Christie “on Friday evening, according to two people with knowledge of his schedule, suggesting that Mr. Romney may be considering throwing his support, and that of his own political operation, to Mr. Christie,” the New York Times reports.

Mitt Romney Will Not Run Again

Hugh Hewitt has the text of remarks Mitt Romney will be making to his supporters shortly:

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

New York Times: “By not pursuing a third White House bid, Mr. Romney frees up scores of donors and operatives who had been awaiting his decision, and creates space for other potential center-right candidates such as Jeb Bush.”

Walker Surges in New National Poll

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Mitt Romney leading the Republican presidential field with 21%, followed by Jeb Bush at 17%, Ben Carson at 15%, Scott Walker at 11%, Ted Cruz at 9%, Mike Huckabee at 9%, Chris Christie at 7%, Rand Paul at 4% and Rick Perry at 2%.

Key takeaway: “The biggest winner has to be Scott Walker. His 11% standing appears to be the first time he’s registered at double digits in a national poll. He’s reached that level of support despite having the lowest name recognition of any candidate we tested, which is a pretty good indication that when voters get to know him they’re coming to like him.”

Mitt Romney Doesn’t Think Much of Jeb Bush

Mark Halperin says Mitt Romney has held “a jaundiced view” of Jeb Bush “dating all the way back to his handling of the Terri Schiavo case, and has come to see Bush as a non-entity in the 2016 nomination contest. Romney is said to see Bush as a small-time businessman whose financial transactions would nonetheless be fodder for the Democrats and as terminally weighed down with voters across the board based on his family name. Romney also doesn’t think much of Bush’s political skills (a view mocked by Bush’s camp, who say Romney is nowhere near Bush’s league as a campaigner). Romney also considers Bush the national Republican figure who was the least helpful to him during his last run for the White House, a position that has darkened Ann Romney’s view of Bush as well.”

Why Romney Has to Decide Now

First Read: “No one knows for sure what Romney will announce, but the hunch coming from Romney World is that the former Massachusetts governor is going to give it another try. But here’s why Romney has to make up his mind now: The ground underneath his feet is already beginning to crumble. Just yesterday, we learned that Romney’s top Iowa strategist in 2008 and 2012 — David Kochel — is set to be Jeb Bush’s campaign manager. We also learned, via the AP, that some of Romney’s past donors are jumping aboard the Jeb Train.”

“And get this: We can tell you that folks whom Romney has invited on this call are already planning to work for Bush. (Remember, a lot of these people have been connected to the Bush World longer than to Romney.) So if Romney is going to do this, he needs to make a clear statement ASAP (and don’t be surprised if it comes in the form of a PAC or other committee). It’s not too dissimilar for what Jeb had to do a couple of months ago: convince skeptical politicos and donors that you’re actually in the race.”

Sources tell the Daily Beast that Romney will announce that he’s running for president again.

GOP Seeks to Block Manchin from Picking Successor

As Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) “considers a 2016 return bid for governor, Republicans hope to block West Virginia’s most prominent Democrat from handpicking his Senate successor for two years,” the AP reports.

“Should he reclaim his old job, Manchin will have served enough of his Senate term that the governor — potentially him in 2017 — could name the next senator through 2018.”

Obama and Romney Still Sparring

Addressing House Democrats at their annual retreat, President Obama referred to one “former presidential candidate” who was “suddenly deeply concerned about poverty,” the Huffington Post reports.

Said Obama: “That’s great. Lets do something about it.”

Mitt Romney fired back on Twitter: “Mr. Obama, wonder why my concern about poverty? The record number of poor in your term, and your record of failure to remedy.”

Decision Time for Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney is expected to tell supporters whether he’ll run for president again in an 11am ET conference call.

Mark Halperin: “Those who have been helping Romney make up his mind say there are three factors in favor of a run, and two factors against. The main rationale on the ‘go’ side is Mitt and Ann Romney’s strongly held conviction that no one in the current field would make a better president… The second factor driving Romney towards another run, say those familiar with his thinking, is a host of emphatically encouraging poll results. There is ample public polling that suggests leads in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, as well as nationally.”

“Nevertheless, the opposite side of the 2016 balance sheet contains some grim realities. The Romney clan is only too aware of the toll a presidential run would take, with physical, emotional, and psychic stresses barreling down directly upon Mitt and Ann and spilling onto family and friends around the country. While to the Romneys the call to service rings loud and true, the prospect is daunting to the entire family.”

Will Democrats Even Hold Debates?

National Journal: “Democrats are facing a growing logistical dilemma as their planning for the next presidential election gets underway: They need to start organizing a process for presidential primary debates, but there aren’t any candidates to invite. And with Hillary Clinton likely to clear the field of serious competition, she may want to avoid debating her opposition altogether.”

“National Democrats have begun the process of planning for primary debates, but they stress that everything is in the very early stages. Top Democratic National Committee aides are in touch with interested TV networks and potential cosponsoring groups to discuss dates and formats, as well as with representatives of all prospective 2016 Democratic candidates.”

Private Polling Shows Romney, Rubio and Carson Ahead

Mitt Romney “also has been briefed on what one Republican source describes as a massive, rolling private polling project recently conducted by a wealthy GOP contributor who shelled out his own money to determine which Republican has the best chance of winning the nomination,” Bloomberg reports.

“The data, collected over an extended period of time in the first twenty states scheduled to hold caucuses and primaries in 2016, shows Romney with a huge lead across the board, and significantly better favorable/unfavorable ratings than the rest of the large potential field. The other prospects who fare well in the research are Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Maryland physician Ben Carson.”