Gawker: “Over the past week, Fox News has aggressively rebutted accusations that its star host Bill O’Reilly lied about his whereabouts during the Falklands War in 1982. But after a new report challenged O’Reilly’s recent claim that he was present at the violent suicide of a Lee Harvey Oswald acquaintance in 1977, the network declined to defend him. Is Fox blinking?”
Archives for February 2015
“The prime minister was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush. We all know what happened with that decision.”
— Secretary of State John Kerry, quoted by TPM, on Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of a hypothetical deal with Iran as a threat to Israel.
A new Public Policy Polling national poll finds Hillary Clinton leading all of her potential Republican candidates by between 7 and 10 points.
“What’s really striking about Clinton’s numbers against the Republicans is how steady they are no matter who she’s pitted against. Clinton is between 47-50% against all 9 of the GOP hopefuls, and each of the GOP hopefuls is polling at either 40 or 41%.”
New York Times: “For President Obama, this has been a week to guard his power. He went to court to defend his executive action on immigration while fighting an effort by lawmakers to reverse it. And he vetoed legislation that would have stripped him of his authority to decide the fate of the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline. Yet this is also a week when Mr. Obama is seeking to circumscribe his own power as lawmakers take up his request for retroactive endorsement of his war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.”
“The disconnect between muscular assertion of power one minute and voluntary sacrifice of it the next is mirrored on the other side of the political spectrum. Republicans have accused Mr. Obama of presiding over a new imperial presidency by exercising his executive powers on immigration, health care and other matters. At the same time, they have complained bitterly that he wants to limit his power when it comes to making war against the nation’s enemies.”
“In another salvo against the federal Affordable Care Act, some Republicans in West Virginia’s House of Delegates want to make it a crime for state and federal officials to enforce the health-care law,” the Charleston Gazette reports.
Alex Theodoridis reports on a poll that found 54% of Republicans said that “Muslim” best described what President Obama “believes deep down.” Thirty percent of Republicans answered the way Gov. Scott Walker did, by selecting “I don’t know.” Only 9% selected “Christian” to describe what Obama likely believes.
Interestingly, only 45% of Democrats chose “Christian,” while 17% said “spiritual,” 10% said “Muslim,” and 26% said they didn’t know.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told the Washington Post that he is “waiting for the Senate to act” to fund the Department of Homeland Security, declining to say whether he will embrace a plan put forth Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Said Boehner: “Until the Senate does something, we’re in a wait-and-see mode.”
“Rainmaking is not a federal crime.”
— Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s (D) defense team, quoted by the New York Observer.
Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has told associates that he is open to underwriting an effort to stopping Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in the 2016 GOP presidential race should he gain traction in the primaries, the New York Times reports.
U.K. Green party leader Natalie Bennett conceded she had given an “excruciating” radio interview and attributed her poor performance to a “mind blank” and “mental brain fade” as she launched the party’s election campaign, the Guardian reports.
Bennett later apologized to Green party members: “I had a very bad interview on housing this morning. I’m very happy to confess that and I’m very sorry to Green party members that I didn’t do a good job at representing our policies. That happens, I’m human. One can have a mental brain fade on these things.”
GOP pollster Whit Ayres told the Huffington Post that Republicans “will have to attract a record percentage of minorities to win the presidency in 2016.”
Said Ayres: “That’s the stunning part for me in running these numbers — to realize that the last Republican to win a presidential election, who reached out very aggressively to minorities, and did better than any Republican nominee before or since among minorities, still didn’t achieve enough of both of those groups in order to put together a winning percentage for 2016.”
A new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa finds Gov. Scott Walker leads the 2016 Republican presidential pack with 25%, twice as high as his nearest rival.
There is a horse race for second place, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) at 13%, Ben Carson at 11%, Mike Huckabee at 11% and Jeb Bush at 10%. No other candidate is above 5% and 9% are undecided.
Key finding: “Tea Party supporters make up 32% of likely caucus-goers and Walker gets 33% of that Tea Party vote.”
National Security Adviser Susan Rice “sharply criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Tuesday over his plans to address a joint meeting of Congress next week, saying his actions had hurt his nation’s relationship with the United States,” the New York Times reports.
Rice said that Netanyahu’s decision to travel to Washington to deliver the speech two weeks before the Israeli elections has “injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.”
“In hundreds of documents released to Politico under the Freedom of Information Act, not a single case appears where the State Department explicitly rejected a Bill Clinton speech. Instead, the records show State Department lawyers acted on sparse information about business proposals and speech requests and were under the gun to approve the proposals promptly. The ethics agreement did not require that Clinton provide the estimated income from his private arrangements, making it difficult for ethics officials to tell whether his services were properly valued.”
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “is back in a familiar spot: between a rock and a hard place,” The Hill reports.
“The Senate appears poised to send the House a ‘clean’ bill funding the Department of Homeland Security, free of any measures attacking President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. But it’s not clear the plan could win the support of even a majority of Boehner’s conference.”
“Bringing legislation to the floor that would only pass with help from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Democrats could significantly undermine the Speaker’s credibility with his 245-member caucus — the largest majority the GOP has had in generations.”
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) “has hired two prominent Washington defense attorneys and a public relations firm to respond to the swirling controversy and a potential ethics probe over how he has financed his lavish lifestyle,” Politico reports.
“The move by the embattled Illinois Republican comes amid continuing questions about his use of campaign and office accounts to pay for pricey travel and accommodations.”
RealClearPolitics says a “less familiar potential 2016 presidential candidate is quietly garnering interest attention from the tightknit community of GOP power brokers.”
“Recent conversations with plugged-in Republicans across the state reveal a consensus that Carly Fiorina — the former Hewlett-Packard CEO — is positioning herself well as a potential dark horse White House contender capable of making a serious run.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel “is headed to a politically risky runoff election in April after conceding he won’t reach the 50 percent benchmark he needs on Tuesday night,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
Said Emanuel: “We have come a long way and we have a little further to go.”