February, 2015

British Green Party Leader Apologizes for ‘Brain Fade’

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 Needs Record Minority Support to Win in 2016

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.”

Walker Moves Into Early Iowa Lead

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.”

Top Obama Adviser Calls Netanyahu Visit Destructive

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.”

Clinton Speeches Sailed Through Ethics Approval

“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.”

Will Boehner Risk Tea Party’s Wrath?

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.”

Schock Lawyers Up

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.”

Fiorina Makes Impression in New Hampshire

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.”

Clinton Will Highlight Gender This Time

The last time Hillary Clinton ran for president, “she seemed torn over whether to emphasize her chance to make history, or to play down her gender and reassure voters that she was tough enough for the job,” the New York Times reports.

“This time there is no question: Mrs. Clinton’s potential to break what she has called ‘the highest and hardest glass ceiling’ is already central to her fledgling 2016 presidential campaign.”

“But rather than the assertive feminism associated with her years as first lady, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign message will be subtler. It will involve frequent references to being a mother and grandmother and to how her family has inspired her to embrace policies that she believes would help middle-class families.”

Lawmaker Says Cancer Is a Fungus

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R) wants to ease health care rules because she has friends who left the country to find end-of-life treatments, Jon Ralston reports.

Said Fiore: “If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing with, say, salt water, sodium cardonate, through that line and flushing out the fungus. These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.”

Villaraigosa Won’t Run for Senate in California

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) told the Los Angeles Times that he would not enter the race for Barbara Boxer’s seat in the U.S. Senate, leaving state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (D) as the only major candidate.

“Villaraigosa’s surprise decision followed weeks of meetings and phone conversations with Democratic luminaries, campaign consultants, fundraisers and potential supporters. Close allies had expected him to run.”