March, 2015

Bush and Walker Lead in New Hampshire

A new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll in New Hampshire finds Jeb Bush tied with Scott Walker at 15%, with Rand Paul at 13%, Chris Christie at 10%, and Ted Cruz at 9%.

Bush has slipped “not because GOP voters are sick of the Bush family but because conservatives are roundly rejecting him.”

Huffington Post: Republicans to enter a tight primary race in New Hampshire

Pataki Says He’s Likely to Run for President

Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) is likely to run for president, Bloomberg reports.

Said Pataki: “If you care about the country, it’s very hard to sit on the sideline if you believe you have the ability to run a government like this country’s well. At this point, I am strongly inclined to do it.”

He added: “If I were a betting person, I would bet that I’d make the decision to go.”

Sununu Says Obama Is Inciting Birthers

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) said that President Obama is “inciting” birther conspiracy theorists by planning a trip to Kenya this summer, TPM reports.

Said Sununu: “I think his trip back to Kenya is going to create a lot of chatter and commentary amongst some of the hard right, who still don’t see him as having been born in the U.S. I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago.”

Will Democrats Regret Clinton Like GOP Regrets Nixon?

John Fund: “There is another historical example that should prompt Democrats to want to test Hillary and consider the alternatives. The Republican party and many conservatives made a fatal mistake in 1968 when they nominated Richard Nixon despite ample evidence he was a political conniver, had been involved in various financial scandals during his career, and was at best only a ‘sunshine soldier’ when it came to taking up conservative causes…. (But) Convinced that Nixon was the most conservative candidate who could win in 1968, conservatives ranging from Barry Goldwater to Strom Thurmond to William F. Buckley endorsed him. Nixon himself cynically observed of his new conservative allies: ‘They don’t like me, but they tolerate me.'”

“Nixon’s rivals for the 1968 nomination, Nelson Rockefeller on the left and Ronald Reagan on the right, begged conservatives to reconsider. Craig Shirley, a Reagan biographer, wrote that ‘both men shared a deep concern about Nixon; they saw him as a deeply flawed man who had the capacity to wreck the party.'”

Email Controversy Hasn’t Really Moved Polls

Domenico Montanaro: “To be sure, the email controversy has not been good for Clinton. Instead of sitting back, watching Republicans duke it out, working on her presidential launch and trying to tailor her message, she has had to defend her exclusive use private email to conduct business as secretary of state. But for all the attention it’s gotten, not much has changed in the polls — so far…”

“Some of the tightening happening with Clinton’s ratings is to be expected as the campaign gears up. When she ran for president in 2007-2008, her positive-to-negative numbers were about even. When she was seen as non-political, as secretary of state, her ratings ballooned. And now, as she is about to likely embark on another presidential bid — as the far-and-away front runner for the Democratic nomination — she is being viewed more politically, and her numbers are returning to somewhere close to split. … All of this is to say that this far out from an election, it’s important to take a step back and take in all the data. Unquestionably, this email story is far from finished, but, at this point, it doesn’t look like it’s had a major impact on Clinton’s standing.”

Bush Keeps Away from Schiavo Case

“Casting himself as the ‘most conservative governor in Florida’s history,’ Jeb Bush ticks off a record in office that includes tax cuts, vetoes on spending, private-school vouchers and fewer state employees,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“But the likely 2016 presidential candidate rarely, if ever, trumpets one of his most enduring conservative credentials: his yearslong effort to save Terri Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged woman whose husband wanted to remove life support despite her parents’ objections.”

O’Malley Appears Ready to Challenge Clinton

For well over a year, Steve Kornacki notes former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) “has been quietly making the rounds to lay the groundwork for a ’16 campaign. But he’s been haunted by the imposing and unprecedented shadow cast by Clinton, whose poll numbers are stronger than any non-incumbent candidate for either party’s nomination has posted in the modern era. With the political world already treating Clinton as the presumed nominee, O’Malley has faced skepticism about his intentions. Won’t he ultimately stand down rather than wage a hopeless campaign? Or if he does go ahead and run, surely he’ll keep the gloves on, the better to position himself for a more attainable prize like, say, the vice presidency. Right?”

“But it’s now safe to say that’s not what’s going on here. O’Malley is, for all intents and purposes, already running, with a formal announcement probably a few months away. And he’s already made peace with the hard feelings this will engender in Clinton World and is under no illusions that running for the top job will in any way make him more attractive to Clinton as a No. 2.”

First Read: “Well, we found out two things about Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley during his interview on ABC yesterday. One, he looks like he’s running (and could very well be the only Democratic challenger against Hillary Clinton). And two, he now knows how he gets attention and name ID – by attacking Clinton, either explicitly or implicitly.”

Aide to Dead Candidate Found Dead Himself

The St. Louis Dispatch reports that Spence Jackson, who was media director for the late Missouri state auditor Tom Schweich (R), was found dead of an apparent suicide.

“Jackson’s death comes about a month after Schweich’s suicide. Amid the subsequent turmoil in the state’s Republican Party, Jackson emerged as a strong critic of Schweich’s political adversaries, to the point of calling for the resignation of a top party official.”

Cruz Accuses GOP Leaders of Blocking PAC Donations

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that the House Republican leadership “had made it next to impossible for him to get money from Super PACs after he filibustered the Affordable Care Act in 2013 — an action that helped trigger a 16-day government shutdown,” the Washington Post reports.

“Cruz first made the allegation Friday in an interview with the New Hampshire Journal, claiming that he and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) had their money spigot turned off by leadership because blocking access to money is how leadership disciplines members. Cruz did not specify who in the leadership may have cut him off.”

Walker Now Avoiding Reporters

Politico: “Last month, Scott Walker seemed readily available to any reporter who had a question for him. He was basking in the limelight, holding media scrums and granting impromptu interviews. But in the wake of a few controversial, headline-grabbing quotes about evolution and President Obama’s religion, the Wisconsin governor and likely Republican presidential candidate has put brakes on his media availability, reporters who follow him say.”

What It’s Like to Live in the White House

This new book looks interesting: The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower.

Yahoo News: “There is a recurring theme about the lives of presidents and their families in a new book about the things that White House residence staff have seen inside the most exclusive home in America over the past few decades. Those living inside the White House live under such a microscope that during their lowest moments, it has been hard for them to find privacy inside their own home.”

Why Clinton Will Announce Soon

Wall Street Journal: “Some politicians relish the campaign trail: the rope lines, rallies and photo ops. For Mrs. Clinton, it’s more of an ordeal to be borne. One veteran of her past races said that if Mrs. Clinton had her druthers she would delay entering the race as long as possible, perhaps waiting until deep into the summer. Yet if the fallout from stories about her email practices as secretary of state and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation have made anything clear, it’s that Mrs. Clinton can’t afford to wait. If she’s going to run, she needs to start the race. Now.”

“Mrs. Clinton had a rough winter and the absence of a campaign operation made matters worse. She had a bare-bones press operation to deal with an avalanche of media inquiries. Other than through paid speeches, she had scant opportunity to change the subject and focus attention on the issues that she’d prefer to be front and center: jobs, wages, the middle class and equal pay for women. Republicans, meantime, are casting her absence from the campaign as a sign she’s ducking tough questions.”

Paul Bets on Young Republicans

As Sen. Rand Paul “prepares to formally enter the 2016 arena, younger conservatives are emerging as a backbone of his campaign strategy,” National Journal reports.

“In the best-case scenario, Paul accomplishes a primary feat that some on his team see as akin to that of President Obama, who turned out young voters and minorities in record numbers to knock off Hillary Clinton. In the worst-case scenario, other Paul advisers worry that if there is too much youth emphasis, he’ll find himself pigeonholed in a position that would be all too familiar to his father.”