May, 2015

Clinton Ties Herself Closely to Obama

Rick Klein: “Hillary Clinton’s promise to work it hard to win votes one at a time may not ever include classic retail politics featuring open access to ‘everyday’ voters, or freewheeling exchanges with the press. But her event Wednesday in South Carolina showed that she’s serious about the effort to win votes where she needs them. On a day that the national news cycle was elsewhere, this was Clinton trying to get done what she knew she needed to get done. Bringing traces of an old twang, she reminded South Carolina voters of what they knew: That she ran against Barack Obama there and lost.”

“It was a light touch on what could have been a delicate day; the Clinton camp knows that minority voters represent an area of potential vulnerability in the Democratic race. Clinton brought a simple explanation for why she ran against Obama – and accepted his offer to work in his Cabinet: ‘He and I share many of the same positions about what should be done in the next presidency.'”

Santorum Has None of His Key Iowa Staffers

NBC News reports that none of Rick Santorum’s 2012 Iowa staff is currently working for his campaign.

“Two of the three main architects of his successful caucus game plan — Deputy Campaign Manager Jill Latham Ryan and Nick Ryan, who ran the pro-Santorum super PAC — are now working for Mike Huckabee. The other, former Iowa State Director Cody Brown, is running a consulting firm in Austin, Texas.”

Harry Enten: “So why doesn’t Santorum have a chance this time around? Much of his success in 2012 was thanks to a historically weak field.”

Why Nebraska Killing Death Penalty Is a Big Deal

First Read: “Maybe the most significant political story in the country over the past 24 hours didn’t take place in Washington, DC, or on the 2016 campaign trail. Instead, it’s what happened yesterday in Nebraska, which repealed the death penalty in the state after Republican and Democratic lawmakers overrode — barely — the GOP governor’s veto.”

“This is a big deal for three reasons. One, Nebraska becomes the first red state in the country to repeal the death penalty in 40 years (after North Dakota did it in 1973). Two, it comes after at least one national poll (Pew) had found a drop in support of the death penalty. (If you don’t think that public opinion on a social issue can change in a hurry, just look at gay marriage.) And three, it comes in the midst of a bipartisan effort — even among Dem and GOP 2016ers — to overhaul the nation’s criminal-justice system.”

Bush’s Role on Corporate Boards Could Invite Scrutiny

“During his transition from Florida governor to likely presidential candidate, Jeb Bush served on the boards or as an adviser to at least 15 companies and nonprofits, a dizzying array of corporate connections that earned him millions of dollars and occasional headaches. Bush returned to corporate America after leaving the governor’s mansion in early 2007, and his industry portfolio expanded steadily until he began shedding ties late last year to prepare a run for president,” the Miami Herald reports.

“Executives who worked alongside Bush describe him as an engaged adviser with an eye on detail. Yet experts question how anyone could serve so many boards at once effectively.”

Pataki Kicks Off Presidential Campaign

Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) announced he’s running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

New York Times: “Though he will be clearly the closest to the political center among the announced candidates, Mr. Pataki has sought to present himself as an experienced executive tested by crisis: Citing his record of budget cuts in New York, Mr. Pataki has vowed to slash the federal work force… But in recent presidential elections, the party base has gravitated mainly toward candidates with orthodox conservative views, as well as styles more aggressive than Mr. Pataki’s.”

Rubio Moves to Lock Up South Carolina

Politico: “In the six years since launching his Florida Senate campaign, Rubio has become an adopted prince of South Carolina’s political royalty. And not by chance. Rubio, whose national ambitions became apparent even before he was sworn into the Senate, quickly identified South Carolina as the home base for his eventual presidential effort, seeing this early-primary state as a more natural fit—culturally, ideologically, geographically—than either Iowa or New Hampshire. He has acted accordingly in the years since—snatching up the state’s top talent for his political operation, cultivating personal relationships with influential people on the ground, and making repeated trips to keep tabs on his burgeoning circuit of supporters in the state.”

“As a result, Rubio has quietly achieved something in South Carolina that no Republican candidate can claim in Iowa or New Hampshire: an organizational lock on one of the most important states en route to the GOP nomination.”

Quote of the Day

“No one is entitled to the presidency, and no candidate has the right to skip the process of laying out a vision simply because he or she has the deepest connections in Washington or the most money in big-dollar donations.”

— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), writing on his website, taking a shot at Hillary Clinton and probably Jeb Bush as well.

Martin O’Malley Gets a Super PAC

Associates of Martin O’Malley (D) “are launching a super PAC intended to bolster the Democrat’s prospects as he formally announces his long shot presidential bid in Baltimore on Saturday,” the Washington Post reports.

“Money raised by Generation Forward will be used to run an independent campaign on O’Malley’s behalf in early nominating states, its founders said. The political action committee’s name is aimed at sending a specific message: that 52-year-old O’Malley is better suited to represent younger generations than 67-year-old Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.”

Clinton Sees Sanders as Bigger Threat Than O’Malley

Politico: “Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are both expected to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president… But, perhaps counterintuitively, it’s Sanders — six years older than Clinton, a self-defined socialist with no big money apparatus and positions that appeal to the far left of the party — that Democratic strategists and Clinton insiders expect to pose a bigger threat to the former secretary of state than the mainstream O’Malley, who has been trying to build a national constituency by positioning himself slightly to her left.”