Although we had a poll yesterday showing a much tighter race for Georgia governor, a new Insider Advantage survey finds Gov. Nathan Deal (R) comfortably ahead of challenger Jason Carter (D), 44% to 22%.
“Mayors in New Jersey say they’re starting to consider foul play on behalf of the Christie administration in light of the George Washington Bridge lane closure controversy,” WNYC reports.
Meanwhile, CNN reports the Democratic legislator leading an investigation into Christie’s administration “says he believes laws were broken when the governor’s aides ordered lane closures at the nation’s busiest bridge.”
Dan Balz: “The bridge scandal that has engulfed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has also brought more disruption to the already-muddled early stages of the Republican Party’s search for a 2016 presidential nominee. Republicans appear headed for the most wide-open and unpredictable nomination campaign in decades.”
“Their prospective field of candidates is mostly untested on the national stage, and a number of them spent the past year generating questions about their readiness rather than burnishing their credentials. Christie is just the latest.”
A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll in Georgia finds Gov. Nathan Deal (R) leading Jason Carter (D) in the race for governor by nine points, 47% to 38%.
“On the one hand, I think he’s got a lot to offer. I think he’s the most able politician since Bill Clinton. On the other hand, you look at these other qualities and ask, do you really want that in your president?”
— Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean (R), in an interview with the Washington Post, about Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Gawker: “Three days after the release of dozens of emails and text messages implicating key aides of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a crackpot scheme to deliberately engineer a traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey, a very interesting puzzle remains unsolved. Who, exactly, texted David Wildstein, Christie’s high school classmate and close aide, that he or she was “smiling” about the Fort Lee traffic jam (but also felt bad about schoolchildren affected by it)?”
French President Francois Hollande “is coming under pressure to clarify his personal situation, after Closer magazine reported on his alleged secret affair with the actress Julie Gayet,” the BBC reports.
“The president is making a key policy announcement on Tuesday amid fears it may be overshadowed by the allegations.”
“One French paper said the report was ‘catastrophic’ in every way for him.”
“Republicans are bringing their objections to Obama administration policies to a courtroom near you,” Roll Call reports.
“It doesn’t seem to be a concerted strategy, but rather an outgrowth of the use of executive actions that they oppose. Only controlling the House of Representatives, prospects for legislation to block the regulations are not good.”
“The use of private emails adds Christie, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, to a growing list of administrations that use private email accounts and other digital services to conduct official business. In turn, state and federal officials, regardless of political party, have sidestepped public records laws meant to keep government activities transparent,” the AP reports.
“For a while, Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell were untouchable,” Politico reports.
“The first major Republicans elected after the 2008 Obama landslide, the tough-as-nails Garden Stater and the straight-edged Virginian heralded the conservative resurgence in 2010 and pointed the way toward sweeping victories for small-government candidates on the state level. A year ago, both seemed like plausible and even probable 2016 presidential candidates, two representatives of a fresher GOP, anchored in fiscal discipline, support for states’ rights and opposition to public labor.”
“Now, clouds hang over both the GOP golden boys of 2009.”
We had two very interesting conversations this week which shed light on what Democrats and Republicans need to do to prepare themselves for the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Democratic strategist Joe Trippi on the Democrats:
Former Bush speechwriter David Frum on the Republicans:
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“Three weeks after an ethics panel ruled he misspent thousands in taxpayer funds and violated nearly a dozen state laws, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R) has resigned effective Feb. 1,” the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
“Several Democratic and Republican state legislators have said they would pursue the impeachment process if Darr didn’t step down by the Feb. 10 start of the fiscal session.”
“I don’t know who e-mailed whom, who works for whom. I have been in traffic before and I know how angry I am, and I’m always wondering, who did this.”
– Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by CNN, commenting on the bridge scandal swirling around Gov. Chris Christie (R).
“I pray that no life has been lost or trip of a hospital- or hospice-bound patient delayed.”
— Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, quoted by CNN in newly-released documents, overriding the decision made by aides officials loyal to Chris Christie to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge last September.
Newly-released documents show that officials loyal to Gov. Chris Christie (R) “went to elaborate means to make it appear that the September closing of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., was part of a traffic study, even though their private communications suggest the move was purely political,” the New York Times reports.
“The documents also show a concerted effort to keep their true motivation hidden, including the insistence by one official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in an email that communications about the matter should not be conducted by email or discussed publicly.”
Flashback to December 12, 2013 in the Wall Street Journal:
“Mr. Christie, a Republican, complained in a private phone call to Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, that Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was pressing too hard to get to the bottom of why the number of toll lanes onto the bridge from Fort Lee, N.J. was cut from three to one in early September, according to this person. The lane closures occurred without notice to local authorities, officials have said, and snarled traffic for a week in the small borough on the Hudson River bluffs.”
“Jim Messina, former campaign manager to President Obama, will soon have company at the helm of Priorities USA Action, the big-money super PAC set to support Hillary Clinton should she run for president in 2016,” Ruby Cramer reports.
“Jennifer Granholm, the former two-term governor of Michigan and one of the Democratic Party’s most spirited principals, is well into talks to join Messina as co-chair of the group’s board of directors.”