From the political dictionary: Dorothy Dixer
Politico says Newt Gingrich was asked today if he was concerned about polls that find people continue to think President Obama is a Muslim.
Said Gingrich: “Why does the president behave the way that people would think that? You have to ask why would they believe that? It’s not because they’re stupid. It’s because they watch the kind of things I just described to you.”
President Obama’s top political advisers “have held serious discussions with leading Democrats about the upsides and downsides of coming out for gay marriage before the fall election,” Greg Sargent reports.
“This does not mean that it will happen, and there are plenty of reasons to assume it won’t. Indeed, it would be political malpractice if Obama’s top advisers didn’t discuss every permutation and possibility, no matter how far fetched. However, the fact that it has been discussed seriously at high levels means it’s not out of the question. Those advisers are convinced that Obama will make this call based on his gut, and ultimately without regard to the fine-grained political analysis of the situation, the source says.”
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) faces an ethics investigation in the midst of her bid for U.S. Senate this year, as she hopes to knock off incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), National Journal reports.
It is not clear what the subject of the probe is but Politico hints it’s “over allegations that she used her official position to aid her husband’s business.”
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) was the only Republican congressman at an Equal Rights Amendment rally yesterday and he advised a crowd of mostly women to give their money to Democrats, the Huffington Post reports.
Said Hanna: “I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault. I’ll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side — my side — has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can’t succeed without your help.”
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Michael Hirsch: “It would be a cruel irony indeed for Mitt Romney, whose father’s political career was ended with one indelible word — ‘brainwashed’ — if the son suffered the same fate at the hands of one of his most loyal aides, Eric Fehrnstrom. But if the Obama campaign were smart, right now it would be using some of its millions of dollars to hire the best former Saturday Night Live writers out there, all in an effort to keep the country laughing at the image of Mitt Romney as ‘the Etch A Sketch candidate.'”
Capitol Hill sources tell Howey Politics Indiana that Club for Growth is planning to spend $1.8 million on behalf of Richard Mourdock (R) in his GOP primary challenge to Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN).
A new Pew Research poll looks at “quick, off-the-cuff public impressions” of the GOP presidential candidates.
For Mitt Romney, the overall number of people citing money or wealth has soared since late last year, with mentions of his religion way down. His top five in the new poll are “no,” “rich,” “good,” “Mormon” and “moderate.”
The top five for Rick Santorum: “conservative,” “no,” “good,” “OK,” and “crazy.”
For Newt Gingrich: “old,” “no,” “idiot,” “untrustworthy” and “dislike.”
Coming soon: We Can All Do Better by former Sen. Bill Bradley.
“There is a keen awareness in the party, particularly among fund raisers and elected officials, that Santorum is playing to hurt Romney so that Romney loses. Santorum sees himself as the nominee in 2016, and he’s playing a 2016 game. You wouldn’t continue to rip at Romney and tear at Romney and try to damage Romney if you were playing the normal, second-place game. The normal second-place approach is to rally around the nominee and become part of the leadership of the party.”
— Romney fundraiser Wayne Berman, quoted by Mike Allen.
First Read: “Two years ago today, surrounded by legislators and cameras, President Obama signed the health care act into law. Today, there won’t be a commemoration but the real action is NEXT week. The fate of the president’s signature legislation will be in the hands of the Supreme Court, which begins oral arguments in the case Monday. The country remains split to slightly more unfavorable on the law, and how the Supreme Court will decide is anybody’s guess.”
“But it’s clear whatever the court decides in June could have a big impact on the presidential race. There are a lot of different ways to slice it and speculate what the various potential outcomes could mean, but no one’s EXACTLY sure how it will all play out. Certainly, if the mandate is struck down, that will be a major black mark for the president. Anything other than it being upheld is bad for the president. It’s simple: The court upholds it, it’s good for the president. If it doesn’t, it’s bad for him.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who just lost his primary for re-election, is heading back to Washington state next month, “stoking speculation he might be considering a comeback bid on the West Coast,” Roll Call reports.
The White House plans to nominate Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank.
Associated Press: “Obama took a strong personal interest in filling the World Bank vacancy after current president Robert Zoellick announced in February he was stepping down. Obama and his advisers considered more than a dozen candidates, including well-known figures in the administration. But in the end, officials said, Obama pushed for a nominee with broad development experience and was particularly drawn to Kim’s innovative work fighting the spread of AIDS and tuberculosis.”
The New York Times notes that “in the world after Sarah Palin and Game Change, the chances of Mitt Romney or anyone else choosing a first-term governor lacking a national brand name and experience are greatly diminished.”
“And the fallout from the McCain campaign’s selection of Ms. Palin for the No. 2 place on the ticket will extend well beyond the chances of any individual. For any Republican who makes it onto the short list of possible vice presidential nominees, the vetting process this year promises to be as thorough and intrusive as the vetting of Ms. Palin was rushed and incomplete.”
“If presidential campaigns are M.R.I.’s for the soul, as David Axelrod, President Obama’s political strategist, likes to say, vice presidential vetting this year will be a body-cavity search.”
“I want to believe this latest Edwards monkey business isn’t true — not because I harbor a shred of fondness or respect for him, but because I find it unnerving that a man this reckless, this self-indulgent, this irretrievably stupid came within a thousand miles of occupying the White House.”
“Imagine if Ohio had gone blue in 2004. If being a failed VP candidate turned Edwards into a narcissistic fool, what would winning have done to him?”
Howard Kurtz: “At the cable news networks, including CNN, the only one to provide continuous primary coverage on Tuesday, the word is out that the presidential campaign is sending the ratings south. Television, in short, has pretty much decided the race is over, Mitt Romney has won, the thing is boring everyone to death, and it’s time, at least for now, to move on. The campaign is occupying less front-page real estate in the major papers as well.”
Vice President Joe Biden is poised to attack the Republican presidential candidates over entitlement programs through a speech in Florida, CNN reports.
Biden will say, “Make no mistake, if Republicans in Congress and their amen corner of Romney, Santorum and Gingrich get their hands on the White House, they will end Medicare as we know it.”