Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Political Hot Topics
BUSH SAYS HEZBOLLAH "WAS DEFEATED": President Bush asserted yesterday that Hezbollah was defeated in its month-long conflict with Israel, casting the fighting that killed hundreds of Lebanese and Israeli civilians as part of a wider struggle "between freedom and terrorism." As a U.N.-imposed truce seemed to be holding yesterday, Bush made clear that he blames Hezbollah and its patrons, Iran and Syria, for igniting the conflict. "We recognize that the responsibility for this lies with Hezbollah," Bush said. "Responsibility lies also with Hezbollah's state sponsors, Iran and Syria." Washington Post: Hezbollah the Loser In Battle, Bush Says

"FIRST MAJOR CRACK IN IRAQ'S FRAGILE UNITY GOVERNMENT": The speaker of Parliament said Monday that he was considering stepping down because of bitter enmity from Kurdish and Shiite political blocs, revealing the first major crack in Iraq's fragile unity government since it was formed nearly three months ago. The speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, is the third-ranking official in Iraq and a conservative Sunni Arab. Shiite and Kurdish legislators have banded together to try to push him out, mainly because he is considered too radical. Since taking office in late May, Mr. Mashhadani has publicly praised the Sunni insurgency, called the Americans "butchers" and denounced the idea of carving up Iraq into autonomous regions, which the Kurds and some Shiites support. New York Times: Speaker of Iraqi Parliament May Step Down

BALANCING '06 AND '08: [George] Allen, a Virginia Republican, and [Hillary] Clinton, a New York Democrat, almost polar opposites politically, face the same challenge. They're asking voters for second terms in the Senate this November - terms their most ardent supporters hope they never complete. "She's a very good senator, but she's headed for better things," Mary Houston, a client of LeFrak's Elmcor Senior Center, says of Clinton. Allen's Virginia fans feel the same. "I hope he runs for the White House," says Claude Perkins, a millwright at a plant near Richmond. Both Allen and Clinton are playing down their presidential potential. "I have said all along I am focused on re-election," says Allen, a sentiment Clinton finds herself frequently echoing. At a fundraiser for New York Rep. Charles Rangel, she just smiled when Democratic state Senate leader David Paterson jokingly called her "Madam President - er, Madam Senator." USA Today: Candidates balance political ambitions

ANTI-HILLARY AD SHOWS "CLINTON AND BIN LADEN IN SIMILAR POSES": Sen. Hillary Clinton is being twinned with terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden in a new TV attack ad that claims she is "playing politics" with national security. GOP candidate and former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer is unleashing the provocative ad - it includes juxtaposed slides showing Clinton and Bin Laden in similar poses - to boost his long-shot effort aimed at stopping the former First Lady from winning a second term in the Senate. The ad bashes Clinton for opposing the Bush administration-authorized wiretapping by the National Security Agency, calling that controversial program "vital" in derailing plots aimed at downing passenger flights from the United Kingdom to this nation. "She'd leave us vulnerable," intones the commercial's unseen female announcer, suggesting the anti-terror measures Clinton has criticized "helped stop another 9/11." New York Daily News: GOP ad is heavily Laden with charges against Hil

VIDEO (via Spencer campaign blog)

ALLEN CALLED OUT FOR "MACACA" COMMENT: Democrat James Webb's Senate campaign accused Sen. George Allen of making demeaning comments Friday to a 20-year-old Webb volunteer of Indian descent. S.R. Sidarth, a senior at the University of Virginia, had been trailing Allen with a video camera to document his travels and speeches for the Webb campaign. During a campaign speech Friday in Breaks, near the Kentucky border, Allen singled out Sidarth and called him a word that sounded like "Macaca." "This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great. We're going to places all over Virginia, and he's having it on film and it's great to have you here and you show it to your opponent because he's never been there and probably will never come." Roanoke Times: Webb campaign says Allen used slur

VIDEO (via YouTube)

ALLEN APOLOGIZES: Virginia Sen. George Allen (R) apologized Monday for what his opponent's campaign said were demeaning and insensitive comments the senator made to a 20-year-old volunteer of Indian descent... Depending on how it is spelled, the word macaca could mean either a monkey that inhabits the Eastern Hemisphere or a town in South Africa. In some European cultures, macaca is also considered a racial slur against African immigrants, according to several Web sites that track ethnic slurs. "The kid has a name," Webb communications director Kristian Denny Todd said of Sidarth, a Virginia native who was born in Fairfax County. "This is trying to demean him, to minimize him as a person." Washington Post: Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology

ZOGBY SHOWS WHAT AMERICA REALLY KNOWS: Sleepy, Grumpy, Larry, Moe, Krypton -- that's what seems to stick in the national mind-set these days. Americans are more familiar with the Seven Dwarfs, the Three Stooges and Superman than with current events and world leaders, according to yet another poll that reveals our trite side. In a survey released yesterday, veteran political pollster John Zogby determined that although 77 percent of us can identify two of the Seven Dwarfs, only 24 percent could name two Supreme Court justices... Meanwhile, a tidy 74 percent were able to name Moe, Larry and Curly as the Stooges in question -- with almost an equal number able to name later members of the slapstick team. But alas, the majority of respondents were unable to name another high-profile group of three: only 42 percent knew that the legislative, executive and judicial branches made up the federal government. Washington Times: Superman tops Supremes

REID PAYS $1600 INTEREST ON 7-YEAR-OLD $3K DONATION: A seven-year-old political donation has proven costly for the Senate's most senior Democrat. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., last year refunded a $3,000 check he got in 1999 from a Texas friend, Ben Barnes, after a public interest group revealed it was improper. Now he's paid Barnes more than $1,600 in interest, according to recent filings with the Secretary of the Senate. The filings were disclosed Monday by PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks campaign spending. Barnes, a lobbyist and former Texas lieutenant governor, made the donation in question to a legal defense fund Reid had established to cover costs of his 1998 Senate race recount, which he won by 428 votes over Republican John Ensign. AP via Yahoo! News: Reid pays interest on improper donation

ROTHENBERG: DEMS "EXPECTED TO GAIN BETWEEN 5-7 GOVERNORSHIPS": Republicans currently hold a 28-22 advantage in governorships nationwide. Currently, Democrats are expected to gain between 5-7 governorships. Ratings updated August 15, 2006.

  • LIKELY TAKEOVER (2 R, 0 D)

    NY Open (R-Pataki)
    OH Open (R-Taft)

  • LEAN TAKEOVER (3 R, 0 D)

    Ehrlich (R-MD)
    AR Open (R-Huckabee)
    MA Open (R-Romney)

  • TOSS-UP (2 R, 3 D)

    Murkowski (R-AK)
    CO Open (R-Owens)
    Doyle (D-WI)
    Granholm (D-MI)
    IA Open (D-Vilsack)

    2006 Rothenberg Political Report Governors Ratings

    SNOW WON'T BITE ON CT SEN QUESTIONS: President Bush isn't exactly eager to lend his support to the Republican nominee in Connecticut's tumultuous Senate race. The White House was circumspect on Monday when asked whether Bush would support Republican Alan Schlesinger in the three-way fall contest that includes Democratic nominee Ned Lamont and three-term incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman. "The president supports the democratic process in the state of Connecticut and wishes them a successful election in November," White House spokesman Tony Snow said. Bush routinely backs Republican candidates in races all across the country... Snow was asked whether Bush was balking at supporting Schlesinger because he liked Lieberman - or wanted to stay out of the contest because Schlesinger was trailing badly in the polls. "There may be a whole host of reasons the president - I'm just not going to play," Snow replied. AP via Yahoo! News: White House vague on Conn. Senate race

    FLOTUS RAISES $225K FOR IL REPUBLICAN: Seizing on the issues of homeland security and the threat of terrorism, First Lady Laura Bush said Monday that Republican Peter Roskam would serve in Congress as a "champion" of the military if he defeats his Democratic rival, disabled Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth. Appearing at a fundraising luncheon in Addison that raised about $225,000 for Roskam's candidacy in the west suburban 6th Congressional District, Laura Bush also recited a litany of the GOP candidate's accomplishments in serving in the Illinois Senate... The first lady's visit was the latest symbol of the high-stakes fight over the traditionally Republican seat as Democrats try to use the president's low standing in public opinion polls to gain control of the U.S. House. Chicago Tribune: First lady helps Roskam at $225,000 fundraiser

    BIG DIG WOES KNOCK MA GOV'S DEM PRIMARY OUT OF THE NEWS: Since July 10, the day the Big Dig tunnel ceiling collapsed, the Democratic race for governor has not cracked the first eight minutes of the major Boston television newscasts. Now, with the primary five weeks from today, the Democratic race is limping into a critical final stage, pushed to the edges of the public's interest. For candidate Deval Patrick, the diversion has been a blessing. Several polls, including those taken by his rivals, show he has maintained a slim lead or is tied with his two Democratic rivals, even as he has been outspent this summer. Patrick has held the lead in most public polls since winning the Democratic Convention endorsement in early June. His two primary election opponents -- Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly and Christopher Gabrieli, a wealthy businessman -- have spent almost $4 million over the past four weeks in hope of improving their standings. Boston Globe: Yes, there is a Democratic primary

    NEY MAKES IT OFFICIAL: U.S. Rep. Bob Ney on Monday made official his decision not to seek re-election, ensuring a special primary to pick a new Republican nominee for Ohio's 18th Congressional District. By putting his decision in writing to the Tuscawaras County Board of Elections before Saturday, Ney ensured that any Ohio Republican who can get 50 qualifying signatures may run in the primary. Had Ney waited until next weekend, it would have been too late under state law to schedule the primary. That would have meant that Republican officials got to pick his successor for the November ballot, a move certain to be criticized as undemocratic. Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ney officially bows out; decision ensures special primary

    OH DEM SUSPENDS CAMPAIGN AFTER ARREST: The Democratic candidate for Ohio's Third Congressional District said she is suspending her campaign for Congress. Stephanie Studebaker said, "Due to personal issues, The Studebaker For Congress campaign is suspending all campaign activities. We will inform our supporters and the media of any future developments, but request the privacy of our campaign be respected during this time." The statement was issued after a pair of 911 calls were made by Studebaker and her father-in-law on Sunday morning, alleging domestic violence between Studebaker and her husband, Samuel, at their home in Washington Township. Deputies arrested both Stephanie and Samuel Studebaker, who later posted $25,000 bonds each and were released. WHIOTV: Congressional Candidate Suspends Campaign

    BUSH AIDE TAPPED TO RUN IN IA: The Iowa GOP looked to the White House on Monday night in picking a replacement candidate for Iowa secretary of state after their previous one dropped out last month. Iowa Republicans named Mary Ann Hanusa, 43, as their candidate. Hanusa lives in suburban Washington, D.C., and handles President Bush's personal correspondence. Hanusa, a native of Council Bluffs, will face Democrat Michael Mauro, the Polk County auditor, in the election Nov. 7. The winner will replace Chet Culver, who is the Democratic candidate for governor. Hanusa is registered to vote in Iowa. Des Moines Register: Bush aide is GOP's secretary of state candidate
  • Posted By Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/15/2006 09:18:00 AM ET | Permalink
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