Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Political Hot Topics
LONDON PLOT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IRAQ, SAYS BILL: Former President Bill Clinton got in the current President's face yesterday, slamming the Bush administration for linking the London bomb plot and the war on terror to the war in Iraq. "The Republicans should be very careful in trying to play politics with this London airport thing, because they're going to have a hard time with the facts," Clinton said in an interview. "I don't think the foiling of that London bomb plot has any bearing on our Iraq policy," he said. Clinton's broadside, delivered on ABC's "Good Morning America," came as President Bush spent his second day in the wake of the defused British terror plot holding high-profile national security meetings. New York Daily News: Bill burns Bush

"DELIBERATE RACIST EPITHET" OR "WEIRD AD-LIBBED WORD WITH NO MEANING?" Sen. George Allen on Tuesday sought to contain the political damage from remarks he made to a Fairfax County man that dredged up charges of racial insensitivity -- allegations that have dogged him for years as governor, senator and now presidential hopeful. Despite a quick apology Monday, criticism poured in about Allen's use of the word "Macaca" to address a volunteer for the campaign of his Democratic opponent, James Webb, and also about another Allen comment, "Welcome to America." Democrats, left-wing bloggers and civil rights groups called him "insensitive" and "racist," while some conservatives called him "foolish" and "mean." The question was fiercely debated all day: Was "Macaca," which literally means a genus of monkey, a deliberate racist epithet or a weird ad-libbed word with no meaning? Washington Post: Allen on Damage Control After Remarks to Webb Aide

THE NEW, INDEPENDENT, JOEMENTUM: Just one week ago, national Democrats united to try to nudge Senator Joseph I. Lieberman out of his race for re-election after his defeat at the hands of his antiwar rival, Ned Lamont, in the Connecticut Democratic primary. But today Mr. Lieberman appears to be in the race to stay, running as a retooled independent candidate who is taking on both political parties, and Connecticut is already seeing a full-throated re-enactment of the men's blistering primary battle. Far from sulking in defeat, Senator Lieberman has fired most of his senior aides, energized his broad base of donors from his campaigns for president and vice president, produced a new television advertisement explaining his political intentions, and attacked Mr. Lamont over the London terror plot. New York Times: New Lieberman Retooling Race as Independent

LIEBERMAN ALIENATING SOME SENATE DEMS: A group of Senate Democrats is growing increasingly angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-Conn.) campaign tactics since he lost the Democratic primary last week. If he continues to alienate his colleagues, Lieberman could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus should he defeat Democrat Ned Lamont in the general election this November, according to some senior Democratic aides. In recent days, Lieberman has rankled Democrats in the upper chamber by suggesting that those who support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq by a certain date would bolster terrorists' planning attacks against the U.S. and its allies. He also sparked resentment by saying last week on NBC's Today show that the Democratic Party was out of the political mainstream. The Hill: Dem angst escalates

FLOTUS HAS RAISED $10.7 MILLION THIS CYCLE: A Gallup/USA Today poll in June found that 69 percent of Americans had a favorable view of the first lady, much higher than the president's 40 percent favorability rating. So far this election cycle, the first lady has spoken at 24 political events, raising a total of $10.7 million, according to the Republican National Committee. "That is obviously an increase of activity from 2002," said Tracey Schmitt, an RNC spokeswoman. "Because of her broad appeal, she is a significant draw wherever she goes, and she is a critical asset to Republican candidates across the country." Washington Post: First Lady a 'Critical Asset' At Republican Fundraisers

GOP PLANNING $40M FALL AD BLITZ: House Republicans have reserved more than $40 million worth of television advertising time for the fall, most of it aimed at holding seats they control, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. Republican incumbents in the Philadelphia area -- Reps. Jim Gerlach, Curt Weldon and Mike Fitzpatrick -- as well as Connecticut Reps. Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson are slated to get roughly $10 million combined in party advertising. In the Ohio River Valley, Reps. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Geoff Davis of Kentucky and Mike Sodrel of Indiana also are to benefit from advertising by the National Republican Congressional Committee. While most of the airtime reserved so far is meant to help GOP incumbents fend off Democratic challenges, House Republicans also plan to spend millions of dollars to try to unseat several Democrats, including Chet Edwards of Texas, John Spratt of South Carolina and Leonard Boswell of Iowa. The NRCC plans to spend at least $1 million in each of those races to help GOP candidates. AP via Yahoo! News: AP: House Republicans plan $40M ad push

SPENDING MILLIONS, SANTORUM CLOSES IN ON CASEY: It just goes to show what a few million dollars can do. After almost two months of running nonstop TV ads across the state, Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum appears to have made up ground in his race with Democratic opponent Bob Casey Jr. A Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday suggested that Santorum had closed to within 6 points of Casey after trailing by 18 points in June, with the senator gaining among Republicans, Democrats and independents alike. The recent Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll showed a similarly narrowed gap. The Casey camp says Santorum has spent $3.5 million on ads since launching his TV blitz on June 23 from Erie to Pittsburgh to Scranton to Philadelphia, based on its review of public records at TV stations. The Santorum camp says that calculation may be high but won't release the numbers. But the campaigns agree that Santorum has spent several times what Casey has spent. Philadelphia Inquirer: Santorum cuts down Casey's lead

McCAIN TRIES THE PORK CHOP ON A STICK: Sen. John McCain, a potential presidential candidate who bypassed Iowa in campaigning for the Republican nomination in 2000, courted Iowans on Tuesday at the State Fair. The Arizona senator touted the importance of the Iowa caucuses in comments to reporters. McCain made all the requisite stops on a fairgrounds tour that created photo ops with beauties and beasts: the State Fair queen and Miss Iowa Angus, as well as the winners of the big boar and super bull contests. And, of course, McCain ate a pork chop on a stick. "This is a remarkable thing here," he said. While McCain hasn't decided whether to make a bid for the White House in 2008, he made no bones about the need to put the Iowa State Fair on his travel schedule in making his third trip to Iowa as a prospective candidate. Des Moines Register: McCain praises timing, clout of Iowa caucuses

GIBBONS VS. TITUS FOR NV GOV: As of today, it's Gibbons vs. Titus. Despite a bitterly fought campaign on both sides, Republican Jim Gibbons and Democrat Dina Titus emerged victorious from Tuesday's gubernatorial primaries by wide margins. Gibbons, a congressman from Reno, won in a landslide with 48 percent of the Republican vote. State Sen. Bob Beers took 29 percent, while Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt managed just 18 percent. Titus, the state Senate minority leader, buried her better-funded rival with 53 percent of the Democratic vote to Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson's 36 percent. It was the result many would have predicted six months ago. But the outcome appeared far less certain after an intense campaign in which new accusations were lobbed almost daily. Las Vegas Review Journal: Titus, Gibbons overcome tough primary competition

JACK CARTER WILL TAKE ON ENSIGN: Nevada voters picked a former first son to take on an incumbent Republican U.S. senator, set up an intriguing governor's race and delivered a razor-thin victory to a GOP candidate hoping to fill the state's only open U.S. House seat. Democrat Jack Carter, son of former President Carter, on Tuesday easily advanced to a November general election race against incumbent U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. Carter said Ensign has been too cozy with the White House. "You know, he's voted for the Bush administration 96 percent of the time," Carter said. AP via Las Vegas Review Journal: Jimmy Carter's Son Wins Nevada Primary

NJ AG RESIGNS AFTER ETHICS BREACH: Zulima Farber became the first New Jersey attorney general in modern history to resign in scandal, announcing her decision yesterday after a special prosecutor determined she violated state ethics rules by aiding her boyfriend at a traffic stop earlier this year. Gov. Jon Corzine, who pledged a "zero tolerance policy" for ethics infractions in his administration, stood side by side with Farber as they made the announcement at a somber news conference in the governor's Statehouse office last night. Just seven months earlier, the pair stood in the same room as Corzine tapped Farber as the first Hispanic to serve as New Jersey's chief law enforcement official. Corzine praised Farber's service and her decision to step down. Newark Star-Ledger: Farber resigns under fire

STUDEBAKER WITHDRAWS: Democratic candidate Stephanie Studebaker notified Montgomery County officials Tuesday that she was quitting her bid for Ohio's 3rd Congressional District, which covers the Dayton area. Studebaker, 45, had shut down her campaign after she and her husband were arrested for domestic violence over the weekend at their home in a suburban township. A veterinarian and political newcomer, she was challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, a former Dayton mayor. Cleveland Plain Dealer: Candidate Studebaker quits race after arrest

TX REPUBLICANS SCRAMBLE TO FIND A WRITE-IN FOR TX 22: With dwindling hopes of keeping Tom DeLay's longtime House seat from falling to a Democrat in November, Texas Republicans on Tuesday called an urgent meeting for Thursday to exercise their only option: agreeing on a write-in candidate. But that slender prospect -- no such write-in campaign has succeeded in the state -- seemed to suffer a blow when a leading candidate facing party opposition disparaged the meeting, saying "that may have worked in Moscow," and vowed to keep running even if it meant two Republican write-in candidates. "I'm in the race and I'm in it to win," said the candidate, David G. Wallace, the part-time mayor of [Sugarland,] this booming Houston suburb named for its onetime Imperial sugar factory. He said he might be too busy campaigning to attend the meeting. New York Times: DeLay's Seat Up for Grabs, Texas Republicans Will Meet to Weigh Write-Ins

BILL NOT HAPPY ABOUT TURNING 60: The big 6-0 is fast approaching and Bill Clinton says he hates it - man, does he hate it. Once, the nation's 42nd president was the youngest person in the room. Now, he often is the oldest -- and, for Clinton, that's hard to take. The soon-to-be sexagenarian -- he turns 60 on Saturday -- admitted yesterday at the 16th International AIDS conference in Toronto, where he is the featured speaker, that the milestone fills him with fear. Delegates responded by serenading him with "Happy Birthday." "In just a few days, I will be 60 years old. I hate it, but it's true," Clinton grumbled. New York Post: BUBBA'S BLUES OVER THE
BIG 6-OH


SURPRISE DELIVERY FOR JINDALS: When it comes to health care policy, they don't come much wonkier than Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner. But all the statistics, charts and graphs in the world didn't prepare the freshman lawmaker for the words he heard from his wife's mouth early Tuesday morning. "This baby is coming now!" Supriya Jindal yelled. Jindal threw out the instruction book and delivered his baby son at home. Slade Ryan Jindal, the couple's third child, was born Tuesday about 3:25 a.m. on the floor of his parents' bedroom in Kenner. He is healthy and at birth weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces and was 21 inches long. New Orleans Times-Picayune: Jindal is forced to stand in for stork
Posted By Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/16/2006 09:13:00 AM ET | Permalink
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