Stu Rothenberg's latest: "Yes, any president's priority is enacting his agenda, not re-electing some Democratic Congressman from Alabama. But the White House won't help its legislative agenda by its arrogance -- by telling Members that the president can do no wrong and that it's their duty to follow the Obama agenda. That's especially true if following his agenda means they will have to jump off a cliff this year while the president will have two more years, after November, to save himself politically."
ARKANSAS: "The League of Conservation Voters, angered by [Democratic Sen. Blanche] Lincoln's opposition to EPA's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases, announced Thursday the embattled Arkansas senator was one of the first two candidates on its 'Dirty Dozen' list (10 spots are still open)… The other candidate to make the list is former Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who is running for his old seat, now held by Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.)."
Yet another Republican candidate could enter the race for Senator Blanche Lincoln (D)'s seat. "Jim Lindsey, a Northwest Arkansas businessman and former University of Arkansas football player."
CALIFORNIA: "A new PPIC poll (2,001 RVs, 1/12-19, MoE +/- 2%) of the landscape in California shows that former Rep. Tom Campbell's (R) decision to switch from the gubernatorial to the Senate race has changed the dynamic of both races, as he now leads a more crowded Senate field." while former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has jumped to a commanding early lead in her bid for governor," Real Clear Politics writes. Campbell leads the GOP primary matchup with 27% of the vote, leading both Carly Fiorina (16%) and Chuck DeVore (8%). Still undecided, however, are 48% of voters.
The poll also finds that "former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has jumped to a commanding early lead in her bid for governor." She beats Steve Poizner 41-11%, with 44% of voters undecided.
FLORIDA: "When President Obama walked down the steps of Air Force One here today, Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida was waiting on the tarmac to greet him. But on this visit, Mr. Crist did not embrace the president, perhaps in the hopes of avoiding a scene like the one that has haunted him for months in his bid to win the Republican Senate primary. But is a long, lingering handshake any different than a hug?" the New York Times asks. The two leaders shared an embrace last year when Obama appeared in Florida to promote his economic stimulus -- an image promulgated by his Marco Rubio, who is challenging Crist from the right for Florida's open Senate seat. This time, the two shared a handshake -- which lasted 27 seconds.
Awk-ward… "On Thursday, two Senate hopefuls found themselves on the same flight from Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale, and each "tweeted" about it on the microblog Twitter," CNN reports. "On a Southwest flt from Tampa to Ft Lauderdale," Meek, a Democratic congressman, wrote in shorthand. "In seat 12A. Who's in seat 9A? Marco Rubio! Exchanged a few laughs. Keeping an eye on him:)"… "Perhaps as Meek was watching him, Rubio was [also] typing away."
ILLINOIS: The AP previews Tuesday's primary elections in Massachusetts, and what it means to the White House: "If the Massachusetts special election was a kick in the shins for President Barack Obama, the political turmoil in Illinois, his home state, is a pain in the neck that never seems to go away… Going into Tuesday's Illinois primary, the first of the 2010 campaign season, Democrats are in disarray, with no political heavyweights in their lineup for the Senate seat that Obama gave up for the White House. Losing it would be a bigger personal embarrassment for the president than Republican Scott Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts, which took away the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat."
SOUTH CAROLINA: The Charleston Post and Courier on last night's GOP gubernatorial debate: Asked which of the state's two Republican senators more closely mirrored their own political philosophy, gubernatorial hopefuls S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster and 3rd District U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett declined to pick between Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham. But that choice wasn't a problem for the others. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer instantly replied, 'Jim DeMint,' the senator whose conservative track record hasn't ruffled the party's base like Graham's more centrist approach has done. State Rep. Nikki Haley agreed: 'Jim DeMint, hands down. ... Senator Graham should come around at some point.'"
The State's take: "Though he admitted to poor word choice recently for comparing feeding poor children with feeding 'stray animals,' Bauer said Thursday that political correctness was "killing" the state and country and he would continue to speak out. Bauer's earlier comments, that parents on public assistance should be drug tested or their benefits withheld if they are not attentive to their children's schooling have drawn national attention. The media created the controversy, Bauer said. 'Somebody is going to have to step up and tackle the tough questions.'"