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The midterms: When losing is winning

In National Journal, Charlie Cook wonders if Democrats losing the House would actually help Obama's 2012 chances. "There are two arguments supporting the notion that the president might benefit from divided government. First, a GOP-controlled House would provide Obama with a foil. Republicans would have some governing responsibility; Democrats wouldn't 'own' Washington and automatically get the blame for everything that does or doesn't happen. A strong case can be made that President Clinton would not have been re-elected in 1996 had Democrats not lost control of Congress in 1994."

"The second contention is that losing control of the House would allow (or force) Obama to take a more centrist approach, to replicate the 'triangulation' that worked well for Clinton in 1995 and 1996. Positioning himself and his administration as less liberal than congressional Democrats and less conservative than congressional Republicans, Clinton became the moderate honest broker in policy, riding that course to victory over Republican Bob Dole." (Many of Obama's critics from the left would argue that he's already taking a centrist approach to governing…) 

Stu Rothenberg's latest column: "I've always said that the party campaign committees usually get too much credit for success and too much blame for failure, so I'm certainly not pointing fingers in this column. But if Republicans fall a handful of seats short of taking over the House in the fall midterms, it could be because of the party's inability to recruit strong candidates in a short list of districts with highly vulnerable Democratic incumbents." He points to NC-8, GA-8, IL-8, and WI-8.

CONNECTICUT: The Norwich Bulletin: "[T]he latest accusation suggesting that [GOP Senate hopeful Linda] McMahon tipped off a suspected steroid-dealing  doctor associated with the organization of a federal investigation is a serious concern. ... [I]t raises a question of character. The McMahon campaign's dismissive response that it's a nonissue because a jury acquitted McMahon's husband and the organization of conspiracy charges falls far short of addressing that more important issue. ... She owes Connecticut residents a better explanation."

FLORIDA: "Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's (R) decision to veto an education bill has cost him the support of his political mentor -- and that may just be the beginning," The Hill writes. "Former Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) quit as chairman of Crist's Senate campaign Thursday, citing the governor's veto in a brief resignation letter. 'As you know, I strongly disagree with your veto,' Mack wrote his fellow Republican, according to the Associated Press. 'Your veto I believe undermines our education system in Florida and the principles for which I have always stood.'"

INDIANA: "All but one candidate for the GOP Senate nomination have blown by a deadline for disclosing their income and financial holdings," the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette reports. "Dan Coats' campaign press secretary, Pete Seat, said an adviser gave Coats wrong information about the deadline and that Coats will request an extension 'soon.'"

MASSACHUSETTS: The Massachusetts GOP convention kicks off today, and there is some nasty politics taking place, including push polls. Republicans, confident about their chances to pick up the governor's seat this fall, are expected to endorse Charles Baker and running mate Richard Tisei. But if Christy Mihos, who is running to Baker's right, gets 15% of the delegates' votes, then he'll qualify for the September primary ballot.

NEVADA: "A judge has ruled that Scott Ashjian can remain on the ballot as a Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate," the Las Vegas Sun reports. "District Judge Todd Russell rejected the legal challenge of the Independent American Party, which argued Ashjian lied on his declaration of candidacy."

"The Tea Party has decided to ignore its own candidate for the U.S. Senate to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid" and endorse Republican candidate Sharron Angle, the Las Vegas Sun reported. "The party bypassed Scott Ashjian, who filed as a Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate, but he said Wednesday he wouldn't be surprised if he didn't get the endorsement because the party has been criticizing him." 

PENNSYLVANIA: "Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, a Democrat facing one of the toughest U.S. re-election bids this year, lagged behind the likely Republican candidate [Rep. Pat Toomey] in fundraising during the first quarter," Bloomberg reports. Specter raised $1.2 million in the first quarter, finishing March with $9.1 million while Toomey raised $2.3 to clock in at $4 million.  
 
The DCCC has a new ad against Republican Tim Burns, who is running for late Rep. John Murtha's seat in PA-12, accusing him of supporting "a 23% national sales tax on nearly everything."  
 
And while Democratic nominee Mark Critz "won the fundraising battle in the first quarter," Critz and Burns finished the fundraising period with almost the same amount of money, The Hill reports.  
 
WISCONSIN: Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) will not run for Senate against Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported yesterday.