Clockwise from upper left: Chuck Norris and Mike Huckabee (who are behind Bob Vanderplaats in Iowa), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Demon Sheep, Nikki Haley (R-SC), Jerry Brown (D-CA), Bill Halter (D-AR), Sharron Angle (R-NV), Meg Whitman (R-CA), Carly Fiorina (R-CA), Harry Reid (D-NV)
Our five storylines to watch in tomorrow’s Super Duper Tuesday contests: 1) Will Blanche Lincoln lose her run-off and continue the anti-incumbent narrative?... 2) Is Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle going to win in Nevada -- and create a path for a Harry Reid victory?... 3) Has South Carolina cemented its reputation as the “stink hole” of GOP politics?... 4) Are the ex-CEOs going to win in California? … 5) And are the ex-governors going to win in California and Iowa?... Obama heads to Michigan to deliver high school commencement… Before that, Obama and his cabinet discuss the oil spill in the Gulf… Has Jim Greer become the Rod Blagojevich of Florida politics?… And taking note of Mike Huckabee’s gubernatorial endorsements.
From NBC's Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg *** Super Duper Tuesday: Unlike the May 18 contests that told us something about the national environment -- anti-incumbency (Specter’s loss), the backlash at the establishment (Paul’s victory over Grayson), and the reminder that good candidates and campaigns can win in a tough political environment (PA-12) -- Tuesday’s primaries don’t really offer broad themes. But they will fill important holes in the midterm puzzle. In California, we’ll get the GOP nominees to face Sen. Barbara Boxer and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jerry Brown. In Nevada, we’ll find out who will face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the fall. And in South Carolina, we’ll see which Republican gubernatorial candidates advance to the June 22 run-off, which takes place if none of the four contenders gets over 50%. There will be other primaries in Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Virginia. And there are five storylines we’re watching…
*** Will the anti-incumbent story continue? The most newsworthy contest tomorrow -- at least in the short term -- is the Blanche Lincoln-vs.-Bill Halter run-off in Arkansas. If Lincoln goes down, and all the signs are pointing in that direction, then she would become the fifth incumbent to lose so far in this election cycle, joining Utah Sen. Bob Bennett (R), West Virginia Rep. Alan Mollohan (D), Pennsylvania Sen. Specter (D), and Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith (R). (If you include all D.C. candidates this cycle, like Kay Bailey Hutchison and Artur Davis, she’d be the seventh Washington politician to go down to defeat. And if Nevada GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons loses his primary tomorrow, as expected, he’ll be the first incumbent governor to go down this cycle.) By the way, it's been 30 years since we've seen three incumbent senators lose before general elections.
*** Is Harry Reid catching a break? A new Las Vegas Review-Journal/Mason-Dixon poll shows Sharron Angle leading the GOP field for the right to take on Harry Reid in the fall. Angle -- backed by the Tea Party Express and the Club for Growth -- is at 32%, Danny Tarkanian is at 24%, and one-time front-runner Sue Lowden is at 23%. An Angle win tomorrow would further the Tea Party political narrative, and it would represent a major break for Reid. Why? Because as the Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy observes, there’s a very good chance the country is going to get to know her the same way it got to meet Rand Paul. Jill Lawrence on Angle’s positions and controversies: "Eliminate EPA and the Energy Department amid a disastrous oil spill? Privatize Social Security right after the plunging stock market decimated 401(K) plans for millions? Lobby to bring nuclear fuel to a state that has fought tooth and nail against the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository?" Keep an eye on a POTENTIAL pattern regarding the Tea Party: more success in small states (KY and NV); harder to break through the casual GOP electorates in bigger states (see IL SEN, for instance).
*** Is South Carolina cementing its reputation as the “stink hole” of GOP politics? South Carolina's reputation for no-holds barred political combat was cemented after George W. Bush finished off John McCain in that brutal 2000 presidential primary contest. But this year's GOP primary for governor to replace the now-infamous philanderer, Mark Sanford, is taking nasty to a whole other level. State Rep. Nikki Haley -- the first Indian-American woman to hold office in the state – is now the front-runner in this four-person contest, despite accusations by two GOP operatives (none of which have been proven) that she committed adultery with him. What’s more, another GOP official referred to her (and to President Obama) as a “raghead.” As political analyst Stu Rothenberg told NBC: “South Carolina has become the stink hole of Republican politics in this country.”
*** The rise of the ex-CEOs? Here’s a fourth storyline we’re watching: Are California Republicans going to nominate two ex-CEOs for the top two spots on the ballot this year? It sure looks like it. Ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman is the favorite tomorrow to capture the gubernatorial nomination, while ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is the front-runner to challenge Sen. Barbara Boxer. The Whitman-Fiorina combo would be a delicious story for news organizations this fall. Yet beyond their hefty bank accounts, has either woman actually shown enough political promise and savvy to win in blue California? By the way, don't assume Whitman and Fiorina are natural allies; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Whitman drove Tom Campbell out of the CA GOV primary in order to run for the Senate to stop Fiorina. The Whitman folks are worried about the "dual CEO" storyline -- big time, especially since Whitman's e-Bay track record is a good one, while Fiorina's HP days are, well, not as stellar.
*** Back to the Future? Finally, it appears that we’re going to see two more ex-governors win tomorrow -- Jerry Brown (D) in California and Terry Branstad (R) in Iowa. Ex-Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) already won his Dem primary last month, and Bob Ehrlich (R) in Maryland and Roy Barnes (D) in Georgia are also running in primaries…
*** School’s out … for Summer: At 7:00 pm ET in Michigan, President Obama will deliver the commencement address to the Kalamazoo Central High School Class of 2010, which won the administration’s Top High School Commencement Challenge. He'll then sit down with NBC's Matt Lauer for an exclusive interview, set to air on “TODAY” Tuesday.
*** The spill and Capitol Hill: Before then, at 11:00 am ET, Obama meets with his Cabinet to discuss the response to the oil spill in the Gulf and will receive a briefing from Thad Allen (a pool spray takes place at the end of the meeting). Yet with Congress returning from its Memorial Day recess, the real political action on the spill might come from the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue. Does the energy legislation have new life? Also, keep an eye on a real split in the Democratic caucus over the temporary offshore drilling moratorium. Jobs vs. environment? Does that become the debate?
*** The Rod Blagojevich of Florida politics? Turning back to the midterms, the Jim Greer story in Florida is potentially bad news for Charlie Crist -- just as the governor was thrust into the spotlight with the oil spill (in fact, he’s appeared more with Obama in the past two weeks than Kendrick Meek has). Indeed, Greer could very well be the Rod Blagojevich of Florida politics. Check out this Miami Herald story: “Gov. Charlie Crist personally signed off on his former Republican Party chairman's confidential fundraising role with the state party, according to Jim Greer's attorney, whose allegation contradicts the governor's statement that he "didn't know anything" about the deal now part of a criminal investigation.” Of course, it's Greer's word vs. Crist's, and while the guy seems to have the credibility of a Blagojevich, it doesn't mean there won't be a lot of collateral damage.
*** Huckabee's long shots: While much has been made of the GOP candidates Sarah Palin has endorsed -- and the DCCC is today highlighting those candidates -- it’s worth pointing out that Mike Huckabee has made some endorsements too in gubernatorial contests in two HUGE presidential states. But they are long shots: Andre Bauer in South Carolina and Bob Vander Plaats in Iowa. By the way, Chuck Norris stumped for Vander Plaats on Saturday…
*** More midterm news: In Kansas, “Rep. Jerry Moran is airing his first spot that hits back directly against negative ads from his opponent in the Republican Senate primary, fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt," Politico writes… And in Kentucky, the Sunday New York Times profiled the Pauls -- the “First Family of Libertarianism.”
Countdown to CA, IA, ME, NV, ND, SC, SD, and VA primaries, and AR run-off: 1 day Countdown to Election Day 2010: 148 days
President Obama and his allies, concerned about deep skepticism over his landmark health care overhaul, are orchestrating an elaborate campaign to sell the public on the law, including a new tax-exempt group that will spend millions of dollars on advertising to beat back attacks on the measure and Democrats who voted for it,” the New York Times reports. “Americans will see the first evidence of the public relations offensive on Tuesday, when Mr. Obama travels to Wheaton, Md., to conduct a nationally televised question-and-answer session with older citizens to trumpet one of the law’s most popular features: $250 rebate checks to help Medicare beneficiaries pay for prescription drugs.”
The Wall Street Journal: “A fresh fight between insurance companies and the Obama administration is taking shape, this time over how much seniors should pay for their privately run Medicare plans next year. On Monday, insurers that sell Medicare Advantage plans must submit their 2011 bids to the government. In a letter to four insurance-industry executives, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned the companies not to increase premiums and co-payments for seniors.”
The New York Times on the latest in the Gulf: "The Coast Guard commander in charge of the federal response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico warned on Sunday that even if the flow of crude was stopped by summer, it could take well into autumn -- and maybe much longer -- to deal with the slick spreading relentlessly across the gulf."
"Afghanistan’s intelligence chief and interior minister resigned yesterday, taking responsibility for failing to prevent an attack on a government conference held in Kabul last week," the AP notes.
"The State Department has conceded committing a diplomatic faux pas by sending birthday greetings to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II a week early," the New York Daily News writes. "We were a week early," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said. "As always, better to give a greeting a week early than a week late." A Buckingham Palace official said, "No offense was taken at all." And get this? It's not even her REAL birthday: "The queen's actual birthday is on April 21, but she celebrates a second, so-called official birthday, on a Saturday in June decided by the government -- this year on June 12."
The conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate financial reform bills begins in earnest on Thursday. And the New York Times writes that the White House wants an agreement before Obama leaves for a G-20 meeting in Toronto later this month. “The administration has tried to use the summit meeting to foster a sense of urgency among lawmakers. It thinks a deal would give Mr. Obama greater leverage in efforts to persuade other countries to support proposals like a global bank tax and higher capital standards for the largest financial institutions. The higher standards are part of the legislation but would require international coordination.”
The New York Times' Zeleny says that many Democratic members of Congress are skipping summer town halls. "Of the 255 Democrats who make up the majority in the House, only a handful held town-hall-style forums as legislators spent last week at home in their districts. It was no scheduling accident."
"With images of overheated, finger-waving crowds still seared into their minds from the discontent of last August, many Democrats heeded the advice of party leaders and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer sessions. The recommendations were clear: hold events in controlled settings -- a bank or credit union, for example -- or tour local businesses or participate in community service projects."
"President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) say that this time they are committed, really committed, to bringing some sort of clean energy bill to the floor this year," Roll Call reports. "But after months of speed bumps, false starts and promises, some are wondering, can they really get something done?"
“How angry are Americans?” the AP asks. “People primed for change vote in 12 states Tuesday in contests that will decide the fate of two endangered Washington incumbents -- a two-term senator in Arkansas and a six-term congressman in South Carolina -- while setting the stage for some of the races that could determine the balance of power on Capitol Hill in the fall.”
ARKANSAS: Per the AP, "[T]he Democratic candidates for the Senate here, incumbent Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, believe black voters could decide their race, and both are waging an unusually intense campaign in the black community in the final days before the election.”
CALIFORNIA: The top two themes of California’s Republican primary races? Money and anger, the Los Angeles Times writes. “From corporate executives to conservative activists to career politicians, the GOP candidates in the top-of-the-ticket races to be decided Tuesday have strikingly different resumes. But the personal wealth employed by several of them has sharply altered the momentum of the races. The Republican governor's contest is the most expensive California primary in history, and money tilted the standings in the closing weeks of the Senate race.”
“The Republican Party, which has never nominated a woman for governor or the U.S. Senate in California, has the potential to make history Tuesday and field a ticket headed by two women,” the San Diego Union-Tribune points out.
“Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina made a final push for votes Saturday in their bids for governor and U.S. Senate, invigorated by new [Field] polls showing them leading their Republican races just days ahead of Tuesday's primary,” the San Jose Mercury News reports.
IOWA: “While voters in the primary election won't decide until Tuesday which Republican will advance to the general election, the attacks are flying between Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, and former Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican. For weeks, their finger-pointing press releases have deluged my e-mail inbox,” a reporter from the Dubuque Telegraph Herald writes.
NEVADA: “The final days of the Republican U.S. Senate primary have arrived with the race's former front-runner praying she can scrounge enough votes through her formidable ground game, the new front-runner hoping her recent momentum will be unstoppable and a third candidate looking for an opportunity shoot past them both for a surprise win,” the Reno Gazette-Journal writes. http://bit.ly/9AKL7d
The L.A. Times on Sen. Harry Reid’s preferred GOP Senate nominee: “If Republican Sharron Angle wins her party's Senate primary Tuesday, it will be a victory for the soft-spoken perpetual candidate, Nevada's conservative diehards, the national "tea party" movement and underdogs everywhere. It will also be a huge win for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.”
SOUTH CAROLINA: While the Democratic gubernatorial primary has been “cordial” and the Senate primaries “even quieter still,” the four-way GOP contest for governor is “By far the highest-profile state battle,” the Charleston Post and Courier writes.
“‘Raghead’ remark puts South Carolina in familiar place: punchline,” McClatchy’s headline writes ahead of tomorrow’s primaries. “Former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford says the state's politics should be above ethnic slurs and allegations of infidelity,” the article continues. “Her comments came a day after Lexington County Sen. Jake Knotts called Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, who is of Indian decent, a ‘raghead.’”
The Washington Post on the race: “Even in a state that's accustomed to two-fisted politics, this year's Republican race for governor stands out. As the contenders barreled across South Carolina in a mad frenzy before Tuesday's primary, they confronted at every turn the salacious accusations of adultery swirling around Nikki Haley, the woman who has rocketed to the lead.”
Using examples like West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Sunday New York Times suggested that anti-incumbent fever might actually be a good thing for those incumbents’ parties: “The deep resentment against Washington that has already toppled a few Congressional incumbents this midterm election cycle and has helped persuade others to step aside could actually allow the parties to hang on to seats they might have otherwise lost.”
KANSAS: "Kansas Rep. Jerry Moran is airing his first spot that hits back directly against negative ads from his opponent in the Republican Senate primary, fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt," Politico writes.
KENTUCKY: The Sunday New York Times examined how Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul’s upbringing in the “First Family of Libertarianism” affected his political career -- and vice versa.
MINNESOTA: "Physician Maureen Reed announced Sunday that she is ending her Democratic primary challenge to state Sen. Tarryl Clark in Minnesota's 6th district, clearing the way for the state-party-endorsed candidate to be the nominee against GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann in November," Roll Call says.
Timothy Egan looks at opposition to the first line of the 14th Amendment: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."
Egan wonders: "Of course, race has nothing to do with it, these situational constitutionalists say. But you have to wonder if their concern over citizens-by-birth would have extended to big Irish Catholic families of 100 years ago, some of whom came to the United States through illegal border crossings from Canada."
What do you think, as it relates to the current immigration debate?
President Barack Obama promised Saturday to stand with the people of the Gulf Coast "until they are made whole" and recovered from the damage caused by the oil spill, as he defended his handling of the disaster. Obama recorded his weekly radio and Internet address from this barrier island town he visited Friday on his third trip to the Gulf since an April 20 drilling rig explosion unleashed a gusher of crude into the waters there. He spoke of the people he'd met — an oyster fisherman named Floyd whose oyster beds have been destroyed by oil, and Terry, a shrimper who is losing income because shrimp fishing has been shut down.
Here are the president's remarks in a conversation with local residents, as provided by the White House:
For Immediate Release June 4, 2010
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN CONVERSATION WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS
Camardelle’s Live Bait and Boiled Seafood Grand Isle, Louisiana
THE PRESIDENT: Everybody knows the Mayor. The Mayor has gathered up a group of local businesspeople. Butch, for example, owns a marina; Terry, a shrimp boat; Floyd, oyster fisherman; and Patti has a convenience store; Chris is the owner of this bait shop.
And so we were just talking about the economic impact that this has had. And just to give you a sense of perspective -- Terry has been shrimping out here for 46 years. His grandfather did it before him. And right now things are completely shut off for him.
Floyd, he leases the oyster beds from the state. The state now, obviously, and properly so, has said he can't be pulling seafood out of these waters right now. He’s got oil that's starting to seep in into these oyster beds where he’s got leases and, as a consequence, Floyd is trying to figure out how long this damage is going to last.
FLOYD LASSEIGNE: I'm a fourth generation, and I've got a son who is a fifth generation, so we've been -- somebody lease has been -- been in the family for 100 years.
THE PRESIDENT: Butch was talking about the marina and making the point that these three, four months are basically when all the business comes down. And normally all his slips would be full right now -- sounds like about only a third of them are full and it may get worse from there.
BUTCH GASPARD: Our charter boat guys are hurting real bad, too, because all the charter boat business is shut down. They make a living off of taking people out fishing.
THE PRESIDENT: So right now, Butch isn’t taking a salary so he can pay his employees, but he doesn’t know how long that's going to last.
Then you’ve got Patti, who owns a convenient store. Obviously that store is dependent on these guys -- the boats coming in, filling up with gas, buying ice, buying soft drinks. So she’s down 85 percent on her business right now.
So this is just a sampling of what’s happening out here. And part of what we talked about was what we can do to prevent oil from coming into these areas; part of what we talked about is -- in terms of the relief effort -- can we deploy folks who’ve got boats here to help save their livelihoods right where they are, as opposed to having to go to other places. And so I'm going to ask Admiral Allen to make sure that he’s looking at where people are being deployed, where vessels are being deployed, to make sure the people who know the waters best end up being hired there.
And the final thing is we've got to talk about -- what we talked about up in New Orleans -- which is are we making sure that claims are being processed effectively. And right now, after that initial $5,000 check that BP wrote, the claim center has been taking in claims, but it sounds, based on what I'm hearing, that there’s a lot of process but not much actual action. And so we're going to see if we can do something better on that.
But the main point I think I want to make -- and, Mayor, feel free to chime in on this -- is these are communities that have had a way of life for generations, and what people are concerned about right now is not just the damage done in the short term -- because these are some tough folks. They’ve been through hurricanes and --
VOICE: Low prices.
THE PRESIDENT: -- low prices --
VOICE: High cost of fuel.
THE PRESIDENT: Terry was talking about how the walls stay up on a building around here; a hurricane comes, you wash out the mud and a week later everybody is back in business. So these are folks who are used to hardship and know how to deal with it. But what they’re concerned about right now is, is this going to have a lasting impact that they can't recover from. And that's why Thad and the rest of the federal team is so committed to making sure that everything that can be done will be done.
This is going to be bad, no matter what we do. But we can hopefully minimize the damage, but it requires good coordination between the state, federal and local; and it requires BP to make sure that, as I said up in New Orleans, folks aren’t getting nickled-and-dimed and that we're doing what we need to do early to prevent the worst-case scenario from happening later.
So, Mr. Mayor, anything you want to add?
MAYOR CAMARDELLE: Well, again, the main concern is to block these five passes that we talked about. The barges are available, Admiral, right there all along the coast, from Venice to Harvey Canal, all the way back to Homer. They’re standing by, and hopefully we can get the President to get on BP -- between both of you guys -- so we can put some barges there temporary to block these passes so we can save Claiborne Parish, LaFourche Parish, St. Charles Parish, Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, Plaquemines Parish. And Jefferson Parish, where we live at -- if we can block them five passes right now, these fishermen can tell you that we can save -- continue to save the rest of the 2 million acres of oysters.
We have $2 billion worth of seafood that comes out behind me, right in this estuary -- $2 billion worth. We have a billion dollars of recreational license -- recreational fishing -- that generates to the marinas, to all the stores, all the way across Louisiana. But these guys -- this woman here with the convenience store, if we lose the estuaries in the back, we're history. And they’ll tell you that.
We're born and raised -- our grandfathers, grandmothers. We made a living right here behind us. There’s no reason why this shrimp boat should be tied up, it don’t have skimmers on it, to make sure we can block the oil until we put these booms. And I'm asking you to --
THE PRESIDENT: To go to work. Last week when I was talking to the Mayor, he started choking up just talking about the fact that out of his own pocket he was having to provide some help and some loans to his buddies, to fishermen, folks in the area. That's what we should be able to prevent. There’s oil washing in, but people can help each other. And the company that's responsible can make sure that it’s responding quickly and effectively.
And when the Mayor told me that story it was, I think, an example of what’s happening all across this Gulf Coast. And it’s going to be multiplied not just in Louisiana, but in Alabama, in Mississippi, in Florida. There are small communities like this all across the Gulf and they’ve got to make sure that their voice is being heard day in, day out.
And I know that they’ve got a fierce advocate in Thad Allen. But I wanted you to know that behind Thad Allen stands the President of the United States.
MAYOR CAMARDELLE: And like I said, since the last time you’ve been here, the Coast Guard is unbelievable. Admiral, I want you to know that. You guys are really working 24 hours for us. And you did push BP. And, like I said, I'm very emotional because I'm still giving -- I'm not going to cut the water off, I'm not going to cut the electricity off, and I'm not going to cut the gas off. I have one of the businesses right now that has a $5,200 electricity bill, and I'm calling energy to make sure not to cut him off.
When these businesspeople come up to you and say it’s time to help, it’s not easy. And Patti can tell you -- the night before last I told her that I'm going to keep you strong, I'm going the try to bring you more business. Butch calls me, telling me we need more boats, get some vessel of opportunities. He’s fighting to save his oysters. I'm trying to keep Grand Isle alive, to try to get tours. I opened the beach Memorial Sunday at 3:00 p.m. -- people were calling me. So the marinas can sell a towel so these young kids can lay on the beach.
And watching oil come across the shore -- some people think I'm better than God, you know. That's how serious this is. And they’ll tell you, I live right down the street. I've been averaging two hours of sleep, just going in and looking at the ceiling fan and wondering what’s going to happen tomorrow, and praying to God that no more oil comes on the beach.
So, like Terry said earlier, his wife is sick. I bring seven people a day to -- New Orleans in a van, to cross that long bridge you crossed, and putting gas in the truck to make sure that we can keep the help. And we help each other. And we don't have no money, don't matter. We help each other. That's what we do.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's supposed to be what the entire United States does, is helping each other.
MAYOR CAMARDELLE: Exactly.
TERRY VEGAS: We're not bitter at the oil companies for what’s happening. We're just bitter at those that cut the corners and cause the havoc that we're having right now.
VOICE: It’s not getting cleaned up fast enough.
VOICE: -- the oil company down here and we enjoy the business. We support them.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the point with the oil companies is they’ve got to support you the same way you support them. And they’ve got to make sure that -- because there are a lot of folks in the oil business who do the right thing and who aren’t cutting corners. We've just got to make sure that we find out what happened and that those who are responsible are held responsible; that we fix whatever is wrong. We're still going to need the oil production, but we've got to make sure that we do it in the right way, because we just can't have a situation like this happen again.
VOICE: Can't have that happen all the time,, no.
VOICE: Have to follow the rules.
VOICE: Just tell the truth.
VOICE: From day one they lied to us -- BP. They said 1,000 barrels a day, then said it’s 2,000 -- put the tube in there, it was 5,000 -- now it’s up to 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day. Just tell the people the truth, you know. That's all we want.
MAYOR CAMARDELLE: Like I said, the biggest shrimp dock in America is right here in Grand Isle. It’s Blanche’s Seafood. And he’s completely shut down. They’ll tell you, the boats are tied up. How many boats does he have right now -- about 100, close to 100 boats just tied up. And you’ve got the Vietnamese families, you’ve got the true Cajun people here, and they’re just sitting on the deck of the boat and just waiting on the vessel of opportunity.
And I want to respect the Admiral and BP, where they try. It’s just since you left, they’ve made a big change. Since you came to me, you made a big change and we support you for that. But we just worry. You hear us here and we worry. And we don't know what’s going to happen tomorrow. And that's why we depend on you -- both of you guys -- to make sure that -- and you heard them today. We don't want to be on food stamps -- none of my people -- we want to just untie the boat, be able to see your two daughters right here and kiss them in the evening and Daddy’s going to work.
AR SEN, Lincoln, “The President” 6/3 CLINTON: "Here's an article from the Washington Post. It says, 'National unions made a decision a few months ago that they wanted to make Senator Blanche Lincoln the, quote, 'poster child' for what happens when a Democrat crosses them.' This is about using you and manipulating your votes. If you want to be Arkansas's advocate, vote for somebody who'll fight for you. Vote for Blanche Lincoln." LINCOLN: "I'm Blanche Lincoln and I approve this message" (Youtube, 6/3). AL-5, Raby, “Candidate to Represent Alabama’s 5th 6/4 MAN: The last plant built in Orange County was thanks to Steve Raby. We need more of that in Washington. RABY: I’m Steve Raby. And growing up on this farm, I learned early on that we need jobs all across the Tennessee Valley. Not just in the big cities. That’s why as Senator Heflin’s top advisor, I spent 11 years fighting to bring more aerospace and defense jobs to every county in North Alabama. I’m Steve Raby and I approve this message because in Congress, I can do much more.
NV SEN, Lowden, “New TV Ad” 6/3 LOWDEN: "My family came to America with empty pockets and overflowing dreams. They helped build our country, but others are tearing it down. I'm asking for your vote because career politicians like Harry Reid are taxing us too much and spending us into bankruptcy. I'll fight for struggling Nevadans who will work hard, pay their bills and want a better life for their children and grandchildren. I'm Sue Lowden and I approve this message because fighting for your job is my job" (Hotline transcribing, 6/4).
NV SEN, anti-Reid (Send Harry Packing), “Television Ad” 6/3 ANNCR: "Senator Harry Reid. A fierce defender of our troops." REID [in a clip]: "This war is lost." ANNCR: "Harry Reid. One of us." REID [in a clip]: "You can literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol." ANNCR: "Harry Reid. Champion of the American worker." REID [in a clip]: "Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good." ANNCR: "Harry Reid. Leading America over the edge." REID [in a clip]: "670,000 jobs were lost ... so we made great progress." ANNCR: "Send Harry Packing is responsible for the content of this advertising" (Hotline transcribing, 6/3). NH SEN, Binnie, “Rally” 6/3 BINNIE: "Our campaign is growing every day. We're really moving in the polls. The message of jobs and opportunity for everybody makes sense now more than ever. We can solve all of the problems we're facing, debts and deficits, economic opportunities, jobs, education for our kids. We can make sure that our country comes out of this better rather than weaker, and that's why I'm running, that's who I am as a candidate. Thank you, thank you. I'm Bill Binnie and I approve this message" (youtube.com, 6/4).
NH SEN, Binnie, “Barbershop” 6/3 JOHN (A BARBER): "I hear a lot of people who are really concerned about losing their homes, people who are concerned about high taxes." BINNIE: "Every time I drive around the state that's what I hear again and again -- that taxes are too high and there is too much regulation." A BARBER: "This administration doesn't seem to grasp the fact that people need jobs. That's what we need -- more businesspeople like yourself, who have created jobs, have done the right thing all your life." BINNIE: "Thanks, John. And I forgive you for twenty years ago when you cut all my hair off." JOHN: "Yeah, but it grew back." BINNIE: "I'm Bill Binnie and I approve this message" (youtube.com, 6/4). ME GOV, Mitchell, “Rally” 6/2 ANNCR: "Why are so many Democrats supporting Libby Mitchell? Because Libby is a former teacher who understands that Maine's future depends on good schools. Because Libby brought together Democrats and Republicans to help Maine's small businesses create jobs." MITCHELL: "We want to create those opportunities both in downtowns and in rural Maine." ANNCR: "Because newspapers praise Libby as strong and effective. On Tuesday, vote for the Democrat who gets things done. Elizabeth "Libby" Mitchell" (youtube.com, 6/4). ME GOV, McGowan, “Testimonials” 6/3 WHITNEY SULLIVAN: "Pat McGowan has a plan for Maine -- a plan that helps tourism." MARC BOURGOIN: "And Our Economy." DELIA HOBBINS: "He's protected our environment and he knows how to connect our natural resources to jobs." ALVAH AMES: "Pat McGowan is a friend of mine and he knows the coast of Maine." NICK DANBY: "And what he doesn't know, I'll tell him, because Mr. McGowan cares about my future." MCGOWAN: "As governor, I'll find capital for small business, cut the legislature by one third, grow green jobs, and hold the line on taxes. I'm asking for your vote on June 8. Thank you.”
ME GOV, McGowan, “Straight Talk” 5/27 MCGOWAN: "Maine people like straight talk, so here it is. Typical politicians have left our government a mess. I'm running for governor to clean it up. Here's how. One, to provide capital to small businesses to help them grow. Two, attract clean energy jobs. Three, cut the size of the legislature by one third, and four, hold the line on taxes. If you like state government as it is, then vote for the typical politicians. But if you want change, if you think we can do better, then I'd like your vote" (youtube.com, 6/4). ME GOV, Mills, “Experienced Leadership” 6/2 MILLS: "Working with 186 citizen lawmakers in one of the great challenges for Maine leaders. As your senator, I have fought reckless spending and led the reform of corrupt systems. As your governor, I will do so much more to make government effective and affordable. I won't need a study or an audit to write a responsible budget that is immediately due, and I don't need a task force to tell me that its time to bring accountability to Augusta. I'm Republican Peter Mills, and I'm asking for your vote this Tuesday, June 8" (youtube.com, 6/4). ME GOV, Jacobson, “Choices” 6/3 JACOBSON: "Maine's got a lot of choices this election. What we don’t have is a lot of good jobs. I'm Matt Jacobson -- I've spent the last 15 years bringing thousands of good paying jobs to Maine. Even the Press-Herald declared I get results. When the other candidates just talk about Maine's problems, ask yourself, is that enough to earn your vote? I'm Matt Jacobson, veteran, father, and the only candidate with a real plan, and with your vote, we will get Maine back to work." ANNCR: "Matt Jacobson for governor. Let's get Maine back to work" (youtube.com, 6/4). MN GOV, Entenza, “Disappearing” 6/2 ANNCR: You can see it slipping away -- the things that make Minnesota great. Disappearing. Because St. Paul keeps failing us." ENTENZA: If budget cuts were always the answer, then Mississippi would be a leader in this country." ANNCR: "Matt Entenza will put state government back on our side." ENTENZA: "We're gonna need to focus on the things that made us great. And that's our schools, and that's making sure that we have the kind of economy so that everyone has the opportunity for a good paying job" (youtube.com, 6/4). AR SEN, anti-Lincoln, (LCV) "Big Oil Blanche" 6/1 ANNCR: "Big oil has another gusher, but this time, it's tens of millions in campaign cash. Over the last two years, Blanche Lincoln has taken more oil and gas money than any other U.S. Senator, over half a million dollars since elected. Maybe she got that money because she helped Bush and Cheney give oil companies $14 billion in tax breaks. Or because she voted to allow risk offshore drilling for BP and others. It's time to send big oil a message. On Tuesday, send Blanche Lincoln packing. The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising" (Youtube, 6/1).
AR SEN, anti-Lincoln (SEIU) "Two Choices" 6/2 ANNCR: "Middle class families are facing tough times. Unemployment at record highs. We're creating debt when we should be creating jobs. And the only ones getting bailed out are Wall Street banks. Blanche Lincoln's answer? Votes that help Wall Street and insurance companies and hurt us. We have two choices. If you're happy with Washington as it is now, then vote for Lincoln. But if you want change, send Washington a message. Vote for Bill Halter. He'll fight for us. SEIU COPE is responsible for the content of this advertising" (Vimeo, 6/2). SEIU COPE - Arkansas - Two Choices from SEIU Social Media on Vimeo.
CA SEN, Fiorina, "Safe" 6/2 WOMAN: "Barbara Boxer on national security?" BOXER CLIP: "One of the very important national security issues we face frankly, is climate change." FIORINA: "Terrorism kills...and Barbara Boxer is worried about the weather. I'm Carly Fiorina. I ran Hewlett Packard. I chaired the external advisory board for the CIA. We've had enough of her politics. I'll work to keep you safe. I'm Carly Fiorina, and I approve this message." CA SEN, Campbell, "I Will Beat Boxer" 6/2 CAMPBELL: "I'm Tom Campbell and I don't have millions of dollars of personal wealth to use in my U.S. Senate campaign. But I do have something that neither of my opponents can offer: the Los Angeles Times announced a poll that shows me beating Sen. Barbara Boxer by seven points. Carly Fiorina loses to Barbara Boxer by six points. Let's not lose this historic opportunity to replace Senator Barbara Boxer. With your vote, I can do it. This is Tom Campbell and I approve this message." NV SEN, Angle, "Sharron Angle Skyrockets in the Polls" 6/3 ANNCR: "In the race for U.S. Senate, conservative Republican Sharron Angle has skyrocketed in the polls, and that has some people in the political establishment and the liberal news media upset. They say Sharron Angle is too conservative. Well let's get one thing clear. Our country faces record deficits, bailouts and excessive government regulation and control over our lives because our leaders in Washington were anything but conservative. And while some liberals might find it funny to mock or attack Sharron Angle, we the people, the silent majority, know that we need more conservative leaders like Sharron Angle to help us take our country back. We thank Sharron Angle for running a positive campaign, fighting for what she's always believed in: lower taxes, less government regulation and a return to constitutional principles. And that's why we at the Tea Party Express are so proud to endorse conservative Republican Sharron Angle for U.S. Senate. Paid for by the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, Tea Party Express.org, which is responsible for the content of this advertising. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee" ("Ralston Flash," 6/3; Hotline transcribing, 6/3). ME GOV, Otten, "Vote Les Otten on June 8th" 5/25 OTTEN: "My dad was my hero. He ran a steel mill in Germany. Hitler ordered him to make weapons for the Nazis. My dad stood up and said no to Hitler, then fled to America to start over. Standing up for what you believe. That principle has guided me my whole life. As governor, I'll stand up to the politicians and fight for you. I signed a pledge opposing tax increases, I'll cut wasteful spending, and I won't just talk about jobs, I'll create them. On June 8th, I'd really appreciate your vote" (youtube.com, 6/3).
ME GOV, Otten, "Les Otten for Governor" 5/25 ANNCR: "The negative attacks on Les Otten are false. The press calls them nasty, misleading, and just plain wrong. The truth -- Les Otten created 1200 jobs, Otten will stand up to the politicians and cut wasteful spending. He signed a pledge -- no new taxes. And he has a great plan to create jobs. Negative attacks won't solve out problems, but a strong new leader will. Les Otten for governor" (youtube.com, 6/3).
ME GOV, Rowe, "Special" 6/2 BETH EDMONDS: "Bath Iron Works' parent company was threatening to cut operations unless they got millions in tax breaks." ROWE: "But the legislation they demanded didn't guarantee that current jobs and wages would be protected. So I stopped the bill. Said we'd protect Maine jobs and wages, or it's not worth doing. And we were able to save thousands of jobs. As Governor, I'll focus on creating and protecting the next great jobs for Mainers: Technology, health care, clean energy. And growing the small companies that create those jobs. ANNCR: "Steve Rowe. Democrat for Governor" (youtube.com. 6/3).
CA GOV, Whitman, "Ask Steve" 6/2 ANNCR: "How liberal is Steve Poizner? Ask Steve." POIZNER CLIP: "I've already come out publicly against the right wing part of my party." ANNCR: "Poizner raised property taxes and supported higher sales taxes. Gave $10,000 to Al Gore's recount. Supported partial-birth abortion. And Planned Parenthood gave him a 100% rating." POIZNER: "I've already come out publicly against the right wing part of my party." ANNCR: "Steve Poizner. Liberal on taxes. Liberal on spending. Just another liberal Sacramento politician" (release, 6/2). NV SEN, Sandoval, "Wrong for Nevada" 6/2 ANNCR: "They're at it again. Rory Reid's Washington friends with more lies about Brian Sandoval. Sandoval didn't support the 2003 tax increase, newspapers agree. And Jim Gibbons claims he never raised taxes, but he did -- $300 million in new taxes. Rory Reid? He refuses to say where he stands on taxes. Gibbons and Reid: Wrong for Nevada. Nevada deserves honest, conservative leadership. Brian Sandoval: Leadership we can trust" (Hotline transcribing, 6/2). Dorman Grace 5/3 ANNCR: Career politicians have failed us. Wasteful spending, high taxes, the American dream is in trouble. ANNCR: But we can take a different road in Alabama. As commissioner of agriculture Dorman Grace will reduce spending, cut regulations and hold the line on taxes. Create new jobs and stand up for Alabama. GRACE: I'm a third generation family farmer. 30 years on the farm. My roots run deep in Alabama. Not politics. ANNCR: Conservative Republican Dorman Grace. Compare Grace's ad with:
TN-8, Fincher, "Career Politicians Have Failed Us" ANNCR: Career politicians have failed us. Wasteful spending, high taxes, the American dream is in trouble. Stephen Fincher will stand up to Washington. Cut taxes to create jobs, control wasteful spending. Stop expanding government. Expand freedom instead. Conservative Stephen Fincher. A leader in church, charity, community. Stephen Fincher. Deep roots in Tennessee. Not politics.
Career politicians have failed us from Harbinger International on Vimeo. AR SEN, Lincoln, "Breaking News!" 5/24 MADDOW: Breaking news this hour, the United States Senate has just passed the Wall Street reform bill. ANNCR: The Senate legislation was largely shepherded by Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln. STAHL: Wall Street really, they hate this so much they are explosively livid. ANNCR: Big banks want the Lincoln plan killed. ANNCR: All the big guns are aiming at her. Lobbyists are lined up against her. ANNCR: But Blanche Lincoln is standing firm. For Arkansas. For historic change. AR SEN, Lincoln, "What's Right" 5/31 LINCOLN: "I'm Blanche Lincoln and I know you're angry at Washington. Believe me, I heard you on May 18th. I'm even being attacked for where my family lives. But I won't back down to the Washington unions or the Wall Street banks that don't care about Arkansas and I won't back down as chairman of the Agriculture Committee and fighting for child nutrition and family family. I approve this message because I'd rather lose this election fighting for what's right than win by turning my back on Arkansas" AR Sen, anti-Lincoln, "Standing Firm with Special Interests" 5/28 ANNCR: "Blanche Lincoln claims she's standing firm against Wall Street. But Lincoln voted to use our tax dollars to bail out Wall Street banks and took $803,000 in campaign contributions from securities and investment businesses. Lincoln voted to let credit card companies raise our rates and took $439,000 in contributions from the bank and credit card industry. Blanche Lincoln is standing firm, all right, but with Wall Street's special interests, not us. SEIU Cope is responsible for the content of this advertising." CA SEN, Fiorina, "Instead" 5/27 ANNCR: "Thinking of voting Tom Campbell? Even though he refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection pledge? And for 20 years, pushed higher gas, sales and income taxes? Carly did sign the pledge. Sarah Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina, instead. She called Campbell a liberal who 'seems to bear almost no difference to Boxer.' Vote Carly. Instead." FIORINA: "I'm Carly Fiorina and I approve this message."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfBg2JnEjQQ&feature=player_embedded>">CT SEN, Blumenthal, "Sarah" 6/1 SARAH: My husband and I went downstairs to find our house on fire. We were left with nothing and were absolutely stunned when we received the bill to clean the waste and devastated because that money was coming out of what were eligible for to rebuild the home. I called Attorney General Blumenthal and he ended up getting that bill greatly reduced for us. Everyone I know has a story about Richard Blumenthal or how he helped their mother or their best friend. I have no idea how he does it. But I'm glad he does. BLUMENTHAL: I'm Dick Blumenthal and I'm proud to approve this message. CT SEN, Blumenthal, "Gary and Gayle" 6/1 GARY: When they initially told me I had the leukemia, they told me I only had thirty days to live. GAYLE: Here he is sick in the hospital with the insurance carrier wanting to send us to Washington State. Richard Blumenthal stepped in and fought the insurance company. We're living proof that he was there and he made a difference in our lives. GARY: I think he really cares about what happens to people. GAYLE: Richard Blumenthal, for us, worked a miracle. BLUMENTHAL: I'm Dick Blumenthal. I'm proud to approve this message. CT SEN, Blumenthal, "Laura and Skyler" 6/1 LAURA: The first time my son Skyler had a regular formula he blew up like a balloon and he practically died in my arms. The only formula that he could have was going to cost us $1,200 a month and the insurance company did not want to pay. I called the Attorney General's office and Richard Blumenthal made me feel like this was the most important thing. Today Skyler will watch Richard Blumenthal on TV and say, "hey mom, there's the man who saved my life." BLUMENTHAL: I'm Dick Blumenthal and I approved this message." |
NV SEN, Lowden, "Spa TV Ad" 5/28 ANNCR: "Retreat, relax, renew. Unwind and enjoy the soothing sauna and massage treatments in Nevada prisons. You heard right. Career politician and Senate candidate Sharron Angle sponsored a bill that would have used tax dollars to give massages to prisoners. Angle's plan was developed by the Church of Scientology. Sharron Angle. Pampering prisoners with our tax dollars. A relaxing experience Nevada can't afford." LOWDEN: "I'm Sue Lowden and I approve this message." NV SEN, Lowden, "Sue Lowden is the Clear Choice
5/28 ANNCR: "It's everything the Tea Party is against. Washington special interests attack Sue Lowden, trying to hand pick Nevada's next senator. The facts: Lowden voted against a pay raise for Nevada lawmakers. Sharron Angle voted for pay raises, three times. Lowden voted against wasteful spending. Angle voted for the largest budget increase in Nevada history. And Angle was named one of Nevada's worst legislators. Lowden, one of the best. Sue Lowden for U.S. Senate." LOWDEN: "I'm Sue Lowden and I approve this message." NV SEN, Lowden, "Signs" 5/28 ANNCR: "Eighty-seven percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government. Now, they want more. Our health care, our hard-earned money, our liberty. Nevada's dream in the desert is under attack. Sue Lowden will stop them in their tracks, by voting to balance the budget by law, cut wasteful spending, and get government's greedy hand out of our pocket." LOWDEN: "I'm Sue Lowden and I approve this message because it's time to take back Nevada" NV SEN, Chachas, "The Elephant in the Room" 5/31 CHACHAS: "I'm John Chachas and I'm running for the U.S. Senate. Before you vote, ask yourself: Who has 25 years of national business experience? Who understands the global financial markets? And who has a real plan for creating new jobs in Nevada? The press says you've decided already. Have you?" YELLOW STUFFED ELEPHANT PORTRAYING ANGLE: "Don't read my lips, read my record." PINK STUFFED ELEPHANT PORTRAYING LOWDEN: "I am a businesswoman, we make payroll." BOTH ELEPHANTS make a trumpet sound. CHACHAS: "Can these two really beat Harry Reid? Maybe we should talk about the elephant in the room. I'm John Chachas and I approve this message. Paid for by Chachas for Nevada." NC SEN, anti-Burr (Americans United) "Nearly $500,000 in Dirty Money from Big Oil" 5/26 ANNCR: "Fifty-thousand barrels of oil have flowed into the Gulf each day. But oil isn't just polluting the Gulf; it's polluting our politics. In fact, in the time he has been in Washington, our Senator, Richard Burr, has taken nearly half a million dollars from Big Oil executives and lobbyists. Tell Richard Burr and the Republicans to stop blocking clean energy and start holding the polluters accountable. Tell them to pass the American Power Act" (Youtube, 5/26). CA GOV, Whitman, "Save California" 5/27 WHITMAN: "I'm running for governor to clean up the mess those politicians have made in Sacramento. I'll do it by applying conservative economic principles. Our next governor must be tough enough to stand up to the unions and the politicians they control. We've got to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget. Require work for welfare. And secure our border, with absolutely no amnesty. Sacramento politicians won't save California, but you can. I'd appreciate your support" IA GOV, Branstad, "They are the Reason" 5/28 BRANSTAD: "It's good people, stuck out of work, because of the mess our state's in. It's teachers who'll be laid off. And our seniors and folks unemployed, now facing huge property tax hikes. They are the reason I'm running for governor. We know Iowa can do better. We've solved greater problems. We've faced greater challenges. But our current governor either can't -- or won't -- fix it. I will. We've turned our state around before, and we can do it again. I would appreciate your vote" (youtube.com, 6/1). SC GOV, Rex, "Mess" 5/28 ANCR: "What have the career politicians given our kids? Embarrassing scandals. Mismanagement. A mess. Democrat Jim Rex stands apart. Rex took on Sanford and Republicans to stop future layoffs and joined with President Obama to build new schools for the corridor of change. Now, Rex is running for governor with a plan for good jobs and better schools. The same old career politicians who created the mess can fix it. Jim Rex will. Rex for governor. A leader we can count on" (5/31). SC GOV, Barrett, "Kick" 5/28 positive DRILL SRGT: "Yeah, you really need to tell people about yourself Gresham." BARRETT: "My job plans on cut taxes." DRILL SRGT: "But Gresham, no! You're a sentinel man." BARRETT: "That's right." DRILL SRGT: "A small business man. A Christian family man. An army artillery captain. And you really know how to kick some illegal immigrants out of this state." BARRETT: "That's right." DRILL SRGT: "NRA loves you. Liberals hate you." BARRETT: "True." DRILL SRGT: "And Jim DeMint has called you principled and a true conservative. Now, tell people that." BARRETT: "I think you just did" (youtube, 5/27). SC GOV, McMaster, "New Day" 6/1 MCMASTER: From the upstate to the midlands, to the mountains to the sea, South Carolina is a sight to behold. We're blessed with talented people, plentiful resources and we can achieve any dream. I have a plan that puts South Carolina back on the path to prosperity. As governor I'll lower taxes, improve high-paying jobs and re-ignite economic growth. Join me. Our new day is about to begin. ANNCR: Restoring honor and integrity. Henry McMaster for governor. WI GOV, anti-Walker/Neumann (Greater Wisconsin Cmte) "Same" 5/27 ANNCR: "Scott Walker, Mark Neumann. They say they're different, but they're really the same. Both favor tax breaks for the richest one percent, and loopholes to let big corporations avoid paying taxes. So, how will they pay for it? Walker favors cutting health care, even for working families and children. Congressman Neumann voted to cut medicare to pay for tax breaks for the rich. Let's not repeat the same bad ideas again" (Wispolitics.com, 6/1).
From NBC's Betsy Cline - Meet the Press: No show this week, pre-empted for coverage of the French Open - Face the Nation: Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander for the Deepwater BP Oil Spill Response, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL); Roundtable: CBS' Sharyl Attkisson, Washington Post's Dan Balz, CBS' Jan Crawford - This Week: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); Roundtable: George Will, Liz Cheney, Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington, Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas - State of the Union: AR LG Bill Halter (D), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), New York Times' Jackie Calmes, Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus - Fox News Sunday: Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander for the Deepwater BP Oil Spill Response, MS Gov. Haley Barbour, Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the US, RNC Chair Michael Steele delivers the Republican radio response
A mixed bag on the jobs report. … Obama tries to wrest control of the domestic politics of the oil spill. … Women could lead the way in the West for the GOP, something the white-male dominant party desperately needs. … More resume problems for both candidates in Illinois. … DGA goes after Kasich’s Lehman ties. … And First Read’s Top 10 Governors Takeovers.
From NBC's Chuck Todd, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg
*** Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The U.S. economy today gained 431,000 jobs in May, the largest increase in a decade -- since March 2000. Unemployment edged down to 9.7%. But there is a BIG but... 95% of the jobs created (411,000) this month were Census hirings. The private sector gained just 41,000 jobs, down from 218,000 in April. This is a big disappointment for those in the administration and on Wall Street; officials and analysts privately expected somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 private-sector jobs on top of the Census hirings, translating to, perhaps, 80% of the jobs created this month as Census. Without more private sector growth this summer, it could mean some rough NEGATIVE job months once the Census hires disappear. This is a case where the headline is good for the White House, but once you dig deeper, this was not the best jobs report they could have hoped for (or thought they were going to get).
*** The Big Not Easy: With the oil spill still not yet contained, President Obama officially postponed his Indonesia-Australia trip for the second time (something that seemed telegraphed by the White House earlier this week). Today, the president travels back to the Louisiana Gulf Coast, where he’ll meet with not just elected officials but others directly impacted by the spill. Last night in an interview with Larry King at the White House, Obama expressed some of his frustration, saying he is “furious at [the] entire situation,” but he added, "I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yelling at people," the president told Larry King in an interview at the White House. "But that's not the job I was hired to do. My job is to solve this problem. And ultimately this isn't about me and how angry I am."
*** The right chord: Yet as one of us said on Nightly News last night, even supporters believe he has yet to strike the right chord. Here was Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers: "I think what he's failed to do is to create a sense that he is emotionally invested, that he really, to use a former president's term feels people's pain." And ex-White House hand for both parties, David Gergen: “He doesn't want to be trapped in the Rose Garden in effect the way Jimmy Carter was by the hostage crisis. ... He has to be seen as in command. And he is not yet seen that way.” We’re going to see a more visible Obama on the issue. He’s always been the White House’s best messenger, whether it was on health care or the stimulus. And on Tuesday, Matt Lauer will interview him on TODAY. Of course what the president needs more than anything: for one of these attempts by BP to stop or control the leak to actually work.
*** Go West, young woman: As we think about the coming elections on Tuesday, it strikes us that if Republicans hope to once again win in the West, it could be, in large part, because of women. In California, the leading GOP candidates for governor (Meg Whitman) and senate (Carly Fiorina) are women. In Nevada, so are two of the leading candidates (Sharron Angle and Sue Lowden) for Senate. Beyond that, look at New Mexico, where Susana Martinez won the GOP bid Tuesday for governor; Colorado, where Jane Norton is the national Republicans’ preferred pick for the Senate; and in Arizona, where Jan Brewer, who was appointed after Janet Napolitano became Homeland Security Secretary, will be running for election. Now, this isn’t to say all of them will win in a general election. And some, like Norton, face difficult primaries. But if the Republicans make gains out West, it'll be thanks to women candidates; something the white-male dominant party desperately needs.
*** Resume fail: In Illinois, one embellishment deserves another and another. Mark Kirk admits to more errors on his resume, and the conservative Weekly Standard finds -- and the Kirk campaign passes around -- an inaccuracy on Alexi Giannoulias' own official campaign biography that claims, Giannoulias "founded and chairs the AG Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that donates money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations.” The Weekly Standard writes: "The problem is, the charity no longer exists. According to the AG Foundation’s tax return, 'The organization was in existence only for the two-year period from 2005 to 2006.'" Chairs, chaired. In, during. This is clearly not as serious as Kirk's military service award claim, but it takes SOME steam out of Giannoulias' momentum this week -- and knocks him off his soapbox. It’s a reminder in politics there are no qualifications for any major office, really, other than age and citizenship…
*** Going after Kasich’s Lehman ties: The Democratic Governors Association is going up statewide this morning with an ad hitting John Kasich (R) in the Ohio governors race over his ties to Lehman Brothers, Wall Street and bonuses. The ad is through its Building a Stronger Ohio independent expenditure arm, which it has poured $1.5 million into. It’s the second ad the DGA’s aired in the state, as Gov. Ted Strickland is vying to be reelected in what polls show to be a tight race. Clearly, Democrats believe Kasich is vulnerable now, so they are seeing if they can fatally wound him this summer before the fall campaign starts.
*** First Read's Top 10 Governors Takeovers: That brings us to our Friday list, and if it’s Friday on First Read, it’s time for another Top 10. Today, a follow up on the top takeover opportunities in the governor’s races. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, because of struggling state economies where Democrats were in control, this is shaping up to be a great year for Republican candidates. And that’s important with the Census coming out and redistricting, which happens at the state level. Our top five, by the way, are all like 1 seeds.
1. Wyoming (1): When Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) said he wouldn’t challenge the term limits law in the state, it pinned this to the top of the board for Republicans 2. Kansas (2): There’s nothing to suggest that Sen. Sam Brownback won’t be the next governor of the state. 3. Tennessee (4): Phil Bredesen (D) is also term limited. Whoever wins the GOP primary will be the favorite. 4. Oklahoma (5): Another term-limited Democratic governor in Brad Henry. 5. Hawaii (3): Linda Lingle (R) is term-limited; Retired Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) is the favorite. It’s the Dems’ best pickup opportunity. 6. Michigan (6): Democrats are very pessimistic about holding onto this state, which has the highest unemployment in the country. 7. Iowa (9): The primary is Tuesday. We haven’t seen a poll with incumbent Chet Culver not down by double-digits. But Terry Branstad has been running ads touting his conservative credibility, which is probably not something he wanted to do, but he has primary challengers from the right. 8. Pennsylvania (8): Ed Rendell, also term-limited. Tom Corbett seems like the favorite over Dan Onorato, but we’ll see if he gives him a run in this state that has trended left. 9. Connecticut (unranked): Retirement of M. Jodi Rell (R) gives Democrats a good chance. 10. Minnesota (unranked): Tim Pawlenty is retiring. The race hasn’t shaken out yet (the primary isn’t until Sept. 14), but Democrats are hoping to pick up this seat, which, believe it or not, has been since 1986 since Democrats have won this governorship.
In our next Top 10 on governors, we may look at the most competitive races, because there is just a slew all across the country from Florida to California, from Maine to Wisconsin and everywhere in between.
*** The rest of the day: At 9:30 am ET, President Obama will tour a truck dealership in Hyattsville, MD. He will make remarks afterward. He also welcomes Major League Soccer champion Real Salt Lake to the White House. … First Lady Michelle Obama holds an event about nutrition in schools on the White House South Lawn at 12:30 pm ET. … Defense Secretary Gates is in Singapore and will hold bilaterals with officials from Indonesia, New Zealand, India, Vietnam, and Korea. … Attorney General Holder keynotes a Civil Rights Luncheon at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's 30th anniversary convention at 12:30 pm ET.
The New York Times: “Obama Cancels Asia Trip as Concern on Spill Mounts.”
The Washington Post: "President Obama has once again postponed his trip to Indonesia and Australia, telephoning the leaders of the two countries late Thursday night, the White House said. It is the second time the trip has been canceled. It was originally planned for March but was put off because the president wanted to be in Washington for a critical health-care vote in Congress. Now, the president needs to stay in Washington to oversee the worsening environmental crisis from the oil spill off the Gulf Coast.
On Larry King Live last night, the president “said he is ‘furious at [the] entire situation’ surrounding the BP oil spill but that his anger will not stop the leak,” The Hill writes.
“U.S. officials took a hopeful and cautious outlook late Thursday after BP robotic craft wrestled a cap onto the jagged end of a blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico in the latest attempt to stop the worst oil spill in U.S. history,” msnbc.com writes. “Live video provided by BP showed dramatic scenes of the cap being lifted into place and dark clouds of oil billowing out from between it and the sawed-off pipe, 5,000 feet below the Gulf's surface. The gushing oil made it very difficult to tell if the cap was fitting well. BP officials did not immediately return requests for comment.”
The New York Times: “White House Talk Lightens Tone of Dispute on Immigration Law.”
Remember health care? The New York Times: “Health Insurers and the Administration Find They Need Each Other.”
The Washington Post: “Beneath its commitment to soft-spoken diplomacy and beyond the combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups, according to senior military and administration officials.”
“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered the military and the Pentagon’s civilian bureaucracy to find tens of billions of dollars in annual savings to pay for war-fighting operations, senior officials said Thursday,” the New York Times reports. “His goal is $7 billion in spending cuts and efficiencies for 2012, growing to $37 billion annually by 2016.”
AP: “Secret Service officers have subdued two men who refused to get out of the street as President Barack Obama's motorcade was returning to the White House. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan says Obama was returning Thursday night from a school event for one of his daughters when the men refused to move out of the way of the presidential motorcade. A uniformed Secret Service officer was seen lying on top of one man and another officer wrestled with the second man. Donovan says the men, who were using profanity, were charged with assaulting a police officer and failure to obey a lawful order. He didn't have their identities. Donovan says the incident appeared to be a random event and not an organized attempt to block the president's motorcade.”
ALABAMA: “Four-term congressman Artur Davis, in the wake of a resounding rejection of his bid to be Alabama's governor, said Wednesday that his political career was over,” the Birmingham News reports.
ARIZONA: The NRA endorsed John McCain. “John McCain has steadfastly voted against every gun and ammunition ban in Congress,” Chris W. Cox, chairman of NRA-Political Victory Fund. "This along with his commitment to preserving our hunting heritage has earned him the NRA-PVF’s endorsement. We ask all Arizona gun-owners, hunters and NRA members to vote for John McCain in the U.S. Senate Republican primary on August 24th.”
CALIFORNIA: “Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman's recent $500,000-a-day spending spree in her quest to become California's governor appears to have paid off, with a new poll today showing that she holds a 2-to-1 lead over state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner heading into the Republican primary election on Tuesday,” the San Francisco Chronicle writes.
FLORIDA:NPR looks at Kendrick Meek’s chances in his primary and that three-way general election in the Senate race.
ILLINOIS: “Senate candidate Mark Kirk apologized Thursday for making inaccurate statements about his service in the Navy Reserves, while acknowledging more discrepancies,” The Chicago Tribune writes. "’I think going forward I have to be humble about my military record,’ Kirk said earlier Thursday. ‘I have to understate it and I have to own up to any errors that I created. I do not want to create the impression of adding to the record.’”
IOWA: Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, “Sarah Palin endorsed former governor Terry Branstad in the Iowa Republican gubernatorial primary Thursday, breaking with several conservative leaders who have backed the former governor’s primary opponent,” Politico reports.
NORTH CAROLINA: “As a candidate for U.S. Senate... [Secretary of State Elaine] Marshall has sought the financial support of the same powerbrokers she currently regulates,” the AP reports. “Marshall has raised at least $2,500 from five registered North Carolina lobbyists, according to an Associated Press review of donation records. It's a small fraction of both the number of donations and $440,000 she's raised during her campaign for the Democratic nomination, and the money is also perfectly legal despite the state's strict limits on lobbyist donations that Marshall helped craft.”
VIRGINIA: Ahead of Tuesday’s primaries, NPR looks at the GOP primary in VA-2.
WASHINGTON: Dino Rossi (R) says he’s raised more than $600,000 (including almost $200,000) since he entered the Senate race. And he got a boost when Washington state Sen. Don Benton (R) dropped out and endorsed him.
Andrew Romanoff (left), President Obama (center), and Rep. Joe Sestak (right)
From NBC's Pete Williams Is it illegal for the White House to dangle administration jobs in front of political candidates as a way of persuading them to abandon their campaigns?
That's what appears to have have happened in two contested U.S. Senate contests. Democrats Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado say they were urged to drop out of their primary races and told of federal jobs that would be available to them.
Some Republicans in Congress say such a practice amounts to a form of bribery or corruption and are asking the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate. Rep. Darrell Issa, the senior Republican member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says the White House coordinated "an arrangement that would represent an illegal quid pro quo, as federal law prohibits directly or indirectly offering any position or appointment, paid or unpaid, in exchange for favors connected with an election."
Many legal experts from both parties say the law, on its face, appears to prohibit what Obama operatives did. But they also say they doubt that what the administration did was illegal.
"I don't like this, and voters in the effected states certainly shouldn't like it," says Prof. Richard Painter of the University of Minnesota law school, a former White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush.
"Once a candidate has declared an intention to run for federal office, the White House should back off and let the voters decide. Then the White House can give the loser a job if it is warranted," Painter writes on a blog devoted to legal ethics.
But he adds, "I don't see illegality unless of course someone lies about it. If Congress wants to make this practice illegal, perhaps Congress should enact a law saying that no person who has filed papers to run in a federal election may be contacted by anyone in the executive branch about possible employment until the election is over," Painter says.
Stan Brand, a Washington, DC lawyer and former federal prosecutor says the practice isn't new but notes that the Justice Department has never prosecuted such a case. "Prosecutors go after patronage crimes, selling offices," he says, "but political loyalty and horse trading are part of the landscape."
A Justice Department policy manual for prosecutors says the law was not intended "to reach the consideration of political factors in the hiring or termination of the small category of senior public employees." For them, the manual says, "a degree of political loyalty may be considered a necessary aspect of competent performance."
From NBC's Ali Weinberg Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who last month signed into law a controversial immigration measure that some critics fear encourages racial profiling, said that meeting with President Obama at the White House today left her "further ahead" than she was yesterday in seeking federal immigration assistance.
Last month, Obama announced he would send an additional 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, which the White House characterized not as a reaction to the Arizona law, but an effort to stem the violence from Mexico's drug trade that was spilling over the border.
Brewer said the president provided no definitive answer on how many of the 1,200 Guardsmen would be deployed to the Arizona border, but expressed optimism that she would know in a few weeks.
"People from the staff are coming out to Arizona in a couple of weeks to brief us on what their projections are going to be," Brewer said, adding that Obama assured her that the majority of those resources will be coming to Arizona.
When asked what developments she would like to see a month from now, Brewer responded that she hopes to see construction started on a fence on the border. "I tried to get that information today. I was not successful," she said.
Brewer also said she would be open to discussing comprehensive immigration reform, but that previous attempts to enact sweeping reform had been unsuccessful.
"We talked about a pathway maybe to better immigration reform that he feels very very strongly about," she said. "I've indicated at that point in time we've been promised that information previously and it wasn't successful and amnesty was instilled upon people, but we never secured the borders."
In a readout of the meeting, the White House press office characterized President Obama's dissatisfaction with the Arizona law.
"The President reiterated his concern with the measure, including that a patchwork of different state immigration regulations around the country would interfere with the federal government's responsibility to set and enforce immigration policy," the readout said in part.
Brewer was asked whether she believed President Obama understood the law she passed last month.
"He's a well-learned man and a lawyer," she said, "If he read the law, sure, he understands the law."
Brewer -- and other Republicans -- have criticized some Democrats for not reading the bill. Brewer, in fact, has a Web video featuring a dismayed puppet frog lamenting the reactions of Democrats who say they haven't read it.
Asked today whether she thinks President Obama has "read the bill," she said nothing and smiled.
In what would have been the last out, completing an historic perfect game, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga steps on first base in a bang-bang play just ahead of the Cleveland Indians' Jason Donald. Donald, though, was called safe.
For those of us looking for an excuse to get this foiled perfect game story on First Read, here's how it relates to politics...
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released a statement, "urging Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to invoke the 'Best Interests of the Game' clause to declare Armando Galarraga's performance perfect:
"Last night's performance deserves its place in the record books. It is clear that Commissioner Selig should make an exception in this case and invoke the 'best interests of the game clause' to grant a perfect game to Armando Galarraga and the Detroit Tigers organization."
(Thanks to the Morning Joe team for the inspiration for this headline.)
Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) is surging in the polls ahead of Tuesday's GOP primary.
Sue Lowden's ad against Sharron Angle tries to tie her to Church of Scientology and features a prison shrine to actor Tom Cruise, one of the Church's most famous members.
Since "Chicken-gate," conservatives have moved away from Sue Lowden, the former state GOP chairwoman, running for the Republican nomination in the Nevada Senate race. And yet another poll shows Sharron Angle leading. In a Suffolk poll, Angle is ahead of Danny Tarkanian and Lowden, 33%-26%-25%. Pollster David Paleologos said of his poll:
“The Nevada GOP is drawing a right angle in the quest for Capitol Hill. Although Danny Tarkanian is more personally popular and Sue Lowden is seen as the more viable candidate against Harry Reid, voters are lining up behind Angle in great numbers, especially in the Washoe County area."
*** UPDATE ***There's also quite the ad war being waged in the state, including a hit ad from Lowden's campaign against Angle that invokes prison back rubs and tries to tie Angle to Church of Scientology (don't miss the prison shrine to Tom Cruise!):
Tea Party Express is up with an ad defending Angle's conservative bona fides:
Lowden challenged Angle's credentials with this one:
Likely 2012 Republican candidate Gov. Tim Pawlenty helps raise money in Minnesota for Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio. fundraising flier (above).
Tim Pawlenty heads to Florida holds a fundraiser in Minnesota tomorrow to raise money for conservative favorite Marco Rubio, who is running for Senate in Florida, Minnesota Public Radio reports. MPR points out:
“Pawlenty didn't back a candidate for Florida Senate until Crist decided to run as an independent. He's the latest White House hopeful to back Rubio. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are all backing Rubio.”
"Marco Rubio represents the future of the Republican Party and has the common sense, conservative ideas we need more of in Washington," Pawlenty adviser Alex Conant told MPR. "Governor Pawlenty wants to do whatever he can to help Rubio's campaign, and is glad to host him in Minnesota."
From NBC's Chuck Todd, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg *** Day 500: With hyperpartisan stories like the Romanoff job offer (dredged back into the news), the kickoff of the Blagojevich trial, and, of course, the continued oil spill, it might go unnoticed by some that today is Barack Obama's 500th day in office (though, some might argue TOMORROW is 500; We’ll let Judge Mark Knoller decide, but we digress). There's always a lot of hype surrounding a president's first 100 days, but Obama has now been in office five times longer than that marker and what a stretch it's been. On a day -- in a presidency -- when small-picture brushfire stories (like Romanoff) are dominating, here's a step back at the big picture and all that's gone on. It could almost read like Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”… Oil spill, Health care, Tea Parties, Financial reform, bailouts for cars and banks, the stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, Toyota, Haiti, L’Aquila, Iran's elections, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Israel flotilla, North Korea sinks South Korean ship, Afghanistan troop increase, underwear bomber, Ft. Hood, Times Square, Predator drones, Nobel Peace Prize, State of the Union/Bobby Jindal, Ted Kennedy. Scott Brown, Michael Steele, Sarah Palin resigns, Bob McDonnell, Chris Christie, special elections, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, incumbent fever (Bennett, Specter, et al), Charlie Crist's party switch, Evan Bayh, Sex Scandals: The Appalachian Trail, John Ensign, Eric Massa, Mark Souder, Jim Traficant out of jail, announces independent bid, The Salahis, Carrie Prejean, It’s John Edwards’ baby, Rangel loses his gavel, The Replacements: (Blago/Burris, Gillibrand/Caroline Kennedy, Beau Biden/Iraq/hospitalization, Al Franken sworn in as a senator MONTHS after Election Day, The Gores separate. And, by the way, for a little more context, remember this: JFK, at Day 500, had not yet faced the Cuban Missile Crisis and his attorney general, RFK, had yet to order the integration of Ole Miss. or the University of Alabama.
*** When Slicks Get Sticky: Watching the president give a defense of his economic agenda yesterday has a stark reminder of just how hard it's going to be for this White House to do much until this oil spill is under control. It's not as if the Pittsburgh speech feel on deaf ears but it had almost zero impact, even the president's call for a renewed push for comprehensive energy/climate legislation barely registered. To say everything the White House is working on outside oil is on hold is an overstatement, but it's not an understatement that as long as this hole in the ocean is spewing oil, the public isn't going to have a lot of patience for seeing Washington work on much else other than this. The New York Times’ Peter Baker: “Mr. Obama had hoped to spend his summer creating jobs, passing financial reform, promoting his health-care program, getting a Supreme Court justice confirmed and an arms control treaty with Russia ratified, pressing for international sanctions against Iran and jump-starting the troubled Middle East peace process. … ‘This has hijacked his entire legislative agenda,’ said Douglas Brinkley.” The L.A. Times: “This was supposed to be the season when Obama could make jobs and the economy his central focus -- working to convince a skeptical public that he and his allies in Congress are addressing what polls show to be voters' No. 1 concern.” The president gets a chance to prove this thesis WRONG (which we're sure he will attempt to do) during an interview today with Larry King.
*** What Romanoff Really Reveals About the White House: There's one undeniable fact on this slightly over hyped storyline: This White House is not good at using its political muscle. In fact, they stink. Let's look at their track record, three sitting Democratic senators ended up with very serious primary challenges. Let's not forget the David Paterson near-debacle or the Illinois craziness (which comes roaring back, potentially, thanks to the Blago trial) or the failure to recruit better candidates (after trying) in Illinois, North Carolina and Florida. And we haven't even gotten to the two senate retirements of North Dakota or Indiana where they either didn't make an effort or did and failed. And then there's the fact that neither Sestak nor Romanoff seem to fear the wrath of the White House, meaning going public (as they did, perhaps for their own politics) has been rather easy. For those believing there's a scandal here re: Sestak and Romanoff are blinded by their own partisan rage. But what these stories are bringing to light is the fact that, at best, the White House political operation is a clumsy bunch.
*** Back to the Future, The Search for Another Sestak: So how is the fact that what is essentially an eight-month-old story, that the White House was in talks potentially about offering former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff a job, back in the news? It’s two-fold: (A) a candidate who in an anti-incumbent year where traditional rules don’t apply, might think he sees a path to victory. His view might be: Heck, it worked for Joe Sestak, right? Romanoff, as one Democratic strategist told First Read, has to keep trying to draw stylistic contrasts between himself and incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, whom the White House has endorsed, because there aren't any substantive policy differences; (B) The GOP has proven adept at pushing these stories. Right now, Obama is still more popular than nearly every other politician in Washington. The real danger for this president is if the narrative sticks -- if he's able to be painted as being just like the rest of 'em, just another practitioner of politics as usual.
*** It’s No Fun Being An Illegal Alien: The president meets this afternoon with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed into law that controversial immigration bill. They should have LOTS to talk about. Brewer is on Obama’s Council of Governors, but she lambasted the president in a Web video, chiding him for joking about the law at the White House Correspondents Dinner. “And we all know what happens in Arizona when you don’t have I.D.,” Obama said. “Adios, amigos!” Brewer’s video: “President Obama, broken borders are not a laughing matter. No one in Arizona is laughing. Do your job and secure the border.” The meeting is closed to the press but we’ll see if Brewer decides to speak to the cameras that will be staked out in the White House driveway.
*** Miami Vice: The Republican establishment (as well as Charlie Crist) in Florida are in a vice when it comes to the arrest of former state GOP Chairman Jim Greer. Greer was a vocal supporter of Gov. Charlie Crist, who is now running for Senate as an independent. Yesterday, at a press conference on the oil spill (!!!), he was forced to address the Greer arrest, which he called “disappointing and surprising.” And in the governor’s race, state Attorney General Bill McCollum is on the defense. Primary opponent Rick Scott’s campaign said the arrest “disgraced” McCollum. The campaign called Greer a McCollum “Kingmaker” and charged that the incident “raises serious questions about Attorney General McCollum’s motivations in stalling the investigation into Greer’s activities and serves as another blow to McCollum’s gubernatorial campaign.” Marco Rubio certainly isn’t exactly off Scott-free, so to speak. Greer, like Rubio, was accused of charging chartered planes and expensive meals to his party credit card. So any attention to the, um, offbeat ways the state GOP handles its finances could end up touching Rubio. The only Republican this Greer scandal does NOT touch in Florida: Rick Scott. By the way, Crist is learning what it’s like to get it from BOTH sides. Rubio and Meek as well as the Florida Democrats and national Republicans just unloaded on Greer’s ties to Crist in what was a barrage of press releases.
*** Blago Trial Begins: Today is jury selection in the trial of disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. How might this touch the White House? By the way, the person who was MOST looking forward to the start of the Blago trial was Mark Kirk as they’ve been convinced that all of this Illinois corruption stuff will hurt Alexi Giannoulias but so far, it’s Kirk who has had the REALLY bad week.
*** The Rest of the Day: The president will meet with Vice President Biden and also Secretary of State Clinton at the White House. He will speak at a reception at the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue at 4:30 pm ET. Clinton holds court with India’s foreign delegation for most of the day.
*** More Midterms: The 2010 cycle must be in full gear (there’s another big primary Tuesday, by the way!!!) when we’re talking about sex scandals and Nazis…. South Carolina is as South Carolina does, as another person is claiming to have had an affair with Nikki Haley. The campaign vehemently denies the charge. … And in Arizona, Jan Brewer came under fire yesterday not for her support of the Arizona immigration law, but “for saying in an interview that her father ‘died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany’ when he actually died in the 1950s,” per AP. “He was a munitions worker in Nevada during the war.”
Countdown to CA, IA, ME, NJ, ND, SC, SD, and VA primaries, and AR run-off: 5 days Countdown to Election Day 2010: 152 days
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“In a statement, Democrat Andrew Romanoff, who rankled President Barack Obama's White House, said Obama's deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina tried to prevent Romanoff from challenging incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.),” The Hill reports.
“The Colorado Democrat who is trying to oust incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in that state’s hotly contested primary has confirmed that a top White House official effectively dangled three administration posts in an attempt to deter him from seeking the seat,” Roll Call writes.
As Republicans try to paint Obama as a “Chicago-style” politician, here’s the White House’s statement on the Romanoff flap: “Andrew Romanoff applied for a position at USAID during the Presidential transition. He filed this application through the Transition on-line process. After the new administration took office, he followed up by phone with White House personnel. Jim Messina called and emailed Romanoff last September to see if he was still interested in a position at USAID, or if, as had been reported, he was running for the US Senate. Months earlier, the President had endorsed Senator Michael Bennet for the Colorado seat, and Messina wanted to determine if it was possible to avoid a costly battle between two supporters. But Romanoff said that he was committed to the Senate race and no longer interested in working for the Administration, and that ended the discussion. As Mr. Romanoff has stated, there was no offer of a job.”
On the Chicago politics charge: This is something John McCain pounded daily during the presidential campaign and was litigated in the press during the campaign. Obama may have lived in Chicago, but he was outside the Chicago power structure; he even lost a congressional bid -- badly -- to Bobby Rush. It wasn't until he got OUT of Chicago that he had real political success.
BP and others in the oil and gas industry have paid for dozens of trips and meals for officials at federal agencies deeply involved in Washington’s response to the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill,” The Hill writes. “A review by The Hill of gift reports on file at the Office of Government Ethics shows oil and gas companies picked up the tab for tours by federal officials of offshore oil rigs in the Gulf along with oil facilities in Alaska.”
The New York Daily News profiles BP CEO Tony Hayward with a headline calling him “The Most Hated Man in America.” More: “After a series of gaffes - including dismissing the amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico as ‘tiny’ compared with all that seawater, and then whining that ‘I want my life back’ - calls are growing for the British oil titan's head to roll.”
“The leading edge of the BP oil slick began menacing Florida's Panhandle beaches Wednesday as President Obama declared it is time to roll back tax breaks for oil companies,” The New York Daily News writes. “Trying to harness public anger over the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, the President said the nation must transition to other forms of energy, both to safeguard the environment and to stop sending billions to unfriendly oil-producing countries.”
Israel's defiant prime minister said yesterday his country is the victim of ‘an international campaign of hypocrisy’ -- and the Gaza-bound ship stormed by his commandos ‘was no Love Boat -- this was a hate boat,’ the New York Post writes.
ARIZONA: “President Barack Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) will have lawyers at their side when they meet in the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon,” The Hill writes. “The presence of the attorneys is significant because the Obama administration is considering filing a lawsuit against Arizona's controversial new immigration law.”
AP: “Gov. Jan Brewer was criticized Wednesday for saying in an interview that her father ‘died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany’ when he actually died in the 1950s. Brewer previously said in speeches that her father died after years of breathing poisonous fumes around harsh chemicals. He was a munitions worker in Nevada during the war.”
MASSACHUSETTS: “Governor Deval Patrick, trying to keep pace in a costly gubernatorial contest, is benefiting increasingly from the kind of fund-raiser whose influence he has vowed to curb: a special-interest State House lobbyist,” the Boston Globe writes. “Sean Q. Curran, a strong Patrick supporter who promotes his lobbying business by boasting of his connections to state government, has emerged in recent months as cochairman of Patrick’s finance committee.”
NEVADA: “With a Democratic political action committee coming after her, former Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden hit back Wednesday against a critical ad that accuses her of seeking to tax veterans who want to be buried in military cemeteries,” Roll Call writes.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Dirty Tricks? “A lobbyist who resigned from a rival political campaign is claiming to have had a tryst with a South Carolina lawmaker trying to become the state's first female governor,” AP reports. “The allegation made Wednesday by lobbyist Larry Marchant is the second leveled at Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley in the past two weeks. Her campaign vehemently denies both allegations. Neither claim has come with proof.” The primary there is Tuesday.
From NBC's Athena Jones President Obama made the case for his stewardship of the economy at a speech in Pittsburgh today, arguing that for the past 16 months his administration has been working to lay a stronger foundation for economic growth.
He also pledged to work on getting the votes necessary to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill out of Congress, legislation the White House believes should have more support due to the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which BP has so far failed to stop.
At a speech at Carnegie Mellon University, the president noted that the economy had grown the last three quarters and projected Friday's May unemployment report would show "strong job growth." He said that steps to overhaul the health care system and financial regulations, invest in education, clean energy, infrastructure and innovation and reduce federal spending would help ensure growth in the future.
With the economy sure to be a big issue during the fall campaign, Republicans have sought to paint a picture of a president who focused too much time and attention on an unpopular health care revamp and a stimulus package that added to the deficit without producing enough jobs. The president has argued the measures he has taken, with the help of Democrats in Congress, from passing the stimulus to coming to the rescue of auto companies, have put the country back on the right track.
"Some of you may have noticed that we have been building this foundation without much help from our friends in the other party," he said. "From our efforts to rescue the economy to health insurance reform to financial reform, most have sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers."
He went on to describe the opposition as the party of "No."
"They said no to tax cuts for small businesses; no to tax credits for college tuition; no to investments in clean energy," he said. "They said no to protecting patients from insurance companies and consumers from big banks."
Much as he did during his presidential campaign, Obama portrayed the GOP as the party of tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer rules for big corporations, saying voters had a choice between going "backward" to "the failed economic policies of the past" or moving forward with the Democratic Party. This argument is likely to play a recurring role in the coming months as Democrats seek to woo disaffected voters.
On the oil spill and the energy bill The president said the oil spill fouling the Gulf of Mexico showed the risks of deepwater drilling and the need for alternatives to fossil fuels.
"We have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth," Obama said to applause. "These are risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes. We also have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren."
In calling for a renewed focus on a "clean energy future" he says will create jobs, the president stressed the need to increase the energy efficiency of automobiles, businesses and homes, tap the nation's natural gas reserves, expand the fleet of nuclear power plants, roll back tax breaks to oil companies and put a price on carbon pollution -- something energy legislation that passed the House of Representatives last year seeks to do. The Senate has yet to pass its version of the bill, but Obama said he planned to change that.
"The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months," he told the crowd of some 300 people. "I will continue to make the case for a clean energy future wherever and whenever I can; I will work with anyone from either party to get this done and we will get this done."
Former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer was arrested this morning on six felony charges.
From NBC's Ali Weinberg Former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer was arrested this morning on six felony charges, including money laundering and grand theft, the Orlando Sentinel reported today.
Shortly after his resignation in February on accusations of extravagant spending, Greer became the subject of a criminal investigation into income he earned from Victory Strategies LLC, a Republican fundraising company that kept 10 percent of its donations. Greer owned a 60-percent stake in the company, the Sentinel writes.
At a news conference late this morning, Statewide Prosecutor William Shepherd called Victory Strategies a "shell company" through which Greer siphoned at least $100,000 for personal expenses, and listed his charges: organized scheme to defraud, money laundering and four counts of grand theft.
Greer announced his resignation from his chairmanship on Jan. 5th, a few days shy of the party’s annual meeting in Orlando. He was accused of charging chartered planes and expensive meals to his party credit card, as was former state House speaker and Senate candidate Marco Rubio, who records show charged $13,900 to a party American Express card during his tenure in the state house, the St. Petersburg Times reported.
Besides allegations of profligacy, which compelled him to publicly cut up his own American Express card in August, Greer was also shunned by the party for his vocal support of now-Independent Senate candidate, Gov. Charlie Crist.
In a resignation letter dated Jan. 5th, Greer wrote, "While some are more interested in tearing and shredding the fabric of the Republican Party to pieces, I will not be a participant in this destructive behavior."
Further explaining his decision to step down, Greer told reporters that the Republican party had only two goals in mind: ""Remove me as chairman, and if that doesn't work, burn the house down and try to destroy the Republican Party," the St. Petersburg Times reported Jan. 6th.
Florida Statewide Prosecutor William Shepherd announces the charges against former Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer.