Steele Gets a Challenger

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Michigan Republican National Committeeman Saul Anuzis announced that he’ll challenge RNC Chairman Michael Steele for leadership of the Republican party.

Anuzis, who ran for the post two years ago, is the first major challenger to announce a bid to unseat Steele.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

First Major Challenger To Steele Announces Bid

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis on Friday will become the first major candidate to announce a bid to chair the Republican National Committee.

In a letter being sent to national committee members, Anuzis says the decision to challenge incumbent chairman Michael Steele did not come easy, given his close relationship with Steele. But, he says, the only way for Republican to win back the White House is to get the RNC on the right path.

“The overriding challenge we face is winning back the Presidency in 2012 and we will not accomplish that objective unless there is dramatic change in the way the RNC does business,” Anuzis wrote to members. “We can’t rely on our wins in 2010 to carry us to success in 2012. We also can’t win in 2012 unless the RNC re-establishes itself as the powerful force that put us over the top in 2000 and 2004.”

Many members of the RNC are unhappy with the committee’s direction after two years under Steele’s leadership. But Anuzis said he wouldn’t dwell on any perceived gaffes as he makes his pitch to members.

“I’m not discussing or addressing the past two years. Steele’s record is the record and it speaks for itself. I am focusing on what is in the party’s best interest this next cycle,” Anuzis told The Hotline as he prepared to make his announcement public. “People like that I’m not bashing Steele, second guessing his policies or highlighting his mistakes. I don’t have to. They are known, well-documented and written about.”

Still, Anuzis’s pitch is heavily laden with references to some of Steele’s more controversial moves. “My agenda is very straightforward. I have no interest in running for office. I won’t be writing a book. It is not my goal to be famous,” Anuzis wrote, referring to a book Steele wrote that angered RNC members. Anuzis also pledged a “detailed review and supervision of how we allocate our resources,” a reference to Steele’s often strained relations with the party’s biggest donors.

The pitch also focuses on what might have been had the RNC been as big a player in the party’s get-out-the-vote operations as it had been in earlier years.

Hotline On Call

A challenger for Brown

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Globe columnist Brian McGrory writes that Michael Capuano — who lost to Martha Coakley in last year’s Senate primary — is perilously close to alienating his most important ally in the House:

Capuano, a congressman from Somerville, is one of Pelosi’s closest advisers in the House. He managed her transition when she was elevated to speaker in 2007. He led a key task force on her behalf when ethics issues were bubbling up in 2007 and 2008. When he ran for the open Senate seat last year, he told anyone who asked and many people who didn’t about how close they were. And she returned the favor by jetting into Boston to endorse him in the throes of the campaign.

And now that Pelosi finds herself down on her luck after the Democrats lost their House majority in a watershed election, what does Capuano do? He pushes her off a cliff, that’s what. Of course, then he says he’s just trying to teach her to fly.

You see, Capuano declared to the Globe this week that Pelosi should step down from the party’s leadership. He likened her to a failed baseball manager, said she did things that didn’t work, and asserted that she needs to be replaced.

This may be a sign that Capuano doesn’t see his future in the House. It was widely remarked in the late days of the Coakley campaign how much more spirited a campaigner against Brown, even as a surrogate, he was and how much stronger a challenger he would have been. It’s an obvious next step for the Democrat, and explains the new allergy to Pelosi.

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Ben Smith’s Blog

Key K-12 Ally of Obama in Senate Beats Tea-Party Challenger

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The results of the hottest edu-race in the country are in: Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., one of the Obama administration’s go-to guys on K-12 policy, beat back a challenge from Ken Buck, a tea-party-backed attorney who has said he favors getting rid of the U.S. Department of Education.

Bennet, the former Denver schools chief, and the reported runner-up for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s job, helped thwart an effort cut Race to the Top and other key education redesign programs to pay for legislation to prevent teacher layoffs. And he’s introduced measures aimed at school turnarounds, including a bill that would help train principals to work in struggling schools.

An interesting thing about the Bennet race that we’ve pointed out before, but that’s worth thinking about again, now that he’s headed back to Congress: The National Education Association put muscle and money behind this pro-charter school, pro-merit-pay Democrat.

Maybe the union helped Bennet because its leaders think he’s more likely to support spending on K-12. Or maybe NEA wanted to see the Senate stay in Democratic hands, and the Bennet race was key to that goal, GOP observers suggested to me.

But Kim Anderson, the NEA’s director of government relations, said the union believes that Bennet will “play a key role in helping to shape the next … reauthorization” of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And NEA appreciates that he’s been “quite vocal about the need to elevate the profession of teaching,” including providing teachers with professional development and support.

Politics K-12

Nelson Gets a Challenger

November 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) announced this morning that he would form an exploratory committee for the 2012 U.S. Senate election to challenge Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), the Omaha World Herald reports.

His announcement came a day after Gov. Dave Heineman (R) said that he would skip the race and serve his full four-year term as governor.

The news is also insurance for Senate Democrats who worry Nelson might switch parties. With Bruning already in the race, it’s unlikely Nelson could win a GOP primary.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Bizarre: US House Rep Barney Frank’s (MA-D) Significant Other Heckles Republican Challenger Sean Bielat Outside Debate

October 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Is this how Democrats campaign who have never faced challenges in years?

Barney Frank has his boyfriend James ready at the ready to heckle his opponent. UNREAL. Can anyone imagine what the LEFT and the MSM would be saying if a Republican candidates wife was heckling her husband’s Democrat opponent? So much for the fairness doctrine from the LEFT.

Barney Frank at the ready with boyfriend James Ready …

How desperate and concerned has Massachusetts Democrat US Congressman Barny Frank (MA04-MA) become with his reelection in 2010 … he has his significant other heckle Republican challenger Sean Bielat outside of a debate. Frank’s, a career politician claims to be safe in the polls; however, having your boyfriend pick a fight prior to a debate seems rather suspect. Also, Barney Franks has whined incessantly that right wing factions, talk radio and Fox news has targeted him.

At Michelle they compare Frank’s boyfriends actions to the  foundering golfer (Shooter McGavin) who hired a guy to yell “jackass!” during Happy Gilmore’s backswing.

Barney Frank’s boyfriend heckles Republican candidate Sean Bielat


Upon exiting the most recent debate with Barney Frank, located at WGBH studios in Boston, MA,  Republican Congressional candidate, Sean Bielat, gets heckled by a Barney Frank “supporter” while talking to the media.  While watching this video, we realized that we recognized this “supporter”. We received confirmation from two eyewitnesses that the mysterious cameraman was none other than Barney Frank’s pot-growing boyfriend, James Ready.

Career politicians like Barny Frank are exactly what is wrong with Washington, DC. Check out the VIDEO of the up to his eyebrows in Fannie and Freddie Mac Barney Franks. The Gay Patriot calls this action, just more liberal hipocrisy.

 Lear more about a refreshing breath of air in Massachusetts politics, go to Sean Bielat’s website.

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Scared Monkeys

GOP Challenger Denies Involvement With Biker Gang

October 16, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Republican congressional challenger Allen West — the latest Republican House candidate to be embroiled in a personal scandal — denied on Saturday that he has ever been affiliated with a controversial motorcycle club that has ties to criminal activity.

In an interview with Hotline On Call West said flatly that the issue is a nonstarter because the club does “not accept blacks, Jews or gays” in their membership. (West is black.) He has, however, written a column for a magazine that appears to endorse — if not promote — the Outlaws biker club.

West also said he will not be attending a rally for the magazine Saturday evening despite being listed on advertisements as a featured speaker.

The Republican is challenging Rep. Ron Klein (D) in FL 22 for the second time and is a favorite of the Tea Party. He has been a fundraising dynamo, outraising Klein in the third quarter by a $ 1.7M to $ 783K margin. He also has $ 1.6M in the bank to Klein’s $ 270K, a difference that is particularly worrisome for Democrats.

But this latest scandal could seriously hurt his chances. On Friday, NBC news reported that West was tied to The Outlaws, a motorcycle club associated with criminal activity. NBC produced an email from West supporter that warned him that a “criminal organization members in leather riding up [I]-95 is not the picture Allen wants.”

West, NBC reported, replied by emailing: “Please no more references to ‘criminal’. I was never more amazed at how members of the Outlaws guarded me during an interview.”

In an interview Saturday, West denounced the report as a “liberal character assassination attack.”

“This most recent desperate insidious attack where Lisa Myers [of NBC News] did her piece where they are trying to associate me as a member of the Outlaw motorcycle club,” he said. “If she did her research, she’d know that the Outlaws do not accept blacks, Jews or gays.”

The DCCC has cried foul because West has written a column for “Wheels On The Road,” a South Florida biker magazine that includes demeaning photos of women. The magazine also appears to endorse the Outlaws; the publisher, “Miami Mike,” wrote about going to an Outlaw party in the September issue this year.

“There is no connection between the Outlaws motorcycle club and the magazine,” West said. “There certainly is no connection with myself and the club.”

With regard to his column, West said it goes out to other blogs and magazines in addition to “Wheels On The Road.”

“I was asked to do that [column] by the editor because he wanted the South Florida biker community to learn more about politics,” West said.

West is skipping a rally for the magazine Saturday night. He was listed as a speaker on fliers for the event.

“I’m not going because its been a long day and I’m just going to be here with my wife and kids,” he said.

West is the latest Republican challenger to face a personal scandal. In the past few weeks, Tom Ganley (R) has seen his chances against Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) fade because of allegations of sexual misconduct. Similarly, Rich Iott (R), who is challenging Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D), is struggling to recover from pictures of him in a Nazi uniform.

Hotline On Call

Feingold Challenger Johnson Unsure If GOP Should ‘Repeal And Replace’ Or ‘Replace And Repeal’ Health Law

October 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

After initially claiming that they “will not campaign for full health care repeal”, Republicans have fully embraced a ‘repeal and replace’ strategy — even if the ‘replacers’ they’re proposing are just watered-down policies of provisions that are already part of the current law. Ron Johnson, who is challenging Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin has pledged to “vote to repeal the Health Care Bill and replace it with market-based solutions that will include: portability, malpractice reform, mandate reduction, insurance purchase across state lines, lower costs, and a safety net for those with pre-existing conditions.”

After a debate with Feingold on Friday, however, Johnson had second thoughts about this strategy. He first embraced repeal and replace, but then backed away from immediate repeal, telling reporters that he supports provisions that would prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions:

REPORTER: Is there anything in the bill that you like that needs to stay?

JOHNSON: Well certainly provisions that we can, again, there that we can repeal the whole thing and replace it with modest bills. Incremental, a modular type of system. What I’ve been talking about is not repeal and then replace. I would suggest we replace and then repeal. Let’s face it. We’re not going to repeal it in the first two years. So what I suggest is if the Republicans take over one of the houses of Congress, they start writing the replacement bill from day 1 so that we can show the American people this is what we intend to do and then we can show exactly how we’re going to solve the health care system in this country.

REPORTER: So health care for people with pre-existing conditions?

JOHNSON: My daughter’s heart is backwards. I think every voter in Wisconsin can be sure that I protect people with pre-existing conditions — that they’ll be able to maintain coverage.

Watch it:

Under the GOP’s replacement Pledge in the House, however, individuals with pre-existing conditions who are currently uninsured could have a hard time finding affordable insurance since issuers would still be able to deny them coverage.

Johnson’s attempt to temper expectations for what Republican will be able to achieve if they do win back the House after the mid-term elections was also recently echoed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) who told PBS’ The News Hour: “Even if we controlled the House, unless we controlled the Senate and got 60 votes, we wouldn’t be able to pass any corresponding legislation in the Senate. So I think, we need to keep expectations, again, fairly modest as far as what we can do over the next two years.”

Wonk Room

Bennet Challenger Ken Buck Admits GOP Attacks Over Medicare Cuts Are ‘Absolutley Despicable’

October 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Throughout the health reform debate, Republicans falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act’s estimated $ 500 billion in cuts to Medicare undermines senior’s benefits and now several GOP-affiliated groups are reiterating these charges in attack ads for the midterm campaign. During a recent debate with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) — where Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have run Medicare attack ads — Republican challenger Ken Buck distanced himself from the charge and conceded that the attacks were false:

BUCK: Republicans did it to you and your colleagues during the health care debate when they said, oh my goodness, the Democrats are going to take $ 500 billion away from Medicare. That was absolutely despicable. It was wrong for the Republicans to do it then and it’s wrong of you to do it now.”

Watch it:

“I hope you’ll call your friends who are pushing an ad accusing me of cutting $ 500 billion out of Medicare,” Bennet told Buck. “That $ 500 billion savings in Medicare is the very heart of the health care reform bill.”

Indeed, the health law does not cut the current Medicare budget, but slows growth in the program by removing approximately $ 500 billion from future spending over the next 10 years. The cuts help stabilize the program by eliminating overpayments and slowly phasing in payment adjustments that encourage providers to deliver quality care more efficiently. As a result the law extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by 12 years and allows seniors to retain all of their guaranteed Medicare benefits.

Wonk Room

Poll Watch: GOP challenger up in Colorado Senate race

October 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) – Republicans may be inching closer to a key Senate pickup in the swing state of Colorado.

Republican nominee Ken Buck now leads appointed Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet by 8 points among likely voters, 50 to 42 percent in a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Six percent of likely voters remain undecided, while 2 percent are backing someone else.

The race is much tighter among registered voters as a whole, where Bennett is clinging to a statistically insignificant 1-point lead, 41 to 40 percent.

The results are similar to a CNN/TIME/Opinion Research Corporation poll released September 22, which showed Buck leading Bennett by 5 points, 49 to 44 percent among likely voters. Bennett held a 47 to 44 percent lead among registered voters in the CNN/TIME/ORC poll.

Buck, the Weld County district attorney, was once a long shot in the battle for the GOP nomination. But thanks in part to support from some in the Tea Party movement, he defeated former Lt. Gov Jane Norton, who was recruited to run by national Republicans and was the early favorite in the race.

Bennet survived a spirited Democratic primary challenge from former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. He was appointed early last year to replace Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar, who stepped down to serve as Interior Secretary in the Obama Administration.

The McClatchy-Marist poll was conducted September 26-28 with 822 registered voters in Colorado, including 537 likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for registered voters and 3.5 percentage points for likely voters.

CNN Political Ticker

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