McCaskill Faces Tough Re-Election Race

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) could have a tough re-election race in 2012 no matter who the Republicans nominate to challenge her.

In a hypothetical rematch with her 2006 opponent, former Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), Talent leads her, 47% to 45%. She trails Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, (R) 46% to 44%, and edges Sarah Steelman (R), 45% to 44%. All the results are within the poll’s margin of error.

“All in all these numbers should be no surprise — with this year as a notable exception Missouri tends to have some of the closest elections in the country and it doesn’t look like this one will be any different.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Former chairman may be joining RNC race

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) – The field of candidates seeking to replace Michael Steele atop the Republican National Committee may have just gotten larger.

Former RNC chairman Mike Duncan, who was one of five Republicans who lost to Steele in the 2009 race for chairman, was a last minute addition Wednesday to a forum of candidates organized by FreedomWorks and the Republican National Conservative Caucus, a faction of conservative members within the RNC.

He was joined by three other candidates for the chairmanship: Former Missouri GOP chairwoman Ann Wagner, former RNC political director Gentry Collins and Michigan committeeman Saul Anuzis.

Duncan has been rumored for months to be interested in returning to his old job, which he held from 2007 to 2009, but committee members say he has been lukewarm about mounting another campaign.

Since leaving the committee he has served as chairman of American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-aligned independent group that steered millions of dollars into campaigns around the country in 2010.

CNN Political Ticker

Cheney to co-host fundraiser for Cino in RNC race

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) – Former Vice President Dick Cheney and a clutch of former George W. Bush advisers have a horse in the Republican National Committee chairman race: Maria Cino.

CNN has learned that Cheney will be among the hosts next Thursday at a fundraiser to benefit Cino’s 527 group, which was formed last week so the former Bush administration official could start raising money for her RNC campaign. Cheney’s daughter Mary assisted in organizing the fundraising committee.

Cino served as a top Commerce Department official and Deputy Transportation Secretary under President Bush. She also worked at the RNC during Bush’s two terms and managed the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

The fundraiser will be held at the Virginia home of GOP strategist Mary Matalin and is hosted by several veterans of Bush-Cheney world, including former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, former New York Rep. Bill Paxon and former administration aides Melissa Bennett and Emily Lampkin.

The Buffalo native has yet to make her intentions official and will not be among the candidates participating in Wednesday’s RNC candidates forum organized by FreedomWorks and conservative members of the RNC.

But as the fundraiser makes clear, Cino is all but certain to jump in the race and could formally announce her bid at the end of next week. She is slated to participate in a closed-door interview session Thursday with the bloc of RNC conservatives.

The bold-faced names on the fundraising invite – particularly that of Gillespie, who is held in high regard among RNC insiders – could help burnish her reputation with committee members as she preps her bid.

Two candidates, Michigan committeeman Saul Anuzis and former Missouri chairwoman Ann Wagner, have officially declared campaigns to replace RNC chairman Michael Steele, who has kept quiet on whether he plans to seek a second term.

Also seriously considering bids: ex-RNC political director Gentry Collins, Wisconsin GOP chairman Reince Priebus, Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy and former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, who has ruled out a challenge to Steele but is nonetheless participating in the candidate interview session with RNC members on Thursday.

CNN Political Ticker

Book review of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Although President Obama isn’t quite half-way into his first term, I think it’s safe to declare that the 2008 presidential election will end up, like the 1800, 1860, 1912, and 1980 contests, to be a transformational election. But it may not be transformational in the manner Obama wants it-the seeds of the Tea Party movement germinated in the fall of ’08. On the flipside, the election of our first African-American president was an historic event. I’m the same age as Obama, while we were toddlers, Jim Crow laws were in force throughout the South. And if the president succeeds in his effort to shove America to the left, well, we will all point to November, 2008.

I’m a fortunate blogger who has been asked to review the paperback edition of  Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime as part of a virtual book tour. The hardcover version was published in January; it is authored by Mark Halperin, the senior political analyst for Time, and John Heilemann, who covers politics for New York magazine.

Halperin and Heilemann’s Game Change revelations were widely reported upon its  initial release, including the angst of the McCain campaign over Sarah Palin’s glaring knowledge gaps, including her belief that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks and her inability to explain why North and South Korea were separate nations. She is said to have remarked, “I wish I had paid more attention to this stuff.” On the other hand, the duo use a “deep background” approach to the book: no sources for quotes such as that one are identified, and Palin is a critic of the book.

Majority Leader Harry Reid is identified as an early Obama presidential backer-in 2006-telling the freshman that he wasn’t a good fit for the Senate. I find that quite ironic-Obama couldn’t handle being a senator-so therefore he should run for president? Huh? As I’ve noted many times in this blog in 2008, Obama’s lack of executive experience was a good reason why he shouldn’t be elected to our nation’s top office. Now we learn that he wasn’t even a very good senator.

Mark Halperin

Reid’s boneheaded comment about Obama, that he was was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” caused a big headache for the Nevadan, but one that was largely forgotten last month when he defeated Republican Sharron Angle.

As for other Democrats, Game Change also zooms in on the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. It’s hard to believe, but the former North Carolina senator and vice presidential nominee was seen as a top contender to win his party’s nomination three winters ago. Both Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, come across as horrible people here. Yes, I’m aware that the volatile Ms. Edwards is suffering from terminal cancer. John’s reckless affair with New Age filmmaker with Rielle Hunter may not have sunk his campaign, but it certainly destroyed his reputation. Still, the end of the Edwards’ marriage is a sad tale. Like The Great Gatsby’s Tom and Daisy Buchanan, perhaps they do really belong together.

John Heilemann

We learn that Obama was a reluctant candidate at first-Michelle had reservations about the run. Hillary Clinton was not reluctant, in fact she considered challenging President Bush in 2004-but her daughter Chelsea talked her out of it. Ironically, despite my conservatism and my participation in several conference calls with John McCain and my attendance at the Republican National Convention, I identified mostly with Hillary while reading the book. I, too, was frustrated by the mainstream media’s half-hearted coverage of the soft-underbelly of Obama-his ties to political fixer Tony Rezko and unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers. Late in the Democratic primary season, the Hillary camp was hoping for a devastating Obama revelation that would sink the Hope and Change juggernaut. I had the same longings in the fall as the McCain campaign floundered after his biggest blunder-his shoot-from-the-hip decision to suspend his campaign after the September financial collapse.

In a way, McCain improvised much of his effort-which aided his cause after his campaign nearly collapsed over the immigration bill debacle in 2007. But he was no match for Team Obama the following autumn.

The authors add an afterword for the paperback edition. They speculate about the political future of Hillary, Biden, and Palin, noting that in 2016 the two Democrats will be roughly the same age McCain was when he was his party’s nominee-will they make one last attempt to win the job they’ve been aspiring to for decades? If so, I believe problems await them. Gaffe-prone Biden, although valued by Obama as vice president (according to the authors), is on his way to Dan Quayle punch-line purgatory, that is, if he isn’t there already. The most recent WikiLeaks revelations have damaged Clinton’s reputation. Besides, barring a change in the primary and caucus itinerary in 2016, Hillary will have to campaign in Iowa, a place she doesn’t like, as Heilemann and Halperin tell us:

She found Iowans diffident and presumptuous; she felt they were making her grovel. Hillary detested pleading for anything, from money to endorsements, and in Iowa it was no different.

And later:

She bitched about Iowa’s scruffy hotels and looked for excuses to avoid staying overnight.

Then there is Palin. Even if she really was oblivious to many foreign policy issues after her vice presidential nomination and unaware, as the authors state, of what the Federal Reserve did, she’s certainly more up to speed now. She has relative youth on her side as well, should she choose to run in 2012 or sometime later.

Oh, does anyone think a septuagenarian Biden will make fewer gaffes?

is an important book. Not just as a look back-but as a look forward.

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Marathon Pundit

RNC race filled with uncertainty ahead of forum

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) – There may be a handful of empty seats on stage Wednesday as Republican National Committee members team up with a leading Tea Party organization to grill the candidates vying to replace Michael Steele atop the party – a reminder that the chairman’s race remains wide open with just six weeks left until the election.

The RNC race is shaping up to be a referendum on Steele’s controversial tenure, but the chairman, who has kept mum about whether he plans to seek a second term, isn’t likely to be in attendance.

And several of those gunning for the chairmanship won’t even be in attendance for the candidates forum in Washington.

As of late Tuesday, only three candidates were certain to participate in the forum, which is sponsored by a bloc of conservative RNC members hostile to Steele and the Tea Party-aligned organization FreedomWorks: Michigan committeeman Saul Anuzis, former Missouri GOP chairwoman Ann Wager and former RNC political director Gentry Collins.

The other Republicans seriously contemplating bids – former Bush administration official Maria Cino, Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy and Wisconsin GOP chairman Reince Priebus – either won’t be in attendance Wednesday or are declining to campaign in public before having a chance to line up core support on the committee.

That’s because the RNC race is and always has been an inside game, played out among committee members on phone calls and in hushed hallway conversations, not in the media.

The most pivotal action of this two-day gathering is likely to take place behind closed doors on Thursday, when six potential candidates will be interviewed privately by members of the Republican National Conservative Caucus, a faction of conservatives within the RNC.

Those members will be evaluating each potential candidate according to a list of 13 “Leadership Criteria,” measuring his or her fundraising skills, management experience and willingness to work with the Tea Party movement.

Among those slated to participate in the private interviews Thursday are two of the race’s highest-profile figures, former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman and Priebus, both of whom have been hamstrung by Steele’s reluctance to make his intentions public.

Priebus, whom sources say is now leaning toward a bid and could announce by the end of the week, was a key member of Steele’s kitchen cabinet until recently, when other members of the committee pressed him to enter the race as a unifying alternative to the controversial chairman.

Coleman, meanwhile, has ruled out a challenge to Steele. But his participation in Thursday’s private interview session is a sign that he might still be open to seeking the chairmanship should Steele decline to run.

“As I’ve stated time and again, I’m not running against Michael Steele,” Coleman said in an email to CNN. “I am interested in the direction of the RNC in the 2012 election cycle, and look forward to being involved in that discussion regardless of the specific role I might have.”

With the election is just six weeks away, no candidate has emerged as a consensus alternative to Steele and several hopefuls have delayed their timetables as they await an announcement on the chairman’s future. If Steele’s bows out, it would free up his hardcore backers on the committee to look elsewhere.

In past RNC elections at this time, candidates were openly in campaign mode, traveling the country to line up support ahead of the January election. Not so this year.

“What has changed in this cycle is that Steele has not made a decision one way or the other, so that creates an uncertainty that is throwing the timing off,” Anuzis told CNN. “He is really kind of throwing a wrench in the whole process. Everybody is kind of waiting for what the chairman is going to do.”

CNN Political Ticker

Massive Voter Fraud Found in Close NY-1 Race

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Democrat Tim Bishop leads by 235 votes, with double voting scandal breaking.
American Thinker Blog

Voter Fraud in New York 1st Congressional District? Race Still Not Decided

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

While most congressional races have long since ended there is one race still in doubt, the contest in New York’s 1st Congressional District between Long Island Democratic incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler, were the incumbent is now leading by 235 votes out of the roughly 180,000 cast.

Everything about this race has been strange, after election night on Nov. 2, Bishop held a lead of 3,461 votes, but after a re-canvass of electronic voting machines evaporated Bishop’s advantage giving Altschuler had a 383-vote lead. Close to 40 percent of election districts reported errors in transferring numbers on election night. After absentee ballot counting began, the incumbent gained votes every day.

Yesterday Fox News reported that they reviewed approximately 438 of the absentee ballot voters, who also maintain mailing addresses in New York City, of which 48 have double registrations.

This morning, they reported that review was up to 2000 absentee ballots. After checking those ballots that were sent to New York City addresses, and with their local board of elections, they found that 50 of those 2000 ballots voted in BOTH locations.

“It certainly is illegal to vote twice,” warns John Conklin, the spokesperson of the New York State Board of Elections, who said convictions can bring a one year jail sentence.

“If you voted twice, you committed a felony, and I think it would be very difficult to do that by accident. I think that would be something to be concerned about and that the district attorney is going to come knocking on their door.”

The overwhelming majority of the Long Island voters, who are also on the New York City voter rolls, appear to be wealthy Manhattanites who own second-homes in the posh resort towns of East Hampton, Southampton, Montauk, Amagansett and Shelter Island. Many of them voted in Manhattan as recently as last November in New York City’s mayoral election, and in the presidential election of 2008.

It is not illegal for second home owners to vote from their vacation homes, as long as they are not also registered or vote elsewhere. In fact, the Democratic Party [1] has encouraged the practice.

The website,, which is run by the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, says that “New Yorkers have the right to choose where they vote if they have more than one home…you have the right to vote using an absentee ballot if your work or family commitments keep you in the City during the week.”

“They are abusing the system,” charges local resident Noel Feustel, a long time voting activist who has tried to bring light to voter registration problems.

“They are disenfranchising the locals, and negating my vote. They are affluent enough to own multiple residences, but the regular person, the poor guy harvesting scallops doesn’t have that option. It is one person one vote, not multiple residences, multiple votes. If they want to claim that this is where their heart is and vote here, they should serve jury duty, pay sales tax on their BMW’s and Steiger Craft boats, and when they move on to their final domicile, pay estate taxes in Suffolk County.”

Both sides will attend a meeting this morning morning at Board of Elections headquarters in Yaphank to try and cut down the number of challenged votes between both sides. In addition, 71 military votes will be counted. From there, a judge will determine what to do with the remaining ballots.

Tuesday’s meeting comes after both sides met on Monday and cut out approximately 250 challenges on both sides, said Bishop spokesman Jon Schneider. According to Schneider, after absentee and affidavit counting ended last week, Altschuler had challenged 1,261 votes, and Bishop 790.  It will be interesting to find out what other “funky” news comes out of this election.

The voter in question has an extensive voting record, having cast a ballot in New York City 33 times since 1984. Records show he not only voted in a Manhattan polling place during the general election this past November, but also in the Democratic primary in September. The voter has not returned our request for comment.


The RNC race

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Jonathan Martin explains the state of play:

Part of what is keeping some possible candidates on the sideline is that Steele has not yet indicated whether he’ll run for a second term. Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, for example, said recently that he wouldn’t run if the incumbent ran for re-election.

But Steele’s intentions are a mystery. Even sources close to the chairman, who has laid low since the election, said they were uncertain as to what he would do.

His support seems to be slipping among the 168-member committee. An Associated Press survey last week found that 39 of 51 members questioned preferred a new chairman and some of the party’s most prominent elected officials have stated a preference for a new party leader.

Anuzis, who has been actively lobbying the committee, said in an email message that Steele has a maximum of “around 46-50 votes at this time.”

One indicator as to whether he could win re-election may come Thursday, when FEC reports covering the final weeks of the election are released. If the party’s debt is as bad as claimed by Collins, the former political director who departed the committee with a scathing memo indicating that the committee was in the red upwards of $ 20 million, Steele’s prospects would almost certainly dim.

The most talked-about potential candidate who has not yet made his intentions clear is Wisconsin Republican state Chairman Reince Priebus, a one-time Steele ally who presided over a successful year at the helm of the Badger State GOP in which the party took over both chambers of the state legislature, picked up a pair of U.S. House seats, and won the governorship while knocking off three-term Sen. Russ Feingold.

Priebus was in San Diego at the Republican Governors Association meeting earlier this month and has been sounding out members of the committee. Barbour has been urging him to run.

Priebus wouldn’t discuss his plans but is expected to make a decision this week and people familiar with his thinking suggested he was moving toward getting in the race.

If he does run, it’s almost certain that RGA executive director Nick Ayers will not launch a bid, according to sources familiar with the backstage maneuvering.


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Chavez uses WikiLeaks for race jab

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Hugo Chavez appears to have enjoyed one of the lower-profile, but specifically damaging, portions of the WikiLeaks cache, Hillary Clinton’s questions about the mental health of the president of Argentina:

Chavez criticized Clinton’s comments on state television and expressed his "solidarity with the president of Argentina."

"Someone should study Mrs. Clinton’s mental health … She feels superior to Obama… Because she is white, she feels superior to the black president," Chavez said.

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Soros’s absentee ballot challenged in local Westchester race

November 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Azi Paybarah reports:

In the November 2 elections, George Soros mailed in an absentee ballot. He has a home in Westchester and votes there, where right now, there’s a recount going on in Democratic State Senator Suzi Openheimer’s race against Republican challenger Bob Cohen. Soros’ ballot was among those Republicans objected to, saying it should not be counted, according to a source present during the count. A final ruling by a judge has not yet been made.

Soros does live in Westchester, so the grounds for the challenge aren’t clear.

Paybarah is told nobody objected to the ballots of Hillary and Bill Clinton.

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