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September 19, 2014

Rowland Found Guilty Again

Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland (R), "a political rising star who crashed a decade ago in a corruption scandal, fell again Friday when a jury in federal court found him guilty in a low-rent scheme to collect secret pay checks from rich Republican congressional candidates," the Hartford Courant reports.

Is Christie the GOP Frontrunner Again?

"Influential Republicans in early presidential primary states believe New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is poised to once again become a frontrunner for the party's 2016 nomination, following a news report that he is no longer a target of federal scrutiny for his role in a bridge-closing scandal," the Washington Post reports.

"Christie's wealthy friends in Republican finance circles also expressed confidence that the governor has escaped what has been seen as the leading obstacle to his potential candidacy."

Bernie Sanders Recorded a Folk Album

Seven Days has unearthed a folk album recorded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 1987, while he was the mayor of Burlington, VT.

Daily Beast: "While savoring these songs, the listener might wonder, you know, how the hell something like this ever happened... The senator's office, sadly, doesn't have much to say about their boss's old record making the rounds this week."

See more...

Orman Lead in Kansas

A new Rasmussen survey in Kansas finds Greg Orman (I) leading Sen. Pat Roberts (R) for U.S. Senate, 45% to 40%.

The survey shows the head-to-head match up now possible when Chad Taylor (D) is kept off the ballot.

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Toss Up in Iowa

A new Rasmussen survey in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) and Bruce Braley (D) deadlocked in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 43%.

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

Republicans May Change Rules to Save Boehner

"House Republicans are quietly discussing a proposal that could fundamentally alter the way future speakers of the House are chosen, according to multiple GOP sources, with the objective of avoiding a repeat of John Boehner's embarrassing reelection vote in 2013," National Journal reports.

"Under the proposed tweak, any Republican who votes on the House floor in January against the conference's nominee for House speaker - that is, the candidate chosen by a majority of the House GOP during its closed-door leadership elections in November - would be severely punished. Specifically, sources say, any dissenters would be stripped of all committee assignments for that Congress."

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A Candidate Who Says Nothing

Molly Ball: "That Clinton is a risk-averse, pragmatic politician has been her hallmark for years, of course--it's just another way in which her current persona offers nothing new or surprising. Has America ever been so thoroughly tired of a candidate before the campaign even began?"

Biden Praises Packwood at Women's Event

In the middle of a speech championing women's issues and condemning sexual harassment, Vice President Joe Biden offered warm words for former Sen. Bob Packwood (R-OR) who resigned after 10 women accused him of sexual harassment, Business Insider reports.

GOP Candidate Suggests War with Mexico

North Carolina congressional candidate Mark Walker (R) suggested war with Mexico might be a way to stop immigrants coming across the border, TPM reports.

Said Walker: "I will tell you if you have foreigners who are sneaking in with drug cartels to me that is a national threat. And if we got to go laser or blitz somebody with a couple of fighter jets for a little while to make our point, I don't have a problem with that either. So yeah, whatever we need to do."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"The battleground for control of the Senate is now Kansas."

-- Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS), quoted by ABC News, on news the Democratic candidate will be allowed to drop off the ballot to force a two-way race.

Many Want Their State to Secede

A new Reuters poll found that almost a quarter -- 23.9% -- of those surveyed said they were strongly or provisionally inclined to have their states secede from the United States.

"Secession got more support from Republicans than Democrats, more from right- than left-leaning independents, more from younger than older people, more from lower- than higher-income brackets, more from high school than college grads. But there was a surprising amount of support in every group and region, especially the Rocky Mountain states, the Southwest and the old Confederacy, but also in places like Illinois and Kansas. And of the people who said they identified with the Tea Party, supporters of secession were actually in the majority, with 53 percent."

Paul Rips GOP on Minority Voters

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) slammed the Republican party for not reaching out to minorities, Politico reports.

Said Paul: "So many times, Republicans are seen as this party of, 'We don't want black people to vote because they're voting Democrat, we don't want Hispanic people to vote because they're voting Democrat.' We wonder why the Republican Party is so small. Why don't we be the party that's for people voting, for voting rights?"

Quote of the Day

"Let's see if you can write this whole story without mentioning how fat I've gotten."

-- North Carolina congressional candidate Clay Aiken (D), quoted by the Washington Post.

Burke Plagiarized Jobs Plan

Large portions of Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke's (D) jobs plan "appear to be copied directly from the plans of three Democratic candidates who ran for governor in previous election cycles," BuzzFeed reports.

"Burke's economic plan Invest for Success copies nearly-verbatim sections from the jobs plans of Ward Cammack, who ran for Tennessee governor in 2009 before withdrawing from the race, a 2008 plan from Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and John Gregg who ran for governor of Indiana in 2012 and lost to Mike Pence."

If Republicans Win the Senate

"Senate Republicans are planning aggressive action to intensify oversight of the Obama administration and move conservative legislation long stymied by the Democrats if they win control of the upper chamber in the midterm elections," the Washington Examiner reports.

"Republican leaders are promising a complete makeover of the chamber that goes beyond changes in legislative priorities... Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, expected to become the next majority leader as long as he wins re-election on Nov. 4, plans to return power to the committees and promote a freewheeling debate process that allows members to shape legislation through a vigorous amendment process."

Politician Accused of Dropping Pants Drops Race

Joe Sorrentino (D), a New Jersey borough council candidate, "is bowing out of his race after revelations that he allegedly shouted racist slurs while mooning patrons of a local diner," New Jersey Advanced Media reports.

Said Sorrentino: "I regret what happened, and I have worked every single day to prove that I am not the man that the report says."

Scotland Votes Down Independence

"Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom after voters decisively rejected independence," the BBC reports.

"UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he was delighted the UK would remain together and said the commitments on extra powers would be honoured. Mr Cameron said the three main unionist parties at Westminster would now follow through with their pledge of more powers for the Scottish Parliament."

Paul Adjusts Foreign Policy Views

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) "is making adjustments to his foreign-policy profile that is bringing him more in line with his party's mainstream and a step away from its isolationist libertarian wing. That could ease his path to the nomination, but is also creating openings for critics and rivals," the Wall Street Journal reports.

GOP Pushes Early Voting Efforts

"Republicans are trying to boost their early-voting efforts after lagging behind Democrats in the past two election cycles, spending unprecedented sums at the state level and launching a national campaign to get GOP voters to cast ballots before Election Day," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"With early voting beginning Friday in three states, the GOP's efforts have the potential to affect the outcome of close races. Campaigns that bank early votes can then spend their resources chasing supporters with less reliable voting histories, who may need a push to the polls."

September 18, 2014

Rift Widens Between Obama and Generals

"Flashes of disagreement over how to fight the Islamic State are mounting between President Obama and U.S. military leaders, the latest sign of strain in what often has been an awkward and uneasy relationship," the Washington Post reports.

"Even as the administration has received congressional backing for its strategy, with the Senate voting Thursday to approve a plan to arm and train Syrian rebels, a series of military leaders have criticized the president's approach against the Islamic State militant group."

Federal Charges Ruled Out for Christie

"The U.S. Justice Department investigation into New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's role in "Bridgegate" has thus far uncovered no information he either knew in advance or directed the closure of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge," NBC News reports.

Taylor Allowed Off Kansas Ballot

"The Kansas Supreme Court issued a decision laden with political intrigue Thursday that overruled the state's top elections officer and declared Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Chad Taylor could pull himself from the November ballot," the Topeka Capital Journal reports.

"In the middle of a wild campaign for the seat held by three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, the high court's opinion thwarted the decision of Secretary of State Kris Kobach to prohibit Taylor's exit from race."

Rick Hasen: "The big unanswered question is what happens to the other statute which appears to require Democrats to replace a withdrawn candidate on the ballot."

Gingrich Not Happy with GOP

Newt Gingrich is not thrilled by the current state of the Republican party, Roll Call reports.

Said Gingrich: "The fact that we do not have positive themes and positive issues is going to cost us seats this fall because moderates and independents aren't going to turn out. It's an enormous mistake."

He added: "You have to sound like you're more than anti-Obama, and you're more than some ... politician whose primary role in life is to raise money for your consultant to buy attack ads. It's pathetic ... and it's turning people off."

Perdue Maintains Lead in Georgia

A new Rasmussen survey in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading Michelle Nunn (D) by five points in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 41%.

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