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BLOG ARCHIVE: APRIL 1-15, 2008.

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD.

NEW DEM PREZ POLLS; INDIANA GOVERNOR, LOUISIANA US SENATE & IDAHO CONGRESSIONAL UPDATES.

P2008 - DEMS. A few new primary polls ...
PENNSYLVANIA (American Research Group): Clinton - 57%, Obama - 37%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Susquehanna Polling and Research): Clinton - 40%, Obama - 37%.
INDIANA (SurveyUSA): Clinton - 55%, Obama - 39%.
NORTH CAROLINA (Public Policy Polling): Obama - 54%, Clinton - 34%.
In a sign that Obama's comments about embittered small town voters may not prove a significant gaffe, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) -- a vocal Clinton supporter -- told MSNBC he doesn't believe the comments will mean anything more than "a few points on the fringe" in the upcoming primary. Further, Rendell said the comments won't cause problems for Obama in November, as he said Obama will carry Pennsylvania in November (but added he thought Clinton would carry Pennsylvania by a slightly larger margin in the general election).

INDIANA. A new SurveyUSA poll shows former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson leading businessman Jim Schellinger in the Democratic gubernatorial primary by a 46% to 38% vote. The winner of the May 6 primary will face embattled Governor Mitch Daniel (R) in November.

LOUISIANA: The latest Rasmussen Reports poll has US Senator Mary Landrieu (D) leading State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) by a vote of 55% to 39%.

IDAHO: Two years ago, Larry Grant (D) nearly scored an upset in the open CD-1 congressional race against bombastic conservative Bill Sali (R). Now Grant has stepped aside in favor of wealthy businessman Walt Minnick, a former Assistant US Budget Director. Minnick far outraised Grant, prompting Grant to quit the race. Grant, joined by former Governor Cecil Andrus (D), immediately endorsed Minnick. Sali, who does not have a warm relationship with state GOP leaders, faces a May 27 primary challenge from Iraq War veteran and businessman Matt Salisbury. Race rating: Leans GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.15.08 | Permalink |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD.

FREE SPEECH ZONE. Except for Clinton and Obama taking shots at each other, and spinning each other's comments -- yup, more of the same old, same old -- not much happened over the weekend. Thus, this open thread for Monday.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.14.08 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

NJ GOP ORCHESTRATES US SEN CANDIDATE SWAP FOR PRIMARY.

NEW JERSEY. Businessman Andy Unanue (R) filed paperwork to run for US Senate on Monday just before the primary filing deadline. Even then, rumors were swirling that Unanue, who declined to cut short his stay at his vacation home in Colorado, intended to quit the race within days. On Friday, the buzz proved true as it was announced Unanue had withdrawn and -- in a quirk allowed under New Jersey law -- filed paperwork asking the NJ GOP to designate another Republican to run in his place in the primary. The new candidate: former Congressman Dick Zimmer (R), who has worked as a DC lobbyist since losing a US Senate run by 10-points in 1996. In 2000, Zimmer narrowly lost a comeback race for his old House seat. State Senator Joe Pennacchio -- one of the two other GOP candidates in the US Senate primary -- told the Philadelphia Inquirer he plans to quickly file a lawsuit against "Zimmer or Unanue or whomever it takes to keep Zimmer from running." The lawsuit would essentially raise a fraud issue, challenging whether Unanue actually had the "intent" to run when he filed his paperwork earlier in the week. Pennacchio also issued an amusing statement -- equating Zimmer to a political corpse -- in which he promised to quit the race if the NJ Republican Party "managed to exhume President Theodore Roosevelt, who died in 1919, and get him to run."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.12.08 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

VIEW FROM ABROAD: DR. GREGOR GYSI, MdB, PARLIAMENTARY CHAIR OF DIE LINKE (GERMANY).

GERMANY: DR. GREGOR GYSI, MdB, Parliamentary Leader of the DIE LINKE (The Left). Born in 1948, Dr. Gysi played a significant role in ending the hardline communist rule in East Germant. A prominent civil rights lawyer -- and member of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the DDR's ruling communist party -- Dr. Gysi represented several leading dissidents in the 1970s and 1980s. By the late 1980s, Dr. Gysi emerged as the leading proponent of Gorbachev-style reforms of the Marxist-Leninst system. By 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, Dr. Gysi was working within the SED to organize liberaliztion demonstrations and demand free elections. When all of the Leninist hardliners were forced from the SED by early 1990, Dr. Gysi became the last Chairman of the SED -- renamed the Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus (Party of Democratic Socialism - PDS) -- and was elected to the DDR's Volkskammer legislature before German reunification. In the first German elections immediately following the October 1990 reunification, Dr. Gysi was elected to the Bundestag. He was subsequently re-elected and served in the Bundestag until 2000. Dr. Gysi also served as PDS Chair until 1993, and as Parliamentary Chair of the PDS until 2000. In 2000, he quit after an internal party dispute against the more leftist PDS faction, which was upset that Dr. Gysi moved the PDS into a democratic left entity that rejected traditional Marxist-Leninist ideology. Turning to local politics in Berlin, Dr. Gysi was elected to municipal office in 2002 on a coalition PDS-SDP slate with the socialists. In 2005, he returned to the PDS leadership and formed a coalition with Die Linkspartei (The Left Party). In the 2005 federal elections, Dr. Gysi was co-leader of the unified Die Linkspartei/PDS and was returned to the Bundestag. The Linkspartier/PDS also became the fourth largest party, winning 54 seats in the Bundestag. In 2007, the two parties formally merged to become Die Linke). Dr. Gysi's longtime protégé, Lothar Bisky, currently serves as the federal party leader. Die Linke portrays itself to the left of all other leading German parties and is a member of largely-communist coalition that forms the Party of the European Left (the largest party in the European Parliament).

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO DATE?

ANSWER: In the United States, the election of either Democratic candidate would result in one of the major political events of the century. The next President of the United States could be either a woman or person of color. Even a few years ago, either possibility was unthinkable. This shows how political changes is driven by cultural changes. Regardless of whoever the Democrats nominate for President, I hope he or she will be elected -- and not the candidate of the Republicans. .

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE NEXT U.S. PRESIDENT?

ANSWER: My hopes in terms of the next President of the United States is that U.S. foreign policy will no longer operate in the place of domestic politics. The war against Iraq must come to a quick end. Also, the war in Afghanistan must end. The U.S. needs more insight to better address terrorism. That means understanding that a "War on Terrorism" should not be fought, as it will only produce new terrorism. Instead, we need a more equitable world economic order, and an open dialog between different cultures and religions. Ultimately, I hope that the situation within the United States of America becomes more socially just and democratic.

Do you have a connection to a foreign political leader, elected official or prominent candidate you'd like to have answer these two questions? Please email Ron if you know someone you'd like featured here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.11.08 | Permalink |

CLINTON SPINS PA PROBLEMS; DIRTY TRICKSTER STONE EXPLAINS HIS HIT ON MARK PENN.

P2008 - DEMS. In light of rapidly narrowing polls and Barack Obama's massive TV ad blitz in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton's campaign is trying to spin significantly lowered expectations. Clinton lead by as much as 20-points in the state just a month ago. Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson on Thursday told the Chicago Tribune that Obama "is doing everything he can to win in Pennsylvania. And if he doesn't win, it will be a significant defeat for him." Most pundits chuckled, as Clinton is still viewed as the favorite in the start -- in large part because of her backing from powerful Governor Ed Rendell (D). In other P2008 news, Politics1 had a chance to catch up with infamous GOP operative Roger Stone to ask why he exposed former Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn's dealings with the Colombian government. The exposure of Penn's meetings to coordinate passage of the free trade deal -- opposed by Clinton -- led to Penn's resignation last weekend. Warning:Stone triangulates, misleads and manipulates more than just about anyone in politics. But here is what Stone told us: "We want to resurrect Hillary because we don't want to face Obama. Republicans fear a generational contrast with McCain, which we won't face with an old bag like Hillary -- who we already know how to beat." Stone's former consulting partner and ally, Charlie Black, is the senior strategist of John McCain's campaign.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.11.08 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

THREE NEW PA POLLS; WV GOV HAS BIG $$ LEAD; TIME REPORTS SEN SESSIONS TOOK ILLEGAL CONTRIBUTIONS.

P2008 - DEMS. Another day, another three Pennsylvania polls ...
Public Policy Polling: Hillary Clinton - 46%, Barack Obama - 43%.
Strategic Vision: Clinton - 47%, Obama - 42%.
Rasmussen Reports: Clinton - 48%, Obama - 43%.

WEST VIRGINIA. If money helps define viability in political campaigns, then Governor Joe Manchin (D) isn't facing any viable opponents. Manchin has over $2.2 million cash-on-hand in his campaign account, according to the AP. By contrast, State Delegate Mel Kessler (D) has raised just $450 and loaned his campaign $10,000 for his primary challenge. On the GOP side, former State Senator Russ Weeks has raised $4,385 and loaned himself an additional $1,000. Race rating: Safe DEM.

ALABAMA. Time is reporting that lobbyists and developer Lanny Young -- the man who claimed he gave illegal campaign contributions to former Governor Don Siegelman (D) -- also gave sworn statements to federal prosecutors that also also have illegal campaign contributions and gifts to several prominent Alabama Republicans. Young's testimony formed the basis of half of the 32 felony counts the feds filed against Siegelman during his failed 2006 campaign to recapture the Governor's Mansion. According to the magazine, Young testified that other recipients of his illegal contributions included US Senator Jeff Sessions (R) and then-Attorney General Bill Pryor (R), who is now a federal judge. Young's testimony -- now that it has come to light -- seems to lend credence to Siegelman's claim that the Bush Administration selectively prosecuted only him on the charges due to political considerations purportedly advanced at the time behind the scenes by then-White House political advisor Karl Rove. Sessions is facing re-election this year, but is heavily favored over State Senator Vivian Davis Figures (D).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.10.08 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

LOTS OF NEW PREZ POLLS (PA, NC, OR); STATE RACES IN OR, WA & NC; AND AN EDITORIAL ON THE CHINA OLYMPICS.

P2008 - DEMS. Several polls out today:
PENNSYLVANIA (Quinnipiac): Clinton - 50%, Obama - 44%.
PENNSYLVANIA (SurveyUSA): Clinton - 56%, Obama - 38%.
NORTH CAROLINA (WTVD-TV/SurveyUSA): Obama - 49%, Clinton - 39%.
OREGON (KATU-TV/SurveyUSA): Obama - 52%, Clinton -42%.
In other news, a one-time aide to former Clinton campaign manager Patty Solis Doyle launched a website -- VoteBoth.com -- to encourage a Democratic unity ticket of both Clinton and Obama (in either order).

TEXAS. Former congressional aide Pete Olson soundly defeated former interim Congresswoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs in the CD-22 congressional primary run-off on Tuesday. Olson won by a 69% to 31% vote, and will next take on Congressman Nick Lampson (D) in the general election. Race rating: toss-up.

CALIFORNIA. Former State Senator Jackie Speier (D) easily won the CD-12 special election Tuesday to replace the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D). Speier captured a whopping 78%, with the remaining 22% fairly evenly divided among her four opponents.

OREGON. A new KATU-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows the DSCC's recruited candidate -- State House Speaker Jeff Merkley -- is distantly trailing in the contest for the Democratic nomination for US Senate. The numbers: progressive attorney Steve Novick - 23%, peace activist Candy Neville - 12%, Merkley - 11%, mental health counselor David Loera - 6%, frequent candidate Roger Obrist - 5%, frequent candidate Pavel Goberman - 3%. The winner will face US Senator Gordon Smith (R) in November.

WASHINGTON. It looks like this year's gubernatorial rematch will be just as close as the 2004 race. The new KING-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Governor Christine Gregoire (D) leading former State Senator Dino Rossi (R) by a 48% to 47% vote.

NORTH CAROLINA. The new WTVD-TV/SurveyUSA poll gives a good snapshot of the open gubernatorial primary races. The Democrats: Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue - 40%. State Treasurer Richard Moore - 40%, retired USAF officer Dennis Nielsen - 3%. The Republicans: Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory - 38%, State Senator Fred Smith - 19%, former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr - 10%, conservative attorney Bill Graham - 9%. Governor Mike Easley (D) is term-limited. In the Democratic primary for US Senate, State Senator Kay Hagan - 21%, investment banker Jim Neal - 20%, truck driver Duskin Lassiter - 6%, attorney Marcus Williams - 5%, podiatrist Howard Staley -4%. The winner will face US Senator Elizabeth Dole (R) in the general election.

EDITORIAL. Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. The ever-present suppression of journalists, free speech, Falun Gong, and Buddhism in China. The decades-old ruthless crackdown on Tibet independence. A nation of prison gulags and sweatshops. I could go on and on. Clearly, the list of offensive conduct by the totalitarian Chinese dictatorship is lengthy. I strongly disagreed with the IOC decision to hold the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, China. But what's done is done. Further, I don't want to punish the athletes of the world who work hard to pursue their dreams. But US government officials shouldn't participate by attending any Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. Ceremonies that, in historical context, will be certainly viewed alongside the 1936 Nazi Olympics in Berlin. Let the US athletes attend and participate. But President Bush -- and all other US governmental representatives -- must stay home in an act of silent condemnation of the blood-stained Chinese government's suppression of human rights. Finally, I proudly express my solidarity with those human rights activists who -- around the globe -- are risking arrest by actively disrupting the Olympic Torch relay.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.09.08 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NJ SENATE RACE SET; NIXONITE HIT MAN STONE PLAYED ROLE IN MARK PENN'S DOWNFALL.

NEW JERSEY. Filing closed for the June 3 primary, with a few notable developments. Congressman Rob Andrews filed -- as he announced last week -- to challenge 84-year-old US Senator Frank Lautenberg in the primary. Lautenberg is slightly more liberal than Andrews, but is certain to hammer Andrews for having supported President Bush's Iraq War resolution in 2002. Andrews, in turn, will hit the incumbent for his advanced age and argue a younger person could bring more energy to the job. Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello, who lost to Lautenberg in the 1982 primary, is also back for a quixotic rematch. The GOP candidates are all second-tier quality: State Senator Joe Pennacchio, businessman Andy Unanue and college professor Murrary Sabrin. In an interesting -- and related -- move, Rob Andrews' wife Camille filed for her husband's open CD-1 seat. She was backed in the move by all the leading Democratic leaders in the district. However, Camille said she is unsure if she intends to remain the candidate or merely be a placeholder so that party leaders can substitute a replacement candidate after the primary. Congressman Andrews vowed that he will not be a candidate for the House again this year under any circumstances. However, Lautenberg's campaign notes Andrews had also previously pledged the support Lautenberg's re-election. "This doesn't pass the smell test at all," said Lautenberg's campaign manager to PolitickerNJ.com.

P2008 - DEMS. Infamous Republican hit man Roger Stone was directly involved in the downfall of Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn. Information printed by conservative columnist Robert Novak last Saturday that Penn's company -- Burson Marsteller -- was kiting $3 million worth of polling bills in possible violation of the federal campaign finance laws, was supplied by Stone. Stone was formerly a partner in the Black, Manafort Stone and Kelley consulting firm, which was ironically acquired by Burson Martsteller in 1998. The late Lee Atwater was also a partner in Stone's firm. Stone was also the person who leaked word of Penn's contract last week with the Colombian government to help strategize for a free trade agreement (note: which Hillary Clinton opposes). While Penn stepped down from the post of chief strategist over the weekend, he clearly remains involved in Clinton's inner circle. Last month Stone was credited by national media sources as the person who tipped off the feds to now-resigned NY Governor Eliot Spitzer's involvement with a high-priced prostitution ring..
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.08.08 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

CLINTON CHIEF STRATEGIST FORCES OUT; LA CONGRESSIONAL RUN-OFFS; BARR MAKES LP RUN OFFICIAL.

P2008- DEMS. Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn resigned Sunday in his lead responsibilities after it was revealed Friday he held a behind-the-scenes meetings with Colombian government officials last week to plan strategy for a new free trade agreement. His firm will remain Clinton's pollster. Clinton (and Obama) both oppose the proposed free trade deal. Penn described the meeting as "an error in judgment” and subsequently offered to step down. An angry Clinton was reportedly among those who wanted Penn out, as she believed he had previously pledged to her he would not engage in conduct that would cause conflicts with her campaign. The Hill reported Sunday that the Colombian government fired Penn's lobbying firm in response to Penn's "error in judgment" comments. Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson will now share the role of chief strategist. In other news, a new Rasmussen Reports poll in North Carolina shows Obama leading Clinton by a vote of 56% to 33%.

LOUISIANA. Primary run-offs on Saturday decided nominees in the CD-1 and CD-6 special elections set for May 3. In CD-1, State Senator Steve Scalise defeated State Representative Tim Burns by a 58% to 42% vote in the GOP primary. Scalise is a safe bet to defeat psychologist Gilda Reed (D) next month. In CD-6, former State Representative Woody Jenkins defeated businesswoman Laurinda Calongne by a 62% to 38% vote. On the Democratic side, State Representative Don Cazayoux defeated State Representative Michael Jackson by a 57% to 43% vote. A poll conducted last week for the NRCC, which leaked to the media, showed Cazayoux narrowly leading frequent federal candidate Jenkins for the open seat. Look for the DCCC to pour resources in the CD-6 contest.

LIBERTARIANS. Former GOP Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia made it official Saturday, as he announced he would seek the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination. Barr also launched his new campaign site, which has many design/functional similarities to the recent Ron Paul Presidential campaign site.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.07.08 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

VIEW FROM ABROAD: WAVEL RAMKALAWAN, LEADER OF THE SEYCHELLES NATIONAL PARTY.

SEYCHELLES: WAVEL RAMKALAWAN, MNA, Leader of the Seychelles National Party. Born in 1961, Wavel was ordained as a priest in 1985. Wavel's work as a priest -- encountering those who were harassed, imprisoned and victimized for their opposition to one-party rule in Seychelles -- drew him into politics. Wavel gained wide attention for his courageous 1990 national radio address in which he questioned one-party rule and demanded protection of human rights and political freedoms. That forceful speech led to the creation of an underground movement in 1991, which later evolved into the Seychelles National Party. The clandestine and illegal movement published a newsletter which was surreptitiously circulated and avidly read by the population. It called for an end to the abuses of President Albert Rene's one-party era. When Rene was pressured to proclaim the legal return to multi-party politics in 1991, Wavel became official Leader of Parti Seselwa (as it was then named) -- the first new party to register under the new legislation. A coalition of Parti Seselwa and other new parties contested subsequent 1993 elections against Rene under the banner "United Opposition" and, despite government intimidation, won 9% of the vote. This resulted in Wavel becoming the first and only opposition member of the National Assembly. In 1998, the United Opposition captured 26% and won additional Assembly seats. When direct Presidential elections were finally held for the first time in 2001, Wavel captured 45% versus 54% for the 26-year-incumbent. By this time, the SNP emerged as the main opposition party in the Seychelles to the ruling SPPF. In 2005, Wavel formally took a sabbatical from the priesthood to focus full-time on his political career. In the 2006 Presidential election, Wavel again won 45%. The SNP also won 44% of the popular vote in 2006 National Assembly races, capturing 11 out of the 34 seats (election laws still favor the ruling party). The SNP is regarded as a left-of-centre, liberal party and belongs to the Liberal International. Wavel is expected to again lead the SNP in the next Presidential elections.

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO DATE?

ANSWER: I have been keenly interested in the Democratic race so far, as its going to represent a first either way -- a black man or a woman -- and I think that can only be positive for American democracy. Personally I feel that as Hillary Rodham Clinton was a powerful and hugely active First Lady for eight years, she already had an opportunity to shape her country's future from the White House. Barack Obama however is not only young, intelligent and black, he also represents a movement for change that has the potential to resonate around the world. As Seychelles is part of Africa, I cannot help but wish to see an element of African heritage and understanding at the highest level of world leadership.

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE NEXT U.S. PRESIDENT?

ANSWER: Whoever wins, I sincerely hope that the next President will strive to unite the world. I hope that unlike the, at times, arrogant nature of the current administration, he or she will demonstrate a depth of compassion and a sense of understanding of the needs of those beyond American borders. I wish to see a President who will reignite the "American Dream" where people from all nations are once again welcomed to America as a land of opportunity, and where previous disputes with smaller developing countries such as Cuba and others around the world are resolved in the spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding. In short, I hope that the next US President will embrace the challenge of building an international community around the central pillars of peace and solidarity.

Do you have a connection to a foreign political leader, elected official or prominent candidate you'd like to have answer these two questions? Please email Ron if you know someone you'd like featured here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.05.08 | Permalink |

TWO MORE PA & IN DEM PREZ POLLS; PLUS FILINGS CLOSE IN ALABAMA AND TENNESSEE.

QUICK TAKES. A new Allentown Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama by a 49% to 38% vote ... A new American Research Group poll in Indiana shows Sen. Hillary Clinton leading Sen. Barack Obama, 53% to 44% ... Candidate filings closed this week in Alabama and Tennessee. Click on the state names to see the full list of filed candidates. Be sure to check out the filings for the congressional open seats in Alabama's CD-2 and CD-5. Two freshmen Congressmen in Tennessee -- David Davis (R) and Steve Cohen (D) -- also face rather competitive primary contests.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.05.08 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

CLINTON NARROWLY LEADS IN PA, IN; McCAIN UNGUARDED; BARR TO MAKE LIBERTARIAN RUN.

P2008- DEMS. A new Insider Advantage poll of Pennsylvania Dems shows Barack Obama has closed to within two-points of Hillary Clinton. The numbers: Clinton - 45%, Obama - 43%. A Research 2000 poll of Indiana Dems shows Clinton leading Obama by a 49% to 46% vote. In other news, The Politico reports Obama raised $40 million in March and Clinton raised $20 million. The numbers reflect a decline of about $15 million apiece from the high marks each set in February.

McCAIN. John McCain is continuing to resist having Secret Service protection as the presumptive GOP Presidential nominee. In fact, according to The Hill, he's not sure he really wants a full Secret Service detail is he's elected President. "McCain has acknowledged that a modern American president must have some sort of protection, but he said he would like to pare down the size of motorcades that he has noted can tie up traffic in a large American city," reported the newspaper. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both already have full Secret Service protective details.

LIBERTARIANS. Former GOP Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia has apparently decided to seek the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination. Despite reports to the contrary that Barr plans to run as an Independent, he will announce his plans this weekend in a keynote address at a regional Libertarian Party convention. "I am planning to address the delegates and I will say I am not planning on wasting their time. I am planning to have something fairly significant to say," Barr told CNN. "Sure, it will hurt [McCain]. We’ll just have to see how much," South Carolina GOP Chair Katon Dawson told the Washington Times. Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis said he expects Barr will do well in conservative states like Texas, where he said McCain should win by a comfortable margin despite his presence on the ballot. "But how he will do in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the five key swing states -- that’s the question," said Anuzis.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.04.08 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OBAMA TAKES LEAD IN PENN (MAYBE); DNC CLOSE TO DEAL TO SEAT FLA DELEGATES; CLINTON SUPERDELEGATE SAYS HE'LL BACK OBAMA AT CONVO; LAUTENBERG GETS PRIMARIED.

P2008- DEMS. A new Public Policy Polling survey of Pennsylvania Dems now shows Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton by a vote of 45% to 43%. While recent polls shows Obama narrowing Clinton's double-digit lead, only time will tell if this is an anomaly or a reflection of Obama's momentum in the Keystone State. In other P2008 news, Obama picked up the support of two more super-delegates on Wednesday: Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal and former US Senator John Melcher of Montana. Since March 4, Obama has scored 12 super-delegates versus just one for Clinton. Finally, I had an opportunity to chat this week with a Clinton super-delegate from Florida. He spoke to Politics1 on the condition of anonymity. He said he was longtime and solid Clinton backer "but Obama will be our nominee ... I won't be part of any effort at the convention to split the party and take the nomination away from Obama. When the time is right, I presume after the final primaries are over, I will have a quiet and private conversation with the Clintons. They need to understand that many of us want a unified party heading into the convention and coming out of the convention so that we can elect Obama in November. Don't get me wrong, as I'd really prefer Clinton to be our nominee. But the reality is Obama will win the nomination, and I'm very comfortable supporting him in November. The super-delegates will not do anything to destroy our party. Trust me on this: we'll have a completely unified party well before the convention." In related news, DNC Chair Howard Dean, the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and the Florida congressional delegation say they are nearing a compromise that will result in all of Florida's delegates being seated at the convention. The deal: the 26 superdelegates will get a full vote apiece, and the 185 elected delegates will be awarded a half-vote each. "It is our intention to do everything we can and we believe we will absolutely seat the [Florida] delegation at the convention in Denver. It is in everyone’s absolute interest to see that happen," said Dean. If the two campaigns approve the plan -- which will give Clinton a 19 vote advantage from the state -- the DNC is expected to quickly ratify it.

NEW JERSEY. US Senator Frank Lautenberg (D) suddenly finds himself facing a potentially competitive primary. Congressman Rob Andrews (D) -- a longtime Lautenberg rival within the NJ Dems -- put out the word Wednesday that is seeking the US Senate seat. Both men come from rival geographical factions within the party. A DSCC poll shows Lautenberg leading Andrews by a lopsided margin of 57% to 22%. As of now, a majority of NJ Dems are unfamiliar with Andrews. In 1997 and 2001, Andrews lost primary contests for Governor.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.03.08 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

PA & IN DEM PREZ POLLS; VENTURA PONDERS MN COMEBACK; GOP RECRUIT QUITS IN ALA; MS CONGRESSIONAL RUN-OFF RESULTS.

P2008- DEMS. A new KDKA-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Barack Obama narrowing Hillary Clinton's lead in Pennsylvania. The numbers: Clinton - 53%, Obama - 41%. In a similar vein, a Rasmussen Reports poll shows Clinton now leading Obama in Pennsylvania by a 47% to 42% vote. However, Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) -- a Clinton supporter -- told MSNBC that Clinton will win Pennsylvania by "a double-digit margin." Also, a WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA poll of Indiana Dems shows Clinton leading Obama by a 52% to 43% vote in the May 6 primary.

MINNESOTA. The AP reports former pro wrestler and former Governor Jesse Ventura (Independent) claims he has no future plans of returning to politics but -- then again -- he admits he's giving some thought to the race against US Senator Norm Coleman (R). "I've learned after 56 years you never say never. I have no intention at this point in time [of running], but who knows, that could change ... [I'm watching the Senate race with interest, and] I'm not very pleased with either [Coleman or challenger Al Franken(D)] ... I would think we certainly could do a whole lot better in the state of Minnesota," said Ventura to the AP. He also has a new political book coming out.

ALABAMA. "Do-overs!" What a difference a week makes. After Congressman Bud Cramer (D) announced his retirement, Governor Bob Riley (R) scored a major coup last week when he convinced conservative State Senator Tom Butler (D) to announce he would switch to the GOP and run for Cramer's open seat. Well, after a few days reflection, Butler has changed his mind about ... everything. First he said he reconsidered and decided he would not run for Congress. And he decided to remain a Democrat, at least until the end of the current legislative session. "At this time being with my family and finishing the job I stated in the State Senate is my priority," said Butler. State Senator Parker Griffith (D), attorney Ray McKee (R) and insurance agent/'94-'96 nominee Wayne Parker (R) are already announced candidates for the CD-5 seat. Qualifying closes Friday, and the GOP now look unlikely to recruit a first-tier candidate.

MISSISSIPPI. Voters decided three congressional primary run-off contests on Tuesday. In the open CD-1 race, the GOP contest between former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough and Southaven Mayor Greg Davis was the closest race of the day. With nearly all votes counted, Davis appears to have won by a 51% to 49% vote. On the Dem side, Prentiss County Clerk Travis Childers defeated State Representative Steve Holland by a 56% to 44% vote. Rate Rating: Safe GOP. In the CD-3 contest, attorney Gregg Harper defeated State Senator Charlie Ross in the GOP run-off by a 57% to 43% vote. Harper will face Pickens Town Alderman Joel Gill (D) in November. Race Rating: Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.02.08 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BREAKING: WIRE SERVICE REPORTS CLINTON MEETING IN DC WITH SENIOR STAFF TO "RE-EVALUATE" CAMPAIGN, MAY SUSPEND CAMPAIGN IN 5 PM "MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT" ... CLICK HERE FOR AP WIRE STORY...
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.01.08 | Permalink |

VIEW FROM ABROAD: JACK LAYTON, LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF CANADA.

CANADA: JACK LAYTON, MP, Leader of the New Democratic Party. Born in 1950 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Jack's father was a Progressive Conservative federal cabinet minister in 1980s. Jack moved to Toronto in the 1970s and earned his Ph.D. in political science from York University. Jack -- a university professor and prominent voice on the social democratic left -- entered municipal politics -- was elected six-times to the Toronto City Council. On the council, Jack was a driving force behind Toronto’s Healthy Cities Program, affordable housing initiatives and Canada’s first municipal AIDS strategy. In 2001-02, Jack served as President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In January 2003, Jack was elected federal Leader of the NDP on the first ballot, capturing 54% against five opponents. In the 2004 elections, Jack led the NDP to victory in 19 seats in the House of Commons (a gain of 5 seats). Jack himself was also elected to Parliament from the Toronto-Danforth riding in Ontario in the 2004 elections. Jack was re-elected in 2006, and also led the NDP to victory in 29 seats (gain of 11 seats). Jack will against lead the NDP into the next federal elections, which could come as early as this year. Jack is also the author of several books, including a Canadian bestseller on his vision for Canada's future.

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO DATE?

ANSWER: What has impressed me about this race so far is the excitement it has generated among Canadians. We’re seeing our neighbors to the south go through a major shift in the way they see their political leaders. I think Americans have felt alienated from their leadership for a long time, and with this race they are seeing an opportunity to choose a different kind of leader, one who understands the issues that affect hardworking people in their daily lives. It’s actually quite exciting to see ordinary Americans speaking out, making it clear that the next president they elect will be the person who is able to really listen to what the people are saying and who is committed to running the country in the way they want, rather than just acting in the interest of corporations and lobbyists. Canadians are paying attention to what is going on next door and they’re being inspired to make similar changes on our side of the border.

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE NEXT U.S. PRESIDENT?

ANSWER: The U.S. is at a critical juncture right now and Americans are facing many challenges. I hope that the next president will be someone who can take a long, hard look at the way things have been done in the States and come up with a plan to change direction in a number of key areas. Canadians would like to see an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more and more Americans agree with that point of view. Working people south of the border are also looking for economic measures to protect their jobs, through a re-negotiation of NAFTA, for example, or through changes in the way America treats foreign workers. I hope that the next president will be someone with the political will to follow through on all the changes that have been promised throughout the campaigns for the nominations. And I hope he or she will govern without ever forgetting that they owe their success to regular people who volunteered or voted for them.

Do you have a connection to a foreign political leader, elected official or prominent candidate you'd like to have answer these two questions? Please email Ron if you know someone you'd like featured here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.01.08 | Permalink |

MORE SUPER-DELEGATES FOR OBAMA; HUD SEC'Y RESIGNS AMID CORRUPTION PROBE; KY US SEN POLL; MS RUN-OFF DAY.

P2008- DEMS. US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) endorsed Barack Obama on Monday. Also, the Wall Street Journal reported the enitre North Carolina Democratic congressional delegation is planning an en masse endorsement of Obama before the NC primary on May 6. A new Public Policy Polling survey of North Carolina Dems shows Obama leading Hillary Clinton by a 54% to 36% vote. However, a new WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA poll of Kentucky Dems shows Clinton trouncing Obama by a 58% to 29% vote in the May 20 primary.

CABINET. Bush Administration Housing Secretary Alphonzo Jackson abruptly resigned on Monday, when it was revealed he was the target of a federal corruption probe related to the awarding of contracts at HUD. As is now routine, the "spend-more-time-with-family" cliché was the official reason given for the departure. "There comes a time when one must attend more diligently to personal and family matters. Now is such a time for me," said Jackson. He served as US Housing Secretary since 2004.

KENTUCKY. A WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA survey of the Democratic primary for US Senate shows wealthy businessman and former State Commerce Secretary Bruce Lunsford on track to score a lopsided victory. The results: Lunsford - 42%, frequent candidate David Williams - 11%, businessman Greg Fischer - 6%, and all others at 5% or less apiece. The winner will face US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in November.

MISSISSIPPI. Voters go to the polls to decide three congressional primary run-off contests on Tuesday. In the open CD-1 race, the key contest is the GOP race between former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough and Southaven Mayor Greg Davis. While Davis had initially been viewed as the pre-primary favorite, McCullough placed first in the primary and appears to be the favorite for the run-off. On the Dem side, Prentiss County Clerk Travis Childers and State Representative Steve Holland are competing. Rate Rating: Safe GOP. In the CD-3 contest, State Senator Charlie Ross and attorney Gregg Harper are competing for the GOP nomination. The winner will face Pickens Town Alderman Joel Gill (D) in November. Race Rating: Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.01.08 | Permalink |

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