• CT-Sen: Uh, whoa:
In little-noticed remarks at a Tea Party town hall meeting earlier this year, Republican Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon proposed introducing a "sunset provision" into the Social Security Act. [...]A sunset... for Social Security. Holy smokes. And oh man. Check out McMahon's Clintonian response:
Speaking before a group of Tea Party supporters in Waterford, Conn. on April 20, however, McMahon said she would consider making major changes to Social Security, from raising the retirement age to means-testing benefits. She also proposed introducing a "sunset provision"—the legislative term for putting an expiration date on a law unless it is renewed. [...]
At the April Tea Party gathering, McMahon said in response to a question about how to "strengthen" Social Security and Medicare that "we cannot continue doing things the way we are doing with Social Security. We're just simply going to be bankrupt."
The candidate later continued, "In other words, I believe in sunset provisions when we pass this kind of legislation, so that you take a look at it 10, 15 years down the road to make sure that it's still going to fund itself. Social Security will run out of money if we continue to do what we're doing, if we rob the trust fund, if we think that there's any money there."
"She didn't mean sunset in terms of what most people typically think of a sunset provision of a bill," said Todd Abrajano, her communication director.Good luck with that one! While we're at it, it turns out that McMahon has even more of a history of late tax payments than we previously realized:
For the second time in less than a week, a review of municipal records by The Courant show that McMahon also failed to pay her property taxes on time. She paid the property taxes on her Greenwich home late four times since 1984 and was assessed close to $2,000 in interest and penalties. This comes a few days after news that McMahon was six weeks late this month paying taxes on a Stamford condo she owns with her husband Vince.But wait, there's more!
Also Wednesday, The Day obtained municipal records that show McMahon was once six-months late in paying the second half of her 2002 property taxes on a $1.9 million gated townhouse in Greenwich that she bought for her mother. McMahon paid the unit's $14,510 tax bill in full in January 2003, including $723 in accrued interest.Yeah, I think when it comes to timely payment of debts, Linda McMahon really needs stop her jawing. And about Social Security, too. Actually, she probably should just avoid talking altogether. Wait, no, am I crazy? Keep it up, Linda! We love you!
• IN-Sen, IN-Gov: More good polling news for Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly: He leads Republican Richard Mourdock 40-38 in the latest poll from Howey Politics & DePauw University (conducted jointly by Dem firm Garin-Hart-Yang and GOP pollster Bellwether Research). That's up from a 35-35 tie all the way back in March, the last time Howey was in the field, and is also pretty similar to what little other recent polling we've seen. Here's one interesting stat: Among Republicans who voted for Sen. Dick Lugar in the primary, Mourdock's currently only winning 60% of them, while 15% are backing Donnelly. (Howey doesn't publish full crosstabs, though, so we don't know how big this group is.)
Things, however, look less bright for Team Blue in the governor's race. There, GOP Rep. Mike Pence is beating Dem John Gregg 47-34, not too different from Pence's 44-31 edge last time. Pence is getting awfully close to that 50% mark, though am I alone in thinking that 47%, given Pence's huge cash edge and Indiana's very red tendencies, is kinda weak with just six weeks to go? I'm sure Gregg wouldn't like to hear it, but at least if he can keep Pence's margin down, he'll help improve Donnelly's chances of knocking off Mourdock. Meanwhile, on the presidential front, Obama trails Romney 52-40, a little worse than the previous 49-40 gap. However, the last poll was taken while the GOP primaries were still ongoing, so it's notable that Mitt hasn't improved his standing very much since then.
Though, turning back to the Senate contest for a sec, I'm seriously not getting what Donnelly is trying to do here. He now says he'll vote for Obama—but may not vote for Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader? If you're going to make that move, which is a dumb move anyway, you say you might not vote for the President (who might actually drive votes) rather than saying it about Harry Reid (who nobody gives a shit about). Plus, your vote in a presidential race is obviously not outcome-determinative on an individual level. But saying that you might dangle your leadership vote in a 51-49 or 50-50 Senate? Sheesh.
• ME-Sen: Steve Mistler at the Portland Press-Herald does a good job tying together a bunch of anecdata to explain why independent ex-Gov. Angus King's coronation as senator has not been going as smoothly as King probably once imagined it might. With polls showing a tightening race, here's a good excerpt that really showcases King's rust:
Most recently, the campaign was criticized for editing critical statements from a 4,000-word profile of King in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram before posting it on the campaign website.Meanwhile, Rasmussen puts King up 45-33 over Republican Charlie Summers, with Democrat Cynthia Dill back at 14.
That overshadowed the campaign's attempt to seize the initiative against one of its main antagonists, the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The campaign called a news conference Monday to announce that it would sue Maine television stations if they kept airing ads by the Republican group that attack a wind power project that King helped to develop in Roxbury.
The campaign said the ad is deceptive and contains false claims. It released a rebuttal ad featuring Roxbury residents who support the project.
Some analysts say the ad may be the strongest that King's campaign has released. But attention suddenly shifted back to King's campaign, which had to answer questions about redacting critical passages from the Maine Sunday Telegram profile.
• MO-Sen: I guess Todd Akin now feels free to say whatever he wants:
"I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent," Akin said. "She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that's because she feels threatened."That's not all, though. From a separate appearance:
"The first two minutes, wow, it's like somebody let a wildcat out of the cage," Akin told a small group of supporters and activists as his statewide bus tour stopped Wednesday evening in Rolla, a rural college town between St. Louis and Springfield. "She was just furious and attacking in every different direction, which was a little bit of a surprise to us."Meanwhile, a new Chilenski Strategies poll (PDF) has Akin leading 48-47—exactly the same as they had it back in August. Their presidential numbers still seem a little too optimistic for Obama, though (he trails 50-44), and they also have the best numbers Dem Gov. Jay Nixon has seen in any public polling all year, a 55-38 lead over Republican Dave Spence in the MO-Gov race. So if anything, this poll might understate Akin's position.
• CT-Sen: Democrat Chris Murphy, talking directly to camera, touts his middle-class roots and then hammers Linda McMahon for supporting a tax plan that would "give her a $7 million tax cut."
• HI-Sen: Mazie Hirono uses a clip of Republican Linda Lingle saying she's voting for Mitt Romney, while a narrator reminds viewers she's also a Romney campaign co-chair.
• IN-Sen: The DSCC opens with an infamous clip of Republican Richard Mourdock saying: "To me, the highlight of politics frankly is to inflict my opinion on someone else," then goes on to hammer him for thinking that a "tea party plan to end Medicare as we know it doesn't go 'far enough.' "
• MO-Sen: SEIU hits GOP Rep. Todd Akin with his "legitimate rape" quote, then goes on to blast him over a litany of insanity: believing Medicare is unconstitutional, calling student loans a "cancer," and voting against "the national sex offender registry to track pedophiles."
• VA-Sen: Democrat Tim Kaine attacks George Allen for voting to partially privatize Social Security and to "cut Medicare" when he served in the Senate, and for supporting the Ryan plan now.
• WI-Sen: The DSCC is hitting Republican Tommy Thompson on Medicare, though they aren't yet using his instant classic that was discovered the other day, in which he said: "Who better than me, that's already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?"
• PA-Gov: Want an early look at which Democrats might take on first-term GOP Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014? The Philadelphia Daily News's Catherine Lucey does her best to track down statements from the likes of ex-Rep. Joe Sestak, state Treasurer Rob McCord, 2010 nominee Dan Onorato, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Sen. Bob Casey, and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro.
• NH-Gov: Whoa! Just a couple of days after a poll commissioned by the New Hampshire Democratic Party showed Maggie Hassan beating Ovide Lamontagne by two points, along comes an internal from the DGA with Hassan up nine! The details on the survey, from the Feldman Group, are a little sketch (all we know about the field dates are that it was "completed within the past several days"), but they've got Hassan on top 50-41. It's a little weird when two different internals for the same side taken so close together offer such different pictures of the same race, so I'm really not sure whom to believe—but I do wonder what the GOP's response will be.
• NC-Gov: The DGA isn't giving up on North Carolina just yet. They're hitting Republican Pat McCrory, saying that the lobbying firm is about to get a huge tax break thanks to a tax loophole—and once again mentioning (as they did in their earliest ads) that McCrory hasn't disclosed how much he's made at this gig.
• NH-Gov: The DGA attacks Republican Ovide Lamontagne for promising a "radically different" policy course from retiring four-term Dem Gov. John Lynch, including a desire to "pull New Hampshire out of Medicare's basic protections."
• CA-07: Look out! AFSCME is evidently dead-set on making sure that GOP Rep. Dan Lungren doesn't make it back to Congress, seeing as they just dropped a mind-popping $800K on a new ad run attacking Lungren as a Wall Street lackey. If you live in the Sacramento area, be prepared to this this spot on TV a lot.
And speaking of Lungren, here's a nice little "oops":
Republican Rep. Dan Lungren distanced himself from controversial bill language involving abortion funding in cases of "forcible rape" during a Tuesday debate with 7th Congressional District rival Ami Bera, saying he told the original sponsors of House Resolution 3 that he "would not support" the proposal unless the word "forcible" was taken out.• CA-44: I'm a little surprised that someone would pay SurveyUSA to poll this race, but KABC thought it was a good idea, so here we are. The 44th has always seemed like the least competitive of California's big Dem-on-Dem general elections (thanks to the new top-two primary system), with Rep. Janice Hahn beating fellow Rep. Laura Richardson by about 20 points in June, and Hahn dwarfing Richardson in terms of both money and credibility. SurveyUSA finds a somewhat tighter race than the primary showed us, with Hahn leading 43-33 (and with 24% undecided). (David Jarman)
"So in fact, if you're talking about the mistake they made, I was the one who pointed it out," Lungren said. "... I can tell you it was after I went to them and told them I couldn't support it if they didn't take the word forcible out that they changed it."
Congressional records show, however, that Lungren signed on as a cosponsor of the bill when the legislation was first introduced, before 'forcible' was deleted from the text.
• FL-02: Well whaddya know: The other day (courtesy commenter spiderdem), we noted that the DCCC had added Democrat Al Lawson to their Red to Blue list. Now, among many new ad buys, it turns out that the D-Trip is spending $61K to go up on the air against Lawson's opponent, GOP freshman Steve Southerland. I'm guessing some polling is offering hints of optimism, and national Dems have already started writing off some seats, so they need to preserve a sense that recapturing the House is still at least an outside shot. But I'm wondering about this district. Obama captured 47% here in 2008. Let's imagine he can do as well again there this cycle. That still means you need to find a few Romney-Lawson voters, and I'm just having a hard time picturing who those are.
• FL-18: After two months-apart Democrats polls showed a tied game, I'd wondered why GOP Rep. Allen West hadn't responded with any numbers of his own. Well, now he has, with an internal from Public Opinion Strategies showing him up 52-41 over challenger Patrick Murphy. One big problem, though (which the Murphy campaign was quick to point out): The survey also has Romney up 51-44 over Obama, in a district Obama won 51-48 last time out. Given that most statewide polling has show the president improving his standing considerably, and doing at least as well as he did in 2008, it's hard to believe that Obama would be headed backwards in the 18th District.
• FL-26: Just when you thought the Justin Lamar Sternad story couldn't get any weirder... actually, I've got a pretty open mind about the whole thing and I'm quite ready to believe it could get a lot weirder still... but in any event, just click link and watch the video. Trust me on this. The payoff is in the first five seconds. I promise. You want to see this one.
• IA-04: We have not one, not two, but three new polls out in Iowa's 4th Congressional District. The first, an internal from GQR for Democrat Christie Vilsack's campaign, finds her trailing incendiary conservative Rep. Steve King by a 46-44 margin. GQR says that's down from a 55-40 King lead in the spring of 2011. (Obviously those prior numbers were never released.) In that timeframe, GQR also has King's job approvals going from 45-35 positive to 41-45 negative.
The second is from PPP (on behalf of the super PAC belonging to progressive mobile phone company CREDO) and shows an almost identical spread, with King on top 48-45. Unfortunately, neither poll release includes presidential toplines.
The third was pushback to the first pair: The conservative American Future Fund, relying on pollster American Viewpoint, finds King up 48-41 over Vilsack. Again, no presidential toplines, but regardless, I don't think these numbers are super-impressive for the incumbent. I also wasn't hugely impressed by these responses, either:
King said in a statement that the poll's results would "not diminish my commitment to go to every town and sprint to the finish line."Meanwhile, King's been successful in getting local TV stations to stop airing an ad from the Humane Society Legislative Fund that accused King of being "the only Iowa member of Congress to oppose a ban on taking children to dogfights." One station manager called the spot "patently false," but I don't see the problem with it: King did in fact vote against such an amendment, but says he did so on federalism grounds. Votes taken for allegedly "principled" reasons that have unpleasant consequences in reality have always been fair game in politics, so this smells to me.
King campaign communications director Jimmy Centers said in a statement that "Nancy Pelosi, Christie Vilsack and their liberal allies are spending between $5 million and $10 million in negative, dishonest political ads" and still King is holding a lead.
• NY-19: Could Chris Gibson be more vulnerable than he looks? Not long after the DCCC unexpectedly went on the air here, The Hotline is reporting that Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS (the "charity" arm of the Crossroads evil empire) is spending $165K on "a week's worth of broadcast television in the Albany media market."
• NY-25: Siena's tour around New York's competitive congressional districts continues with Monroe County's 25th CD—and brings some good new for veteran Dem Rep. Louise Slaughter. She has a solid 52-42 lead over Maggie Brooks, considered a top GOP recruit, particularly since this seat became considerably redder in redistricting. The Obama-Romney numbers are fairly similar as well, with the POTUS on top 53-39, and if anything, that's a bit pessimistic, seeing as Obama won 59-40 here in 2008.
What's more, Slaughter's favorables are good (59-36); Brooks' are pretty good, too (51-42), but she doesn't have much room to grow. Slaughter's re-elects stand at 50-44, and the generic congressional ballot is 53-41 in favor of Dems. All in all, this is very good news, considering that Slaughter currently represents only 38% of the redrawn 25th. And Brooks' response to the poll is seriously lame-o:
A poll represents only one snapshot in time, and with our fact-based ad campaign just now kicking into high gear, Mrs. Slaughter would be wise not to spike the ball at the 50 yard line. Once voters get to know more about her record of voting to hike income, marriage, and energy taxes on the middle class, it will be County Executive Brooks, joined by taxpayers from across our community, who are ultimately celebrating victory on Election Day.• PA-08: Quite a few Republicans have moved to defend Mitt Romney over his notorious "47%" remarks, and I haven't tried to catalog them all, but GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick's recent comments really stood out to me as particularly obnoxious:
"One of the principles is that we need to support people who have a history and know what it is like to sign the front of a paycheck, not the back of a paycheck," Fitzpatrick says in the recording. "The front of a paycheck also includes you took a risk and you build a business on your own—without the federal government standing next to you as you're signing a personal guarantee. It's just you and your wife and your banker; you know that's it."P.S. Hey, NRCC, 1995 called and it wants its bogeyman back. Seriously, national Republicans are launching robocalls against Democrat Kathy Boockvar over... Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted cop-killer. PoliticsPA does a good job ripping apart the bogus claims made in the call—all of which have to do with Boockvar's husband (who had some involvement in the case as an attorney), not Boockvar herself.
The crowd laughs as Fitzpatrick says "not the back of the paycheck."
• PA-12: You can view it both as pushback against GOP polling and perhaps an explanation for why the DCCC is "trimming" its ad buy in Pennsylvania's 12th: Their new survey from Anzalone Liszt puts Dem Rep. Mark Critz up a very hale 52-41 over Keith Rothfus, just a touch better than his 50-40 showing in August. (A recent Rothfus/NRCC internal had the race tied at 38.) Barack Obama's also doing surprisingly well, trailing Mitt Romney just 51-46 (up from 51-42 last time)—notably tighter that his nine-point loss four years ago, particularly since this area of Pennsylvania is trending away from national Democrats. But maybe not just yet: The memo insists that this shift "mirrors the statewide public polling movement since August."
As for that ad spending, it's trickier this cycle than ever before to make judgments based on such movements, since other third-party groups, like House Majority PAC, SEIU, and AFSCME have stepped into the breach in many cases. Indeed, that's what appears to be happening here, with the D-Trip slicing back on a reported $180K in airtime, but with various allies still going strong. (And even the DCCC isn't going dark.) So the race may still very well be a tossup—it could just be that DC Dems are hoping for another organization to pick up the laboring oar.
• WA-01: We're just full of "uh, wow" quotes from Republicans in today's Digest:
In a live webcast of the Seattle Times editorial board meeting... Republican U.S. 1st District Congressional candidate John Koster doubled down on his unfortunate suggestion that immigrant farm workers should, like cattle, be tagged with bar codes to make sure they aren't working illegally or sneaking away from the fields ("If we can track cattle with chips, we can certainly provide a way for citizens to go through a process to be legal in this country"), arguing again that immigrant workers should be equipped with electronic bar codes that farmers could scan with their smartphones to make sure they're in the country legally.• WI-07: The CREDO super PAC actually had a second new poll on Thursday (see IA-04 item above), also from PPP. In Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District, they find Democratic challenger Pat Kreitlow challenging GOP freshman Sean Duffy 48-44. Duffy's favorables are just under water at 42-44, and his re-elects are 46-47. That means a tiny chunk of people who want someone else to represent this seat are still saying they'll pull the lever for the incumbent. Duffy's been advertising more heavily so far, so if Kreitlow can match him on the airwaves, he could make up that gap in polling.
• CA-24: Republican Abel Maldonado deploys some very vague attacks on Lois Capps (she's been in Washington 14 years).
• CT-04: A narrator cites a USA Today story calling Democrat Jim Himes "brave" for supporting some bipartisan budget—then Himes himself says that "tackling our nation's budget issues isn't brave." Zuh?
• FL-18: Right-win super PAC Treasure Coast Jobs Coalition attacks Democrat Patrick Murphy for supporting the stimulus, and (total bullshit) "million-dollar bonuses for insurance executives." That bogus claim has been debunked many times. Ah, politics.
• IL-08: Over eye-catching footage of Democrat Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee, riding a hand bike, a narrator says she will always go the "extra mile."
• IN-08: GOP Rep. Larry Bucshon tells a bunch of lies about the Affordable Care Act, then mentions a company which claimed it would halt expansion plans because of a new tax on medical devices. (That's apparently a bunch of bogus whining, too.)
• NC-07: The YG Action Fund attacks Dem Rep. Mike McIntyre for allegedly going on foreign trips on the taxpayer dime.
• NV-04: Democrat Steven Horsford goes compare-and-contrast, touting his work to prevent education cuts vs. Danny Tarkanian's "extreme tea party agenda."
• NY-21: A good spot from Dem Rep. Bill Owens, summarizing "The Matt Doheny story: a tale of four islands." In brief: Doheny was a Wall Street vulture capitalist who then worked for a company "that used the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes" and finally bought a pair of private islands to carpetbag into the district.
• NY-25: Maggie Brooks attacks Dem Rep. Louise Slaughter for allegedly raising taxes and voting to raise her own pay.
• OH-06: In a weirdly edited spot that seems to mimic a very bad action movie trailer, GOP Rep. Bill Johnson says he "answered the call" to deal with America's foreign threats (as a "young farmboy") in the 1970s, joining the Air Force. Fast-forwarding to recent times, Johnson ran for office because he "saw new threats"—apparently comparing Barack Obama and ex-Rep. Charlie Wilson (the man he's facing in a rematch) to the Soviet generals who appear on-screen in the opening moments of the ad. A second spot tells lies about Wilson cutting Medicare, then features Johnson's mom, GOP playbook-style, saying she knows she can trust her son to protect the program
• OH-16: A comely "flight attendant" for "Outsourcing Air" mocks GOP Rep. Jim Renacci for helping to ship jobs overseas in this AFSCME spot.
• PA-12: Keith Rothfus features a bobble-head doll version of Dem Rep. Mark Critz (I suppose) and accuses him of blindly following Obama.
• TX-23: The LCV goes for an Old West theme, claiming that GOP Rep. Quico Canseco "voted to cut investments in clean energy, like wind and solar that could create good-paying Texas jobs."
• VA-02: On behalf of Democrat Paul Hirschbiel, a young woman attacks GOP Rep. Scott Rigell as a foot soldier in the war on women.
• WI-07: Democrat Pat Kreitlow keeps up with his amusing "I'm not a lumberjack" series of ads, illustrating how the Ryan plan (supported by GOP Rep. Sean Duffy) would cut Medicare benefits to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy by having a pair of actual lumberjacks re-stack a bunch of logs in real-life bar-chart fashion.
• San Diego Mayor: This year's mayoral contest in San Diego is one of the most heavily-polled municipal-level races I've seen, but if the good news keeps coming, I'll take it. SurveyUSA has yet another poll of the race, and they find Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Filner beating Republican city councilor Carl DeMaio in the ostensibly nonpartisan race 50-38. That's another steady improvement in a race Filner was once losing; he led 47-41 last month. San Diego city hall is one nut the Democrats have had a hard time cracking despite being blue at the presidential and even state level—outgoing mayor Jerry Sanders, for instance, just passed the endorsement torch to DeMaio—but it's looking like they might just do it this time. (David Jarman)