Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • GOP to spend $2.5 million on Rubio; Meek targets Crist


    Marco Rubio will get some serious help this fall in his bid to win Florida's open Senate seat: The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced this week that it plans to spend $2.5 million to boost the former state House speaker's campaign between now and November — one of the GOP's biggest investments this election year.

    Add that to the cash that outside conservative groups like American Crossroads plan to spend on Rubio's behalf, and it's bad news for Gov. Charlie Crist, who, as an independent candidate with no party backing, will have to use his own campaign war chest to fend off attacks from Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek this fall. The big unknown is whether Democrats in Washington will spend party resources on Meek, who runs third in the polls -- or if they will spend their cash elsewhere, a strategy that would indirectly help Crist.

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  • As another wrestler dies, McMahon goes after Blumenthal on Vietnam

    lindavinceTwo obvious vulnerabilities have long faced the candidates vying to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd in Connecticut.

    Republican Linda McMahon has had to struggle with her ties to World Wrestling Entertainment, the company she helped create, and WWE treatment of its performers. Democrat Richard Blumenthal, meanwhile,  has been burned by news accounts that he has repeatedly misstated his service in Vietnam by implying he had served in combat when he didn't. Now, as the fall campaign gears up, these are both getting aired in a big way.

    Just two weeks after the death of former WWE performer Lance McNaught, McMahon is contending with the news of another former WWE wrestler's death. On Friday, Gertrude "Luna" Vachon, 48, was found dead at her mother's home in Florida. The results of an autopsy haven't been released, but a police report obtained by TMZ says investigators found crushed Oxycodone pills and a snorting straw in the house. Her mother, who discovered the body, told police that her daughter "often appeared medicated, as she suffered from several wrestling injuries."

    A WWE spokesman told the Danbury Press' Neil Vigdor that Vachon, who was under contract at various times between 1993 and 2000, got treatment for substance abuse last year via a company program. A spokesman for McMahon declined to comment, but that won't stop questions from dogging the campaign, since Vachon's is but the latest in a recent string of mysterious deaths of former WWE performers.

    But Blumenthal has problems of his own, which the McMahon campaign is stressing in a blitz of campaign messages about the Democratic nominee's Vietnam-related misstatements.

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  • Murkowski concedes to Miller in Alaska Senate race

    murkowskiA week after the primary, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded to challenger Joe Miller Tuesday night, becoming the seventh congressional incumbent and fourth Republican to lose a primary challenge this election year.

    Miller, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, narrowly defeated Murkowski in last week's voting. Murkowski's campaign was hopeful she might catch up to Miller as Alaska election officials counted nearly 20,000 absentee ballots. At one point Tuesday, Miller's advantage narrowed to just over 1,300 votes, but he surged again late this afternoon, prompting Murkowski to concede the race.

    "I don't see a scenario where the primary will turn in my favor," Murkowski told supporters gathered at her headquarters in Anchorage.

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  • A cautious Obama urges Americans to ‘turn the page’ on Iraq

    obama speechPresident Obama faced a major dilemma heading into Tuesday's prime-time address on Iraq: How do you mark the milestone of a campaign promise fulfilled when what has happened in Iraq isn't exactly "mission accomplished"?  It was an obstacle that Obama never quite overcame in his 18-minute speech, which was remarkably disjointed for a president well known for his eloquence.

    In only his second Oval Office address, Obama was careful not to use words like "victory" or "win" when announcing the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq. That's because Iraq, seven and a half years and thousands of lost American lives later, remains a largely dysfunctional democracy, heavily dependent on U.S. aid. While Obama met his political goal of withdrawing combat troops, 50,000 American personnel will remain on the ground there until at least next year, as the threat of violence in the region continues.

    "Violence will not end with our combat mission," Obama warned. "Extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack Iraqi civilians and try to spark sectarian strife." But ultimately, the president insisted, "these terrorists will fail to achieve their goals."

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  • Watch President Obama’s Iraq speech live

    President Obama will speak to the nation from the Oval Office at 8 p.m. ET to mark the delivery of a key campaign promise he made in 2008: the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. The speech, expected to last about 15 or 20 minutes, won't be a "victory lap," Obama said today, but it will mark the changing U.S. role in the Iraq.

    Watch the speech here, courtesy ABC News:

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  • Palin’s endorsement didn’t help Miller in Alaska

    joemillerDid Sarah Palin's endorsement help Joe Miller in Alaska's GOP Senate primary? Not really, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey of GOP primary voters in the state.

    According to the poll, just 15 percent of those who voted for Miller say Palin's endorsement influenced their vote. Twenty-six percent said it was "somewhat important," and 59 percent say it didn't matter at all. Asked if a Palin endorsement makes a difference on who they vote for, 39 percent of Alaska GOP voters said it doesn't matter at all, while 35 percent said it made them "less likely" to support a candidate.

    Instead, Miller's narrow victory — which appears to be holding as votes continue to be counted — seems to have been driven by Republicans who think incumbent Lisa Murkowski isn't conservative enough.  Among the primary voters polled, 47 percent described Murkowski as "too liberal," while 38 percent said she was "just right." On the flip side, 51 percent — a majority — viewed Miller as "just right."

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  • Poll: Most Republicans think Obama ‘sympathizes’ with Islamist goals


    No matter what President Obama says about his religion, the debate over whether he is secretly Muslim continues to rage within the GOP. And a new poll finds that Republicans are now taking that rumor one step further. A Newsweek survey released Monday found that a majority of Republicans believe that Obama "sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world."

    According to the poll, 14 percent of Republicans said that from what they knew of Obama, they thought such allegations were "definitely true"; 38 percent thought the allegations were "probably true." Meanwhile, 33 percent of Republicans thought they were "probably not true" and 7 percent thought they were "definitely not true." Asked whether Obama favors the interests of Muslim Americans over other groups of Americans, 59 percent Republicans said yes, whereas 34 percent said he has "generally been evenhanded."

    The poll poses some dilemmas for the GOP as the party prepares for the thick of the general-election season. For months, the GOP has maintained a significant edge over Democrats in generic congressional ballot polling — with the most recent Gallup survey finding Republicans with an unprecedented 10-point lead. The GOP also leads Dems when it comes to voter enthusiasm ahead the November election — a number that typically serves as a reliable indicator of who will turn out to the polls and who won't.

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  • Meghan McCain’s new book revisits ’08 tensions over Palin’s campaign role

    Amid questions about her 2012 ambitions, Sarah Palin was plunged into some renewed controversy over her role on the 2008 GOP presidential ticket Tuesday, when John McCain's daughter Meghan launched the promotional tour for her new book, "Dirty Sexy Politics." In the book, Meghan McCain recalls that Palin's presence made for "drama, stress ... panic" in McCain campaign circles. The younger McCain entertains, but ultimately dismisses, the thought that the defeat of the 2008 GOP ticket "was Sarah Palin's fault."

    [Photos: More images of Meghan McCain]

    Meghan McCain has been reluctant until now to say anything publicly about Palin. But in an interview Tuesday with "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos, she explained that "I'm speaking out now because I have conflicting feelings" about Palin, noting that despite the anxiety associated with her nomination, Palin "brought so much momentum and enthusiasm to the campaign." You can watch McCain's full "Good Morning America" interview below, courtesy of ABC News; the Palin discussion begins around the two-minute mark.

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  • Will 2010 be the costliest, meanest midterm campaign yet?

    ReidAdThe 2010 campaign is already ugly, and it's likely to get much worse ahead of the November midterms. A report from the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ad buys, finds that candidates for state and federal offices have already spent nearly $400 million on TV ads this election cycle. Political parties and outside groups have spent $150 million more. Combined, that's nearly twice the spending on ads recorded at this point in the last midterm election cycle, in 2006.

    Most of these spots are attack ads, the study found -- meaning that the 2010 race could go down as one of the nastiest battles in history.  According to the analysis, which was first reported by CNN's Paul Steinhauser, the top five states for negative ads include four with hard-fought Senate races: California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Nevada. Rounding out the list is Alabama, which, as The Upshot has previously reported, has led the nation in off-the-charts-crazy ads this election year. In Senate races, the study found,  roughly 70 percent of the ads have been negative.

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  • As the RNC struggles, Rove-backed group plans $10 million GOTV effort

    boozmanlincolnAmerican Crossroads, the conservative group linked to former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, plans to spend more than $10 million on a massive get-out-the-vote program ahead of the midterm elections this fall. It's another sign that outside groups are quickly moving in to assume roles generally filled by the Republican National Committee, which has struggled to raise funds under embattled chairman Michael Steele.

    The program, called MOVERS ("mobilizing our voters to end reckless spending"), will target Republicans and independent voters in eight states with key Senate races: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Washington. The group is planning ads and has already run some in several of those states. In Nevada, for instance, the group has spent more than $1 million to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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