Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • McMahon spends big in Connecticut, but fallout over wrestler’s death could be costly

    lindaandvinceFormer World Wrestling Entertainment chief Linda McMahon spent nearly $2.5 million last month on her Senate bid in Connecticut — roughly equal to what her Democratic opponent Dick Blumenthal has spent on his entire campaign.

    As the Connecticut Mirror's Deirdre Shesgreen reports, McMahon spent an average $117,000 a day — spending that has now pulled her within 10 points of Blumenthal in a race where he was once strongly favored. All told, McMahon has spent nearly $24 million on her candidacy so far, all of it money that she has loaned to her campaign. Previously, McMahon has said she's willing to spend at least $50 million of her own cash on the race, a number that privately worries Democrats, as many once safe-looking Senate races have become unexpectedly competitive.

    Blumenthal has held onto most of his cash, launching his first general-election ad in the race a little more than a week ago. But McMahon has been forced to spend big, in part to build up her name recognition in the state but also to beat back potential negatives in her campaign, including her affiliation with the WWE. Last month, she ran ads describing the WWE as a "soap opera" amid criticism from families of wrestlers who have died after working for the WWE. But she still can't escape the bad press.

    Two weeks ago, Lance McNaught, a 29-year-old former WWE wrestler who struggled with a painkiller addiction, died of heart failure. Previously, McNaught, whose stage name was Lance Cade, had criticized the WWE, saying the company "says one thing and does another" when caring for wrestlers who struggle with addiction and health problems. McMahon denies the charge.

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  • Pennsylvania Senate race to be Obama referendum

    sestakapAll politics is local — except when it's not. In dismaying news for Democratic Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Joe Sestak, a new poll finds that most Pennsylvania voters in this fall's election plan to cast their ballots based on their feelings about President Obama.

    A Franklin and Marshall College survey of likely Pennsylvania voters found that Republican Pat Toomey leads Sestak by 9 points, 40 percent to 31 percent. But the poll also found that the race to replace Arlen Specter (whom Sestak defeated in this summer's Democratic primary) is increasingly less about either candidate than about  Obama. Three out of five Toomey voters say they consider their vote to be against Obama. Among Sestak supporters, roughly the same margin — 57 percent — say they will cast their ballots in support of Obama.

    Why is that bad news for Sestak and other Democrats in the state? Because Obama is far less popular in Pennsylvania than he was a year ago. According to Franklin and Marshall, Obama's approval rating in the state is at 37 percent — more than 20 points below where  it was 20 months ago, when he took office. Just 3 out of 10 Pennsylvanians say their state is on the right track — the lowest number in 15 years.

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  • Bristol Palin reportedly cast on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

    bristolLooks like Sarah Palin isn't going to be the only reality TV star in her family.

    The former Alaska governor's 19-year-old daughter, Bristol, has reportedly been cast on the upcoming season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." According to E! TV's Kristen Dos Santos, she joins a cast that reportedly includes David Hasselhoff,  Audrina Patridge, formerly of "The Hills," and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino from MTV's "Jersey Shore."

    For the record, ABC isn't commenting. The show's cast is set to be revealed Monday, with the premiere scheduled for Sept. 20. That's a little less than two months before the scheduled premiere of that other Palin reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," which debuts on Nov. 14 on TLC.

    If the Bristol news is true, there's one person sure to be jealous: Levi Johnston, the father of her nearly 2-year-old son, Tripp, who has been shopping around his own reality TV show. Last week, Johnston, who briefly reunited with his onetime fiancée this summer before breaking up again, filed paperwork in advance of an apparent run for office in Wasilla, Bristol Palin's hometown.

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  • Evangelicals condemn attacks on Obama’s faith, but Warren remains silent

    obamawarrenA group of leading evangelical preachers — including television pastor T.D. Jakes and Kirbyjon Caldwell, a spiritual adviser to George W. Bush — has released a letter condemning "misrepresentations" of President Obama's faith.

    "We are deeply troubled by the recent questioning of President Obama's faith. We understand that these are contentious times, but the personal faith of our leaders should not be up for public debate," the letter reads. "Obama has been unwavering in confessing Christ as Lord and has spoken often about the importance of his Christian faith.  Many of the signees on this letter have prayed and worshipped with this President.  We believe that questioning, and especially misrepresenting, the faith of a confessing believer goes too far."

    The letter, signed by more than 70 pastors and other Christian leaders, calls on the media and other public officials to offer "no further airtime" or attention to those who suggest Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian. The reaction comes after a recent Pew poll found that nearly 1 American in 5 believes Obama is Muslim — an increase over a year ago.

    Still, CBN's David Brody noticed one prominent evangelical who hasn't spoken up in Obama's defense: Rick Warren, the founder of Saddleback Church, and author of the best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life."

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  • Democrats’ hold on the Senate is increasingly at risk


    Could Democrats be in danger of losing majority control of the Senate in November? A new analysis from FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver suggests that the GOP is gaining momentum heading into the midterm elections, putting at least six or seven Democratic Senate seats at serious risk.

    "The Democrats now have an approximately 20 percent chance of losing 10 or more seats in the Senate, according to the model, which would cost them control of the chamber unless Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, who is running for the Senate as an independent, both wins his race and decides to caucus with them," Silver writes in the New York Times.

    That analysis directly contradicts what some Republican leaders have said about the November races. All summer, Sen. John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has been downplaying the GOP's chance at taking the majority this fall. Just last week, Cornyn told "Fox News Sunday" that the GOP probably won't make the gains it needs until 2012. "If everything goes our way, I can see a pathway there," Cornyn allowed. "Realistically, I think it'll be a two-cycle effort."

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  • Palin gains influence in 2010, but 2012 road could be rocky


    Sarah Palin was one of the big winners in Tuesday night's primaries, as all five of the candidates she endorsed either won or, in the case of Joe Miller in Alaska's Senate GOP primary, appeared on the verge of winning.

    But even if she is proving influential in the 2010 GOP primaries, Palin still has a long way to go if she decides to jump into the 2012 presidential race — especially in the early primary state of Iowa.

    A recent Concordia Group/Iowa Republican poll of likely GOP voters in the state found Palin in fourth place behind Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. According to the poll, Palin attracted just 11 percent of the vote — 11 points less than Huckabee, who won the state's caucus in 2008.

    Palin's supporters will argue that it's no surprise that she trails Huckabee, who has worked hard to sustain his political profile in the state. But it's the numbers within the poll that should give the former Alaska governor serious pause. As Craig Robertson of the Iowa Republican notes, Palin's unfavorable rating among likely GOP voters in the state is significantly higher than that of any other prospective 2012 nominee.

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  • Big primary night highlights limits of tea party insurgency

    rubio2Insider versus outsider: That's been the major theme of the 2010 campaign so far, and it was no different as voters in five key states, including Florida and Arizona, headed to the polls in nominating contests 10 weeks before the November midterms. But in the GOP contests that dominated the night, the influence of the tea party movement, which for the past year has fueled so much voter anger — and media coverage — showed some important signs of flagging, particularly as nominees on the right ponder the best way to frame a campaign message to appeal to independent voters in the general election campaign.

    In Florida, it came down to a battle of money versus power, as wealthy candidates tried to topple establishment favorites. In the governor's race, it worked, as former health care executive Rick Scott, who portrayed himself as an outsider, running outside the GOP establishment's power structure,  narrowly defeated GOP favorite Bill McCollum, the state's attorney general. But money

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  • Scott narrowly wins Florida GOP gov. race, but party feud could help Dems

    rickscottIf there's a lesson in Florida tonight, it's that $26 million can't buy an election, but $50 million can. That's how much Rick Scott spent in his bid to win the state's GOP gubernatorial primary. (The smaller sum was what billionaire Democratic Senate aspirant Jeff Greene spent in his failed nomination bid.) The former hospital executive narrowly defeated state Attorney General Bill McCollum in what was one of the most contentious primaries in the country. The Associated Press called the race for Scott late Tuesday, with more than 90 percent of the state's districts reporting.

    McCollum, a former congressman, was backed by most of the GOP establishment, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. But Scott, who campaigned as a political outsider, narrowly led in the polls up until this week, when McCollum seemed to make a last-minute resurgence. The race was so nasty that neither Scott or McCollum would commit to endorsing the other in the general election, forcing the Florida GOP to postpone a so-called unity rally scheduled for Wednesday.

    The GOP turmoil could be good news for Democrats. Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, easily won the party's nomination Tuesday, and polls show she's gained a slight lead in the general election as Scott and McCollum have attacked each other. That represents a notable gain since a recent Quinnipiac poll found she's a virtual unknown in the state.

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  • Meek easily wins Democratic Senate nod in Florida


    After weeks of looking as though he might lose the race, Rep. Kendrick Meek soundly defeated financier Jeff Greene in Florida's Democratic Senate primary — a major victory, since Greene spent more than $26 million of his own cash in the race.

    With more than half the vote in, Meek was beating Greene by double digits. Greene, who led the polls up until about a week ago, had campaigned as an outsider, but Florida voters ultimately soured on his candidacy after weeks of bad press over his celebrity-studded yacht parties and thin political resumé.

    But now Meek now faces an even more difficult challenge: Can he keep Democrats from defecting to Charlie Crist's campaign? All summer, polls have found Meek running a distant third behind Crist, who quit the GOP to run as an independent, and Republican Marco Rubio — in part, because Crist has been pulling significant Democratic support away from Meek.

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  • Hasselbeck supports gay marriage, calls Obama a ‘cool guy’

    hasselbeckAs a co-host of ABC's daytime chatfest "The View," Elisabeth Hasselbeck has long been known as the conservative firebrand of the show, willing to butt heads with her fellow co-hosts on issues including taxes and abortion. But Hasselbeck, who campaigned with Sarah Palin in '08, insists that she's been misunderstood, saying in a recent interview that she regards President Barack Obama as an "incredibly cool guy" and parts company with conservative culture warriors on the charged issues of gay marriage and abortion rights. On the latter front, she says she's "torn"; she offers fairly unequivocal support on the controversial question of same-sex unions.

    In an interview with Fancast's Adam Buckman, Hasselbeck insists she's not "ultra-ultra-conservative on every issue."  "I actually support gay marriage," she says, an admission that puts her to the left of Obama.

    As for abortion, Hasselbeck confirms she believes that life begins at conception but also says she doesn't think the government should tell women what to do with their bodies. "I'm torn there in terms of supporting laws" for or against abortion, she says. "I always say I would rather a change in heart than a law."

    Hasselbeck considers herself more of a "federalist" — someone who believes the federal government should leave decisions up to the states — than a "conservative." "Always trying to mandate, mandate, mandate this or that is not the way that I believe the country should be run," she says.

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