Tales from the Trail

Romney still hasn’t decided on a White House run … right?

USA-POLITICS/ROMNEYMitt Romney hasn’t decided whether to run for president. But of course that doesn’t mean he’s not.

Romney, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in 2008, tells ABC’s Good Morning America that a formal decision about a possible White House run is still “down the road.”

“I’m not a candidate. I’m just having fun,” is the former Massachusetts governor’s laughing explanation about why he wasn’t wearing a necktie on national TV.

What he’s having fun doing, he didn’t say. But Romney may be having a blast just raising money.  He’s leadingUSA-POLITICS/MCCAIN the pack of Republican White House hopefuls by collecting $4.7 million in 2010 through his federal political action committee. Sarah Palin comes next at $3.6 million, followed by Tim Pawlenty at $2.1 million and Mike Huckabee at just under the $1 million mark.

Then there’s his state-based fundraising  that allows donors (and candidates) to avoid federal restrictions on campaign contributions. State-level activity brought his 2010 fundraising total to more than $6 million.

Hillary wants a break, but maybe just a little one

RTXUT4X_Comp-150x150Hillary Clinton is committed to remaining U.S. secretary of state through Barack Obama’s first term. What will she want then? The answer seems to be “spare time”. But maybe just a little.

Hillary’s future has long been the subject of swirling speculation. Would she run for president against Obama in 2012? Join his ticket as the vice presidential nominee? Replace Bob Gates at the Pentagon?

The only sure bet is that she’s content to remain in the Obama administration through 2012.

Arizona sheriff sees others like Loughner

RTXWCIT_Comp1-150x150Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik sounds worried about the possibility of other attacks on elected officials like Gabrielle Giffords.

Not that he’s got evidence of another shooter or anything. But Dupnik says there are thousands of people like Jared Lee Loughner, the shooting suspect described as a mentally disturbed loner.

“These people are very susceptible to emotions like anger and paranoia and so forth, and I think that the tone of rhetoric that has occurred in this country over the past couple of years affects troubled personalities,” he tells NBC’s Today show.

Republican Issa backs off Obama corrupt comment

What a difference an election makes to one’s perspective.

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa now says it was in the “heat of the campaign” that he shot off the comment about President Barack Obama heard around the blogosphere.

Memory refresher: It was on Oct. 19 that Issa said on the Rush Limbaugh show:  “There will be a certain degree of gridlock as the president adjusts to the fact that he has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times. He has ignored the very laws that he said were so vital when he was a senator.”

Now that Republicans have won control of the House of Representatives, Issa is set to become chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has softened the rhetoric.

Some voters may be losing their taste for Tea Party – poll

USA-ELECTIONS/TEAPARTY

Is your tea getting cold? A new poll suggests the Tea Party movement may be losing some of its steam in the run-up to Election Day.

The ABC/Washington Post survey found that only 18 percent of registered voters now say they are more likely to vote for a Tea Party affiliated candidate. That’s down from 30 percent in July. Those less likely to vote for a Tea Party candidate remains at 28 percent.

Overall, 47 percent of the 1,002 Americans polled Sept. 30-Oct. 3 oppose the Tea Party, vs. 40 percent who support it. The split was even among likely voters, according to results that have a 3.5 percentage point margin of error. 

Obama finds reality of change is no quick fix on economy

President Barack Obama has come face-to-face with the reality of change (his campaign slogan) and found it is slow moving when the economy is involved.

OBAMA/“My analysis is that we came in with great excitement and people hoping that we could turn the corner really quickly. And we couldn’t,” Obama said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“This is a hard set of problems that we’re facing. And so, folks have now seen a year and a half of unemployment above 9 percent. And long-term unemployment at record levels. And so, people are hurtin’ out there. And they’re anxious and they’re fearful,” he said.

Rand Paul blames trash-talking Democrats who throw out red herrings

USA/“When does my honeymoon period start?” Rand Paul asked.

That was Paul’s opening line in an ABC “Good Morning America” interview Friday when asked about the controversy this week over comments that suggested he opposed part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that outlawed racial segregation.

Paul blamed the controversy on political trash-talk by Democrats worried that he will win the Kentucky Senate seat in November’s election after his Tea Party supported victory in the Republican primary earlier this week.

“I’ve been trashed up and down one network that tends to side with the Democrats. For an entire 24 hours I’ve suffered from them saying ‘oh he wants to repeal the Civil Rights Act,’ but that’s never been my position,” he said.

Are folks ‘for’ or ‘agin’ healthcare reform? Both, according to the partisan rhetoric

USA-HEALTHCARE/OBAMA

USA-HEALTHCARE/

Republicans say Americans don’t want the president’s healthcare reforms. Democrats beg to differ. What’s true? Depends how you figure, though as Mark Twain observed: figures don’t lie, but liars … well, you know.

Not that anyone would lie, of course. But opinion polls have been dumping figures aplenty into the debate in Congress, and the debaters have been eagerly using them to patch up their arguments’ foundations.

Take the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey: 46 percent want Congress to pass President Barack Obama’s plan; 45 percent don’t.

White House responds to naked House Democrat’s satanic tale

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Eric Massa was a little-known freshmen House Democrat only a month ago. Now he’s a political media sensation and a darling of Talk Radio/TV commentators capable of provoking the White House on healthcare reform.

Why the metamorphosis? Massa abruptly resigned from Congress, revealed he had an angry run-in with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel while the two were naked in a congressional gym shower, and now claims he was pushed out of office by the White House to keep him from voting against healthcare reform.

Oh, and he’s come to the conclusion that Emanuel is a “son of the devil’s spawn.”

Congress bracing for anti-incumbent anger among voters

WEATHER-USA/

By the look of things, the American public just might vote Congress out of office this November – Republican and Democrat alike.

But Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine sounds downright stoic, even as he admits that his own party could lose more than 28 House seats and four Senate seats.

Kaine says Democrats must accept voter anger as a fact of life in an economy that is recovering only slowly from the worst recession since the 1930s.