Tales from the Trail

Chris Christie, Cory Booker do sketch comedy for Jersey press corps

New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, and Newark’s Democratic mayor, Cory Booker, joined forces for a comic video they debuted last night at the New Jersey Press Association’s annual Legislative Correspondents Club Show.

The skit plays on Booker’s reputation for valiance (thanks to his famed rescue of a neighbor from fire and for shoveling snow for Newark residents), with Booker edging out Christie on one heroic good deed after another. “Booker!” grumbles Christie each time, echoing Jerry Seinfeld’s aggrieved “Newman!” But there’s one act of heroism only Christie, in the video, can do: join Romney as running mate.

Watch, via Christie’s YouTube page:

Hey, wavering Republicans – file by Halloween, or turn into a pumpkin

A January 31 Florida primary would offer a big treat for anyone tired of the ‘will she/won’t he’ speculation about possible new entries to the Republican presidential field — a hard deadline, on Halloween.

Florida officials say the state is expected to move up its primary to the January date, which means that candidates have until Oct. 31 — Halloween — to file paperwork to get their names on the ballot in the vote-rich state.

Florida is the fourth-most populous state, with more than 18 million people, and it is by far the largest of the “swing states” not strongly aligned with either political party, where U.S. elections are typically decided.

Who’s afraid of Mitt and T-Paw…

It turns out that Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty are the scariest pair of presidential prospects in the GOP field today, judging from a new Democratic ad and remarks by some Democratic Party hierophants.

Priorities USA Action, a political group founded by two former aides to President Barack Obama, targets Romney as a flip-flopper in a South Carolina TV ad that wields Republican Paul Ryan’s Medicare reforms like a political cudgel.

The 30-second black-and-white spot begins with Newt Gingrich’s “Meet the Press” remarks opposing what he called radical right-wing social engineering on Medicare. The ad then recounts Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s defense of Ryan before turning finally to Romney: “Mitt Romney says he’s ‘on the same page’ as Paul Ryan … but with Mitt Romney, you have to wonder: which page is he on today?”

And the GOP favorite is…

Top establishment Republicans are getting more desperate about the GOP’s current presidential line-up all the time.  Care to guess why?

Newt Gingrich, once among the most prominent voices in the GOP, appears to be on the ropes only a week after declaring his candidacy – and even before his first official campaign trip to the early voting state of Iowa.

He has apologized to House Budget chief Paul Ryan for calling his Medicare plan “right wing social engineering” in a national interview and admitted making “a mistake.”

Obama tweaks Republicans at governors lunch

President Obama leaped into political frays on a whole bunch of different levels when he addressed state governors at a White House luncheon.

Of singular interest was his mention of Republican Mitt Romney, a potential 2012 presidential candidate who is OBAMA/spending time these days defending the healthcare overhaul he executed as governor of Massachusetts.

The plan has been criticized by Romney’s potential 2012 rivals as little different from the Obama plan that Republicans want to repeal.

New Jersey goes Republican too, bad night for Democrats

USA-HEALTHCARE/LUNCHESNo matter how they slice and dice it, Democrat losses in the New Jersey and Virginia governor races are bad news for the party of President Barack Obama as he tries to move an ambitious agenda forward.

Congressional Democrats are already jittery about mid-term elections in 2010 when the party of a first-term president usually loses seats. And Tuesday’s Republican wins will only scare them more.

Even before the New Jersey race was called for Republican Chris Christie over incumbent Governor Jon Corzine, Democrats were postulating that this would be the race to watch rather than the Republican win in Virginia where Bob McDonnell beat Democrat Creigh Deeds.

The First Draft: Elections East-West

Elections in the East, elections in the West.

Hot off the wire: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been declared re-elected.

AFGHANISTAN/Afghanistan’s election commission made the declaration after Karzai’s opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew and a run-off election was canceled. “The Independent Election Commission declares the esteemed Hamid Karzai as the president,” the commission’s chief said.

This will no doubt increase the pressure on President Barack Obama to roll-out his new Afghanistan strategy earlier rather than later, now that he knows who the United States will be dealing with.

Matthew Hoh, the former State Department employee who quit last month in protest over U.S. policy in Afghanistan, told NBC’s “Today” show that the Karzai news was “disappointing” and despite the investment of  a lot of U.S. resources, “we didn’t get what we put our troops there for.”