Tales from the Trail

Robert Pozen says not running for Senate – but perhaps could be convinced

Boston correspondent Ross Kerber interviewed mutual fund industry veteran Robert Pozen and they talked politics.

Pozen says he’s not running so far for the Senate seat from Massachusetts once held by the late Edward Kennedy. But he does appear to be positioning himself as a possible centrist candidate for Democrats mulling how to defeat Republican Senator Scott Brown in next year’s election. USA/

“I’m not running for Senate unless the Democratic Party asks me to, if they want someone who is socially liberal and fiscally disciplined,” Pozen told us in an interview at his office at MFS Investment Management, the Boston fund company where he is now Chairman Emeritus.

If, however, the party wants a more confrontational figure to take on Brown next year, “then they shouldn’t choose me because I won’t be that type of candidate,” said Pozen, a former vice chairman of Fidelity Investments.

Much of the speculation about potential Democratic rivals for Brown has so far centered on possible candidates like Democratic Congressman Michael Capuano and  Alan Khazei, co-founder of the City Year public service organization for young adults.

Napolitano says no to running for Senate seat in Arizona

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has ended the political speculation on whether she will leave President Barack Obama’s Cabinet to run for the U.S. Senate in the 2012 elections.

USA/Napolitano, a former governor from Arizona, told Democratic Party leaders earlier this week that she would not seek the open Senate seat.

“She cares deeply about Arizona, but the secretary intends to continue doing the job that the president asked her to do — protecting the American people from terrorism and other threats to our country,” her spokesman Sean Smith said in a statement on Friday.

Washington grow up? Don’t hold your breath

President Barack Obama said he wants a mature discussion between politicians of all stripes as the White House and members of Congress try to make tough decisions on spending and taxes necessary to run the government and deal with a ballooning budget deficit.obama1

“My hope is that what’s different this time is, is we have an adult conversation where everybody says here’s what’s important and here’s how we’re going to pay for it,” Obama told a news conference Tuesday.

Don’t hold your breath.

Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 with a pledge to seek common ground between Democrats and Republicans, but his time in office has been marked by bitter fighting and few issues garnering bipartisan support.

Budget and bipartisanship don’t mix on Valentine’s Day

Where’s the love?

Despite all the (whining?) and dining at the White House in the hopes of  bipartisanship and civility, Republicans got out the trash-talk for  President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget proposal.

USA-BUDGET /Since Republicans control the House, and Democrats the Senate and White House, bipartisan action will be needed if any progress is to be made. Congressional Correspondent Richard Cowan takes a look at how the budget process works here.

Obama released a $3.7 trillion proposal as the first salvo in the annual budget wars. Republicans immediately marched out their disapproval.

Webb’s retirement could loosen Democratic grip on U.S. Senate

Things just got a lot harder for Democrats.

First-term Senator James Webb announced on Wednesday he will not run for re-election in Virginia next year, making Republicans the early favorite to recapture the seat the Democrat narrowly won in 2006. MYANMAR-USA/

The decision by Webb, an author and a former secretary of the Navy, set off a celebration among Senate Republicans and a scramble to find a replacement among Democrats with no clear good options.

The name most frequently mentioned was former Governor Tim Kaine, head of the Democratic National Committee, who says he has no interest in the seat. Other possibilities among Democrats include former Congressman Tom Periello, who lost in November after one term, former Congressman Rick Boucher and former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

California Democrat Jane Harman plans to step down from Congress

Democrat Jane Harman plans to resign from her congressional seat representing California’s 36th district if she is named to head a Washington think tank.

USA/In a letter to constituents, Harman said she had filed paperwork notifying the House that she is in discussions to succeed Lee Hamilton as president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “I send this note because a decision is imminent and I wanted you to hear the news from me first,” Harman writes.

“This is an excruciating decision because the distinction of representing the smartest constituents on earth will never be surpassed – nor will my relationships with my exceptional staff and colleagues in Congress.  But shaping and leading the Wilson Center is a thrilling new challenge,” Harman writes.

Charlotte’s web catches Democratic convention

It’s Charlotte for the 2012 Democratic national political convention.

Democrats picked the banking center and Republicans chose Tampa, Florida, for their convention — highlighting the importance of the South to winning the White House next year. ROUTE-RECOVERY/

In the 2008 election, Obama became the first Democrat to win North Carolina — by about 14,000 votes over Republican candidate John McCain –  since President Jimmy Carter in 1976.

First lady Michelle Obama, in a letter to Democrats, described Charlotte as a city “marked by its southern charm, warm hospitality, and an ‘up by the bootstraps’ mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South. Vibrant, diverse, and full of opportunity, the Queen City is home to innovative, hardworking folks with big hearts and open minds. And of course, great barbecue.”

As Obama speaks, Democrats target GOP’s Ryan

RTXCDYH_Comp-150x150President Barack Obama may grab all the headlines with his State of the Union address. But Democrats want the GOP’s chosen responder, Paul Ryan, to share the spotlight — as poster boy for politically unpopular ideas that could be used against Republicans in 2012.

Here’s New York Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer’s take on Ryan on that electorally tender topic, Social Security. “What Paul Ryan suggests — privatization — is really a dismantling of Social Security,” he tells MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

More than that, Schumer says Ryan epitomizes policies that are straight out of the 1920s, those heady days of flappers, speakeasys and laissez-faire good times that preceded the Great Depression.

Washington Extra – Laundry list

The White House is promising that tomorrow’s State of the Union address will be something different.

And by that, they apparently mean it will not be a dry recitation of all the things that need to be done. “I don’t think you’ll see a laundry list of issues,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs declared. OBAMA/

Well then, how will President Barack Obama get his points across about all that’s on the plate for this year and all the help he’s going to need from a politically divided Congress?

Former Senator Allen trying for a comeback, but he’s got competition

Former Republican Senator George Allen is trying for a comeback for the Senate seat from Virginia that he narrowly lost to Democrat Jim Webb in 2006, following comments that critics said were racist.

USA ELECTIONS“Friends, it’s time for an American comeback,” Allen said in a video on his website. “Today, I’m announcing my candidacy for the U.S. Senate. You know me as someone willing to fight for the people of Virginia and I would like the responsibility to fight for you again.”

He promised a campaign for the 2012 election based on “foundational” principles that included reining in government spending and creating jobs.