Tales from the Trail

McCain says Trump having fun, Republicans have serious candidates for 2012

Republican Senator John McCain, who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, made clear that he doesn’t see Donald Trump as a serious candidate for 2012.

“I think Mr. Trump is having a lot of fun and it’s pretty clear he enjoys the limelight.  We have very serious candidates.  And I think that, if Mr. Trump wants to run, he’s welcome to run,” McCain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

(Ouch!) 

That came a day after Trump attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where Obama and comedian Seth Meyers told cutting jokes about the New York real estate magnate.

“Anybody can run.  He has a right to run.  He is a New York icon, bigger than life in a lot of things, and he can put himself into the mix,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Is he worth taking seri0usly?

“That’s up to the voters,” Bloomberg said. “The nice thing about America is you get a chance to go out there and make your case. ”

Haley Barbour not running, lacks ‘absolute fire in the belly’

Scratch Republican Haley Barbour off the list of presidential hopefuls for 2012.

The Mississippi governor made it official, he’s not running. It’s apparently all about that ”fire in the belly,” or lack thereof.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else.  His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate.  I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required,” Barbour said in a statement.

Shake-up strikes House Republican legal team for gay marriage ban

After a week of questions and criticism, the legal team hired by Republicans in the House of Representatives to defend a law banning gay marriage suffered a shake-up of sorts on Monday when the law firm dropped the case and the lawyer who was going to lead the effort resigned from the firm.

Just a week ago Paul Clement, U.S. solicitor general during the Bush administration, and his firm King & Spalding signed up to work for  Republicans trying to overturn a court ruling that found the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as between a man and a woman unconstitutional.

After criticism mounted from gay rights advocates, King & Spalding Chairman Robert Hays said the firm was dropping the case because of “vetting” issues.

Obama’s new talking point: 2012 may be harder race to win

hands_obamaAs part of his strategy to raise money and excitement for his re-election bid, President Barack Obama and his advisers are starting to use a new warning: winning in 2012 may be harder than it was in 2008.

For a incumbent Democratic president who is routinely beating potential Republican rivals in polls, it may seem a bit early to paint oneself as the underdog.

But Obama and his team want to make it clear that it won’t be a cakewalk to hold on to the White House, even though this time around the former Illinois senator is not an unknown figure.

Washington Extra – Major breach

pentagonIn this post-9/11, ultra-high security era, it is hard to believe that the bomb-proofing specs of a new Defense Department building in the DC area would be on public view. Then again, the Internet is a tough beast to manage.

Reuters reporters Mark Hosenball and Missy Ryan discovered the sensitive information about Mark Center — where 6,400 Defense Department personnel are scheduled to move later this year — on a public website maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Out of concern for the security of personnel who will work there, Reuters is not disclosing most of the details in the 424-page document stamped “For Official Use Only.”

4 Republican hopefuls in New Hampshire find tepid Tea Party turnout

Four potential Republican presidential hopefuls showed up, but the turnout for the New Hampshire Tea Party tax day rally was rather tepid.

USA-CAMPAIGN/TEAPARTYOn a brilliant spring day in Concord, perfect for a rally, only about 300 came to protest taxes and the Obama Administration, a far cry from the robust rallies held ahead of the 2010 elections.

Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum — who have declared they are exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 — and Herman Cain and Buddy Roemer — who are considered potential hopefuls — joined state politicians in an attempt to get the crowd fired up.

And then there were two… Republicans exploring presidential bid

Two Republicans have now stepped up to the plate! Well, technically they have stepped up to the plate to consider stepping up to the plate. USA-POLITCS/REPUBLICANS

Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty are the first to declare their intentions to explore a possible run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Opinion polls show they have their work cut out for them.

The two Republicans who topped the list of potential candidates that Republicans would likely support for the party nomination were not Romney or Pawlenty in a new  CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

Obama has budget deal “bonus” for Colorado schoolkids; Boehner bashes Democrats at fund-raiser

OBAMA/

President Barack Obama is getting into a habit of surprising tourists. Over the weekend it was a trip to the Lincoln Memorial, and on Monday he turned up to surprise a group of school children at the White House.

“Not only did things work out, but we figured we’d give you a little bonus,” Obama told the 50 students from Altona Middle School in Colorado. Then he posed for pictures with them and answered a few questions behind the White House. (One of his favorite things about being president is that he has no commute because his office is right next to his house).

The mother of one of the students, Shalini Schane, wrote a letter to Obama on April 6 begging him to find some agreement to keep the government open so that her son could make a class trip to Washington for which his class had been raising money all year.

Republican Pawlenty hoping he got his money man for 2012

Tim Pawlenty, who is exploring a run for president in 2012 and is sometimes lampooned as somebody nobody knows, has created a buzz in political circles by hiring Nick Ayers as campaign manager for his exploratory committee. USA-POLITICS/REPUBLICANS

The former Minnesota governor, known to supporters as “T-Paw”, announced the hiring of Ayers, the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, on his website and on Twitter, where he asked followers to follow his new guy @nick_ayers .

Pawlenty praised Ayers’ fundraising prowess. “In 2010 alone, the RGA shattered all previous fundraising records, and Ayers managed a $112 million budget, deploying $102 million directly into independent expenditures and campaigns.”

Live coverage: Budget battle

Facing a midnight deadline, the White House and Congress are working furiously to break a budget deadlock and prevent a federal government shutdown that would idle hundreds of thousands of workers.