Tales from the Trail

Bachmann says her “high-profile” congressional race targeted by top Democrats

Second-term Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who started the “Tea Party Caucus” in the House of Representatives this summer, says her “high-profile” congressional race is being targeted by some very high-profile Democrats ahead of  the Nov. 2 election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set her sights on ousting her from the congressional seat,  Bachmann said. The outspoken Republican is a social conservative and is known for her strong Christian faith.  

“I’ve been one of Speaker Pelosi’s top targets to defeat this fall,” Bachmann said on NBC’s “Today” show. ”President (Bill) Clinton came in, he was campaigning against me. In a couple of weeks Speaker Pelosi will be in Minnesota as will President Obama. Mine is a very high-profile race, and she’s trying to do everything she can to defeat me.”

Bachmann led Democrat Tarryl Clark by 9 points in the race for Minnesota’s 6th congressional district in a mid-September poll, according to Real Clear Politics. USA-HEALTHCARE/

Bachmann  shrugged off questions about whether the Tea Party was stepping into social issues like gay rights after a controversy erupted this week over remarks by Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for New York governor who is backed by the conservative movement.

NY governor candidate Paladino says he only opposes gay marriage (and doesn’t like the parades)

Carl Paladino, the Tea Party backed Republican candidate running for New York governor, says he is not against homosexuals, only gay marriage and taking children to gay pride parades.

News reports quoted Paladino, in remarks to Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn on Sunday, saying: “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t.” USA/

The Buffalo businessman was on all the morning talk shows today responding to criticism over those comments. The campaign of his opponent, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, said the remarks displayed “a stunning homophobia and glaring disregard for basic equality.”

Say hello to an average American citizen

christineChristine O’Donnell says her  “I Am Not A Witch” ad is an attempt  to reintroduce herself to the public… after some old video put a damper on her national debut.

Delaware’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee was still savoring her stunning primary victory when the video clips from her past television appearances resurfaced.

Let’s just say, the old Christine wasn’t exactly the image the new Christine wanted to project — thus the reintroduction.

Leaked e-mail fuels Palin for president speculation

A leaked e-mail is providing more grist for speculation that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is seriously pondering a run for president in 2012.

USA/In the e-mail, Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, complained to Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller and Tim Crawford, treasurer for Palin’s SarahPAC political organization, after Miller declined to endorse the possibility of a Palin presidential candidacy.

Sarah Palin had endorsed Miller in his successful Senate Republican nomination fight against incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, and it is clear from the e-mail that Todd Palin expected some loyalty in return.

Washington Extra – Trump cards

The “enthusiasm gap” was always the Democrats’ biggest problem heading into the November midterm elections, and conversely also their biggest hope. votersDemocrats have told poll after poll they were less likely to vote than their Republican counterparts. If only Democrats could enthuse their supporters, strategists have been hoping, then maybe the party could still trump the Republicans in some tight races.

So the Democrats will be pleased today with the results of our latest Reuters/Ipsos poll from California, which not only shows their candidates leading in the race for the Senate and the governor’s office, but also shows that enthusiasm gap narrowing slightly. Some 75 percent of Democrats now say they are certain to vote, up from 60 percent in June. Comparative numbers for Republicans are 83 percent now, up from 73 percent in June.

This tends to support evidence from other polls that the enthusiasm gap could be closing, giving Democrats a flicker of hope of avoiding a rout, as political correspondent John Whitesides reported last Friday. Add to that, some evidence from an ABC/Washington Post poll that voters are losing their enthusiasm for Tea Party candidates, and things are looking a little less grim for the Dems this evening.

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. 

Castle rules out write-in race

Congressman Mike Castle will not launch a write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate seat he once was heavily favored to win.
castle
Castle had been considering the option of running as a write-in candidate since he lost to Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s Republican primary election.

“While I would have been honored to represent Delaware in the U.S. Senate, I do not believe that seeking office in this manner is in the best interest of all Delawareans. Therefore, it’s time for Jane (his wife) and me to begin thinking about the next chapter of our lives,” Castle said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Castle, who’s had a long political career (nine-term Representative, governor, lieutenant governor and state legislator), said he had been encouraged by people in his state who wanted him to fight on and that he had carefully considered their viewpoints.

Advice from Biden: Don’t underestimate O’Donnell and Palin

The only Democrat who has run against, and defeated, both Republicans Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin says don’t sell either of them short.

biden4“Take them both very seriously,” Vice President Joe Biden said Monday in an MSNBC interview.

Biden, a former senator from Delaware, defeated the state’s Republican Senate nominee in his last senate race. He also went head-to-head with Palin in 2008 when the former Alaska governor was Republican John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

from Summit Notebook:

Rumors of our demise exaggerated, Van Hollen says

SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/VAN HOLLENRepresentative Chris Van Hollen likes to paraphrase Mark Twain when talking about the Democratic chances in the November mid-term election.

"News of the Democratic demise is greatly exaggerated," the man in charge of the House Democrats' election effort told the Reuters Washington Summit. "I think the pundits have been wrong before and they'll be wrong again. Democrats will retain a majority in the Congress. I'm very confident of that."

Of course it's Van Hollen's job to be confident or at least project an image of confidence six weeks ahead of the election where Republicans and the conservative Tea Party movement are trying to convince Americans to vote Democrats out of office and take back Republican control of the Congress.

Washington Extra – Gridlock and the fiscal deficit

summit

The term gridlock may have first entered the vocabulary during the 1980 New York transit strike, reportedly coined by “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, chief traffic engineer in the city’s transport department.  In those days it was definitely not something to aspire to. It is a different story in 2010.

“Gridlock’s not all bad,” Republican Senator Richard Shelby told the Reuters Washington Summit today, citing the need to “slow things down” politically.  His fellow Senator and Tea Party champion Jim DeMint would probably go even further.

But is that really what lies in store after the midterm elections?

Republican and Democratic speakers on the first day of the summit agreed on one thing above all else: that the other party is to blame for the lack of bipartisanship in Washington.