Tags: Jeb | Bush | Biggest | Threat | Obama | Michele Bachmann | Rep Gregory Meeks

Strategist: Jeb Bush Biggest Threat to Obama in 2012

By    |   Sunday, 18 July 2010 08:07 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Strategist: Jeb Bush Biggest Threat to Obama in 2012
2. Michele Bachmann Sets State Record for Fundraising
3. Rep. Gregory Meeks Lashes Out at Watchdog Group
4. Michael Savage Still Banned From Britain
5. Obama Could Benefit From House Loss
6. Mort Zuckerman Clarifies Role in Obama Speech
7. We Heard: Ted Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Capitol

1. Strategist: Jeb Bush Biggest Threat to Obama in 2012

Leading Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg remains confident about President Barack Obama’s chances for re-election in 2012, but admits there is one potential Republican candidate who scares him: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Sinking poll numbers and policy setbacks “have done little to dissuade” the rosy predictions of Rosenberg, who has said Obama’s election gave Democrats a chance for a 30-to-40-year era of dominance, Sam Stein notes on the Huffington Post website, adding, “There’s only one thing that makes Rosenberg nervous: another Bush.”

At a recent lunch at the headquarters of the New Democrat Network, a non-profit group founded by Rosenberg, the former Bill Clinton adviser said, "Jeb is married to a Latina, is fluent in Spanish, speaks on Univision as a commentator — his Spanish is that good.

"And if you look at the electoral map in 2012, you have to assume that Obama is going to have a very hard time in holding North Carolina and Virginia. The industrial Midwest, where the auto decline has been huge, has weakened Obama's numbers . . . a great deal. So Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin become a bit more wobbly.

“So if you're Barack Obama, the firewall is the Latin belt from Florida to southwestern California. And there is only one Republican who can break through that firewall. And it is Jeb."

Following the George W. Bush presidency, the vast majority of voters yearn for someone other than a Bush, said Democratic strategist Donna Brazille. But she acknowledged: “Jeb has the talent, the experience, and the ability to rebuild the GOP’s tent.”

And longtime Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg told Stein: "I believe Jeb Bush could run. He is more of a genuine conservative than [Mitt] Romney. Bush is a big hangover, but not impossible."

Bush was elected governor in 1998 and served two terms during a period of great economic growth in Florida, keeping taxes low and holding down spending. He won high praise for handling natural disasters — six major hurricanes struck Florida’s coastlines during his tenure — and he also spearheaded reforms that have led to improvements in the state’s education system.

Today, Bush is in private business and works with several charities and foundations. But he has not kept out of the public eye, becoming a vocal critic of the Obama administration. He told Newsmax in an exclusive interview that the administration is charting a “dangerous course” as it pushes for a dramatic expansion of government that “imperils our future.”

Longtime Republican consultant John Feehery told Stein: “I think that Bushism is still alive. There is, however, an anti-Bushism in the party associated with the Rand Paul crowd. They don't like neocons and government. And Sarah Palin could be seen as part of that group.

“What people like about Jeb Bush is that he is smart and conservative and well-liked by the base . . . If there is going to be a Bush revival, Jeb is going to be the leader of that revival.”

Editor's Note:

2. Michele Bachmann Sets State Record for Fundraising

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is running for re-election in Minnesota, has raised $4.1 million through June 30 — more than any House candidate from her state has ever spent on an entire campaign.

Bachmann raised $1.7 million in the April-to-June quarter, while her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Tarryl Clark, raised $910,000 during that period, bringing her total to about $2 million.

Bachmann, whose efforts were aided by a fundraiser with her friend Sarah Palin, said in a statement, “I could not be more appreciative of the 28,000 contributors who have so generously supported my campaign this quarter.

“With their support, we’ll be able to fight back against the Obama-Clark agenda and their special-interest allies who have made me a top target for defeat.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted Bachmann’s seat and has offered fundraising and organizational help to Clark’s campaign, the Washington Times reported.

Democrats poured money into Bachmann’s 2008 campaign when  Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg pulled close in the polls, but Bachmann     won with 46 percent of the vote as an independent candidate siphoned     off 10 percent of the vote.

She has since become a tea party favorite, and recently told Newsmax: “People have absolutely rejected the Obama-Pelosi agenda, and that’s really what the tea party is all about.”

Editor's Note:

3. Rep. Gregory Meeks Lashes Out at Watchdog Group

New York City Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, under fire over an unreported loan and other issues, has blasted the National Legal and Policy Center, the watchdog organization that has been chronicling his questionable dealings.

“For the past several months, right-wing interest groups such as the National Legal and Policy Center and sensationalist media outlets have lodged unfounded attacks against me,” declared Meeks, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, in a July 11 statement.

The NLPC in January exposed Meeks’ involvement in a charity called New Direction Local Development Corporation that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims but never delivered it to those victims, the NLPC reported on its website.

In March, the NLPC asked the House Ethics Committee to probe Meeks   for paying $830,000 for a new home in 2006 that was worth more than  $1.2 million.

And on July 8, the NLPC cited a report by the New York Daily News that Meeks “made no payments for three years on a secret $40,000 personal loan — and repaid the cash only when the FBI started asking questions . . .

“Meeks received a check for $40,000 from Queens businessman Ed Ahmad in January 2007 to finish paying off his new $830,000 home, two sources familiar with the matter said.”

Meeks did not disclose the loan until June 15 when he filed the financial disclosure report for 2009 that members of Congress were required to submit. Since the Ahmad loan was made in 2007, Meeks failed to disclose it on his 2007 and 2008 forms, according to the Daily News.

The newspaper also reported that Meeks made no payments on the loan until after the FBI contacted Ahmad earlier this year. Meeks then gave him a check for $59,000, repaying the $40,000 plus interest.

Then on July 9, the Daily News reported that Meeks had paid off the loan with a $59,650 loan from Democratic Party donor Dennis Mehiel’s firm, Four M Investments.

“A review of property records found no evidence that Four [M] Investments has made any similar loans in New York,” according to the Daily News.

In his statement, Meeks said: “I was being subjected to completely baseless attacks, conducted a detailed financial review while continuing to respond to these allegations, discovered that I had made a legitimate, regrettable oversight with regard to my financial disclosure statements, immediately and voluntarily took action to bring myself into full compliance with House requirements regarding those statements, and made the financially prudent decision to replace a high interest loan with a lower interest loan.”

But on July 13, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. CREW alleges that both loans violate House ethics rules because House members are not permitted to accept loans that are not commercially available to others.

Editor's Note:

4. Michael Savage Still Banned From Britain

Britain has a new government with David Cameron as prime minister, but one thing has not changed — conservative American radio host Michael Savage is still banned from entering the country.

Back on May 5, 2009, the so-called “shock jock” host of “Savage Nation” was included on a list of “undesirables” by then British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

The list included Islamist extremists, Russian gang members, neo-Nazis, and American anti-gay preachers.

Savage at the time called Smith a “lunatic,” but she defended her decision, saying Savage was a man of extreme views who expressed them “in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence.”

Now Prime Minister Cameron has informed Savage that his name will remain on the banned list unless he “repudiates” unspecified broadcast statements that Britain “deemed a threat to public security,” the Washington Times reported.

Savage told the Times: “I had hopes but did not expect this ‘new’ U.K. government to restore sanity to Britain. They are still pandering to the Muslim masses.

“To continue to martyr me by including me on a list of known murderers and terrorists is bad enough, but for the U.S. and Western media, which considers itself ‘progressive,’ to continue to ignore this outrage against freedom of speech is indicative that the media and governments are one and the same.”

Savage’s book “Banned in Britain: Beating the Liberal Blacklist,” published late last year, maintains that his name was included among the “undesirables” to “balance” the list, which was composed mostly of Muslims.

Editor's Note:

5. Obama Could Benefit From House Loss

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs infuriated some congressional Democrats when he remarked on July 11 that the party could lose control of the House in November.

But a loss might not be the worst thing that could happen for President Barack Obama in terms of his chances for re-election in 2012, notes Cameron Lynch in U.S. News & World Report.

“Foremost, a Republican-controlled House would provide Obama with a natural foil for his 2012 electoral platform,” she writes.

“One can already envision the campaign commercials now, ‘We were making real progress until Republicans took over the House — then obstruction and negativity invaded Washington.’”

A Republican-controlled House could also push Obama to moderate his positions on his heavily partisan social agenda to increase his now-dwindling popularity, just as Bill Clinton did after the GOP took control of Congress in 1994.

“Do the president and his strategy team secretly hope to lose the House in November?” Lynch writes.

“One can’t say for sure, but there are certainly political silver linings should his party fail to retain control.”

Editor's Note:

6. Mort Zuckerman Clarifies Obama Speech

Billionaire publisher Mort Zuckerman has clarified his involvement in helping to write one of Barack Obama’s speeches.

Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Daily News and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report, told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that while he has been critical of President Obama recently, he voted for Obama and even “helped write one of his speeches.” During the show, Zuckerman didn’t elaborate.

In a statement Tuesday on U.S. News’ website, Zuckerman clarified his remark, changing “helped write” to “helped contribute.”

The statement: "Over the years I have been asked by various public officials, including those in Washington, for my perspectives and views on numerous issues. These conversations have always been considered confidential. My point in noting during a recent television interview that I had once ‘helped' contribute to one of Barack Obama's campaign speeches was to reflect the fact that my recent criticisms of the president came from someone who had been supportive of him, who had voted for him, and whose newspaper endorsed him. I continue to hope for his and the country's success."

Editor's Note:

7. We Heard . . .

THAT Ted Kennedy’s widow Victoria has placed their Washington, D.C. home on the market for $8 million — three times what they paid for it in 1998.

The 6-bedroom, 7-bath, 9,000-square-foot estate features an indoor pool, game room, wood-paneled library and lush gardens, the Boston Herald reported. It was built in 1926 and renovated in 1994.

Victoria, who lost her husband to brain cancer last August, recently bought a 3-bedroom house in Washington for $1.65 million.

THAT Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has inked a deal to write her memoir.

The book will begin with Sotomayor’s Bronx childhood as the daughter of struggling parents from Puerto Rico, according to Knopf Publishing Group.

Financial details were not revealed.

THAT a dozen people have been arrested while trying to enter the Capitol in Washington, D.C., with marijuana in their possession.

Tourists, visitors, and staff undergo a strict screening process before entering the House and Senate and their office buildings.

Police finding small amounts of marijuana “shows a lot about these officers’ attention to detail, because the only way you’re going to prevent people from bringing in pieces of explosives and bombs — to somehow get them in the building to put it together — is to look at the minutiae,” Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer told The Hill newspaper.

Gainer added: “Maybe it’s an indication that smoking marijuana dulls your senses. They’re not as bright as they should be.”

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Strategist: Jeb Bush Biggest Threat to Obama in 2012 2. Michele Bachmann Sets State Record for Fundraising 3. Rep. Gregory Meeks Lashes Out at Watchdog Group 4. Michael Savage Still Banned From Britain 5....
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Sunday, 18 July 2010 08:07 PM
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