Political Headlines June 9, 2011: Majority of Newt Gingrich’s Presidential Staff Resigns – Gingrich Remains “Committed” to Running

POLITICAL HEADLINES

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

Gingrich’s senior campaign staff reportedly resigns en masse: Virtually the entire staff to Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich resigned en masse Thursday afternoon following a staff meeting, individuals close to the campaign said Thursday. Those resigning included campaign manager Rob Johnson, and campaign advisers Dave Carney and Katon Dawson.

  • Gingrich presidential campaign implodes: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign imploded Thursday afternoon with his entire senior staff resigning en masse, according to multiple sources familiar with the moves.
    “When the campaign and the candidate disagree on the path, they’ve got to part ways,” said Rick Tyler, a longtime Gingrich spokesman who was among those who left the campaign.
    Tyler as well as Rob Johnson, Gingrich’s campaign manager, Dave Carney and Katon Dawson, senior strategists to the effort, media consultant Sam Dawson, Iowa strategist Craig Schoenfeld, South Carolina operative Walter Whetsell and Georgia-based adviser Scott Rials have all stepped aside. Much of Gingrich’s early state operation was also headed for the exits, according to a one senior campaign source.
    In the immediate aftermath of the departures, which several sources said came at a meeting Thursday in Gingrich’s Washington office, Gingrich released a statement via Facebook pledging to continue in the race.
    “I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring,” Gingrich wrote. “The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.”… – WaPo, 6-9-11
  • Gingrich campaign in tatters as top aides resign: The entire top echelon of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign resigned on Thursday, a stunning mass exodus that left his bid for the Republican nomination in tatters. But the former House speaker vowed defiantly to remain a candidate.
    “I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring,” the Gingrich said in a posting to his Facebook page. “The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.”
    Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s spokesman, said that he, campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior strategists had all quit, along with aides in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
    Other officials said Gingrich was informed that his entire high command was quitting in a meeting at his headquarters in Washington. They cited differences over the direction of the campaign.
    “We had a different vision for victory,” Tyler told The Associated Press. “And since we couldn’t resolve that difference, I didn’t feel I could be useful in serving him.”… – AP, 6-9-11
  • Gingrich’s top campaign staff resigns; he vows to continue: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s already shaky presidential campaign suffered a stunning and perhaps irreparable setback Thursday as all his top staffers quit.
    “I think our path to victory was at odds with the candidate’s,” said Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s spokesman. He resigned along with campaign manager Rob Johnson and campaign officials in the key early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
    Among the disagreements, Tyler said, was “the amount of time the candidate would have to spend in different states.”
    Gingrich vowed to stay in the race, saying on Facebook, “I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.”
    The departures could be a lethal blow, said Craig Robinson, the editor and founder of The Iowa Republican.com website, which follows GOP news in the state that traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential nomination voting.
    “Gingrich is virtually done,” Robinson said. “His campaign has been a calamity of errors.”… – McClatchy Newspapers, 6-9-11
  • High command quits Gingrich campaign: Less than a month after one of the most calamitous political launches in recent memory, former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination imploded Thursday, when its top officials quit en masse.
    At least 16 of the former lawmaker’s advisers, including all of his senior campaign aides, departed the fledgling operation in a major and potentially devastating shake-up. Those who left included Gingrich’s campaign manager, his spokesman, top political strategists and key operatives from crucial GOP primary states. Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue (R), who was Gingrich’s national campaign co-chairman, also defected, to the presidential campaign of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R), where a close political aide to the ex-governor is the campaign manager.
    Despite losing his senior campaign staff, Newt Gingrich is pledging to continue his presidential run. Can he resurrect his bid, or is he already dead in the water?
    Despite losing his senior campaign staff, Newt Gingrich is pledging to continue his presidential run. Can he resurrect his bid, or is he already dead in the water?
    “When the campaign and the candidate disagree on the path, they’ve got to part ways,” said Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s longtime spokesman, who submitted his resignation Thursday.
    In the immediate aftermath of the exodus, Gingrich pledged via a statement on Facebook to forge ahead with his candidacy.
    “I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring,” Gingrich wrote. “The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles,” where he is scheduled to give a foreign policy speech…. – WaPo, 6-9-11
  • Newt Gingrich loses key members of his campaign: Former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign imploded Thursday with the resignation of his senior campaign strategists and top supporters in key states.
    Gingrich vowed in a Facebook post to continue “the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring,” saying it would begin “anew” with an appearance before the Republican Jewish Coalition in Los Angeles on Sunday.
    The mass exodus of his campaign staff, first reported by the Associated Press, raises questions about Gingrich’s ability to raise money, attract grass-roots support and devise a credible path to the Republican nomination in 2012.
    “The campaign manager met with the senior advisers and Newt, and they couldn’t find a mutually agreeable path forward,” spokesman Rick Tyler told USA TODAY. “They decided to leave and at that point I decided that I had a disagreement with the path forward, and when that happens the candidate’s path forward is the path forward. It’s not the staff’s.”
    Tyler, who worked for Gingrich for 12 years, said he still believed he would make a “great president.”… – USA Today, 6-9-11
  • End of the line for Newt Gingrich?Politico Arena, 6-9-11
  • Top Newt Gingrich aides quit. Is his campaign over?: Anything can happen in politics, so you can’t say with surety that Newt Gingrich is toast. But for him to win the GOP nomination now would be quite a feat…. – CS Monitor, 6-10-11

Political Headlines June 6, 2011: Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum (PA) Announces 2012 Presidential Bid – ‘In It to Win’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

Rick Santorum announces 2012 presidential bid: Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) announced his candidacy for president Monday during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

  • Santorum enters White House race warning of Obama: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a blunt talker who is popular among social conservatives, plunged into the 2012 Republican presidential sweepstakes Monday, saying he wants to protect American freedoms under threat from President Barack Obama.
    Once the No. 3 Republican in the ranks of the Senate GOP leadership, Santorum charged that Obama has worked to undermine Americans’ liberties and has imposed a national health care plan that saps individual choice. He accused Obama of spending billions of dollars that will add to the debt of future generations and said the president lacks faith in the nation’s potential.
    “I’m ready to lead. I’m ready to do what has to be done for the next generation, with the courage to fight for freedom, with the courage to fight for America,” Santorum said, speaking the sun-splashed steps of a county courthouse in western Pennsylvania. “That’s why I’m announcing today that I’m running for president of the United States of America.”… – AP, 6-6-11
  • FACT CHECK: Santorum omits key details on deficit: In announcing his Republican presidential bid, former Sen. Rick Santorum blamed President Barack Obama for a federal deficit that has many contributors, and he omitted important details about Obama’s comments on America’s past. A look at some of Santorum’s statements made Monday and how they compare with the facts…. – AP, 6-7-11
  • Pawlenty’s economic plan seeks 5 pct annual growth: Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty pitched an economic plan Tuesday that includes deep cuts in personal and business taxes to spur the struggling U.S. economy but would add to deficits in the short term in the hope that badly needed jobs would follow…. – AP, 6-7-11

Political Headlines June 3, 2011: John Edwards Indicted by Grand Jury for Misappropriating Campaign Funds

POLITICAL HEADLINES

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: JOHN EDWARDS INDICTED

Jennifer Rotenizer/Winston-Salem Journal, via Associated Press

John Edwards enters the Federal Building in downtown Winston-Salem, N.C. on Friday. A grand jury indicted the two-time presidential candidate, accusing him of trying to protect his political ambitions by soliciting and secretly spending more than $925,000 to hide his mistress and their baby from the public.

Grand jury indicts former presidential candidate John Edwards: A federal grand jury has indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards over massive sums of money spent to keep his mistress in hiding during the peak of his 2008 campaign for the White House. The case of USA v. Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements. The indictment was returned in the Middle District of North Carolina on Friday.

  • U.S. v. Johnny Reid Edwards indictment: The charges Conspiracy: John Edwards faces one conspiracy count, with prosecutors arguing that he participated in a scheme to violate federal campaign-finance laws by using $925,000 in private money from two wealthy benefactors to help keep his pregnant mistress and love child a secret.
    Illegal campaign contributions: Prosecutors filed four charges of illegal campaign contributions against Edwards, saying he was part of a conspiracy that willfully and knowingly accepted contributions that exceeded federal limits. The four charges are nearly identical, referencing contributions Edwards received in 2007 and 2008 from his former campaign-finance chairman, Fred Baron, and Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the widow of banking heir Paul Mellon.
    False statements: The indictment includes one count of false statements, saying that the conspiracy Edwards participated in knowingly allowed the filing of false and deceptive campaign-finance reports that failed to disclose the illegal contributions from Baron and Mellon. Document: The full indictment against John Edwards
  • Public vs. private: Long an issue for John Edwards: The legal case against two-time presidential candidate John Edwards focuses on where to draw the line between the public and private in a politician’s life, a divide he riskily straddled throughout his entire career and family life.
    Edwards isn’t alone. The private activities and concerns of public officials increasingly seem to be pulled or pushed into the public arena. Is that Rep. Anthony Weiner modeling his underwear? Donald Trump and Sarah Palin use a knife and fork to eat pizza! Which school did President Barack Obama pick to go all the way in college hoops?
    These things don’t reveal much about their qualifications to lead, yet they fascinate Americans…. – AP, 6-5-11
  • Feds say Edwards hid mistress to aid campaign: In May 2007, as John Edwards endured ridicule for his $400 haircut, a wealthy supporter fired off a note to a campaign aide, vowing to privately pay for his hair care and other expenses important to his candidacy.
    “It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions,” Bunny Mellon wrote in a letter cited by federal prosecutors.
    Investigators believe there should have been restrictions on the $925,000 in under-the-table money that Mellon and another benefactor ended up providing to support Edwards. It’s key to the government’s contention that the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee broke the law in hiding his pregnant mistress during the final months of his 2008 campaign for the White House. Prosecutors contend that plan was an illegal conspiracy to evade campaign finance laws…. – AP, 6-4-11
  • Edwards Indicted in Campaign Fund Case: John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina and presidential candidate, was indicted Friday morning by a grand jury in Raleigh on charges that he violated campaign finance law during his 2008 presidential campaign.
    Mr. Edwards is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Winston-Salem, N.C., at 2:30 p.m. before Magistrate Judge Patrick Auld.
    The grand jury, which has been investigating the case for two years, indicted Mr. Edwards on six counts — four involving illegal payments, one involving conspiracy and one involving false statements. “Mr. Edwards is alleged to have accepted more than $900,000 in an effort to conceal from the public facts that he believed would harm his candidacy,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said in a statement. “As this indictment shows, we will not permit candidates for high office to abuse their special ability to access the coffers of their political supporters to circumvent our election laws.”
    At issue are financial contributions that prosecutors say Mr. Edwards received in excess of federal limits, did not report properly and then misused for the political purpose of hiding his extramarital affair to save his candidacy. Mr. Edwards, 57, has maintained that he used the money to hide the affair, but for private purposes — to conceal it from his wife.
    Mr. Edwards had a chance to reach a plea agreement and avoid the indictment, but he chose not to do so and will fight the charges, his lawyers said.
    The decision to fight could lead to a long, messy, public trial and possible jail sentence for Mr. Edwards, or it could lead to his acquittal.
    The decision to risk a trial reflects confidence by some on the Edwards legal team that the government’s case would not hold up in court…. – NYT, 6-3-11
  • Edwards Pleads Not Guilty in Campaign Fund Case: John Edwards, the former Democratic senator from North Carolina, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he conspired to cover up an extramarital affair while running for president in 2008 by “secretly obtaining,” misusing and misreporting certain campaign contributions in violation of federal law.
    He entered his plea at the federal courthouse in Winston-Salem on Friday afternoon, setting the stage for a trial to begin July 11. When the judge read him his list of rights, including the right to remain silent, Mr. Edwards, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004 and twice a candidate for president, said: “Your honor, I’m an attorney. I’m aware of that.”
    Later, outside the courthouse, Mr. Edwards told reporters he had behaved badly but insisted he had not committed a crime.
    “I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I’ve caused to others,” he said. “But I did not break the law. And I never, ever thought that I was breaking the law.”
    The indictment handed up earlier Friday in Greensboro charged that Mr. Edwards, 57, conspired to use illegal campaign contributions to conceal his affair with his mistress for political reasons…. – NYT, 6-3-11
  • Edwards pleads not guilty to finance charges in NC: Former presidential hopeful John Edwards pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges that he solicited and secretly spent more than $925,000 to hide his mistress and their baby from the public at the height of his 2008 White House campaign.
    In a 30-second statement to dozens of reporters and television news cameras that surrounded him outside the courthouse, he said he never thought he was breaking the law.
    “There is no question that I have done wrong,” he said. “And I take full responsibility for having done wrong. And I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I have caused to others. But I did not break the law.”
    Edwards did not have to post bond, but he had to surrender his passport and is not allowed to leave the continental U.S. He also can’t have contact with one of the wealthy benefactors who gave him money that prosecutors say was used to hide the affair.
    The indictment contained six felony counts, including conspiracy, four counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements for keeping the spending off the campaign’s public finance reports.
    It said the payments made with money from two wealthy supporters were a scheme to protect Edwards’ presidential ambitions.
    “A centerpiece of Edwards’ candidacy was his public image as a devoted family man,” the indictment said. “Edwards knew that public revelation of the affair and the pregnancy would destroy his candidacy.
    Prosecutors said the spending was illegal because the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee should have reported it on public campaign finance filings and because it exceeded the $2,300 limit per person for campaign contributions.
    Edwards’ lawyer, Gregory Craig, said there’s no way that anyone, including Edwards, would have known that the payments should be treated as campaign contributions.
    “This is an unprecedented prosecution,” he said at the courthouse. “He has broken no law and we will defend this case vigorously.”… – AP, 6-3-11
  • John Edwards indicted in $925K mistress cover-up: John Edwards acknowledged he has “done wrong” and hurt others but denied breaking the law after federal prosecutors charged him Friday with using $925,000 to hide his pregnant mistress during his 2008 run for president.
    The former U.S. senator and two-time Democratic presidential hopeful was indicted on six felony charges that he violated campaign-finance laws in a desperate bid to protect his White House hopes and his image as a devoted family man.
    Edwards, 57, pleaded not guilty and was released without bail on the condition he surrender his passport and not leave the continental U.S.
    A former trial lawyer who won multimillion-dollar verdicts with the same formidable powers of persuasion that propelled his political career, he faces the prospect of a lurid trial and the possibility of prison time and the loss of his license to practice law.
    “There’s no question that I’ve done wrong. And I take full responsibility for having done wrong. And I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I’ve caused to others,” Edwards said outside the courthouse, accompanied by his oldest daughter, Cate, 29. “But I did not break the law.”… – AP, 6-3-11
  • John Edwards denies federal charges: The former Democratic presidential candidate says he didn’t break the law when he used funds from two supporters to hide his mistress and their daughter.
    Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has insisted that he broke no laws when he hid his pregnant mistress while seeking the nomination in 2008. Now, he’s made that position official, pleading not guilty to federal criminal charges that he accepted nearly $1 million from two supporters to fund the deception.
    On Friday, a federal grand jury indicted Edwards, 57, on six counts of violating campaign finance laws, lying to the government and conspiring to protect his candidacy by breaking the law.
    The case against Edwards could rise or fall on whether the government is reaching too far and trying to hold Edwards to a higher election law standard than usual. Notably, the first paragraph of the 19-page indictment said that a “centerpiece” of Edwards candidacy in 2008 was “his public image as a devoted family man” and that he often stressed to voters that “family comes first.”
    The government maintains that by accepting money to keep his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and eventually their daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter, out of sight, he was trying to maintain the viability of his candidacy. Therefore, the government said, the money constituted undeclared campaign contributions. LAT, 6-3-11
  • John Edwards: ‘I did not break the law’: Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said he takes “full responsibility for having done wrong” but insisted he “did not break the law” to cover up his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter.
    Edwards was indicted earlier today by a federal grand jury. He pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, making false statements and four counts of illegal campaign contributions.
    In a brief statement to reporters outside the courthouse in Winston-Salem, N.C., Edwards declared his innocence on the criminal allegations.
    “There’s no question I’ve done wrong,” Edwards said, adding he’ll “regret the pain and the harm” that he caused for the rest of his life. But he was adamant: “I did not break the law and I never, ever thought I was breaking the law.”… – USA Today, 6-3-11
  • John Edwards: ‘I’ve Done Wrong, but I Did Not Break the Law’: Two-time presidential candidate John Edwards pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he spent more than $900,000 in campaign donations to cover up his extramarital affair as he was running for the White House in 2008.
    “There’s no question that I’ve done wrong, and I take full responsibility for having done wrong. I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and harm that I’ve caused to others,” he said in a brief statement outside a federal courthouse in Winston-Salem, N.C. after being arraigned.”But I did not break the law, and I never ever thought I was breaking the law.”
    A federal grand jury indicted Edwards on six counts: conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count if convicted…. – Fox News, 6-3-11
  • John Edwards: I Did “Wrong,” But Broke No Law: Disgraced ex-senator John Edwards admitted today he has “done wrong” – but insisted he broke no laws. The onetime presidential hopeful made his 20-second statement shortly after he was indicted for allegedly using more than $900,000 in campaign funds to cover up an extramarital affair during his failed 2008 presidential campaign.
    “There’s no question that I’ve done wrong and I take full responsibility for having done wrong,” Edwards said after he pleaded not guilty – and endured the humiliation of having to surrender his passport.
    “And I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I’ve caused to others. But I did not break the law and I never, ever thought that I was breaking the law.”
    Then Edwards, flanked by his daughter Kate, left without another word…. – NY Daily News, 6-3-11
  • John Edwards indictment: A North Carolina grand jury has indicted former Sen. John Edwards on criminal campaign finance violations in connection with a sex scandal.
    Edwards, the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004 and a candidate for president in 2004 and 2008, was charged with four counts of illegal campaign contributions, one count of conspiracy and one count of false statements. The charges stem from a years-long investigation into whether Edwards used money from two supporters to cover up an affair with Rielle Hunter, a former campaign videographer with whom he had a child….. – LAT, 6-3-11
  • John Edwards in a brief statement outside a federal courthouse in Winston-Salem, N.C. after being arraigned: “There’s no question that I’ve done wrong, and I take full responsibility for having done wrong. I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and harm that I’ve caused to others. But I did not break the law, and I never ever thought I was breaking the law.”
  • Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer denounced Edwards’ “scheme”: “We will not permit candidates for high office to abuse their special ability to access the coffers of their political supporters to circumvent our election laws. Our campaign finance system is designed to preserve the integrity of democratic elections – for the presidency and all other elected offices – and we will vigorously pursue abuses of the kind alleged today.”
  • Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said in a statement: “As this indictment shows, we will not permit candidates for high office to abuse their special ability to access the coffers of their political supporters to circumvent our election laws.”
  • Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Scott Thomas, who is serving as an expert witness for Edwards’ legal team: “I believe that the theory on which the government intends to base its prosecution is without precedent in federal election law, and that the Federal Election Commission would not support a finding that the conduct at issue constituted a civil violation, much less warranted a criminal prosecution.”
  • John Edwards’ lawyer, Gregory Craig: “This is an unprecedented prosecution. He has broken no law and we will defend this case vigorously.”… -
  • Plus, John Edwards indicted: Can his legacy be rehabbed?Politico Arena, 6-3-11
  • Edwards emails acknowledge payments: Prosecutors have obtained emails between John Edwards and a former aide to use as evidence at trial that he knew about payments to his pregnant mistress even while he was publicly denying it, people familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Monday.
    Dozens of emails were exchanged between Edwards and his former speechwriter Wendy Button as they worked on a never-released draft statement to acknowledge paternity of his out-of-wedlock child, according to people who have seen the messages and requested anonymity because they have not been made public yet.
    The messages, draft statements and notes of their related phone conversations are key evidence prosecutors are using against Edwards, indicted on charges he failed to report nearly $1 million allegedly spent to keep his mistress out of the public eye as he pursued the White House. The former senator was still denying he was the baby’s father and publicly maintained he knew nothing about any money that may have been spent when the emails were sent in summer 2009…. – AP, 6-6-11
  • Criminal charges likely Fri. against John Edwards: Criminal charges were likely to be filed Friday against John Edwards, the culmination of a two-year federal investigation into money used to cover up an extramarital affair during the 2008 presidential election.
    Edwards’ attorney Greg Craig was traveling to meet with prosecutors in North Carolina, an indication that the former presidential candidate will likely be charged, either in a grand jury indictment or in a negotiated charge to which he would plead guilty…. – AP, 6-3-11
  • John Edwards indicted in $925K mistress cover-up: John Edwards acknowledged he has “done wrong” and hurt others but strongly denied breaking the law after federal prosecutors charged him Friday with using $925,000 in under-the-table campaign contributions to hide his pregnant mistress during his 2008 run for president.
    The former U.S. senator and two-time Democratic presidential hopeful was indicted on six felony charges that he violated campaign finance laws in a desperate bid to protect both his White House hopes and his image as a devoted family man…. – AP, 6-2-11

Senator Joseph Lieberman Retiring in 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN RETIRING IN 2012

  • Joe Lieberman to retire in 2012: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will retire in 2012, according to two Democratic sources familiar with the decision. Lieberman is expected to announce his decision tomorrow.
  • No Fifth Term for Lieberman: Mr. Lieberman, 68, whose term is up in January 2013, has chosen to retire rather than face a difficult campaign for re-election, according to aides and others who spoke to the senator on Tuesday.
    “He believes that if he were to run for re-election it’d be a tough fight,” said Marshall Wittmann, a member of Mr. Lieberman’s Senate staff. “He’s confident he could’ve won that fight. He’s had tough fights before. But he wants to have a new chapter in his life.”
    News of Mr. Lieberman’s plans surfaced on the same day that Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, announced he would retire.
    Democrats say the decision by Mr. Lieberman, which his office declined to confirm, increases the likelihood that their party will capture his seat next year. Among other things, Democrats noted that President Obama, who won Connecticut overwhelmingly in 2008, would be on the ballot in 2012…. – NYT, 1-18-11
  • Lieberman Decision Could Set Off a Wild Race: Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut plans to announce Wednesday he will not seek a fifth term in office, setting the stage for what will likely be a wide-open Democratic primary and perhaps another deep-pocketed campaign by former wrestling executive Linda McMahon.
    Mr. Lieberman’s decision would end a remarkable and unusual political career when his current term expires in January 2013. His independence has made him an important factor in close Senate votes, but it has not endeared him to the Democrats and left-leaning independents in his state…. – WSJ, 1-18-11

Republicans Elects Reince Priebus as the New RNC Chairman — Michael Steele Drops Bid

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES….


(Image: NYT)

  • G.O.P. Elects a New Chairman as Steele Drops Out: The Republican National Committee selected a new leader on Friday, with its choice, Reince Priebus of Wisconsin, surviving seven contentious rounds of balloting to overtake Michael Steele, the embattled chairman, as party officials demanded new leadership to fortify the party for the 2012 presidential race. Mr. Priebus, who broke away from Mr. Steele’s close circle of advisers to run against him, said he would work to rebuild the trust of major contributors who had lost faith in the party and begin preparing to challenge President Obama. He pledged to heal any divisions among Republican constituencies. “We all recognize that there’s a steep hill ahead of us,” Mr. Priebus said, delivering his first remarks as party chairman. “The only way we’ll be able to move forward is if we’re all together.” NYT, 1-14-11
  • G.O.P. Leader’s Promise: Humility and Hard Work: For Reince Priebus, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, politics has long been more than simply a hobby. It provided the entertainment for the first date with his wife. More than a decade ago, when Representatives Henry J. Hyde of Illinois and James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin were delivering keynote speeches at a Lincoln Day Dinner in Kenosha, Wis., Mr. Priebus reserved two tickets and turned the event into part of his courtship.
    “I know. Nerd alert,” Mr. Priebus said in an interview a few hours after he was elected on Friday to lead the national Republican Party. His voice was filled with self-deprecation as he recalled the moment. “But we went to a movie after that.”
    Humility was a key selling point for Mr. Priebus as he embarked on a two-month campaign to overthrow Michael Steele, the controversial party chairman, and begin the challenging task of rebuilding a committee that is more than $21 million in debt and competing for relevance in an age when the political establishment is no longer the most popular place to be…. – NYT, 1-15-11
  • New chairman targets GOP team setting up 2012 national convention in Tampa: There’s a new Republican National Chairman in office, and he’s about to clean house on the team putting together the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa. Responding to complaints about excessive spending by the RNC’s convention team, newly elected chairman Reince Priebus told Republican U.S. House members in a closed door meeting Saturday that he was going to replace the RNC’s convention team in Tampa Bay with his own team, Politico reported Saturday.
    The RNC has about a half dozen staffers working on the convention out of donated office space in downtown Tampa, but the work has drawn considerable criticism and helped fuel opposition to former RNC chairman Michael Steele. For instance, he hired his former assistant, Belinda Cook, for $15,000-per-month, and she spent thousands of dollars renting a 3,200 square foot waterfront Treasure Island home…. – St Petersburg Times, 1-15-11
  • Reince Priebus replaces Michael Steele as GOP chairman: The Republican National Committee selected Reince Priebus as its new chairman, replacing Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland. Steele’s two-year tenure was marked by high spending, financial debt and verbal gaffes. Priebus won late Friday afternoon after seven rounds of balloting. He received 97 votes out 168 ballots cast.
    Steele, the party’s first African-American chairman, sought a second term, but conceded midafternoon. “I think the party is ready for something different,” Steele said. Priebus is the Wisconsin GOP chairman and a former general counsel for the RNC…. – USA Today, 1-14-11
  • Reince Priebus: “We Can Defeat Barack Obama in 2012″: The Republican Party will face significant challenges in the 2012 election cycle: A geared-up Democratic electorate excited to see President Obama back on the ballot, a rowdy and somewhat unpredictable Tea Party base, funds flowing through multiple outside organizations. On top of all that, the Republican National Committee must deal with its splintered membership and more than $20 million in debt. New RNC Chairman Reince Priebus today acknowledged as much after his fellow committee members chose him to put him at the helm of the organization.
    “We recognize that the Democrats have taken this country on the wrong path, and it isn’t going to be easy or glamorous, but together we must lead,” he said. Priebus, a 38-year-old lawyer who served as chairman of the Wisconsin GOP, said he plans to keep his head down and get to work. That means restructuring the RNC’s financial operation, hiring a top-notch staff, improving the lines of communication with state parties and — perhaps most importantly — restoring the faith of the party’s donors. “Together we can defeat Barack Obama in 2012, together, unified as a committee,” Priebus said…. – CBS News, 1-14-11
  • Michael Steele’s many blunders led to defeat in RNC chair reelection campaign: Republicans emerged from a 2008 electoral drubbing not only lacking a telegenic spokesman for the party but virtually any major officials who were not white, a major void after the election of the nation’s first black president. Michael Steele seemed like the right man at the right time: an African-American Republican who loved going on television. But instead of turning into a solution for the GOP, critics say Steele blundered so many times in his first few months as chairman of the Republican National Committee that party officials openly considered replacing him well before the first quarter of his two-year tenure had ended. Republicans completed the dumping of Steele on Friday, voting out the party’s first-ever black chairman…. – WaPo, 1-14-11

QUOTES

  • Outgoing Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele’s 10 best gaffes: Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele abandoned his re-election bid Friday after four rounds of balloting left him far short of a second term.
    Steele, who just finished his first two-year term in the job, dropped out as four other hopefuls competed to become his successor. Steele, 52, urged his backers to give their support to GOP operative Maria Cino, who worked in George W. Bush’s administration, but Reince Priebus, the head of the Wisconsin Republican Party, ultimately was elected after seven rounds of voting.
    The GOP’s first black chairman received a standing ovation from the party regulars after pulling out of the race. His spotty two-year reign included huge victories by the GOP in the November elections, but for many, Steele is known more for his verbal gaffes than his electoral accomplishments…. – NY Daily News, 1-14-11

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

Dewey Clayton Professor of Political Science, University of Louisville: Michael Steele’s legacy will be a mixed one. On the one hand, Steele first and foremost will be remembered as the first African-American to be elected as chairman of the RNC. Secondly, it was under Steele’s stewardship that Republicans gained the majority in the House in 2010. Many saw Steele’s election as an effort by the Republican Party to reach out to African-American voters and portray an image of being open to all and not as an exclusive party. To that end, two black Republicans were elected to Congress in 2010. They will be the first black Republicans in Congress since J.C. Watts of Oklahoma retired in 2003. And they are also the first black Republicans in the House since Reconstruction.
Unfortunately, much of the attention that Steele received during his tenure was negative. He was criticized for often acting too independently, people questioned some of his paid speaking engagements, and there were issues of excessive spending. I think the controversy surrounding Steele may have caused many Republican donors to scale back their contributions to the RNC. Because of this, his lack of fundraising will be a lasting legacy. It’s hard to say whether Steele did more harm than good. He was a charismatic leader and some of the controversy during his tenure was not really his fault. I think that ultimately, he did more good than harm and the Republicans did gain the majority in the House under his leadership. The next chairman, assuming that Steele does not win another term, should probably maintain a lower profile and concentrate on improving the level of fundraising.. – Politico Arena, 1-14-11

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92 other followers

%d bloggers like this: