Ballot Box

Bill Clinton tries to shield Lincoln from voters' anger

Bill Clinton is on a mission to calm angry voters.

He stopped in Little Rock Friday for a rally with Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and told the crowd at Philander Smith College not to "vote your anger."

"All of Blanche Lincoln's opponents, from the Republican opponent on the right to her Democratic opponent, are really telling you, 'Stay mad. Don't think, go in there and vote your anger,'" Clinton said, according to the Arkansas New Bureau.

"Well, if you want somebody to channel your anger, you shouldn't vote for her," Clinton said. "But if you want somebody to get up and go to work and change your life for the better, you should vote for her."

Clinton made a similar pitch when stumping for Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) during the recent special House election. "Let me ask you something," he said at a rally in Johnstown. "Forget about politics. Think about decisions you made in your life when you were really mad. There's about an 80 percent chance you made a mistake. Isn't that right?"

It could become a similar refrain. In Little Rock, Clinton did not mention the controversy surrounding the White House's job offer to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.).

Earlier in the day, Lincoln's primary opponent claimed to have the momentum ahead of the June 8 runoff.

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) told supporters he wasn't worried about Lincoln's "establishment support" but did not refer to Clinton by name.


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Special for Souder's House seat set for Nov.

Voters in disgraced Rep. Mark Souder’s (R-Ind.) district will have to do double duty in November.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) announced Friday that the special election in the state's 3rd district will take place on Nov. 2., the same day as the general election.

A spokesman for the Indiana Secretary of State's office said voters will cast one ballot for a candidate to serve out the remaining months of Souder's term and another for a general election candidate to takeover when the term expires.

Democrats already have their nominee for November -- 2006 nominee Tom Hayhurst -- and he's not expected to be challenged for the nod in the special. Souder had filed to run again and then withdrew after admitting he had an affair with a part-time female aide.

Republicans will nominate a candidate for the special and the general through a caucus process set for June 12, according to a spokesman for the Indiana GOP. State Reps. Wes Culver and Randy Borror and state Sen. Marlin Stutzman are in the race for the nod.


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Special for Souder's House seat set for Nov.

Voters in disgraced Rep. Mark Souder’s (R-Ind.) district will have to do double duty in November.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) announced Friday that the special election in the state's 3rd district will take place on Nov. 2., the same day as the general election.

A spokesman for the Indiana Secretary of State's office said voters will cast one ballot for a candidate to serve out the remaining months of Souder's term and another for a general election candidate to takeover when the term expires.

Democrats already have their nominee for November -- 2006 nominee Tom Hayhurst -- and he's not expected to be challenged for the nod in the special. Souder had filed to run again and then withdrew after admitting he had an affair with a part-time female aide.

Republicans will nominate a candidate for the special and the general through a caucus process set for June 12, according to a spokesman for the Indiana GOP. State Reps. Wes Culver and Randy Borror and state Sen. Marlin Stutzman are in the race for the nod.


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Travel problems cause more headaches for McCain

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was reminded Friday of the disadvantages of being an incumbent this cycle.

After spending the week at the heart of the legislative debate surrounding the repeal of the Pentagon's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, McCain was scheduled to fly back to Arizona on a 6 a.m. flight.

He's facing a tough primary challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) and had a series of campaign appearances lined up Friday, starting with a town hall event in the Phoenix area.

But McCain's flight had mechanical problems and was delayed leaving Washington. His campaign subsequently had only a few hours' notice to reschedule to Saturday the town hall event in Fountain Hills.

This wasn't the first time McCain missed a campaign appearance because his responsibilities kept him in Washington.

On May 14, McCain failed to make the opening of his Tucson campaign office because his flight was grounded by weather during a layover in Dallas. His campaign staff were left scrambling to find a replacement for the senator and eventually had to settle for Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup and local car dealer Jim Click.

"He flies commercial; this happens to everyone," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.

That's certainly true. But in a year when incumbents need to campaign hard to save their jobs, the challenge of getting back home from D.C. is an added complication.

And it doesn't look like the Senate's summer schedule will provide any respite.

On the docket: the financial regulatory reform conference report, Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation, the war supplemental conference report, an extension of jobless benefits, a defense authorization, small-business loans and other jobs bills, plus a budget resolution.

It seems McCain's campaign staff can expect more delays.

— Walter Alarkon contributed to this report.

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Sestak confirms White House account of job offer

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) issued a statement Friday confirming the White House's account of its job offer to him to get out of the Senate primary race.

"Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background. He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives," Sestak said. "I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former president said he knew I'd say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects."

Pennsylvania Republicans were unsatisfied with Sestak's explanation.

"Joe Sestak's refusal to comment on this issue until the White House released their carefully concocted statement, proves that Joe Sestak is now officially the same kind of Washington 'insider' he claimed to be fighting against," Mike Barley, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, said in a statement. "Regardless of what the White House or Joe Sestak may hope, this is a matter that should be pursued and not forgotten over a long holiday weekend."

Washington Republicans said Friday the memo only raises more questions about the job offer, which they say could have broken federal laws. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is holding a press conference at 2:50 p.m. where he's again expected to call for an investigation into the White House job offer.



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RNC Chair: Memo 'raises more questions'

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said the White House's explanation of how Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) was offered an executive branch board position "raises more questions."

"What was Bill Clinton authorized to offer?," Steele asked in a statement. "Did President Obama sign off on this conversation before it took place?"

White House Counsel Bob Bauer addressed the controversy in a two-page memo released Friday. The memo confirmed reports that former President Bill Clinton spoke to Sestak at the request of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel about dropping out of the race against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).

Steele called the memo "unsubstantiated."

"Now more than ever it is clear that this White House is not capable of policing itself and needs to open itself to an independent investigation," Steele said.

Senate Judiciary Republicans have asked the White House to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the matter. The memo did not address the Republicans’ request.

—Sam Youngman and Walter Alarkon contributed to this post.

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Meek: Charlie Crist's independent bid helps me

Senate hopeful Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) believes Charlie Crist's independent bid will help him win a seat in the upper chamber.

"I think [Crist's bid] will eventually [help]," Meek said.

In a brief interview, Meek told The Hill many voters in Florida "don't know I'm running" because he hasn't gone up with campaign ads yet. He said Crist and Republican Marco Rubio will split the GOP vote, noting there are 750,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in Florida.

Meek, who was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential Democratic primary, said the Obama White House has been very supportive of his campaign.

Asked if the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has been helpful enough, Meek said DSCC Chairman Robert Menendez (N.J.) recently helped him raise funds for his campaign in the Sunshine State.

"Of course," Meek said with a smile, "they could always do more."

In a recent St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald/Bay News poll, Crist attracted 30 percent of the vote, with Rubio at 27 percent and Meek at 15 percent.

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Poll: Reid pulls even with challengers

After months of trailing by double digits, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has pulled about even with his potential Republican challengers, according to a new Las Vegas Review-Journal poll.

If the election were held today, Reid would fall just 3% short of former Nevada Republican chairwoman Sue Lowden (39%-42%), would defeat ex-Assemblywoman Sharron Angle by the same margin (42%-39%), and is in a statistical dead heat with businessman Danny Tarkanian (41%-42%).

Reid hasn't grown any more popular in the state. Forty-seven percent of Nevada voters have an unfavorable opinion of him. But his opponents have been taking a drubbing in the press. Lowden committed an embarrassing gaffe by seeming to suggest that Nevadans could get healthcare by paying their doctor with a chicken. Angle has been portrayed as a far-right Tea Partier.

The poll shows that any of the Republicans still have a shot at the nomination. If the primary were held today, Lowden would receive 30% of the vote, cmopared to 29% for Angle and 23% for Tarkanian.

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