White House distances itself from Paterson's claims of racist media

The White House distanced itself Monday from suggestions made by New York Gov. David Paterson (D) that President Obama would be targeted for media scrutiny because of his race.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters in Martha's Vineyard, where the president is vacationing, that the president doesn't agree with Paterson's assertion that African-American politicians are victimized by "orchestrated" campaigns by the media.

"In terms of media coverage and the media, he thinks there are a lot of people who disagree with him in the media, a lot of people who agree with him in the media, and some who just play it straight," Burton told reporters. "Whether or not race plays into that...the president doesn't think that's the case."

"We're not in the post-racial period," Paterson told the New York Daily News last week. "The reality is the next victim on the list -- and you can see it coming -- is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than trying to reform a health care system."

Paterson also suggested that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has been the victim of a racially biased media.

Burton said that the White House hadn't been following Paterson's uphill reelection bid in New York with much "granularity."

Poll: Gillibrand may face a tough race in 2010

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) may be headed for a tough reelection bid in 2010, according to a new, independent poll released Monday.

35 percent of voters told this month's Siena Poll of New Yorkers that they would prefer to vote for someone else in 2010, compared to 24 percent who said she deserved reelection. 41 percent were unsure.

Gillibrand has faced poor public opinion numbers since she was appointed by New York Gov. David Paterson (D) after a prolonged and controversial process to fill the Senate seat vacated by now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Still, a plurality of New Yorkers who responded view the freshman senator positively. 29 percent have a favorable opinion of Gillibrand (down from 33 percent in May), compared to 20 percent who have an unfavorable opinion. 52 percent of respondents didn't know or had no opinion.

Democrats have managed, though, to clear the primary field for Gillibrand so she can focus on bucking up for her Republican challenger.

Two of those potential challengers, former Gov. George Patacki (R) and Rep. Peter King (R), would face slightly different prospects out of the gate against Gillibrand, the poll found.

42 percent of New Yorkers would prefer Patacki over Gillibrand, in a test of a hypothetical matchup, with 18 percent undecided.

Gillibrand leads King 46-24, by contrast, with 30 percent undecided.

The Siena Poll, conducted August 17-20, has a 3.9 percent margin of error.

Lieberman to Baldwin: 'Make my day'

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) channeled one actor, Clint Eastwood, on Sunday to respond to another Hollywood star's threat to challenge him for reelection.

"Make my day," Lieberman said about actor Alec Baldwin's comments in the latest issue of Playboy that he might move to Connecticut to challenge Liberman, a centrist "Independent Democrat," for reelection in 2012.

Baldwin, a political liberal, told Playboy that he has "no use" for Lieberman, who supported Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign over President Obama's, and has stymied his party by not backing a public option in healthcare reform legislation.

"I mean, I must say that I respect Alec Baldwin as an actor and as a comedian, and if he wants to run, that's his right," Lieberman added during an appearance this morning on CNN.

Conyers looks vulnerable in 2010 reelection poll

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) could face a tough reelection race in 2010, according to a new, independent poll released this weekend.

40 percent of Conyers's constituents said he deserved reelection, according to a poll conducted earlier this month by the Lansing, Mich.-based Deno Noor Polling, in conjunction with the Rossman Group and Perricone Group.

44 percent of Detroiters represented by Conyers said they would prefer to elect someone else. 15 percent were unsure or didn't know.

The 80-year-old Conyers has served in Congress since 1965, making him one of the longest-serving members of Congress still in office. He could face a challenging reelection, though, due to the conviction of his wife, Monica Conyers, for bribery charges incurred while she served as President Pro Tempore of the Detroit City Council.

Rep. Conyers has dodged questions about his wife's conviction, and it isn't clear whether the couple has maintained a close relationship in recent years.

Still, 76 percent of those surveyed said the conduct of Monica Conyers wouldn't affect how they would vote for her powerful husband.

Another Detroit lawmaker's political future could be imperiled by a family member's illicit political conduct, as well.

27 percent of Detroiters said Rep. Carolyn Cheek Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) deserves reelection almost a year after she was almost unseated in a Democratic primary challenge.

58 percent said that someone else should replace Kilpatrick, with 14 percent undecided.

Kilpatrick won a hotly-contested three-way primary last August with 39 percent of the vote after her son, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, was forced from office after pleading guilty to charges stemming from his testimony denying an extramarital affair to which he later admitted.

60 percent of Detroiters said the former mayor's conduct would have no bearing on their vote for Kilpatrick, who's served in Congress since being elected in 1996.

POLL: Reid trails potential GOP foes in 2010 race

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) trails two potential Republican opponents in a new independent poll testing those matchups.

Reid trails real estate businessman Danny Tarkanian and Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden in a Mason-Dixon poll conducted this past week and released Sunday.

Tarkanian, a former basketball player for the University of Nevada - Los Vegas, would take the support of 49 percent of Nevadans, while 38 percent would support Reid for reelection. 13 percent of Nevada voters were undecided between the two choices.

By contrast, Lowden would beat Reid 45-40 percent, with 15 percent undecided.

National Republicans have made targeting Reid a priority in their 2010 midterm election efforts. And while the polls show Reid below the 50 percent threshold considered healthy for incumbents, Reid's been furiously raising money for the race, reporting a hefty $7.3 million in cash on hand through the end of June, in Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

Republicans also haven't been able to draw their preferred candidates into the race, either. Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (R) had been a favorite recruit until falling under ethical scrutiny, and Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) had declined to challenge Reid in recent weeks.

(Mason-Dixon tested a potential Heller-Reid race. 50 percent of Nevada voters said they would support Heller, and 40 percent would support Reid, with the rest undecided.)

National Democrats and Republicans have made a point of targeting Senate leaders in their reelection efforts this past decade. Republicans managed to knock off then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) in 2004, while Democrats almost succeeded in unseating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2008.

The poll, conducted August 17-18, has a five percent margin of error.

Ark. state Senate president weighs Lincoln challenge

Add another name to the lengthy list of potential GOP opponents for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.): Arkansas state Senate President Bob Johnson.

From the AP:
Arkansas Senate President Bob Johnson said Friday that he's considering challenging incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in next year's primary.

Johnson told The Associated Press that's he's been encouraged to challenge Lincoln, who is seeking a third Senate term next year. Johnson said he doesn't have a timeline for deciding whether to challenge Lincoln.

"I'd be less than honest if I told you it hasn't surfaced in a number of circles," Johnson said. "I am weighing it very carefully."

Republicans have identified Lincoln as their top target on next year's ballot; five candidates have already announced they're running for the GOP Senate nomination. So far, no Democrats have said they're challenging Lincoln in the primary.

Johnson, who served as House speaker during the 1999 legislative session, has represented his north central Arkansas district in the state Senate since 2001.

Though the field is big, it is still without a big-name lawmaker. The current frontrunner is probably businessman and Mike Huckabee adviser Curtis Coleman. State Sen. Gilbert Baker is also considering the race.

Poll shows Beauprez leading Colo. Senate primary

The first poll on the GOP Senate primary in Colorado shows former Rep. Bob Beauprez leading a field of three candidates with 41 percent of the vote. He is followed in the Public Policy Polling survey by Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, at 23 percent, and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, at 15 percent.

The numbers aren't too surprising. Beauprez is known to about two-thirds of primary voters thanks to his 2006 gubernatorial campaign, while Frazier and Weld are both unknown to a solid majority of voters.

What's interesting is that while Weld is known to more voters than Frazier, 35 percent versus 24 percent, he still trails Frazier by 8 percent.

Of course, this is all very early, and Beauprez hasn't even decided whether to get into the race. But it's still a good sign for Frazier that his support is very high among those who know about him.

The poll didn't test former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, who has recently begun making overtures about the race.

The winner will likely face appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

In the gubernatorial GOP primary to face Gov. Bill Ritter (D), former Rep. Scott McInnis leads state Sen. Josh Penry 36-15.

Waxman: GOP making 'serious mistake' to think health bill stance will bring 2010 wins

Republicans are making a "serious mistake" by thinking that stopping Democrats' healthcare reform will result in political victories in 2010, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) warned.

"I think they make a serious mistake trying to make this a partisan fight," Waxman told U.S. News in an interview posted Friday.

Waxman asserted that GOP-ers would be in error to look to the 1994 healthcare fight, in which they blocked President Bill Clinton's reform efforts, as a template for the 2009 fight.

"They are looking at the playbook from 1993 and 1994 where the Republicans pulled someone like Bob Dole back from working out a deal on healthcare in order to deny President Clinton a victory," Waxman said. "And they were rewarded in the election in '94."

"They are playing that same card again, but this time it's not going to work," he added.

Waxman, the chairman of one of the three committees crafting healthcare legislation in the House, signaled that Republican support wouldn't be essential to passing legislation if members of the GOP refuse to play ball on negotiations.

"I think it's always important for legislation to be bipartisan," he said. "But you don't always achieve that goal. If the Republicans don't want it because they want to deny Obama a political success, you don't stop your efforts."

Ron Paul's son raises $680k for KY Senate race

Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) will have, at the very least, a well-funded Senate primary opponent in Rand Paul.

Paul's campaign website reports that he has already raised more the $680,000 for the race, including $430,000 during a Thursday "moneybomb." The former total exceeds the amount Grayson raised for his exploratory committee in the second quarter and puts Paul on a very strong fundraising pace.

Paul is the son of former presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) and is tapping into the same type of fervor that helped his father raise lots of money for his long shot presidential bid.

The younger Paul is beginning to look like much less of a long shot, after a recent SurveyUSA poll showed him taking 26 percent of the vote, to Grayson's 37 percent.

Another libertarian-leaning Republican Senate candidate, Peter Schiff, is also raising big money in Connecticut.

County GOP runs ad with Pallone's town hall details

This is interesting: The Monmouth County, N.J., Republican Party is running an ad listing details for Rep. Frank Pallone's (D-N.J.) town hall meeting on Monday.

The ad features Pallone's comments on how the new health care bill would be paid for, and at the end urges people to tell the congressman what they think about the bill.

Printed on the screen are details for Pallone's Monday town hall in Piscataway, N.J.

Democrats have accused Republicans of manufacturing some of the more outlandish examples of activism at these town halls, but at least one local GOP isn't shying from publicly organizing a protest.