NRSC moves to help shape Fiorina’s message

Brian JonesPolitico reports that Brian Jones, a former Republican National Committee communications director and senior communications advisor to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, has been tapped by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to give former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina a hand in her race against incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Jones – now a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs in Sacramento – also will be helping Nevada GOP senatorial nominee Sharron Angle in her race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and whichever Republican finishes in Washington’s Aug. 17 blanket primary.

Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports:

Just as Republicans need to win Nevada to have any chance of capturing the 10 seats they need to win back control of the Senate, their path to the majority almost certainly also must goes through California and Washington. The NRSC disclosed Monday that they were reserving $1.75 million worth of TV time in California — a signal that they’re serious about taking on Sen. Barbara Boxer. In Washington, Republicans think Sen. Patty Murray is vulnerable but the party must first settle on a nominee. Dino Rossi, who has twice run unsuccesfully for govenor, is the establishment favorite while former NFL player Clint Didier has some tea party support.

Jones is a seasoned press hand. In the 2008 cycle, he was initially the communications director for John McCain’s presidential campaign, where he worked closely with fellow top aides Terry Nelson and Rob Jesmer – both now top NRSC officials. Jones also worked on President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.


Whitman to raise money tonight in Bay Area

It’ll be a GOP all-star bash tonight as Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Meg Whitman’s campaign holds a fundraiser at the Sofitel Hotel in Redwood City. On the headliners list: former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential primary candidate Mitt Romney; 2008 Republican presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and former Secretary of State George Shultz.

What an interesting bunch of people with whom to talk, n’est pas? Mais non! “Tonight’s event will be open to the press but there will be no availability for interviews,” sayeth the campaign.


Fact-checking Carly Fiorina’s phoner

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina held a conference call with reporters a short while ago to trash-talk President Barack Obama’s visit to California today to raise money for incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., but not all of her facts stand up to scrutiny.

“The president is out here today because Barbara Boxer is vulnerable and the Democratic establishment is working overtime to prop her up in a way it has never done before,” Fiorina said, noting that along with last week’s announcement that Dianne Feinstein is chairing Boxer’s re-election campaign, “we are witnessing a rescue mission in action.”

Fiorina then said Boxer is vulnerable due to policies such as health care reform – “a cynical and partisan piece of work that was hastily written” – that President Obama has pushed with her support. But Fiorina doesn’t seem to grasp where most Californians stand on this. A Field Poll last month – just before the legislation passed – showed voters evenly split in their assessment of Obama’s handling of the issue of health care (45 percent approving and 45 percent disapproving), an improvement from January when more voters disapproved by a 53 percent to 39 percent margin. Even the latest poll from the somewhat rightward-leaning Rasmussen Reports shows that support for the health care reform plan is stronger in California than it is nationwide, with 50 percent of California voters thinking it’ll be good for the country – that’s 11 points higher than results found on the national level – while 41 percent think it’ll be bad.

Fiorina also noted public frustration over a national debt that has reached record levels under President Obama, yet failed to mention that the debt grew from about $5.73 trillion to about $10.63 trillion under Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, due in part to his tax cuts for the wealthy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fiorina challenged Obama and Boxer to explain to voters exactly how the economic stimulus bill they championed is helping California. But Boxer has been proudly doing that for about a year; her website is replete with pages and news releases touting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s tax relief, infrastructure spending and job creation for Californians.

Fiorina cited California’s still-high unemployment rate, 12.6 percent. But as the Obama supporters at Organizing for America would note:

jobs graph

“I don’t think the people of California are in any mood to extend Barbara Boxer’s contract to work for them in Washington to 34 years when her first 28 have been a total failure,” Fiorina concluded, saying she believes Californians are “angry and frustrated that these policies will do nothing but feed the growth of government by increasing taxes and costing jobs.”

I asked her how President Obama’s fundraising for Boxer is any more desperate than the fundraising that U.S. Sen. John McCain, whom California and U.S. voters rejected in Obama’s favor just 18 months ago, did for Fiorina here in California just two weeks ago.

“I think the president’s time is quite a bit different than any senator’s time,” she replied, noting she’s embroiled in a heated primary while Obama is stumping for Boxer way before the general election season. “I think his visit speaks for itself and I think the polls speak for themselves too.”

But those polls look better for Tom Campbell, Fiorina’s GOP primary rival, and for Boxer than they do for Fiorina.


Cindy McCain speaks out for same-sex marriage

Cindy McCain - NoH8Yes, that Cindy McCain – wife of 2008 Republican presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. She posed for a photo as part of the NoH8 (“No hate,” get it?) campaign begun by photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley of North Hollywood to build public support against Proposition 8, the voter-approved California constitutional amendment now being challenged in a federal trial in San Francisco.

“The McCains are one of the most well-known Republican families in recent history, and for Mrs. McCain to have reached out to us to offer her support truly means a lot,” the NoH8 organizers wrote today on their Web site. “Although we had worked with Meghan McCain before and were aware of her own position, we’d never really thought the cause might be something her mother would get behind. We have a huge amount of respect for both of these women for being brave enough to make it known they support equal marriage rights for all Americans.”

This, a day after Republican San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders testified at the Prop. 8 trial about his own support of same-sex marriage.

But while these and some other Republicans are splitting from the GOP dogma on the issue, those hoping to promote same-sex marriage at the ballot box still shouldn’t be looking for a lot of support on the aisle’s right side. Consider this, from the Field Poll’s “August 2009 California Opinion Index: A Digest Summarizing The Changing California Electorate:”

When examining the changes in voter attitudes on these social issues by party, Californians’ greater acceptance of same-sex marriage over the past thirty years has come entirely from the ranks of registered Democrats and non-partisans rather than Republicans. Democratic voter views about allowing same-sex marriage have shifted from greater than two to one opposition in 1977 to greater than two to one support this year. Similarly, while a five to three majority of non-partisans opposed allowing same-sex couples to marry in 1977, they are now in support by a five to three margin.

Republicans, on the other hand, have not changed their views on this issue, and if anything, are now more opposed than they were thirty years ago. A nearly three to one majority of Republicans (68% to 23%) currently opposes allowing same-sex marriage in California. This is marginally greater than their 65% to 30% opposition found in a 1977 Field Poll.


Poll: Palin ‘top villian,’ Hillary’s ‘3 a.m.’ top ad

Some results from a poll of Campaigns & Elections’ Politics magazine subscribers:

Who would you say was the “Best Villain” of the 2008 election?

  • Sarah Palin 23%
  • Joe Lieberman 17%
  • John Edwards 16%
  • Michelle Bachmann 7%
  • Rudy Giuliani 6%
  • Ron Paul 5%
  • Elizabeth Dole 4%
  • Barack Obama 4%
  • John McCain 3%
  • Other 12%
  • Don’t Know 3%
  • Which of the following political advertisements would you say was the “Best TV spot” of the 2008 election?

  • Hillary Clinton – “3 AM” 31%
  • Barack Obama – “The Moment” 24%
  • John McCain – “Celebrity” 11%
  • Mike Huckabee – “Chuck Norris Approved” 9%
  • Bill Richardson – “Job Interviews” 7%
  • Mitt Romney – “Experience Matters” 3%
  • Republican National Committee – “Storm” 3%
  • Mike Gravel – “Throws a Rock in a Lake” 1%
  • Other 4%
  • Don’t Know 6%
  • Continue Reading


    How California’s Senators voted on Lieberman

    The U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus voted 42-13 today to let U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, despite his having been at odds with the caucus for years on Iraq and other matters, and despite his having repeatedly smack-talked President-elect Barack Obama while stumping for Republican presidential nominee John McCain this past year.

    The liberal blogosphere is beside itself with rage — see here, here, here and here — generally calling Senate Democrats a bunch of wusses for failing to hold Lieberman to account for kicking sand in their collective face for the past few years. My favorite bit of bone-dry derision comes from Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, offering this breaking news: “Lieberman expelled from Pilates class in Senate gym.”

    But even though Obama himself reportedly supported Lieberman, it seems U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was among those voting against him today. “The resolution did not reflect Senator Boxer’s belief that Senator Lieberman should remain in the caucus but not retain his full Committee Chairmanship, and she voted accordingly,” Natalie Ravitz, Boxer’s communications director, told me today.

    Boxer was among several Senators who had stumped for Lieberman in the 2006 primary – incurring some of her constituents’ wrath, since she’s been so staunchly against the war and Lieberman thought it was a good idea – but then supported Democrat Ned Lamont in the 2006 general election as Lieberman successful ran as an independent. I guess BaBo’s truly done with ol’ Joe now.

    As for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., communications director Gil Duran noted “the vote was by secret ballot,” but pointed me to what DiFi told reporters after the vote.

    “What we’re trying to do today is bring about reconciliation, not only within our caucus, but between Democrats and Republicans. We are trying to develop a more civil dialogue and hopefully get more done on behalf of the American people,” she said. “The jury’s out whether that’ll happen or not, but the resolution that was presented in the caucus did pass. Senator Lieberman will remain a member of the caucus and will retain his chairmanship. My hope is that he becomes a Democrat again.”

    Make of that what you will, dear readers.