Welcome back to Hotline Sort. President Obama is headed to Ground Zero on Thursday, but you won't see George W. Bush with him. Meanwhile, Obama gets an 11-point bump in the latest NYT/CBS poll. And Wisconsin Democrats pick up a GOP-held legislative seat in a special election. Here's today's rundown:
7) We reported late Tuesday afternoon that the field has been set for Thursday's GOP presidential debate in Greenville, S.C. Five potential hopefuls will participate, but the debate is getting more press for who isn't going. Here's how South Carolina GOP operative Bob McAlister put it to Real Clear Politics: "It's like a beauty contest where all the women are ugly. It's just mind-boggling that we're this far along in the political silly season and there's no one of major stature that appears to be interested so far."
6) Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has a new foreign policy adviser, and it is the Hoover Institution's Peter Schweizer, who is seen to view the U.S. with a more limited role in world affairs. Schweizer replaces Randy Scheunemann, who advised Palin during the 2008 election and since.
5) Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) will officially be sworn into the Senate on May 9. Heller joined Republican senators Tuesday for their weekly policy planning lunch.
4) In Wisconsin legislative special elections held Tuesday, Republicans held on
to two of three Assembly seats the party controlled before Gov. Scott Walker
(R) appointed the incumbents to state agency jobs in January. Democrats won a western Wisconsin seat, which was held by the GOP for 16 years. Obama carried it with 55 percent of the vote in 2008.
3) Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
has a small lead in a new Quinnipiac University poll of the national race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Romney takes 18 percent of the vote, with Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
(R) at 15 percent. Real estate mogul Donald Trump
is in fourth place at 12 percent. But there are some brutal numbers for Palin and Trump: Equal majorities of all voters (58 percent) say they would "never" vote for either candidate.
That Quinnipiac poll also contains some new numbers on various proposals to reduce the federal budget deficit. Quinnipiac attempted an interesting experiment: telling half the respondents that about 60 percent of the federal budget goes toward defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Regardless of whether respondents were told that, at least 70 percent of voters oppose cutting the growth of spending on Medicare benefits to reduce the federal budget deficit. Voters are more split on reducing defense spending, with those told that it makes up a large portion of the federal budget being slightly more likely to support cuts. The one deficit-reduction proposal to get broad support is raising taxes on households making more than $250,000; 69 percent approve those tax increases.
2) A new CBS News/New York Times poll
out today confirms the "bump" that President Obama received in one-day surveys released Tuesday
Obama's approval rating has surged 11 points from a poll last month; now, 57 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing, while 37 percent disapprove. But like the other surveys, the bump is not an across-the-board boost for the president. Obama's approval rating on his handling of the economy has actually slid to 34 percent, down from 38 percent last month. The New York Times
compares Obama's 11-point surge to George W. Bush
's 8-point bump in 2003 after the capture of Saddam Hussein; the Times
notes that Bush's bump "evaporated within a month."
The poll is a "panel-back" survey -- respondents were first reached this weekend as part of a poll for CBS News, but some of them were then called back after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Obama's approval rating reflects the results of those second calls made Monday and Tuesday.
1) Obama will be visiting Ground Zero in New York City on Thursday to meet with families of 9/11 victims, but Bush has declined an invitation from the White House to join the president in New York.
"He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight," said Bush spokesperson David Sherzer
. "He continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror."
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