(Helayne Seidman)
Monday, March 14, 2011


"Judging from the NRSC's bizarre behavior today, his comments obviously upset potential Florida candidates."

- MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, responding Friday to an assertion by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) that he had been recruiting Scarborough to run for Senate not in Florida but rather in New York. Scarborough remembers things differently, saying Cornyn was "clear and unambiguous" that he was talking about Florida, where Scarborough served as a Republican congressman.


60The percentage of Senate freshmen who are worth $1 million or more, according to new financial disclosures. Forty percent of House freshmen are millionaires. The new figures underscore a long-term trend of wealth accumulation in Congress, with lawmakers amassing far more money than the people they represent. The average freshman senator is worth $3.96 million.

20The number of newspaper op-ed articles written by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney since November 2008, as highlighted by Time's RealClearPolitics. Romney has avoided interviews and questions about 2012, with aides saying he's not a candidate. At the same time, however, he's getting his message out through these commentaries. Most of his opinion pieces take direct aim at President Obama.

16The number of Wisconsin state senators - Democrats and Republicans - who are facing recall petitions in the wake of a messy, protracted budget fight. That's every member of the legislature who is eligible to be recalled this year. Democrats are targeting Republicans for passing a bill that ends collective bargaining for public employees. Republicans are targeting Democrats for skipping town to avoid the vote. The outcome could change the balance of power in the legislature and set a new historical precedent.


Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) announced that he will not seek another term. Ensign, who acknowledged an affair with a former staff member who happened to be his best friend's wife, is under investigation by the Senate ethics committee. Through it all, though, he was intent on feeling out a potential run for reelection in 2012. But this week, shortly after beginning that feeling-out process, he opted for retirement instead. Republicans stand a much better chance at holding the seat with someone else - Rep. Dean Heller is the likely candidate - at the top of their ticket.


The Republican presidential field kept stumbling. Very few potential GOP candidates are looking strong now. Mitt Romney continues to defend the health-care bill he signed as governor of Massachusetts; former House speaker Newt Gingrich awkwardly cited his patriotism and work ethic while explaining why he wasn't faithful to his wife; Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels continues to refuse to play ball with social conservatives; former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has had a rough start to his book tour; and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is drawing some odd reactions for accusing the Obama administration of deliberately driving up gas prices. The campaign hasn't even begun, and it's already been tough sledding for most of the top GOP presidential contenders. That's good news for President Obama and other Democrats.

- Aaron Blake and Rachel Weiner

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