Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Rob Christensen, a political writer with the Raleigh News & Observer who is often called the "dean of North Carolina politics," for an in-depth look at Tar Heel State politics and the state's key U.S. Senate race.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is highly vulnerable. The Tar Heel State may be purpling with every election cycle, but Hagan has a number of factors working against her in her re-election bid. For starters, she was elected in 2008 during a Democratic wave year with the help of miscues by her opponent, former Sen....  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke about Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential hopes and the 2014 midterm campaigns with Geoff Garin, a longtime Democratic pollster who worked for Clinton's campaign in 2008.

Here are four takeaways from the conversation:

1. Were she to run, Hillary Clinton shouldn't have the same inevitability problem that plagued her in 2008. She was widely seen as the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, and that perception seemed to produce some complacency within her campaign and contribute to her eventual loss to Barack Obama....  More»

May 5, 2014, at 7:05 AM

Last week on Political Wire's podcast, we brought on John Maginnis, founder of, to discuss the fascinating world of Louisiana politics, especially as it pertains to the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is in real danger but may be buoyed by some recently acquired senatorial clout. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is a top GOP target this cycle as the Republicans seek to regain control of the Senate in November. Although she is known for bucking President Obama on key issues, particularly pertaining to energy policy, her vote for ObamaCare won't help her in November....  More»


The new USA Today/Pew Research poll out this morning is terrible news for Democrats and shows a possible wave forming that Republican candidates may be able to ride to majorities in both houses of Congress on Election Day.

The GOP's four-point lead in the generic ballot among registered voters, 47 percent to 43 percent, "shows the strongest tilt to Republican candidates at this point in a midterm year in at least two decades, including before partisan 'waves' in 1994 and 2010 that swept the GOP into power," USA Today reports.

In addition, by a margin of more than two to one, Americans say they are dissatisfied with the direction of the country....  More»


The GOP establishment won the first round of a series of primaries this month that could set the party up to retake control of the U.S. Senate in the midterm elections.

The victory by Thom Tillis (R) in North Carolina's Republican Senate primary — and several closely watched lower profile wins for the establishment in House races — allowed Republican insiders to breath a sigh of relief that they might not put up unelectable candidates in the fall like they did in 2010 and 2012.

Rob Christensen of the News & Observer noted that it "was a good election for the big boys in Washington, for deep pockets and for party connections....  More»


A surprise essay by Monica Lewinsky in Vanity Fair previewed yesterday on the magazine's website instantly raised questions about whether the re-emergence of the former White House intern would hurt Hillary Clinton's chances to win the presidency by reigniting the scandal that led to Bill Clinton's impeachment.

Lewinsky said she's tired of being quiet and has had enough of "tiptoeing around my past — and other people's futures."

She adds: "I've decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past … It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress....  More»


After pounding Democrats on ObamaCare for the last several years, Republicans have a big problem. The law is working and their message is falling flat.

This was confirmed again by testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday in which health-care-industry executives surprised Republican lawmakers. They said the law has not led to a government takeover of the industry, that most enrollees are paying their premiums as required, and that premiums are not certain to go up next year as Republicans claim.

With more than 8 million people enrolled in health plans through the ObamaCare exchanges, many Republicans know it's much harder...  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Elizabeth Wilner of Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group on the flood of political advertisements that are already hitting the TV airwaves.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. Political advertising has increased and has started much earlier in the campaign season the past few cycles. In the past three election cycles, it seems as though the political advertising wave has begun earlier and earlier, and with far greater volumes of advertisements and expenditures. "Only going back to 2010 have we seen these volumes of advertising and amounts of money [spent]," Wilner said....  More»


A new NBC-Marist poll in Kentucky shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) barely leading challenger Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) in their closely-watched U.S. Senate race, 46 percent to 45 percent.

But the more important numbers in the survey are about ObamaCare.

The poll finds that registered voters dislike ObamaCare by a wide margin, 57 percent to 33 percent. No surprise, right?

However, when voters were asked to give their impression of "Kynect," the state exchange created as a result of the health care law, the findings were very different with a plurality in favor, 29 percent to 22 percent....  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Tampa Bay Times writer Adam Smith, one of the nation's top political reporters, on Florida's gubernatorial contest and the presidential aspirations of two of the state's most prominent GOP politicians.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. Charlie Crist (D) is seen as an opportunist for switching parties. But that may not actually hurt him. At one point Crist was a popular Republican governor in the Sunshine State, and many political observers suggested that he was vice presidential material in 2008, if not a future presidential contender....  More»

May 18, 2014, at 5:05 PM

On Political Wire's podcast, we recently spoke to Kay Henderson, news director for Radio Iowa, about the state's fascinating politics, its marquee U.S. Senate race, and the actions that 2016 presidential hopefuls are already taking there.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is the favorite to succeed Sen. Tom Harkin (D), but two things could hurt his chances. Harkin, the Hawkeye State's longtime junior senator, surprised many Democrats when he decided to retire from the Senate. Braley, who soon afterward declared his candidacy, embraced the mantle of the progressive heir apparent to Harkin....  More»

May 18, 2014, at 7:10 PM

In a new episode of Political Wire's podcast, we had a fascinating discussion on the big-time politics of a big state — Texas — with Wayne Slater, senior political writer for the Dallas Morning News. Slater updated us on the Lone Star State's gubernatorial race and the potential presidential aspirations of several political figures associated with Texas.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. In the governor's race, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) looks tough for Democrats to beat. Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator from Fort Worth, became a national political figure almost overnight thanks to her efforts to oppose ...  More»


When is the last time you saw a politician tout his or her background as a lawyer in a campaign ad?

After all, a recent Gallup poll found that just 20 percent of Americans thought lawyers were honest or had high ethical standards.

But that’s exactly what Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley (D) does in his latest television spot.

Says Braley: "Equal justice under the law is what this country is built upon, is one of the things that motivated me to want to become a lawyer, and fight for people."

He adds: "You have to get to know people to be an effective voice for what they care about....  More»

May 28, 2014, at 11:39 AM

As Hillary Clinton mulls another run for president in 2016 and gears up for a national book tour next month, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows what a dominant political figure she's become.

An astonishing 55 percent of survey respondents — a clear majority — say they support Clinton making a White House bid. That's remarkable considering our fiercely polarized politics.

Though a formal announcement and the scrutiny that comes with it will almost certainly bring down her numbers, Clinton starts off with a commanding head start.

It's no wonder no Democrats have stepped up to challenge her in a possible Democratic primary....  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics about some of her state's key races in 2014, including its marquee U.S. Senate and gubernatorial elections.

Here are five takeaways:

1. In the U.S. Senate race, both major parties' candidates have institutional advantages. Democrats have a solid, if uncharismatic, candidate in Rep. Gary Peters (D), a one-time investment banker who represents a district in the Detroit area. "I think that Gary Peters has the institutional advantage because Michigan has gone blue in federal elections pretty consistently for a couple decades," Demas said....  More»

May 29, 2014, at 9:45 AM

In a new episode of Political Wires podcast, we were joined by John Della Volpe, director of polling at Harvard Universitys Institute of Politics, for a fascinating discussion of young voters and their declining trust in institutions of all types.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Young people are losing faith in their institutions, including government. That was a key finding of the most recent Harvard University Institute of Politics poll of younger millennials — those between 18 and 29 years old. "We saw less interest, less participation, and less trust in almost every single institution that we track," Della Volpe said....  More»


The release of Hillary Clinton's much-anticipated memoir, Hard Choices, means we'll get to hear the question, "Are you going to run for president?" in dozens of different ways over the next few weeks.

Each time, Clinton will respectfully swat the question aside, saying it is yet another hard choice she'll have to make sometime next year.

But it's very clear this book launch is the beginning of her 2016 presidential campaign.

Let's look at the facts:

1. As First Read notes, the lack of news in her book is the news. "There aren't any scores she seems intent on settling....  More»

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