Category Archives: Karl Rove

>Can the Grand Old (Tea) Party Win in November?

>Nice article written by John Nickles over at the Nation.com about the sudden turn of events that has now made Democratic prospect for the November elections and retaining control of the US Senate much more likely thanks to Republican voters that chose extreme right-wing TEA Party backed candidates in Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and elsewhere over more mainstream GOP candidates:

Did the Tea Party movement just snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Delaware?

In a word: Yes.

Just as wins by extreme right-wingers in Republican primaries in Nevada, Alaska and other states have renewed the hopes of Democrats in Senate races where they looked to be doomed, Delaware Republicans just ditched a seemingly certain November winner for a likely loser.

On a night when the Tea Party movement scored some big wins over candidates of the Republican establishment—in races for governor of New York and perhaps for New Hampshire’s open US Senate seat—the most dramatic victory for the frenzied right came in Delaware, where Tea Party heroine Christine O’Donnell upset Congressman Mike Castle for the party’s Senate nod.

Former White House political czar Karl Rove, who describes the Republican nominee for the US Senate from that state, Christine O’Donnell, as someone who “says a lot of nutty things,” was arguing that the GOP just lost a Senate race.

“We were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We’re now looking at seven to eight in my opinion,” Rove said Tuesday night. “This is not a race we are going to be able to win.”

But consider those numbers: What Rove is saying is that, with the Delaware result, Republicans may have lost much more than the Senate race in a single state….

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Filed under Alaska, Delaware, enat, Karl Rove, Nevada, Republican Candidates, Tea Party, Tea Party candidate, The Nation, US Senate

Public Perception

There is a thin vale that separates reality from perception, very often ones own perception of events supersedes the reality of what actually has taken place. The Corzine campaign knows this and is using it to there advantage over Republican opponent Chris Christie.

The recent news about Christie speaking to Karl Rove about a potential run for the New Jersey governorship on top of the failure to disclose the loan of $46,000 to his assitant federal prosecutor, Michele Brown, while heading the US Attorneys office has left Christie open to attacks rightfully on his character and motivations.

The follwing opinion from piece from the Burlington County Times lays out Christie’s problem exactly:

Burlington County Times

Throughout his campaign for New Jersey governor, Republican candidate Chris Christie has represented himself as an ethics reformer who will “stop corruption in its tracks.”

Now that he has been forced to address questions about a $46,000 loan he made to an assistant when he was U.S. attorney, and that he failed to report it on his income tax and financial disclosure forms, he may want to change his approach.

Christie has said that it was all a mistake and that he plans to file all the amended paperwork.

OK, we’re willing to believe that.

But what really bothers us is the admission that Christie spoke with Karl Rove, adviser to former President George W. Bush, during his time as U.S. attorney. Rove has said that they discussed Christie’s interest in running for the state’s highest office. That means that Christie may have been actively pursuing the governorship while serving as a federal prosecutor. And that’s a violation of the Hatch Act, a law that restricts employees of the executive branch of the federal government, as well as state and federal employees, from any political activity.

Rove was well-known for blurring the lines between politics and the Justice Department and allegedly rated U.S. attorneys based on their loyalty. It also has been reported that he threatened to fire prosecutors who refused to pursue certain politically motivated cases.

In the middle of the 2006 election, Christie subpoenaed U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez. The investigation never led to any charges. Democrats claimed at the time that the probe was politically motivated and now cite Christie’s conversation with Rove as proof.

Christie’s record of winning convictions against a large number of corrupt public officials struck a chord with Garden State voters sick and tired of political corruption in the state.

Now, the fact that the majority of those officials prosecuted by Christie during his tenure were Democrats seems less of a coincidence, and it’s easier to believe the link between Christie and former President Bush being made by Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s campaign.

If voters believe they’ll have to second-guess any and all of Christie’s work as a federal prosecutor, as well as the motivation behind it, what may have been a benign conversation could end up costing him the election.

It would not be the first time a candidate has been done in by public perception.

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Filed under Burlington County Times, Chris Christie, ethical violations, Gov. Jon Corzine, Hatch Act, Karl Rove, Michele A. Brown, US Attorneys Office

Poll: Christie leads Corzine by three points

Wally Edge from PolitickerNJ is reporting that Chris Christie’s lead over Governor Corzine in a new opinion poll is down to 3 percentage points
This is extremely good news for the Corzine campaign and shows that voters are beginning to wake up and pay attention to this race for the governor’s mansion.
Could the news from last couple of weeks about Christie talking to Bush White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove about a possible run for the governorship and his shady loan to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele A. Brown be taking hold?
It seems that the “Knight In Shining Armour” and the white horse he rode in on is tarnished and dirty.
Republican Christopher Christie leads Gov. Jon Corzine 39%-36% among definite voters, according to a poll conducted by Neighborhood Research, a survey firm run by conservative strategist Rick Shaftan. Independent Christopher Daggett is at 6%.

Corzine leads 52%-13%-9% among liberals, and 40%-34%-4% among moderates. Christie has a 63%-13%-7% lead among conservatives. Undecided voters “skew heavily to the left,” according to the poll analysis. Among seniors, Corzine leads 46%-32%-4%.
Corzine has an upside-down 23%-46% favorable rating; Christie is also upside-down at 20%-27%. Daggett remains largely unknown, with favorables of 2%-1%.
President Barack Obama has a 47%-28% favorable rating among likely New Jersey voters. In a generic ballot test for the State Assembly, Republicans lead 40%-35%.
Among likely voters, Corzine leads Christie 37%-35%, with 6% for Daggett.
“If Corzine gets his liberal/urban/Democratic base together he’s going to open up a significant lead, forcing Christie to work the right,” Shaftan wrote in his analysis.
The poll was conducted between August 12-21 with a sample size of 319 and a margin of error of +/- 5.49%. The party breakout among respondents was 43% Democrat, 34% Republican, 23% unaffiliated.

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Filed under Chris Christie, Chris Dagget, Gov. Jon Corzine, Karl Rove, Michele A. Brown, Neighborhood Research Poll, PolitickerNJ, Wally Edge

Democrats Pounce After Christie’s Misstep

By DAVID M. HALBFINGER – The New York Times

Democratic BlackBerrys up and down the East Coast started buzzing at 12:18 a.m. on Tuesday with news out of New Jersey: The Republican candidate for governor, Christopher J. Christie, had lent $46,000 to a subordinate and failed to disclose it as required by law.

For Democrats, who have watched, despairingly, as he galloped ahead of the incumbent, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, in the polls, it was a rare stumble by Mr. Christie, a former federal prosecutor running on a platform of ethics reform.

They were gleeful, and determined to strike. Into the wee hours and over the next few days, Mr. Corzine’s aides strategized with White House aides and other Democratic operatives about how to make it a national story, suggested loaded questions for bloggers and reporters to ask Mr. Christie, enlisted the state party to file a complaint with elections officials, and sent young staff members out to dog Mr. Christie’s events with signs spelling “$46,000.”

It is unclear what the misstep will mean for Mr. Christie, who quickly and profusely apologized. But the gaffe marked a pivotal moment, with both sides battling not only over the issue, but also about what this expensive, marquee governor’s race will be fought over.

Republicans, who cheered in July when a federal investigation resulted in corruption charges against dozens of local officials, believing they underscored Mr. Christie’s strengths, are now calling for him to focus on more conventional issues like property taxes, jobs and education.

Democrats, seeing a chance to turn a referendum on an unpopular incumbent into a referendum on a challenger with some holes in his armor, want to talk about nothing else.

“There’s a lot more optimism around Jon Corzine’s candidacy now,” said David Plouffe, President Obama’s campaign manager, who cut his political teeth in New Jersey. “When the real economic questions are put in front of voters, and now you’ve got questions about Christie’s character and ethics, there’s a pathway that’s a little wider. It’s still a tough fight and a little uphill, but there’s a pathway.”

New Jersey is enjoying outsize attention the year after a presidential election because it is one of only two statewide contests in the nation; the other is in Virginia. And New Jersey is still considered far more friendly to Democrats than Virginia is; the party holds a 650,000-vote registration edge, and a Republican has not won statewide in 12 years.

Still, what were once considered Mr. Corzine’s political assets now look a lot like baggage. He is a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs precisely at the high-water mark of revulsion against Wall Street. He is a proponent of expensive health care and prekindergarten programs at a time of growing nervousness about soaring deficits and ambitious spending plans.

Those who have lived through past New Jersey campaigns believe the contest will ultimately be decided on pocketbook issues. Mr. Christie, who spent seven years as a United States attorney, has compiled a withering indictment of the governor: higher taxes, unemployment higher than in New York or Pennsylvania, a business climate rated among the nation’s worst, an exodus of college students and corporations. Mr. Corzine said things would have gotten far worse had he not been in charge. But that is harder to prove, polls show that most voters do not buy it, and Republicans believe many people have run out of patience with the governor.

“There is such Democrat fatigue in this state,” said Kevin O’Toole, the Republican chairman in Essex County, which includes Newark. “Obama’s right, it’s time for a change.”

Worse still, for Democrats, Mr. Corzine has struggled mightily to excite the party’s base. Blacks and Hispanics have openly flirted with Mr. Christie over issues like school vouchers. Environmental advocates have already deserted Mr. Corzine. The Corzine campaign is aggressively lobbying gay men and lesbians to stick with the governor.

Mr. Corzine’s aides had been saying for months that they only needed to fight Mr. Christie to a draw on the subject of corruption, because they believe if the campaign is about the issues, they will win, given the Democrats’ registration advantage. But despite the campaign’s costly barrage of television commercials accusing Mr. Christie of cronyism, his disapproval rating is still only about half the governor’s.

That is why they began to grow excited this month, with the news that Karl Rove had spoken with Mr. Christie, as early as 2006 or 2007, about Mr. Christie’s interest in the governor’s office. The Hatch Act bars federal prosecutors from even testing the waters for a candidacy, and by Saturday, Mr. Corzine, speaking to liberal bloggers in Pittsburgh, was calling Mr. Christie a “lawbreaker.”

Some Democrats felt it was a stretch. But then, last Tuesday, another break: Mr. Christie came forward to acknowledge he had given a top aide in the prosecutor’s office a second mortgage to help her out of a financial jam, but failed to report it on his ethics filings and tax returns.

Full of outrage when announcing indictments, Mr. Christie was subdued but frank in owning and apologizing for his mistake. But he had to contend with questions about why his lapse — he had failed to report $420 in interest income on his taxes — would not have been worth prosecuting.

From Washington to Trenton to the governor’s adopted hometown, Hoboken, Mr. Corzine’s allies grabbed hold of the story as if it were a defibrillator.

Aides to Senator Robert Menendez put calls in to reporters pressing the attack. Representative Frank Pallone Jr. accused the United States attorney’s office — where the woman who received the loan from Mr. Christie is now second in command — of playing politics. The Corzine campaign filed a lawsuit seeking records of Mr. Christie’s communications with his old office.

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Filed under Chris Christie, Congressman Frank Pallone, David Plouffe, Gov. Jon Corzine, Karl Rove, Monmouth County, President Obama, The New York Times, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

The Newark Star Ledger Sunday Editorial: Questions For Chris Christie

Posted by The Star-Ledger Editorial Board August 23, 2009

A high horse is a difficult thing to ride, as Chris Christie is finding out. After building his image as a white knight rescuing New Jersey from the dragon of corruption, Christie is showing some gaps in his armor.

The Republican candidate for governor is facing questions about a loan of $46,000 he made to an assistant when he was U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, and failed to report on his income tax and financial disclosure forms. He says it was a mistake and is filing amended reports. If there’s no more to this story, it may blow over. Gov. Jon Corzine can’t make much of it without reviving questions about the Democrat’s own financial entanglement with former state labor leader Carla Katz.

Of more concern is the disclosure that, while New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor, Christie spoke with Karl Rove, political guru to George W. Bush.

Christie says they never discussed legal cases; Rove says they talked about Christie’s interest in running for governor. That raises questions about whether Christie took steps toward a campaign while still U.S. Attorney, in possible violation of the Hatch Act.

There’s no legitimate reason for Christie — or any U.S. Attorney — to have spoken with Rove. While at the White House, Rove bulldozed the wall between the Justice Department and politics, rating U.S. Attorneys for “loyalty” and pushing to fire some who wouldn’t mount politically motivated prosecutions. This has given new life to Democrats’ claims that Christie unfairly subpoenaed U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) during his 2006 election campaign in a probe that did not result in charges.

Christie’s record of winning convictions of more than 100 public officials is the key to his appeal. But that rests on the belief he went after bad guys wherever he found them, and that most happened to be Democrats because, well, those were the ones on the make and on the take.

To avoid any political taint, Christie should not have been talking to anyone — especially Rove — about running for office until after he left the Justice Department.


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Filed under Chris Christie, George Bush, Gov. Jon Corzine, Karl Rove, Michele A. Brown, New Jersey, NJ-Gov. Race, the Star-Ledger, US Attorneys Office

Video: Christie, Rove, and the US Attorney’s office

It didn’t take long for the Corzine campaign to come out swinging after the latest revelation concerning the Governor’s opponent Chris Christie and his converations with Bush White House deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove.

Rove testified before the House Judiciary Committee on July 7, 2009 and acknowldged that he and Christie had conversations about a potential Christie run for the governorship of NJ while still acting an U.S Attorney.

Watch the video, then read the latest about this potential scandel from the Huffington Post:

New documents about Karl Rove’s involvement in the U.S. Attorney firing scandal have the potential to create ripples in the 2009 gubernatorial race in New Jersey.

In an on-the-record interview with the House Judiciary Committee on July 7, 2009, the former Bush strategist acknowledged that he had held several conversations with current GOP candidate Chris Christie over the course of several years regarding the possibility of running for the governor’s chair.

Christie, Rove said, was interested in mounting a bid and “asked me questions about who — who were good people that knew about running for governor that he could talk to.”

The admission ties the former New Jersey-based U.S. attorney even further to the Bush administration at a time when his election opponent, Gov. Jon Corzine, has attempted repeatedly to push that connection. It also raises questions as to how apolitical Christie was in his prior job.

Appointed by President Bush to the role of U.S. Attorney in January 2002, Christie earned a stellar reputation for busting white-collar criminals including crooked members of the political establishment. His success led to speculation that he would mount a bid for the governor’s chair, first against then Gov. James McGreevey, then against Corzine during the ’06 election. He dismissed the talk by positioning himself above the fray.

“I am just concentrating on this job and working on this job,” he told The Star-Ledger in November 2003. “I have absolutely no idea what the future will bring, but I feel I was given a job by the president, and I owe it to him to spend full-time concentrating on that job. And that doesn’t permit me to sit around and speculate about what I will do.”

In that same article Christie said he was being “extra sensitive” to avoid politics, lest those critics who accused him of being a Bush patronage appointee be proved correct.

Four years later, when talk came up again, the line was much the same. “I think about that only because people bring it up to me all the time,” Christie said about the election speculation in 2007. “But I don’t focus on that. If I do my job the best I can… The future will take care of itself.”

Around that time, it turns out, he was at least partially focused on a run at the governor’s chair. And he was turning to one of the GOP’s most prominent strategists for advice. As Rove told the House Judiciary Committee: “I talked to him twice in the last couple of years, perhaps one time while I was at the White House and once or twice since I left the White House, but — not regarding his duties as U.S. Attorney, but regarding his interest in running for governor.” …

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Filed under Chris Christie, ethics, House Judiciary Committee, Jim McGreevey, Jon Corzine, Karl Rove, New Jersey, The Huffington Post

Quote of The Day: "…He obviously was not only thinking of running for governor, he was seeking input…"

“This to me puts to bed the claim that he did not think about running for governor until he left the U.S. Attorney’s Office and had done a lot of soul searching before he made his decision…He obviously was not only thinking of running for governor, he was seeking input from the White House deputy chief of staff, George Bush’s chief strategist.”

Lt. Governor Candidate Lorretta Weinberg reacting to the news that Republican candidate for governor Chris Christie, had conversations with White House deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove about running for governor of NJ while still acting as U.S. Attorney.

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Filed under Chris Christie, George Bush, Gov. Jon Corzine, Karl Rove, Lorretta Weinberg, New Jersey, U.S Attorney General