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Former Democratic Wisconsin U.S. Senator Russ Feingold

The prospects for a GOP pick up of retiring Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl’s seat are looking better all of the time.
Democrat Russ Feingold has decided he will not be a candidate for political office next year, taking himself out of the running in 2012 for either U.S. senator or for governor in the event Democrats force a recall election against Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

In an email going out to supporters early Friday morning, Feingold called it a difficult decision but said he wanted to devote his time to teaching full time at Marquette Law School, finishing the book he is writing on the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks and leading the political committee he founded, Progressives United.

“While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012,” Feingold said in the email.

Some Democrats were looking to Feingold as perhaps their leading candidate against Walker next year in the event of a successful recall drive. His announcement ends that scenario.

eingold’s lack of interest in running for Senate is not a big surprise.

Since he was defeated in 2010 in his bid for a fourth term, he has sent no obvious signals about a quick return to the legislative body where he served for 18 years.

“After twenty-eight continuous years as an elected official?.?.?.?I have found the past eight months to be an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective,” Feingold said in the email, saying he was “thoroughly enjoying the life of a private citizen.”

His decision leaves the Democratic Senate field wide open, though many Wisconsin Democrats will now regard U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, with her political base in vote-rich Dane County, as the early favorite for the party nomination.

The latest polling is here and Republican Tommy Thompson who is a former Wisconsin Governor has to be viewed as a front-runner in this race.

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Quite possible in the latest PPP Poll.

The Wisconsin Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl is looking like a genuine Republican pick up opportunity, with both Tommy Thompson and Mark Neumann leading all the potential Democratic candidates we tested besides Russ Feingold.

Feingold, who doesn’t seem terribly interested in running, would still be the strongest potential candidate. He has the best favorability rating of anyone we looked at both overall (49/43) and specifically with independents (52/37). He would have the slightest advantage over Thompson, 48-47, and a more healthy one over Neumann at 51-44. Feingold led them by 10 and 12 points respectively when PPP first looked at this race in May so there’s been a good amount of movement toward the Republicans since that time.

Good news for the GOP and if former Senator Feingold does NOT run, this will likely be a gain for the GOP next year.

The entire poll is here.

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According to the latest Club for Growth Poll.

The poll surveyed 500 respondents with a history of voting in GOP primary elections in the state and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup against former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, who is also considering a run, Thompson received 40% of the vote and Neumann received 34%, with 27% undecided.

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The path is cleared for Rep. Paul Ryan to run for President as the U.S. Senate race has picked up another candidate, Tommy Thompson.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) has told friends he plans to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Wisconsin, Politico reports.

“There’s no chance Thompson would run against Paul Ryan, so the former governor will await the Budget Chairman’s official announcement on the race before jumping in. Ryan has suggested in private conversations with GOP officials in recent days that he will take a pass on the race and focus on his House chairmanship.”

And, NBC News is reporting that Ryan will soon have a news conference soon announcing he will NOT be a candidate for U.S. Senate.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils the House Republican budget blueprint in the Capitol in Washington April 5, 2011

Yes, and the case for a duty call is obvious.

Jennifer Rubin makes the case as well.

In a very practical sense, the question for Ryan is: Why not give his party and the country six months (September 2011 to February 2012)? By then hell either have failed to catch fire or hell have a clear path to the presidential nomination. Six months. Twenty-four weeks. For a politician constantly at work in Congress, in town halls and in media appearances, that doesnt sound like that much. (In fact, I would venture that his schedule is more rigorous now than the average presidential contenders.)

You see, there is no good reason for Ryan to avoid a presidential run. Sometimes, if you dont see the opening and seize it, a better one never comes along. Bill Clinton understood this in 1992.

Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan should all consider running for the Presidency. Obama is wounded and the GOP needs popular and articulate candidates.

Duty Calls.

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Flap has arrived at the Mayor’s Simi Valley Debate Event:



Let the debate begin……..

The candidates are engaging in some pre-debate banter on the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

5:00 Televison coverage on MSNBC begins with footage of President Ronald Reagan and Chris Mathews narration of footage.

5:00 Chris Matthews introduces Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nancy Reagan

5:02 Positions on stage decided by lot

5:03 Rules of the debate – answers to questions = 1 minute; no notes but can take notes; questions from The Politico as well as television.

First question to Rudy Giuliani

How do we get back to Ronald Reagan’s optimism

Rudy discussing immigration, healthcare – fix from our strengths not soicalized medicine….also mentioned terrorism.

Second question to John McCain on Iraq – war was terribly mismanged.

3rd Question to Tommy Thompson – also on Iraq

Crowd is swelling at Giuliani event – standing room only.

And the crowd is silent and cheering after when Rudy finished speaking.
4th question to Duncan Hunter – Iraq

5th Question to Romney also on Iraq
Candidates are discussing details about how they would resolve Iraq conflict.

6th Question to Sam Brownback – on Islamic terrorism


Chris Matthews is monopolizing discussion about Islamic terrorism.

7. Mike Huckabee – fired Don Rumsfeld before election? Error of judgment but President’s call.

Huckabee seems comfortable in venue

8. Jim Gilmore – Do you think a generla shakeup in administration’s cabinet is necessary

Gilmore ducks question and talks about paying attention to Middle East. President has to bring American people along.

9. Ron Paul – voted against the Iraq War. Supports non-intervention foreign policy.

10. Question about Iran to McCain. Matthews mentions a quote from Fred Thompson. McCain sounds nervous. What is trip wire? McCain – if they acquire nuclear weapons – then ducks it

11. Tom Tancredo – Question on Iran and Israel. Call from PM of Israel – Israel will strrike Iran then now what? Tancredo talks about details…….ducks question…..mentions conditions…

12 Rudy same question – mentions Reagan and Iranian release of hostages – big laugh from Giuliani event crowd.

Giuliani campaign is linking to what Rudy says:

12 Jim Gilmore – moral high ground – same shoes as Cold War

13 Romney – Osama Bin Laden


14. McCain and question from Politico about Tancredo as the head of ICE. Big laugh from crowd.

Debate is getting lighter.

15. Arnold – amend the Constitutionto allow him to run? No’s

McCain depends upon whether he endorses me…..big laugh.

16. Rudy – Mayor and African-American community reduced crime in 67% – especially in AF/Am community. Work to welfare program.

17 Romney what do you dislike most about America? Mitt a loss for words. America is the greatest nation in the world. Ronald Reagan’s optimism.

18. Huckabee – Global Warming…..Giuliani crowd is booing question. Leave plant – good stewards of the earth

19. Tancredo organ transplant question

20. Hunter – compassionate conservative – Yes and switches to Iran.

21. Ron Paul – get rid of IRS – yes

22. Roe v. Wade – overturned/repealed? Rudy would be OK…. talked about federalist system. Thompson abortion left to the states.

23. Romney – pro-life or pro-choice. Romney explains position. Explains why he changed mind…follow up, asked if the change is personally convenient…..hemmmming and haaaaaing…..

Sam Brownback could support pro-choice candidate? Invokes RR Yes.


Rudy Giuliani – federal funds for abortion – supports Hyde amendment, state to make decisions. NY made the choice a long time ago.
24. McCain – restore unity of Reagan purpose – knows how to make Congress work don’t wish to be President of a failed nation

Quicky questions…..

Giuliani event room folks sitting on the floor – room is full.

Huckabee – America is a great nation, turns to life issues – celebrating life.

25. Ron Paul about libertarianism…..the goal of government……


Romney on Roman Catholic Bishops – they can do what they want…..

Mke Huckabee – my faith explains me…..

Huckabee vs. Romney – about faith and affecting political decisions. Huckabee pullling back from questioning Romney’s Mormonism.

Romney – people have deep feelings about faith.

Brownback – running faith out of the public square.

Folks are lining the walls at Giuliani event….. and many sitting on the floor

Duncan Hunter on the border fence…..

Karl Rove in the White House


Rudy – increase influence of Christian conservatives good for the GOP party….. Yes but Rudy changes direction of question….New York City running the most conservative administration.

Brownback – Abramoff, Mark Foley GOP scandels then mentions about William Jefferson and the cash in his freezer. Big Laughs with the Giuliani crowd.


Tancredo – ethics violations – failures of individuals.

McCain – radio frquencies – Special interests – spectrum for first responders. Why we lost election in 2006 – spending out of control. Reagan drunken sailor analogy. Big laugh…..

Question to McCain about cutting budget….pork barrel defense acquisitons.

Rate Bush on Irq War – Huckabee – too early to give grade.

Romney – judges and pro-life. Abortion question addressed to anyone who is not pro-life.

Rudy – abortion……Chris Matthews says he has a nuanced position. Rudy explains his position which is pro-choice.


Tom Tancredo – who should be President? Swings to immigration reform.

Illegal immigration question to McCain – status quo not acceptable, mentions Guest Worker, and a comprehensive plan

Duncan Hunter – watched Al Gore’s movie? No Swings to energy dependence.

Ron Paul – Decision in crisis cite an example? Political or medicine? Can’t think fo one.

Jim Gilmore –

Embryonic stem cell – will it expand under your administration. federal funding?
Romney – favors alter nuclear transformation

Brownback – No.

Gilmore –

No DH,

McCain – yes

Paul – states no

Rudy – yes with limitations like Senator Coleman’s bill in Congress

Romney – healthcare experiement in Mass? Romney loves it.


McCain question about Bush tax cuts….first against then favor – Iraq War

Romney – loves the veto

Brownback – flat tax

Huckabee –

TT – Governor of Wisconsin – vetoes

McCain – President should have a line item veto.

Ron Paul – foreign policy cannot afford.

Rudy – address AMt; get rid of death tax; tax cuts have to remain land ook for marginal tax rate reduction.


McCain – will appoint a Democrat? Many American Indies and Demcrats – go to corporte America – come and serve.

Final interactive segment

Duncan Hunter –

McCain question – do you believe in evolution? Yes Everyone concurs.

Question to Rudy from the Politico – difference betwen Sunni and Shiite Muslims – Rudy fielding question….. and answers without frustration.

Gilmore a consistent conservative.

Ron Paul do you trust the MSM? Trust the internet more!

Brownback – do your personal religious beliefs affect view on foreign policy? It doesn’t dominate it.

Rudy – what do you consider your most significant weakness as a candidate? Dodged question – turned to positive charactristics.


Question to Rudy about National ID card – favors; romney favors; Brownback opposes; McCain – yes absolutely, employer sanctions if hire somone without ID Card; Ron Paul – no; tom Tancredo – No

Do you think Scooter Libby should be pardoned?

Romney – outrageous for the Prosecutor, but let judicial process run
Brownback – dodges

Gilmore – swings to illegal immigration…… and then back – go to American people – No?

Tancredo – pardon him

Ron Paul – doesn’t need pardon – information to support Iraq War.

Terri Schiavo

Should Congress have acted?

Romney – courts – Congress a mistake, no.
Brownback – yes

McCain – acted too hastily, no
Rudy – better for courts to decide, no

Would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton living in the WH?

Romney – gang of 3 running war on terror HC Pelosi and Reid

Huckabee – not a good idea

Duncan Hunter – cut military – no

TT – bad possibility,no

McCain – No Supreme Court justices appointed from the left.

Ron Paul – no voted to impeach him
Rudy – back on defense against terrorism

Tom Tancredo – lousy idea.


Question about President Bush

Tnhe crowd at Rudy’s event is becoming restless but still attentive with the closing comments about President Bush – all candiates pusing their own sound bites.

Rudy – September 11 – had a President who made the right decision…

The end of the debate……..

The Rudy event room will now be cleared in anticipation of the Mayor’s arrival.


Flap will return with the photos and video of post debate festivities.


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