U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller today announced that an Iranian-American and an Iranian Republican Guard operative have been charged with organizing a complex assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States involving a Mexican drug cartel.
** QUICK HITS. What a difference an apology makes. Israel apologized for the deaths of several Egyptian security officers last month and now it has a deal with Hamas, mediated by Egypt, to at last re-gain its captured soldier Gilad Shalit, taken by Hamas in 2006. In exchange for more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners, that is. Such a deal. … A very quiet day in California politics, save for a raft of stories about the “unpredictable” Governor Jerry Brown. Jerry is a mystery for people who aren’t into mysteries.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … SIGNS: JERRY BROWN WRAPS UP A DISAPPOINTING LEGISLATIVE YEAR.
NOTE: I have a column coming with remembrance of and perspective on Steve Jobs, tied to the Apple memorial for him next week.
** NEW POLL: ROMNEY AND CAIN IN STATISTICAL DEAD HEAT, SLUMPING PERRY A CLOSE THIRD. A brand new Gallup Poll shows Mitt Romney and former pizza mogul Herman Cain in a dead heat at the top of the Republican presidential field, with formerly frontrunning Texas Governor Rick Perry a close third after losing half his support.
The finding comes along with word that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is venturing to New Hampshire to endorse Romney before tonight’s debate.
Christie’s move means that Romney, who was already out-raising President Barack Obama on Wall Street, is moving to consolidate Wall Street Republicans behind his candidacy. It also adds a dollop of “straight talk” to buttress Romney, a notorious flip-flopper.
Here are the numbers.
Romney 20%, Cain 18%, Perry 15%, Ron Paul 8%, Newt Gingrich 7%, Michele Bachmann 5%, Rick Santorum 3%, and Jon Huntsman 2%.
Republicans’ support for Herman Cain has surged to 18%, their support for Rick Perry has sagged to 15%, and their support for Mitt Romney remains relatively stable at 20%. However, Romney’s support is matched by the 20% of Republicans who are unsure which candidate they will back for the Republican nomination in 2012. …
Republicans’ current lack of consensus about who should face President Barack Obama next fall is in stark contrast to Republican primary contests over the past half century in which, in all but one case, the eventual nominee was the runaway leader by this point in the campaign.
For instance, in early October 1999, George W. Bush led the Republican field, with 60% of Republicans preferring him for the 2000 nomination. Bob Dole led at a comparable point in 1995 with 46%, George H.W. Bush in 1987 with 41%, Ronald Reagan in 1979 with 41% (in a trial heat that did not include former President Gerald Ford), and so on back to Richard Nixon in 1959, when he led with 67%.
The exception occurred in 2007, when the eventual Republican nominee, John McCain, was drawing just 16% support in early October, putting him in third place behind Rudy Giuliani (32%) and Fred Thompson (20%) for the 2008 nomination. …
Romney and Cain currently lead in Republicans’ preferences nationally for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. However, their 20% and 18% support levels, respectively, are well below where most previous Republican nominees stood in October of the year prior to the election.
Today’s Republican lineup is more akin to the history of Democratic primary campaigns than Republican campaigns. And it may be instructive to note that the Democrats’ eventual nominees often ranked second or lower at this stage leading up to the election year. Of course, the media, political climate, and political system are quite different today from decades past, so the opportunity for candidates with lower support to surge into the lead as a result of early primary (or state party convention or caucus) wins may not be as great as it once was.
In the meantime, Gallup is seeing plenty of surging and plunging of candidates as a result of the media exposure they are receiving from the Republican straw polls and debates. Given that, and the still-sizable percentage of Republicans who are undecided, history suggests the race may remain fluid for some time.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 10:50 AM Pacific, President Barack Obama speaks on the American Jobs Act in Pittsburgh. Before that, he meets with his economic competitiveness and jobs council. The events will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
** LIVE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.
With massive geopolitical events swirling and the 2012 presidential race unfolding, the White House is increasingly a pivot point for the day’s events. Live streaming of key presidential events is now available as a matter of course here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
NWN will continue to present other live netcasts in full streaming mode, as it did with the Ronald Reagan Centennial events from the Reagan Library, as they emerge and are technically available and as significance dictates.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters have settled in for the long haul in lower Manhattan and Washington. Bongo alert!
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Obama received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
He then flew to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he toured an electrical workers union training facility and conferred with his economic competitiveness commission.
At 10:50 AM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at IBEW Local 5 Training Center in Pittsburgh.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
At 11:40 AM Pacific, Obama departs Pittsburgh on Air Force One en route Orlando, Florida.
At 1:40 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Orlando, Florida.
At 2:50 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at the Sheraton Orlando Downtown Hotel.
At 5:30 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at a private residence.
At 6:45 PM Pacific, Obama departs Orlando on Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews.
At 8:35 PM Pacific, Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Marine One.
At 8:50 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
His would-be Republican presidential opponents all debate tonight in New Hampshire. Principal topic? The economy.
Between this debate and the Sunday debate in Las Vegas, we’ll learn a lot about the dynamics of a fluid, even bizarre, Republican contest.
Obama is monitoring a variety of geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time, Iraq is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
On Monday, Brown visited the new headquarters of SunEdison in Belmont, site of the company’s new world headquarters. The company, currently headquartered in Maryland, made the move after actions by Brown and legislators to improve its business climate.
“SunEdison’s decision to relocate to California is proof that, working together, state government and business can find ways to cut red tape, tackle our environmental problems and create jobs,” declared Brown.
Meanwhile, triggered cuts encased in the on-time state budget loom ever closer with word yesterday from state Controller John Chiang that revenues continue to run behind that budget’s optimistic projection.
In September, revenues came in $301.6 million below projections from the recently passed state budget.
After accounting for September revenues, total year-to-date general fund revenues are now behind the budget’s estimates by $705.5 million.
** AFGHAN WAR AT 10, 9/11 AT 10+: DID OSAMA BIN WIN AFTER ALL? It’s 10 years since our Afghan War began, and ten-plus years since 9/11.
Most Americans, according to two new polls, don’t think we should be doing what we’re doing in Afghanistan, or that the war effort has been worth it. Every week, there are major fiascoes in Afghanistan. But Osama bin Laden has found his eternal rest far beneath the surface of the Arabian Sea, courtesy of the U.S. Navy SEALs. So bin Laden still lost, right?
Yes. And no. Mostly no. … From my October 7th essay.
** CALIFORNIA’S WILD RIDE: OF ARNOLD, JERRY, AND VANITIES FAIR (AND OTHERWISE). It’s nine months since Jerry Brown’s inauguration as governor. After a big early flurry of activity around big state budget cuts, Brown has proceeded more slowly, his new/renewed tenure as California’s second three-term governor beset by the same forces of dysfunctionality that marked the governorship of predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger. … From my October 4th essay.
** MAD MEN‘S FEAT. … From my September 28th essay.
** MEG WHITMAN TO RUN CALIFORNIA (ICON)! … From my September 22nd column.
** T2 AND ALIENS ANNIVERSARIES POINT UP THE PROBLEMS WITH TODAY’S ACTION MOVIES. … From my September 18th essay.
** OBAMA AND THE REPUBLICANS: TWO CONTRASTING NIGHTS. … From my September 9th column.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
The first full trailer for The Avengers is out today. The film itself will be released on May 4, 2012. Not the ’60s British spy series, as that’s not Emma Peel in the still image, but the assemblage of Iron Man/Tony Stark, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Nick Fury.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in three wars in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $85 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $51 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down $29 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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