With Obama off in Cairo delivering his speech to the Muslim world, there’s no stop to the presidential posturing of his rivals back home. Some of the big names are governors, so Nate Silver’s gubernatorial power rankings—which show how approval ratings compare to what you’d expect based on a state’s size and partisan ID—provide an interesting starting point. But some are trying to move past the starting point; this morning, the Post takes a look at some of the Republican moves that are being labeled as early campaigning. Prominant among those is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s announcement that he might not run again for governor. Cillizza suggests that Palin might benefit from doing the same. Pawlenty is also under scrutiny over the Minnesota recount court battle. He’s said he will confirm Al Fraken as the state’s senator if the court orders him to do so, but left himself some wiggle room. NRSC chair John Cornyn sounds less bullish on a continued fight, though. Much has been made of New Jersey and Virginia’s recent propensity to elect governors of the outsider party—perhaps too much. But however the races turn out, the New Jersey general election has now begun in earnest, and down in Virginia, where just a few days in the primary remain, Democratic group Common Sense for Virginia is prepping for the general battle against Republican Bob McDonnell. The group has released a new ad questioning McDonnell over his campaign manager’s supposed ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But all this focus on the gubernatorial race obscures the importance of the House of Delegates election, which will select the legislators who will preside over redistricting; Democrats have a shot at controlling the House, but only if they find a few more candidates. The remainders:
Are Arlen Specter’s fundraising tactics ‘desperate’? He’s soliciting money at nonpartisan speaking engagements. On the heels of the “Obama is poaching Republicans” storyline, the president has picked another Republican. But this time he’s retired. Former Iowa Rep. Jim Leach will head the National Endowment for the Humanities.