Six Months Out - The Weekly Political Summary Begins

Six months from now we'll know lots of things:  the name of the GOP VP nominee, the final jobs report numbers; the winner of the World Series.

Until then, we have a weekly update/summary of where things are, and where we see them going.


My latest estimates based on polling, conversations with political insiders, and gut.

Obama: 247

Romney: 191

Undecided: 100

Eight Undecided (Toss-up) States: OH, CO, NV, IA, NH, FL, NC, VA

Best opportunities for Romney: NC, IA

Best opportunities for Obama: NH, CO

Bottom line: Obama has lots of different paths to 270, while Romney has a narrow one. 


If Marco Rubio were a stock, Wall Street would advise a "Sell". A growing narrative is building among the political elite that freshman senator is not ready for prime time. Take, for example, this lede in the Washington Post the other day: "In an interview with Fox News Channel's Bret Baier  Monday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) addressed some parts of his political history that have dogged him, including his use of a Florida Republican Party credit card for personal purchases as well as his relationship with embattled Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla.

If there were a 'Buy' recommendation, it'd be Tim Pawlenty. Sure, he's no flash of excitement. But, he's steady. He's serious. And, most important, his working-class profile will help round out Romney's "relatability" problem. Read more about T-Paw's stock from ABC's Matt Jaffe, who covered Pawlenty's presidential campaign.

Rob Portman and Paul Ryan remain the most likely picks. Bob McDonnell looked comfortable and confident in his "try-out" with Romney Thursday in Portsmouth, VA. But, in a state where suburban women are a huge target, the controversy over "transvaginal" ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion makes McDonnell a risky pick.


-IN GOP SEN PRIMARY: LUGAR THE LATEST VICTIM OF TEA PARTY POWER:  35-year incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar is undoubtedly in a close race against GOP opponent Richard Mourdock in Tuesday's Indiana primary. When asked the chances of a Lugar victory, one very well-informed Republican operative gave me this blunt assessment: Zero.

Though Mourdock has been endorsed by Tea Party stalwarts like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, he's no political neophyte. He's a two-term state Treasurer. But, Mourdock's message is as Tea party as they come: elect me because, unlike Lugar, I won't comprise.

His attack on Lugar is that the long-time Senator has been too willing to cross the aisle instead of standing on conservative principles. Remember that then-candidate Barack Obama pointed to Lugar in 2008 as an example of his bi-partisan work on nuclear non-proliferation issues. The fact that Lugar's been in Washington for the last three decades - and sold his Indiana home in the late 1970's to move to McLean, VA - is another huge negative.

Bottom line: while Lugar is no moderate, he is one of a dwindling number of Senators who is willing to work with - not simply against - the other side. 

Read Chris Good's interview with Mourdock and Joel Siegel's interview with Lugar . And Good has chronicled the millions of dollars of outside Republican and Tea Party money flowing into Indiana.

-REPUBLICAN GOP PRIMARY GOES ON: Newt and Santorum may be gone, but the primary for the GOP nomination continues. Three states vote on Tuesday: Indiana, West Virginia and North Carolina. Their combined 132 delegates aren't enough to put Romney over the top. The earliest that could happen is  May 29, when Texas, with its 155 delegates, votes. Even so, it's more likely that California puts him over the 1144 threshold  on June 5 .

- ON WISCONSIN: Wisconsin Democrats hold a primary  May 8  to pick their nominee to take on GOP Gov. Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is the heavy favorite.

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