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Posted at 5:18 PM ET, 03/ 3/2011

Afternoon Fix: Issa hires new spokesperson, Giffords listed as vulnerable

By Chris Cillizza

Darrell Issa has a new spokesperson, Raul Grijalva has a challenger, Gabrielle Giffords is considered vulnerable, and David Wu is getting "heartwarming" support from his colleagues.

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* Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has hired a new spokesperson -- Becca Glover Watkins, who previously worked for the Daily Caller. Issa's communications director, Kurt Bardella, was fired earlier this week after it was revealed that he had shared reporters' emails with the author of an upcoming book.

* There's nothing like a political victory to cleanse the spirit: A new Pew poll finds tea party anger is down significantly, along with general Republican anger, since the midterm elections.

* Republican Gabriela Saucedo Mercer launched a campaign against Rep. Raul Grijalva (D) in Arizona's 7th district. Mercer is originally from Mexico; she came to the United States in 1986 and became a citizen in 1991. She got some local prominence by forcefully defending the state's controversial new immigration law in local city council meetings, but she's largely new to politics. Grijalva barely eked out a win in 2010 after years of safe races.

* Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), now nationally known for sending his staffers photos of himself in a tiger costume, says he's gotten "heartwarming" support on both sides of the aisle. He's also making an effort to meet with his colleagues in the coming days to assuage any concerns about his mental health.

*The Wisconsin Democratic Party has thrown its weight behind an effort to recall some Republican state senators. Eight Republican Senators are eligible to be recalled, and various groups around Wisconsin are beginning to file papers to make it happen. "We're happy to assist," the state party chair told Greg Sargent.  


Newt Gingrich is working with one of New Hampshire's best-known political consultants, former White House political affairs director David Carney. The former House speaker, who announced something or other about his presidential bid today, will be in the state on March 17.

* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) Free and Strong America PAC has hired Andrea Saul as communications director. Saul has worked for former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, California Senate nominee Carly Fiorina, and the McCain-Palin campaign. She quit Crist's Senate campaign when he left the Republican party to become an independent.

*  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman announced the launch of their 2012 incumbent retention 'Frontline' program, meant to ensure that vulnerable incumbents hang on to their seats. The 15 members include Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). But DCCC chairman Steve Israel says that, unlike previous cycles, they will change the "Frontline" depending on redistricting, challengers and other factors. (Republicans were quick to point out that the program had a 74% loss rate in 2010."

* Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will be on Fox News tonight, for an interview with Greta van Susteren. Just a few days ago he called the health care law a "dumb-ass program," so tune into see what colorful language the endangered senator will use next. "On the Record" airs at 10 P.M. eastern time.


The best Charlie Sheen joke of the day:

By Chris Cillizza  | March 3, 2011; 5:18 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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