There’s a lot of speculation over whether Ken Cuccinelli will run for governor or U.S. Senate, but is it possible Virginia’s ambitious attorney general will skip straight to the big job?
Writing in New Jersey’s Newark Star-Ledger, columnist Paul Mulshine says that U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson’s decision in Cuccinelli’s “effort to reverse the individual health-care mandate has a lot of people touting Cuccinelli for president in 2012.”
Of course, pundits use phrases like “a lot of people” to bolster their own pet theories and causes. I have heard absolutely no other mentions of a Cuccinelli presidential run, and he is much too bright to jump the gun in a losing fight. And no state official lower than governor has ever run successfully for president. (In 1996, there was talk of California’s then-AG Dan Lungren as a vice presidential prospect; 14 years later, Lungren is languishing in the U.S. House.)
Cuccinelli is only only 42, and may well run for president someday. But it won’t be this time around.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis writes, “How do you know when a new regime is soon to be upon us? Perhaps when a mayoral news conference starts without the mayor.” Mayor Adrian Fenty was characteristically late to a press Q & A yesterday, but incoming city administrator Allen Lew, hitting the ground running, got things rolling without Fenty.
DeBonis says when Fenty did arrive, he “seemed not to mind that things had started without him and proceeded one more time through the routine of taking photos, shaking hands and acknowledging visiting dignitaries.” Fenty praised Mayor-elect Vincent Gray’s choice of Lew: “Allen Lew is going to be a great addition to what I think is going to be a great team under Mayor Gray. … Gray is doing exactly what he said he was going to do and that is hiring the best people for the job. And I think that is exactly what the citizens expect.”
* The Post reports Gray seems likely to keep Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier, one of the District’s most popular figures, on the job. While her patron Fenty’s “popularity plummeted, Lanier has become even more accessible and well liked. Crime is dropping, and it seems that half the city has her cellphone number.”
* The Washington Examiner reports Gray “said he wants to create both incentives and punishments to get companies that contract with the District to hire city residents.” He met with D.C. business leaders at a jobs summit yesterday morning, and agreed that the District should “create incentives for companies to follow the law.” Gray said, “We’ll have to have both the carrot and the stick. If you don’t get the job done with District residents, you’ll have to pay up and get out of the way.”
* In his Examiner column, Harry Jaffe writes that D.C. CFO Natwar Gandhi “wants to change federal tax laws and make D.C. ‘Bermuda on the Potomac.’” Gandhi wants to “bring in dollars from rich corporations, namely banks and insurance companies who currently park millions of dollars abroad in island tax havens” by modifying the District’s tax laws to “make the capital into a tax haven.” But will Congress go along?
* Washington City Paper’s Alan Suderman writes that incoming D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown may have inadvertently signaled that Ward 6’s Tommy Wells could be tapped to replace Ward 1’s Jim Graham “as the infallible leader of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation.”
* Larry Pretlow, who lost a high-profile advisory neighborhood commission race last month, is gearing up to challenge Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry as a Republican in 2012. Pretlow says he could run for ANC again, but also plans to “test the waters and see how much of Ward 8 wants something different.” Pretlow says he backs civil unions but opposes same-sex marriage, believes “marriage is between a man and a woman,” opposes abortion and backs gun control. Pretlow also says he opposes D.C. statehood: “D.C. is not ready for that. Also this is a federal territory -- which is why we moved the White House and most federal headquarters here.”
* Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter unsurprisingly says that Metro’s frequent escalator outages are not the union’s fault, saying attacks on the union are “the default position or maybe even the first line of action for Metro cynics who don’t care about facts.”
* The Maryland Daily Record reports that “companies owned or affiliated with the Langley Park liquor store owner charged last month in a federal corruption investigation contributed thousands to the campaigns of several Prince George’s County elected officials in the last decade” -- including Jack and Leslie Johnson.
* Red Maryland’s Mark Newgent has a blow-by-blow account of last weekend’s Maryland Republican Party fall convention.
* Dan Reed of Greater Greater Washington wonders why Montgomery County, with “over two hundred years of historic people, places and events that deserve recognition,” can’t think of better names for all its new streets and neighborhoods.
* Read Arlington’s lips: no new taxis. ARLnow says the Arlington County Board has “rejected a request from two ‘green’ taxi companies to expand their fleets.” The companies wanted Arlington to add 75 cabs to the city’s licensed fleet of 765.
* “Washington Examiner Helps Capture Fugitives”! So says the New York Times “Media Decoder” blog, writing that the paper known “for its conservative bent, bite-size news reports and price that cannot be beat” has also “become a valuable crime-fighting tool, one that investigators turn to when their detective work has hit a wall.”
* Driving through Silver Spring with my sons yesterday afternoon, we saw a huge police motorcade pass by, and I assumed it was the president. But it turns out it was a higher authority: Santa Claus, escorted by about 20 motorcycle cops on the way to deliver gift bags and donations to children at the National Institutes of Health Children’s Inn. President Obama, meanwhile, was at Tubman Elementary School in D.C. to sign the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, New Columbia Heights reported.
* A couple of years ago, I dragged my confused sons to hear Cokie Roberts read “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” at Tysons Corner. She didn’t do a very good job. Hopefully, the kids who will hear Wolf Blitzer read “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” at D.C.’s Walker Jones Education Campus today will have a better time.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC