Political Headlines January 4, 2013: GOP Senators Mull Partial Government Shutdown in Debt-Ceiling Fight

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

GOP Senators Mull Partial Gov’t Shutdown in Debt-Ceiling Fight

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-4-13

As Washington, D.C., braces for a battle over raising the debt ceiling and sequestration, a number of Republican senators have suggested a partial government shutdown should be considered as a serious option if they are not able to receive certain spending concessions from the president.

“The coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to bring fiscal sanity to Washington,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote in an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle Friday morning. “It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told the Dallas Morning News that he would be open to a partial government shutdown, pointing to the 1995 shutdown as “the greatest degree of fiscal responsibility we have seen from Congress in modern times.”…READ MORE

Political Highlights May 30, 2011: The Obamas Take Europe on State Trip — The G8 Summit – Memorial after Joplin Tornado Devastation

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:


White House Photo, Pete Souza, 5/25/11

STATS & POLLS

  • Obama gains foothold; GOP autumn surge behind him: Six months after Republicans alarmed Democrats with a midterm election wave, President Barack Obama has shaken off the jitters and found his political footing despite sluggish economic growth and deep public anxiety about the direction of the country.
    The White House now displays an air of confidence, bolstered in part by achievements such as the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. commandos and the financial success of an auto industry that Obama bailed out over the objections of many.
    Obama is also benefiting from the absence of negatives. The economy, while lethargic, is growing. The private sector is creating jobs. Natural disasters, while deadly and plentiful, have not developed into governmental crises. Skyrocketing gas prices, which fed the public’s economic fears, are now subsiding. And the GOP’s signature budget plan, ambitious in its spending reductions, has lost its luster with the public. “It is likely he will be re-elected, in my opinion,” veteran Republican pollster Wes Anderson says.
    What’s more, the president appears to be enjoying the still lingering but more intangible effects of his election in 2008, a watershed for the nation. Polls show Obama with strong favorability and likability ratings even as he faces ambivalence over his handling of the presidency…. – AP, 5-31-11
  • New poll shows Obama with a bump in Florida: A new poll gives President Barack Obama a bump in Florida after the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows voters approve of Obama’s job performance by 51 percent to 43 percent. That’s a turnaround from a 52 percent to 44 percent negative rating in a poll on April 7.
    Florida voters also prefer the Democratic president 44 percent to 37 percent when matched against an unnamed Republican…. – AP, 5-26-11

IN FOCUS

  • Poll: Israelis back Netanyahu’s tough stance in US: An Israeli poll indicates that support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has surged following his contentious visit to the United States.
    Netanyahu had a a tense meeting in Washington with President Barack Obama over the nature of a future Palestinian state. In an address before Congress, he insisted Israel would not return to its pre-1967 war borders.
    The survey has 51 percent of those polled supporting Netanyahu — a 13 percent increase from the Dialog Institute’s previous poll published five weeks ago. The latest poll results were published Thursday in the Haaretz daily.
    Forty-seven percent of Israelis surveyed believe Netanyahu’s U.S. trip was a success while only 10 percent see it as a failure. The poll surveyed 477 people and had a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Israeli officials fret over opening of Gaza border: Israeli and American officials on Thursday said they were pressing Egypt to ensure that the opening of its border with Gaza does not enable the Hamas militant group to move weapons and militants into the Palestinian territory.
    The diplomatic efforts were underway after Egypt announced it was permanently opening its Rafah border crossing with Gaza. The Rafah terminal, Gaza’s main gateway to the outside world, has functioned only at limited capacity, with frequent closures, for the past four years.
    Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since Hamas violently seized power four years ago. But since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February, the country’s caretaker government has distanced itself from Israel and moved closer to the Palestinians…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Are pre-1967 borders indefensible for Israel?: During a swing through Washington this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly said his country’s pre-1967 lines are “indefensible.”
    A total withdrawal from the West Bank, a strategic highland looming over central Israel, would certainly leave the Israeli heartland more vulnerable to attack or invasion. But some experts say that long-range missiles, weapons of mass destruction and cyber-warfare mean that in the modern world the greater risks lie elsewhere — especially if a future Palestine is demilitarized.
    The border issue is now at the heart of the latest tensions in Mideast peace efforts. Seeking to break an eight-month deadlock, President Barack Obama last week proposed that Israel commit to establishing a Palestinian state based on its frontiers before the 1967 Middle East war, when it captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians claim all three areas for their state.
    Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005. But Netanyahu says a similar pullout from the other areas, even as part of a negotiated peace deal, would jeopardize his country’s security on a different scale.
    A return to those lines would leave Israel with a waistline just nine miles (15 kilometers) wide at its narrowest point, Jerusalem surrounded on three sides by Palestinian land and the country’s main international airport just a few miles (kilometers) away from the border. If hostilities break out, Israel’s largest cities could be vulnerable to rocket fire and other attacks…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Netanyahu: Israel ready for painful compromises: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Tuesday to make “painful compromises” for peace with the Palestinians but said he would not agree to any deal that threatens Israel’s security or its identity as a Jewish state.
    Speaking before a wildly receptive joint meeting of Congress that showered him with more than two dozen sustained standing ovations, Netanyahu said Israel wants and needs peace but repeated his flat rejection of a return to what he called the “indefensible” borders that existed before the 1967 Mideast war. He also restated Israel’s refusal to entertain the return of millions of Palestinian refugees and their families to land in Israel. And, he maintained that Jerusalem, claimed by both sides as their capital, could not be divided.
    “Israel will never give up its quest for peace,” Netanyahu said, adding that he is “willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace.”
    But he said Israel would not negotiate with terrorists and urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to rip up a power-sharing agreement that his moderate Fatah faction has signed with the militant group Hamas, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
    “We must take calls for our destruction seriously,” Netanyahu said, recalling the Holocaust and the absolute imperative not to allow the Jewish people to suffer new massacres. “When we say ‘never again, we mean ‘never again,’ ” he said…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • Army arrests Israeli activists in West Bank: Israel’s army says it has arrested several Israeli activists who broke into a disputed West Bank building to protest speeches by President Barack Obama and the Israeli prime minister in Washington.
    A military spokeswoman says the troops arrested about eight activists early on Tuesday after they holed themselves up in Beit Shapira, a building in the contentious city of Hebron. Israel sealed the building in 2006.
    Army radio broadcast one activist at the site yelling: “Tell Obama and (Netanyahu) that Israel won’t give up its land.”… – AP, 5-23-11
  • Netanyahu: Israel cannot return to 1967 borders: Israel’s prime minister promised to present his vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace in a speech before U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday, but vowed his country would not return to mid-1967 borders that he termed “indefensible.”
    Benjamin Netanyahu made this pledge in an address Monday to thousands of pro-Israel American Jews and U.S. lawmakers. His speech drew roaring cheers and standing ovations, a sign of the powerful backing he enjoys in the U.S. as the White House pressures him to do more to renew stalled Mideast peacemaking.
    The warm reception Netanyahu enjoyed at the gala dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee contrasted sharply with the contentious quality of some of his recent exchanges with President Barack Obama precisely over border issues.
    His planned address on Tuesday to a joint meeting of Congress, where Israel enjoys strong bipartisan backing, could similarly remind Obama, ahead of his re-election bid, of the political price he might pay if he tries to push Netanyahu too hard.
    In that speech, Netanyahu said, he will “outline a vision for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
    But in language that suggested he was not going to take a conciliatory pose, he promised to “speak the unvarnished truth.”
    “This conflict has raged for 100 years because the Palestinians refuse to end it. They refuse to accept a Jewish state.”… – AP, 5-23-11
  • Parties See Obama’s Israel Policy as Wedge for 2012: Few issues in American politics are as bipartisan as support for Israel. Yet the question of whether President Obama is supportive enough is behind some of the most partisan maneuvering since the Middle East ally was born six decades ago, and that angling has potential ramifications for the 2012 elections.
    The visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the past week captured just how aggressively Republicans are stoking doubts about Mr. Obama. Republican Congressional leaders and presidential aspirants lavished praise on Mr. Netanyahu as quickly as they had condemned Mr. Obama for proposing that Israel’s 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps, should be a basis for negotiating peace with the Palestinians.
    Republicans do not suggest that they can soon break the Democratic Party’s long hold on the loyalty of Jewish-American voters; Mr. Obama got nearly 8 of 10 such voters in 2008. But what Republicans do see is the potential in 2012 to diminish the millions of dollars, volunteer activism and ultimately the votes that Mr. Obama and his party typically get from American Jews — support that is disproportionate to their numbers.
    While Jewish Americans are just 2 percent of the electorate nationally, they are “strategically concentrated,” as Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster, put it, in several swing states that are critical in presidential elections. Those states include Florida — which in 2000 illustrated the potentially decisive power of one state — Ohio and Nevada.
    A test of Mr. Obama’s support will come June 20, when he will hold a fund-raiser for about 80 Jewish donors at a private dinner…. – NYT, 5-26-11

REVOLUTIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

  • Analysis: No end in sight for NATO in Libya: The military campaign in Libya began with what seemed a narrowly defined mission: to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians from attack.
    Two months later, the campaign has evolved into a ferocious pounding of the country’s capital, Tripoli, in what appears an all-out effort to oust Moammar Gadhafi. But that goal remains elusive, raising the prospect of a quagmire in the desert. And the political will of the countries involved is being sorely tested.
    The Libyan opposition remains weak. NATO, the North Atlantic military alliance which took over command of the campaign from the U.S. on March 31, appears to have no clear exit strategy. Two of the allies, Britain and France, have descended into public squabbling over bringing the fight closer to Gadhafi with attack helicopters. And the French foreign minister said Tuesday his country’s willingness to continue the campaign was not endless.
    Part of the challenge lies in the original U.N. resolution: It authorized the use of air power but forbade ground troops, even as it authorized “all necessary means” to protect civilians following Gadhafi’s brutal suppression of the popular uprising against his rule…. – AP, 5-24-11

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

  • Hillary Clinton calls on Pakistan to take ‘decisive steps’ against terrorists: Meeting with Pakistani leaders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US-Pakistan relationship is at a ‘turning point’ and that Islamabad needs to ramp up its cooperation in the fight against Al Qaeda militants…. – LAT, 5-27-11
  • Gates: Big budget cuts will diminish US influence: Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday warned that shrinking defense budgets will mean a smaller military and a diminished U.S. role in the world.
    He said that barring a catastrophic world conflict or a new threat to the very existence of the U.S., there will be no foreseeable return to the booming Pentagon budgets of the past decade. “The money and the political support simply aren’t there,” he said.
    This means the Obama administration and Congress must now decide how much military power the U.S. should give up, how that fits U.S. goals for maintaining global influence, and how to pay for it, Gates said.
    “A smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things,” he said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank that is generally hostile to defense cuts… – AP, 5-24-11
  • Gates urges Iraqis to ask for US troop extension: Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday he hopes Baghdad asks U.S. troops to stay beyond their scheduled Dec. 31 departure in order to preserve the relative peace in a country where Americans have such an enormous investment in money and lives.
    “I hope they figure out a way to ask, and I think that the United States will be willing to say ‘yes’ when that time comes,” Gates said in response to a question about Iraq after delivering a speech on Pentagon budget cuts.
    Gates said a longer U.S. military presence could help sustain the security and other gains Iraq has made in recent years. Iraq could become a model for a multisectarian society in the Arab world “that shows that democracy works,” he said…. – AP, 5-24-11

THE HEADLINES….

West Wing Week
  • Memorial Day marked by parades, flyovers, flags: Americans from the nation’s capital to Alaska marked Memorial Day with parades, somber reflection and even a climbing expedition in a holiday infused with fresh meaning by the approaching 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
    The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington honored veterans and America’s war dead but also included special tributes to Sept. 11 first responders, victims and their families. Also fresh in the minds of parade participants and watchers was the killing less than a month ago of Osama bin Laden, who masterminded the attacks.
    Elsewhere, military jets thundered through the sky above New York after a wreath-laying ceremony aboard an aircraft carrier that’s been turned into a museum, while hundreds of volunteers put small flags on the 25,000 graves at a sprawling military cemetery near Las Vegas. U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan also took time out to remember fallen comrades… – AP, 5-30-11
  • Obamas honor America’s veterans on Memorial Day: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will spend Memorial Day paying tribute to the military. The Obamas will visit Arlington National Cemetery where the president will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
    Following the ceremony, the president will participate in the Memorial Day Service at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery along with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The Obamas will start the day by hosting a breakfast for families who have lost loved ones in combat…. – AP, 5-30-11
  • Obama tours twister-ravaged neighborhood in Joplin: President Barack Obama toured the apocalyptic landscape left by Missouri’s killer tornado, consoled the bereaved and homeless, and committed the government to helping rebuild shattered lives.
    “We’re not going to stop ’til Joplin’s back on its feet,” Obama vowed. A memorial service where Obama spoke punctuated a day of remembrance one week after the disaster, as authorities pressed on with the task of identifying the victims and volunteers combed through wreckage of neighborhoods where nothing was left whole.
    The service erupted in cheers when Obama said, “I promise you your country will be there with you every single step of the way,” a pledge he extended to all parts of the nation raked by violent storms this season…. – AP, 5-30-11
  • Joint Chiefs pick is soldier-scholar _ and singer: Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wears four stars on his shoulders, holds three master’s degrees, fought two wars against Iraq, and survived one bout with cancer.
    And he has one catchy hobby: singing. He’ll belt out Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” at the drop of a hat.
    Crooning is not among the qualities that pushed Dempsey to the top of Obama’s list in searching for a successor to Adm. Mike Mullen, whose term as Joint Chiefs chairman began under President George W. Bush and ends Sept. 30. But Dempsey’s singing singles him out in a field of Army generals who are usually less publicly playful, and more rigidly aligned with a military culture of caution…. – AP, 5-30-11
  • Gen. Dempsey chosen to head Joint Chiefs of Staff: President Barack Obama moved Monday to seal an overhaul of his national security team, selecting Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as the next Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman amid protracted battle in Afghanistan, U.S. involvement in the NATO-led effort against Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and a winding down of the war in Iraq.
    Obama announced a new lineup of his top military leadership group in the Rose Garden of the White House just before venturing across the Potomac to pay tribute to the nation’s war dead at Arlington National Cemetery. The Memorial Day announcements had been expected, although there was no immediate indication what the military leadership moves might imply for possible changes in military strategy…. – AP, 5-30-11
  • Obama Expected to Name Army’s Leader to Head Joint Chiefs: Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s peers call him a “pentathlete,” the kind of post-Sept. 11 commander who not only knows the art of combat but is also adept at marshaling the power of diplomacy, money, allied cooperation and information.
    He will need all those skills if, as expected, President Obama nominates him to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a move that could come as early as Monday.
    As the military’s highest-ranking officer and a crucial member of the president’s revamped national security team, General Dempsey would face a complex and consequential set of challenges against the backdrop of both rapid change abroad and intensive political pressures at home: how fast to withdraw from Afghanistan, how to reshape the military and how to cope with an era of fiscal austerity…. – NYT, 5-29-11
  • Policy Adviser Tapped to Become U.S. Ambassador to Russia: President Obama has decided to send the architect of his so-called Russia reset policy to Moscow as the next United States ambassador there, seeking to further bolster an improved relationship as both countries head into a potentially volatile election season.
    Mr. Obama plans to nominate Michael McFaul, his top White House adviser on Russia policy, for the post, according to administration officials who declined to be identified before the formal announcement. Mr. Obama told the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, of his choice during a meeting in France last week, officials said.
    In selecting Mr. McFaul, Mr. Obama is breaking with recent tradition in Moscow, where all but one of eight American ambassadors over the last 30 years have been career diplomats. But in choosing someone from his own inner circle, Mr. Obama underscored his determination to keep Russian-American relations a centerpiece of his foreign policy after his early push to reset the relationship following years of growing tension…. – NYT, 5-29-11
  • Obama going to Missouri to offer help in healing: President Barack Obama is pivoting from diplomacy on the world stage to the intimate and delicate domestic task of acting as healer-in-chief to a Missouri community devasted by a massive tornado.
    The president travels to tornado-wrecked Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday, a day after returning from a six-day European tour of Ireland, Britain, France and Poland.
    The president will visit with survivors and family members of the worst tornado in decades, a monster storm that tore through Joplin a week ago leaving more than 130 dead and hundreds more injured. More than 40 people remain unaccounted for, and the damage is massive.
    The president will tour destroyed neighborhoods in the city of 50,000 in southwestern Missouri, and speak at a memorial service being held by local clergy and Gov. Jay Nixon for those who lost their lives. He’ll offer federal assistance, and his own condolences…. – AP, 5-29-11
  • Obama, in Europe, signs Patriot Act extension: Minutes before a midnight deadline, President Barack Obama signed into law a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.
    “It’s an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat,” Obama said Friday after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
    With Obama in France, the White House said the president used an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president.
    Congress sent the bill to the president with only hours to go on Thursday before the provisions expired at midnight. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.
    The Senate voted 72-23 for the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities. The House passed the measure 250-153 on an evening vote.
    A short-term expiration would not have interrupted ongoing operations but would have barred the government from seeking warrants for new investigations…. – CBS News, 5-27-11
  • President Obama, Congress passes bill to extend Patriot Act despite Sen. Rand Paul delay: The Patriot Act is here to stay. Congress passed a four-year extension Thursday of the controversial legislation, which allows a continuation of post-Sept. 11 powers to conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.
    President Obama signed the bill into law from France, just minutes before a midnight deadline.
    “It’s an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat,” Obama said.
    The nail-biting finish was in large part due to Republican freshman Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. The Tea Party favorite held up the legislation, arguing the Patriot Act is an invasion of privacy and gives the government too much power to monitor people’s lives.
    The Senate passed the bill 72-23, and the House voted in favor of it 250-153.
    The extension allows law enforcement officials to continue the use of roving wiretaps – those authorized for a person versus a communications line or device.
    It also allows for court-ordered searches of business records relevant to terrorist investigations and permits secret intelligence surveillance of non-Americans without confirmed ties to terrorist groups…. – NY Daily News, 5-27-11
  • Obama Uses Autopen to Sign Patriot Act Extension: Where in the world is President Obama? Turns out it doesn’t matter. For the first time in United States history, a bill has been signed into law by a mechanical autopen, which affixed the president’s signature at the direction of Mr. Obama, who is in Europe.
    Congress on Thursday passed legislation extending the Patriot Act for four years. (House vote | Senate vote) But with Mr. Obama abroad and the existing legal authorities set to expire, the White House concluded that a mechanical signature would do.
    “Failure to sign this legislation poses a significant risk to U.S. national security,” Nick Shapiro, an assistant press secretary in the White House, said before the vote on Thursday. “As long as Congress approves the extension, the president will direct the use of the autopen to sign it.”
    With that declaration, Mr. Obama turned a machine that is ubiquitous in government and business for routine transactions — letters, ceremonial photos, promotional materials — into the ultimate stand-in replacement for the leader of the free world…. – USA Today, 5-27-11
  • Obama, in Europe, signs Patriot Act extension: Minutes before a midnight deadline, President Barack Obama signed into law a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.
    “It’s an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat,” Obama said Friday after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
    With Obama in France, the White House said the president used an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president.
    Congress sent the bill to the president with only hours to go on Thursday before the provisions expired at midnight. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.
    The Senate voted 72-23 for the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities. The House passed the measure 250-153 on an evening vote…. – AP, 5-27-11
  • President Obama, Congress passes bill to extend Patriot Act despite Sen. Rand Paul delay: Congress passed a four-year extension Thursday of the controversial legislation, which allows a continuation of post-Sept. 11 powers to conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists. President Obama signed the bill into law from France, just minutes before a midnight deadline. “It’s an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat,” Obama said…. – NY Daily News, 5-27-11
  • Obama Cites Poland as Model for Arab Shift: President Obama held up Poland on Saturday as a model for Arab nations undergoing political change, saying its peaceful overthrow of Communism held lessons for Tunisia and other Arab countries grappling with the chaotic aftermath of popular revolts.
    President Obama visited the Warsaw memorial to those who died in the 2010 plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski.
    Mr. Obama’s stop came at the end of a busy, six-day tour of Europe that served both as a reaffirmation of the trans-Atlantic alliance and a call for those European allies to advance the cause of those rallying for political change in the Middle East and North Africa.
    From Britain and France, Mr. Obama asked mainly for money to shore up the teetering economies of Egypt and Tunisia. But from Poland, the president sought something less tangible: inspiration, a kind of how-to manual from people who had taken a similar journey.
    “It has gone through what so many countries want to now go through,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference with Prime Minister Donald Tusk. “Poland can play an extraordinary role precisely because they have they have traveled so far so rapidly over the last 25 years.”… – NYT, 5-28-11
  • Obama arrives in Warsaw; Polish Jews urge him to support Israel: Within hours of arriving Friday in this once-occupied capital, President Obama encountered the enduring emotion surrounding the state of Israel, founded as a sanctuary from the virulent anti-Semitism that wiped out much of this nation’s Jewish population during World War II.
    As his first stop in a two-day visit, Obama visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, then traveled to the Ghetto Heroes Memorial, where he laid a wreath at the base of the stark bronze relief commemorating the tens of thousands of Jews killed in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943.
    About two dozen members of the city’s Jewish community gathered to watch the ceremony, and Obama greeted them afterward. Taking his extended hand, a woman told him, “It’s the only Jewish state we have and we trust you.”
    He made clear a final agreement over territory would likely include land exchanges to accommodate Israeli settlements in the West Bank. But his proposal angered Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who called those prewar lines “indefensible.” “I will always be there for Israel,” Obama told the woman.
    To a man in a kipa, the Jewish skullcap, Obama also said, “We will always be there,” another likely reference to U.S. support for Israel. “I promise.”
    The White House said the visit to the memorial, which concluded with a group photograph of Obama with the Jewish audience, had been planned well before the State Department speech. Obama promised to get the photo to all of those in it with him…. – WaPo, 5-27-11
  • Obama exhorts US, allies to bolster Arab spring: Holding out Poland’s transformation to democracy as a model for the world, President Barack Obama on Saturday exhorted Western allies and the American public alike to extend their support, energy and vision to those now reaching for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa.
    Obama wound up his six-day trip to Europe with a message aimed squarely at the people of the United States, saying that in a time of tight budgets, “I want the American people to understand we’ve got to leave room for us to continue our tradition of providing leadership when it comes to freedom, democracy, human rights.”
    Obama, in a brief news conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, assured Americans that he spends the bulk of each day worrying about the U.S. economy and how to strengthen it and create jobs. But he coupled that with the message that it is a U.S. obligation to support democracy around the globe, one that pays dividends in the form of a safer and more prosperous world.
    Speaking with urgency in his voice, Obama said that while no outside country can “impose change” on another, “We can really help. We can facilitate. We can make a difference.”… – AP, 5-27-11
  • G-8: Nations, banks to give $40B for Arab Spring: Rich countries and international lenders are aiming to provide $40 billion in funding for Arab nations trying to establish true democracies, officials said at a Group of Eight summit Friday.
    Officials didn’t fully detail the sources of the money, or how it would be used, but the thrust was clearly to underpin democracy in Egypt and Tunisia — where huge public uprisings ousted autocratic regimes this year — and put pressure on repressive rulers in Syria and Libya.
    The overall message from President Barack Obama and the other G-8 leaders meeting in this Normandy resort appeared to be warning autocratic regimes in the Arab world that they will be shut out of rich-country aid and investment, while new democracies are encouraged to open their economies…. – AP, 5-27-11
  • Obama in Poland to honor history, boost ties: President Barack Obama on Friday honored the memories of those slain in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazis, telling one elderly man that the memorial was a “reminder of the nightmare” of the Holocaust in which 6 millions Jews were killed.
    The president also helped placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated to all unidentified soldiers who have given their lives to Poland in past wars. By paying homage to Poles who fell in World War II at two symbolically potent sites, Obama’s gestures were sure to carry great weight in a country whose identity is still profoundly shaped by the death and destruction inflicted on it by Nazi Germany.
    In the final phase of his European trip, the president greeted Holocaust survivors and leaders of Poland’s Jewish community at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. He smiled, shook hands and hugged those gathered under a light rain, including some who shared memories of having met Obama at earlier times.
    “What a wonderful visit. I’ll have to bring my daughters,” Obama said as he exited the memorial. The monument in the former Jewish ghetto commemorates the tens of thousands of Jews killed in a 1943 uprising against the Nazis during Germany’s brutal occupation of Poland during World War II…. – AP, 5-27-11
  • After Obama’s European tour, challenges at home: Hope you’ve enjoyed your European trip, Mr. President. A lot’s awaiting your attention on your return Saturday…
    Obama has kept a watchful eye on events at home as he’s devoted the week to the business of strengthening relationships with Western allies and marshaling support for democratic stirrings in the Middle East and North Africa. On Friday he arrived in Poland, the final stop on his itinerary, to connect with an ally that has sometimes felt slighted and to underscore the growing importance of Central and Eastern Europe in world affairs.
    Obama will hold two days of political meetings focusing on security, energy and joint U.S.-Polish efforts to promote democracy in North Africa, Belarus and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. But unlike past U.S. presidents who visited this nation of 38 million, Obama will not meet or address the Polish public directly. He opened the visit by spending time at a memorial to those slain in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazis, meeting Holocaust survivors and leaders of Poland’s Jewish community…. – AP, 5-27-11
  • 45 senators urge Obama to sell F-16s to Taiwan: Nearly half the Senate urged President Barack Obama on Thursday to authorize quickly the sale of F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan, a request that has been hanging for five years.
    Despite an easing of tensions across the Taiwan Strait in the past three years, Taiwan says it needs the 66 planes to maintain a credible defense and provide leverage in negotiations with Beijing. U.S. agreement to the sale, worth billions of dollars, would anger China’s communist-led government and would set back improved U.S.-China relations.
    “Without new fighter aircraft and upgrades to its existing fleet of F-16s, Taiwan will be dangerously exposed to Chinese military threats, aggression and provocation, which pose significant national security implications for the United States,” says a letter, signed by 45 of the 100 members of the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans.
    Gary Locke, nominated to become U.S. ambassador to China, told lawmakers Thursday that no decision has been made on the sale, and the request for the F-16 C/Ds still is being evaluated by the Defense and State departments. AP, 5-26-11
  • Obama Seeks Aid for Egypt and Tunisia at Meeting: President Obama tried to marshal global economic support for Egypt and Tunisia at a gathering of industrialized countries on Thursday, even as some European allies were privately urging him to increase the United States’ role in the military campaign in Libya.
    These crosscutting pressures show the complexity of the Arab upheaval and the responses it is drawing from major powers. While the United States is emphasizing the need to stabilize the economy of Egypt, its major Arab ally, France and Britain are eager to intensify the NATO airstrikes on Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
    These goals are not mutually exclusive, American and European officials said. The United States said it expected the Group of 8 countries — France and Britain, among them — to express strong support for efforts to generate jobs and revive growth in Arab countries…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • World press has trackside view of G8 summit: Reporters covering this year’s G8 summit got a trackside view for the event. Organizers have set the thousand-seat press center smack along the rail of Deauville’s tres chic La Touques thoroughbred racecourse. The track hosts race meetings year-round but the summer season won’t kick off until late June.
    This weekend’s meeting will, however, see thundering stampedes of reporters chasing the latest scoop on the leaders’ talks. Odds say the heads of France, Britain, United States and the other G8 countries will seek to rally behind a common European candidate to take over the International Monetary Fund…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Ambassador nominee: China must lean on North Korea: President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to China says the Chinese can and must do more to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
    Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, a former governor of Washington state, would be the first Chinese-American to serve as ambassador to China if confirmed…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Obama: Japan will emerge stronger after earthquake: President Barack Obama is meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the sidelines of an international summit in France.
    As the meeting got under way, Obama told reporters that Japan will emerge “stronger than ever” after a massive earthquake and tsunami killed thousands in March and sparked fears of a meltdown at a nuclear plant. Kan thanked the U.S. for its assistance after the disaster…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • G-8: Nations, banks to give $40B for Arab Spring: Rich countries and international lenders are aiming to provide $40 billion in funding for Arab nations trying to establish free democracies, officials said at a Group of Eight summit Friday.
    The officials didn’t provide a breakdown of where the money would come from or when, or what it would be for.
    But the overall message from President Barack Obama and the other G-8 leaders meeting in this Normandy resort appeared to be warning autocratic regimes in the Arab world that they will be shut out of rich-country aid and investment, while new democracies are encouraged to open their economies…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Missile issue a sticking point for Obama, Medvedev: It is no simple thing to push the “reset” button on U.S.-Russian relations. Trying to move beyond years of inherited mistrust, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev claimed progress Thursday but achieved no breakthrough on a U.S. missile defense plan that Moscow is concerned could threaten its security.
    The two leaders went out of their way to stress — four times over — that their relationship was good But Medvedev also acknowledged: “It does not mean that we’ll have common views and coinciding views on all the issues. It’s impossible.”
    And a White House aide acknowledged that on the missile defense question, for years the single most confrontational issue in the U.S.-Russian relationship, both sides still were trying to overcome “old thinking,” and the Russians, in short, “don’t believe us.”… – AP, 5-26-11
  • White House unveiling plans to curb regulations: The White House would eliminate requirements for trapping polluting vapors at gasoline stations and let employers and hospitals file fewer reports as part of a plan announced Thursday to ease regulatory burdens on business.
    The proposals would help reduce costs for companies and state and local governments while “maintaining the critical health and safety protections that Americans deserve,” the statement said. Cass Sunstein, the White House regulatory chief, planned to describe the changes later Thursday morning in remarks to the conservative American Enterprise Institute…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Arab uprisings top agenda as Obama attends G-8: President Barack Obama prepared to press allies from the Group of Eight industrial nations for commitments in the Middle East and North Africa during two days of meetings in France that were getting under way Thursday.
    Air Force One touched down in the seaside resort of Deauville after a flight from London Thursday morning for the summit’s opening meetings. The world’s leading economic powers are seeking ways to support fledgling democratic transitions in Tunisia and Egypt, while also creating incentives to encourage other countries in the region to pursue greater political freedoms.
    The summit comes on the heels of Obama’s sweeping address at London’s Westminster Hall Wednesday, where he cast the U.S., Britain and other like-minded allies in Europe as the world’s “greatest catalysts for global action.” He will echo a similar theme in his discussions with G-8 partners on the recent Arab uprisings and argue that the political protesters in the Middle East and North Africa share their democratic values.
    On the sidelines of the summit, Obama will hold one-on-one meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Obama, Cameron hold news conference in London: President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron are holding a joint news conference on the lawn at London’s Lancaster House. Topics on their agenda: NATO’s mission in Libya and the unrest and violence across the Middle East and North Africa, the stalled Mideast peace process and the war in Afghanistan…. – USA Today, 5-25-11
  • Obama Says World Needs U.S.-British Leadership: In a rare address to both houses of the British Parliament in the ancient Westminster Hall, President Obama said Wednesday that the United States and Britain remained “indispensable” nations for peace and stability and the “greatest catalysts for global action” in a time of war, terrorism and economic insecurity.
    Highlighting the need for a “new era of cooperation” between the nations that already enjoy a special relationship, Mr. Obama stressed their shared values in a speech that drew a straight line from the beaches of Normandy to the NATO bombing mission in Libya.
    “It is wrong to conclude that the rise of countries like China, India and Brazil means the end of American and European leadership,” he said. “Even as more nations take on the responsibilities of global leadership, our alliance will remain indispensable.”
    Mr. Obama’s speech came hours after a joint news conference with Prime Minister David Cameron in which the two leaders renewed their calls for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to leave office. Mr. Cameron said the two allies “should be turning up the heat” on the Libyan leader.
    After the pomp and ceremony of the previous day, with Queen Elizabeth II welcoming Mr. Obama to Britain and showing him around Buckingham Palace herself, the second day of Mr. Obama’s trip turned to geopolitics in meetings with Mr. Cameron, and his address to Parliament…. – NYT, 5-25-11

Doug Mills/The New York Times

  • Text of Obama, Cameron news conference: The text of the news conference Wednesday in London with President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, as provided by the White House…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • AP sources: Army chief picked to head Joint Chiefs: A general installed just last month as the Army’s top officer is President Barack Obama’s surprise choice to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two people familiar with the selection process said Wednesday.
    Gen. Martin Dempsey, an accomplished veteran of the Iraq war, would succeed Navy Adm. Mike Mullen as the president’s top military adviser when Mullen’s term as chairman ends Sept. 30. Dempsey would have to be confirmed by the Senate.
    Two people familiar with the choice, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not been announced by the White House, said it is scheduled to be made public on Tuesday.
    Dempsey is a surprise choice because he just began a four-year term as Army chief of staff on April 11…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Michelle Obama seeks to inspire London students: First Lady Michelle Obama used her own life as an example of how hard work and perseverance can prevail Wednesday as she spoke with students from a multiethnic school in an economically deprived area.
    She told the girls touring the University of Oxford for the day that they have to battle low self-esteem and learn to stand up for themselves with confidence. The message to the 35 students was that even elite universities like Oxford are within their grasp.
    “We passionately believe that you have the talent within you, you have the drive, and you have the experience to succeed here at Oxford and at universities just like it across the country and across the world,” she said. “By overcoming challenges you have gained strength, courage and maturity far beyond your years. And those qualities will help you succeed in school and in life.”
    The first lady, on the second day of a presidential state visit to Britain, traveled to the sun-drenched campus to meet with the students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school in London. The school, which the first lady visited in 2009, serves one of the most economically deprived areas in Britain and has a high rate of scholastic success despite the hardships its students face…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • G-8 leaders eye Arab world with hope and worry: Leaders of the world’s rich democracies meeting Thursday are looking at tumult in the Arab world with both hope and fear.
    They hope the new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia flourish and their economies rebound. And they fear that the war in Libya and uprisings in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain may entrench autocrats instead of defeating them.
    At a two-day summit in this moneyed Normandy resort, President Barack Obama and the other leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations will seek to marshal their combined economic might behind the grass-roots democracy movements that have swept the Arab world but have also driven away tourists and investors…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Obama: Mideast peace takes ‘wrenching compromise’: President Barack Obama says achieving a peaceful Middle East will require “wrenching compromise” by the Israelis and Palestinians, but an accord will never be reached unless both sides come back to the table.
    Obama says he recently proposed that the two sides rekindle the process by first working on the borders of a future Palestinian state and Israel’s security before moving to more emotional issues, such as the fate of Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem.
    He says a peace deal will be on the horizon if they resolve those issues…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Obama: No ‘let up’ against Libya’s Gadhafi: President Barack Obama says there will be no “let up” in the pressure that the U.S.-backed NATO coalition is applying to drive Moammar Gadhafi from power in Libya.
    The coalition launched a withering bombardment on Gadhafi’s stronghold of Tripoli on Tuesday. Gadhafi remains in power two months after an air campaign began, but Obama insists that Gadhafi will eventually have no choice but to step down…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Cameron: No time to turn away from Pakistan: British Prime Minister David Cameron is supporting Western alliances with Pakistan amid questions about how terrorist Osama bin Laden lived for so long there before he was hunted down and killed by U.S. commandos.
    In a news conference with President Barack Obama, Cameron said that allies must work with Pakistan more closely than ever, not turn away. He said Pakistan has suffered mightily in the fight against extremism. Said Cameron: “Their enemy is our enemy.”… – AP, 5-25-11
  • WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: Obama mocks toast blooper: A musical miscue cut into his toast to Queen Elizabeth II but President Barack Obama didn’t miss a beat.
    The president had just raised his glass and had begun offering a toast at a lavish state dinner at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night when the band, apparently thinking he was through, struck up “God Save the Queen” a tad too soon.
    Without missing a beat, Obama kept talking over the music. He praised the relationship between the U.S. and Britain and even quoted Shakespeare…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Obama to world: West leadership role still strong: President Barack Obama stood in the historic grandeur of Westminster Hall and served notice to England and the world that the growing influence of countries like China, India and Brazil does not mean a diminished global role for America and its European allies.
    “The time for our leadership is now,” Obama declared to members of Parliament, who for the first time gave an American president the honor of addressing them from the 900-year-old hall where great and gruesome moments in British history have played out.
    “If we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place, and what kind of world would we pass on?” the president asked…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Biden: Revenues needed as part of debt limit bill: Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that new revenues need to be part of any agreement with Republicans on legislation to raise the limit on how much money the government can borrow to continue to meet its obligations.
    The vice president also said talks were on pace to produce deficit cuts exceeding $1 trillion and that the talks would extend to procedural mechanisms known as “triggers” to force further automatic deficit cuts to bring the total to $4 trillion if lawmakers were unable to come up with the savings in future legislation.
    “I’ve made it clear today … revenues have to be in the deal,” Biden told reporters after meeting with GOP negotiators.
    “Tax increases are not going to be something that we’ll support,” said Majority Leader Eric Canter of Virginia, who’s representing House Republicans in the talks. But he concurred that “progress is being made.”… – AP, 5-24-11
  • UK palace goes all-out for Obama state dinner: For President Barack Obama, a state dinner hosted by the British queen is much more than a chance to dine on Windsor lamb washed down with 50-year-old port. It’s also an opportunity to bask in the grandeur of Britain’s monarchy, still glowing from the success of a princely wedding watched around the world.
    Large British and American flags lined the Mall, where, less than a month before, Prince William and his new bride, the Duchess of Cambridge, rode to Buckingham Palace. The nearby Green Park still bore large bare patches where the world’s media had camped out for the marriage.
    Inside the palace, the crimson-carpeted ballroom was laid out with 19th-century silverware, Louis XVI porcelain and fragrant floral arrangements more than 12 feet (four meters) tall. Every gilded ornament had its own rich history — the Rockingham dessert service, for example, was first used for Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1838.
    The 170 or so guests joining the Obamas for dinner include Britain’s prime minister, senior royalty, ambassadors, business leaders, top brass, leading academics, prominent nobility and even the archbishop of Canterbury — who officiated at William’s April 29 wedding…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: Obama mocks toast blooper: President Barack Obama has made light of a musical mishap that threatened to cut short his toast at Tuesday night’s state dinner in London.
    Obama had just toasted the Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace when the band, apparently deciding that he had finished his speech, struck up “God Save the Queen.”… – AP, 5-24-11
  • Queen: US, England eye to eye on world challenges: Queen Elizabeth II has used her speech at a state dinner honoring Barack and Michelle Obama to celebrate common bonds between the United States and Britain that she says go beyond military and diplomatic ties.
    The queen opened the lavish state dinner at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday by recalling fond memories of her earlier meetings with the Obamas. And she said that the U.S. and Britain in most cases see world problems in the same light.
    The queen said the U.S.-U.K relationship is — in her words — “tried, tested and, yes, special.”… – AP, 5-24-11
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in London, England, May 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in London, England, May 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Michelle Obama lights London with bright colors: Michelle Obama packed a wardrobe of cheerful, colorful clothes to accompany her husband on a state visit to England. She made quick changes from one dress to another on Tuesday, wearing designer labels that stretch from Los Angeles to London…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • White House threatens to veto defense bill: The White House threatened on Tuesday to veto a defense bill, fiercely objecting to provisions limiting President Barack Obama’s authority to reduce the nation’s nuclear arsenal and decide the fate of terror suspects.
    In a statement, the Obama administration said it generally supported passage of the legislation, which would provide $553 billion for the Defense Department in next year’s budget and an additional $118 billion to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the administration identified three provisions that would prompt the president’s advisers to recommend that Obama veto the bill.
    “The administration has serious concerns with several provisions that constrain the ability of the armed forces to carry out their missions (and) impede the secretary of defense’s ability to make and implement management decisions that eliminate unnecessary overhead or programs to ensure scarce resources are directed to the highest priorities for the warfighter.”
    The House began work on the bill on Tuesday and is scheduled to vote on the legislation later in the week…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • Obama: Chrysler loan repayment a ‘milestone’: President Barack Obama says Chrysler’s repayment of the government loans that helped it emerge from bankruptcy is a “significant milestone” for the auto industry.
    Chrysler took $10.5 billion from the U.S. government to survive two years ago. On Tuesday, it will retire a $5.9 billion balance on the U.S. loans and $1.6 billion to the governments of Canada and Ontario.
    Obama said the announcement comes six years ahead of schedule. Obama, in London as part of a week-long European tour, made his comments in a statement delivered by White House press secretary Jay Carney…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: Obama, Cameron try pingpong: For a couple steadfast allies, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron aren’t always in sync.
    The two leaders, both lefties, had their hands full playing table tennis with a couple of London school boys Tuesday. The game was part of a visit to a school in the Southwark neighborhood of London that specializes in math and performing arts.
    Both leaders doffed their jackets and rolled up their sleeves. Obama, playing the diplomat, offered a defense for Cameron’s play: “Tennis is his sport.” Then, reacting to an aggressively missed shot by the prime minister, he suggested not so helpfully: “You just don’t know your own strength.”
    Their competitors, two students in their early teens, used a variety of spin serves to unnerve their opponents…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • Obama: Midwest storms devastating, heartbreaking: President Barack Obama says he will travel to Missouri on Sunday to meet with people affected by the devastating tornadoes there.
    The president said Tuesday he wants Midwesterners whose lives were upended by the deadly storms last weekend to know that the federal government will use all the resources at its disposal to help them recover and rebuild.
    “I want everybody in Joplin, everybody in Missouri, everybody in Minnesota, everybody across the Midwest to know that we are here for you,” the president said in London on day two of his four-country tour.
    “The American people are by your side. We’re going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet.”… – AP, 5-24-11
The President & First Lady join a massive crowd in Dublin
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 5/23/11
  • Michelle Obama wows Britain with her style: There weren’t any hugs, like last time, but U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama shared a warm handshake with the British queen and gained more fans during her state visit to the U.K.
    Mrs. Obama captured the nation’s attention in 2009 when she affectionately put her arm on Queen Elizabeth II’s back in a minor breach of protocol.
    On Tuesday, Mrs. Obama started the day off when she briefly shook the queen’s hand at a Buckingham Palace ceremony. Her three dress changes throughout the day were closely watched by the British media — the BBC, among others, spent much of its air time before the evening’s white-tie state dinner excitedly speculating on what she might wear for the occasion….- AP, 5-24-11
  • Obama aims to reassure Europe it still matters: President Barack Obama is plunging back into the complex security debates over Afghanistan, Libya and uprisings in the Middle East, while trying to reassure European allies that they still are valued partners in U.S. foreign policy.
    After the two days of celebration and ceremony that opened his European tour, Obama was to hold bilateral meetings Wednesday with British Prime Minister David Cameron and deliver a speech to both houses of Parliament, an address that the White House billed as the centerpiece of the president’s four-country, six-day trip.
    Obama’s message to allies across Europe, and Britain in particular, will be that their long-standing partnerships remain the cornerstone of America’s engagement with the world, even as the president seeks to strengthen U.S. ties with emerging powers such as China and India.
    “There is no other alliance that assumes the burdens that we assume on behalf of peace and security and that, again, invests as much as we do in enforcement of international law and in global development,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications…. – AP, 5-24-11
President Obama in London

White House Photo, Pete Souza, 5/24/11

112TH CONGRESS

  • Republican Legislators Push to Tighten Voting Rules: Less than 18 months before the next presidential election, Republican-controlled statehouses around the country are rewriting voting laws to require photo identification at the polls, reduce the number of days of early voting or tighten registration rules.
    Republican legislators say the new rules, which have advanced in 13 states in the past two months, offer a practical way to weed out fraudulent votes and preserve the integrity of the ballot box. Democrats say the changes have little to do with fraud prevention and more to do with placing obstacles in the way of possible Democratic voters, including young people and minorities.
    Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas signed laws last week that would require each voter to show an official, valid photo ID to cast a ballot, joining Kansas and South Carolina.
    In Florida, which already had a photo law, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill this month to tighten restrictions on third-party voter registration organizations — prompting the League of Women Voters to say it would cease registering voters in the state — and to shorten the number of early voting days. Twelve states now require photo identification to vote…. – NYT, 5-28-11
  • War-weary lawmakers send Obama a message: War-weary Republicans and Democrats on Thursday sent the strongest message yet to President Barack Obama to end the war in Afghanistan as the commander in chief decides how many U.S. troops to withdraw this summer.
    A measure requiring an accelerated timetable for pulling out the 100,000 troops from Afghanistan and an exit strategy for the nearly 10-year-old conflict secured 204 votes in the House, falling just short of passage but boosting the hopes of its surprised proponents.
    “It sends a strong signal to the president that the U.S. House of Representatives and the American people want change,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said shortly after the vote…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Dems propose new Ill. congressional district map: Republicans rejoiced in November after picking up a handful of Democratic congressional districts in President Barack Obama’s home state. Now Democrats are getting their revenge by proposing a new map of Illinois districts that could erase those GOP gains.
    The GOP scrambled Friday to decipher the proposed map that lumps at least four freshman Republicans and one veteran into districts where they would have to run against other incumbents for the next election.
    Illinois must adopt a congressional map with 18, instead of 19, U.S. House seats because of slowing population growth in the latest census — and Democrats are in charge of the process because they control the state Legislature and governor’s office.
    “This proposal appears to be little more than an attempt to undo the results of the elections held just six months ago and we will take whatever steps necessary to achieve a map that more fairly represents the people of Illinois – they deserve nothing less,” the Republican members of Illinois’ congressional delegation said in a joint statement…. – AP, 5-27-11
  • GOP repackages agenda: Top House Republicans called for tax reform, an easing of government regulations and increased domestic energy production on Thursday in what officials said was an attempt to show that spending cuts are not their sole emphasis for creating jobs.
    The plan also backs a tax holiday for multinational companies that hold profits overseas, designed as an incentive for them to return the money to the United States rather than invest it abroad.
    “Our concern is America’s economy. And getting our economy going again is going to require us to reduce the spending, reduce the debt, to get the regulations out of the way, to let American job creators create jobs,” Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference.
    Boehner conceded there were few if any new initiatives in the package, which officials said had been assembled by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • US Senate votes to extend terror-fighting bill: The Senate has voted decisively to extend the legal life of three contentious terrorism-fighting powers that were set to have expired at midnight without congressional action.
    The 72-23 Senate vote sends the legislation to the House of Representatives, which is expected to pass it quickly and transmit it to President Barack Obama for his signature.
    It extends two provisions of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, one allowing roving wiretaps, the other allowing searches of business records in the pursuit of terror threats. A third provision gives the government power to watch non-American “lone wolf” suspects with no certain ties to terrorist groups…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Congress has midnight deadline on anti-terror bill: Congress is rushing to extend the life of three anti-terror tools, including the use of roving wiretaps, before they expire at midnight Thursday.
    The Senate was set to start voting on the legislation, including possible amendments, Thursday morning. Final passage during the day would send it to the House for quick approval and then onward to President Barack Obama in Europe for his signature.
    The rapid-fire action on key elements of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act comes after several days of impasse in the Senate and results in part from the prodding of senior intelligence officials, who warned of the consequences of disrupting surveillance operations.
    “Should the authority to use these critical tools expire, our nation’s intelligence and law enforcement professionals will have less capability than they have today to detect terrorist plots,” James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, wrote congressional leaders…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • New RNC chairman says NC will be 2012 battleground: The Republican National Committee’s new chairman is pleading with party leaders in the Tar Heel State for more money to help candidates heading into the 2012 campaign. But some activists are telling him the national party needs to better embrace the conservative values of the tea party movement…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Dems rejoice over NY; will Medicare redo 2012?: Jubilant Democrats demanded Republicans abandon their sweeping plans to remake Medicare on Wednesday after casting a House race in upstate New York as a referendum on the popular program and emerging victorious.
    “The top three reasons for the election of a Democrat in one of the most conservative Republican districts in America are Medicare, Medicare and Medicare,” declared New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the party’s congressional campaign committee…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Senators unveil bipartisan transportation plan: A bipartisan group of senators said Wednesday they have agreed to the outlines of a long-term transportation spending bill, boosting prospects for ending a stalemate that has kept highway and transit construction programs in limbo since 2008.
    The bill would spend about $56 billion a year on highway and transit construction, said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It has the support of Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the senior Republican on the committee; David Vitter of Louisiana, the senior Republican on the highway subcommittee, and Max Baucus, D-Mont., the subcommittee’s chairman…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • House bans funds for teaching abortion techniques: The House voted Wednesday to ban teaching health centers from using federal money to train doctors on how to perform abortions, the latest in a series of anti-abortion measures pushed by the Republican majority.
    The author of the measure, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said she wanted to make it “crystal clear that taxpayer money is not being used to train health care providers to perform abortion procedures.”
    The proposal was presented as an amendment to the latest of several GOP bills to restrict funding for the health care act that was enacted last year. This bill gives Congress control over spending for a program to encourage health centers to provide training to medical residents. The amendment applies to funding in that grant program.
    The Foxx amendment passed 234-182 despite the objections of some Democrats that it would prevent health centers from teaching a basic medical technique that can be critical to saving a woman’s life during emergencies…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Senate votes down controversial House budget: Joined by several moderate Republicans, Democrats controlling the Senate rejected a controversial House budget plan for turning Medicare into a voucher-like program for future beneficiaries.
    Five Republicans joined every Democrat in the 57-40 vote killing the measure, which calls for transforming Medicare into a program in which future beneficiaries — people now 54 years old and younger — would be given a subsidy to purchase health insurance rather than have the government directly pay hospital and doctor bills.
    Democrats said the GOP plan would “end Medicare as we know it,” and they made it the central issue in a special election Tuesday in which Democrats seized a longtime GOP district in western New York, rattling Republicans…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Medicare overhaul proposal causing GOP stress: Little more than a month after they backed sweeping changes to Medicare, Republicans are on the political defensive, losing a House seat long in their possession and exhibiting significant internal strains for the first time since last fall’s election gains.
    “We’ve got to get beyond this,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said recently after several days of back and forth over the proposal he authored and included in the budget that cleared on a party line vote. “And we’ve got to get onto a serious conversation about what it takes to fix the fiscal problems in this country.”
    Under Ryan’s proposal, Medicare would remain unchanged for those 55 or older, including the millions who now receive health care under the program. Anyone younger would be required to obtain coverage from a private insurer, with the government providing a subsidy to cover part of the cost of premiums…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • McCain, King resolution calls for pardoning boxer: Sen. John McCain and Rep. Peter King, who lost their last attempt to win a presidential pardon for the first black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, are looking for a rematch.
    The two GOP lawmakers reintroduced a congressional resolution Tuesday urging President Barack Obama to pardon Johnson, who was imprisoned nearly a century ago because of his romantic ties with a white woman….
    In a statement, McCain, R-Ariz., said that he and King, R-N.Y., were reintroducing the resolution “to send a clear message to rectify this unacceptable historical injustice.”
    “A full pardon would not only shed light on the achievements of an athlete who was forced into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, but also allow future generations to grasp fully what Jack Johnson accomplished against great odds,” McCain said…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • House GOP to advance $1B disaster aid package: Republicans controlling the House began advancing a $1 billion aid package on Tuesday to make sure that disaster relief accounts don’t run dry after massive flooding along the Mississippi River and devastating tornadoes in Missouri and Alabama.
    The House Appropriations Committee approved the disaster aid cash along with two spending bills, one funding the Homeland Security Department and the other veterans programs…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • Senate considers Patriot Act despite concerns: The tortoise-like Senate is under uncommon pressure to pass a four-year extension of the anti-terrorist Patriot Act before key provisions expire Friday. But the deadline is even tighter, because President Barack Obama is in Europe.
    Any extension passed by the Senate must be sent to the House and passed there, then flown overseas to be signed into law.
    So the Senate’s deadline for passage is more like midweek. And that’s no accident.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who not long ago vowed to have a full week of debate on the Patriot Act extension, has instead backed up the vote against a tighter deadline to limit debate over legislation some say is less necessary now that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden is dead.
    Another motivator: The Senate’s weeklong Memorial Day break begins just after the Patriot Act deadline.
    The White House urged the Senate to do what it typically does not: work quickly. “It is essential to avoid any hiatus” in the law’s powers, the Obama administration said in a statement.
    But the Senate does not rush, even when it’s clear that there probably isn’t time for changes. Senators voted 74-8 Monday to begin debate on the bill…. – AP, 5-24-11

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS: SCOTUS UPHOLDS ARIZONA IMMIGRATION LAW

SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts: The law “expressly reserves to the states the authority to impose sanctions on employers hiring unauthorized workers, through licensing and similar laws,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “It uses the federal government’s own definition of ‘unauthorized alien,’ it relies solely on the federal government’s own determination of who is an unauthorized alien, and it requires Arizona employers to use the federal government’s own system for checking…

  • Chief Justice John Robert’s Opinion — CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ET AL. v. WHITING ET AL.
  • High court sustains Ariz. employer sanctions law: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that penalizes businesses for hiring workers in the country illegally, buoying the hopes of supporters of state crackdowns on illegal immigration.
    They predicted the ruling would lead to many other states passing laws that require employers to use the federal E-Verify system to check that workers aren’t illegal immigrants. And some said the ruling bodes well for the prospects of a much broader and more controversial immigration law in Arizona, known as SB1070, to be found constitutional.
    The state is appealing a ruling blocking portions of that law from taking effect…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Supreme Court backs Arizona immigration law: The Supreme Court today upheld an Arizona law penalizing companies that hire illegal immigrants, rejecting a challenge by business groups and civil liberties organizations, our court correspondent Joan Biskupic reports.
    U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released a statement supporting the ruling: “Not only is this law constitutional, it is common sense. American jobs should be preserved for Americans and legal workers.”
    The Associated Press reports that Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a majority made up of Republican-appointed justices, said the Arizona’s employer sanctions law “falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states.”
    Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, all Democratic appointees, dissented. The fourth Democratic appointee, Justice Elena Kagan, did not participate because she worked on it while serving as President Obama’s solicitor general.
    The law permits the state to take away the business licenses of companies that knowingly hire illegal workers. It requires employers to use an otherwise optional federal verification program, known as the E-Verify system, which collects data on workers from the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security.
    The ruling, by a 5-3 vote, comes off oral arguments presented in December. Reporting on those arguments, Biskupic had noted that the court “appeared poised … to uphold” the law.
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration had opposed the law…. – USA Today, 5-26-11
  • Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Immigration Law: The Supreme Court today backed an Arizona law that sanctions businesses that hire illegal immigrants.
    On a 5-3 vote, the court held that federal immigration law does not preempt Arizona from suspending or revoking the licenses of businesses that violate state immigration law.
    Chief Justice Roberts wrote the 27-page opinion, which can be found here. And here’s a report from WSJ.
    Then-Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the Arizona law in 2007, saying that while immigration is a federal responsibility, Arizona had been forced to deal with the issue because the demand for cheap, undocumented labor in the state was contributing to illegal immigration…. – WSJ, 5-26-11
  • Supreme Court sustains Arizona employer sanctions law: The Supreme Court has sustained Arizona’s law that penalizes businesses for hiring workers who are in the United States illegally, rejecting arguments that states have no role in immigration matters.
    By a 5-3 vote, the court said Thursday that federal immigration law gives states the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers.
    The decision upholding the validity of the 2007 law comes as the state is appealing a ruling that blocked key components of a second, more controversial Arizona immigration enforcement law. Thursday’s decision applies only to business licenses and does not signal how the high court might rule if the other law comes before it.
    Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a majority made up of Republican-appointed justices, said the Arizona’s employer sanctions law “falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states.”
    Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, all Democratic appointees, dissented. The fourth Democratic appointee, Justice Elena Kagan, did not participate in the case because she worked on it while serving as President Barack Obama’s solicitor general
    Breyer said the Arizona law upsets a balance in federal law between dissuading employers from hiring illegal workers and ensuring that people are not discriminated against because they may speak with an accent or look like they might be immigrants.
    Employers “will hesitate to hire those they fear will turn out to lack the right to work in the United States,” he said…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • Justices Uphold Law Penalizing Hiring of Illegal Immigrants: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that imposes harsh penalties on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.
    The 5-to-3 decision amounted to a green light for vigorous state efforts to combat the employment of illegal workers. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts on behalf of the court’s five more conservative members, noted that Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia had recently enacted laws similar to the one at issue in the case.
    The decision did not directly address a second, more recent Arizona law that in some circumstances requires police there to question people they stop about their immigration status. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit blocked enforcement of that law in April, and the case may reach the Supreme Court soon.
    The challenge to the older Arizona law that was the subject of Thursday’s decision was brought by a coalition of business and civil liberties groups, with support from the Obama administration. They said the law, the Legal Arizona Workers Act, conflicted with federal immigration policy.
    The decision turned mostly on the meaning of a provision of a 1986 federal law, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which said that it overrode “any state or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ” unauthorized aliens…. – NYT, 5-26-11
  • Supreme Court upholds Ariz. law punishing companies that hire illegal immigrants: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Arizona may revoke the business licenses of companies that knowingly employ illegal immigrants, rejecting arguments that the state’s law intrudes on the federal government’s power to control immigration.
    The court ruled 5 to 3 that Congress specifically allowed states such an option, and dismissed the objections of an unusual coalition that challenged the state law: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, civil rights groups, labor unions and the Obama administration.
    The 1986 federal Immigration Reform and Control Act generally preempts states from using employer sanctions to control immigration. But Arizona took advantage of a parenthetical clause in the statute — “other than through licensing and similar laws” — to go after companies that knowingly and intentionally hired undocumented workers.
    Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. agreed with the state’s reading of the federal law.
    “It makes little sense to preserve state authority to impose sanctions through licensing, but not allow states to revoke licenses when appropriate as one of those sanctions,” he wrote.
    Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. agreed with the outcome.
    The law at issue — the Legal Arizona Workers Act — is different from a more recent Arizona law that the Obama administration is battling in lower courts…. – WaPo, 5-26-11
  • SCOTUS upholds Arizona immigrant hiring law: The Supreme Court ruled Thursday to uphold Arizona’s law that penalizes companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
    In a 5-3 vote, the court concluded that federal immigration law doesn’t prevent the state from revoking the business licenses of companies that violate state law.
    Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that the court had come to its decision because “the state’s licensing provisions fall squarely within the federal statute’s savings clause and that the Arizona regulation does not otherwise conflict with federal law.”
    The Arizona law also requires employers to use the federal government’s web-based E-Verify system to determine whether potential employees are eligible to work within the United States. The court upheld this provision, saying it is “entirely consistent” with federal law…. – Politico, 5-26-11
  • US states can shut firms with illegals: Supreme Court: The US Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a state has the right to revoke the license of a business that knowingly employs illegal immigrants, in a case watched for implications on related judicial battles.
    The top US court in a 5-3 decision upheld Arizona’s 2007 law, saying the state was within its rights under a 1986 federal immigration reform measure.
    The ruling comes amid a legal battle on another Arizona law that took effect last July and which makes it a crime to be in the state, which borders Mexico, without proper immigration papers.
    In Thursday’s decision, the court cited the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which preempts state or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions other than through licensing and similar laws on firms that employ, recruit, or refer unauthorized aliens for employment.
    The law “expressly reserves to the states the authority to impose sanctions on employers hiring unauthorized workers, through licensing and similar laws,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.
    “It uses the federal government’s own definition of ‘unauthorized alien,’ it relies solely on the federal government’s own determination of who is an unauthorized alien, and it requires Arizona employers to use the federal government’s own system for checking employee status.”… – AFP, 5-26-11
  • ‘Business death penalty’ for hiring illegal workers is upheld by Supreme Court: The 5-3 decision gives states more authority to act against illegal immigrants. Justices rule that states can take away the business licenses of companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
    The Supreme Court on Thursday gave Arizona and other states more authority to take action against illegal immigrants and the companies that hire them, ruling that employers who knowingly hire illegal workers can lose their license to do business.
    The 5-3 decision upholds the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007 and its so-called business death penalty for employers who are caught repeatedly hiring illegal immigrants. The state law also requires employers to check the federal E-Verify system before hiring new workers, a provision that was also upheld Thursday.
    The court’s decision did not deal with the more controversial Arizona law passed last year that gave police more authority to stop and question those who are suspected of being in the state illegally. But the ruling is likely to encourage the state and its supporters because the court majority said states remained free to take action involving immigrants…. – LAT, 5-26-11
  • Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Law Curbing Unions: Ruling that Republicans in the State Senate had violated the state’s open meetings law, a judge in Wisconsin dealt a blow to them and to Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday by granting a permanent injunction striking down a new law curbing collective bargaining rights for many state and local employees.
    Judge Maryann Sumi of Dane County Circuit Court said the Senate vote on March 9, coming after 13 Democratic state senators had fled the state, failed to comply with an open meetings law requiring at least two hours notice to the public.
    The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on June 6 , and Republican lawmakers are hoping that the court overturns Judge Sumi’s ruling and reinstates the law.
    The State Senate could choose simply to pass the bill again while assuring proper notice. But some political experts say there might be some obstacles to re-enacting the vote because some Democrats could conceivably flee the state again, and some Republican Senators are frightened about pending recall elections…. – NYT, 5-26-11

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS — ELECTIONS

Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat in Closely Watched Upstate New York Race: The Associated Press has declared Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, the winner in a closely watched Congressional race in upstate New York that is being seen as a test of a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare.
On Tuesday, she captured 47 percent of the vote to Ms. Corwin’s 43 percent, according to unofficial results. A Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, had 9 percent

  • Medicare key to shocking Dem win in NY House race: Kathy Hochul told her supporters they had picked the right issue to fight a Republican on long-held Republican turf.
    The Democrat rode a wave of voter discontent over the national GOP’s plan to change Medicare and overcame decades of GOP dominance here to capture Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 26th Congressional District.
    Hochul defeated Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin on Tuesday night, capturing 47 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Corwin, to win the seat vacated by disgraced Republican Chris Lee. A wealthy tea party candidate, Jack Davis, took 9 percent.
    The special election that became a referendum on the health care plan for the nation’s seniors may serve as a warning shot to further GOP efforts to cut popular entitlement programs…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat; Rebuke Seen to Medicare Plan: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against the Republican, Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on the Republican’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up…. – NYT, 5-25-11
  • What lessons will GOP take from losing New York-26 House seat?: Medicare is indeed a perilous issue for Republicans, Tuesday’s House race in New York’s 26th District showed. But so are third-party candidates and tepid campaigns.
    A Democratic upset on GOP turf in upstate New York signals that Medicare reform is a perilous issue for Republicans – but so are tea party candidates in a three-way race, tepid campaigns, and a flood of outside money.
    That’s the mixed message from Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 26th Congressional District, a special election that drew national attention and funding as a bellwether for the 2012 campaign cycle.
    Democrat Kathy Hochul came from behind in the campaign’s last weeks to defeat GOP nominee Jane Corwin, 48 percent to 42 percent. Tea party candidate Jack Davis took 8 percent of the vote…. – CS Monitor, 5-25-11
  • Democrat Wins Upstate New York Congressional Race: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
    With 66 percent of the precincts reporting, Ms. Hochul led with 48 percent of the vote, to 43 percent for the Republican candidate, Jane L. Corwin…. – NYT, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat; Rebuke Seen to Medicare Plan: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
    Voters, who turned out in strikingly large numbers for a special election, said they trusted Ms. Hochul, the county clerk of Erie County, to protect Medicare…. – NYT, 5-24-11
  • GOP loss a Medicare message?: Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul won a House special election in western New York on Tuesday, a Democratic triumph in a conservative district that many consider a referendum on House Republicans’ efforts to reform Medicare.
    With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Hochul had 48 percent of the vote. State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, a Republican, had 42 percent, while independent candidate Jack Davis ran a distant third with 9 percent.
    The seat in New York’s 26th District became vacant when Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., resigned after revelations that he had sent shirtless pictures of himself to a woman with whom he had been corresponding on Craigslist. Seattle Times, 5-25-11
  • Democrat Wins U.S. House Race That Focused on Medicare, AP Says: Kathy Hochul was elected to a vacant U.S. House seat in western New York, the Associated Press said, following a campaign that became a referendum on a Republican plan to privatize Medicare.
    With 84 percent of the vote counted in the special election, the AP tally showed Hochul with 48 percent to 42 percent for Republican Jane Corwin and 8 percent for Buffalo- area industrialist Jack Davis, running on the Tea Party ballot line.
    The race was closely watched for its implications on national politics, including the 2012 presidential campaign. The campaign provided the first electoral test on the Medicare issue and, in a sign of its potential importance, national party groups and their independent allies helped finance a barrage of local television ads and automated telephone calls to households…. – Bloomberg, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Kathy Hochul wins upstate New York race: Democrat Kathy Hochul drew on voter discontent over Republican plans to revamp Medicare to score an upset win on Tuesday in a special election to represent a conservative upstate New York congressional district.
    Hochul defeated Republican Jane Corwin in a three-way race that also included self-described Tea Party candidate Jack Davis. The outcome did not affect Republican control of the House of Representatives.
    “Tonight the voters were willing to look beyond the political labels and vote for a person, and vote for message that they believe in,” Hochul told cheering supporters minutes after taking a phone call from Corwin, a state assemblywoman. “We can balance the budget the right way, and not on the backs of our seniors,” said Hochul, the Erie County clerk. “We had the issues on our side.”
    President Barack Obama, who is visiting Britain, issued a statement congratulating Hochul on her victory. “Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to outcompete other nations and win the future,” Obama said…. – Reuters, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Wins House Seat Third Candidate Roils New York Race in Traditionally GOP Area; Medicare Issue Studied as Factor:A Democrat on Tuesday won election to a congressional seat from a traditionally Republican district in western New York, according to Associated Press tallies, an outcome that will be studied for clues to how voters are viewing the budget battles in Washington.
    Republican candidate Jane Corwin had endorsed a plan passed by House Republicans last month to overhaul Medicare, drawing sharp criticism from her Democratic rival, Kathy Hochul.
    Ms. Hochul was leading Ms. Corwin, 48% to 43%, with 66% of the vote tallied shortly after 10 p.m. eastern time, AP reported.
    The news service declared the winner to be Ms. Hochul. She is currently the Erie County clerk.
    Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district, and voters gave former Rep. Chris Lee, a Republican, 68% of the vote in November.
    The district also supported Republicans John McCain for president in 2008 and President George W. Bush in 2004.
    While the outcome was complicated by a third-party candidate, members of Congress are sure to study the results for the role that the Medicare proposal may have played in the race…. – WSJ, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Hochul wins N.Y. special election: Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul won a House special election in western New York on Tuesday night, a Democratic triumph in a conservative district that many consider a referendum on House Republicans’ efforts to reform Medicare.
    With three-quarters of precincts reporting, Hochul had 48 percent of the vote. State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R) had 42 percent, with independent candidate Jack Davis running a distant third with 8 percent.
    Democrats contended that the race in New York’s 26th Congressional District — which the GOP had held since the 1960s — became competitive through their efforts linking Corwin to the House Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
    That plan, spearheaded by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.), has already been the subject of plenty of debate in Washington, where Republicans seek deep cuts and debt-reduction measures…. – WaPo, 5-24-11
  • Kathy Hochul wins NY congressional race: Democrat Kathy Hochul scored an upset and won a special election to represent New York’s 26th congressional district on Tuesday, defeating Republican Jane Corwin.
    Hochul, the Erie County clerk, declared victory in the conservative upstate district with just over 70 percent of the vote tallied.
    The election was held to fill the seat vacated in February by Republican Chris Lee, who resigned after shirtless photos he sent to a woman he met on Craigslist were published on the Internet…. – Reuters, 5-24-11
  • Barack Obama: Congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul for her victory tonight in New York’s 26th Congressional District. Kathy has shown, through her victory and throughout her career, that she will fight for the families and businesses in western New York, and I look forward to working with her when she gets to Washington. -
  • Julian E. Zelizer: N.Y. race for House seat a preview of 2012?: Next week voters in New York’s 26th Congressional District will go to the ballot box to replace Rep. Christopher Lee, who resigned after a scandal involving a photo of himself shirtless that he sent to a woman he met online.
    Like other special elections in the last two years, the rumble in the 26th has drawn the attention and resources of both national political parties. What would have ordinarily been a local race is seen as having big implications for 2012.
    Until April, few Democrats thought this race was worth contesting. The 26th is one of the most conservative districts in New York, presumably a safe Republican seat. But then something happened. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin released his budget plan, which included a drastic overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid. Many of his GOP colleagues, fearing trouble on the campaign trail, distanced themselves from the plan as soon as the details were released.
    In New York, Democrats pounced. The party has been able to generate substantial support for its candidate, Kathy Hochul, by connecting the dots between New York, Washington, and Wisconsin. Her ads have hammered away at her Republican opponent, Jane Corwin, for endorsing Ryan’s proposal and supporting “a budget that essentially ends Medicare.” She also supports, they add, reductions in Social Security benefits.
    The National Republican Congressional Committee has responded with a familiar refrain, calling Hochul a champion of the kind of big government liberalism that it says has run rampant in Washington. A recent television spot argued that Hochul, as well as independent Jack Davis, was on the same page as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
    The race is allowing both parties to test their arguments for 2012. Republicans are counting on Americans to share the party’s antipathy to the federal government and support proposals to lower the federal deficit. This anti-government ethos has been a guiding ideal for GOP candidates since Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980….
    The results in the special election may help the parties determine what their strategy should be in the 2012 elections. If Hochul wins, we can expect Democrats to focus on specifics in the upcoming months, telling voters what Democrats’ programs provide them and what Republicans hope to take away.
    If Republicans can hold this seat, they may be emboldened to continue calling for radical cuts in the federal budget and warning of the dangerous road on which Democrats have embarked. Which argument sticks in this special election will give both parties some sense of where voters stand after the heated budget battles of the past few months…. – CNN, 5-23-11

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

  • Vt. governor signs universal health care bill: Vermont still has “a few challenges” ahead to meet its goal of a universal health care system this decade, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Thursday as he signed into law the bill designed to make the state the nation’s first with fully publicly funded health care.
    More than 150 people, including legislators, administration officials, advocates who pushed for the bill and a handful of opponents gathered on the Statehouse steps as storm clouds threatened but gave way to humid sunshine.
    “We gather here today to launch the first single-payer health care system in America, to do in Vermont what has taken too long — have a health care system that is the best in the world, that treats health care as a right and not a privilege, where health care follows the individual, isn’t required by an employer — that’s a huge jobs creator,” Shumlin said.
    Among Vermont’s challenges: getting waivers from the federal government at a time when the U.S. House has come out strongly against the less ambitious federal health care bill passed last year…. – AP, 5-26-11
  • John Edwards: his path from golden boy to persona non grata in North Carolina: Reports that the US Justice Department is moving ahead with a potential indictment against John Edwards underscore how much his political ascent was dashed on the rocks by an affair, a love child, and, allegedly, a $1 million payoff…. – CS Monitor, 5-25-11
  • AP source: Edwards could be indicted within days: The Justice Department plans to bring criminal charges against John Edwards after a two-year investigation into whether the former presidential candidate illegally used money from some of his political backers to cover up his extramarital affair, a person familiar with the case said Wednesday.
    An indictment could come within days unless the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee reaches an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to a negotiated charge, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the case’s sensitivity.
    It was not immediately clear what charges prosecutors planned to bring…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • Puerto Rico governor says Obama to visit island: President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to visit Puerto Rico next month, a trip that would make him the first sitting president to come to the U.S. territory in decades, the island’s governor said Tuesday.
    The president, who campaigned in Puerto Rico for the Democratic primary, will visit the island June 14, Gov. Luis Fortuno said, without disclosing details of his itinerary.
    “With his visit, the president makes good on the promise he made during the presidential primaries in 2008 that he would return to Puerto Rico as president,” Fortuno said in a statement.
    The governor’s office described the Obama trip as the “the first official presidential visit” since December 1961, when President John F. Kennedy stopped on the island to a formal welcome on his way to Venezuela. But that was not the last time a U.S. president set foot in the territory: President Gerald Ford hosted an economic summit in Puerto Rico in June 1976…. – AP, 5-24-11

ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

  • Palin, Trump to meet in NYC Tuesday evening: Sarah Palin has scheduled a meeting with Donald Trump in New York City on Tuesday evening. The former GOP vice presidential nominee and her family are on a bus tour of East Coast sites this week as she considers running for the GOP nomination to challenge President Barack Obama next year. A spokesman for Trump said the celebrity real estate mogul would meet with Palin at his Trump Tower residence and that the two families probably would go out to dinner…. – AP, 5-31-11
  • Palin bus tour leaves Washington _ but for where?: Sarah Palin said Monday she is “still kind of contemplating” a presidential campaign as she and her family set off from the U.S. capital on a bus tour of historical sites that left observers puzzled about what the former Alaska governor planned next — both for her schedule and her career.
    Palin and her aides refused to share basic details about the “One Nation” tour that was scheduled to take her from Washington to the northeastern New England states in the days ahead. The East Coast swing renewed questions about Palin’s next moves, including whether she would enter the still-forming Republican presidential field.
    “We’re still kind of contemplating that,” she said in brief comments to reporters who stumbled onto her Monday at the National Archives…. – AP, 5-30-11
  • Palin Announces East Coast Bus Tour: Sarah Palin will begin a bus tour of the East Coast on Memorial Day weekend, the latest and most significant evidence that the former governor of Alaska is still seriously considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination this year. Ms. Palin will begin the series of high-profile public events in the Washington area, starting with the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally and continuing on through the Northeast, according to a statement on her Web site.
    The bus tour, which will extend beyond the weekend, will take Ms. Palin and her family through the Northeast in a decorated, red-white-and-blue charter bus, heightening comparisons to a campaign whistle-stop tour…. – NYT, 5-27-11
  • Palin to embark on East Coast bus tour: Sarah Palin will embark this weekend on a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, sending a jolt through the now-sleepy Republican presidential contest and thrusting a telegenic but divisive politician back into the nation’s spotlight.
    Palin’s tour announcement is the strongest signal yet that she is considering a presidential bid, despite her failure to take traditional steps such as organizing a campaign team in early primary states. The former Alaska governor’s approval ratings have fallen across the board — including among Republicans — in recent months. But many conservatives adore her, and she has enough name recognition and charisma to shake up a GOP contest that at this point seems to be focusing on three male former governors.
    Beginning Sunday, Palin plans to meet with veterans and visit historic sites that her political action committee calls key to the country’s formation, survival and growth. The tour follows reports that Palin has bought a house in Arizona and the disclosure that she’s authorized a feature-length film about her career, which could serve as a campaign centerpiece. She recently said she has “that fire in the belly” for a presidential bid.
    Palin said on the website for SarahPAC that the nation is at a “critical turning point,” and that her bus tour will serve as a reminder of “who we are and what Americans stand for.”… – AP, 5-26-11
  • Huntsman to skip New Hampshire debate: Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman won’t participate in a June debate in New Hampshire. Huntsman’s advisers on Friday said he will not take part in the event scheduled for June 13 in Manchester. Huntsman strategist Paul Collins says Huntsman won’t compete in debates until he formally announces his intentions. He says that won’t happen before the CNN/ WMUR-TV/ New Hampshire Union Leader debate…. – AP, 5-27-11
  • Romney, Bachmann to Formally Announce in June: Mitt Romney will formally announce he’s running for president June 2 at a barbecue in Stratham, New Hampshire, the Union-Leader’s John DiStaso reports. Romney is the first Republican candidate to make it official in New Hampshire, significant because unlike in 2008, Romney is considering running a scaled-back campaign in Iowa, where social conservatives are a bigger segment of the electorate. Last campaign, Romney, who once supported abortion and gay rights, had trouble convincing voters he was a true believer on social issues and not just adopting more conservative positions out of political expediency.
    Someone who’ll have a lot less trouble winning over conservative Iowans is Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party favorite, who will announce her own candidacy in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa, in June. Bachmann said she still might not run during a conference call with reporters Thursday, the Associated Press’ Brian Bakst reports. Bachmann had intended to speak at a Republican dinner in Des Moines, but had to stay in Washington for a vote, so she addressed the crowed through a video feed. That made for a “bizarre scene for an almost-campaign announcement,” Bakst writes, as reporters crowded around the podium in Des Moines to ask her video image questions. Being born in Waterloo gives her “every advantage a girl would want to have,” Bachmann said. As for fellow polarizer Sarah Palin’s potential campaign, Bachmann said, “I don’t believe that any two candidates are interchangeable. Each one of us brings our own unique skill sets into this race.”… – The Atlantic Wire, 5-27-11
  • GOP presidential hopefuls shift on global warming: One thing that Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have in common: These GOP presidential contenders all are running away from their past positions on global warming, driven by their party’s loud doubters who question the science and disdain government solutions.
    All four have stepped back from previous stances on the issue, either apologizing outright or softening what they said earlier. And those who haven’t fully recanted are under pressure to do so…. – AP, 5-27-11
  • Texas Governor Hints at G.O.P. Run for White House: The ritual of reporters asking Gov. Rick Perry if he is running for president and getting a firm no has become so entrenched in Texas that jaws dropped Friday afternoon when Mr. Perry abruptly changed his tune — slightly — and hinted that he might run after all.
    Asked at a bill signing if he would think about a presidential run after Memorial Day, Mr. Perry, a staunch conservative and a Tea Party favorite, said without a hint of irony: “Yes, sir. I’m going to think about it.” Then a couple of beats later, he smiled and added, “But I think about a lot of things.”… – NYT, 5-27-11
  • McConnell: GOP, Dems should seek Medicare savings: The Senate’s top Republican said Friday that lawmakers should not fear voter backlash for trying to squeeze savings from Medicare to reduce federal debt, because it will take a bipartisan deal to tackle the popular program.
    The remarks by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were noteworthy because they came three days after a Democrat won a special House election in a heavily Republican district in upstate New York after accusing the GOP of wanting to kill Medicare…. – AP, 5-27-11
  • Signs Grow That Palin May Run: Sarah Palin is fortifying her small staff of advisers, buying a house in Arizona — where associates have said she could base a national campaign — and reviving her schedule of public appearances. The moves are the most concrete signals yet that Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, is seriously weighing a Republican presidential bid.
    While it is by no means clear that she would be willing to give up her lucrative speaking career and her perch as an analyst on Fox News to face the scrutiny and combat that would come with her entrance into the race, she is being pressed by supporters for a decision and has acknowledged that time is running out.
    Two people familiar with the details of the real estate transaction said that Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, had bought a $1.7 million house in Scottsdale, Ariz. Like others interviewed for this article, they would speak only on the condition of anonymity so as not to anger the Palins, who have become especially protective of their privacy in the maelstrom that has followed them since 2008. The Arizona Republic reported over the weekend on speculation in Scottsdale that the Palins were the buyers of the house, reporting the purchase was through a shell company that hid their identity.
    While Arizona would be a more convenient travel hub for a presidential campaign than Alaska, there are other reasons the Palins might want a house there. Their daughter Bristol recently bought a house in Maricopa, which is near Scottsdale.
    Ms. Palin has reshuffled her staff, rehiring two aides who have helped plan her political events. And she is expected to resume a schedule of public appearances soon — perhaps as early as this weekend — to raise her profile at a moment when the Republican presidential field appears to be taking final form…. – NYT, 5-26-11
  • Palin signals ambition, reluctance for White House: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has authorized a feature-length film about her rise, added staff and recently said she has “that fire in the belly” for a presidential bid — all steps that fuel speculation she’s inching toward a White House run.
    Her supporters are putting together a campaign-in-waiting in Iowa, the lead-off nominating caucus, in the hopes the Republicans’ 2008 vice presidential nominee decides to join the race.
    There are even reports she bought a home in Arizona, not far from her daughter’s, which aides have suggested could be a campaign headquarters if she goes forward…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Pawlenty: An economic pro or crafty budget setter?: A no-new-taxes philosophy guided Tim Pawlenty’s budget approach as Minnesota governor. Accounting tricks, a well-timed infusion of stimulus money from Washington and word games kept the Republican mostly on that course.
    The newly minted presidential candidate hopes Republican primary voters will see him as an economic pro accustomed to dealing with red ink and capable of confronting the nation’s colossal fiscal problems.
    “We balanced the budget every two years in my state without question,” Pawlenty said Wednesday at a conservative think tank in Washington. “We have a constitutional requirement, as almost every other state does. It must be balanced, it has to be balanced, it always will be balanced. In fact, the last budget that I finished ends this summer, here in about two months. And it’s going to end in the black.”… – AP, 5-25-11
  • In Florida, Pawlenty calls for entitlement reform: Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is calling for fundamental changes in Social Security and other entitlement programs during a visit to senior-rich Florida.
    The former Minnesota governor said Tuesday that entitlement programs are not sustainable.
    Pawlenty says if elected he would push to gradually raise the retirement age for Social Security and phase out cost-of-living increases for wealthier Social Security recipients…. – AP, 5-24-11
  • Tim Pawlenty makes presidential bid, offering his story: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty stood in front of 200 supporters on a rooftop terrace Monday, with Iowa’s statehouse as the backdrop, and spoke the words he’s waited so long to say:
    “I’m Tim Pawlenty, and I’m running for president of the United States.”
    In formally launching his quest, Pawlenty told the crowd he would not be offering easy answers.
    “It’s time for America’s president — and anyone who wants to be president — to look you in the eye and tell you the truth,” he said. “So here it is.” He would, he said, tell Wall Street “that if I’m elected, the era of bailouts, handouts and carve-outs will be over.” In Florida on Wednesday, he said, he would “tell the truth to wealthy seniors, that we will means test Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment.”
    “The changes history is calling on America to make today,” he said, “cannot be shouldered only by people richer than us or poorer than us — but by us, too.”… – Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5-24-11
  • Pawlenty Officially Declares Candidacy for President: Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota formally opened his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday with a sharp critique of President Obama’s policies, leadership and character, presenting himself as a candidate who could unify his fractious party and win back the White House.
    “It’s time for a new approach,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “It’s time for America’s president – and anyone who wants to be president – to look you in the eye and tell you the truth.”
    One day after Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana said he would not join the Republican race, Mr. Pawlenty used his announcement here as an opportunity to seize the spotlight in a Republican presidential campaign that is among the most wide open in decades. He sought to persuade donors and party leaders, who had been urging Mr. Daniels to run, to join his effort to win the nomination…. – NYT, 5-23-11
  • Pawlenty Announces Candidacy a Day Early: On the eve of his own planned campaign announcement, Tim Pawlenty released an Internet video declaring that he is running for president because he — unlike President Obama — has the courage to face America’s challenges.
    In another slickly produced video that has become a hallmark of his campaign, Mr. Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota, confirmed Sunday night that he would officially begin his bid for his party’s nomination in Iowa on Monday.
    “That’s where I am going to begin a campaign that tells the American people the truth,” Mr. Pawlenty says in the two-minute video, mincing no words about his intentions. “I’m Tim Pawlenty, and I’m running for president of the United States.”… – NYT, 5-22-11
  • CT CHECK: Not the whole truth in Pawlenty claims: “Truth” was Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s buzzword Monday when he announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. He said he will tell the truth about hard choices facing the nation while others — President Barack Obama notably among them — do not. A parsing of Pawlenty’s opening-day statements shows they were not the whole truth. Here is a sampling of his claims Monday and how they compare with the facts…. – Fox News, 5-23-11
  • Pawlenty to Announce 2012 Run on Monday: Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who has been exploring a presidential candidacy for months, will formally announce his intention to join the Republican field on Monday during a visit to Iowa, an adviser said.
    Mr. Pawlenty will open a weeklong campaign swing that includes stops in Florida, Washington, New York and New Hampshire. He is expected to present new policy ideas, introduce himself to voters and raise money, aides said, as he works to secure commitments from donors before the second fund-raising quarter ends on June 30.
    The decision to start his tour in Iowa underscores the importance of the state that will open the nominating context early next year with the caucuses. His strategy relies on a strong showing in Iowa, which he hopes will catapult him into the other early-voting states…. – NYT, 5-20-11

QUOTES

President Obama in Joplin, Missouri
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 5/29/11
  • Remarks by the President at a Personnel Announcement WH, 5-31-11
  • Remarks by the President at a Memorial Day Service WH, 5-30-11
  • Remarks by the President at a Memorial Service in Joplin, Missouri WH, 5-29-11
  • Remarks by the President after Touring Tornado Damage in Joplin, Missouri – WH, 5-28-11
  • Weekly Address: Biden on the American Auto Comeback: Vice President Joe Biden delivers the Weekly Address, celebrating the success of the American auto industry in the wake of Chrysler paying back their loans…. – WH, 5-28-11 Transcript Mp4 Mp3
  • Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Tusk of Poland in Joint Press Conference in Warsaw, Poland – WH, 5-28-11
  • Remarks by President Obama and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France After Bilateral Meeting – WH, 5-27-11
  • Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia after Bilateral Meeting in Deauville, France WH, 5-26-11
  • Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom in Joint Press Conference in London, United Kingdom – WH, 5-25-11
  • Remarks by the President to Parliament in London, United Kingdom WH, 5-25-11
  • Text of Obama, Cameron news conference: The text of the news conference Wednesday in London with President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, as provided by the White House…. – AP, 5-25-11
  • Remarks by President Obama and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom in Dinner Toasts WH, 5-24-11
  • Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland – WH, 5-23-11
  • John Boehner: Building on our efforts to help create jobs, today the House GOP unveiled a pro-growth jobs agenda that includes tax reforms, real spending cuts, stopping harmful regulations, more American energy production, and passing trade agreements to open up new markets to American products. We’re serious about keeping our Pledge to America and look forward to working with the President to turn this jobs plan into action.

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian E. Zelizer: Is this any way to do a budget?: Senate Democrats crowd into an elevator after the Senate passed a two-week stopgap spending bill in early March.
    House Republicans are planning to hold a symbolic vote on the debt ceiling to demonstrate that Democrats don’t have the votes to pass the measure without accepting stringent spending cuts. The vote is part of a larger drama that has played out this year over the federal budget.
    Temporary budgets, threatened government shutdowns and debt ceiling crises are slowly becoming part of the normal vocabulary of Washington politics.
    The fact is that Congress has a major budgeting problem. We have entered into a period where crisis budgeting is becoming normalized. Congress makes decisions over spending and taxing through a temporary, ad hoc process and by constantly invoking draconian threats of bringing the government, and the economy, to a total standstill. This is no way to make major decisions over the future of our federal programs or the fiscal health of the government…. – CNN, 5-30-11
  • Douglas Brinkley: 2012: Obama vs. The GOP – Analysts Decide: Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley told Reuters that Obama will transform his 2008 message “Yes we can” into a “Yes we did,” adding, ”If you believe in your brand you don’t do a complete reconfiguration in midstream unless you are in desperation mode. … He has enough that he can showcase.” Strategists confirm that he will need to present the next four years as an extension necessary to reap the full benefits of his policies. Fox News analyst Bernie Goldberg believes that, despite an economy that threatens to restrict his number of years in office to four, the President’s likability is a very strong asset; charisma is necessary for the contender nominated as the GOP candidate…. – US Election News, 5-27-11
  • GOP freshmen get a tough lesson in politics: For the House’s famous class of Republican freshmen, their first four months in office have brought a frustrating surprise. The divided, mistrustful bent of American politics — which brought them to power last fall — is now making that power maddeningly difficult to use.
    On Capitol Hill, the Democrats they bashed have turned the U.S. Senate into a black hole for GOP ideas. So the freshmen are left with political theater, voting for bills the Senate will ignore.
    And back home, the same hoarse-throat tactics that helped them bring down incumbents last year — attacks on a health-care plan, town-hall heckling — have now been used against them.
    On Tuesday in western New York, the freshmen saw what Democrats saw a year ago. These tactics work.
    “That is what we’re talking about,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of public affairs at Princeton University. “We’re talking about cutting things. And in that respect, [the freshmen] were victorious, even if they don’t feel that way.”… – WaPo, 5-27-11
  • Douglas Brinkley: GOP presidential field – looking Perry promising?”: “He sort of has the backing of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and the whole conservative movement,” said Doug Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University in Texas, who said Perry has other strengths that would make him an attractive candidate.
    He has never lost an election and is a skillful fund-raiser who could tap energy, chemical and mining industry money to pay for a campaign, and would benefit by being a fresh face even if he entered the Republican field relatively late.
    “If you know you can get the money to run, if you’re Rick Perry, you can wait until July, August or even September to announce and be completely viable for Iowa,” he said, referring to Iowa’s February 6, 2012, caucuses to vote for a Republican nominee…. – Reuters, 5-25-11
  • Obama gains as Republicans waver in 2012 race: “Any incumbent president is in a good position to begin with, and at the same time you have a Republican Party that is not at full strength, even with his weaknesses, like the approval ratings and the economy,” said Princeton University presidential historian Julian Zelizer. “He has a big record. Like it or hate it, he’s done a lot. And I think there is something to be said for that as an asset on the campaign trail,” he said….
    “It’s a fairly simple message: We have accomplished a lot, the country is in a much stronger position than it was four years ago, but we still have a lot of work to do and here’s what we want to do,” said Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University in Washington….
    “There will be no venom,” said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley. “It will kind of be just how silly the opposition is … to kind of just treat the opposition as kind of a comical fringe element in a way.” Obama is using the “Yes we can” message of 2008, and transforming it into “Yes we did,” Brinkley said. “If you believe in your brand you don’t do a complete reconfiguration in midstream unless you are in desperation mode. … He has enough that he can showcase.”… – Reuters, 5-25-11
  • Senate Democrats shoot down GOP’s House budget plan. Now what?: Wary of the impact on Medicare, five Republicans joined Senate Democrats in defeating the Republican budget plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan. But the Democrats have no plan of their own, and this could hurt them…
    “Politically, it’s a problem for Democrats,” says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. “There are economic and budget problems that are very real, and the polls show that voters care about this.”
    “Democrats can try to avoid controversial votes but there’s a cost to that,” he adds. “You can avoid tough votes [on a Democrat budget plan], but it gives Republicans the opportunity to fill in the blanks and say what Democrats are about. It’s an unhappy electorate. Being quiet and just playing defense for the next year won’t necessarily work.”… CS Monitor, 5-25-11

Political Highlights November 29, 2010: Wikileaks Releases New State Documents, Thanksgiving and Stitches at the Obama White House & Sarah Palin Releases “American by Heart”

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

Image: Obama pardons a turkey

STATS & POLLS

  • Poll: Sarah Palin can’t beat Obama. But Mitt Romney can. Sarah Palin is the front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2012, according to a new Quinnipiac survey. But the poll indicates she wouldn’t win the general election: Sarah Palin can’t beat Barack Obama. But Mitt Romney can – beat Mr. Obama, that is. Except he won’t get the chance, because he can’t beat Ms. Palin to get the chance to run against Obama. Let’s start at the beginning. In a new Quinnipiac poll of GOP 2012 front-runners, Palin would lose a head-to-head matchup with Obama, if it were held today. She would win 40 percent of the vote, and Obama would get 48 percent, according to Quinnipiac survey respondents. But that does not mean Obama is in a strong position. Far from it. By 49 to 43 percent, the respondents to Quinnipiac said that the president does not deserve a second term. Mr. Romney would edge Obama by 45 to 44 percent, according to the Quinnipiac survey. Mike Huckabee would effectively tie with the incumbent US chief executive…. – CS Monitor, 11-22-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • Leaked Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy: A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.
    Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks intends to make the archive public on its Web site in batches, beginning Sunday…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • State Secrets: A cache of diplomatic cables provide a chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world: About the Documents A mammoth cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the last three years, provides an unprecedented look at bargaining by embassies, candid views of foreign leaders and assessments of threats. The material was obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations in advance….. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels: A huge trove of State Department communiqués offer an extraordinary look at the inner workings, and sharp elbows, of diplomacy…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Around the World, Distress Over Iran: Diplomatic cables show how two presidents have dealt with Iran and how President Obama built support for a harsher package of sanctions…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Iran Is Fortified With North Korean Aid: American intelligence assessments say that Iran has obtained Russian-designed missiles that are much more powerful than other weapons in its arsenal…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Mixing Diplomacy With Spying: State Department personnel were told to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, schedules and other personal data of foreign officials…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Documents: Selected Dispatches: Cables obtained by WikiLeaks offer a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and 270 embassies and consulates worldwide…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • U.S. Expands Role of Diplomats in Spying: The United States has expanded the role of American diplomats in collecting intelligence overseas and at the United Nations, ordering State Department personnel to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, work schedules and other personal information of foreign dignitaries. Revealed in classified State Department cables, the directives, going back to 2008, appear to blur the traditional boundaries between statesmen and spies…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • WikiLeaks: Clinton ordered probe on UN chief Secret files show Washington wanted to find links between UN members, terror groups: WikiLeaks revealed Sunday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered a probe on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as an investigation on possible ties between UN members and terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
    “Washington wanted intelligence on the contentious issue of the ‘relationship or funding between UN personnel and/or missions and terrorist organizations’ and links between the UN Relief and Works Agency in the Middle East, and Hamas and Hezbollah,” the British Guardian reported, citing the documents leaked by the controversial Web entity.
    Washington also sent out orders signed by Clinton or Rice (aka Condoleezza Rice, Clinton’s predecessor) ordering diplomats to gather “biographic and biometric” on various UN officials, including Ban, the report says.
    It adds that the US may have “blurred the line between diplomacy and spying”, and that the country’s relations with the UN may now suffer due to the publication of the secret orders…. – YNet News, 11-28-10
  • WikiLeaks: Leaked cables reveal the rough workings of diplomacy: WikiLeaks gave some 250,000 confidential and secret diplomatic cables to several news outlets, which published them Sunday. The leaks could prove embarrassing and potentially dangerous. After days of anticipation and unheeded warnings from the Obama administration, the huge and controversial data dump from whistle-blower website WikiLeaks is being published and broadcast. As reported by the New York Times (which, along with the British newspaper the Guardian and the German news magazine Der Spiegel, began revealing the data Sunday afternoon), the cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables “provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.”… – CS Monitor, 11-28-10
  • Obama back on basketball court two days after busting lip, shoots hoops with daughters Malia, Sasha: President Barack Obama got back on the basketball court Sunday, shaking off his lip injury to take on two tough opponents: his kids. Obama brought daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9, to a gym in the Interior Department building for an early morning game, according to the White House. He seemed in good spirits, despite getting 12 stitches in his lower lip on Friday after taking an elbow to the face during a game with family and friends at Fort McNair. The stray elbow belonged to Rey Decerega, director of programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, who said in a press release from the White House that the President was a “tough competitor and a good sport.” “I’m sure he’ll be back out on the court again soon,” Decerega said after the incident.
    Sure enough, Obama and his daughters were all smiles on the court on Sunday, capping off an eventful weekend in which all eyes were on the President’s lip. Known for his jump shot in high school as “Barry O’bomber,” the President is an avid basketball player, and is often snapped throwing the ball around with his family…. – NY Daily News, 11-28-10
  • Obama: “Real and Honest Discussion” on Expiring Tax Cuts: President Obama says he wants a “real and honest discussion” at the White House on Tuesday morning, as Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders meet to talk about the expiring Bush tax cuts and other issues. In his weekly address, the President said, “I believe that if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done.” The main point of contention is what to do with the tax rates for American families making over $250,000. Republicans say they should be included in any tax cut extensions. The top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, who is expected to attend the meeting at the White House on Tuesday, said last week, “Americans don’t think we should be raising taxes on anybody, especially in the middle of a recession.” But President Obama and Congressional Democrats, who argue the government can’t afford to lose tax money coming in from the wealthy, want to extend the tax cuts for those families making $250,000 or less, about 98% of taxpayers. The tax cuts expire at the end of this year…. – Fox News, 11-27-10
  • Horse-drawn wagon delivers White House Christmas tree: A horse-drawn wagon delivered the White House Christmas tree on Friday, with first lady Michelle Obama and her children Sasha and Malia on hand to receive it as a military band played “Oh Christmas Tree.” The family gave the tree — a Douglas fir from Lehighton, Pennsylvania — a thumbs up before heading back into the White House on a cool day under overcast skies…. – Reuters, 11-26-10
  • Obama’s lip busted in basketball game The president receives 12 stitches after being elbowed during a post-Thanksgiving pickup game: Presidential politics can be a bloody business, but it was a friendly basketball game Friday that gave President Obama a cut on his lip that required 12 stitches. Playing in a post-Thanksgiving pickup game with visiting family members and personal aide Reggie Love, Obama caught an elbow to the lip. The injury was treated by the medical unit located on the first floor of the White House. Obama was given a local anesthetic. The medical staff used a procedure that required more stitches than usual in an effort to minimize the scar. The White House did not name the player who bloodied the presidential lip, though in Washington’s hothouse media environment, that name isn’t likely to stay secret for long…. – LAT, 11-26-10
  • Obama Gets 12 Stitches in Lip After Basketball Mishap: President Barack Obama got 12 stitches in his lip after being injured during a basketball game, spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player’s elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the president received 12 stitches today administered by the White House medical unit,” Gibbs said in a statement. The president played basketball for about 90 minutes at a gym at Fort McNair in Washington…. – Bloomberg, 11-26-10
  • US says joint South Korea war games ‘not directed’ at China: The United States sought Friday to reassure China over joint US-South Korean military exercises, with the Pentagon insisting the war games were “not directed” at Beijing. The four-day exercises starting Sunday come in the wake of North Korea’s artillery bombardment of a South Korean island, and will include a US aircraft carrier in a bid to deter the North.
    “The Chinese government was informed of our intent to conduct this naval exercise in the areas west of the Korean Peninsula,” said Pentagon spokesman Darryn James. “It is important to point out that this exercise is not directed at China. As with previous exercises in this series, these operations are defensive in nature and designed to strengthen deterrence against North Korea,” he said…. – India Times, 11-27-10
  • North Korea Issues Warning: Tension mounted Friday near a South Korean island bombarded this week by North Korea, as the North’s military again fired artillery, this time in what appeared to be a drill on its own territory. As an American aircraft carrier steamed toward the Yellow Sea for joint exercises with South Korea, the North’s state- run media warned that the maneuvers could push the Korean Peninsula closer to “the brink of war,” while China also raised objections. South Korea, meanwhile, was struggling with domestic political fallout from Tuesday’s deadly attack, which exposed the weakness of South Korean defenses and brought criticism of President Lee Myung-bak for failing to retaliate more forcefully. On Friday, he appointed a new defense minister, whose predecessor resigned Thursday for failing to keep forces ready in an area that has been the site of repeated military clashes with North Korea…. – NYT, 11-26-10
  • Co-founder of Libertarian Party dies in Arizona: Libertarian Party co-founder David F. Nolan died unexpectedly in Arizona after making runs in recent years for the U.S. Senate and House, the party said Friday. He was 66. Nolan died unexpectedly Sunday in Tucson, where he lived, according to a statement released by the party in Washington. His cause of death remained unclear.
    Nolan helped found the party with a group of colleagues at his home in Denver on Dec. 11, 1971, the statement said. “He not only helped found the Libertarian Party but remained active and helped to guide our party for the last 40 years,” Mark Hinkle, chairman of the Libertarian Party, said in the statement. “We are now the third-largest political party in America, and one of the most persistent and successful third parties in American history, thanks in large part to David Nolan,” he said…. – AP, 11-26-10
  • WikiLeaks has a new batch of classified files: The documents, believed to include thousands of diplomatic cables between the U.S. and other countries, could be released this weekend. The State Department says international relations could be harmed…. – LAT, 11-25-10
  • U.S. embassies warn allies of possible fallout from new WikiLeaks disclosure: U.S. embassies around the world are warning allies that WikiLeaks might be poised to release classified cables that could negatively impact relations by revealing sensitive assessments and exposing U.S. sources, a State Department spokesman said Thursday. The State Department has prepared for the possible release – which WikiLeaks has said would be seven times larger than the Iraq files released last month – by reviewing thousands of diplomatic cables and “assessing the potential consequences of the public release of these documents,” spokesman P.J. Crowley said…. – WaPo, 11-25-10
  • Judge Has Many Options in Sentencing Ex-Rep. DeLay: Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay argued throughout his trial that the deck was stacked against him by a politically motivated prosecutor and a jury from the most Democratic city in one of the most Republican states. But following DeLay’s conviction Wednesday on money laundering and conspiracy charges, some legal experts say the edge may now shift to the Republican who represented a conservative Houston suburb for 22 years. Before DeLay’s inevitable appeal, which his lawyers predict will be a far friendlier process than his trial, he faces sentencing next month from Senior Judge Pat Priest. While technically the money laundering charge carries a punishment of up to life in prison, the judge has wide latitude and could end up just giving him probation…. – AP, 11-25-10
  • Obama spares turkeys ‘shellacking’ he got at polls Following decades-old tradition, president pardons ‘Cider’ and ‘Apple’ in Rose Garden ceremony: It’s official: President Barack Obama has pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Continuing a decades-old White House tradition, Obama issued pardons Wednesday to a gobbler named “Apple” and its alternate, “Cider.’ The two 21-week-old, 45-pound turkeys were raised on a California farm. Obama said it “feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November.”… – AP, 11-25-10
  • Obama pardons 2 turkeys on Thanksgiving Eve: A good-natured President Barack Obama on Wednesday spared the lives of two turkeys that played their own parts perfectly. In what has become a Thanksgiving-eve ritual, Obama offered a presidential pardon to “Apple” and its pal “Cider.” The turkeys remained calm and statesmanlike as the president blessed them with a pointed reminder of his own recent political woes. “Let me say,” Obama said, “that it feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November.” Officially, Apple is now the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Cider is the feathered understudy. Both of the 21-week-old birds were raised on the Foster Farms’ Wellsford Ranch, outside of Modesto, Calif. Both will now live out their remaining days at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. The turkeys will be part of a special holiday display through Jan. 6, and then will live with the estate’s other livestock…. – Miami Herald, 11-24-10
  • Obama to call China’s Hu over Korean crisis: With top U.S. officials continuing to declare that help from China will be key in calming tensions between North and South Korea, President Obama is planning to call Chinese President Hu Jintao in the next few days to discuss the critical situation, according to senior administration officials. The phone call will come just days after Obama held a bilateral meeting with Hu on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea, where administration officials were quick to tout the fact that it was the seventh face-to-face meeting the two leaders have had since Obama took office. “I think that the region looks to the United States, with respect to China, to engage in a positive, constructive relationship with China,” White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told reporters in Asia earlier this month. “We obviously pursue our interest; they pursue their interest. But I think the region looks to us to engage that relationship and manage that relationship in a positive and constructive way.”… – CNN, 11-24-10
  • DeLay Is Convicted in Texas Donation Case: Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful and divisive Republican lawmakers ever to come out of Texas, was convicted Wednesday of money-laundering charges in a state trial, five years after his indictment here forced him to resign as majority leader in the House of Representatives. After 19 hours of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women decided that Mr. DeLay was guilty of conspiring with two associates in 2002 to circumvent a state law against corporate contributions to political campaigns. He was convicted of one charge of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering…. – NYT, 11-24-10
  • US warns of likely harm from WikiLeaks release: The Obama administration said Wednesday it has alerted Congress and begun notifying foreign governments that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage U.S. relations with friends and allies across the globe. “These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.”… – AP, 11-24-10
  • Obama touts Chrysler rebound during Indiana visit: A week after General Motors made a showy return to Wall Street, President Obama highlighted the revival of the other bailed-out auto company during a trip to an Indiana transmission factory. The campaign-style visit to a Chrysler plant here, a city battered by plant closures, was meant to underscore the message that the stimulus, the auto-company bailouts and other federal measures had prevented even worse economic devastation. The unemployment rate in Kokomo has dropped from 20 percent last year to 12 percent, thanks in part to $400 million in stimulus money and the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, administration officials said.
    “No, we aren’t out of the woods yet,” Obama said at the plant. “It took a lot of years to get us into this mess. It will take longer than anybody would like to get us out. But I want everybody to be absolutely clear, we are moving in the right direction.”… – WaPo, 11-23-10
  • Obama Meets with Top Advisers on Korea Situation: U.S. President Barack Obama met Tuesday with his top advisers about the situation on the Korean peninsula, in the wake of North Korea’s artillery attack on a South Korean island. Obama is expected to telephone South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to reiterate U.S. support for South Korea. Immediately upon his return to the White House from a brief trip to the Midwestern state of Indiana, the president went into a meeting of his national security team. According to a White House statement, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Secretaries of State and Defense Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates were among those taking part…. – VOA, 11-23-10
  • Obama Is Preparing New Overtures to Counter Anti-Business Image: President Barack Obama is preparing new overtures to business that may start with a walk into the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a retreat with corporate chief executive officers, according to people familiar with his plans. The Obama administration has been at odds with the Chamber, which fought Obama’s health-care and financial regulatory overhauls and committed $75 million to political ads in the midterm congressional elections, mainly directed against Democrats. The CEO summit would be a way to address complaints from some executives the Democratic administration is anti- business. The Chamber had invited Obama to speak on Dec. 2 and the administration hadn’t yet replied when the Chamber canceled the event, said an administration official. The cancellation wasn’t related to the president’s potential participation, said a Chamber official who declined to be identified….. – Bloomberg, 11-23-10
  • Sarah Palin’s attacks on Barack Obama get personal in new book In America by Heart, Palin tackles race and Obama’s former pastor as well as liberals and being unpatriotic: Sarah Palin’s new book, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, added to indications she will seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 election. Sarah Palin’s new book published tomorrow reads like a dress rehearsal for a campaign against Barack Obama for the White House in 2012, making pointed criticism not just of his policies but about his personal life. In America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, Palin tackles areas that even Obama’s 2008 Republican challenger, John McCain, regarded as off-limits: race and Obama’s incendiary former pastor, the Rev Jeremiah Wright. In a lengthy passage, she questions whether Obama is proud of America. “I think ordinary Americans are tired of Obama’s global apology tour and of hearing about what a weak country America is from left-wing professors and journalists,” Palin says…. – Guardian UK, 11-22-10

111TH & 112TH CONGRESS

  • Full agenda as Congress tries to finish for year: The unemployed and millionaires. Doctors and black farmers. Illegal immigrants hiding from the law and gays hiding in the military. Along with just about everybody else, they all have something at stake as Congress struggles to wrap up its work for the year. Lawmakers, after taking Thanksgiving week off, arrive in town Monday along with the Capitol Christmas tree for the final stretch of the postelection session. Facing a daunting agenda, they could have that tree in their sights well into Christmas week. At the top of the to-do list are the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003 and due to expire at year’s end. President Barack Obama and most Democrats want to retain them for any couple earning $250,000 or less a year. Republicans are bent on making them permanent for everybody, including the richest. The cuts apply to rates on wage income as well as to dividends and capital gains. A failure to act would mean big tax increases for people at every income level. Obama has scheduled a meeting at the White House with Republican leaders on Tuesday, and possible options for compromise will be on the table, including providing a temporary extension for the wealthy….. – AP, 11-28-10
  • DC voting rights effort appears doomed: Advocates of voting rights for D.C. in the House of Representatives say the Republican takeover of Congress appears to have doomed their efforts for now. The D.C. voting rights push had momentum in 2008 after the election of President Barack Obama. But House leaders decided to pull a voting rights bill from the floor this year rather than have it coupled with a measure to weaken D.C.’s gun laws. Now, former Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia puts the chances of voting rights getting through Congress as “zero.” Davis was the lead Republican supporter of voting rights before he retired in 2008, and he says Democrats missed their best chance this year. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who sits on committees but can’t vote on the House floor, is not as pessimistic as Davis. She says she’s looking forward to meeting with new House Speaker John Boehner…. – AP, 11-28-10
  • Lame duck cuts Congress’ break short: Once again, the Capitol could be in for a long winter. Senate aides and senators believe that adjournment this year will be close to Christmas – again. And House Republicans are signaling that they’ll begin their legislating right after the Jan. 5 swearing-in of new members. And with the House planning to come into session in early January, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) might feel pressure to bring the Democratic-led upper chamber back into session around the same time. The result? A short vacation for Washington. “Voters sent a clear message on Election Day that not only didn’t they approve of the policies being pursued by Democrats, but that they expect Congress to listen and shape up,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), explaining the GOP’s desire to get a quick start…. – Politico, 11-24-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Palin says Iowa book signing stop not political: Hundreds turned out for a Sarah Palin book signing in Iowa, an event the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate insisted was not for political purposes. Palin’s stop Saturday at the Borders in West Des Moines brought her back to Iowa, which hosts the caucuses that kick off the presidential nominating season. The “American by Heart” author has hinted that she’s considering a 2012 presidential run, but says the visit was to promote her new book and that’s all. Security was tight, and Palin did no media interviews….. – AP, 11-28-10
  • Is Sarah Palin’s new book a bid for the White House in 2012?: Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and former Republican vice-presidential candidate is publishing a new book called America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag. Her first book, Going Rogue, sold two million copies. She has yet to reveal whether she intends to run for president in 2012, but some see this book as a strong hint…. – BBC, 11-27-10
  • California’s ailing Republicans: A dying breed?: Republicans are relishing the coming of a new day on Capitol Hill. But across the country in California, the party of Nixon and Reagan is drifting toward obscurity. The latest sign of imperiled health: In a year Republicans notched big victories in Congress, governor’s offices and statehouses around the nation, California Democrats made a clean sweep of eight statewide contests on Nov. 2. Democrats padded their majority in the Legislature, where the party controls both chambers and no congressional seats changed parties. California counted more registered Republicans in 1988 than it does today, even though the state population has since grown by about 10 million. Setting aside the politically ambidextrous Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose celebrity eclipsed his Republican registration, the California GOP counts only a single victory in 21 statewide contests since 2002 – that of insurance commissioner in 2006. You’d have to go back more than two decades to find a Republican, George H.W. Bush, who carried the state in a presidential election. “They know who we are and they don’t like us,” former state Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim says bluntly. “The brand of the Republican Party in California is tarnished.”…. – WaPo, 11-28-10
  • McNerney takes 11th Congressional District; Harmer yet to concede: Rep. Jerry McNerney has won the race to retain his 11th Congressional District seat. The latest ballot-tallying updates from the most populous part of the district showed McNerney, D-Pleasanton, again had widened his lead over Republican challenger David Harmer to a margin of 2,475 votes, or about 1 percent of the 237,808 ballots counted. The Associated Press reported fewer than 1,900 ballots remained to be counted. McNerney declared victory Nov. 10, when he was up by 1,681 votes, about seven-tenths of a percent. Harmer, an attorney from San Ramon’s Dougherty Valley area, has yet to concede, and recently attended the GOP’s freshman orientation on Capitol Hill. Harmer’s campaign spokesman didn’t return phone calls and an e-mail Wednesday…. – Mercury News, 11-24-10
  • Democratic Rep. Jim Costa holds on to Calif. seat: Democratic Rep. Jim Costa has narrowly won enough votes to retain his seat in a California district where Democrats hold a 20-point registration advantage. Costa, a conservative Democrat, beat Republican Andy Vidak, a farmer running for his first political office, in the 20th Congressional District. With just a small number of ballots outstanding Tuesday – three weeks after Election Day – Costa had a lead of 3,031 votes over Vidak, 51.7 percent to 48.2 percent…. – AP, 11-23-10
  • President Palin? Don’t dare dismiss it Could Prime Minister David Cameron shake hands with President Sarah Palin in two years’ time?: Before explaining why, let me interject: it is not just Brits who cringe at the prospect of the Alaskan matriarch running for the White House, let alone winning. Plenty of Americans, by no means all of them Democrats, were horrified when Palin last week all but confirmed that she would bid for the 2012 Republican nomination. But with her ineffable talent for publicity, she is proving impossible to ignore. Every speech, every tweet, every Facebook posting, every political endorsement makes headlines….
    With the recession enduring, and Obama and the Democrats over-reaching with healthcare reform, these are propitious times for a populist such as Palin, especially one from a frontier state that reinforces the nation’s pioneering spirit. Moreover, the Republican field for the nomination is, to her benefit, wide open. There is no outstanding candidate and her rivals are all men, who will be wary of criticising not only the only woman among them, but the only candidate with a solid nationwide following…. – Telegraph UK, 11-23-10
  • And Then There Were Two: 2010 Midterms Almost Over: The 2010 midterms are almost, almost over. With five House races and one Senate race yet to be decided this morning, two concessions and an executive decision by the Associated Press have narrowed things down. Democratic Rep. Jim Costa has held onto his seat in Fresno, California, the Associated Press declared Tuesday evening, fending off a challenge from Republican Andy Vidak. Costa led by over 3,000 votes after Election Day. That leaves Republicans’ total 2010 House gains at 63, with only two House races still undecided. Democrats are poised to hold onto their seats in those races…. – The Atlantic, 11-23-10
  • Factbox: Five House races still undecided: Nearly three weeks after Republicans swept Democrats from power in the U.S. House of Representatives, five House races remain undecided and the winners might not be clear for days — or longer…. – Reuters, 11-22-10
  • Mike Huckabee in Iowa: There’s no timetable for 2012 decision: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in Iowa on Sunday that he is considering a 2012 presidential campaign, but he stopped short of giving a time frame for a decision as other prospective candidates have done. “I’m not on a timetable. I’m not on somebody’s calendar to say this is the time when I have to decide,” Huckabee said at a news conference before headlining a meeting of evangelical conservatives in Des Moines. “Am I keeping the option open? Yes. Am I open to it, considering it and giving, you know, thought? Of course. I think it would be foolish not to in light of having been through it, understanding what it’s about.”… – Des Moines Register, 11-22-10

QUOTES

The President records the Weekly Address
White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 11/24/10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Delivers Thanksgiving Greeting:
    Today, like millions of other families across America, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will sit down to share a Thanksgiving filled with family and friends – and a few helpings of food and football, too. And just as folks have done in every Thanksgiving since the first, we’ll spend some time taking stock of what we’re thankful for: the God-given bounty of America, and the blessings of one another.
    This is also a holiday that captures that distinctly American impulse to give something of ourselves. Even as we speak, there are countless Americans serving at soup kitchens and food pantries; contributing to their communities; and standing guard around the world.
    And in a larger sense, that’s emblematic of what Americans have always done. We come together and do what’s required to make tomorrow better than today. That’s who we are.
    Consider our journey since that first Thanksgiving. We are among the world’s youngest of peoples, but time and again, we have boldly and resiliently led the way forward. Against tough odds, we are a people who endure – who explored and settled a vast and untamed continent; who built a powerful economy and stood against tyranny in all its forms; who marched and fought for equality, and connected a globe with our own science and imagination.
    None of that progress was predestined. None of it came easily. Instead, the blessings for which we give thanks today are the product of choices made by our parents, and grandparents, and generations before – whose determination and sacrifice ensured a better future for us.
    This holiday season, we must resolve once more to do the same.
    This is not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced. But as long as many members of our American family are hurting, we’ve got to look out for one another. As long as many of our sons and daughters and husbands and wives are at war, we’ve got to support their mission and honor their service. And as long as many of our friends and neighbors are looking for work, we’ve got to do everything we can to accelerate this recovery and keep our economy moving forward.
    And we will. But we won’t do it as any one political party. We’ve got to do it as one people. And in the coming weeks and months, I hope that we can work together, Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike, to make progress on these and other issues.
    That’s why, next week, I’ve invited the leadership of both parties to the White House for a real and honest discussion – because I believe that if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done.
    For what we are called to do again today isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not about left or right. It’s about us. It’s about what we know this country is capable of. It’s about what we want America to be in this new century.
    A vibrant nation that makes sure its children are the best-educated in the world. A healthy, growing economy that runs on clean energy and creates the jobs of tomorrow. A responsible government that reduces its deficits. An America where every citizen is able to go as far as he or she desires.
    We can do all this, because we’ve done it before. We’re made of the same sturdy stuff as the travelers who sat down to the first Thanksgiving, and all who came after – who worked, and sacrificed, and invested, because they believed that their efforts would make the difference for us.
    That’s who we are. We shape our own destiny with conviction, compassion, and clear and common purpose. We honor our past and press forward with the knowledge that tomorrow will be better than today. We are Americans. That’s the vision we won’t lose sight of. That’s the legacy that falls to our generation. That’s the challenge that together, we are going to meet.
    To every American, I am thankful for the privilege of being your President. To all our service members stationed around the world, I am honored to be your Commander-in-Chief. And from the Obama family to yours, have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you. – WH, 11-25-10
  • Michelle Obama: Giving Thanks and Giving Back:
    Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to come together with family and friends to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. It’s also an important time to be thankful for our men and women in uniform and their families who risk everything so that we can be safe and free. And we must also remember those in our community who are in need of our help and support — especially during these tough economic times.
    In our family, we have a tradition: Every year on the day before Thanksgiving, we take some time as a family to help out people in our community who are in need. Today, we’re handing out turkeys, stuffing, pumpkin pies and all the Thanksgiving fixings with our friends and family at Martha’s Table, a local non-profit organization.
    This Thanksgiving, I encourage all Americans to find a way to give back — and maybe even start a family tradition of your own. Whether you volunteer at a local soup kitchen, visit the elderly at a nursing home or reach out to a neighbor or friend who comes from a military family, there are plenty of ways to get involved in your community. If you’re not sure how to get started, visit Serve.gov.
    President Obama and I wish you and your family a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.
    Sincerely,
    Michelle Obama
    First Lady of the United States WH, 11-24-10
  • Remarks by the President Pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey: THE PRESIDENT: Please, everybody, have a seat. Good morning.
    AUDIENCE: Good morning.
    THE PRESIDENT: I have my two trusty assistants here — (laughter) — Malia and Sasha for one of the most important duties that I carry out as President.
    Before everybody heads home for Thanksgiving, there is one official duty I am sworn to uphold as the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth. Today, I have the awesome responsibility of granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys. Now, for the record, let me say that it feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November. (Laughter.)
    This year’s national turkey goes by the name of Apple, and his feathered understudy is appropriately named Cider. They are being presented today by the Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, Yubert Envia — and I want to just point out that Yubert seems very comfortable with that turkey. (Laughter.) As well as the man who helped raise and handle them since birth, Ira Brister. Where’s Ira? There’s Ira. Give Ira a big round of applause for raising such outstanding turkeys. (Applause.) I want to thank you both for joining us here at the White House.
    Now, Apple and Cider came to us from the Foster Farms Wellsford Ranch, just outside of Modesto, California. Out of about 20,000 turkeys born at Foster Farms this summer, 25 were selected for a final competition that involved strutting their stuff before a panel of judges with an eclectic mix of music playing in the background. (Laughter.) It’s kind of like a turkey version of “Dancing With the Stars” — (laughter) — except the stakes for the contestants was much higher. (Laughter.)
    Only one pair would survive and win the big prize: life — (laughter) — and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, where they’ve been living it up on corn feed at the W hotel. The W hotel has really been putting them up. (Laughter.) It’s great advertising. (Laughter.) It makes you want to stay at the W. (Laughter.) And after today, Apple and Cider will spend their retirement at the same beautiful place our first President spent his –- Mount Vernon, Virginia…. – WH, 11-24-10
  • Pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey: This, of course, is what’s truly meant by Thanksgiving -– a holiday that asks us to be thankful for what we have, and generous to those who have less. It’s a time to spend with the ones we love, and a chance to show compassion and concern to people we’ve never met. It’s a tradition that’s brought us together as a community since before we were a nation, when the ground we’re standing on was nothing but wilderness.
    Back then, the simple act of survival was often the greatest blessing of all. And later, President Lincoln declared the first national day of Thanksgiving in the midst of the Civil War. During the depths of the Great Depression, local businesses gave donations and charities opened their doors to families who didn’t have a place to celebrate Thanksgiving. In times of war, our military has gone through great lengths to give our men and women on the front lines a turkey dinner and a taste of home.
    So in America, we come together when times are hard. We don’t give up. We don’t complain. And we don’t turn our backs on one another. Instead, we look out for another and we pitch in and we give what we can. And in the process, we reveal to the world what we love so much about this country.
    That’s who we are. And that’s who Thanksgiving reminds us to be. So I hope everyone takes some time during this holiday season to give back and serve their community in some way. And I also want to take a moment to say how grateful I am to the men and women who are serving this country bravely and selflessly in places far away from home right now. You and your families are in our thoughts and in our prayers, and you make me so very proud to be your Commander-in-Chief. – WH, 11-24-10
  • Obama sets out to defend record (including health care): “The fact is, is that we stabilized the financial system,” Obama said during the interview broadcast on ABC’s 20/20. “We turned an economy that was contracting to one that was growing. We have added a million jobs over the last year to the economy.”
    I am absolutely confident that when we fully implemented health care, and we started to see those costs go down and we have seen people who don’t have health insurance get health insurance, and we have seen families who have health insurance more secure and they are not being jerked around by arbitrary rules from their insurance companies, that that’s gonna be a lasting legacy that I am extraordinarily proud of.
    We haven’t seen all the progress that they said they were going to engage in. So part of what we’re doing right now is monitoring: have, in fact, all the political prisoners who they said were going to be released, have they been released?
    Step by step, we’re exploring other ways that we can break the impasse. But my watchword is how do we assure freedom and dignity for the Cuban people? And if in fact Cuba’s ready to turn a corner, I think they will find a welcome partner in the United States of America. But we’re not there yet…. – USA Today, 11-27-10
  • Obama to ABC’s Barbara Walters: Pursuing an overhaul of the nation’s health care system was worth the time and effort. “That’s going to be a lasting legacy that I am extraordinarily proud of,” Obama says.
    The first family says grace together every night it can. “In the end we always say, ‘We hope we live long and strong,’” Michelle Obama says.
    Thanksgiving at the White House was a family-and-friends affair, but the guests didn’t have to contribute. “The Secret Service would have to taste everything,” the president quips…. – USA Today, 11-26-10
  • Exclusive: President Barack and Michelle Obama Reflect on Tenure President and First Lady Open Up to Barbara Walters on Family Life, Thanksgiving Traditions: “This is gonna be something that evolves. We are gonna have to work on it,” Obama told Barbara Walters, indicating the need for new technologies. “I understand people’s frustrations with it, but I also know that if there was an explosion in the air that killed a couple of hundred people…and it turned out that we could have prevented it possibly… that would be something that would be pretty upsetting to most of us — including me.”…. – ABC News, 11-26-10
  • Obama to ABC: Pat-downs worth the price: President Obama says full-body screenings and extensive pat-downs are part of an evolving air travel security strategy that’s needed to prevent further acts of terrorism. Obama tells ABC’s Barbara Walters that and more on a Thanksgiving special airing at 10 p.m. ET tonight. “This is going to be something that evolves. We are going to have to work on it,” Obama says, indicating the need for new technologies. “I understand people’s frustrations with it, but I also know that if there was an explosion in the air that killed a couple of hundred people … and it turned out that we could have prevented it possibly … that would be something that would be pretty upsetting to most of us, including me.”… USA Today, 11-26-10
  • Obama Hints at Greater Focus on Education, Research: President Barack Obama defends his legislative priorities in an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters that airs Friday night, while hinting at a greater focus on education and research in the future.
    “We have got a lot more work to do, but I am confident that if we make the investments we need to make sure our kids are getting the best education…if we are investing in our infrastructure…We have got a lot more work to do, but I am confident that if we are investing in research and development that continues to make us an innovation leader for the future, that we are gonna do great,” Mr. Obama says, according to excerpts released by ABC. “I am very, very confident that our best days are still ahead of us.” “This notion that somehow you can only do one thing at once is simply not true,” Mr. Obama said. “The fact is, is that we stabilized the financial system…we turned an economy that was contracting to one that was growing. We have added a million jobs over the last year to the economy…. “I am absolutely confident that when we fully implemented health care, and we started to see those costs go down and we have seen people who don’t have health insurance get health insurance, and we have seen families who have health insurance more secure and they are not being jerked around by arbitrary rules from their insurance companies, that that’s gonna be a lasting legacy that I am extraordinarily proud of,” he said. WSJ, 11-26-10
  • Sarah Palin: ‘We Gotta Stand With Our North Korean Allies’: Was it a simple blunder or did a possible 2012 presidential contender really get her geography wrong? That’s the question being debated after Sarah Palin said in an interview with Glenn Beck Wednesday that North Korea was a U.S. ally. When asked by Beck how she would handle a situation like the one that was developing in North Korea, Palin responded: “This is stemming from, I think, a greater problem when we’re all sitting around asking, ‘Oh no, what are we going to do,’ and we’re not having a lot of faith that the White House is going to come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what it is that North Korea is going to do.” It is unclear whether Palin is talking about sanctions against North Korea, or U.S. sanctioning — i.e. approving or supporting — its actions. Palin continued: “Obviously, we gotta stand with our North Korean allies,” when Beck interrupted and corrected her to say “South Korea.”… – ABC News, 11-25-10
  • Palin fires back at ‘blue-blood’ Barbara Bush: In an interview with Larry King, former first lady Barbara Bush said she hopes former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin chooses to stay in Alaska. “I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful,” Bush said. “And I think she’s very happy in Alaska — and I hope she’ll stay there.” Also of note in the Larry King interview, former President George H.W. Bush said he is “confused” by the tea party, adding that he doesn’t “know what it really is.” Still, he said, “some of [their] ideas make a lot of sense.”… – WaPo, 11-24-10
  • Palin fires back at ‘blue-blood’ Barbara Bush: “I don’t want to concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I don’t think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods — and I want to say it will all due respect because I love the Bushes — the blue-bloods who want to pick and choose their winners instead of allowing competition,” Palin said.
    Palin also suggested that the Bushes upper-class status had contributed to “the economic policies that were in place that got us into these economic woeful times.”…. – WaPo, 11-24-10
  • Sarah Palin Hits George and Barbara Bush as Elite “Blue Bloods”: Appearing on Laura Ingraham’s radio show today, Sarah Palin said that while she “love[s] the Bushes,” she sees George H.W. and Barbara Bush as “blue bloods” who are trying to “pick and choose” the 2012 Republican presidential nominee for president. Palin replied that said elites don’t understand that “competition is good.” Efforts to “shoot internally” don’t make sense, Palin continued, but “that’s the way they roll.”
    “I don’t want to sort of concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I don’t think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods — and I say it with all due respect, because I love the Bushes — but the blue bloods who want to pick and chose their winners instead of allowing competition to pick and choose the winners.”
    “I don’t know if that kind of stuff is planned out, but it is what it is, we deal with it, and as I say we forge ahead and we keep doing what we’re doing,” Palin added. Top Republicans are reportedly working behind the scenes to keep Palin from winning the Republican nomination out of fears that the polarizing former vice presidential candidate would lose badly to President Obama in a general election.
    “Instead of a government thinking that they need to take over, make decisions for us according to some politician or politician’s wife’s priority, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions, and then our country gets back on the right track,” she said…. – CBS News, 11-24-10
  • Barack Obama reveals he doesn’t view Palin as a threat: President Barack Obama indicated he is not worried about a possible 2012 presidential contest against Sarah Palin, saying: “I don’t think about her.” A poll this week showed Mr Obama, right, leading Mrs Palin, left, by 48 per cent to 40 per cent…
    Barack Obama indicated that he was not worried about a possible 2012 presidential contest against Sarah Palin, saying: “I don’t think about her.” The US president said he had “respect for her skills” but dismissed the notion that he could be defeated by the former governor of Alaska in a race for the White House. He has previously avoided discussing such a contest, but he opened up during an interview with the veteran broadcaster Barbara Walters. Asked whether he could beat Mrs Palin in 2012, he said: “I don’t speculate on what’s going to happen two years from now.” When pressed, he said: “I don’t think about Sarah Palin. Obviously, Sarah Palin has a strong base of support in the Republican Party and I respect those skills. “But I spend most of my time right now on how I can be the best possible president.”… – Telegraph UK, 11-24-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Dear First Lady Michelle: And it’s not just the president who has captured their attention — his wife, Michelle, has, too. From our students’ perspective, Mrs. Obama is glamorous but accessible, maternal but cool. They trust her. So, earlier this fall, 826 National hosted a series of workshops inviting students to write to the first lady. The results were collected in the book “I Live Real Close to Where You Used to Live: Kids’ Letters to Michelle Obama (and to Sasha, Malia and Bo).” Here is a sampling of what they came up with; some letters have been edited for space. — LAUREN HALL, grants director for 826 National… – NYT, 11-27-10
  • Is America on the path to ‘permanent war’?: When the president decided to send more troops to a distant country during an unpopular war, one powerful senator had enough…. As the Afghanistan war enters its ninth year, Andrew Bacevich and other commentators are asking: When does it end? They say the nation’s national security leaders have put the U.S. on an unsustainable path to perpetual war and that President Obama is doing little to stop them. Bacevich has become a leading voice among anti-war critics. He is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, a former West Point instructor and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He’s also a Boston University international relations professor who offers a historical perspective with his criticism. He says Obama has been ensnared by the “Washington Rules,” a set of assumptions that have guided presidents since Harry Truman.
    The rules say that the U.S. should act as a global policeman. “Fixing Iraq or Afghanistan ends up taking precedence over fixing Cleveland or Detroit,” Bacevich writes. His solution: The U.S. should stop deploying a “global occupation force” and focus on nation-building at home. “The job is too big,” he says of the U.S. global military presence. “We don’t have enough money. We don’t have enough troops. There’s a growing recognition that the amount of red ink we’re spilling is unsustainable.”…. – CNN, 11-23-10
  • Dan Mulcare, Assistant Professor of Political Science: Election: Why Republicans Fared: The 2010 midterm election had something for everyone, especially Republicans. If you were part of the Grand Old Party, you rejoiced in the winning of the House of Representatives, with a monumental swing of at least 60 seats. Additionally, the gain of six Senate seats has put additional pressure on Democrats to consider conservative policies. For Democrats, despite their drubbing, they can take solace in that the upper chamber and the White House remained blue, and they have time to convince the public to support them in 2012. Before I detail what I believe the parties should and should not do in order to remain viable, I should first discuss the reason that the Republicans fared so well and the Democrats faltered. First, it should be noted that every election cycle produces its own electorate, far from the entire American populace speaking as one at the ballot box; there are certain groups that are overrepresented and those whose voices are conspicuously absent…. – Salem State Log, 11-26-10
  • WikiLeaks release could damage diplomatic relations, former envoy says: Diplomatic cables expected to be released soon by WikiLeaks could contain highly sensitive information that reveals U.S. negotiating positions, secret intelligence and other confidential matters, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia told CNN. The expected online disclosure has to be taken seriously, said James F. Collins, who served as ambassador to Moscow from 1997 to 2001 and is currently director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
    “Leaking information of this kind will be detrimental to building the trust among officials necessary to conduct effective and productive diplomacy. It will impede doing things in a normal, civilized way,” Collins said. “I would think the information they will leak is likely to contain analysis, records of discussions or reporting on confidential conversations between officials or official policy recommendations or suggestions about policy or diplomatic actions,” he added…. – CNN, 11-26-10
  • Michelle Obama’s White House is ‘not Camelot’: “Because of the campaign, people expected Obama and the first lady to revitalize some of the glamour of the White House and bring Camelot back to Washington,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University who has studied recent presidencies. “But the realities of Washington make that difficult. We’re in an era where it’s hard to recreate Camelot. People are increasingly cynical about politics, and it’s really a partisan world. I don’t think either party would allow the president of the opposite party and the first lady to enjoy that kind of existence.”… – Politico, 11-24-10
  • Michelle Obama’s White House is ‘not Camelot’: But Catherine Allgor, a history professor at the University of California at Riverside, who studies the “parlor politics” of first ladies, said it would be a mistake to dismiss the Washington social scene. “When it comes to politics, parties are never frivolous,” she said. And Allgor has some advice for Michelle Obama: “Get out there and start making friends.”… – Politico, 11-24-10
  • Julian Zelizer: Palin pioneers reality campaigning Sarah Palin’s new reality show looks like it might become a hit.
    During its first week, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” attracted almost five million viewers, the best that a premiere has done on the TLC network.
    The same week that the show debuted, there were reports that Palin was talking with insiders about a presidential run. She told ABC News that she believed she could defeat President Obama in 2012.
    The launch of the show has felt very much like the start of a presidential campaign.
    If this turns out to be true, Palin’s reality show could be a harbinger of campaigns to come. We might be witnessing the start of a new era in presidential campaigning, where candidates take their message directly to the voters while avoiding almost any filters in the process….
    If the nation does shift toward an era of direct campaigning, the process would likely deteriorate. Voters will be exposed to a constant stream of infomercials. Much of the media, now more polarized than ever, won’t be reliable as a source of objective analysis, but rather will function as a cheering section for one of the two teams in Washington.
    We will enter deeper into a world of virtual politics where it is difficult for voters to tell fact from fiction and too easy for politicians to promote an image and arguments that have little basis in reality. – CNN, 11-26-10

First Family at Martha’s Table

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson help distribute Thanksgiving food items at Martha’s Table, a food pantry in Washington, D.C., Nov. 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama and Malia at Martha’s Table

First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia distribute various Thanksgiving food items to members of the community at Martha’s Table, a food pantry in Washington, D.C., Nov. 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Political Highlights November 15, 2010: Obama’s Asia Trip, Possible Deal with Israel, Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Run, and Nancy Pelosi Retains Democratic Leadership

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

The President speaks at the University of Indonesia
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 11/10/10

STATS & POLLS

  • Better News For Palin: PPP’s newest batch of 2012 Republican primary polls conducted right before last week’s election finds Mitt Romney ahead in the critical early state of Florida, Tim Pawlenty surprisingly weak in his home state of Minnesota, and Sarah Palin posting leads in Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Maine…. – NYT, 11-12-10
  • Republican election win fails to excite public: poll: The Republican Party may have excited conservatives when it recaptured the House of Representatives in last week’s midterm elections but a recession-jilted public is less than enthused, according to a poll released on Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
    The survey found that 48 percent of those polled were happy with the Republican victory.
    This compared to 60 percent who said they were happy in 2006 when the Democrats regained majorities in both branches of Congress and the 57 percent who applauded the historic 1994 midterm gains for the Republican Party that saw them take control of the legislature for the first time in 40 years.
    “The nature of the victory itself is a little different because the Republicans this time only captured one chamber as opposed to the whole Congress,” said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center. “One of the things that you see here is that we have seen these transitions of power before and they are happening more frequently and so it is not so novel,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview…. – Reuters, 11-11-10
  • Poll: 77% say elections more negative than 2006 campaign: Americans believe the midterm elections were more negative than the 2006 campaign, a new Pew Research Center poll says. Nearly 8 in 10 voters, or 77%, say there was more mudslinging and negative campaigning than in previous elections. That compares with 69% after the elections four years ago.
    The 2010 elections may be remembered in history for these images: attacks on President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voters clamoring for less government and taxes participating in Tea Party rallies, and people railing against “Obamacare” and the new health insurance law. Most important, this election was about the economy. So maybe it’s not surprising that the low grades for Campaign 2010 weren’t partisan: 70% of Republicans, 79% of Democrats and 81% of independents said this political season was more negative than in 2006… – USA Today, 11-11-10
  • Nine Congress and governor races not yet decided: Here are the congressional and gubernatorial races that remain uncalled after Tuesday’s election… – WaPo, 11-10-10
  • AP-GfK Poll: Palin most polarizing of 2012 crowd: Sarah Palin is the most polarizing of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, while impressions of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney lean more positive, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. As for the rest — Pawlenty, Barbour, Thune, Daniels — most Americans say, “Who?”
    Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee, is the best-known and most divisive of the bunch. In the wake of her high-profile role in endorsing candidates all over the country, 46 percent of Americans view her favorably, 49 percent unfavorably, and 5 percent don’t know enough about her to form an opinion.
    Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who won the 2008 GOP Iowa caucus, received the highest favorability rating, 49 percent. About one in four people has no opinion of him, and 27 percent view him unfavorably.
    Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who ran in 2008, had similar results. Nearly a quarter of all Americans have no opinion about him, while 46 percent view him favorably, and 31 percent unfavorably.
    In terms of winning the 2012 nomination, the question is how Republican-leaning Americans view the contenders. Palin comes out on top. Among adults who identify themselves as Republicans or GOP-leaning independents, 79 percent view her favorably, and 17 percent unfavorably.
    These findings worry many Republican officials. The poll suggests Palin might be able to win the nomination. But among independents_they could be the deciding factor in the general election — just 43 percent hold a favorable view of Palin, compared with 61 percent with a positive view of Obama…. – AP, 11-10-10
  • 2010: An Aligning Election: Elections with results as dramatic as those of Tuesday night are sometimes referred to as “realigning elections.” The term — although somewhat ambiguous and overused — usually refers to a case in which one or another party not only gains a significant amount of power, but also, in which coalitions are shifted, the signature of which is usually that the rising party performs particularly well in certain geographic regions or among certain demographic groups.
    The 1980 election, for instance, arguably marked the beginning of a long-term shift toward Republicans in America’s suburbs, with Jimmy Carter’s share of the suburban vote dropping from 53 percent in 1976 to 37 percent in 1980: the 16-point swing against Mr. Carter was about twice the one he suffered in cities or rural areas. Likewise, in 1994, the shift against Democrats was particularly sharp in the South: 19 of the 52 representatives which they lost having come from that part of the country.
    The 2010 elections, by contrast, were remarkable for their orderliness — and they tended to reinforce, to an almost uncanny degree, existing political coalitions.
    Below is a chart that arranges America’s 435 congressional districts from those (on the left) which gave the highest percentage of their vote to Barack Obama in 2008 to those (on the right) which gave the highest share to John McCain; the chart then compares which party each district had elected to the House before and after Tuesday night…. – NYT, 11-8-10

THE HEADLINES….

President Barack Obama at a Press Conference at the G20 Summit at    Coex Center in Seoul, South Korea

President Barack Obama answers questions during a press conference at the G20 Summit at Coex Center in Seoul, South Korea, November 12, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Netanyahu Backs U.S. Proposal for Freeze: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask cabinet ministers to support a U.S. proposal to extend restrictions on building in Jewish settlements for 90 days in exchange for a package of incentives from Washington, according to Israeli officials. If approved by the Israeli government, the deal could help revive peace talks with the Palestinians, which collapsed at the end of September when a 10-month period of building restrictions expired and Israel refused to extend it. Also Sunday, one of Israel’s most senior intelligence officials issued a stark warning that without immediate and meaningful progress toward peace, the Palestinian security services, which have earned consistent Israeli praise in recent months, could rapidly start to unravel. In a rare briefing to a small group of journalists, the intelligence official said there was a window of between three months and a year to show progress toward peace. “If there will not be real progress, I believe we can find that sometime within three months, six months or one year from now, that the functioning of the Palestinian security system is in a very different place,” the intelligence official said. “In order to keep the legitimacy and functioning of the Palestinian security system we need real progress in the peace process.”… – WSJ, 11-14-10
  • Obama calls latest Israeli plan promising: President Barack Obama on Sunday hailed the prospect of a new settlement freeze in the disputed West Bank as a promising step toward peace, urging Israelis and Palestinians to get back into serious negotiations quickly. An upbeat president also pledged to return to the basic principles that drove his thinking when he first came to the White House, including sticking to a more bipartisan tone and better explaining his decisions to the American people. He spoke of moving from an “obsessive focus” on policy and making changes to his approach after a humbling midterm election.
    “The fact that we are out of crisis — although still obviously in a difficult time — I think will give me the capacity,” Obama told reporters aboard Air Force One at the end of long Asia trip.
    On the Mideast, Washington’s new proposal for reviving peace talks includes a 90-day ban on housing starts in West Bank settlements — but not in east Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ hoped-for capital. The goal is to give the two sides a three-month period to shape borders of side-by-side states, a daunting, elusive mission.
    Obama commended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for making a “very constructive step” toward creating an environment for peace. “I think it’s a signal that he’s serious,” Obama said…. – AP, 11-14-10
  • White House, GOP look for middle ground on taxes: The White House and Republican lawmakers set the terms for a looming tax debate Sunday, coalescing around a possible temporary extension of existing income tax rates that would protect middle class and wealthy Americans from sharp tax increases next year. Top White House adviser David Axelrod stressed that President Barack Obama opposes a “permanent” extension of current tax rates for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and married couples making more than $250,000. But Axelrod, appearing on two Sunday television talk shows, was carefully silent on the possibility of extending current tax rates for the short term. He said he wants to leave negotiations to Obama and members of Congress. “The bottom line is he wants to sit down and talk about this,” Axelrod said. “There is no bend on the permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”… – AP, 11-14-10
  • US asks Israel for 90-day settlement building moratorium: Netanyahu discusses possibility of halting building with septet; in exchange, US would support Israel in the UN and give 20 fighter jets; request does not include e. Jerusalem. The US asked Israel to freeze all new settlement construction begun after September 26th for a 90-day period in exchange for support in the United Nations and 20 additional advanced fighter planes worth $3 billion, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The principles of this agreement designed to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, were relayed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to his inner cabinet, a forum of seven ministers, on Saturday night and will be explained to the full cabinet on Sunday. The US said that if the deal was accepted it would not request an additional settlement freeze. The request does not include east Jerusalem…. – Jpost, 11-13-10
  • Obama and Republicans find common ground on ‘earmarks’: The president and GOP House leaders agree that curtailing or eliminating the provisions would be a step toward restoring fiscal responsibility.
    “I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that, in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called ‘earmarks,’” Obama said. “We can’t afford ‘Bridges to Nowhere,’ like the one that was planned a few years back in Alaska.”
    In his radio address Saturday, Obama said that curtailing or eliminating earmarks would be a first step toward restoring fiscal responsibility.
    “I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that, in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called ‘earmarks,’” Obama said. “We can’t afford ‘Bridges to Nowhere,’ like the one that was planned a few years back in Alaska.”
    “Earmarks have become a symbol of a dysfunctional Congress and serve as a fuel line for the culture of spending that has dominated Washington for too long,” said Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive incoming House speaker, and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), likely the next majority whip. “We welcome President Obama’s remarks on earmark reform, and we call upon him to urge congressional Democrats to vote on a similar measure next week,” they said…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • Justices Leave Military Gay Ban in Place: The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy restricting openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people from serving will remain in force while a legal challenge is considered by a federal appeals court, the United States Supreme Court declared Friday. In an unsigned, two-paragraph order, the justices denied a request by the Log Cabin Republicans, the group trying to overturn the law, to reinstate an order by a federal district judge in California, Virginia A. Phillips, that prohibited enforcement during the appeal. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled, however, that the military could continue enforcement during the appeal, and on Friday the Supreme Court agreed. The decision did not address the merits of the case.
    The Supreme Court order noted that the newest justice, Elena Kagan, “took no part in the consideration or decision” of the application; she may have recused herself because she was involved in the case as solicitor general, the position she held before President Obama nominated her to the court…. – NYT, 11-12-10
  • Obama Tells Business Leaders That U.S. Is `Here to Stay’ in Asian Markets: President Barack Obama told Japanese business leaders that the U.S. is “here to stay” in Asia as he neared the end of a 10-day trip across the region. Speaking to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s CEO Business Summit in Yokohama, Japan, Obama said engagement with Asia is a “jobs strategy,” important to his goal of increasing U.S. exports and spurring economic growth around the world.
    “We don’t want to lose the opportunity to sell our goods and services in fast-growing markets. We don’t want to lose the opportunity to create new jobs back home,” he said according to the prepared text of the speech. “When it comes to this growing, sprawling region of the world, the United States is here to stay.”
    Obama is in Japan for the APEC leaders meeting on a trip that has taken him to India, Indonesia and South Korea. At each stop he’s highlighted the need to boost exports in Asia’s rapidly growing economies in order to create jobs at home, where the unemployment rate has been 9.5 percent or higher for the last 14 months.
    Obama told the hundreds of Japanese chief executives gathered at the conference that he makes “no apologies” for trying to bring jobs to the U.S. through trade, but that economic growth in any country is good for others.
    “There’s no need to view trade, commerce, or economic growth as zero sum games, where one country always has to prosper at the expense of another,” he said. “If we work together, and act together, strengthening our economic ties can be a win-win for all of our nations.”… – Bloomberg, 11-12-10
  • Obama seeking compromise on Bush tax cuts: With tax breaks for millions of Americans set to expire Dec. 31, President Obama has opened the door to a compromise with Republicans, signaling a new willingness to accept tax breaks for the wealthy to avoid immediate tax hikes across the board. But as lawmakers head back to town next week for their first battle since this month’s congressional elections, no one is sure just how far Obama is willing to go.
    In recent days, the White House has appeared to vacillate on the expiring tax cuts, swerving from a humble tone of capitulation back to one of defiance. On Wednesday, White House senior adviser David Axelrod seemed to suggest in an interview with the Huffington Post that Obama was poised to acquiesce to GOP demands to extend all the tax cuts in tandem, saying “we have to deal with the world as we find it.”
    On Friday, Obama pushed back, telling reporters with him on a trip to South Korea that “that is the wrong interpretation.” “Here’s the right interpretation: I want to make sure that taxes don’t go up for middle-class families starting on January 1,” Obama said. “That’s my number one priority for those families and for our economy.”…. – WaPo, 11-12-10
  • Obama, GOP could meet halfway on foreign policy: Voters gave no clear direction to U.S. foreign policy in this month’s congressional elections, leaving President Barack Obama and his strengthened Republican opponents plenty of room in which to find common ground — or duke it out over pressing international challenges. Senior GOP lawmakers say Republicans will challenge Obama over his approach to Iran’s nuclear program, and are balking at Senate approval of a new nuclear arms control accord with Moscow. They’ll help cushion Obama, however, against criticism of his Afghanistan war strategy from his own Democratic Party’s liberal wing. Afghanistan “is one area where Republicans feel comfortable standing with the president,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Halifax International Security Forum, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Nov. 6… – Miami Herald, 11-12-10
  • After G20, Obama says his global influence is intact: President Obama asserted Friday that the punishment his party took in midterm elections has not damaged his ability to advance U.S. interests overseas, saying his Asia trip has shown that many countries still want to work with the United States. In a news conference following the Group of 20 summit, Obama said the United States, while still the world’s most powerful economy, can no longer dictate the terms of how the world does business, especially after a global economic turndown that many blame on American policies. But he said his relationships with fellow heads of state have evolved during his two years in office – relying less on the novelty of his election and the enthusiasm it generated than on a shared view of where the global economy should be heading…. – WaPo, 11-12-10
  • Deficit report favors ‘do-nothing Congress’ Debt-to-GDP ratio benefits from inaction: Buried inside the wide-ranging blueprint put out this week by the respected co-chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan commission to slash the federal deficit is a powerful argument for doing nothing. The commission’s recipe of tax increases, spending cuts, elimination of popular tax breaks and reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits continued to roil Washington on Thursday, as both liberals and conservatives condemned some of the painful steps contained in the draft proposal to reduce federal red ink over the coming decades. But the report, offered by Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, also demonstrates that Congress and Mr. Obama can take a major chunk out of the deficit without passing a single bill or issuing a single veto…. – The Washington Times, 11-11-10
  • Action, not talk: Deficit panel pushes Dems, GOP: The leaders of the deficit commission are baldly calling out the budget myths of both political parties, challenging lawmakers to engage in the “adult conversation” they say they want. Their plan — mixing painful cuts to Social Security and Medicare with big tax increases — has no chance of enactment as written, certainly not as a whole. But the commission’s high profile will make it harder for Republicans and Democrats to simply keep reciting their tax and spending talking points without acknowledging the real sacrifices that progress against government deficits would demand. It’s time for both conservatives and liberals to “put up or shut up,” says Jon Cowan, head of the centrist-Democratic group Third Way, which praised the bold new proposals and urged politicians to show courage. Republicans failed to produce their often-promised deficit reductions when they controlled the government, Cowan said, and Democrats refuse to acknowledge that entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare must be trimmed…. – AP, 11-11-10
  • Clinton offers Netanyahu security pledge on peace talks: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Israel’s security requirements would be fully taken into account in any peace deal with the Palestinians. In a move that could allow Netanyahu to persuade his governing coalition to back a new freeze on Israeli settlement construction, Clinton and the visiting Israeli leader ended a marathon round of talks in New York with a strong declaration of Washington’s “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and to peace in the region.”
    “The prime minister and the secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals,” the two sides said in a joint statement, which did not mention the settlement issue directly. But Clinton repeated that the peace talks — which have hit an impasse over the settlement issue — could yet yield an independent Palestine living next to Israel “with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”
    “Those requirements will be fully taken into account in any future peace agreement,” the joint statement said…. – Reuters, 11-11-10
  • As G-20 begins, Obama gets few concessions from other leaders: Obama predicts that leaders will reach ‘a broad-based consensus’ on trade and currency issues, but the opening session of the summit offers little evidence that other nations are willing to help the U.S…. – LAT, 11-11-10
  • SKorea-US trade chiefs end talks as Obama arrives: South Korea and the United States ended a third day of talks aimed at jump-starting a long-stalled trade agreement, offering no clues on progress a day before their presidents meet. Washington and Seoul have been holding what are seen as make-or-break negotiations to infuse new life into the deal to slash tariffs and other barriers to trade that was signed in 2007 when previous administrations were in power. It remains unratified by lawmakers in both countries…. – Business Week, 11-10-10
  • Netanyahu defiantly answers Obama’s warning over construction in East Jerusalem: The Israeli leader’s sharp words come hours after Obama, in Indonesia, said new construction could harm a renewed Mideast peace effort. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clashed publicly with President Obama on Tuesday over Israeli construction in disputed East Jerusalem, throwing a teetering Mideast peace effort deeper in doubt. Responding to criticism from Obama, Netanyahu struck a defiant tone in commenting on plans to build 1,300 more Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem, saying his government had never agreed to limit construction in the city. “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is the capital of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Israel sees no connection between the diplomatic process and the planning and building policy in Jerusalem.”
    Netanyahu’s statement came hours after Obama warned that the new construction, announced by Israel on Monday, could harm a renewed Mideast peace effort began in early September. Obama made the remarks a few hours after arriving in Indonesia, his boyhood home for four years, where he was set to deliver the second major speech Wednesday in his outreach to the Muslim world.
    “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make that extra effort involved to get a breakthrough,” Obama said. “Each of these incremental steps end up breaking trust.”
    Israel also is moving ahead with 800 units in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Israeli news reports said Tuesday. Netanyahu’s pronouncement was consistent with Israeli policy, yet his sharp tone may embarrass Obama at a moment of vulnerability. Obama is visiting the world’s largest Muslim country, and the rebuke may again raise questions in the Muslim world about how much influence the American leader really has on a priority issue. The disagreement also comes a week after Obama suffered a setback in the midterm elections, which gave Republicans, who are likely to be sympathetic to Netanyahu’s point of view, majority control of the House of Representatives. Some Israeli officials and U.S. analysts had predicted before the election that Netanyahu might feel emboldened to push back on Obama if the Democrats fared poorly…. – LAT, 11-9-10
  • No Charges in Destruction of C.I.A. Interrogation Tapes: Central Intelligence Agency officials will not face criminal charges for the destruction of dozens of videotapes depicting the brutal interrogation of terrorism suspects, the Justice Department said Tuesday. After a closely watched investigation of nearly three years, the decision by a special federal prosecutor is the latest example of Justice Department officials’ declining to seek criminal penalties for some of the controversial episodes in the C.I.A.’s now defunct detention and interrogation program. The destruction of the tapes, in particular, was seen as so striking that the Bush administration itself launched the special investigation after the action was publicly disclosed…. – NYT, 11-9-10
  • Obama trip welcomes India to high table of global influence: President Obama left India with reassurances of his strong support for a ‘strategic partnership’ – as well as strong words about his commitment to free trade…. – CS Monitor, 11-9-10
  • Fed Global Backlash Grows China and Russia Join Germany in Scolding; Obama Defends Move as Pro-Growth: Global controversy mounted over the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, with President Barack Obama defending the move as China, Russia and the euro zone added to a chorus of criticism. Mr. Obama returned fire in the growing confrontation over trade and currencies Monday in a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, taking the unusual step of publicly backing the Fed’s decision to buy $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds—a move that has come under withering international criticism for weakening the U.S. dollar…. – WSJ, 11-8-10
  • Obama heads to Indonesia, finally: President Barack Obama finally heads to Jakarta on Tuesday for a visit during which he will seek to boost U.S. security and trade ties with Indonesia, and also reach out to the larger Islamic world. His visit to a country where he spent four years of his childhood comes after two previously scheduled trips were put off because of problems at home — in March as he fought to pass his healthcare overhaul law and in June as he faced the cleanup of the massive BP oil spill. The delays disappointed and angered some Indonesians, and even this visit had been in some doubt because of concerns about volcanic ash from repeated eruptions of Mount Merapi volcano. Indonesia is important destination for Obama for a variety of strategic and personal reasons, aides said. Its importance as a U.S. ally is on the rise, even if the joy over Obama’s election has faded since he became president almost two years ago. Indonesia is an emerging economy, a democracy, a member of the G20 and the world’s most populous Muslim country…. – Reuters, 11-8-10
  • Obama boosts India for ‘rightful place in world’: Deepening America’s stake in Asian power politics, President Barack Obama on Monday endorsed India’s bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, hoping to elevate the nation of a billion people to “its rightful place in the world” alongside an assertive China.
    Obama’s declaration, delivered to the pounding applause of India’s parliament members, spoke to a mission broader than the makeup of one global institution. By spending three packed days in India, announcing trade deals, dismissing job-outsourcing gripes and admonishing India’s rival Pakistan, Obama went all in for an ally whose support he hopes to bank on for years.
    “I want every Indian citizen to know: The United States of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines,” Obama said inside the soaring legislative chamber of the capital city. “We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, because we believe in the promise of India.”… – AP, 11-8-10
  • Diplomacy, Diwali, dinner on Obama’s agenda in India: A female tribal leader working to get more girls into classrooms, in a rural society that places boys first. A former civil servant running a website to battle corruption. Schoolchildren who got the first couple dancing for the Hindu festival Diwali.
    These were some of the Indians whom President Obama met Sunday on the second day of his four-nation Asia tour. The issues raised highlight the massive challenges facing this poor but fast-growing nation of 1.1 billion people, to whom Obama promised he would elevate the U.S.-India partnership “to an entirely new level.”
    He also faced the sensitive question of Pakistan-based terrorism, when asked, at a town-hall-style meeting with students, the question on many Indians’ minds: Why hasn’t the USA declared Pakistan a terrorist state? Obama stressed the need to work with Islamabad “to eradicate this extremism that we consider a cancer within the country that can potentially engulf the country.”… – 11-7-10
  • Fresh Slate at the Pentagon Lies Ahead for Obama: With critical decisions ahead on the war in Afghanistan, President Obama is about to receive an unusual opportunity to reshape the Pentagon’s leadership, naming a new defense secretary as well as several top generals and admirals in the next several months…. – NYT, 11-7-10
  • Obama calls India creator, not poacher, of US jobs: Searching for help half a world away, President Barack Obama on Saturday embraced India as the next jobs-creating giant for hurting Americans, not a cheap-labor rival that outsources opportunity from the United States. “For America, this is a jobs strategy,” Obama said of his emphasis on trade, although it could stand as a motto for his 10-day trip. He is spending Sunday with young people in Mumbai and then heading onto meetings in New Delhi, the capital, before shifting later in the week ahead to Indonesia and economic talks in South Korea and Japan…. – AP, 11-6-10
  • Obama Invokes Gandhi, Whose Ideal Eludes Modern India: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, with Usha Thakkar, director of Mani Bhavan, the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai, “He is a hero not just to India, but to the world,” the president wrote in a guest book on Saturday in Gandhi’s modest former home in Mumbai, now the Mani Bhavan museum. Yet if paying homage to Gandhi is expected of visiting dignitaries, Mr. Obama’s more personal identification with the Gandhian legacy — the president once named him the person he would most like to dine with — places him on complicated terrain…. – NYT, 11-7-10

112TH CONGRESS

  • Democrats avoid House leadership battle Nancy Pelosi helps craft an accord with potential rivals that will make her the minority leader: House Democrats, already hurting from their election shellacking, averted a potentially ugly leadership fight Saturday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco helped broker an agreement that paves the way for her to remain Democratic leader, Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland to remain in the party’s second-ranking position of minority whip, and James E. Clyburn of South Carolina to take the new title of assistant leader. Democrats who will serve in the new Congress will vote on their leaders Wednesday. The arrangement, which Pelosi announced in a letter to her party’s rank and file, averts a clash between Hoyer, whose appeal to more conservative Democrats is seen as crucial to helping the Democrats win back control of the House in 2012, and Clyburn, a black member who is popular with the liberal base…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • House Democrats Avoid Fight on No. 2 Position: Updated: Shuler Considers Run Top House Democrats said late Friday night that they had settled on an arrangement that avoided a divisive fight for the No. 2 position in the party when it reverts to the minority in January. In a statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would nominate Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina to be the No. 3 Democrat when the party holds an internal party election on Wednesday. “Over the past four years, Congressman Clyburn’s effective leadership in the whip’s office was crucial to our passage of historic legislation on jobs, health care, veterans and Wall Street reform on behalf of the American people,” Ms. Pelosi said…. – NYT, 11-13-10
  • Ambition is curbed, but Democrats still have a lame-duck agenda: With a few weeks left in control of both houses of Congress, Democrats are pressing a scaled-back agenda that would extend middle-class tax cuts, fund the government and possibly repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday to begin a complicated lame-duck session that will mark the last time Democrats will be in control of Congress for the foreseeable future….
    Despite electoral losses that handed control of the House to Republicans and diminished Democrats’ majority in the Senate, Democratic leaders are pressing an agenda that would extend middle-class tax cuts, fund the government and perhaps repeal the ban on openly gay men and women serving inthe military.
    Yet nothing is certain in the new political climate. As many as 80 incoming House Republicans elected two weeks ago will arrive in town for freshman orientation in advance of their January swearing-in ceremony, and some plan to join a rally Monday to protest the Democrats’ plans.
    In addition, lawmakers who will be members of the 112th Congress will vote for their leaders next week. Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to become the next House speaker, while Democrats will decide whether to retain the outgoing speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as their leader. In the Senate, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to remain majority leader, with Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to continue leading the GOP…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • Rahm: It’s on Presumptive front-runner makes official entry into race for mayor: As Rahm Emanuel made his entry into Chicago’s mayoral race official Saturday, a major theme of his campaign echoed off the school gymnasium walls: He is the tenacious leader Chicago needs during tough times. The former North Side congressman and White House chief of staff laid out a broad agenda, declaring he’d work to help generate jobs, improve education and decrease crime at a juncture in the city’s history when all three need to be addressed.
    “The choices we make in the next few years will define Chicago for future generations. They will determine whether we remain a world-class city — or fall back,” he told 250 supporters jammed in the gym at Coonley Elementary School. “The question in this election is who has the experience, imagination and strength to see a better future for Chicago? And who has the determination to see that vision through the end?” While providing few specifics in an 18-minute speech, Emanuel did say increasing taxes to address the city’s continued budget woes isn’t on the table. Still, Emanuel hinted at service cuts by promising that “necessary changes” and “tough choices” will be made and residents will “share in the sacrifices.”… – Chicago Tribune, 11-13-10
  • Recount Could Trap Pawlenty in Governor’s Mansion: Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has been gearing up for a bid for the Republican presidential nomination for months. He chose not to run for re-election as governor. He has hit the early-state circuit. Everything is ready once he leaves office on Jan. 3. Except for this: He may not be able to leave. Under Minnesota law, the governor’s term extends as long as it takes to swear in a successor, even if a recount takes months. And that could just happen.
    The race to replace Mr. Pawlenty between the Democrat Mark Dayton and the Republican Tom Emmer ended last Tuesday in what is becoming a regular outcome in the North Star state — a virtual tie. Out of about 2.1 million votes cast, Mr. Dayton leads Mr. Emmer by about 8,500 votes, less than the half-percentage point margin that mandates an automatic recount.
    That recount will start on Nov. 27 and is scheduled to last until early December, at which point the trailing candidate could choose to challenge the recount by filing a lawsuit. Mr. Emmer’s advisers and state Republicans have made it clear they will do so if they feel they have a legitimate case.
    “If we are behind and we think that there are issues with the recount, we could file a contest,” said Tony Sutton, the chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota. “We’re not looking to kick this past the first of the year. We are not going to do things to throw stuff against the law and see what sticks.”… – NYT, 11-13-10
  • No. 2 House Democrat Will Try to Retain Post: Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Monday that he would try to hold on to that position when his party slips into the minority next year as the leadership of House Democrats remained in turmoil one week after devastating election losses…. – NYT, 11-8-10
  • Hoyer collecting liberal support in whip bid: Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) continued Tuesday to collect high-profile endorsements from his party’s liberal wing in his bid to become House minority whip, trying to counter the impression that his candidacy is built around support from moderate-to-conservative Democrats. Seven Democratic committee chairmen issued a letter Tuesday endorsing Hoyer’s candidacy for the No. 2 post in the House leadership, including a trio of the leading legislative liberals: Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.), Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).
    Hoyer, currently the majority leader, has publicly touted his momentum in his campaign against Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), unveiling a string of key endorsements. With Tuesday’s rollout – first reported by Politico – Hoyer now has nearly 50 public endorsements, almost halfway to the roughly 95 or so supporters he will need to win the secret ballot later next week.
    Clyburn, currently the majority whip, the No. 3 post in the majority, has about 10 public endorsements but is also expected to collect the lion’s share of the roughly 40 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. He has won some key backing, including Monday’s endorsement by Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), who is the highest-ranking Latino member of congressional leadership…. – WaPo, 11-9-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Congressman Danny Davis announces bid for Chicago mayor: U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a veteran Chicago politician, struck populist tones as he declared his candidacy for mayor today, saying he will bridge the gap between wealthy and struggling communities.
    “Notwithstanding the economic climate, we the people, we the grassroots, everyday people, we the policeman, we the postman, we the clerks. . . can exercise our God-given rights to participate, be involved and make decisions about ourselves and our city,” Davis said at a rally held in a ballroom of the Hotel Allegro downtown.
    The announcement felt a little like a church service. Davis started with an invocation, and some of his 200 supporters gathered in the ballroom engaged in a call and response as Davis and others spoke.
    While Davis offered few policy details, he said he would create jobs and economic development opportunities and attempt to “save our children from lifetimes of drug use, abuse, (and) incarceration.”
    “I know that everyone in our city is concerned about balancing the budget and finding ways to keep our city solvent,” he said. “I don’t pretend at the moment to have the answers to all of our financial problems. . . but I can assure you that we have a team of researchers and experts looking at the issues and preparing recommendations.” … – Chicago Tribune, 11-14-10
  • Miller: Ballot fight unlikely if math doesn’t work: Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller is watching absentee ballots from military voters as he takes his next steps in Alaska’s still-undecided Senate race….
    The state has so far recorded more than 98,500 write-in ballots cast. Saturday marked the fourth day of a write-in ballot hand count that could stretch well into next week, with thousands of absentee and questioned ballots yet to be combed through.
    The count Saturday showed Murkowski with 74,449 votes, or 89.6 percent of the write-in vote undisputedly — a trend that has largely held throughout the process. Another 7.9 percent was credited to her tally over challenges by Miller observers, generally for things like misspellings of her name or penmanship. Murkowski’s campaign believes it needs to win at least 90 percent of the unchallenged vote to declare victory. Miller’s vote total, as of Friday night, was 87,517…. – AP, 11-14-10
  • Paging Jeb Bush — for 2012: In fact, some folks in the GOP are so convinced that there is a Bush renaissance in the offing that they’re hoping to turn that wave into another White House victory for the Bush family. That’s right. If the era of Bush fatigue is really over, then here comes baby brother. Jeb Bush, the popular former two-term governor of Florida, is being mentioned as a viable Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012, although he has denied having an interest in running.
    (Both Bush brothers will be guests on a special edition of State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Sunday at 8 and 11 p.m. ET.)
    While Jeb has his share of detractors, he also seems to have the same knack for bringing people together that his big brother had for driving them apart. And, with the Tea Party ready to go to war with the GOP establishment in the political equivalent of a cage match for control of the Republican Party, that skill set could come in handy…. – CNN, 11-12-10
  • Murkowski confident in re-election chances: If wrestling with a variety of spellings for write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s name isn’t enough, officials counting ballots in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race are also dealing with such oddball entries as “Donald Duck,” ”Elmo” and “Revolt.”
    Those ballots were quickly tossed Friday even as a count showed the Republican incumbent maintaining a healthy 90 percent of the write-in vote.
    Saying she feels “pretty good about the direction” the tally is headed, Murkowski expressed confidence that she’ll pull off an improbable write-in victory over Republican nominee Joe Miller.
    So far, the state has recorded 98,565 write-in votes and 87,517 votes for Miller. Murkowski has been getting about 90 percent of write-in votes. Another 7.6 percent have been apparent votes for Murkowski that have been challenged, generally by observers for Miller for things like penmanship issues and misspellings.
    The hand count is scheduled to go through the weekend and run well into next week to determine if Murkowski got enough write-in votes to win…. – AP, 11-13-10
  • Michigan Republican Anuzis to challenge RNC’s Michael Steele: Former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis announced Friday that he will run for chairman of the Republican National Committee, making him the first official challenge to current leader Michael Steele. Anuzis said in a statement that the decision for him was not easy, since he regards Steele as a “friend and colleague.” “As someone who believes in loyalty, my natural instinct would be to sit this out,” Anuzis wrote. “But the simple fact is that the overriding challenge we face is winning back the Presidency in 2012 and we will not accomplish that objective unless there is dramatic change in the way the RNC does business.”… – Yahoo News, 11-12-10
  • Reagan Library to Host First Republican Debate for 2012 Primary: What took so long? It’s been over a week since the 2010 vote and debate plans are finally being made for the presidential election in two years. The first Republican primary debate is set for spring 2011 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
    “Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his Presidential Library,” former first lady Nancy Reagan said in a press release. “I look forward to welcoming and watching the top candidates debate the issues next spring.” NBC News and Politico will be the event’s media partners. No Republicans have announced their intentions to challenge President Obama. Among names being floated are Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
    “The fact that we are already talking about the 2012 presidential race only foreshadows how invested and deeply rooted America will be in the political discussion come next spring,” NBC News President Steve Capus…. – Politics Daily, 11-11-10
  • Nancy Reagan to host debate for 2012 GOP hopefuls: Republicans hoping to take back the White House in 2012 will have an audition of sorts at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Former first lady Nancy Reagan announced today she will invite the leading 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls to a debate at the library in spring 2011. The debate will be co-hosted by NBC News and Politico. “Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his presidential library,” Mrs. Reagan said in a statement. A second Republican debate will be held at the library before the Super Tuesday primaries….. – USA Today, 11-11-10
  • Murkowski returning to Alaska amid ballot count: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is returning to Alaska as election workers continue tabulating write-in ballots that will help determine whether she wins re-election. Anchorge Daily News, 11-11-10
  • Nurkowski? Makowski? Murckoski? Counting the Write-In Votes in Alaska: “Liza Makowski?” “Challenge.” So said Terry Campo, an observer working on behalf of Joe Miller, the Republican Senate candidate, as he hovered over a table where two election workers on Wednesday helped sift through more than 230,000 ballots cast in the Alaska Senate race. The question looming over the warehouse in this remote state capital: will Senator Lisa Murkowski become the first write-in candidate elected to the Senate since 1954? Write-in votes have a clear lead over Mr. Miller, but the process of actually seeing whose name is on them did not begin until Wednesday. The count is expected to last until at least Friday – but a court fight could last much longer…. – NYT, 11-10-10
  • 2012 Senate races pose challenge to President Obama: The votes are still being counted in some states for this year’s congressional elections, but already some political types are sweating the 2012 contests in the Senate. An analysis by The National Journal discusses a “civil war” brewing for Republicans in 2012, since the anti-tax, small-government Tea Party movement roiled the GOP this year.
    There’s also been some sniping between Rep. Spencer Bachus and former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin about the Tea Party’s role in the 2010 elections. Palin has pushed back on the Alabama Republican’s comment that “Palin cost us control of the Senate” with her support of candidates such as Christine O’Donnell, who was defeated in her bid for a Delaware Senate seat. But some 2012 Senate races aren’t just interesting for Republicans. The contests also pose a challenge to Democrats and President Obama, especially in some of the states he won in 2008. In all, Democrats will have to defend 23 Senate seats including the two held by independents who vote with them. Republicans hold 10 Senate seats up for grabs in two years…. – USA Today, 11-10-10
  • Republicans Maneuver to Oust Their Leader: Turning their attention to the 2012 presidential election, Republican leaders are digging in for a battle over control of the Republican National Committee, judging that its role in fund-raising, get-out-the-vote operations and other tasks will be critical to the effort to topple President Obama. Some senior party officials are maneuvering to put pressure on Michael Steele, the controversial party chairman, not to seek re-election when his term ends in January or, failing that, to encourage a challenger to step forward to take him on…. – NYT, 11-9-10
  • GOP lawmaker: Palin cost party control of Senate: Questioned about those comments on Tuesday, a spokesman for Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama said the remarks had been taken out of context but didn’t retract them. Bachus, in line to become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, initially blamed Palin last week at a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon. According to the Shelby County Reporter, he said the Senate would be in Republican hands if not for losses by tea party candidates endorsed by the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee.
    “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. He added that while tea party candidates did well in House races, “they didn’t do well at all” in Senate contests.
    In a statement Tuesday, Bachus spokesman Tim Johnson said the congressman was expressing a widely held belief that stronger Republican candidates could have won in states such as Delaware and Nevada, where Republicans Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle lost. “That’s a lesson going forward,” Johnson said. “As the article noted, (Bachus) was extremely complimentary of the tea party movement and Governor Palin in crediting them with the great turnout of conservatives that led to many of the successes on Tuesday.” “He said that the tea party, rather than being criticized, is on the same page as many in the country, including independents, in cutting spending, lowering taxes and limiting the size of government,” Johnson added…. – WaPo, 11-9-10
  • Joe Miller: Cautiously optimistic on prospects: Alaska Senate hopeful Joe Miller says he’s cautiously optimistic about his prospects for winning on the eve of the absentee ballot count. Election workers plan to begin tallying more than 30,000 absentee ballots Tuesday; the counting of write-in ballots will begin Wednesday. Initial returns from last week’s election showed Miller trailing write-ins by more than 13,000 votes. Sen. Lisa Murkowski ran as a write-in following her loss in the GOP primary to Miller. It’s not clear how many of those votes are for her or how many for her were properly cast. Murkowski has sounded confident, telling supporters they’d “made history.” But Miller tells The Associated Press this is premature, and says her hiring of a “high-power” legal team suggests she’s nervous. – WaPo, 11-9-10
  • 12 in 2012: Jim DeMint Earns His Stripes as Tea Party Power Broker: Senator Tea Party, as Jim DeMint is sometimes known, is a moniker the first-term senator began wearing before the Tea Party became a household name. It’s also a description that has pushed the South Carolina Republican out of the shadows and into the forefront of electoral politics.
    “I’m proud to be called Senator Tea Party. I feel like I’m giving a voice to people who are very frustrated that Washington’s not listening,” DeMint told Fox News.
    This fall, DeMint, who was just re-elected to his second term in the Senate, took his commitment to making Washington listen out on the campaign trail – and not merely in his own race. He endorsed high-profile conservatives and donated millions from his political action committee to failed Senate candidates Ken Buck of Colorado, Sharron Angle of Nevada and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware as well as successful contestants Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky…. – Fox News, 11-9-10
  • Clyburn: Pelosi has a role in House leadership: Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a place in the Democratic leadership after Republicans take control next year. The South Carolina Democrat is downplaying the emerging contest between himself and Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer for the No. 2 spot when Democrats become the minority party. Clyburn says he plans to keep his current job as whip…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • Pence, Pawlenty Still Weigh 2012 Bids: Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said they were still weighing whether to run for president in 2012, but decisions could be coming shortly. Mr. Pence, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” said he was “intent on taking the coming weeks to really prayerfully consider that, to wait on the Lord, to seek counsel. And after the first of the year, we’ll make a decision.”
    “Well, I don’t know for sure what I’m going to do after I’m done being governor,” Mr. Pawlenty told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “I’ll decide that early next year.”
    Sen. Jim DeMint (R. S.C.) had some advice for whoever wants to win the Republican nomination. “I think the next Republican running for president needs to run on complete repeal” of the new health care law, he in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, said he “absolutely” was not running for president in 2012. Or vice president, for that matter.
    “Can you see me as somebody who’s a vice president?” he said on “Meet the Press.” “After that question about ‘Governor Wrecking Ball?’ I would feel bad for that poor man or woman.” – WSJ, 11-7-10

QUOTES

The President Records the Weekly Address

For this edition of West Wing Week, walk step by step with the President as he travels through Asia.

  • President Obama at the G-20 in Seoul: “Focusing on Growth”WH, 11-12-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls for Earmark Reform Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address November 13, 2010: This weekend, I’m concluding a trip to Asia whose purpose was to open new markets for American products in this fast-growing part of the world. The economic battle for these markets is fierce, and we’re up against strong competitors. But as I’ve said many times, America doesn’t play for second place. The future we’re fighting for isn’t as the world’s largest importer, consuming products made elsewhere, but as the world’s largest manufacturer of ideas and goods sold around the world.
    Opening new markets will not only help America’s businesses create new jobs for American workers. It will also help us reduce our deficits – because the single greatest tool for getting our fiscal house in order is robust economic growth. That kind of growth will require ensuring that our students are getting the best education possible; that we’re on the cutting edge of research and development; and that we’re rebuilding our roads and railways, runways and ports – so our infrastructure is up to the challenges of the 21st century.
    Given the deficits that have mounted up over the past decade, we can’t afford to make these investments unless we’re also willing to cut what we don’t need. That’s why I’ve submitted to Congress a plan for a three-year budget freeze, and I’m prepared to offer additional savings. But as we work to reform our budget, Congress should also put some skin in the game. I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called earmarks. These are items inserted into spending bills by members of Congress without adequate review….
    As a Senator, I helped eliminate anonymous earmarks and created new measures of transparency so Americans can better follow how their tax dollars are being spent. As President, time and again, I’ve called for new limitations on earmarks. We’ve reduced the cost of earmarks by over $3 billion. And we’ve put in place higher standards of transparency by putting as much information as possible on earmarks.gov. In fact, this week, we updated the site with more information about where last year’s earmarks were actually spent, and made it easier to look up Members of Congress and the earmarks they fought for.
    Today, we have a chance to go further. We have a chance to not only shine a light on a bad Washington habit that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, but take a step towards restoring public trust. We have a chance to advance the interests not of Republicans or Democrats, but of the American people; to put our country on the path of fiscal discipline and responsibility that will lead to a brighter economic future for all. And that’s a future I hope we can reach across party lines to build together. – WH, 11-13-10
  • President Obama in Jakarta: “Indonesia’s Example To the World”: I first came to this country when my mother married an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro. And as a young boy I was — as a young boy I was coming to a different world. But the people of Indonesia quickly made me feel at home.
    And we lived in a small house. We had a mango tree out front. And I learned to love Indonesia while flying kites and running along the paddy fields and catching dragonflies, buying satay and baso from the street vendors. (Applause.) I still remember the call of the vendors. Satay! (Laughter.) I remember that. Baso! (Laughter.) But most of all, I remember the people — the old men and women who welcomed us with smiles; the children who made a foreign child feel like a neighbor and a friend; and the teachers who helped me learn about this country.
    In the years since then, Indonesia has charted its own course through an extraordinary democratic transformation — from the rule of an iron fist to the rule of the people. In recent years, the world has watched with hope and admiration as Indonesians embraced the peaceful transfer of power and the direct election of leaders. And just as your democracy is symbolized by your elected President and legislature, your democracy is sustained and fortified by its checks and balances: a dynamic civil society; political parties and unions; a vibrant media and engaged citizens who have ensured that — in Indonesia — there will be no turning back from democracy.
    But even as this land of my youth has changed in so many ways, those things that I learned to love about Indonesia — that spirit of tolerance that is written into your Constitution; symbolized in mosques and churches and temples standing alongside each other; that spirit that’s embodied in your people — that still lives on. (Applause.) Bhinneka Tunggal Ika — unity in diversity. (Applause.) This is the foundation of Indonesia’s example to the world, and this is why Indonesia will play such an important part in the 21st century.
    When I moved to Indonesia, it would have been hard to imagine a future in which the prosperity of families in Chicago and Jakarta would be connected. But our economies are now global, and Indonesians have experienced both the promise and the perils of globalization: from the shock of the Asian financial crisis in the ‘90s, to the millions lifted out of poverty because of increased trade and commerce. What that means — and what we learned in the recent economic crisis — is that we have a stake in each other’s success.
    America has a stake in Indonesia growing and developing, with prosperity that is broadly shared among the Indonesian people — because a rising middle class here in Indonesia means new markets for our goods, just as America is a market for goods coming from Indonesia. So we are investing more in Indonesia, and our exports have grown by nearly 50 percent, and we are opening doors for Americans and Indonesians to do business with one another.
    These are the issues that really matter in our daily lives. Development, after all, is not simply about growth rates and numbers on a balance sheet. It’s about whether a child can learn the skills they need to make it in a changing world. It’s about whether a good idea is allowed to grow into a business, and not suffocated by corruption. It’s about whether those forces that have transformed the Jakarta I once knew — technology and trade and the flow of people and goods — can translate into a better life for all Indonesians, for all human beings, a life marked by dignity and opportunity.
    Now, this kind of development is inseparable from the role of democracy.
    Today, we sometimes hear that democracy stands in the way of economic progress. This is not a new argument. Particularly in times of change and economic uncertainty, some will say that it is easier to take a shortcut to development by trading away the right of human beings for the power of the state. But that’s not what I saw on my trip to India, and that is not what I see here in Indonesia. Your achievements demonstrate that democracy and development reinforce one another.
    I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. But I believed then, and I believe today, that we do have a choice. We can choose to be defined by our differences, and give in to a future of suspicion and mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress. And I can promise you — no matter what setbacks may come, the United States is committed to human progress. That is who we are. That is what we’ve done. And that is what we will do. (Applause.)
    Now, we know well the issues that have caused tensions for many years — and these are issues that I addressed in Cairo. In the 17 months that have passed since that speech, we have made some progress, but we have much more work to do.
    Innocent civilians in America, in Indonesia and across the world are still targeted by violent extremism. I made clear that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam. Instead, all of us must work together to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion –– certainly not a great, world religion like Islam. But those who want to build must not cede ground to terrorists who seek to destroy. And this is not a task for America alone. Indeed, here in Indonesia, you’ve made progress in rooting out extremists and combating such violence.
    That spark of the divine lives within each of us. We cannot give in to doubt or cynicism or despair. The stories of Indonesia and America should make us optimistic, because it tells us that history is on the side of human progress; that unity is more powerful than division; and that the people of this world can live together in peace. May our two nations, working together, with faith and determination, share these truths with all mankind. WH, 11-10-10
  • Palin calls Obama ‘most pro-abortion president’: Sarah Palin attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday for his support of abortion rights and for the federal health care overhaul as the former Alaska governor appeared in Texas with another tea party favorte, Gov. Rick Perry. Palin described Obama as “the most pro-abortion president to occupy the White House” at the Dallas event, which was sponsored by a nonprofit organization that promotes an anti-abortion message. The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee also said the federal health care law is the “mother of all unfunded mandates” and means federal funding will go toward abortions…. – AP, 11-11-10
  • Obama says Indonesia, U.S. ‘on right path’: President Obama on Tuesday said his efforts to find ways to cooperate with Indonesia were “direct results of my call … for a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities.” “Our efforts have been earnest, sustained,” Obama said. “We don’t expect that we are going to completely eliminate some of the misunderstandings and mistrust that have developed … but we do think that we’re on the right path.” “I have made it clear that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam,” he said in remarks prepared prior to the speech and distributed to the news media. “Instead, all of us must defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion — certainly not a great, world religion like Islam.”
    Most of Indonesia’s 240 million people follow a moderate form of Islam…. – USA Today, 11-9-10
  • Peggy Noonan: Sarah Palin A ‘Nincompoop’ For Reagan Reduction: Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I’ll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president…. – WSJ, 11-6-10
  • Obama: US elections force ‘midcourse corrections’: Hampered by heavy election losses at home, President Barack Obama promised on Sunday from Indian to make “midcourse corrections” to reinvigorate his embattled domestic agenda in the face of a testier American public and more combative Congress….
    The president agreed that people vented their frustration about the economy by sacking many incumbents. A “healthy thing,” he said, even though his Democratic Party suffered, losing control of one of the chambers in Congress. He said he would not retreat on spending money for energy and education, and offered no specific policy changes.
    But then he added that the election “requires me to make some midcourse corrections and adjustments. And how those play themselves out over the next several months will be a matter of me being in discussions with the Republican Party.”… – AP, 11-7-10
  • Obama Says Vote Turned on Economy: President Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that he views last week’s mid-term Congressional elections as “a referendum on the economy” rather than a referendum on him, his policies or the Democratic Party.
    While he said he should be held accountable for the economy as the nation’s leader, he did not accept the suggestion that he pursued the wrong agenda over the last two years, and he focused blame on his failure to build public support for what he was doing or to change the way Washington works.
    In a session taped for CBS’s “60 Minutes” before Mr. Obama left for Asia, the correspondent Steve Kroft pointed out to the president that Republicans view the election as a referendum on him and the Democrats, and asked if he agreed. “I think first and foremost it was a referendum on the economy,” Mr. Obama said. “And the party in power was held responsible for an economy that is still underperforming.”… – NYT, 11-10-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls for Compromise and Explains his Priorities on Taxes Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House November 6, 2010: This week, Americans across the country cast their votes and made their voices heard. And your message was clear.
    You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery. So am I.
    You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results. I do too.
    So I congratulate all of this week’s winners – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. But now, the campaign season is over. And it’s time to focus on our shared responsibilities to work together and deliver those results: speeding up our economic recovery, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class so that the American Dream feels like it’s back within reach….
    Here’s why this lame duck session is so important. Early in the last decade, President Bush and Congress enacted a series of tax cuts that were designed to expire at the end of this year.
    What that means is, if Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day.
    But the last thing we should do is raise taxes on middle-class families. For the past decade, they saw their costs rise, their incomes fall, and too many jobs go overseas. They’re the ones bearing the brunt of the recession. They’re the ones having trouble making ends meet. They are the ones who need relief right now.
    So something’s got to be done. And I believe there’s room for us to compromise and get it done together.
    But at a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.
    I recognize that both parties are going to have to work together and compromise to get something done here. But I want to make my priorities clear from the start. One: middle class families need permanent tax relief. And two: I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
    There are new public servants in Washington, but we still face the same challenges. And you made it clear that it’s time for results. This a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love. – WH, 11-6-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

President Barack Obama places a wreath at the base of the Yongsan    War Memorial
The President places a wreath at the base of the Yongsan War Memorial, White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 11/11/10
  • Lawrence Goodwyn: The Great Predicament Facing Obama: What happened to the dream of Barack Obama’s transformational politics? There’s been very little deviation from the disastrous Bush years on the key issues of war, empire and the distribution of wealth in the country. I turned to Lawrence Goodwyn, historian of social movements whose books and methods of explaining history have had a profound influence on many of the best known authors, activists and social theorists of our time. Goodwyn’s account of the Populist movement, Democratic Promise, is quoted extensively by Howard Zinn in People’s History of the United States, and also in William Greider’s masterpiece on the Federal Reserve, Secrets of the Temple. You can find Goodwyn quoted in the first paragraph of Bill Moyers’ recent book, On Democracy, and cited in just the same way in countless other books and essays.
    I interviewed Goodwyn from his home in Durham, North Carolina about the pitfalls of recording American history, Obama’s presidency in light of previous presidents, and portents of change in our political culture…. – Alternet (10-30-10)
  • Can the Tea Party endure? CNN asks Michael Kazin: The midterm elections dealt a powerful blow to President Obama and the Democratic Party as the country appeared to shift decisively to the right, moved by mass anger, “due to a combination of two kinds of fear,” historian Michael Kazin told CNN…. Kazin, a professor of history at Georgetown University, editor of The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History and author of “A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan” and other books, spoke to CNN last week.
    CNN: Would Republicans have captured the House without the Tea Party?
    Michael Kazin: We historians hate counterfactual questions! But clearly, the aura of a grass-roots rebellion helped to obscure the fact that most of corporate America was rooting for the GOP and helping finance Republican campaigns. The specific policy ideas of the Tea Partiers mattered less than did their anger at the perceived sins of “big government” and of President Obama. As [political writer] Kevin Phillips once wrote, much of political conflict comes down to the question of “who hates whom.”… – CNN.com (11-7-10)
  • Julian Zelizer: GOP leaders, beware the newcomers John Boehner has a huge problem on his hands. Now that the elections are over, and Republicans were victorious, he will need to tame the passions of the GOP freshmen who are coming to town determined to change everything about the way that Washington works.
    If he does not, the Republicans could divide among themselves, thereby undercutting their ability to push forward legislation and giving President Obama an opportunity to challenge their competence….
    Just as Democrats would do well to remember that life wasn’t so great for Clinton after 1994, even with his high approval rates, Republicans would do the same to recall how a massive opportunity was wasted and ultimately consumed some of its own leaders. – CNN, 11-8-1

Midterm Elections 2010: Results & Reactions, Roundup; Republican Sweep

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

http://bonniekaryn.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/midterm_elections.jpg?w=600

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

Getty

STATS & RESULTS

    2010 Election: Live results (USA Today):

    U.S. House RESULTS: D 187 – R 239
    CURRENT: D 256 – R 179

    U.S. Senate RESULTS: D 53 R 46 CURRENT: D 57 – R 41

    Governor RESULTS: D 17 – R 29 I – 3
    CURRENT: D 26 – R 24

    Washington Post:
    Senate: D 53 – R 46
    House: D 186 – R 239
    Governor: D 18 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

    HNN Hot Topics: Midterm Elections

  • Live Blogging Election Night – NYT, The Caucus, 11-2-10
  • Midterm elections live blog 2010 – Yahoo News, 11-2-10
  • Steny Hoyer mulls bid for minority whip
  • Nancy Pelosi announces she will run for minority leader: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has tweeted that she will run to lead Democrats in the House of Representatives.
  • Unemployment rate holds at 9.6 percent: The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in October, as the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent.
  • A.P. Projects Democrat Patty Murray Will Hold Washington Senate Seat: The Associated Press is projecting that Senator Patty Murray, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, will defeat her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, in Washington State.
  • Democrat Wins Illinois Governor Race: Gov. Patrick J. Quinn was declared the winner of the race for governor of Illinois by The Associated Press this afternoon…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • In Connecticut, Two Men Prepare to Be Governor: Thursday was the first full day of work for the transition team of Dannel P. Malloy, the Democrat who was certain he was the winner in the race for governor of Connecticut. Dannel P. Malloy, the former Democratic mayor of Stamford, was declared the unofficial winner. It was also the first full day of work for the transition team of Thomas C. Foley, the Republican who was equally sure he was the victor. Clearly, one of these men was going to be terribly disappointed. But when and how was still, well, unclear…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Oregon: Democrat wins historic 3rd term as governor: Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley are locked in a tight race for governor in Oregon after a big- spending campaign that… AP, 11-4-10
  • Murkowski acts like victor but questions linger: Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is acting as though she already has pulled off an improbable victory after her write-in candidacy, enthusiastically thanking supporters and telling them they’ve made history. She may have won. Or she may be overly optimistic. The race is far from over…. – wApO, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored huge and historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even the great performance the party had in congressional races. GOP candidates picked up about 650 Democratic-held seats, the most in nearly half a century. Republicans now control more legislative seats than at any time since 1928.
    “To describe this as a Republican wave would be a vast understatement,” says elections expert Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They won in places where we didn’t see it coming, and they won in places where we did see it coming,” he says. The shift will have a big effect on spending, taxes, public education and how political districts are drawn…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Revolution in the States The GOP also made history down ballot on Tuesday: Here’s a prediction: Democrats and liberals will soon preach the virtues of Congressional redistricting reform. The reason is the historic losses Democrats suffered on Tuesday at the state level that have set Republicans up to dominate the post-2000 Census process of rewriting district lines.
    The GOP’s failure to take over the U.S. Senate has masked the arguably more important story that Republicans picked up at least a record 680 state legislative seats nationwide. That’s more than even the 472 seat gain in 1994, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, and more than the previous record of 628 seats by … – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Poll: GOP candidates top Obama in hypothetical 2012 race: President Obama trails some top GOP contenders in a hypothetical 2012 matchup.
    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the favorite for the GOP 2012 presidential nomination
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a close second
    Nearly three-quarters of Democrats say they want to see the party renominate Barack Obama in 2012… – CNN, 11-4-10
  • Poll: Obama Would Beat Palin in 2012: The midterm elections are so yesterday. The eyes of many political insiders are already turning to 2012. President Obama would handily beat Sarah Palin in the next presidential election, despite strong anti-incumbent feelings and the Democrats losing the House to the GOP this week, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates.
    And while Obama would win against the Tea Party favorite, 52% to 44% among registered voters, pit the President against Mike Huckabee and it’s an entirely different story.
    The former Arkansas Governor and 2008 GOP White House candidate would beat Obama 52% to 44% in a hypothetical matchup, the survey reveals.
    While there’s no clear GOP frontrunner, 21% Republicans said they’re most likely to back Huckabee, 20% said they’d support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 14% said they’d back Palin and 12% were for ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
    Romney would also beat Obama 50 % to 45%, but Obama would beat Gingrich 49% to 47%…. – US News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin’s ‘Take Back the 20′ PAC scores a bull’s-eye: During the 2010 midterm elections, Sarah Palin went hunting for Democrats and nearly bagged her limit. “Take Back the 20,” Palin’s political action committee, targeted 20 congressional districts across the country that John McCain carried in 2008 but had Democratic representatives in Congress.
    The results are eye-opening. Palin succeeded in 18 of 20 districts, losing in West Virginia’s 3rd House District. At this time, the race in Arizona’s 8th House District is too close to call.
    The 18 Republican winners unseated freshman politicians, congressional veterans and even House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • Religion’s role in the November 2010 election: It may surprise some, but here are two typical pre-election statements made at churches and synagogues. From first-hand experience interviewing people in America’s two largest religions — Christianity and Judaism — about 50 percent of Bible and Torah believers often don’t let their faith influence their voting. It’s more about party affiliation and the economy…. – Yahoo News, 11-4-10
  • Parsing the Myths of the Midterm Election: Every election develops its own mythology, usually before the official results are even certified, and this week’s was no different. And like all mythology, the narrative that is being woven around the midterm elections by Bulfinches from both parties is a blend of history, facts and, yes, myths. Before it hardens into accepted fact, some of the new conventional wisdom might benefit from one more spin on the potter’s wheel: The Mandate Myth
    The Return to the Republican Fold
    The Lost Youth Vote
    Disaster for the President
    Mythmakers, or Debunkers, Know What They’re Talking About – NYT, 11-5-10
  • Snapshot: Election night at Fox News: After all the drumming for conservative candidates, you’d think the network’s talking heads would be crowing over Republican gains. But things were surprisingly subdued…. – LAT, 11-7-10
  • GOP regains control of House in historic elections: Republicans have seized control of the House for the first time since 2006, riding a wave of voter discontent and economic woes to directly challenge President Barack Obama’s agenda.
    House Republicans have captured 220 seats and were leading in 20 other races. Only 218 seats are needed for control of the House.
    Republicans have picked up a net gain of 53 seats and were leading for another 13 Democratic-held seats. If current trend holds, Republicans could record their largest gains in the House in more than 70 years.
    In 1938, the party gained 80 seats during the second term of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Republicans Will Take Control of the House: John A. Boehner, the House Republican leader, in an emotional moment during a victory gathering for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington. More Photos »
    Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory.
    A Republican resurgence, propelled by deep economic worries and a forceful opposition to the Democratic agenda of health care and government spending, delivered defeats to Democrats from the Northeast to the South and across the Midwest. The tide swept aside dozens of Democratic lawmakers, regardless of their seniority or their voting records, upending the balance of power for the second half of Mr. Obama’s term…. -
  • Republicans Will Win Control of House: The New York Times is projecting that Republicans will win the 218 seats necessary for control of the House of Representatives after four years of Democratic control of the chamber.
  • Democrats keep control of the U.S. Senate: Democrats retain enough seats to hold on to the U.S. Senate, The Washington Post projects.
  • As CNN, ABC, MSNBC and other networks are now projecting, though, even if the Democrats lose all 4 of those races, they will still have 50 seats. According to Senate rules, the Vice President breaks a tie, which means Democrats will keep control.
  • GOP to grab U.S. House majority; Democrats poised to retain Senate: Republicans rode a wave of voter dissatisfaction with the state of the economy to win majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, while Democrats were poised to retain their majority in the Senate. With results still coming in and voting continuing in Western states, the extent of the Republican takeover of the 435-member House was still to be determined. But CNN projected that Republicans would win at least 52 more House seats than they currently hold to wipe out the Democratic majority of the past four years…. – CNN, 11-2-10
  • 2010 election results: media coverage in portions for every appetite: Coverage of the 2010 election results will be provided in more ways than ever before – from centuries-old delivery methods like newspapers to ABC News’s iPad application…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Exit poll: Economy dominates voters’ worries: Voters were intensely worried about the future of the economy Tuesday and unhappy with the way President Barack Obama and Congress have been running things. They didn’t hold a favorable view of either the Republican or Democratic parties, according to an Associated Press analysis of preliminary exit poll results and pre-election polls. Overwhelmingly, people at the polls were dissatisfied with the way the federal government is working, and a fourth said they’re angry about it…. – AP, 11-2-10

THE HEADLINES….

Presumptive next Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner
  • Republicans in charge take aim at health overhaul: Resurgent Republicans rallied Sunday behind an agenda based on unwavering opposition to the Obama White House and federal spending, laying the groundwork for gridlock until their 2012 goal: a new president, a “better Senate” and ridding the country of that demonized health care law. Republicans said they were willing to work with President Barack Obama but also signaled it would be only on their terms. With control of the White House and the Senate, Democrats showed no sign they were conceding the final two years of Obama’s term to Republican lawmakers who claimed the majority in the House.
    Voters on Tuesday punished Democrats from New Hampshire to California, giving Republicans at least 60 new seats in the House. Republicans picked up 10 governorships; the GOP also gained control of 19 state legislative chambers and now holds the highest level of state legislative seats since 1928…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • ‘Obama Comes Across as Cold, Arrogant and Elitist’: Tea Party Activists display a US Flag in front of the Capitol Building in Washington. It was a failure of historic proportions. With US President Barack Obama’s Democrats having lost control of the House, there seems little hope for progress during his two remaining years, say German commentators. Obama himself, they say, bears much of the blame. On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama and his Democratic party were issued a stinging defeat in the mid-term elections as the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and installed themselves in 22 governor’s mansions. Though the Democrats narrowly were able to keep control of the Senate, the Republicans, who rode the wave of anti- incumbent sentiment and populist anger over the economy into office, now have the power to determine the House’s legislative agenda — and to block Obama proposals. Indeed, Republican leaders in the House have already promised that their first order of business will be to repeal Obama’s health care reform — his signature achievement…. – Spiegal, 11-4-10
  • Republican establishment takes on Sarah Palin: Senior officials from former president Bush on down say she’s not ready for the presidency, and some are questioning her recent decisions and pronouncements…. – Cs Monirtor, 11-6-10
  • G.O.P. Plans to Use Purse Strings to Fight Health Law: As they seek to make good on their campaign promise to roll back President Obama’s health care overhaul, the incoming Republican leaders in the House say they intend to use their new muscle to cut off money for the law, setting up a series of partisan clashes and testing Democratic commitment to the legislation…. – NYT, 11-7-10
  • How Pelosi’s determination could hamper Obama: Just when President Obama thought he had all the problems he could handle, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might have handed him another. Pelosi stunned many Democrats on Friday with the announcement that she will run for leader of the new Democratic minority in the House. If her colleagues and the smart money in Washington thought she would retreat and resign after the Democrats’ 60-seat loss Tuesday, Pelosi reminded them that she didn’t become the first female speaker in history through timidity. The question is whether she has significantly complicated life for Obama as he prepares to deal with the Republican majority in the House and Senate Republicans led by someone who spent the week hurling thunderbolts at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. From outside reports, the White House was conflicted about whether it wanted her to stay or go, torn between loyalty to the speaker for all she did during the past two years and its own political needs in the wake of Tuesday’s loss…. – WaPo, 11-6-10
  • GOP deciding which direction to go with new authority after midterm victory: Jubilant over their landslide victory in the House and their pickup of six Senate seats, Republican leaders nevertheless face a dilemma as they debate how to exert their new authority. Their energetic conservative base is eager to thwart President Obama’s every move, and if Republicans fail at doing so, they risk disappointing the supporters who turned out in vast numbers for Tuesday’s midterm elections. But if Republicans overreach, and ultimately deliver very little, independents could return to the Democratic fold in time to reelect Obama…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • Jim DeMint basks in election afterglow, but did he cost GOP the Senate?: Even as Sen. Jim DeMint emerges from the elections with widespread recognition as leader of a resurgent conservative force in Congress, he faces criticism that the millions he spent on hard-right candidates cost Republicans control of the Senate.
    Five DeMint-backed candidates were elected to the Senate, but five were defeated — with a sixth, Joe Miller of Alaska, trailing incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in her historic write-in bid as an independent to keep her seat…. – Boston Herald, 11-6-10
  • Are GOP leaders going too far with their criticism of Obama?: The president certainly has been getting it from GOP leaders the past few days. But the real question regarding Obama, the Republicans say, is: ‘Is he getting it?’…. – CS Monitor, 11-5-10
  • Obama Says Jobs Report Is Encouraging for Recovery: President Barack Obama said today’s employment report is a sign that the economy is recovering from the “terrible damage” caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression. Still, recent increases in private sector employment are “not good enough,” Obama said at the White House. “The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high.” Obama spoke before leaving for a 10-day trip through Asia that is focused on trade and expanding U.S. exports. In remarks directed at Congress, he said the U.S. can’t afford to get “mired” in partisan battles over policy while countries such as China move forward to expand their economies…. – Bloomberg, 11-5-10
  • Obama admits failing to sell successes to Americans: US President Barack Obama acknowledged he had failed to persuade Americans of his administration’s successes, following an election hammering which saw his party lose control of the House of Representatives.
    “We were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation, that it’s a matter of persuading people,” Obama told CBS show “60 Minutes” in excerpts released Friday. “We haven’t always been successful at that,” the president added. “I take personal responsibility for that, and it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully as I go forward.”… – AFP, 11-5-10
  • It’s Reaction Day, which is like Election Day but lazier: The New York Post: “HUMBLED” reads the main hed; “My fault, pres says day after Dems lose 61 seats in House.” The picture is worth a few more words: eyes downturned and closed, his mouth in a pout that gathers more flesh under his lower lip than you probably thought he had on his whole head.
    Daily News: “WOE BAMA!” is the News’ slightly less serious wood for the Obama shellacking story, advertising four pages of coverage of Reaction Day. It’s a similar, but more close-cropped pouty Obama we get here. But it’s time to move on, right?… – Capital New York, 11-4-10
  • GOP asserts new strength, targets Obama programs: Victorious at the polls, congressional Republicans asserted their newfound political strength on Thursday, vowing to seek a quick $100 billion in federal spending cuts and force repeated votes on the repeal of President Barack Obama’s prized health care overhaul.
    At the White Houses, Obama said his administration was ready to work across party lines in a fresh attempt to “focus on the economy and jobs” as well as attack waste in government. In a show of bipartisanship, he invited top lawmakers to the White House at mid-month, and the nation’s newly elected governors two weeks later…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • US president Barack Obama’s torment at election ‘shellacking’: President Barack Obama’s rivals did cartwheels of jubilation yesterday after seizing control of the US Congress. Victorious congressman Ed Perlmutter’s extravagant acrobatics marked the Republicans’ biggest win in the mid-term elections since the Great Depression of 1938. But their capture of the House of Representatives left American politics in paralysis last night as the right-wingers looked set to hamper a major economic stimulus plan by Obama’s Democrats.
    In a White House press conference yesterday, the humbled President sighed: “I am not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. I am sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. “It feels bad. It’s hard. I take responsibility. I’ve got to do a better job.” The man who swept to the White House two years ago conceded: “Some election nights are more fun than others.”… – Mirror UK, 11-4-10
  • Election doesn’t end major discord for GOP, Obama: Barely an hour after President Barack Obama invited congressional Republicans to post-election talks on Nov. 18 to work together on major issues, the Senate’s GOP leader had a blunt message: His party’s main goal is denying Obama re-election.
    “The only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
    “I want us to talk substantively about how we can move the American people’s agenda forward,” Obama said of the upcoming meeting with lawmakers. “It’s not just going to be a photo op.”… – AP, 11-4-10
  • Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan: “If the goal of the majority is to govern, what is the purpose of the minority?” one slide asked. “The purpose of the minority,” came the answer, “is to become the majority.” The presentation was the product of a strategy session held 11 days before Mr. Obama’s inauguration, when top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives began devising an early blueprint for what they would accomplish in Tuesday’s election: their comeback.
    How they did it is the story of one of the most remarkable Congressional campaigns in more than a half-century, characterized by careful plotting by Republicans, miscalculations by Democrats and a new political dynamic with forces out of both parties’ control. The unpredictable Tea Party movement, the torrent of corporate money from outside interests and an electorate with deep discontent helped shift the balance of power in Washington. The White House struggled to keep Democrats in line, with a misplaced confidence in the power of the coalition that propelled Mr. Obama into office. Republicans capitalized on backlash to the ambitious agenda Mr. Obama and his party pursued, which fueled unrestricted and often anonymous contributions to conservative groups, some advised by a nemesis Democrats thought they had shaken, Karl Rove. That money so strengthened the Republican assault across the country that an exasperated Democratic party strategist likened it to “nuclear Whac-a-Mole.”… – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The power shift may not last with Tea Partiers looking to disrupt their own leaders…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Rivalry Tests Tea-Party Clout: House Republicans are embroiled in a leadership struggle just days after their sweeping electoral victory, testing how much influence tea-party passions will have on how lawmakers run the chamber. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who raised money for many House candidates and was deeply involved in the Republicans’ campaign efforts, is running for chairman of the House Republican Conference, the No. 4 position in the House GOP, with the backing of party leaders. His opponent is Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a favorite of tea-party activists who is known for her colorful statements. Some GOP leaders believe she would be less effective, but many tea-party activists see this as a test of whether Republicans are listening to them…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even their performances in congressional races…. – USA Today, 11-4-10
  • Survivors’ scenarios could help in 2012: Figuring out why 29 vulnerable Democrats won while others lost could help leaders of both parties as they prepare for the 2012 elections…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Boost for Keeping All Bush Tax Cuts: President Barack Obama is open to considering the extension of all Bush-era tax cuts for a year or two, the White House confirmed Thursday, putting to a likely end any debate over whether to extend the breaks for high-income families. Instead, Congress is poised to grapple with a different set of questions when it returns this month for a final session of the current term: How and for how long should lawmakers grant an extension?…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • White House Pushes Back on Tax Cuts for Wealthy: While President Obama again signaled interest in finding common ground with Republicans in the wake of their electoral triumph, the White House on Thursday drew a firmer line against making permanent Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Mr. Obama and Republicans agree on extending the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush for the vast majority of Americans, but the president has opposed making them permanent for income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for households, essentially the richest 2 percent of Americans. The tax cuts expire at the end of the year…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Health-Care Industry Still Braces for Change: Repeal of the federal health-care overhaul was central to many Republican campaigns this season. But even with the House changing hands, health insurers, drug companies and hospitals said they were planning as if the law will stick…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Palin’s Endorsements Lay Base for a 2012 Run: If Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, decides to run for president in 2012, she will now have plenty of help. In New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary in the nation, Ms. Palin can count on the support of its newly elected senator, Kelly Ayotte. When the presidential campaign moves to South Carolina, the state’s new governor, Nikki Haley, will owe her one. And out West, Susana Martinez, who will take office as New Mexico’s governor, will be ready to help during a potential general election matchup with President Obama as the two parties battle over the growing number of Hispanic voters in the Southwest. Ms. Palin was not on any ballot. But the self-described “Mama Grizzly” had plenty at stake on Tuesday night as she sought to bolster her credentials as the Republican Party’s most powerful kingmaker and the voice of the newly empowered Tea Party movement. Ms. Palin had endorsed dozens of candidates, including ones in some of the highest-profile races…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • G.O.P Captures House, but Falls Short in Senate: “Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory,” writes Jeff Zeleny…. – New York Times
  • Republicans capture control of House; Dems to retain Senate: “Just four years after surrendering power, Republicans recaptured control of the House and made gains in the Senate on Tuesday night, in a major rebuff of President Obama and the Democrats by an electorate worried about the economy and the size of the government,” writes Dan Balz…. – Washington Post
  • GOP Wins House in Huge Swing: “Republicans won control of the House of Representatives as voters dealt a stiff rebuke to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in a historic wave that swept the GOP to power in states and districts across the country,” write Laura Meckler and Jonathan Weisman…. – Wall Street Journal
  • Republicans win House, Democrats retain Senate: “Republicans, tapping into widespread anger over the ailing economy and disappointment with President Obama’s leadership, wrested control of the House of Representatives from Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but fell just short of winning the Senate,” writes Douglas Stanglin…. – USA Today
  • Republicans promise limited government: Emboldened by a commanding House majority and Senate gains, Republican leaders vowed Wednesday to roll back the size of government and, in time, the nation’s sweeping health care law. President Barack Obama, reflective after his party’s drubbing, accepted blame for failing to deliver the economic security Americans demand while saying of his health overhaul: “This was the right thing to do.” He called the election a “shellacking.”
    After two years with fellow Democrats leading Congress, Obama now must deal for the rest of his term with the jarring reality of Republican control of the House, a diminished Democratic majority in the Senate and a new flock of lawmakers sworn to downsize government at every chance.
    The capital awoke — if it ever slept — to a new political order. With their lopsided win, Republicans are ushering in a new era of divided government and dethroning Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a prime target of their campaign…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Obama signals compromise with GOP on tax cuts: A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections. Obama ruefully called the Republican victories “a shellacking.”
    At a White House news conference, the president said that when Congress returns, “my goal is to make sure we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle class families.” He made no mention of his campaign-long insistence that tax cuts be permitted to expire on upper-income families, a position he said would avoid swelling the deficit but put him in conflict with Republicans.
    He also virtually abandoned his legislation — hopelessly stalled in the Senate — featuring economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources. “I’m going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem,” he said. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said, strongly implying there will be others…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • G.O.P. Leaders Vow to Repeal Health Care Law: At a news conference at the Capitol, the likely House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, invited President Obama to work with them on these and other goals. But they also quickly adopted an aggressive posture on some issues certain to antagonize Democrats, including a vow to repeal the big new health care law.
    Mr. Obama, at his own news conference in the East Room of the White House, called the election results “humbling,” but he also attributed the far-reaching Republican victories largely to the public’s frustration over the slow economic recovery. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy,” he said.
    The president said he was “eager to hear good ideas wherever they come from” and expressed a willingness to work with Republicans. “We must find common ground,” he said, “in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges.” And he cited energy and education as two policy areas on which Republicans and Democrats could see eye to eye…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • Obama Takes Responsibility for Voter Frustration: “Some election nights are more fun than others,” he told reporters in the East Room of the White House. “Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling.” He said that he had to take “direct responsibility” for the failure to repair the nation’s economic fortunes. But in his opening remarks and answers to early questions, Mr. Obama refused to say that the Republican wave that swept across the country was a fundamental rejection of his administration’s policies.
    “There is no doubt that people’s No. 1 concern is the economy,” he said. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy.” The president repeatedly said that he wanted to work with the newly empowered Republicans in Washington. But he also said more than once that there were some principles that both parties were going to be unwilling to compromise on…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • House leaders begin outlining priorities: Republicans on Wednesday pointed to their House takeover as a mandate to “change course” on economic policy and key elements of President Obama’s agenda, including the health care overhaul he pushed through Congress this year…. – USA Today, 11-3-10
  • Pelosi Election Results: What It Mean’s for Health Care Champion: Nancy Pelosi may not have been up for election Tuesday night, but many Republicans felt her ideas were, chief amongst them strong support for Obama’s health care plan. Several big ticket conservatives as well as new members of Congress have pledged to roll back key pieces of Obamacare or repeal it entirely…. – CBS News, 11-3-10
  • Sarah Palin The Mama Grizzly Scorecard: She didn’t appear on any ballot yet one big question of the Tuesday night election was how well did Sarah Palin do? Palin will point to a positive win-loss record—49 of her 77 candidates triumphed, (6 races had yet to be called by Wednesday morning.) But many of the highest-profile races, where she had loudly interjected herself, her candidates— Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and John Raese in West Virginia—lost.
    Even in her home state of Alaska, her help seems to have been less than helpful. Joe Miller, the GOP candidate and Palin protégée, ended up having to fight off the write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, and even a last-minute bit of McMentum—when Democratic candidate, Scott McAdams suddenly seemed to rally. By late Tuesday night, that race had still not been called, but Murkowski was leading.
    If there was a silver lining for the former Alaska Governor, it came in the form of Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, and Mary Fallin in Oklahoma—the first time women won governorships in those three states.
    The election may have been a vote on Obama and the Democrats. But for many watching, the most widely anticipated other referendum was how well Palin would do. Of her 77 candidates around the nation, 20 are women—in the Palin vernacular, her Mama Grizzlies who, she had predicted, would “rise up on their hind legs.”… – The Daily Beast, 11-3-10
  • Tea party-backed Rick Scott claims Fla. governor win: Tea party-backed Republican businessman Rick Scott, who ran as an outsider vowing to shake up the political establishment, claimed victory Wednesday as Florida’s next governor after Democrat Alex Sink conceded an extremely tight race…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • California Climate Law Survives Challenge at Polls: The defeat of Proposition 23 marked a big victory for Silicon Valley investors, who poured millions of dollars into defending California’s AB 32 law and protecting their massive investments in green technologies ranging from solar power to electric cars. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Boehner wants Bush tax cuts extended for all: U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner said on Wednesday that extending the Bush tax cuts for all income groups is the right policy…. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Lengthy to-do list awaits lame duck session: Now that the elections are over, a lame-duck Congress comes back to work this month to deal with a pile of unfinished business: whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts due to expire, give seniors a $250 Social Security special payment and repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gays serving openly. It’s an open question how much they’ll get done. The current Congress returns Nov. 15 for a post-election session dominated by tax and spending issues. Rarely has such a big pile of work faced lawmakers when the party in power has suffered so much at the ballot box…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Tea time: Republicans locking up House control: Republicans marched toward House control Tuesday night in midterm elections shadowed by recession, locking up enough Democratic seats to install a conservative majority certain to challenge President Barack Obama at virtually every turn. Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, his voice breaking with emotion, declared to fellow Republicans, “I’ll never let you down.”…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • GOP takes the House, but fall short in Senate: Resurgent Republicans won control of the House early Wednesday in midterm elections shadowed by recession, promising a conservative majority certain to challenge President Barack Obama at every turn. Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner called the results “a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the people.”
    Republicans fell short in their effort to gain control of the Senate and take full command of Congress, although they picked up at least five seats. They also wrested at least eight governorships from Democrats.
    Obama telephoned Boehner shortly after midnight to congratulate him, a call that underscored the transition to divided government. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Democrats lose 6 Senate seats, but keep majority: Democrats retained their Senate majority Tuesday, losing five seats but winning key races in West Virginia and California. Republicans scored big gains, taking Senate seats from Democrats in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arkansas, North Dakota and Indiana. The net gain of 10 they needed for control of the chamber, however, eluded them.
    With Republicans taking over the House, President Barack Obama will need a Democratic-run Senate to champion his legislative agenda…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • GOP captures governorships in at least 10 states: Republicans on Tuesday captured from Democrats governorships in at least 10 states, including some prime presidential battlegrounds, and hoped for even more statehouse gains. The same tide sweeping Republicans into office in Congress was leaving its mark on governors’ mansions as well, especially in the nation’s industrial heartland.
    Lost in the GOP onslaught: governorships now held by Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Wyoming…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • In Republican Victories, Tide Turns Starkly: Somewhere along the way, the apostle of change became its target, engulfed by the same currents that swept him to the White House two years ago. Now, President Obama must find a way to recalibrate with nothing less than his presidency on the line.
    The verdict delivered by voters on Tuesday effectively put an end to his transformational ambitions and left him searching for a way forward with a more circumscribed horizon of possibilities. Facing a hostile House with subpoena power and a diminished majority in the Senate, he will have to figure out the right blend of conciliation and confrontation to reassert authority and avoid defeat in 2012.
    The most pressing question as Mr. Obama picks through the results on Wednesday morning will be what lessons he takes from the electoral reversals. Was this the natural and unavoidable backlash in a time of historic economic distress, or was it a repudiation of a big-spending activist government? Was it primarily a failure of communications as the White House has suggested lately, or was it a fundamental disconnect with the values and priorities of the American public?… – NYT, 11-3-10
  • How the tea party helped GOP find a path to Election Day successes: Victories for tea-party candidates Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Jim DeMint showed the impact of the nascent conservative movement on the GOP’s ability to project a winning posture…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Republicans See Big Gains in House: The Tea Party captured its first big victories Tuesday when Marco Rubio won a United States Senate seat in Florida and Rand Paul won his Senate bid in Kentucky. The victories seemed to be a precursor of big gains in Congress for the Republican Party, as victories in several races suggesting the party could be poised to take control of the House of Representatives. The results, and surveys of voters outside polling places, signaled that the elections would recalibrate the balance of power in Washington and in state houses across the nation, as voters distressed over the lingering economic woes, seemed eager to rebuke President Obama and his fellow Democrats.
    The biggest gains for Republicans were expected in the House, where party leaders said they were confident of reclaiming the majority. Several incumbent Democrats were trailing on Ohio, a key indicator of trouble ahead for Democrats…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Tea Party Comes to Power on an Unclear Mandate: For all the ways its rank and file despises President Obama, the Tea Party’s powerful insurgency shares this with him: It has been a blank screen on which voters have projected all kinds of hopes and frustrations — not always compatible or realistic.
    As it tries to make the transition from a protest movement to a power on Capitol Hill, the Tea Party faces the challenge of channeling the energy it brought to the election into a governing agenda when it has no clear mandate, a stated distaste for the inevitable compromises of legislating and a wary relationship with Republican leaders in Congress.
    The Republican sweep looked to be largely a Tea Party sweep, with 4 in 10 voters in exit polls expressing support for the movement…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • West Virginia Senate: a crucial but hollow victory for Democrats?: Gov. Joe Manchin has declared victory in the race for the open West Virginia Senate seat. His win makes it very unlikely that the GOP will control the Senate. But in Washington, Manchin might act more like a Republican than a Democrat…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • For Obama, perils and opportunities ahead: Facing what seems certain to be a vastly more Republican and hostile Congress, President Obama will begin a new chapter in his presidency following today’s midterm elections—one filled both with pitfalls and opportunities as he struggles to enact his policies and prepare to run for reelection in two years. These election results will likely leave Obama in a bind. Enacting measures that he hopes to get passed–such as an expansion of health care to include those left uncovered by last year’s landmark legislation or an increase in educational benefits through a plan to aid community colleges–will be more difficult. Those proposals will probably have to be re-crafted or abandoned altogether…. – National Journal, 11-2-10
  • Tea time: GOP nears House control, piling up wins: House control within reach, Republicans piled up gains Tuesday night in a drive to forge a new conservative majority midway through President Barack Obama’s term. They added Senate seats, as well, but seemed likely to fall short of taking over. “We’ve come to take our government back,” Sen.-elect Rand Paul declared to cheering supporters at a victory party in Bowling Green, Ky., an early Republican winner on a night filled with them. A Republican majority in the House would usher in a new era of divided government as the nation struggles to emerge from the shadow of the worst recession since the 1930s…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • GOP celebrates first fruits of expected big night: Republicans gained a Senate seat in Indiana, and tea party favorite Rand Paul coasted to victory in Kentucky in midterm elections Tuesday night, first fruits of a drive to break the Democrats’ grip on power in Congress. Republicans also led for four House seats in Democratic hands and projected confidence they would succeed in winning a majority and installing Rep. John Boehner of Ohio as speaker…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Why Rand Paul’s victory is important: Rand Paul’s victory provides evidence that the tea party influence is real, and may hold lessons about negative campaigning…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Long Wait Possible in Alaska: Alaska—The winner of Alaska’s Senate race might not be known for weeks, as election officials wrestle with complications created by incumbent Lisa Murkowski’s write-in effort as well as thousands of absentee ballots. Alaska voters on Tuesday were choosing among Ms. Murkowski, tea-party-favorite and Republican nominee Joe Miller, and Democrat Scott McAdams, a little-known former mayor. In addition to those votes and others cast early, there are at least 20,000 absentee ballots that won’t be counted Tuesday night. Election officials will first tally the number of votes for Mr. Miller and Mr. McAdams, and the number of voters who indicated a write-in choice. Alaskans voting for Ms. Murkowski must darken a bubble on the ballot and write her name on a line. If the number of votes with the write-in bubble filled is far lower than those for another candidate, a winner could become apparent Tuesday night. But if write-ins are in first place—or close to it, election officials must wait for laggard absentee ballots to arrive and be counted before moving beyond counting bubbles to actually tallying the names written in next to them. Any name-counting wouldn’t start until Nov. 18, and the election wouldn’t be certified until around Nov. 29. Only at that point could a candidate contest the results in court, said Gail Fenumiai, director of the state Division of Elections…. – WSJ, 11-2-10

QUOTES

  • Cantor: Democrats ‘Didn’t Get the Message’ From Voters if Pelosi Stays Leader: “If Democratic members in the House elect Nancy Pelosi as their leader, it’s almost as if they just didn’t get the message from the voters this election. I mean, the voters outright rejected the agenda that she’s been about,” he said. “I mean this is the woman who really, I think, puts ideology first, and there have been no results for the American people. And that seems the direction they want to take again. It just doesn’t make sense.”
    “I don’t think there’s any question that this says to the voters, ‘We’re not listening to you. We think we’re right. We’re going to continue the same path,’” Cantor said….
    “You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery. So am I. You’re fed up with partisan politics and you want results. I do, too,” he said…. – Fox News, 11-7-10
  • Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican who is stepping down from his post in GOP leadership: “I think this week’s election was a historic rejection of American liberalism and the Obama and Pelosi agenda… The American people are tired of the borrowing, the spending, the bailouts, the takeovers.” – AP, 11-7-10
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: “It was a very rough week, there’s no sugarcoating that…. I don’t see any sign of the president retreating from his principles, but I do see his willingness to reach out, and wherever reasonable and in the interests of moving the economy and jobs forward, he’s going to work with the Republicans, as are the Democrats,” Van Hollen said…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • Rep. Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican who is in line to become majority leader: “The president did say this week he’s willing to work with us. Now listen, are we willing to work with him? First and foremost, we’re not going to be willing to work with him on the expansive liberal agenda he’s been about.”… – AP, 11-7-10
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky: “This was a huge, huge issue in the election last Tuesday. A vast majority of Americans feel very, very uncomfortable with this new bill. People who supported us, political independents, want it repealed and replaced with something else. I think we owe it to them to try.” … “Admittedly, it will be difficult with him in the White House,” McConnell said. “But if we can put a full repeal on his desk and replace it with the kind of commonsense forms that we were advocating during the debate to reduce spending, we owe it to the American people to do that.”… – AP, 11-7-10
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who will take leadership of the House budget committee, said the GOP will reign in the overhaul through oversight hearings and cutting off money to implement the law, “but then again, the president has to sign those bills, so that is a challenge.” “You can’t fully repeal and replace this law until you have a new president and a better Senate. And that’s probably in 2013, but that’s before the law fully kicks in, in 2014,” Ryan said…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • ‘This Week’ Transcript: Rand Paul, Rep. Mike Pence and David StockmanABC News, 11-7-10
  • Transcript: McConnell on Face the Nation – Time, 11-7-10
  • Rand Paul, the tea party-backed winner in Kentucky’s Senate race: “We’re coming. We’re proud. We’re strong. We’re loud. And we’re going to co-opt. And, in fact, I think we’re already shaping the debate,” he said of his fellow tea party candidates…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • Pelosi Urges Unity and Says She Will Work Toward Democratic Rebound:
    November 6, 2010
    Dear Democratic Colleague:
    In the 24 hours since I wrote seeking your views and your vote for Democratic Leader, I have been very gratified by the extensive and enthusiastic support I have received. Many of our colleagues, from all areas of our diverse Caucus, have been generous with their ideas and their support. I am grateful for the confidence that has been placed in me to be House Democratic Leader.
    Our conversations have focused on the difficult challenges facing America’s working families and our important work on their behalf in the 112th Congress. Foremost is the need to create jobs and promote the economic security of the American middle class. In addition, we must build the capacity for effectively communicating our message of job creation and opportunity for all, while supporting our signature achievements of health care, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare.
    In the 2006 election with our “New Direction” and “6 for ’06? message, we spoke with great clarity and unity — and we won. Now we must further modernize not only that message but the way in which we communicate with constituents.
    While we are deeply affected personally and politically by the loss of excellent members of our Caucus, nevertheless we hope those colleagues will continue the fight and rejoin us again in two years. We will begin the 112th Congress with talented new colleagues, and with a renewed dedication to fighting every day for jobs, economic recovery and the middle class.
    Thank you again for your leadership and for your friendship.
    best wishes,
    NANCY PELOSI
    WaPo, 11-6-10
  • Obama: “Leadership Isn’t Just Legislation” After Midterm Defeat, Humbled President Acknowledges Failures in Exclusive “60 Minutes” Interview: “I think that’s a fair argument. I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft in an exclusive interview set to air Sunday. “Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.” – CBS News, 11-5-10
  • Obama: Put politics aside to grow economy: “Based on today’s jobs report, we’ve now seen private sector job growth for 10 straight months. That means that since January, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs,” he said at the White House after the Labor Department reported that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October. “The most important competition that we face in the new century will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It’s the competition with countries around the world to lead the global economy, and our success or failure in this race will depend on whether we can come together as a nation.” “Our future depends on putting politics aside to solve problems, to worry about the next generation instead of the next election. We can’t spend the next two years mired in gridlock. Other countries like China aren’t standing still, so we can’t stand still either. We have to move forward.” – CNN, 11-5-10
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a speech to the Heritage Foundation: “We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same time recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.”… “But the fact is … it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen.”….He reiterated that his overriding goal is to “deny President Obama a second term in office.”
  • Exclusive: Boehner Expects ‘Whale of a Fight’ With Obama Over Taxes in Lame Duck Session: “We’re not in control,” Boehner said. “And I’ve not been party to any of these conversations. I’m for extending all of the current tax rates for all Americans.”… “The American people want us to find common ground,” he said. “And I’m hoping that the president heard what the American people had to say the other night.” – Fox News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin: The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward: Have an intelligent message, and fight for your right to be heard…. – NRO, 11-4-10
  • President Barack Obama, Press Conference: “I’ve got to do a better job,” he said, “like everybody else in Washington.” And he took responsibility for not doing enough to alter the ways of the capital, whether its hyper-partisanship or back-room dealing. “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things were done.”
  • Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting: “Change course we will,” describing the outcome as a clear mandate to shrink the government. That echoed the unrelenting demand of tea party activists whose energy and votes helped to fuel the largest turnover in the House in more than 70 years.
    “I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity,” Boehner said.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, No. 2 Republican in the House: “We’ve been given a second chance and a golden opportunity.” But, he added, “People want to see results.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived a tea party challenge in Nevada: “I’m ready for some tweaking” on the health care law but would fight its repeal.
    “If we need to work something out with the people who are really rich, I’ll have to look at that,” he said. “If there’s some tweaking we need to do with the health care bill, I’m ready for some tweaking. But I’m not going to in any way denigrate the great work we did as a country, and saving America from bankruptcy because of the insurance industry bankrupting us.”
  • Sarah Palin via Twitter: “As always, proud to be American! Thanks, Commonsense Constitutional Conservatives, u didn’t sit down & shut up…u “refudiated” extreme left”—so tweeted Sarah Palin on Election Night, demonstrating characteristic optimism in the face of what was decidedly a mixed bag for her politically…. Palin tweeted on Tuesday about the media, and specifically the Today Show: “Silly fellas! Chucky, remember, I’m not on ballot.”
  • Rick Scott FLA Gov (R): “There were plenty of pundits, politicians and insiders who said this victory was impossible. But the people of Florida knew exactly what they wanted. They sent a message loud and clear: they said, let’s get to work.”
  • Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who is poised to become the new speaker of the House: “Americans have sent an unmistakable message … tonight, and that message is: Change course.” Boehner acknowledged that his party’s ability to set the nation’s path will be limited with Democrats still in power in the Senate and the White House. “It’s the president who sets the agenda for our government,” he said…. “The American people were concerned about the government takeover of health care,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity.”
  • Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., in line to take over as House majority leader, said the driving issue in his party’s success was the economy: “Jobs first,” he said in describing the GOP’s priorities. Rolling back Obama’s health care initiative also will be a goal, he said. “There’s no question, last night indicated again that the majority of Americans want to see the repeal of Obamacare.”… “I hope that we’re able to put a repeal bill on the floor right away because that’s what the American people want,” he said Tuesday night. “They understand that this bill is going to bankrupt this country and take away the health care that they — most people in this country — know and like.”
  • STATEMENT FROM RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE ON THE PENNSYLVANIA ELECTIONS: Tonight, the Keystone State delivered a resounding repudiation of the reckless tax, borrow and spend agenda of Democrats in Washington and in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania voters have chosen principled, fiscally responsible leadership by electing Tom Corbett, Pat Toomey, and five new Republican members of Congress, who will work to help fix the economy and get Pennsylvanians back to work.
    These Republican wins are proof that the real catalysts for change in this country are the grassroots activists in small towns across the nation and the millions of families looking to earn an honest living and pursue the American dream. Through the tremendous leadership of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and support of an unprecedented Victory effort of twenty-six offices and twenty-seven dedicated staff, we were able to communicate our Party’s message, identify voters, get our supporters to the polls, and deliver Republican victories across the state.
    I would like to congratulate Pat Toomey, Tom Corbett, and all of our federal and state legislative Republican candidates across Pennsylvania for their successful campaigns for limited government and fiscal responsibility. It is time for our nation and Pennsylvania to get back to work and leaders such as Pat Toomey and Tom Corbett will be on the frontlines to ensure that we do.
  • Details on President Obama’s call the House Republican leader John Boehner from the AP: “During what Boehner described as a brief but pleasant midnight conversation, the two discussed working together on priorities for Americans. Boehner says he told the president that the people expect them to cut spending and create jobs.”
  • House Republican Leader John Boehner is speaking: “Listen, I’ll be brief, because we have real work to do ?” and this is not a time for celebration … not when one in 10 of our fellow citizens are out of work …not when we have buried our children under a mountain of debt … not when our Congress is held in such low esteem.? of our fellow citizens are out of work … not when we have buried our children under a mountain of debt … not when our Congress is held in such low esteem.”
  • New York Democratic Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo seemed to be speaking to Tea Partiers in his acceptance speech: He said, “You are not going to separate us, you can try that somewhere else, but not in New York.” He acknowledged that he and his party had work to do to rebuild trust with voters. But he asserted that “politics were over, we are going to be more united than ever before.”
  • MARCO RUBIO’S WORD OF CAUTION: Marco Rubio tempered his acceptance speech in the Florida Senate race with a word of caution to his fellow Republicans. He said, “Even now, the stories are being written about what this really means. The House of Representatives will change hands, and a growing number of Republicans will also serve in the Senate. But we will make a grave mistake if we think this is an embrace of the Republican Party. ” Instead he said, it was “a second chance” for his party “to be what we were meant to be.”
  • Republican Cantor vows to repeal health reform: Representative Eric Cantor, who is likely to become majority leader in the new Republican-led House of Representatives, vowed on Tuesday to repeal healthcare reform and cut federal spending. “We will get to work right away to reduce the deficit by cutting federal spending next year down to 2008 levels. That will save $100 billion in the first year alone,” he said, according to prepared remarks…. – Reuters, 11-2-10
  • HOUSE Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said: Democratic loses in the House, especially loses in his home state of Virginia, were “very tough.””We wanted to hold on to both [chambers of Congress] especially because we have had a great Speaker in Speaker Pelosi.”Speaking to reporters at Democratic headquarters, Kaine quickly turned to the optimistic view that Democrats will retain control of the Senate. “We remain confident we will have a strong showing and keep the majority,” he said.Refusing to offer what he called a post-mortem of the night, Kaine said the night’s results point to the need for both sides of the aisle to cooperate and listen to the American public.”Maybe it is a message from the American public,” he said. “We have a Democrat in the White House; we’ll have maybe a majority of Republican governors; we’ll have a Democratic Senate; Republican House: everyone has to work together and that is what I know the president will focus on.”
  • Christine O’Donnell Concession Speech: In her concession speech, Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell gave no ground in defeat. She said she had just gotten off the phone with her opponent, Democrat Chris Coons. “And I warned him that he was now in a position to help the people who are suffering … I asked him if he would fight to stop the death tax from being reinstated this Jan. 1.” She added, “We can only hope and pray that he chooses to go against his party and do what is right for the people of Delaware.” She vowed to continue fighting for her positions. “Our elected officials will be held accountable to their constituents, like it or not.”
  • Rand Paul: KY SENATE: In his acceptance speech in Bowling Green, Ky., Republican Rand Paul called his win part of a “Tea Party tidal wave.” He said, “The American people are unhappy with what is going on in Washington. Tonight … we are sending a message to them.”
  • HOUSE: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was defiantly optimistic about his party’s chances to retain control of the house.Speaking to reporters at the Democratic headquarters shortly after 9, he rebuffed NBC News’ Norah O’Donnell when she said her network had already called Republicans had won a majority in the House. “Well, I think that is a mistake. That is way too early,” he said. and again I think that is a mistake and I think what you are seeing right now is voters going to polls and the verdict is out still.” “Democratic turnout has been higher than projected,” Van Hollen said. “Obviously we had a good early vote and we are seeing stronger than projected democratic turnout in races so far. Obviously there are a lot of polls around the country that has not closed yet in the mountain region and the West Coast. but we knew it would be challenging.” Moments after he walked out of the room CNN also called control of the House for Republicans. Van Hollen’s words seemed to be a final cry for hope: “We remain confident we will have a strong showing and keep the majority.”
  • Obama says post-election agenda hinges on having allies: President Barack Obama said the fate of his policy agenda would depend on having allies in Congress as he pressed supporters to turn out and vote in a bid to minimize his Democrats’ losses in Tuesday’s congressional elections. “Everybody who is listening: Just remember, the future is yours to shape. But if you don’t get involved, somebody is going to shape it for you … one of the best ways to do that is to vote today,” Obama said in an interview on Los Angeles radio station KPWR.
    With the midterm elections shaping up as a referendum on his first two years, Obama insisted his administration had accomplished a lot after taking office in the midst of the worst financial crisis in decades. He cited a return to economic growth — albeit slow and halting — plus a sweeping healthcare overhaul and a U.S. troop drawdown in Iraq among his achievements. Obama acknowledged that job growth is slower than it needs to be but said he would keep the focus on reducing unemployment as well as improving education. “Across the board, things have gotten better over the last two years. We can only keep it up if I’ve got some friends and allies in Congress and statehouses,” Obama, speaking from the Oval Office, said on the youth-oriented radio station’s whose slogan is “Where hip hop lives.” Reuters, 11-2-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Richard Norton Smith: Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: “Let’s face it,” says Richard Norton Smith, a history professor at George Mason University, the outcome “is schizophrenic.” He says voters demand change, then punish lawmakers who made change possible. Voters insist they want representatives who work across the aisle, yet reward the ones who make sure that doesn’t happen. “They claim to want to address fundamental issues, including the budget deficit, but don’t want to take the costly steps to get us there,” says Smith…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Gil Troy: Obama 2.0 Must Lead from the Center Humbly and Substantively: The American voters gave President Barack Obama a good, old-fashioned political whupping on Tuesday. It was a stunning political reversal as Mr. Yes We Can became Mr. Why Can’t They Understand and Appreciate Me? President Barack Obama must learn his lesson from this political drubbing. To redeem his presidency, he must do what he originally promised to do, lead from the center—humbly and substantively….
    Obama still has the time and the national good will to recover. Most Republican campaign commercials targeted Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or big government, not the president. This nuance reflected Obama’s personal popularity, despite his 55 percent negative job approval rating. Moreover, the economy could still revive, unemployment could fall, the Republicans could self-destruct by misreading this election as an invitation to showcase their extremists.
    Political greatness, in fact personal greatness, does not come from winning all the time, but from knowing how to turn devastating defeats into incredible opportunities. The true test of Barack Obama the man and the president has begun. – HNN, 11-4-10
  • Tevi Troy: Secondary Purge: Politico has a piece on an expected shakeup of the White House staff in the wake of the Democrats’ historic election defeat. This may be a good idea, but it’s important to remember that the White House has already engaged in one of the more extensive White House staff shakeups in recent memory, replacing the chief of staff, the head of the National Economic Council, the national security adviser, and the head of the Council of Economic Advisers over the last few months. The election debacle may prompt more heads to roll, but purging more staffers will not solve the White House’s problems…. – NRO, 11-4-10
  • Obama’s ‘shellacking’ puts his legacy in jeopardy: “It was conciliatory and rambling. He was flailing to find issues to compromise on,” said Princeton University public affairs professor Julian E. Zelizer. “It wasn’t the image of someone who’s decisive and in control.” The president by nature is a consensus seeker, Zelizer said. “He’s not totally comfortable with the political part of the job.” The more Obama leans toward the center to appease the Republicans, however, the more he risks alienating his liberal base. In that case, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who wisely stayed off the stump this election season — may become a more viable 2012 presidential candidate for the Democrats, Zelizer said…. – AMNY, 11-4-10
  • Rick Perlstein: How Obama Enables Rush: We live in a mendocracy. As in: rule by liars. Political scientists are going crazy crunching the numbers to uncover the skeleton key to understanding the Republican victory last Tuesday. – The Daily Beast (11-6-10)
  • Allan Lichtman: The Joyless Election: …[N]ever before in the history of the United States has such a sweeping victory by one political party elicited so little joy and such minimal expectations. The American voters rejected the leadership of the Democratic Party that controlled the presidency and both Houses of Congress…. Above all, this year voters repudiated the government of the United States. This is the third consecutive election in which the voters ousted the party in power. However, dissatisfaction with government extends more deeply into the American past…. – Gazette.net (MD) (11-5-10)
  • David M. Kennedy: Throwing the Bums Out for 140 Years: SO we have had three “wave” elections in a row: control of both chambers of Congress changed hands in 2006, as did the presidency in 2008, and the House flipped back to Republican domination last week. All this apparently incoherent back-and-forth has left the political class reeling and set the commentariat aflutter. Explanations for our current political volatility abound: toxic partisanship, the ever more fragmented and strident news media, high unemployment, economic upheaval and the clamorous upwelling of inchoate populist angst. But the political instability of our own time pales when compared with the late 19th century. In the Gilded Age the American ship of state pitched and yawed on a howling sea of electoral turbulence. For decades on end, “divided government” was the norm. In only 12 of the 30 years after 1870 did the same party control the House, the Senate and the White House…. – NYT (11-7-10)
  • Daniel K. Williams: A Victory for the Christian Right: Immediately after the 2010 midterm elections, the National Right to Life Committee declared the results a victory for the pro-life cause, claiming that 65 seats in Congress had switched from pro-choice to pro-life. The Family Research Council likewise declared that voters had soundly rejected President Barack Obama’s efforts to allow gays to serve openly in the military. Voters in Iowa recalled three state Supreme Court justices who had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Across the nation, Christian conservatives claimed victories for their cultural causes after seeing Tuesday’s election results. Why, then, did most of the media—and the Republican Party leadership—say so little about religion in the election analysis?…. – PBS (11-5-10)
  • Robert Dallek: The Long View of the Tea Party: Regardless of how many seats change hands in the election, one result is already clear: The tea party movement will, for the immediate future, influence the direction of the Republican Party…. – Politico (11-4-10)
  • Alan Brinkley: Obama vs. Tea Party: Think FDR vs. Huey Long: In the aftermath of the massive Democratic losses on Election Day, the tea party movements have proved that their efforts made a significant contribution to the Republican victories. Though only a few true tea party candidates were actually elected — most prominently Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida — there can be no doubt that the movement’s energy and anger were perhaps the crucial factor…. – Politico (11-4-10)
  • Steven M. Gillon: The Lessons of 1994: Democrats are still absorbing the electoral drubbing they suffered at the polls this week. As the New York Times reported, nearly every congressional district in America voted more Republican in 2010 than in 2008. Republicans rode a wave of well-financed and carefully orchestrated (but no less genuine) public anger at a struggling economy that shows little signs of improving. Gleeful conservative pundits are already predicting that the election marked the beginning of the end of the Obama presidency. Dispirited Democrats worry they may be right. But are they?… – Huffington Post (11-4-10)
  • Victor Davis Hanson: America Just Checked into Rehab: On Tuesday, voters rejected President Obama’s attempt to remake America in the image of an imploding Europe — not just by overwhelmingly electing Republican candidates to the House, but by preferring dozens of maverick conservatives who ran against the establishment. Why the near-historic rebuke? Out-of-control spending, unchecked borrowing, vast new entitlements, and unsustainable debt — all at a time of economic stagnation. So what is next? Like the recovering addict who checks himself into rehab, a debt-addicted America just snapped out of its borrowing binge, is waking up with the shakes, and hopes there is still a chance of recovery…. – National Review (11-4-10)
  • Historic Perspective on Republican Shift: Presidential historian Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith of George Mason University and Beverly Gage of Yale University examine the results of Tuesday’s midterm election in the context of races past…. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-10Mp3
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, presidential historian: I think we can stamp this one with historic…. But I think, in this case, it has the added advantage of being true, as they say in Texas — was historic for a couple of reasons. One is, the Obama presidency is unlikely to be the same again. The things he was able to do with control of Congress, it is going to be very different now that he’s lost one house. Also, you don’t usually see a wave of this magnitude, hasn’t happened quite like this in at least a half-century. So, the American people were obviously saying something very powerful, very different from what they said two years ago…. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-10
  • BEVERLY GAGE, assistant professor, Yale University: I do agree. And I would say that, looking back to this half-century, we really want to look at 1946 as a really good example of a moment where a midterm actually was a sea change. And I think it’s an interesting model, going back to what we were saying with the health care debate, which is that, in 1946, there was a lot of talk about labor law, and, as this new Republican Congress came in under a Democratic president, they actually managed to do something significant. They didn’t repeal the labor laws that had been passed during the New Deal, but they did actually succeed in passing new laws like Taft-Hartley, that severely restricted the kinds of legislations that they had been objecting to for upwards of a decade at that point…. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-10
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, scholar in residence, George Mason University: Let me think about that. 1930, of course, Herbert Hoover had been sold to the American people as this un — non- politician, the hero of World War 1 who defended Belgium and the rest of the world, never run for office before. Both parties wanted to make him president in 1920. The slogan was, “Who but Hoover?” He was elected in 1928 with very high expectations. And then, of course, Wall Street collapses. And, in 1930, the Democrats come within a whisker of taking over the House. And then, through a series of bi-elections, they actually take the House. And there’s no doubt that they stopped Hoover’s program cold… … and enshrined Hoover in public memory to this day as a man who is synonymous not with feeding people, but denying, in effect, government aid to victims of the Depression…. PBS Newshour, 11-4-10
  • Michael Beschloss: Historian Predicts Obama Will Be Reelected Despite Midterm Election Results (VIDEO): ‘The Daily Show’ (weeknights, 11PM ET on COM) partnered with ‘The Colbert Report’ for ‘Indecision 2010′ on election night, offering viewers live coverage of the midterm results. Jon Stewart noted that it’s standard practice for the nation’s ruling party to “lose some seats” in midterm elections. However, presidential historian Michael Beschloss admitted they don’t usually lose this many seats.
    But if history repeats itself, he had some good news for President Obama. “The three presidents in recent times who have had midterm loss like this have been Truman, Eisenhower, Bill Clinton. Every single one of them got reelected.” “So your thought is, ‘What a great night for Barack Obama!’” joked Stewart. – TV Squad, 11-3-10
  • Tevi Troy Visiting Senior Fellow, the Hudson Institute, How does Obama explain the GOP landslide?: President Obama has a lot of explaining to do. He came into office with a great deal of goodwill, strong majorities in both houses of Congress, and an opposition party in complete disarray. Less than two years later, the goodwill and the House majority are gone, and Republicans are resurgent. It will not be possible to make complete amends in a single press conference, but he can start by signaling a move to the middle and a willingness to work in a more bipartisan manner…. – Politico
  • Julian Zelizer: As the GOP Gains Control of the House, What Does the Party Have to Do? John Boehner Expected to Become Next Speaker of the House: “[Boehner's] first challenge is to control the rebels,” said Julian Zelizer, political analyst and professor of politics at Princeton University. “Some of the ideological division we see will be because of the Tea Party types, but also just because of freshmen determined to show they’re not part of the status quo.”
    “The Republicans don’t want to look like a whole cohort of Christine O’Donnell’s came to town,” said Zelizer referring to the losing Tea Party candidate who admitted during the campaign she once dabbled in witchcraft. “Maverick outsiders who are good at attack politics but who are not necessarily politicians who can’t handle the responsibilities of the office.”
    “Boehner has to make sure that’s not the image that people are left with in two years,” said Zelizer.
    “The GOP really needs to decide whether their strategy is to try to obtain some legislation that their supporters would like or to focus on a strategy on pure obstruction and grandstanding. Both have dangers and benefits,” Zelizer said…. – ABC News, 11-3-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Is it 1994 all over again?: Republicans effectively gained control over Congress on Tuesday. The GOP won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, thus overturning the gains Democrats made in 2006 and 2008.
    In the Senate, where the procedural power of the minority has already given Republicans the power to shape deliberations, the narrowed Democratic ranks will further weaken the majority.
    In the weeks running up to the election, there were some commentators who concluded that the current situation would be the best outcome for President Obama.
    Pointing to the example of the 1994 midterms, which gave Republicans control of Congress, they have argued that a bad outcome for Democrats would ironically allow Obama to regain his standing. Obama could use Republicans as a foil to attack extremism — just as Clinton did with Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995 and 1996 — and he would have political cover and incentives to move closer toward the center, where voters would like him more….
    Now, with 2012 over the horizon, the GOP will have more incentives to oppose the president. Indeed, Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, recently said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
    At the same time, Obama faces a significant risk if he tries to appease Republicans in Clinton-like fashion. After all, many liberals are already frustrated with the kinds of compromises Obama has made. Going too far — for example, declaring that the era of big government is over — could trigger a challenge to the president in the Democratic primaries.
    We should hope that the United States is not about to live through a repeat performance of what occurred after 1994. The nation faces too many pressing economic and foreign policy problems to have that happen again. – CNN, 11-3-10
  • Paul Green, Roosevelt University political science professor and commentator Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “The election really doesn’t make a difference. Everything will be held up. Bipartisanship has become a code word for political treason.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • David Claborn, Olivet Nazarene University associate professor of political science and history Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “We voted against a party and a status quo, not necessarily for the people who won. I don’t think the election has given us much of a clue as to what will happen.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • Jacob Weisberg: Faking Right How the Republican Congress will abandon Tea Party ideas and legislate toward the center: In the likely event that Republicans capture control of one or both houses of Congress next week, the new leaders will face a strategic question. Should they pursue the agenda of the Tea Party movement that brought them to power? Or should they try to mollify their party’s base with gestures and symbols, without taking its radical ideology too seriously? While they’ll never discuss this problem honestly, indications point in the latter direction. That is, the GOP’s congressional leadership will feint right while legislating closer to the center.
    The choice is between a Ronald Reagan strategy and a Newt Gingrich strategy. Reagan, who first rode a new conservative movement to the presidency in 1980, was a master of the right fake. After one brief and disastrous attempt to reduce Social Security spending in 1981, Reagan never seriously challenged federal spending again. But Reagan sounded so convincing in his rhetorical flights that most conservatives and liberals walk around today thinking that he cut government. Reagan was just as slippery with the religious right, embracing them while wasting little political capital on issues like abortion or school prayer. President George W. Bush followed this same model, humoring the base while letting government expand…. – Slate, 11-3-10
  • A deeply divided government is tasked with building consensus: “There isn’t going to be a candidate around which they can unify all factions of the party,” University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala offered. “For all the talk from the Republican elite about unifying, I wonder if it’s already too late.”…
    “The President may go the Bill Clinton route to build up his centrist credentials,” Prof. Scala said. “If that’s the case, a lot of [progressive] House Democrats will be put in cold storage for a couple of years.”… – The Globe & Mail, 11-2-10
  • Julian Zelizer: Le Congrès, acteur central de la politique américaine: C’est dû au pouvoir que le Congrès accorde au «parti perdant au Sénat», explique Julian Zelizer, professeur de science politique à l’université de Princeton. La minorité d’opposition peut en effet décider de bloquer un projet de loi, en se livrant à la pratique de l’obstruction systématique (filibuster). Seule une majorité sénatoriale des deux tiers peut mettre fin au blocage. Le Congrès dispose d’autres «instruments» considérables pour borner et contrôler le pouvoir exécutif, puisqu’il tient les cordons de la bourse et peut décider de limiter le budget, note Zelizer. Il peut enterrer des projets législatifs et dispose aussi d’un rôle d’enquête très important grâce à ses puissantes commissions parlementaires et autres commissions ad hoc. – Le Figaro, 1-2-10
  • Stefan Zaklin: Bush Is Back Why Republicans and Democrats alike are about to contract a serious case of Bush nostalgia: Nostalgia is a powerful force in American politics. Consider this year’s midterm elections. Democrats wanted to return to the Clinton years, when budgets were balanced and the economy was booming. Glenn Beck and his Tea Party followers yearned for a time before Woodrow Wilson. And while the rest of the Republican Party didn’t pledge to take the country back quite as far—the 1950s, for example, would do just fine—it still pledged to take the country back. For a lot of people, the past is preferable to the present.
    But is our penchant for political pining expansive enough to encompass someone as seemingly irredeemable as, say, George W. Bush?
    We’re about to find out. When Bush retired in 2009, the near consensus was that he—like the Vietnam War, the Teapot Dome scandal, or Millard Fillmore—was nostalgia-proof. The national debt stood at $11.3 trillion, more than double what it was when he took office. The economy hadn’t been so bad since the Great Depression. Inherited surpluses equal to 2.5 percent of GDP had become deficits equal to 3 percent of GDP. And Americans were still dying in two wars—one neglected, the other inexplicable. In Rolling Stone, historian Sean Wilentz awarded Bush the title of “worst president in history.” Many voters agreed: his final approval ratings hovered around 22 percent, a near-record low.
    What You Missed: Midterm Elections in 7 Minutes Haven’t been paying attention this election season? Here’s everything you need to know in brief
    Over the next few months, however, the thinking on Bush is likely to be challenged. In fact, some voters—and politicians—might even find themselves longing for a return to the Inauspicious Aughties. In part that’s because the former president is releasing a memoir of his time in office, Decision Points, on Nov. 9. After nearly two years of silence, he’ll headline the Miami Book Fair, appear on Oprah, and enjoy the predictable softening of public sentiment that comes when an embattled figure emerges from the wilderness and starts spending a lot of time to promote his side of the story. But there’s a bigger reason that Bush nostalgia is about to become a very real phenomenon inside and outside the Beltway: the Tea Party. As far-right rookies like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and Ken Buck begin to arrive on Capitol Hill, as they’re expected to, both mainstream Republicans and Democrats will realize that, whatever their disagreements with him—real or fabricated—Dubya and his ilk would be far more constructive partners in governing than the new kids on the block…. – Newsweek, 11-2-10
  • A Conservative Victory for Now: The date was March 20, 1981 and Ronald Reagan who had taken the oath of office for his first term just three months earlier was addressing a joint meeting of the American Conservative Union, Young Americans for Freedom, the National Review and Human events.
    It was a very different era. Many of the youth in the audience were members of Generation X, born 1965 through 1980, and Reagan would be in office as Generation Y debuted in 1981 through 1995. Spanning those generations was one that would fill out the present demographic of today’s senior citizens, a critical voting bloc; one that can recall Reagan’s values and hopes to see them restored….
    For Reagan, the conservative goal was “to restore to their rightful place in our national consciousness the values of family, work, neighborhood, and religion” and he warned that it will not be achieved “by those who set people against people, class against class, or institution against institution.”
    That was and is a perfect description of Barack Obama and a Democratic Party that knows no other way of governing and has no faith in the people.
    Reagan never lost faith in the American people even though, for a while, they have been forgetful of the past, backsliding from the goals set by the Founding Fathers, robbed and wronged, but who are ready to rise again and restore America…. – Canada Free Press, 11-1-10
  • History Lessons: Midterms as Political Referendum: BEVERLY GAGE, professor, Yale University: Well, midterm elections, historically, are almost always overshadowed by presidential elections. We tend to think in terms of presidents. But they have played really critical roles at some really key moments in American history. And the moments where they have been most important have largely been when two things happened. The first is when either the Senate or the House or both of them have changed hands from one party to another, most often, because it’s a midterm election, from the president’s party to the opposite.
    And the second is when these party changes happen at moments where really critical issues are at stake. A couple of examples that come to mind, 1918, you see a switch in the Senate in particular under Woodrow Wilson. They scotch his plans for the League of Nations.
    Another significant midterm election, 1946, Harry Truman has just become president. You begin to get real Republican pushback against New Deal policies and against Harry Truman’s domestic agenda…..
    Woodrow Wilson notoriously handled it incredibly poorly. By the time he’s at the end of World War I, he’s had a stroke.
    But he also, in particular, took this Republican repudiation deeply personally. He refused to work with them. And it really ruined a lot of his plans. Presidents who can step back a little bit, take it a little bit less personally, and try to negotiate some sort of compromise tend to do a little bit better in those sorts of scenarios.
    I do think the 1934 election is an interesting parallel to look at. It’s, on the one hand, quite exceptional, because the Democrats, under Franklin Roosevelt, actually pick up so many seats that year.
    But, given that Obama was in fact being so roundly compared to Franklin Roosevelt when he was elected — we were going to have another New Deal in the midst of economic crisis — I do think it’s worth asking why the repudiation of Obama has been quite as severe as it is, and why he couldn’t capitalize, like Roosevelt did in 1934.
    We said, it’s an exceptional moment, certainly, but, given all of those earlier comparisons, I think it’s worth thinking about. – PBS Newshour, 10-27-10
  • History Lessons: Midterms as Political Referendum: RICHARD NORTON SMITH, scholar in residence, George Mason University: I would add, it certainly is a historical trend. In the last 100 years, only twice, has a president, his party in power added seats in…
    The first — in the two years, halfway through the first term, in 1934, FDR at the height of the New Deal. And then, in 2002, George W. Bush defied the odds in the wake of 9/11, and Republicans actually picked up seats.
    Now, the real curse in American party politics is the six-year curse. Six years into a president’s term, it’s Katy bar the door. But the fact is, two years… He’s a lame duck. He’s probably intellectually spent….
    It is increasingly so (a referendum), I think particularly in the modern media age. I mean, one of the interesting things is, for 40 years, the Democrats had the House, from early ’50s until ’94. The Republicans then took the House and held on to it for 12 years. The Democrats took the House back in 2006. If they lose it on Tuesday, they will have had it for four years.
    There’s something going on here. The period of one-party dominance has been shrinking measurably. And I think that’s in part because of the emphasis we place on the executive. We have personalized these elections. They’re not localized. This is — for lots of people, this is a referendum on Barack Obama.
    And it’s not just the angry anti-Obama forces. If you’re on the left, and you are disappointed in this administration for whatever reason, you can express your disappointment by not voting. And that is a significant fact. That’s the source of the enthusiasm gap, I think, that we have heard about all year….
    And, if you have lost your job, you’re depressed. There’s no doubt that there are lots people in this country who are hurting. More than that, there is this pervasive — I think pervasive fear that the future may not be what Americans traditionally have assumed it to be.
    There’s a clear fear of China. There’s a sense that this is a country and a culture that may be in the decline. But, in terms of 1934, it was an affirmation of, in a sense, the radicalization that was in 1932. FDR took government places that no president had before. And, by 1934, people felt, psychologically at least, whatever the economic indices were, things were getting better. And so they endorsed him.
    This time around, we didn’t go over the cliff. “It could have been worse” is not a banner that millions of people are going to march behind to the polls. But, in effect, that’s the Obama argument. The argument is, if you listen to the economists, eight million jobs were not lost because of the hated bailouts and TARP and all the other stuff, many of which are Bush initiatives….
    And I think it complicates — it’s a very difficult message that Obama has to deliver…
    I would say he has company, yes. The conventional wisdom is, Bill Clinton brilliantly stole Republican clothes.
    He actually turned this to his advantage by co-opting the center and by waiting for the Republicans to overreach, the shutdown of the government, and et cetera.
    But, I mean, he moved to a balanced budget. He signed the welfare reform package. And so, by ’96….
    Republican ideas. He basically shut the door on Bob Dole or any Republican candidate. The question is whether Barack Obama, in today’s media climate, with the left on the blogosphere holding his feet to the fire, whether he has as much latitude if he wants to move to the center that Bill Clinton had. PBS Newshour, 10-27-10

Midterm Elections 2010: Results, Reactions & Post Election Wrap-up to Historic Republican Sweep

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

STATS & RESULTS

Getty

    2010 Election: Live results (USA Today):

    U.S. House RESULTS: D 187 – R 239
    CURRENT: D 256 – R 179

    U.S. Senate RESULTS: D 53 R 46 CURRENT: D 57 – R 41

    Governor RESULTS: D 17 – R 29 I – 3
    CURRENT: D 26 – R 24

    Washington Post:
    Senate: D 53 – R 46
    House: D 186 – R 239
    Governor: D 18 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

  • Steny Hoyer mulls bid for minority whip
  • Nancy Pelosi announces she will run for minority leader: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has tweeted that she will run to lead Democrats in the House of Representatives.
  • Unemployment rate holds at 9.6 percent: The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in October, as the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent.
  • A.P. Projects Democrat Patty Murray Will Hold Washington Senate Seat: The Associated Press is projecting that Senator Patty Murray, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, will defeat her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, in Washington State.
  • Democrat Wins Illinois Governor Race: Gov. Patrick J. Quinn was declared the winner of the race for governor of Illinois by The Associated Press this afternoon…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • In Connecticut, Two Men Prepare to Be Governor: Thursday was the first full day of work for the transition team of Dannel P. Malloy, the Democrat who was certain he was the winner in the race for governor of Connecticut. Dannel P. Malloy, the former Democratic mayor of Stamford, was declared the unofficial winner. It was also the first full day of work for the transition team of Thomas C. Foley, the Republican who was equally sure he was the victor. Clearly, one of these men was going to be terribly disappointed. But when and how was still, well, unclear…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Oregon: Democrat wins historic 3rd term as governor: Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley are locked in a tight race for governor in Oregon after a big- spending campaign that… AP, 11-4-10
  • Murkowski acts like victor but questions linger: Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is acting as though she already has pulled off an improbable victory after her write-in candidacy, enthusiastically thanking supporters and telling them they’ve made history. She may have won. Or she may be overly optimistic. The race is far from over…. – wApO, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored huge and historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even the great performance the party had in congressional races. GOP candidates picked up about 650 Democratic-held seats, the most in nearly half a century. Republicans now control more legislative seats than at any time since 1928.
    “To describe this as a Republican wave would be a vast understatement,” says elections expert Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They won in places where we didn’t see it coming, and they won in places where we did see it coming,” he says. The shift will have a big effect on spending, taxes, public education and how political districts are drawn…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Revolution in the States The GOP also made history down ballot on Tuesday: Here’s a prediction: Democrats and liberals will soon preach the virtues of Congressional redistricting reform. The reason is the historic losses Democrats suffered on Tuesday at the state level that have set Republicans up to dominate the post-2000 Census process of rewriting district lines.
    The GOP’s failure to take over the U.S. Senate has masked the arguably more important story that Republicans picked up at least a record 680 state legislative seats nationwide. That’s more than even the 472 seat gain in 1994, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, and more than the previous record of 628 seats by … – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Poll: GOP candidates top Obama in hypothetical 2012 race: President Obama trails some top GOP contenders in a hypothetical 2012 matchup.
    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the favorite for the GOP 2012 presidential nomination
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a close second
    Nearly three-quarters of Democrats say they want to see the party renominate Barack Obama in 2012… – CNN, 11-4-10
  • Poll: Obama Would Beat Palin in 2012: The midterm elections are so yesterday. The eyes of many political insiders are already turning to 2012. President Obama would handily beat Sarah Palin in the next presidential election, despite strong anti-incumbent feelings and the Democrats losing the House to the GOP this week, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates.
    And while Obama would win against the Tea Party favorite, 52% to 44% among registered voters, pit the President against Mike Huckabee and it’s an entirely different story.
    The former Arkansas Governor and 2008 GOP White House candidate would beat Obama 52% to 44% in a hypothetical matchup, the survey reveals.
    While there’s no clear GOP frontrunner, 21% Republicans said they’re most likely to back Huckabee, 20% said they’d support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 14% said they’d back Palin and 12% were for ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
    Romney would also beat Obama 50 % to 45%, but Obama would beat Gingrich 49% to 47%…. – US News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin’s ‘Take Back the 20′ PAC scores a bull’s-eye: During the 2010 midterm elections, Sarah Palin went hunting for Democrats and nearly bagged her limit. “Take Back the 20,” Palin’s political action committee, targeted 20 congressional districts across the country that John McCain carried in 2008 but had Democratic representatives in Congress.
    The results are eye-opening. Palin succeeded in 18 of 20 districts, losing in West Virginia’s 3rd House District. At this time, the race in Arizona’s 8th House District is too close to call.
    The 18 Republican winners unseated freshman politicians, congressional veterans and even House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • Religion’s role in the November 2010 election: It may surprise some, but here are two typical pre-election statements made at churches and synagogues. From first-hand experience interviewing people in America’s two largest religions — Christianity and Judaism — about 50 percent of Bible and Torah believers often don’t let their faith influence their voting. It’s more about party affiliation and the economy…. – Yahoo News, 11-4-10
  • Parsing the Myths of the Midterm Election: Every election develops its own mythology, usually before the official results are even certified, and this week’s was no different. And like all mythology, the narrative that is being woven around the midterm elections by Bulfinches from both parties is a blend of history, facts and, yes, myths. Before it hardens into accepted fact, some of the new conventional wisdom might benefit from one more spin on the potter’s wheel: The Mandate Myth
    The Return to the Republican Fold
    The Lost Youth Vote
    Disaster for the President
    Mythmakers, or Debunkers, Know What They’re Talking About – NYT, 11-5-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • GOP deciding which direction to go with new authority after midterm victory: Jubilant over their landslide victory in the House and their pickup of six Senate seats, Republican leaders nevertheless face a dilemma as they debate how to exert their new authority. Their energetic conservative base is eager to thwart President Obama’s every move, and if Republicans fail at doing so, they risk disappointing the supporters who turned out in vast numbers for Tuesday’s midterm elections. But if Republicans overreach, and ultimately deliver very little, independents could return to the Democratic fold in time to reelect Obama…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • Are GOP leaders going too far with their criticism of Obama?: The president certainly has been getting it from GOP leaders the past few days. But the real question regarding Obama, the Republicans say, is: ‘Is he getting it?’…. – CS Monitor, 11-5-10
  • Obama Says Jobs Report Is Encouraging for Recovery: President Barack Obama said today’s employment report is a sign that the economy is recovering from the “terrible damage” caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression. Still, recent increases in private sector employment are “not good enough,” Obama said at the White House. “The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high.” Obama spoke before leaving for a 10-day trip through Asia that is focused on trade and expanding U.S. exports. In remarks directed at Congress, he said the U.S. can’t afford to get “mired” in partisan battles over policy while countries such as China move forward to expand their economies…. – Bloomberg, 11-5-10
  • Obama admits failing to sell successes to Americans: US President Barack Obama acknowledged he had failed to persuade Americans of his administration’s successes, following an election hammering which saw his party lose control of the House of Representatives.
    “We were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation, that it’s a matter of persuading people,” Obama told CBS show “60 Minutes” in excerpts released Friday. “We haven’t always been successful at that,” the president added. “I take personal responsibility for that, and it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully as I go forward.”… – AFP, 11-5-10
  • Introducing Sarah Palin’s ‘non-political’ Alaska: It’s a tricky thing, being “non-politcally political.” But, gosh darn it, that’s exactly the type of social media campaign that TLC has launched around its reality series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which premieres Nov. 14. Days after launching the show’s website, spalaska.com, TLC hosted a launch party Thursday night in Manhattan to show clips of the show and to convey the site’s mantra: “It’s not political!”… – LAT, 11-5-10
  • It’s Reaction Day, which is like Election Day but lazier: The New York Post: “HUMBLED” reads the main hed; “My fault, pres says day after Dems lose 61 seats in House.” The picture is worth a few more words: eyes downturned and closed, his mouth in a pout that gathers more flesh under his lower lip than you probably thought he had on his whole head.
    Daily News: “WOE BAMA!” is the News’ slightly less serious wood for the Obama shellacking story, advertising four pages of coverage of Reaction Day. It’s a similar, but more close-cropped pouty Obama we get here. But it’s time to move on, right?… – Capital New York, 11-4-10
  • GOP asserts new strength, targets Obama programs: Victorious at the polls, congressional Republicans asserted their newfound political strength on Thursday, vowing to seek a quick $100 billion in federal spending cuts and force repeated votes on the repeal of President Barack Obama’s prized health care overhaul.
    At the White Houses, Obama said his administration was ready to work across party lines in a fresh attempt to “focus on the economy and jobs” as well as attack waste in government. In a show of bipartisanship, he invited top lawmakers to the White House at mid-month, and the nation’s newly elected governors two weeks later…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • US president Barack Obama’s torment at election ‘shellacking’: President Barack Obama’s rivals did cartwheels of jubilation yesterday after seizing control of the US Congress. Victorious congressman Ed Perlmutter’s extravagant acrobatics marked the Republicans’ biggest win in the mid-term elections since the Great Depression of 1938. But their capture of the House of Representatives left American politics in paralysis last night as the right-wingers looked set to hamper a major economic stimulus plan by Obama’s Democrats.
    In a White House press conference yesterday, the humbled President sighed: “I am not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. I am sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. “It feels bad. It’s hard. I take responsibility. I’ve got to do a better job.” The man who swept to the White House two years ago conceded: “Some election nights are more fun than others.”… – Mirror UK, 11-4-10
  • Election doesn’t end major discord for GOP, Obama: Barely an hour after President Barack Obama invited congressional Republicans to post-election talks on Nov. 18 to work together on major issues, the Senate’s GOP leader had a blunt message: His party’s main goal is denying Obama re-election.
    “The only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
    “I want us to talk substantively about how we can move the American people’s agenda forward,” Obama said of the upcoming meeting with lawmakers. “It’s not just going to be a photo op.”… – AP, 11-4-10
  • Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan: “If the goal of the majority is to govern, what is the purpose of the minority?” one slide asked. “The purpose of the minority,” came the answer, “is to become the majority.” The presentation was the product of a strategy session held 11 days before Mr. Obama’s inauguration, when top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives began devising an early blueprint for what they would accomplish in Tuesday’s election: their comeback.
    How they did it is the story of one of the most remarkable Congressional campaigns in more than a half-century, characterized by careful plotting by Republicans, miscalculations by Democrats and a new political dynamic with forces out of both parties’ control. The unpredictable Tea Party movement, the torrent of corporate money from outside interests and an electorate with deep discontent helped shift the balance of power in Washington. The White House struggled to keep Democrats in line, with a misplaced confidence in the power of the coalition that propelled Mr. Obama into office. Republicans capitalized on backlash to the ambitious agenda Mr. Obama and his party pursued, which fueled unrestricted and often anonymous contributions to conservative groups, some advised by a nemesis Democrats thought they had shaken, Karl Rove. That money so strengthened the Republican assault across the country that an exasperated Democratic party strategist likened it to “nuclear Whac-a-Mole.”… – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The power shift may not last with Tea Partiers looking to disrupt their own leaders…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Rivalry Tests Tea-Party Clout: House Republicans are embroiled in a leadership struggle just days after their sweeping electoral victory, testing how much influence tea-party passions will have on how lawmakers run the chamber. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who raised money for many House candidates and was deeply involved in the Republicans’ campaign efforts, is running for chairman of the House Republican Conference, the No. 4 position in the House GOP, with the backing of party leaders. His opponent is Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a favorite of tea-party activists who is known for her colorful statements. Some GOP leaders believe she would be less effective, but many tea-party activists see this as a test of whether Republicans are listening to them…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even their performances in congressional races…. – USA Today, 11-4-10
  • Survivors’ scenarios could help in 2012: Figuring out why 29 vulnerable Democrats won while others lost could help leaders of both parties as they prepare for the 2012 elections…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Boost for Keeping All Bush Tax Cuts: President Barack Obama is open to considering the extension of all Bush-era tax cuts for a year or two, the White House confirmed Thursday, putting to a likely end any debate over whether to extend the breaks for high-income families. Instead, Congress is poised to grapple with a different set of questions when it returns this month for a final session of the current term: How and for how long should lawmakers grant an extension?…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • White House Pushes Back on Tax Cuts for Wealthy: While President Obama again signaled interest in finding common ground with Republicans in the wake of their electoral triumph, the White House on Thursday drew a firmer line against making permanent Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Mr. Obama and Republicans agree on extending the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush for the vast majority of Americans, but the president has opposed making them permanent for income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for households, essentially the richest 2 percent of Americans. The tax cuts expire at the end of the year…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Health-Care Industry Still Braces for Change: Repeal of the federal health-care overhaul was central to many Republican campaigns this season. But even with the House changing hands, health insurers, drug companies and hospitals said they were planning as if the law will stick…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Palin’s Endorsements Lay Base for a 2012 Run: If Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, decides to run for president in 2012, she will now have plenty of help. In New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary in the nation, Ms. Palin can count on the support of its newly elected senator, Kelly Ayotte. When the presidential campaign moves to South Carolina, the state’s new governor, Nikki Haley, will owe her one. And out West, Susana Martinez, who will take office as New Mexico’s governor, will be ready to help during a potential general election matchup with President Obama as the two parties battle over the growing number of Hispanic voters in the Southwest. Ms. Palin was not on any ballot. But the self-described “Mama Grizzly” had plenty at stake on Tuesday night as she sought to bolster her credentials as the Republican Party’s most powerful kingmaker and the voice of the newly empowered Tea Party movement. Ms. Palin had endorsed dozens of candidates, including ones in some of the highest-profile races…. – NYT, 11-4-10

QUOTES

  • Obama: “Leadership Isn’t Just Legislation” After Midterm Defeat, Humbled President Acknowledges Failures in Exclusive “60 Minutes” Interview: “I think that’s a fair argument. I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft in an exclusive interview set to air Sunday. “Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.” – CBS News, 11-5-10
  • Obama: Put politics aside to grow economy: “Based on today’s jobs report, we’ve now seen private sector job growth for 10 straight months. That means that since January, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs,” he said at the White House after the Labor Department reported that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October. “The most important competition that we face in the new century will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It’s the competition with countries around the world to lead the global economy, and our success or failure in this race will depend on whether we can come together as a nation.” “Our future depends on putting politics aside to solve problems, to worry about the next generation instead of the next election. We can’t spend the next two years mired in gridlock. Other countries like China aren’t standing still, so we can’t stand still either. We have to move forward.” – CNN, 11-5-10
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a speech to the Heritage Foundation: “We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same time recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.”… “But the fact is … it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen.”….He reiterated that his overriding goal is to “deny President Obama a second term in office.”
  • Exclusive: Boehner Expects ‘Whale of a Fight’ With Obama Over Taxes in Lame Duck Session: “We’re not in control,” Boehner said. “And I’ve not been party to any of these conversations. I’m for extending all of the current tax rates for all Americans.”… “The American people want us to find common ground,” he said. “And I’m hoping that the president heard what the American people had to say the other night.” – Fox News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin: The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward: Have an intelligent message, and fight for your right to be heard…. – NRO, 11-4-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Richard Norton Smith: Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: “Let’s face it,” says Richard Norton Smith, a history professor at George Mason University, the outcome “is schizophrenic.” He says voters demand change, then punish lawmakers who made change possible. Voters insist they want representatives who work across the aisle, yet reward the ones who make sure that doesn’t happen. “They claim to want to address fundamental issues, including the budget deficit, but don’t want to take the costly steps to get us there,” says Smith…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Gil Troy: Obama 2.0 Must Lead from the Center Humbly and Substantively: The American voters gave President Barack Obama a good, old-fashioned political whupping on Tuesday. It was a stunning political reversal as Mr. Yes We Can became Mr. Why Can’t They Understand and Appreciate Me? President Barack Obama must learn his lesson from this political drubbing. To redeem his presidency, he must do what he originally promised to do, lead from the center—humbly and substantively….
    Obama still has the time and the national good will to recover. Most Republican campaign commercials targeted Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or big government, not the president. This nuance reflected Obama’s personal popularity, despite his 55 percent negative job approval rating. Moreover, the economy could still revive, unemployment could fall, the Republicans could self-destruct by misreading this election as an invitation to showcase their extremists.
    Political greatness, in fact personal greatness, does not come from winning all the time, but from knowing how to turn devastating defeats into incredible opportunities. The true test of Barack Obama the man and the president has begun. – HNN, 11-4-10
  • Tevi Troy: Secondary Purge: Politico has a piece on an expected shakeup of the White House staff in the wake of the Democrats’ historic election defeat. This may be a good idea, but it’s important to remember that the White House has already engaged in one of the more extensive White House staff shakeups in recent memory, replacing the chief of staff, the head of the National Economic Council, the national security adviser, and the head of the Council of Economic Advisers over the last few months. The election debacle may prompt more heads to roll, but purging more staffers will not solve the White House’s problems…. – NRO, 11-4-10
  • Obama’s ‘shellacking’ puts his legacy in jeopardy: “It was conciliatory and rambling. He was flailing to find issues to compromise on,” said Princeton University public affairs professor Julian E. Zelizer. “It wasn’t the image of someone who’s decisive and in control.” The president by nature is a consensus seeker, Zelizer said. “He’s not totally comfortable with the political part of the job.” The more Obama leans toward the center to appease the Republicans, however, the more he risks alienating his liberal base. In that case, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who wisely stayed off the stump this election season — may become a more viable 2012 presidential candidate for the Democrats, Zelizer said…. – AMNY, 11-4-10 

Midterm Elections 2010: Results & Reactions, Republicans Gain Control of House, Obama Responds at Press Conference:

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

RESULTS

    Senate: D 51 – R 46
    House: D 184 – R 240
    Governor: D 16 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

    HNN Hot Topics: Midterm Elections

  • Live Blogging Election Night – NYT, The Caucus, 11-2-10
  • Midterm elections live blog 2010 – Yahoo News, 11-2-10
  • Michael Bennet (D) defeats Ken Buck (R) in Colorado Senate race: Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has beaten his tea-party-backed challenger, Republican Ken Buck, according to the Associated Press.
  • Washington, Colorado, Alaska Senate races: When will we know who won?: The Colorado, Washington State, and Alaska Senate races are undecided on Wednesday morning. They won’t tip the balance of power in the Senate, but two are important to Democrats…. – CS Monitor, 11-3-10
  • Write-in ballots lead in Alaska Senate race: The Alaska Senate race was headed for another nailbiter in the rematch between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and tea party favorite Joe Miller as supporters from both sides prepared Wednesday for a potentially prolonged ballot count…. – AP, 11-3-10

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

 

Presumptive next Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner

 

  • G.O.P Captures House, but Falls Short in Senate: “Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory,” writes Jeff Zeleny…. – New York Times
  • Republicans capture control of House; Dems to retain Senate: “Just four years after surrendering power, Republicans recaptured control of the House and made gains in the Senate on Tuesday night, in a major rebuff of President Obama and the Democrats by an electorate worried about the economy and the size of the government,” writes Dan Balz…. – Washington Post
  • GOP Wins House in Huge Swing: “Republicans won control of the House of Representatives as voters dealt a stiff rebuke to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in a historic wave that swept the GOP to power in states and districts across the country,” write Laura Meckler and Jonathan Weisman…. – Wall Street Journal
  • Republicans win House, Democrats retain Senate: “Republicans, tapping into widespread anger over the ailing economy and disappointment with President Obama’s leadership, wrested control of the House of Representatives from Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but fell just short of winning the Senate,” writes Douglas Stanglin…. – USA Today
  • Republicans promise limited government: Emboldened by a commanding House majority and Senate gains, Republican leaders vowed Wednesday to roll back the size of government and, in time, the nation’s sweeping health care law. President Barack Obama, reflective after his party’s drubbing, accepted blame for failing to deliver the economic security Americans demand while saying of his health overhaul: “This was the right thing to do.” He called the election a “shellacking.”
    After two years with fellow Democrats leading Congress, Obama now must deal for the rest of his term with the jarring reality of Republican control of the House, a diminished Democratic majority in the Senate and a new flock of lawmakers sworn to downsize government at every chance.
    The capital awoke — if it ever slept — to a new political order. With their lopsided win, Republicans are ushering in a new era of divided government and dethroning Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a prime target of their campaign…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Obama signals compromise with GOP on tax cuts: A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections. Obama ruefully called the Republican victories “a shellacking.”
    At a White House news conference, the president said that when Congress returns, “my goal is to make sure we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle class families.” He made no mention of his campaign-long insistence that tax cuts be permitted to expire on upper-income families, a position he said would avoid swelling the deficit but put him in conflict with Republicans.
    He also virtually abandoned his legislation — hopelessly stalled in the Senate — featuring economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources. “I’m going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem,” he said. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said, strongly implying there will be others…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • G.O.P. Leaders Vow to Repeal Health Care Law: At a news conference at the Capitol, the likely House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, invited President Obama to work with them on these and other goals. But they also quickly adopted an aggressive posture on some issues certain to antagonize Democrats, including a vow to repeal the big new health care law.
    Mr. Obama, at his own news conference in the East Room of the White House, called the election results “humbling,” but he also attributed the far-reaching Republican victories largely to the public’s frustration over the slow economic recovery. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy,” he said.
    The president said he was “eager to hear good ideas wherever they come from” and expressed a willingness to work with Republicans. “We must find common ground,” he said, “in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges.” And he cited energy and education as two policy areas on which Republicans and Democrats could see eye to eye…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • Obama Takes Responsibility for Voter Frustration: “Some election nights are more fun than others,” he told reporters in the East Room of the White House. “Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling.” He said that he had to take “direct responsibility” for the failure to repair the nation’s economic fortunes. But in his opening remarks and answers to early questions, Mr. Obama refused to say that the Republican wave that swept across the country was a fundamental rejection of his administration’s policies.
    “There is no doubt that people’s No. 1 concern is the economy,” he said. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy.” The president repeatedly said that he wanted to work with the newly empowered Republicans in Washington. But he also said more than once that there were some principles that both parties were going to be unwilling to compromise on…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • House leaders begin outlining priorities: Republicans on Wednesday pointed to their House takeover as a mandate to “change course” on economic policy and key elements of President Obama’s agenda, including the health care overhaul he pushed through Congress this year…. – USA Today, 11-3-10
  • Pelosi Election Results: What It Mean’s for Health Care Champion: Nancy Pelosi may not have been up for election Tuesday night, but many Republicans felt her ideas were, chief amongst them strong support for Obama’s health care plan. Several big ticket conservatives as well as new members of Congress have pledged to roll back key pieces of Obamacare or repeal it entirely…. – CBS News, 11-3-10
  • Sarah Palin The Mama Grizzly Scorecard: She didn’t appear on any ballot yet one big question of the Tuesday night election was how well did Sarah Palin do? Palin will point to a positive win-loss record—49 of her 77 candidates triumphed, (6 races had yet to be called by Wednesday morning.) But many of the highest-profile races, where she had loudly interjected herself, her candidates— Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and John Raese in West Virginia—lost.
    Even in her home state of Alaska, her help seems to have been less than helpful. Joe Miller, the GOP candidate and Palin protégée, ended up having to fight off the write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, and even a last-minute bit of McMentum—when Democratic candidate, Scott McAdams suddenly seemed to rally. By late Tuesday night, that race had still not been called, but Murkowski was leading.
    If there was a silver lining for the former Alaska Governor, it came in the form of Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, and Mary Fallin in Oklahoma—the first time women won governorships in those three states.
    The election may have been a vote on Obama and the Democrats. But for many watching, the most widely anticipated other referendum was how well Palin would do. Of her 77 candidates around the nation, 20 are women—in the Palin vernacular, her Mama Grizzlies who, she had predicted, would “rise up on their hind legs.”… – The Daily Beast, 11-3-10
  • Tea party-backed Rick Scott claims Fla. governor win: Tea party-backed Republican businessman Rick Scott, who ran as an outsider vowing to shake up the political establishment, claimed victory Wednesday as Florida’s next governor after Democrat Alex Sink conceded an extremely tight race…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • California Climate Law Survives Challenge at Polls: The defeat of Proposition 23 marked a big victory for Silicon Valley investors, who poured millions of dollars into defending California’s AB 32 law and protecting their massive investments in green technologies ranging from solar power to electric cars. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Boehner wants Bush tax cuts extended for all: U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner said on Wednesday that extending the Bush tax cuts for all income groups is the right policy…. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Lengthy to-do list awaits lame duck session: Now that the elections are over, a lame-duck Congress comes back to work this month to deal with a pile of unfinished business: whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts due to expire, give seniors a $250 Social Security special payment and repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gays serving openly. It’s an open question how much they’ll get done. The current Congress returns Nov. 15 for a post-election session dominated by tax and spending issues. Rarely has such a big pile of work faced lawmakers when the party in power has suffered so much at the ballot box…. – AP, 11-3-10

QUOTES

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama took a question from a reporter during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday.

  • President Barack Obama, Press Conference: “I’ve got to do a better job,” he said, “like everybody else in Washington.” And he took responsibility for not doing enough to alter the ways of the capital, whether its hyper-partisanship or back-room dealing. “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things were done.”

President Obama: ‘I’ve Got to Do a Better Job’

Boehner, McConnell Preview GOP Agenda for Next Congress

  • Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting: “Change course we will,” describing the outcome as a clear mandate to shrink the government. That echoed the unrelenting demand of tea party activists whose energy and votes helped to fuel the largest turnover in the House in more than 70 years.
    “I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity,” Boehner said.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, No. 2 Republican in the House: “We’ve been given a second chance and a golden opportunity.” But, he added, “People want to see results.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived a tea party challenge in Nevada: “I’m ready for some tweaking” on the health care law but would fight its repeal.
    “If we need to work something out with the people who are really rich, I’ll have to look at that,” he said. “If there’s some tweaking we need to do with the health care bill, I’m ready for some tweaking. But I’m not going to in any way denigrate the great work we did as a country, and saving America from bankruptcy because of the insurance industry bankrupting us.”
  • Sarah Palin via Twitter: “As always, proud to be American! Thanks, Commonsense Constitutional Conservatives, u didn’t sit down & shut up…u “refudiated” extreme left”—so tweeted Sarah Palin on Election Night, demonstrating characteristic optimism in the face of what was decidedly a mixed bag for her politically…. Palin tweeted on Tuesday about the media, and specifically the Today Show: “Silly fellas! Chucky, remember, I’m not on ballot.”
  • Rick Scott FLA Gov (R): “There were plenty of pundits, politicians and insiders who said this victory was impossible. But the people of Florida knew exactly what they wanted. They sent a message loud and clear: they said, let’s get to work.”
  • Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who is poised to become the new speaker of the House: “Americans have sent an unmistakable message … tonight, and that message is: Change course.” Boehner acknowledged that his party’s ability to set the nation’s path will be limited with Democrats still in power in the Senate and the White House. “It’s the president who sets the agenda for our government,” he said…. “The American people were concerned about the government takeover of health care,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity.”
  • Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., in line to take over as House majority leader, said the driving issue in his party’s success was the economy: “Jobs first,” he said in describing the GOP’s priorities. Rolling back Obama’s health care initiative also will be a goal, he said. “There’s no question, last night indicated again that the majority of Americans want to see the repeal of Obamacare.”… “I hope that we’re able to put a repeal bill on the floor right away because that’s what the American people want,” he said Tuesday night. “They understand that this bill is going to bankrupt this country and take away the health care that they — most people in this country — know and like.”

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Michael Beschloss: Historian Predicts Obama Will Be Reelected Despite Midterm Election Results (VIDEO): ‘The Daily Show’ (weeknights, 11PM ET on COM) partnered with ‘The Colbert Report’ for ‘Indecision 2010′ on election night, offering viewers live coverage of the midterm results. Jon Stewart noted that it’s standard practice for the nation’s ruling party to “lose some seats” in midterm elections. However, presidential historian Michael Beschloss admitted they don’t usually lose this many seats.
    But if history repeats itself, he had some good news for President Obama. “The three presidents in recent times who have had midterm loss like this have been Truman, Eisenhower, Bill Clinton. Every single one of them got reelected.” “So your thought is, ‘What a great night for Barack Obama!’” joked Stewart. – TV Squad, 11-3-10
  • Tevi Troy Visiting Senior Fellow, the Hudson Institute, How does Obama explain the GOP landslide?: President Obama has a lot of explaining to do. He came into office with a great deal of goodwill, strong majorities in both houses of Congress, and an opposition party in complete disarray. Less than two years later, the goodwill and the House majority are gone, and Republicans are resurgent. It will not be possible to make complete amends in a single press conference, but he can start by signaling a move to the middle and a willingness to work in a more bipartisan manner…. – Politico
  • Julian Zelizer: As the GOP Gains Control of the House, What Does the Party Have to Do? John Boehner Expected to Become Next Speaker of the House: “[Boehner's] first challenge is to control the rebels,” said Julian Zelizer, political analyst and professor of politics at Princeton University. “Some of the ideological division we see will be because of the Tea Party types, but also just because of freshmen determined to show they’re not part of the status quo.”
    “The Republicans don’t want to look like a whole cohort of Christine O’Donnell’s came to town,” said Zelizer referring to the losing Tea Party candidate who admitted during the campaign she once dabbled in witchcraft. “Maverick outsiders who are good at attack politics but who are not necessarily politicians who can’t handle the responsibilities of the office.”
    “Boehner has to make sure that’s not the image that people are left with in two years,” said Zelizer.
    “The GOP really needs to decide whether their strategy is to try to obtain some legislation that their supporters would like or to focus on a strategy on pure obstruction and grandstanding. Both have dangers and benefits,” Zelizer said…. – ABC News, 11-3-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Is it 1994 all over again?: Republicans effectively gained control over Congress on Tuesday. The GOP won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, thus overturning the gains Democrats made in 2006 and 2008.
    In the Senate, where the procedural power of the minority has already given Republicans the power to shape deliberations, the narrowed Democratic ranks will further weaken the majority.
    In the weeks running up to the election, there were some commentators who concluded that the current situation would be the best outcome for President Obama.
    Pointing to the example of the 1994 midterms, which gave Republicans control of Congress, they have argued that a bad outcome for Democrats would ironically allow Obama to regain his standing. Obama could use Republicans as a foil to attack extremism — just as Clinton did with Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995 and 1996 — and he would have political cover and incentives to move closer toward the center, where voters would like him more….
    Now, with 2012 over the horizon, the GOP will have more incentives to oppose the president. Indeed, Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, recently said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
    At the same time, Obama faces a significant risk if he tries to appease Republicans in Clinton-like fashion. After all, many liberals are already frustrated with the kinds of compromises Obama has made. Going too far — for example, declaring that the era of big government is over — could trigger a challenge to the president in the Democratic primaries.
    We should hope that the United States is not about to live through a repeat performance of what occurred after 1994. The nation faces too many pressing economic and foreign policy problems to have that happen again. – CNN, 11-3-10
  • Paul Green, Roosevelt University political science professor and commentator Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “The election really doesn’t make a difference. Everything will be held up. Bipartisanship has become a code word for political treason.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • David Claborn, Olivet Nazarene University associate professor of political science and history Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “We voted against a party and a status quo, not necessarily for the people who won. I don’t think the election has given us much of a clue as to what will happen.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • Jacob Weisberg: Faking Right How the Republican Congress will abandon Tea Party ideas and legislate toward the center: In the likely event that Republicans capture control of one or both houses of Congress next week, the new leaders will face a strategic question. Should they pursue the agenda of the Tea Party movement that brought them to power? Or should they try to mollify their party’s base with gestures and symbols, without taking its radical ideology too seriously? While they’ll never discuss this problem honestly, indications point in the latter direction. That is, the GOP’s congressional leadership will feint right while legislating closer to the center.
    The choice is between a Ronald Reagan strategy and a Newt Gingrich strategy. Reagan, who first rode a new conservative movement to the presidency in 1980, was a master of the right fake. After one brief and disastrous attempt to reduce Social Security spending in 1981, Reagan never seriously challenged federal spending again. But Reagan sounded so convincing in his rhetorical flights that most conservatives and liberals walk around today thinking that he cut government. Reagan was just as slippery with the religious right, embracing them while wasting little political capital on issues like abortion or school prayer. President George W. Bush followed this same model, humoring the base while letting government expand…. – Slate, 11-3-10

Midterm Elections 2010 Results: Republicans Win House, Democrats Retain Senate

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: STATS

    Senate: D 51 – R 46
    House: D 184 – R 240
    Governor: D 16 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

    HNN Hot Topics: Midterm Elections

  • Live Blogging Election Night – NYT, The Caucus, 11-2-10
  • Midterm elections live blog 2010 – Yahoo News, 11-2-10
  • GOP regains control of House in historic elections: Republicans have seized control of the House for the first time since 2006, riding a wave of voter discontent and economic woes to directly challenge President Barack Obama’s agenda.
    House Republicans have captured 220 seats and were leading in 20 other races. Only 218 seats are needed for control of the House.
    Republicans have picked up a net gain of 53 seats and were leading for another 13 Democratic-held seats. If current trend holds, Republicans could record their largest gains in the House in more than 70 years.
    In 1938, the party gained 80 seats during the second term of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Republicans Will Take Control of the House: John A. Boehner, the House Republican leader, in an emotional moment during a victory gathering for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington. More Photos »
    Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory.
    A Republican resurgence, propelled by deep economic worries and a forceful opposition to the Democratic agenda of health care and government spending, delivered defeats to Democrats from the Northeast to the South and across the Midwest. The tide swept aside dozens of Democratic lawmakers, regardless of their seniority or their voting records, upending the balance of power for the second half of Mr. Obama’s term…. -
  • Republicans Will Win Control of House: The New York Times is projecting that Republicans will win the 218 seats necessary for control of the House of Representatives after four years of Democratic control of the chamber.
  • Democrats keep control of the U.S. Senate: Democrats retain enough seats to hold on to the U.S. Senate, The Washington Post projects.
  • As CNN, ABC, MSNBC and other networks are now projecting, though, even if the Democrats lose all 4 of those races, they will still have 50 seats. According to Senate rules, the Vice President breaks a tie, which means Democrats will keep control.
  • GOP to grab U.S. House majority; Democrats poised to retain Senate: Republicans rode a wave of voter dissatisfaction with the state of the economy to win majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, while Democrats were poised to retain their majority in the Senate. With results still coming in and voting continuing in Western states, the extent of the Republican takeover of the 435-member House was still to be determined. But CNN projected that Republicans would win at least 52 more House seats than they currently hold to wipe out the Democratic majority of the past four years…. – CNN, 11-2-10
  • 2010 election results: media coverage in portions for every appetite: Coverage of the 2010 election results will be provided in more ways than ever before – from centuries-old delivery methods like newspapers to ABC News’s iPad application…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Exit poll: Economy dominates voters’ worries: Voters were intensely worried about the future of the economy Tuesday and unhappy with the way President Barack Obama and Congress have been running things. They didn’t hold a favorable view of either the Republican or Democratic parties, according to an Associated Press analysis of preliminary exit poll results and pre-election polls. Overwhelmingly, people at the polls were dissatisfied with the way the federal government is working, and a fourth said they’re angry about it…. – AP, 11-2-10

THE RESULTS….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

John A. Boehner, the House Republican leader, in an emotional moment during a victory gathering for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington. More Photos »

  • Michael Bennet (D) defeats Ken Buck (R) in Colorado Senate race: Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has beaten his tea-party-backed challenger, Republican Ken Buck, according to the Associated Press.
  • MARIJUANA PROPOSITION: California voters reject legalization of marijuana, AP projects.
  • A.P. Projects Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Will Defeat Republican Sharron Angle in Nevada: The Associated Press is projecting that the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, will survive a high-profile re-election campaign in Nevada against Sharron Angle, a Tea Party-backed Republican.
  • PA Senate: Pat Toomey Claims Victory in Pa. Senate Race
  • The AP has called the California governor race for the former governor, Democrat Jerry Brown: Brown defeated Republican candidate Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO.
  • DEMS KEEP SENATE, GOP WINS HOUSE: AP makes projections on two biggest storylines of the night.
  • REID PROJECTED TO SURVIVE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wins re-election, AP projects.
  • NEVADA GOV: AP projects Republican Brian Sandoval
  • FORMER OBAMA SEAT NOW RED: AP projects Republican Mark Kirk has defeated the Democrat to take the Illinois Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama.
  • TWO AP PROJECTIONS: SENATE: — Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii
    GOVERNOR: — Susana Martinez, R-N.M.
  • Barbara Boxer (D) defeats Carly Fiorina (R) in California Senate race: California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer has won her bid for a fourth term, fending off a tough challenge from former Hewlett Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina (R), the Associated Press projects.
  • With Boxer’s win in California official, the Democrats are just one win away from maintaining a clear 51-vote majority in the Senate. The competitive races still up in the air: Nevada, Washington, Illinois and Colorado.
  • TWO MORE GOVERNOR PROJECTIONS FROM AP: — Terry Branstad, R-Iowa
    – Jan Brewer, R-Ariz.
  • Nathan Deal (R) defeats Roy Barnes (D) in race for Georgia governor: Former representative Nathan Deal (R) defeated former governor Roy Barnes (D) in the Georgia gubernatorial contest, The Washington Post projects. Deal will succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue.
  • TRIO OF GOVERNOR PROJECTIONS FROM AP: — Jerry Brown, D-Calif.
    – Nathan Deal, R-Ga.
    – John Kasich, R-Ohio
  • HOUSE: AP projects that Missouri Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton has lost to GOP challenger Vicky Hartzler in the 4th district. Skelton was serving his 17th term in the House.
  • Two big Senate calls from AP: Democrat Boxer in CA and Republican Pat Toomey in PA.
  • AP is now projecting that the House will definitely take a majority in the House.
  • At this point, the GOP has won 43 seats held by Democrats and are leading in two dozen more districts. Democrats have only picked up two Republican seats, hurting their chances of keeping the House. Republicans need to capture 40 seats to win back control of the House that they lost in 2006. — PBS Newshour
  • PA Senate: A.P. Projects Toomey Will Defeat Sestak in Pennsylvania Senate Race
  • IOWA GOV: GOP challenger and former Gov. Terry Branstad has unseated Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, ABS and Fox project. That make +9 pickup for Republicans in governor races.
  • HOUSE: Fox and CBS project that Democratic Rep. John Spratt has lost his seat after 14 terms in the House to Republican Mick Mulvaney in the 5th district. Spratt was chairman of the House budget committee.
  • CA: Fox is calling California for both Democrat Jerry Brown in the governor race and Democrat Barbara Boxer in the Senate race.
  • BALANCE OF POWER: Republicans have gained 4 seats in the Senate and 35 in the House (4 away from the net gain of 39 they need), plus 8 gubernatorial seats previously held by Democrats.
  • In Ohio’s 15th District: Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy has lost to GOP challenger Steve Stivers, AP projects.
  • ILLINOIS SENATE: The margin has narrowed to one point in the still-too-close-to-call Illinois Senate race, pitting Republican Mark Kirk against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias.
  • New AP projections:
    SENATE: Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
    GOVERNOR: C.L. “Butch” Otter, R-Idaho
  • In the Ohio 16 race NewsHour has been watching, CBS and Fox have called is for GOP challenger Jim Renacci That Ohio 16 seat, held for some 60 years by the GOP until 2008… goes back to the GOP.
  • WIS GOV: Scott Walker, R-Wis., projected governor by AP. – The Journal Sentinel, 11-3-10
  • MA House: Democrat Bill Keating defeated Republican Jeff Perry in the race for the 10th Congressional District.
  • SENATE: Fox and ABC are projecting that Republican Ron Johnson will defeat incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold in the Wisconsin Senate race.
    The Associated Press is projecting that Ron Johnson, a Republican newcomer to politics, will defeat Senator Russ Feingold, the incumbent Democrat, in Wisconsin’s Senate race. – Business Week, 11-2-10
  • BALANCE OF POWER: Here’s the latest tally: Republicans have gained 4 seats in the Senate and 19 in the House. They also have won 7 gubernatorial seats that had previously been held by Democrats.
  • GOVERNOR: Republican Susana Martinez will be New Mexico’s next governor — the first female Hispanic governor in the history of the United States.
  • RANGEL RE-ELECTED: Embattled N.Y. Democrat Charles Rangel has been re-elected, AP projects.
  • UTAH PROJECTIONS: AP projects Republicans Mike Lee for Senate and Gary Herbert for governor.
  • PA GOV: Republican Tom Corbett has defeated Democrat Dan Onorato in the Pennsylvania governor race, AP projects.
  • Two AP projections for Senate: Democrat John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
  • MASS GOV: AP projects Deval Patrick, D-Mass., re-elected.
  • Two more GOP senators hold onto seats: AP projects: Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and John McCain, R-Ariz.
  • BALANCE OF POWER: Here’s where things stand at the moment: Republicans have a net gain of +12 in the House, +3 in the Senate and have also won 4 gubernatorial seats previoiusly held by Democrats. Senate results: Republicans pick up three seats – USA Today, 11-2-10
  • Rick Perry (R) defeats Bill White (D) in Texas gubernatorial race: Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) bested former Houston mayor Bill White (D) to win an unprecedented third term in the Lone Star State, the Associated Press projects.
  • MA Attorney General Martha Coakley and Secretary of State William F. Galvin were reelected today.
  • MD GOV: Maryland Democrat Martin O’Malley re-elected as governor, AP projects.
  • MA HOUSE: Democratic Rep. Barney Frank re-elected, AP projects.
  • O’Malley defeats Ehrlich in Maryland gubernatorial race: Incumbent Martin O’Malley defeats former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in Maryland’s gubernatorial race, the Associated Press projects.
  • HOUSE BALANCE OF POWER: MSNBC, Fox, CBS and CNN are projecting that Republicans will regain control of the House of Representatives, but The Associated Press has yet to make a projection.
  • Cuomo Wins New York Governor’s Race, Defeating Paladino: Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, has defeated the Republican candidate, Carl P. Paladino, in the New York governor’s race. The incumbent, David A. Paterson, a Democrat, was not running for re-election.
    Voters returned Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to Washington for new terms.
  • Andrew Cuomo (D) defeats Carl Paladino (R) in New York gubernatorial race: New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) defeated businessman Carl Paladino (R) in the New York gubernatorial contest. Cuomo will succeed outgoing Gov. David Paterson (D), the Associated Press projects.
  • Hurt defeats Perriello in Virginia’s 5th District: Rep. Tom Perriello (D) has been defeated after one term in central Virginia’s 5th District, losing to state Sen. Robert Hurt (R), the Associated Press projects.
  • Joe Manchin (D) beats John Raese (R) in West Virginia Senate race: West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) has defeated businessman John Raese (R) in the West Virginia Senate race, holding the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd for Democrats after a hard-fought campaign, the Associated Press projects.
  • A.P. Projects Wins for Blumenthal in Connecticut and Boozman in Arkansas: The Associated Press is projecting that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a popular Democrat, has defeated the Republican candidate, the pro-wrestling tycoon Linda McMahon, in the race for a Senate seat from Connecticut. — AP, 11-2-10
    In Arkansas, The A.P. is projecting that Representative John Boozman, a Republican, will defeat Senator Blanche Lincoln, an incumbent Democrat. — AP, 11-2-10
  • Democrat Christopher Coons Defeats Republican Christine O’Donnell in Delaware Senate Race: Christopher Coons, the Democratic candidate, defeated a dissident Republican and Tea Party candidate, Christine O’Donnell, for a Senate seat from Delaware.
  • Rand Paul beats Jack Conway in Kentucky Senate race: Ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) has defeated state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) in the Kentucky Senate race, holding for Republicans the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R), the Associated Press projects.
  • Florida: Republican Marco Rubio defeats Charlie Crist in Senate raceUSA Today, 11-2-10
  • Tea Party Notches Early Victories With Paul and Rubio: The Tea Party captured its first big victories Tuesday when Marco Rubio won a United States Senate seat in Florida and Rand Paul won his Senate bid in Kentucky. The victories seemed to be a precursor of big gains in Congress for the Republican Party…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Tea Party Notches First Big Victory With Rand Paul: As the polls closed in a half-dozen eastern states, Kentucky and Indiana on Tuesday night, the Tea Party captured its first big victory when Rand Paul won a United States Senate seat in Kentucky, a victory that seemed to be a precursor of big gains in Congress for the Republican Party…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Republicans score first key election wins: Republicans scored the first key election wins on Tuesday after a long and bitter campaign that could sweep Democrats from power in Congress and slam the brakes on President Barack Obama’s agenda…. – Reutetrs, 11-2-10

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

     

  • Tea time: Republicans locking up House control: Republicans marched toward House control Tuesday night in midterm elections shadowed by recession, locking up enough Democratic seats to install a conservative majority certain to challenge President Barack Obama at virtually every turn. Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, his voice breaking with emotion, declared to fellow Republicans, “I’ll never let you down.”…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • GOP takes the House, but fall short in Senate: Resurgent Republicans won control of the House early Wednesday in midterm elections shadowed by recession, promising a conservative majority certain to challenge President Barack Obama at every turn. Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner called the results “a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the people.”
    Republicans fell short in their effort to gain control of the Senate and take full command of Congress, although they picked up at least five seats. They also wrested at least eight governorships from Democrats.
    Obama telephoned Boehner shortly after midnight to congratulate him, a call that underscored the transition to divided government. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Democrats lose 6 Senate seats, but keep majority: Democrats retained their Senate majority Tuesday, losing five seats but winning key races in West Virginia and California. Republicans scored big gains, taking Senate seats from Democrats in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arkansas, North Dakota and Indiana. The net gain of 10 they needed for control of the chamber, however, eluded them.
    With Republicans taking over the House, President Barack Obama will need a Democratic-run Senate to champion his legislative agenda…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • GOP captures governorships in at least 10 states: Republicans on Tuesday captured from Democrats governorships in at least 10 states, including some prime presidential battlegrounds, and hoped for even more statehouse gains. The same tide sweeping Republicans into office in Congress was leaving its mark on governors’ mansions as well, especially in the nation’s industrial heartland.
    Lost in the GOP onslaught: governorships now held by Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Wyoming…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • In Republican Victories, Tide Turns Starkly: Somewhere along the way, the apostle of change became its target, engulfed by the same currents that swept him to the White House two years ago. Now, President Obama must find a way to recalibrate with nothing less than his presidency on the line.
    The verdict delivered by voters on Tuesday effectively put an end to his transformational ambitions and left him searching for a way forward with a more circumscribed horizon of possibilities. Facing a hostile House with subpoena power and a diminished majority in the Senate, he will have to figure out the right blend of conciliation and confrontation to reassert authority and avoid defeat in 2012.
    The most pressing question as Mr. Obama picks through the results on Wednesday morning will be what lessons he takes from the electoral reversals. Was this the natural and unavoidable backlash in a time of historic economic distress, or was it a repudiation of a big-spending activist government? Was it primarily a failure of communications as the White House has suggested lately, or was it a fundamental disconnect with the values and priorities of the American public?… – NYT, 11-3-10
  • How the tea party helped GOP find a path to Election Day successes: Victories for tea-party candidates Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Jim DeMint showed the impact of the nascent conservative movement on the GOP’s ability to project a winning posture…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Republicans See Big Gains in House: The Tea Party captured its first big victories Tuesday when Marco Rubio won a United States Senate seat in Florida and Rand Paul won his Senate bid in Kentucky. The victories seemed to be a precursor of big gains in Congress for the Republican Party, as victories in several races suggesting the party could be poised to take control of the House of Representatives. The results, and surveys of voters outside polling places, signaled that the elections would recalibrate the balance of power in Washington and in state houses across the nation, as voters distressed over the lingering economic woes, seemed eager to rebuke President Obama and his fellow Democrats.
    The biggest gains for Republicans were expected in the House, where party leaders said they were confident of reclaiming the majority. Several incumbent Democrats were trailing on Ohio, a key indicator of trouble ahead for Democrats…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Tea Party Comes to Power on an Unclear Mandate: For all the ways its rank and file despises President Obama, the Tea Party’s powerful insurgency shares this with him: It has been a blank screen on which voters have projected all kinds of hopes and frustrations — not always compatible or realistic.
    As it tries to make the transition from a protest movement to a power on Capitol Hill, the Tea Party faces the challenge of channeling the energy it brought to the election into a governing agenda when it has no clear mandate, a stated distaste for the inevitable compromises of legislating and a wary relationship with Republican leaders in Congress.
    The Republican sweep looked to be largely a Tea Party sweep, with 4 in 10 voters in exit polls expressing support for the movement…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • West Virginia Senate: a crucial but hollow victory for Democrats?: Gov. Joe Manchin has declared victory in the race for the open West Virginia Senate seat. His win makes it very unlikely that the GOP will control the Senate. But in Washington, Manchin might act more like a Republican than a Democrat…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • For Obama, perils and opportunities ahead: Facing what seems certain to be a vastly more Republican and hostile Congress, President Obama will begin a new chapter in his presidency following today’s midterm elections—one filled both with pitfalls and opportunities as he struggles to enact his policies and prepare to run for reelection in two years. These election results will likely leave Obama in a bind. Enacting measures that he hopes to get passed–such as an expansion of health care to include those left uncovered by last year’s landmark legislation or an increase in educational benefits through a plan to aid community colleges–will be more difficult. Those proposals will probably have to be re-crafted or abandoned altogether…. – National Journal, 11-2-10
  • Tea time: GOP nears House control, piling up wins: House control within reach, Republicans piled up gains Tuesday night in a drive to forge a new conservative majority midway through President Barack Obama’s term. They added Senate seats, as well, but seemed likely to fall short of taking over. “We’ve come to take our government back,” Sen.-elect Rand Paul declared to cheering supporters at a victory party in Bowling Green, Ky., an early Republican winner on a night filled with them. A Republican majority in the House would usher in a new era of divided government as the nation struggles to emerge from the shadow of the worst recession since the 1930s…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • GOP celebrates first fruits of expected big night: Republicans gained a Senate seat in Indiana, and tea party favorite Rand Paul coasted to victory in Kentucky in midterm elections Tuesday night, first fruits of a drive to break the Democrats’ grip on power in Congress. Republicans also led for four House seats in Democratic hands and projected confidence they would succeed in winning a majority and installing Rep. John Boehner of Ohio as speaker…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Why Rand Paul’s victory is important: Rand Paul’s victory provides evidence that the tea party influence is real, and may hold lessons about negative campaigning…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Long Wait Possible in Alaska: Alaska—The winner of Alaska’s Senate race might not be known for weeks, as election officials wrestle with complications created by incumbent Lisa Murkowski’s write-in effort as well as thousands of absentee ballots. Alaska voters on Tuesday were choosing among Ms. Murkowski, tea-party-favorite and Republican nominee Joe Miller, and Democrat Scott McAdams, a little-known former mayor. In addition to those votes and others cast early, there are at least 20,000 absentee ballots that won’t be counted Tuesday night. Election officials will first tally the number of votes for Mr. Miller and Mr. McAdams, and the number of voters who indicated a write-in choice. Alaskans voting for Ms. Murkowski must darken a bubble on the ballot and write her name on a line. If the number of votes with the write-in bubble filled is far lower than those for another candidate, a winner could become apparent Tuesday night. But if write-ins are in first place—or close to it, election officials must wait for laggard absentee ballots to arrive and be counted before moving beyond counting bubbles to actually tallying the names written in next to them. Any name-counting wouldn’t start until Nov. 18, and the election wouldn’t be certified until around Nov. 29. Only at that point could a candidate contest the results in court, said Gail Fenumiai, director of the state Division of Elections…. – WSJ, 11-2-10

QUOTES

     

  • STATEMENT FROM RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE ON THE PENNSYLVANIA ELECTIONS: “Tonight, the Keystone State delivered a resounding repudiation of the reckless tax, borrow and spend agenda of Democrats in Washington and in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania voters have chosen principled, fiscally responsible leadership by electing Tom Corbett, Pat Toomey, and five new Republican members of Congress, who will work to help fix the economy and get Pennsylvanians back to work.
    “These Republican wins are proof that the real catalysts for change in this country are the grassroots activists in small towns across the nation and the millions of families looking to earn an honest living and pursue the American dream. Through the tremendous leadership of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and support of an unprecedented Victory effort of twenty-six offices and twenty-seven dedicated staff, we were able to communicate our Party’s message, identify voters, get our supporters to the polls, and deliver Republican victories across the state.
    “I would like to congratulate Pat Toomey, Tom Corbett, and all of our federal and state legislative Republican candidates across Pennsylvania for their successful campaigns for limited government and fiscal responsibility. It is time for our nation and Pennsylvania to get back to work and leaders such as Pat Toomey and Tom Corbett will be on the frontlines to ensure that we do.”
  • Details on President Obama’s call the House Republican leader John Boehner from the AP: “During what Boehner described as a brief but pleasant midnight conversation, the two discussed working together on priorities for Americans. Boehner says he told the president that the people expect them to cut spending and create jobs.”
  • House Republican Leader John Boehner is speaking: “Listen, I’ll be brief, because we have real work to do ?” and this is not a time for celebration … not when one in 10 of our fellow citizens are out of work …not when we have buried our children under a mountain of debt … not when our Congress is held in such low esteem.? of our fellow citizens are out of work … not when we have buried our children under a mountain of debt … not when our Congress is held in such low esteem.”
  • New York Democratic Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo seemed to be speaking to Tea Partiers in his acceptance speech: He said, “You are not going to separate us, you can try that somewhere else, but not in New York.” He acknowledged that he and his party had work to do to rebuild trust with voters. But he asserted that “politics were over, we are going to be more united than ever before.”
  • MARCO RUBIO’S WORD OF CAUTION: Marco Rubio tempered his acceptance speech in the Florida Senate race with a word of caution to his fellow Republicans. He said, “Even now, the stories are being written about what this really means. The House of Representatives will change hands, and a growing number of Republicans will also serve in the Senate. But we will make a grave mistake if we think this is an embrace of the Republican Party. ” Instead he said, it was “a second chance” for his party “to be what we were meant to be.”
  • Republican Cantor vows to repeal health reform: Representative Eric Cantor, who is likely to become majority leader in the new Republican-led House of Representatives, vowed on Tuesday to repeal healthcare reform and cut federal spending. “We will get to work right away to reduce the deficit by cutting federal spending next year down to 2008 levels. That will save $100 billion in the first year alone,” he said, according to prepared remarks…. – Reuters, 11-2-10
  • HOUSE Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said: Democratic loses in the House, especially loses in his home state of Virginia, were “very tough.””We wanted to hold on to both [chambers of Congress] especially because we have had a great Speaker in Speaker Pelosi.”Speaking to reporters at Democratic headquarters, Kaine quickly turned to the optimistic view that Democrats will retain control of the Senate. “We remain confident we will have a strong showing and keep the majority,” he said.Refusing to offer what he called a post-mortem of the night, Kaine said the night’s results point to the need for both sides of the aisle to cooperate and listen to the American public.”Maybe it is a message from the American public,” he said. “We have a Democrat in the White House; we’ll have maybe a majority of Republican governors; we’ll have a Democratic Senate; Republican House: everyone has to work together and that is what I know the president will focus on.”
  • Christine O’Donnell Concession Speech: In her concession speech, Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell gave no ground in defeat. She said she had just gotten off the phone with her opponent, Democrat Chris Coons. “And I warned him that he was now in a position to help the people who are suffering … I asked him if he would fight to stop the death tax from being reinstated this Jan. 1.” She added, “We can only hope and pray that he chooses to go against his party and do what is right for the people of Delaware.” She vowed to continue fighting for her positions. “Our elected officials will be held accountable to their constituents, like it or not.”
  • Rand Paul: KY SENATE: In his acceptance speech in Bowling Green, Ky., Republican Rand Paul called his win part of a “Tea Party tidal wave.” He said, “The American people are unhappy with what is going on in Washington. Tonight … we are sending a message to them.”
  • HOUSE: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was defiantly optimistic about his party’s chances to retain control of the house.Speaking to reporters at the Democratic headquarters shortly after 9, he rebuffed NBC News’ Norah O’Donnell when she said her network had already called Republicans had won a majority in the House. “Well, I think that is a mistake. That is way too early,” he said. and again I think that is a mistake and I think what you are seeing right now is voters going to polls and the verdict is out still.” “Democratic turnout has been higher than projected,” Van Hollen said. “Obviously we had a good early vote and we are seeing stronger than projected democratic turnout in races so far. Obviously there are a lot of polls around the country that has not closed yet in the mountain region and the West Coast. but we knew it would be challenging.” Moments after he walked out of the room CNN also called control of the House for Republicans. Van Hollen’s words seemed to be a final cry for hope: “We remain confident we will have a strong showing and keep the majority.”
  • Obama says post-election agenda hinges on having allies: President Barack Obama said the fate of his policy agenda would depend on having allies in Congress as he pressed supporters to turn out and vote in a bid to minimize his Democrats’ losses in Tuesday’s congressional elections. “Everybody who is listening: Just remember, the future is yours to shape. But if you don’t get involved, somebody is going to shape it for you … one of the best ways to do that is to vote today,” Obama said in an interview on Los Angeles radio station KPWR.
    With the midterm elections shaping up as a referendum on his first two years, Obama insisted his administration had accomplished a lot after taking office in the midst of the worst financial crisis in decades. He cited a return to economic growth — albeit slow and halting — plus a sweeping healthcare overhaul and a U.S. troop drawdown in Iraq among his achievements. Obama acknowledged that job growth is slower than it needs to be but said he would keep the focus on reducing unemployment as well as improving education. “Across the board, things have gotten better over the last two years. We can only keep it up if I’ve got some friends and allies in Congress and statehouses,” Obama, speaking from the Oval Office, said on the youth-oriented radio station’s whose slogan is “Where hip hop lives.” Reuters, 11-2-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

     

  • A deeply divided government is tasked with building consensus: “There isn’t going to be a candidate around which they can unify all factions of the party,” University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala offered. “For all the talk from the Republican elite about unifying, I wonder if it’s already too late.”…
    “The President may go the Bill Clinton route to build up his centrist credentials,” Prof. Scala said. “If that’s the case, a lot of [progressive] House Democrats will be put in cold storage for a couple of years.”… – The Globe & Mail, 11-2-10
  • Julian Zelizer: Le Congrès, acteur central de la politique américaine: C’est dû au pouvoir que le Congrès accorde au «parti perdant au Sénat», explique Julian Zelizer, professeur de science politique à l’université de Princeton. La minorité d’opposition peut en effet décider de bloquer un projet de loi, en se livrant à la pratique de l’obstruction systématique (filibuster). Seule une majorité sénatoriale des deux tiers peut mettre fin au blocage. Le Congrès dispose d’autres «instruments» considérables pour borner et contrôler le pouvoir exécutif, puisqu’il tient les cordons de la bourse et peut décider de limiter le budget, note Zelizer. Il peut enterrer des projets législatifs et dispose aussi d’un rôle d’enquête très important grâce à ses puissantes commissions parlementaires et autres commissions ad hoc. – Le Figaro, 1-2-10
  • Stefan Zaklin: Bush Is Back Why Republicans and Democrats alike are about to contract a serious case of Bush nostalgia: Nostalgia is a powerful force in American politics. Consider this year’s midterm elections. Democrats wanted to return to the Clinton years, when budgets were balanced and the economy was booming. Glenn Beck and his Tea Party followers yearned for a time before Woodrow Wilson. And while the rest of the Republican Party didn’t pledge to take the country back quite as far—the 1950s, for example, would do just fine—it still pledged to take the country back. For a lot of people, the past is preferable to the present.
    But is our penchant for political pining expansive enough to encompass someone as seemingly irredeemable as, say, George W. Bush?
    We’re about to find out. When Bush retired in 2009, the near consensus was that he—like the Vietnam War, the Teapot Dome scandal, or Millard Fillmore—was nostalgia-proof. The national debt stood at $11.3 trillion, more than double what it was when he took office. The economy hadn’t been so bad since the Great Depression. Inherited surpluses equal to 2.5 percent of GDP had become deficits equal to 3 percent of GDP. And Americans were still dying in two wars—one neglected, the other inexplicable. In Rolling Stone, historian Sean Wilentz awarded Bush the title of “worst president in history.” Many voters agreed: his final approval ratings hovered around 22 percent, a near-record low.
    What You Missed: Midterm Elections in 7 Minutes Haven’t been paying attention this election season? Here’s everything you need to know in brief
    Over the next few months, however, the thinking on Bush is likely to be challenged. In fact, some voters—and politicians—might even find themselves longing for a return to the Inauspicious Aughties. In part that’s because the former president is releasing a memoir of his time in office, Decision Points, on Nov. 9. After nearly two years of silence, he’ll headline the Miami Book Fair, appear on Oprah, and enjoy the predictable softening of public sentiment that comes when an embattled figure emerges from the wilderness and starts spending a lot of time to promote his side of the story. But there’s a bigger reason that Bush nostalgia is about to become a very real phenomenon inside and outside the Beltway: the Tea Party. As far-right rookies like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and Ken Buck begin to arrive on Capitol Hill, as they’re expected to, both mainstream Republicans and Democrats will realize that, whatever their disagreements with him—real or fabricated—Dubya and his ilk would be far more constructive partners in governing than the new kids on the block…. – Newsweek, 11-2-10
  • A Conservative Victory for Now: The date was March 20, 1981 and Ronald Reagan who had taken the oath of office for his first term just three months earlier was addressing a joint meeting of the American Conservative Union, Young Americans for Freedom, the National Review and Human events.
    It was a very different era. Many of the youth in the audience were members of Generation X, born 1965 through 1980, and Reagan would be in office as Generation Y debuted in 1981 through 1995. Spanning those generations was one that would fill out the present demographic of today’s senior citizens, a critical voting bloc; one that can recall Reagan’s values and hopes to see them restored….
    For Reagan, the conservative goal was “to restore to their rightful place in our national consciousness the values of family, work, neighborhood, and religion” and he warned that it will not be achieved “by those who set people against people, class against class, or institution against institution.”
    That was and is a perfect description of Barack Obama and a Democratic Party that knows no other way of governing and has no faith in the people.
    Reagan never lost faith in the American people even though, for a while, they have been forgetful of the past, backsliding from the goals set by the Founding Fathers, robbed and wronged, but who are ready to rise again and restore America…. – Canada Free Press, 11-1-10
  • History Lessons: Midterms as Political Referendum: BEVERLY GAGE, professor, Yale University: Well, midterm elections, historically, are almost always overshadowed by presidential elections. We tend to think in terms of presidents. But they have played really critical roles at some really key moments in American history. And the moments where they have been most important have largely been when two things happened. The first is when either the Senate or the House or both of them have changed hands from one party to another, most often, because it’s a midterm election, from the president’s party to the opposite.
    And the second is when these party changes happen at moments where really critical issues are at stake. A couple of examples that come to mind, 1918, you see a switch in the Senate in particular under Woodrow Wilson. They scotch his plans for the League of Nations.
    Another significant midterm election, 1946, Harry Truman has just become president. You begin to get real Republican pushback against New Deal policies and against Harry Truman’s domestic agenda…..
    Woodrow Wilson notoriously handled it incredibly poorly. By the time he’s at the end of World War I, he’s had a stroke.
    But he also, in particular, took this Republican repudiation deeply personally. He refused to work with them. And it really ruined a lot of his plans. Presidents who can step back a little bit, take it a little bit less personally, and try to negotiate some sort of compromise tend to do a little bit better in those sorts of scenarios.
    I do think the 1934 election is an interesting parallel to look at. It’s, on the one hand, quite exceptional, because the Democrats, under Franklin Roosevelt, actually pick up so many seats that year.
    But, given that Obama was in fact being so roundly compared to Franklin Roosevelt when he was elected — we were going to have another New Deal in the midst of economic crisis — I do think it’s worth asking why the repudiation of Obama has been quite as severe as it is, and why he couldn’t capitalize, like Roosevelt did in 1934.
    We said, it’s an exceptional moment, certainly, but, given all of those earlier comparisons, I think it’s worth thinking about. – PBS Newshour, 10-27-10
  • History Lessons: Midterms as Political Referendum: RICHARD NORTON SMITH, scholar in residence, George Mason University: I would add, it certainly is a historical trend. In the last 100 years, only twice, has a president, his party in power added seats in…
    The first — in the two years, halfway through the first term, in 1934, FDR at the height of the New Deal. And then, in 2002, George W. Bush defied the odds in the wake of 9/11, and Republicans actually picked up seats.
    Now, the real curse in American party politics is the six-year curse. Six years into a president’s term, it’s Katy bar the door. But the fact is, two years… He’s a lame duck. He’s probably intellectually spent….
    It is increasingly so (a referendum), I think particularly in the modern media age. I mean, one of the interesting things is, for 40 years, the Democrats had the House, from early ’50s until ’94. The Republicans then took the House and held on to it for 12 years. The Democrats took the House back in 2006. If they lose it on Tuesday, they will have had it for four years.
    There’s something going on here. The period of one-party dominance has been shrinking measurably. And I think that’s in part because of the emphasis we place on the executive. We have personalized these elections. They’re not localized. This is — for lots of people, this is a referendum on Barack Obama.
    And it’s not just the angry anti-Obama forces. If you’re on the left, and you are disappointed in this administration for whatever reason, you can express your disappointment by not voting. And that is a significant fact. That’s the source of the enthusiasm gap, I think, that we have heard about all year….
    And, if you have lost your job, you’re depressed. There’s no doubt that there are lots people in this country who are hurting. More than that, there is this pervasive — I think pervasive fear that the future may not be what Americans traditionally have assumed it to be.
    There’s a clear fear of China. There’s a sense that this is a country and a culture that may be in the decline. But, in terms of 1934, it was an affirmation of, in a sense, the radicalization that was in 1932. FDR took government places that no president had before. And, by 1934, people felt, psychologically at least, whatever the economic indices were, things were getting better. And so they endorsed him.
    This time around, we didn’t go over the cliff. “It could have been worse” is not a banner that millions of people are going to march behind to the polls. But, in effect, that’s the Obama argument. The argument is, if you listen to the economists, eight million jobs were not lost because of the hated bailouts and TARP and all the other stuff, many of which are Bush initiatives….
    And I think it complicates — it’s a very difficult message that Obama has to deliver…
    I would say he has company, yes. The conventional wisdom is, Bill Clinton brilliantly stole Republican clothes.
    He actually turned this to his advantage by co-opting the center and by waiting for the Republicans to overreach, the shutdown of the government, and et cetera.
    But, I mean, he moved to a balanced budget. He signed the welfare reform package. And so, by ’96….
    Republican ideas. He basically shut the door on Bob Dole or any Republican candidate. The question is whether Barack Obama, in today’s media climate, with the left on the blogosphere holding his feet to the fire, whether he has as much latitude if he wants to move to the center that Bill Clinton had. PBS Newshour, 10-27-10 

Political Highlights: Last Days on the Campaign Trail… Election Day Arrives With GOP Set for House Victory

http://bonniekaryn.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/midterm_elections.jpg?w=500

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama on Friday in Virginia for Representative Tom Perriello. He is campaigning for Senate candidates this weekend.

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Election night cheat sheet: Key races to watch: Get your last bits of election speculation and guessing out now — because starting Tuesday night we will have actual facts. People will vote. Candidates will win. Careers will end. Power in Washington will shift. There are 435 elections in the House, 37 in the Senate, and 37 gubernatorial elections. To help you sift through the returns, here’s a reader and viewer’s guide to some key things to watch.
    The official unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, though the true picture may be closer to 17 percent. In states with key races, the unemployment rate is worse: In Nevada it’s 14.4 percent; in Ohio it’s 10 percent. President Obama’s approval rating is about 45 percent. The generic ballot shows voters picking Republicans over Democrats by seven points. The congressional approval rating is below 20 percent…. – Yahoo News, 11-2-10
  • Polls: Rubio holds wide lead in Senate race; governor race neck-and-neck: Two Florida polls have Marco Rubio well ahead of the pack in the U.S. Senate race. Quinnipiac University’s final pre-election poll, which wrapped up Sunday night, shows Republican Marco Rubio with a 45-to-31 percent lead over indie Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate race, with Democrat Kendrick Meek at 18 percent. Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, says Rubio is headed for “an easy victory” with 47 percent to 30 percent for Crist and 21 percent Meek.
    But both firms say the race for governor is too close to call. Quinnipiac gives Democrat Alex Sink a 44-to-33 percent lead over Republican Rick Scott; has Sink with a 48-to-47 percent lead. Both polls have a 3.5 percent margin of error…. – Palm Beach Post, 11-1-10
  • Ohio governor’s race a close call, final polls show: Nearly every poll that weeks ago predicted an easy win for Republican challenger John Kasich over Gov. Ted Strickland is now declaring the race a toss-up as voters cast their ballots today in the closely watched race. That’s good news for Democrat Strickland, who, despite his low job approval ratings, has closed the gap on Kasich, who has watched his once double-digit lead wilt. “Ted Strickland’s chances of re-election are looking the best they have in months,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, which gives Kasich a one-point edge. In late August, the same poll had the Republican up by 10 points.
    But even if the race is too close to call, the polls still have Kasich ahead of the incumbent, which is a good position to be in, according to another pollster. “John Kasich has the historical tendency of undecided voters to break against well-known incumbents at the very end of a campaign,” Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said on Monday. Brown agreed, however, that momentum is with Strickland. Quinnipiac on Monday had Kasich leading by one point with about six percent of voters undecided. The same poll had Kasich leading by 17 percentage points in September and by 10 points just two weeks ago…. – Cleveland.com, 11-1-10
  • A Vote Against Dems, Not for the GOP: Voters don’t want to be governed from the left, right or center. They want Washington to recognize that Americans want to govern themselves.
    In the first week of January 2010, Rasmussen Reports showed Republicans with a nine-point lead on the generic congressional ballot. Scott Brown delivered a stunning upset in the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election a couple of weeks later. In the last week of October 2010, Rasmussen Reports again showed Republicans with a nine-point lead on the generic ballot. And tomorrow Republicans will send more Republicans to Congress than at any time in the past 80 years. This isn’t a wave, it’s a tidal shift—and we’ve seen it coming for a long time. Remarkably, there have been plenty of warning signs over the past two years, but Democratic leaders ignored them. At least the captain of the Titanic tried to miss the iceberg. Congressional Democrats aimed right for it…. – WSJ, 10-31-10
  • Democrats, GOP close in Nevada early votes: Nevada Democrats and their union allies appear to have blunted a surge of Republican enthusiasm in early voting, confirming a close race between Republican tea party favorite Sharron Angle and Majority Leader Harry Reid, figures showed Saturday. Two weeks of early voting that ended Friday provide only a barometer of turnout – it’s far from conclusive with Election Day to come. The early numbers confirm Republicans are fired up to deny Reid a fifth term, but Democrats are getting to the polls in significant numbers, too. Statewide, Democrats hold about a 60,000-vote registration edge over the GOP, and the decisive factor on Nov. 2 is likely to be the state’s independent voters…. – AP, 10-30-10
  • Early Voting Numbers in California: Close Races Ahead?: If early voting is an indication of how Tuesday’s midterm elections will go–and it’s debatable whether, and how, it can–early vote-by mail turnout in California predicts close races for Senate and governor. Here’s a breakdown of who has voted already through the state’s vote-by-mail program, provided to The Atlantic by a source close to the California Republican Party. By party registration, here’s a who has mailed a ballot so far… – The Atlantic, 10-30-10

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

Drew Angerer/The New York Times

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert appeared on stage Saturday. More Photos »

  • Voters cast ballots; Control of Congress at stake: The fate of the Democratic Congress was put before voters Tuesday in midterm elections that drew Americans to balloting stations starting before dawn, some clamoring for change, others digging in their heels against resurgent Republicans. Expectations took hold in both camps that the political order was in for a makeover in these anxious times…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Republicans Poised to End Pelosi’s Historic Reign: Two years after voters gave President Obama and Democrats a mandate to govern, angry voters appeared poised today to give Republicans control of the U.S. House of Representatives, leaving droves of incumbent Democrats without jobs. ABC News, 10-12-10
  • The Presidential Planner: After a weekend of campaigning in four states President Obama will spend Election eve behind-closed-doors at the White House today. In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing and meet with senior advisors in the Oval Office, his regular daily briefings. Mr. Obama will spend the rest of the day in private meetings at the White House…. – ABC News, 11-2-10
  • Kentucky Race Tests Tea Party’s Strength: Kentucky voters are casting their ballots in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate contests, which will determine the future of tea-party favorite Rand Paul. An election of Mr. Paul, a 47-year-old eye surgeon and Republican, would signal the movement’s growing political influence, while a defeat to Democrat Jack Conway would mark a substantial setback for the conservative grass-roots effort. “There is a tea-party tidal wave coming to Washington,” he said to reporters after emerging from the polling station. He described the movement as “a bunch of people who are more concerned about the [national] debt than anything else.”… – WSJ, 11-2-10
  • Reid, Angle make late push in marquee raceWaPo, 11-2-10
  • Bold Republicans bidding for control in Congress: Confident of major gains, Republicans challenged the Democrats’ grip on power in Congress on Tuesday in midterm elections shadowed by recession and stirred by the rebellion of tea party conservatives. All 435 seats in the House were on the ballot, plus 37 in the Senate. An additional 37 governors’ races gave Republicans ample opportunity for further gains halfway through President Barack Obama’s term.
    “This is going to be a big day,” House Republican leader John Boehner, in line to become speaker if the GOP wins the House, said after voting near his West Chester, Ohio, home. For those who think the government is spending too much and bailing out too many, he said, “This is their opportunity to be heard.”
    The president gave a series of radio interviews pleading with Democratic supporters not to sit on the sidelines. “I know things are still tough out there, but we finally have job growth again,” he said in one. “It is all at risk if people don’t turn out and vote today.”
    While the president’s name was not on the ballot, his record and policies were. After nearly two years in power, he and congressional Democrats were saddled politically with ownership of an economy that was barely growing, 9.6 percent unemployment, a high rate of home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies, the residue of the worst recession since the 1930s….- AP,
  • Obama’s response: President plans post-election press conference: With a Capitol Hill power shift believed to be in the making, Obama is expected to outline possible mid-course changes in the direction of his presidency. With Republicans expected to win control of the House in Tuesday’s election, President Obama scheduled a press conference for Wednesday in what was expected to amount to a mid-course correction to deal with the power shift on Capitol Hill. Obama is expected to try to reach out to Republicans, who have campaigned against his economic stimulus plan, healthcare overhaul and other policies. But if the GOP gains seats in the House and Senate, as expected, heavy partisan conflict is anticipated, especially as the parties gear up for the 2012 reelection campaign. “This election’s going to be a referendum on Obama’s policies,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Assn., said on MSNBC on Tuesday. “What is the president’s response going to be?” Citing the GOP’s pledge to cut spending aggressively, Barbour added: “Hopefully, the president is going to be willing to come forward and say, ‘I recognize we have to do that; let’s work together.’”… – LAT, 11-2-10
  • Obama Reaching Out to Voters by Radio: Voters may hear President Obama on the radio as they drive to the polls on Tuesday morning. Mr. Obama on Monday taped radio interviews with three morning drive-time hosts, Ryan Seacrest, Russ Parr and Steve Harvey, all of which will be broadcast on Tuesday. The three shows are syndicated to stations across the country, reaching millions of people, and Mr. Obama will be trying to encourage Democrats to vote. The booking with Mr. Seacrest drew some scrutiny since “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” is usually a fluffy entertainment show and Mr. Seacrest is the host of “American Idol.” The blog TVNewser noted that the show solicited questions from its Facebook fans, and the submissions included gems like “What do you think about Justin Bieber???”… – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Obama: Agenda ‘all at risk’ in any Republican romp: Even with voting already under way, President Barack Obama furiously worked the phones to urban-format radio stations Tuesday, arguing that his agenda would be “all at risk” if Republicans trampled Democrats. “We need to keep moving forward, that’s why I need folks to vote today,” Obama told listeners to KPWR in Los Angeles. Interrupting the music and chat of the station’s morning show, Obama phoned in from the Oval Office to acknowledge voter frustration with the recession-bound economy – and say that even though he’s not on the ballot, his agenda is. “Are we taking the steps now to move us in the right direction, or are going to go back to the policies that got us into that mess in the first place?” he said. Other calls went to radio stations in Las Vegas, Chicago and Jacksonville, Fla., with large African-American listenership. On Monday, Obama phoned a series of nationally syndicated radio programs…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Democrats hope to retain Delaware Senate seat: Delaware Democrats are hoping their greater numbers will help them beat back tea-party fueled Republicans including Christine O’Donnell in a rare Democratic bright spot for the midterm elections. Democratic New Castle County executive Chris Coons and O’Donnell are battling in a special election Tuesday for the Senate seat held by Joe Biden for more than three decades before he became vice president. The winner will be seated immediately after the election and serve the remaining four years of the term Biden won in 2008, when he easily beat O’Donnell…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Obama closes 2010 campaign season with stop in Cleveland: President Barack Obama closed out his midterm campaigning Sunday in Cleveland trying to push Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland past a GOP challenger backed by a restless electorate in a race with political implications beyond the Statehouse. Making his 12th visit to Ohio since becoming president – his second visit on behalf of the governor in two weeks – Obama urged thousands at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center to vote in Tuesday’s election and encourage others to do the same.
    “Cleveland, the journey we began two years ago was not about putting a president in the White House. It was about building a movement for change,” he said. “Cleveland, I need you to keep on fighting.”… – The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11-1-10
  • John Boehner fires back at President Obama at GOP rally in Cincinnati House Minority Leader whips up crowd for election Tuesday – and 2012: House Minority Leader John Boehner, at a rally of GOP volunteers Monday evening in a Lunken Airport hangar, gave President Barack Obama a taste of what he can expect if the West Chester Republican becomes the next speaker of the House.
    “The president has been here in Ohio a dozen times this year, and (Ohio Gov.) Ted Strickland thinks it is about him,” Boehner told a crowd of over a thousand Southwest Ohio Republicans who came to Lunken to see him and John Kasich, the GOP candidate for governor, and Rob Portman, the GOP Senate candidate. “It is not about him – this is about President Obama getting re-elected in two years,” Boehner said.
    Boehner took a pointed shot at the president, who has been criticized in recent days by conservatives for an interview with Univision, the Spanish-speaking TV network, in which he used the word “enemies” to describe his political opponents. The White House clarified the statement Monday, saying he should have referred to them as “opponents.” Boehner wasn’t having any of it Monday night.
    “I have a word to describe these people who have the audacity to fight for our constitution, Mr. President,” Boehner said. “These people aren’t enemies; they are patriots.”… – cincinnati.com, 11-1-10
  • Winners Tuesday May Benefit From Economic Cycle: The impact of the anti-incumbency wave of 2010 — if, in fact, it materializes in the way that polls would indicate — will be judged in the next few days by the number of seats that change hands in Washington and in statehouses across the country. In the longer term, though, the importance of any wave election isn’t only about the sheer number of seats gained and lost, but also about when the wave hits—or, more specifically, where it falls in the economic cycles of the country. And if you look at it that way, history suggests that the expected big bang of 2010 may well end up reverberating loudly through our politics for a long time to come…. – NYT, 11-1-10
  • Appeals court extends life of gay military policy: A federal appeals court on Monday indefinitely extended its freeze on a judge’s order halting enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, heightening pressure on the Obama administration to persuade the U.S. Senate to repeal the law before a new Congress is sworn in. A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the U.S. government’s request for a stay while it challenges the trial court’s ruling that the ban on openly gay service members is unconstitutional. The same panel, composed of two judges appointed by President Ronald Reagan and one appointed by President Bill Clinton, on Oct. 20 imposed a temporary hold keeping “don’t ask, don’t tell” in place.
    Monday’s decision means gay Americans who disclose their sexual orientations still can’t enlist in the armed forces and can be investigated and ultimately discharged if they already are serving…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • Obama as American Idol: president to be guest on Ryan Seacrest radio show: In a final bid to bring young voters to the polls, President Obama will join Ryan Seacrest’s radio talk show on Election Day. President Obama chatted with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’ as part of a bid to motivate young voters. On Election Day, he’ll be a guest on Ryan Seacrest’s radio talk show. Let’s just say it’s official: President Obama will do whatever it takes to reach that younger demographic that was so important to his 2008 election.
    On Monday, American idol and radio talk show host Ryan Seacrest announced that the commander-in-chief will appear live on his syndicated, daily radio talk show. It will air at 7:15 a.m. Pacific time – drive time – on Election Day. Mr. Seacrest tweeted to his fans to submit questions for the interview.
    The questions are currently piling up on the Facebook site and run the gamut from serious ones about the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” to queries about Mr. Obama’s favorite songs and other essential POTUS trivia. (That would be President Of The United States, for the uninitiated.) This fits in with a trend that began with Bill Clinton, says Travis Ridout, a political scientist at Washington State University in Pullman. “He’s clearly trying to bypass the filter of the traditional media to get his message directly to that younger demographic,” he says. “There really are no boundaries any more,” says Washington-based digital strategist Brendan Kownacki…. – CS Monitor, 11-1-10
  • ‘American Idol’ host Ryan Seacrest to interview President Obama: The move draws disdain from the GOP, but the White House says that, in a new-media era, specialized programs are the best way to reach a variety of people.
    “I’m interviewing President @BarackObama and want to ask him YOUR questions, political & otherwise,” Seacrest tweeted Monday. Such final appeals are not uncommon from candidates in the final hours before polls close, a time when turnout trumps persuasion. But Republicans mocked the news that Obama would speak with Seacrest in particular. “Just when we thought lack of dignity in the Oval Office couldn’t drop any lower,” Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye said in an e-mail to reporters…. – LAT, 11-1-10
  • Palin endorses Tancredo in Colo. gov race: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has offered a last-minute endorsement to former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo in the Colorado governor’s race. Palin urged voters Monday to support Tancredo – who is running on the American Constitution Party ticket – saying he will fight for lower taxes and smaller government, and start growing the economy…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • In closely watched races, campaigns hunt for votes: If the nation’s most closely watched Senate race is a battle, the campaign offices and neighborhoods of recession- ravaged Nevada were the trenches on Monday in the final hours before Election Day. Volunteers at GOP offices made their best cold-call pitches: Help Sharron Angle beat U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. Democrats – one dressed as a chicken to mock Angle’s refusal to take questions from the media – hurried from door to door, urging voters in a state hit hard by unemployment and the housing bust to give the Senate majority leader another chance. Last-minute and, at times, desperate get-out-the-vote drives picked up speed in the state and across the country, with some key races, like Reid-Angle, so close that they could be decided by just a couple votes per precinct…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • Lawyers Gear Up for Post-Election Fights: Political party lawyers are gearing up for what could be a heated post-election fight over the results of Tuesday’s closest races. Multiple close races raise the possibility of inconclusive or disputed results of balloting, party operatives say, and allegations of impropriety flew in the final hours. The Justice Department, which investigates election crimes, said its Civil Rights Division plans to deploy more than 400 federal observers and department personnel to 30 jurisdictions in 18 states.
    The Democratic National Committee said it expects to deploy nearly 10,000 lawyers and other trained monitors as part of its “voter protection” effort. Joseph Sandler, a former Democratic National Committee general counsel who now represents state parties and candidates, said Democrats’ efforts are bigger than in earlier midterm elections.
    “The reason is the number of close races,” Mr. Sandler said. “Every state has become a battleground state.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent out email fund-raising appeals with the headline: “Don’t Let Them Steal This Election.” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the committee’s chairman, set a goal of raising $100,000 to help the party watch for irregularities and prepare for possible litigation…. – WSJ, 11-1-10
  • Clinton stumps for NY House Dems in tight races: Former President Bill Clinton campaigned Monday for a pair of House Democrats from New York, the latest evidence of political dedication to his adopted home state in the waning hours of the midterm elections. Clinton started the day at a rally with Rep. Scott Murphy, whom he praised for supporting local economic growth and President Barack Obama’s controversial health care law. Murphy, who won the seat in a special election last year, faces a tough challenge from Republican Chris Gibson, a retired Army colonel.
    “He gets this. You have to choose the future,” Clinton told a crowd of about 1,200 Murphy supporters. “This isn’t about right and left, this is about tomorrow versus yesterday.”
    Later, Clinton was headed to Watertown to stump for Rep. Bill Owens, who like Murphy won his seat in a longtime Republican stronghold in a special election. Owens faces millionaire businessman Matt Doheny in a tight race…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • Candidates make final push in Alaska Senate race: Alaska’s three main U.S. Senate candidates made their final cases to voters Monday, with high-profile surrogates also weighing in on the hotly contested race that might remain in limbo well after Election Day. Financial disclosures show a flurry of last-minute spending on the race, including from Tea Party Express, which had maintained a relatively low profile since helping Joe Miller defeat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the August GOP primary. Alaska Native corporations have spent nearly $1.3 million through their PAC to help Murkowski, who’s running a write- in campaign. And the millions of dollars poured into the race – by the candidates and outside groups – have kept ads on the air seemingly nonstop. Then there are the big names: former President Bill Clinton did a robocall for Democrat Scott McAdams, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, maintained a vigilant attack on Murkowski on Miller’s behalf…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • Time Off to Vote: Employer Responsibilities: November 2 is Election Day, and employees of all political stripes may be taking a bit of time off work to vote. Employers of all sizes and stripes should be sure they know the law regarding this duty and right. The laws of nearly every state allow time off from work to vote, but whether or not other benefits such as paid time off are included, vary from state to state.
    Some laws place more responsibility on the employers, some place equal responsibility on employees regarding time off to vote. In some states, the employee has certain requirements they must meet to take advantage of time off to vote. Some jurisdictions ask that employees show proof they voted, or give advance notice that they will require time off to vote. Some states allow employers to set the time that employees may take to vote. To check on the specific requirements where your business is located, your state labor department website is a good resource for time off for voting rules in each state. The amount of time off that must be given to an employee can depend on their schedule and might permit the employer to not give additional time off for voting. For example, if an employee has two or three consecutive hours off while the polls are open, or otherwise has enough time to vote before or after work, an employer may not have to let the employee take time to vote during work hours…. – Reuters, 11-1-10
  • Sarah Palin and Jon Stewart agree on this: News media are bad influence: The media are berated as ‘corrupt’ (per Sarah Palin) and as a ‘conflictinator’ (per Jon Stewart). Is it a case of shooting the messenger, or did news media miss the mark in Election 2010? A familiar bogeyman leapt back into the news this weekend – the media itself. Tarring of the media and its election coverage came from Fox News commentator Sarah Palin, who called a team of Alaskan TV newsfolk “corrupt bastards,” as well as Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, who closed his Saturday rally on the Washington Mall by saying the 24-hour news and media machine was “broke.” He coined a new term of derision for it: “conflictinator.”
    Even the nonpartisan Wesleyan Media Project added some fuel to the critique: This election cycle has the most negative political ads ever, with more than half being pure attack ads, according to its new data released Monday. Many campaigns count on the far-out content to propel the ads into the media spotlight.
    In the wake of such a barrage, Sunday’s news talk shows had a field day of self-dissection. On NBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” the host parried with columnist and Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington in a high-pitched – if friendly – frenzy of proposed solutions. She called for no more demonizing by media personalities; he laughed at the idea that people should not argue. And The New York Times ran an op-ed piece chiding Mr. Stewart for berating the messenger rather than the message…. – CS Monitor, 11-1-10
  • Michelle Obama tells Nevada ‘my husband can’t do this alone’ As the headliner at a rally for Sen. Harry Reid, Obama asks voters to heed the spirit of the 2008 campaign, which ‘was about building a movement for change.’ LAT, 11-1-10
  • At Rally, Thousands — Billions? — Respond: Part circus, part satire, part parade, the crowds that flooded the National Mall Saturday for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear made it a political event like no other. It was a Democratic rally without a Democratic politician, featuring instead two political satirists, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert, who used the stage to rib journalists and fear-mongering politicians, and to argue with each other over the songs “Peace Train” and “Crazy Train.”
    Though at no point during the show did either man plug a candidate, a strong current of political engagement coursed through the crowd, which stretched several long blocks west of the Capitol, an overwhelming response to a call by Mr. Stewart on his “Daily Show.” The turnout clogged traffic and filled subway trains and buses to overflow. The event, sponsored by Viacom’s Comedy Central network and televised live, was viewed by many in the crowd as a counterweight to Restoring Honor, a rally led by the Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck near the Lincoln Memorial two months ago. Some participants staged a protest near a Fox News satellite truck.
    The National Park Service did not offer a formal crowd estimate. But Judy McGrath, the chief executive of Viacom’s MTV Networks unit, said she had been told by the Parks Service that there were “well over 200,000 people” at the rally. Mr. Colbert offered his own guess in a Twitter message: “Early estimate of crowd size at rally: 6 billion.”… – NYT, 10-31-10
  • Facing G.O.P. Gain, Democrats Fight to Retain Senate: The battle for control of Congress rolled into a frenetic final weekend as Democrats fought to preserve the Senate as their power center on Capitol Hill, trying to hold off a Republican surge that could reshape the political order in Washington. With Republicans in a strong position to capture the House, President Obama on Saturday opened a four-state weekend swing here to rally support for Senate candidates in Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, hoping to build a critical firewall to protect the party’s Senate majority from Republican gains across the country. Republicans intensified their efforts to capitalize on a favorable political environment, with Sarah Palin making a last-minute trip to West Virginia to ask voters to elect a Republican for the Democratic seat Senator Robert C. Byrd held for 51 years. The outcome of five contests considered tossups will help determine if Democrats retain control of the Senate, according to the latest analysis of races by The New York Times, with Republicans trying to capture Democratic-held seats in Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington. Should they sweep those, they would still need to triumph in a state like California or West Virginia, where Democratic chances seemed to be improving…. – NYT, 10-31-10
  • In Ads, Candidates Make Their Final Pitches to Voters: Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for Senate in Nevada, wants the state’s voters to know that Harry Reid had his chance, but it’s her turn now. This is the final pitch Ms. Angle makes in a political ad released Thursday and titled “Our Turn,” which argues that two years ago, Democrats “promised change—but they delivered unprecedented spending, overwhelming debt, heartbreaking job loss,” and a laundry list of other economic woes. “They promised change,” the ad concludes. “Now, it’s our turn.” With Election Day on Tuesday, candidates across the nation are turning to political ads to make their closing arguments — often a last-ditch plea to win over voters by either reintroducing themselves , tearing down their opponent one last time , or something in between. And this year, both Democrats and Republicans are trying to harness the anti-Washington sentiment to push different versions of the same theme: That the nation’s capital must change, and with their independent voice and close ties to their home state, the candidate currently approving this ad is just the person for the job. NYT, 10-31-10
  • Republicans Deny Giving Up Hope on Miller as Polls Show Nominee Slipping: Republicans stood by Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller Sunday, denying a claim that the party had given up hope that he can beat write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, as polls show the GOP nominee slipping. Murkowski, the incumbent senator, launched a write-in campaign after losing to Miller in the Republican primary. Such campaigns are rarely successful in part because the names of write-in candidates do not show up on the ballot — the state Supreme Court ruled Friday, though, that the write-in list could be provided in limited cases on Election Day…. – Fox News, 10-31-10
  • Nev. Senate race converges in state capital: Nevada’s hotly contested Senate race had rivals Harry Reid and Sharron Angle serving flapjacks, petting dogs and shaking hands as they worked for last-minute votes during Nevada’s statehood celebration. The Nevada Day Parade, part of three-day state holiday, is one politicians rarely miss, especially in an election year. Reid, the Democratic majority leader, strolled the back streets before the festivities began Saturday, talking to entrants as they assembled. He watched the parade from along Carson City’s main drag. Polls have consistently shown the race too close to call…. – AP, 10-31-10
  • ‘Sanity’ rally draws tens of thousands: Tens of thousands of people turned out on the sun-splashed National Mall on Saturday to hear comedian Jon Stewart proclaim “reasonableness” as the norm in American life and to jab the cable news media for being purveyors of fear and division.
    “The country’s 24-hour politico-pundit-perpetual-panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder,” said Stewart in a speech that wrapped up the event. The three-hour “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” mixed comedy and music with a message that was non-partisan, yet deeply political…. – USA Today, 10-30-10
  • Obama fires up voters at Chicago rally: President Barack Obama is telling supporters to go to the polls themselves and get others there as well. He’s firing up thousands of people gathered in Chicago on Saturday night just a few blocks from his home in the city for a get-out-the-vote rally. He asked the cheering crowd if they were fired up. He says people have to go to the polls so Democrats can finish what they started in 2008. He said at the rally people need to get others out to the polls too. And he said if everyone who fought for change to elect him comes out to the polls on Tuesday, then Democrats will win. Chicago was Obama’s third stop in a day of campaigning as he tries to fend off Republicans trying to win his former Senate seat and the Illinois governor’s mansion…. – AP, 10-30-10
  • Clinton to campaign for Meek on election-eve: Former President Bill Clinton will factor into Florida’s Senate race one more time with an election-eve visit to Orlando for Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek. When Clinton last visited the state, he and Meek discussed the possibility of Meek dropping out of the race to give independent candidate Charlie Crist a better chance of defeating Republican frontrunner Marco Rubio.
    Meek and Clinton both say the former president never urged Meek to withdraw. Meek says Clinton was discussing rumors pushed by Crist and he said Crist asked him directly to drop out a few days ago when the two crossed paths at an AIPAC conference in Broward County…. – Palm Beach Post, 10-
  • Obama deals with protests in Connecticut: President Obama, who is having a hard enough time with the Republicans this election season, had to deal with putative supporters today in Connecticut. As Obama launched into his stump speech at an arena in Bridgeport, a group of protesters began heckling him over funding for the global fight against AIDS.
    “Excuse me … excuse me,” an irritated looking Obama said before he could finally talk over the shouting. “You’ve been appearing at every rally we’ve been doing. And we’re funding global AIDS (prevention). And the other side is not. So I don’t know why you think this is a useful strategy to take.” USA Today, 10-30-10
  • Sarah Palin to Joe Manchin: Stay in W.Va.: On a last-minute visit for Republican John Raese’s Senate campaign, Sarah Palin said Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin is a “nice guy” who’s better off sticking with his current gig. “He’s such a nice governor, I think that ‘Manchin in the mansion’ just kind of fits,” Palin to the crowd at a rally for Raese, gesturing to the governor’s official home just down the riverfront street. It was the only time Palin uttered Manchin’s name during her appearance. Instead, she told the crowd that she preferred to call him the “would-be rubber-stamp” for President Barack Obama. Palin’s visit was finalized at the last minute, less than 24 hours before she took the stage with Raese and rock guitarist Ted Nugent — and three days before the bulk of voters will head to the polls…. – Politico, 10-30-10
  • Palin: Vote for Raese, leave Manchin as governor: Sarah Palin says Democrat Joe Manchin is a good governor — but she says West Virginia voters should keep him in the governor’s mansion and out of the U.S. Senate. Palin, the former governor of Alaska and one-time vice presidential candidate, was in Charleston on Saturday to support Republican John Raese (RAY’-see)’s Senate bid. She drew cheers when she said Manchin was a better fit as governor…. – AP, 10-30-10
  • Ohio congressman leaves rally as wife gives birth: Ohio Rep. John Boccieri ran offstage Saturday during a speech by Bill Clinton after the congressman received word that his pregnant wife had gone into labor. Boccieri quickly left the podium Saturday afternoon while the former president addressed a crowd of about 1,000 people in Canton, about an hour south of Cleveland. “The baby is now being born!” Clinton announced as the crowd erupted with cheers. “You’d be amazed how many times I take a picture with a very pregnant woman and then she immediately gives birth.” Addressing both sets of grandparents, who were among the crowd standing in the parking lot, Clinton joked: “I’d like some credit for your fifth grandchild being brought into the world.” Clinton couldn’t resist one more wisecrack before continuing his speech. “We got another Democrat,” he said. “I wish we could register that baby before it’s too late.”… – AP, 10-30-10
  • Fiorina goes Boxer-bashing at Halloween-themed candy store; she, Whitman say they’ll prove polls wrong: Standing in a Halloween-decorated Menlo Park candy store Friday amid a mad scientist display, a jar of brains and big fuzzy spiders, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina portrayed Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer as the real goblin in this race.
    “No, Barbara Boxer, the stimulus bill hasn’t worked,” said Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, during a short visit to the Sugar Shack to highlight the importance of women-owned small businesses. “No, your policies of bailing, borrowing, spending, taxing are not working either.”
    Asked about a new Field Poll that shows her trailing Boxer 49 percent to 41 percent — and among women by 15 percentage points — Fiorina called the statewide poll “an outlier” compared with several others that show the race is “very, very tight” and “very, very winnable.” But a recent Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll also gave Boxer an eight-point advantage, and a Public Policy Institute of California poll put Boxer ahead by five points. An average of multiple polls at realclearpolitics.com gives Boxer an edge of 6.5 percentage points…. – Mercury News, 10-30-10
  • None of the above looms large in Nevada Senate: Choosing “none of the above,” the default option on quizzes, is looming as a potential factor in the dead-heat Nevada Senate race for voters who don’t like either Democrat Harry Reid or Republican Sharron Angle. Voters in the Silver State have nine choices on the ballot next week — eight are candidates, including Reid and Angle. The number of voters who choose “None of these candidates” is expected to be small, but in a close race those who decide to boycott the ballot could make the difference. Reid knows the risk: A dozen years ago he pulled off a 428-vote re-election victory over then-Republican Rep. John Ensign, while “none” received 8,125 votes, far more than his winning margin…. – AP, 10-29-10
  • Palin, US State Department in Twitter duel: A tongue-in-cheek US birthday message to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over Twitter may not have reached the intended recipient, but triggered a rebuke from someone else — Sarah Palin. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, learning from reporters that Ahmadinejad celebrated turned 54 on Thursday, took to the micro-blogging service to ask him to release two US hikers detained in Iran since last year.
    “Happy birthday President Ahmadinejad. Celebrate by sending Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer home. What a gift that would be,” Crowley tweeted. “Your 54th year was full of lost opportunities. Hope in your 55th year you will open Iran to a different relationship with the world,” read another tweet.
    Palin, the Republican Party’s 2008 candidate for vice president who enjoys a following among conservatives, was not amused. “Happy B’day Ahmadinejad wish sent by US Govt. Mind boggling foreign policy: kowtow (and) coddle enemies; snub allies. Obama Doctrine is nonsense,” she wrote in her own message on Twitter. Palin highlighted Ahmadinejad’s past calls for the destruction of Israel….. – AFP, 10-29-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

John Raese, Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent are pictured. | AP Photo

Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent came out to support GOP Senate candidate John Raese (left). | AP Photo
  • Upstairs at the White House, Obama says he gets no ‘Mr. President’ greeting from first lady: His party’s having trouble at the polls. But is President Barack Obama also having a spot of trouble at home? Calling in to the morning show at KVEG radio in Las Vegas, hoping to boost Democratic turnout at the polls Tuesday, Obama was asked by the host how his wife, Michelle, addresses him in the White House residence. “Is it Mr. President?” he was asked. “That would be no,” Obama deadpanned. “She calls me names sometimes, but it’s not Mr. President.”… – LAT, 11-2-10
  • GOP Leaders: Sarah Palin Must be Stopped: Last night, Politico posted an anonymously-sourced story reporting that advisers to top potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates are united in their desire to stop Sarah Palin from winning the presidential nomination out of a fear that she would lose badly in the general election. “There is a determined, focused establishment effort … to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin,” someone described as a “prominent and longtime Washington Republican” told Politico. “We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her.”
    Palin quickly responded to the story on Fox News’ “On the Record” last night, criticizing the use of anonymous sources and stating, “The paper that we just printed this article on was not worth even wrapping my king salmon in.” “This is a joke to have unnamed sources tearing somebody apart limb by limb,” said Palin. She also lit into those quoted, telling Greta Van Susteren they “want to lead the nation and run the world” and yet “they’re not brave enough to put their name in an article.” She called them “the GOP the establishment — the self- proclaimed elite” and added that “if they would man up and if they would, you know, make these claims against me, then I can debate them.”
    Palin has now sarcastically referred to Politico and other detractors “puppy-kicking, chain-smoking porn producers” in an email to the Daily Caller. She reportedly wrote: “I suppose I could play their immature, unprofessional, waste-of-time game, too, by claiming these reporters and politicos are homophobe, child molesting, tax evading, anti-dentite, puppy-kicking, chain smoking porn producers…really, they are… I’ve seen it myself…but I’ll only give you the information off-the- record, on deep, deep background; attribute these ‘facts’ to an ‘anonymous source’ and I’ll give you more.”… – CBS News, 11-1-10Politico, 11-1-10
  • Obama pulls back on ‘enemies’ remark to Latinos: A day before the pivotal midterm elections, President Barack Obama pulled back from remarks he made last month when he called on Latino voters to punish their “enemies” on Election Day. In an interview Monday with radio host Michael Baisden, Obama said he should have used the word “opponents” instead of enemies.
    Republicans were quick to criticize the president’s remarks. House Minority Leader John Boehner was expected to use Obama’s words in an election eve speech in Ohio to paint the president as a staunch partisan. “Sadly, we have a president who uses the word ‘enemy’ for fellow Americans, fellow citizens. He used it for people who disagree with his agenda of bigger government,” Boehner said, according to prepared remarks released in advance of his speech.
    Obama’s original comments came during an interview with Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, a Hispanic radio personality. Piolin questioned how Obama could ask Latinos for their vote when many don’t believe he’s worked hard to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Obama responded: “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder.”
    The president said Monday that the message he was trying to send was that voters need to support lawmakers who stand with them on the issue. “Now the Republicans are saying that I’m calling them enemies,” Obama said. “What I’m saying is you’re an opponent of this particular provision, comprehensive immigration reform, which is something very different.”… – AP, 11-1-10
  • Palin: News Station Trying to “Make Up” Stories: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Says Anchorage Station KTVA Conspired to Make Up Stories About Senate Candidate Joe Miller
    Sunday on Fox News, Palin said a cell phone recording shows two of the reporters were trying to discredit the Miller campaign.
    “It was revealed and we have the tape that proves it, that the CBS reporters, the affiliate in Alaska, conspired to make up stories about Joe Miller,” said Palin on Fox News. “We have the tape, [Host] Chris [Wallace], that proves it and I can’t wait till it busts out all over the nation.”… – CBS News, 10-31-10
  • Sarah Palin would ‘make the sacrifices’ and run for president: The former governor of Alaska predicts Tuesday’s vote will serve as a rebuke to President Obama as well as the GOP establishment. Obama exhorts Democrats in Cleveland to answer a ‘cocky’ GOP.
    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin predicted that Tuesday’s midterm elections would bring a “political earthquake” to the country and reiterated her willingness to make the personal sacrifices necessary to run for president in 2012. Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee said the message from voters this year would serve as an indictment of the current administration.
    “They’re going to say, ‘You blew it, President Obama. We gave you the two years to fulfill your promise of making sure that our economy starts roaring back to life again.’ And instead I believe things are getting worse,” Palin said.
    The election results also will deliver a stinging rebuke to the Republican establishment from the “tea party” movement, she warned.
    “Those within the establishment who have kind of perpetuated the problem by going along just to get along, including some who’ve been wishy-washy on the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda — the message sent to them is ‘No more,’” Palin said.
    She was more equivocal about her own political future, saying: “I love the freedom that I have, that I can sit here and I can tell you anything that I want to tell you and not have to worry so much about how it will affect my future political career, or my relationship with senators or congressmen.”
    But while acknowledging she was enjoying private life, the former governor hastened to clarify that she would be happy to step back into public life.
    “You know, the country is worth it, though, to make those sacrifices, when we talk about making money today, having a lot of fun today, having all this freedom,” she said. “If the country needed me — and I’m not saying that the country does and that the country would ever necessarily want to choose me over anyone else, but I would be willing to make the sacrifices if need be for America.”… – LAT, 10-31-10
  • Rally to Shift the Blame: In his new role as a political leader, which is what you call somebody if he hosts a rally on the Washington Mall for over 200,000 people, Jon Stewart was a little hemmed at the Rally to Restore Sanity on Saturday. Because sanity should know no party, partisan rhetoric was not on the teleprompter.
    At his rally, Jon Stewart said cable news “did not cause our problems,” but it “makes solving them that much harder.” So instead the host of “The Daily Show” took steady aim on the one American institution that everyone can agree to hate: The Media. Within the first minute of his deft, very articulate stump speech at the end of the rally, Mr. Stewart turned his gun sights on the, um, fake news, which he called, “the country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator,” which, he added, “did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder.” “The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous, flaming ant epidemic,” he said, to roars of approval from the crowd. “We work together to get things done every damn day! The only place we don’t is here,” he said, gesturing toward the Capitol, “or on cable TV.”… – NYT, 10-31-10
  • In radio address, Obama urges party unity after election: Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s election, it’s time to put aside partisanship, President Obama is telling Democrats and Republicans. Yet his appeal for unity includes a jab at GOP leaders in the House and Senate for comments that the president said were troubling.
    House minority leader John Boehner of Ohio “actually said that ‘this is not the time for compromise,’” Obama said yesterday in his weekly radio and Internet address. The president added that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky “said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one.”… – Boston Globe, 10-31-10
  • Obama warns of progress reversal if GOP wins: President Barack Obama implored voters on Saturday to resist a Republican tide, warning that if the GOP prevails in Tuesday’s midterm elections all the progress of his first two years in office “can be rolled back.” That would be just fine, said Rep. John Boehner, in line to become the new speaker if Republicans take the House, as expected. He declared, “Americans are demanding a new way forward in Washington.” Embarking on a four-state weekend campaign dash, Obama acknowledged the difficulties Democrats face — the distinct chance of losing their comfortable majority in the House and possibly the Senate, as well as several governors’ seats. All four weekend stops are in states Obama carried in 2008 — Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois and Ohio. But Democratic candidates for the Senate, House and governorships are struggling in these places and elsewhere, and Obama is making a last-ditch plea for the party’s core supporters not to abandon them. “It is difficult here in Pennsylvania, it is difficult all across the country,” Obama told several hundred campaign volunteers at Temple University in Philadelphia, a Democratic-leaning city he has visited often. The weekend tour marks the president’s last campaign swing of the campaign season, with Republicans expecting big victories on Tuesday. Obama’s sagging popularity has limited his ability to save Democratic candidates, and his legislative agenda may be deeply complicated if the GOP takes over the House, as many expect…. – AP, 10-30-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls on GOP Leadership to Put Aside Partisan Politics and Focus on Strengthening the Economy
    Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery The White House October 30, 2010:
    Tuesday is Election Day, and here in Washington, the talk is all about who will win and who will lose – about parties and politics.
    But around kitchen tables, I’m pretty sure you’re talking about other things: about your family finances, or maybe the state of the economy in your hometown; about your kids, and what their futures will bring. And your hope is that once this election is over, the folks you choose to represent you will put the politics aside for a while, and work together to solve problems. That’s my hope, too….
    That’s why I found the recent comments by the top two Republican in Congress so troubling. The Republican leader of the House actually said that “this is not the time for compromise.” And the Republican leader of the Senate said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one.
    I know that we’re in the final days of a campaign. So it’s not surprising that we’re seeing this heated rhetoric. That’s politics. But when the ballots are cast and the voting is done, we need to put this kind of partisanship aside – win, lose, or draw.
    In the end, it comes down to a simple choice. We can spend the next two years arguing with one another, trapped in stale debates, mired in gridlock, unable to make progress in solving the serious problems facing our country. We can stand still while our competitors – like China and others around the world – try to pass us by, making the critical decisions that will allow them to gain an edge in new industries.
    Or we can do what the American people are demanding that we do. We can move forward. We can promote new jobs and businesses by harnessing the talents and ingenuity of our people. We can take the necessary steps to help the next generation – instead of just worrying about the next election. We can live up to an allegiance far stronger than our membership in any political party. And that’s the allegiance we hold to our country. – WH, 10-30-10
  • President Obama: “A Credible Terrorist Threat Against Our Country, and the Actions That We’re Taking”: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to briefly update the American people on a credible terrorist threat against our country, and the actions that we’re taking with our friends and our partners to respond to it.
    Last night and earlier today, our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, working with our friends and allies, identified two suspicious packages bound for the United States — specifically, two places of Jewish worship in Chicago. Those packages had been located in Dubai and East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom. An initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material.
    I was alerted to this threat last night by my top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan. I directed the Department of Homeland Security and all our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps are necessary to protect our citizens from this type of attack. Those measures led to additional screening of some planes in Newark and Philadelphia…. – WH, 10-29-10
  • Ten Questions for Jeb Bush: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sat down at his Miami office with John Harwood of The New York Times and CNBC to discuss President Obama’s leadership, Republican presidential politics, and the Senate campaign of his successor, Gov. Charlie Crist. An edited transcript of their conversation…. – NYT, 10-29-10
  • Obama Says Packages Bound for U.S. Contained Explosives: Two packages containing explosive devices originating in Yemen and addressed to two places of Jewish worship in Chicago were intercepted in Dubai and Britain, setting off a global terror alert, President Obama said at the White House on Friday. The president called the packages a “credible threat,” prompting searches of cargo planes landing at Philadelphia and Newark and a delivery truck in Brooklyn, and a military escort for an inbound passenger flight. No explosive packages were found to have reached the United States…. – NYT, 10-29-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Tevi Troy: Troy responds: Bewitching hour for campaign craziness?: Elections seem more important than ever because our electorate is so closely divided. As a result, control of Congress is far more likely to change hands in each election than it was in the decades before the GOP takeover of 1994. The policy impact of such changes in Congress is what keeps bringing the intensity to higher and higher levels…. – The Arena at Politico.com, 11-2-10
  • Leading article: President Obama still offers change we can believe in: It is hard to find an American with a good word to say about Barack Obama at the moment. The President is denounced by his progressive supporters for being insufficiently liberal. He is attacked by the libertarian Tea Party movement for being a communist. He is slated by the leaders of corporate America for his supposedly “anti-business” policies. Everywhere, there seems to be anger and disillusion. The contrast with the mood of optimism and hope when Mr Obama was elected two years ago is remarkable. And the expectation is that these currents of national discontent will mean heavy losses for the Democrats in today’s midterm congressional elections…. – Independent UK, 11-2-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: It’s Tea Party vs. Bush and Obama: Former President George W. Bush loomed large throughout the 2010 campaign even though he has been out of office for nearly two years.
    The upcoming publication of Bush’s memoirs, “Decision Points,” offers us an opportunity to consider the relationship between the former commander-in-chief and the Tea Party activists who played such a major role in energizing the GOP this summer and fall. While the Tea Party attacks on President Obama and his policies were front and center, their anger was also directed toward the nature of Republican politics in the age of Bush.
    The Tea Party movement has opened up a civil war within the Republican Party. Recently these tensions exploded when Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, said the Tea Party was not very “sophisticated.” Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called Rove an “elitist” and said that “unfortunately, there is an elitism within the Republican establishment. And it’s one of the reasons the Republicans have not been able to solidify not only the Tea Party movement but solidify conservatives across America.”…
    Now that the election campaign is just about over, the party’s leaders will have to reconcile the tensions between where the party had been under George W. Bush and where Tea Party leaders would like to see it heading. The impact of the movement on the GOP will create intense pressure on elected officials to listen to what the activists have been demanding if they want their support in 2012.
    The question will be whether Tea Party activists will decide that the GOP is just no longer a home for them and if other Republicans, like former President Bush, will be left wondering what has become of their party. – CNN, 11-1-10
  • GERALD F. SEIB: Lessons of Reagan’s Rebound: As they lick their wounds during what figures to be a tough election night Tuesday, Democrats might want to reflect on the 1982 experience of President Ronald Reagan and take away some lessons from it…. – WSJ, 11-1-10
  • DOROTHY RABINOWITZ: Why Obama Is No Roosevelt: Roosevelt: ‘Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst without flinching and losing heart.’ Obama: We don’t ‘always think clearly when we’re scared.’
    Whatever the outcome of today’s election, this much is clear: It will be a long time before Americans ever again decide that the leadership of the nation should go to a legislator of negligible experience—with a voting record, as state and U.S. senator, consisting largely of “present,” and an election platform based on glowing promises of transcendence. A platform vowing, unforgettably, to restore us—a country lost to arrogance and crimes against humanity—to a place of respect in the world.
    We would win back our allies who, so far as we knew, hadn’t been lost anywhere. Though once Mr. Obama was elected and began dissing them with returned Churchill busts and airy claims of ignorance about the existence of any special relationship between the United States and Great Britain, the British, at least, have been feeling less like pals of old.
    In the nearly 24 months since Mr. Obama’s election, popular enthusiasm for him has gone the way of his famous speeches—lyrical, inspired and unburdened by the weight of concrete thought…. – WSJ, 11-1-10
  • Julian Zelizer: Obama and Democrats brace for possible Republican wave: “It’s an election in which conservatives gain enough power in Congress — even if they don’t control it — to block liberal legislation,” said Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University. “They’re usually some kind of response or backlash to a president who has put forth a big agenda.”… – USA Today, 10-31-10
  • 5 questions for 5 analysts: What will happen Election Day, what it means: Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report: The level of voter anger and the increased level of incivility really stand out to me. I’ve never heard a candidate for statewide office tell the president to “shove it,” as Rhode Island Democrat Frank Caprio did, or another candidate say that if elected he hopes for headlines that read “Gov. LePage tells Obama to go to Hell.”Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia: This is the first initial midterm of a Democratic president in 16 years. Oddly, Obama’s first midterm election is looking a lot like Bill Clinton’s first midterm in 1994. Democratic presidents are starting to have real problems early in their terms — although a sample of two is very, very small.
    Linda Fowler, professor of government at Dartmouth College: The economy. We haven’t had unemployment rates this high since 1982. Every forecasting model that any political scientist has ever run indicates that when you have an economy running this badly, the party that the president controls gets punished pretty heavily.
    Earl Black, co-author of “America Divided” and a political scientist at Rice University in Houston: This is the first election really since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society where we’ve had a very liberal Democratic president move to enact a highly ambitious program, health care being the most obvious, and to do this in the face of national public opinion that was opposed to the bill. This has created a lot of opposition.
    Bill Whalen, research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a GOP media consultant: That would be the “wave” dynamic seemingly working to the Republicans’ advantage for the first time in 16 years and President Clinton’s first midterm test. … (T)his is the first time the GOP is looking at landmark congressional gains (plus gaining a majority advantage among governorships) since Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America…. – Yahoo News, 10-31-10
  • Obama Tries To Rally Democrats In Final Days Before Election: In the final days before Tuesday’s (Nov. 2) congressional elections, President Barack Obama is making one last campaign swing, in hopes of persuading more of his fellow Democrats to vote. With public opinion polls predicting big losses for his Democratic Party, President Obama is on the road once more, trying to limit the damage.
    Young voters were a big part of Mr. Obama’s surge to the presidency in 2008, so he went to a university in Philadelphia on Saturday and urged students to campaign for Democratic candidates. “Coming to a rally, that is not the hard part. What I need this weekend is 20,000 doors knocked on by all the volunteers who are here today,” he said. Public opinion surveys predict that Republicans will easily win at least the 39 seats they need to take control of the House of Representatives, and probably more. There is a lesser chance that Republicans could also take over the Senate…. – VOA, 10-30-10
  • Can Sarah Palin Save Joe Miller?: Republican Joe Miller has seemingly lost his momentum in Alaska’s Senate race, going from rebel insurgent during the primary to hapless blunderer the week before the general. Miller has been slammed by a series of revelations about his background, from his family’s reliance on the federal benefits he criticizes to political indiscretions– and resulting disciplinary action–while he was working as an attorney for the state. His campaign has responded with defensive and somewhat thuggish behavior, including handcuffing a journalist who tried to question Miller at a public event.
    Though Alaska is a difficult state to poll accurately, the most recent survey from the state showed Miller trailing significantly behind write-in Republican Lisa Murkowski, who received 34 percent (the poll presented “write-in candidate” as an option rather than using Murkowski’s name), and Democrat Scott McAdams, who received 29 percent. Miller’s percentage had slipped from 31 at the beginning of the month to just 23 when the poll was released yesterday.
    Miller, then, is looking for a resurgence. He may have sparked one in a rally last night headlined by Sarah Palin, though it’s too early to judge whether the gathering will significantly energize the last days of his campaign. Palin and Miller have had a complicated background of late–at least as far as the media is aware–and she has been slow to throw her full weight into this race… – The Atlantic, 10-29-10
  • Gil Troy: Israel is peripheral in the US elections – fortunately: Although Americans glided smoothly to the 2008 presidential election, with most increasingly giddy at the prospect of Barack Obama’s historic victory, they are stumbling haphazardly toward the 2010 congressional midterms, with most increasingly cranky. Pollsters predict that on November 2, Barack Obama will suffer a major defeat. Gone is the faith that this mortal can solve America’s problems. Gone is most of the hope that galvanized millions. Gone is the sky-high popularity rating that had Republicans and comedians wondering in January 2009, “how are we ever going to criticize, let alone laugh, at this guy.” Gone is the “yes we can” optimism, as many Americans take a “no we can’t” approach. And gone may be the power President Obama drew from his Democratic congressional majority…. – JPost, 10-27-10

Political Highlights October 31, 2010: Last Full Week Campaigning, Obama Vs. Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton & Kendrick Meek, Sarah Palin for President in 2012?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

October 23: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks during the  Republican 2010 Victory Fundraising Rally in Orlando, Florida

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Scenarios: Election trends could be evident early: The battle for control of the Congress on Tuesday promises to stretch deep into the night or beyond, but some of the earliest results could give big clues about the eventual outcome…. – Reuters, 10-29-10
  • Midterms Q&A: what’s at stake and who might win A guide to the most crucial midterms since at least 1994: On Tuesday, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for grabs, along with 37 seats in the Senate, 37 governorships, and the usual multitude of state and local positions, including everything from state legislatures to judges to city mayors. There are no elections for “town dogcatcher”, the post sometimes used to illustrate the lowest reach of American electoral politics – though the evidence suggests there once were…. – Guardian UK, 10-29-10
  • Nearly two-thirds of U.S. Latinos detect bias, poll find: Nearly two-thirds of Latinos in the United States think they are being discriminated against, and a plurality view the backlash over illegal immigration as the central driver of such bias, according to a poll by the Pew Hispanic Center. The poll also found that 70 percent of foreign-born Latinos think they are being held back by discrimination, and half of all Latinos think the United States has become less welcoming toward immigrants than it was just five years ago…. – 10-28-10
  • Factbox: Elections for Congress, state, local offices: Voters across the United States go to the polls next Tuesday to elect senators and representatives to Congress in Washington, as well as state governors and lawmakers and local officials. While President Barack Obama is not on the ballot, the midterm election is in many ways a referendum on his presidency, which is under pressure from voters unhappy with his handling of the weak economy and high unemployment. Thousands of communities will elect mayors and city and county officials, judges, sheriffs and fill other local offices. In many areas, voters will also voice their opinions on specific initiatives — from raising or cutting state and local taxes to California’s question of whether marijuana should be legalized and taxed.
    Here are the numbers…. – Reuters, 10-27-10
  • Parts of Obama Coalition Drift Toward G.O.P., Poll Finds: Critical parts of the coalition that delivered President Obama to the White House in 2008 and gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006 are switching their allegiance to the Republicans in the final phase of the midterm Congressional elections, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Catholics, less affluent Americans and independents; all of those groups broke for Mr. Obama in 2008 and for congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls…. – NYT, 10-27-10
  • Early Voting On Track To Set Midterm Election Record 9.4 Million Americans Have Already Cast Ballots; Both Parties Claim Advantage: With less than a week to go until Election Day, more than 9.4 million Americans have already cast their ballots in what experts say could be a banner midterm election season for early voting. More than 1.5 million people have voted early in California, 1.2 million in Florida, 237,000 in Iowa and 266,000 in Nevada. Those numbers are likely to be lowball estimates, since some counties have been slow to report early voting statistics. Local newspaper headlines from around the country tell the story. It’s shaping up to be a record-breaking year in places like Polk County, Iowa; Kanawha County, West Virginia; Tazewell County, Illinois and Travis County, Texas. In St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, where early voting ended on Tuesday, the line to cast a ballot stretched out the door…. – CBS News, 10-27-10
  • Should Obama run again? More voter enthusiasm than for Reagan in ’82: Nearly half of today’s voters say they would like to see President Obama run for reelection in 2012, according to a new poll.
    President Obama might feel like a prisoner heading for the gallows, as voters prepare to give his Democratic Party a major midterm drubbing next Tuesday over his performance thus far. But it could be a lot worse. Mr. Obama could be President Reagan in August 1982, when voters were even less enthusiastic about the prospect of having the commander in chief running for reelection in two years. Nearly half of today’s voters – 47 percent – say they would like to see Obama run for reelection in 2012 versus 36 percent who said in August 1982 that Mr. Reagan should run again, according to the latest Pew Research Center/National Journal Congressional Connection poll.
    Reagan went on to win reelection by a whopping 18 points. President Clinton also had a rough first midterm election in 1994, and he faced reelect numbers similar to Obama’s at the time – 44 percent. Mr. Clinton, too, won reelection easily in 1996. For Obama, the polling on “should he run for reelection” is about the same as job approval, which is at 46 percent in the latest Pew survey. For Reagan, the job-approval numbers were better than the reelect numbers, but eventually they were the same. According to Gallup, 42 percent approved of Reagan’s job performance in August 1982. By February 1983, Reagan’s job approval had sunk to 35 percent – the same percentage of voters who thought he should run for reelection, compared with 57 percent who thought he should not…. – CS Monitor, 10-26-10
  • By slim margin, Ask America voters agree with GOP: Fully extend Bush tax cuts: Election Day is just a week away, and while politicians are focusing on issues like unemployment and health care in their campaigns, lawmakers will still have to deal with the expiring Bush tax cuts after voters hit the polls.
    The tax breaks are set to expire at the end of the year, and Congress has put the issue on the back burner until after the midterm elections. Meanwhile, as the economy hobbles out of the recession, an increasing number of Democrats in Congress are joining Republicans in favor of extending all tax breaks. President Obama supports locking in the tax cuts for the middle class but strongly opposes extending tax cuts for individuals making $200,000 or more and couples making $250,000 or more.
    The tax cuts are a popular issue on Ask America, the Yahoo! News informal polling forum. We asked if people would like to see the tax cuts extended just for the middle class or for higher-income Americans as well. So far, more than 62,000 votes have come in, and the question has generated more than 4,000 comments.
    The vote is close. So far, 54 percent of responses were in favor of extending the tax cuts to both middle- and upper-class Americans, while 46 percent favor only applying the cuts to the middle class…. – AP / Yahoo News, 10-26-10
  • NEWSWEEK Poll: Obama Approval Rating Jumps, Democrats Close ‘Enthusiasm Gap’ As the president’s numbers climb sharply, results suggest that Democrats may be succeeding in firing up their base: Despite doom-saying about Democrats’ chances in the midterms, the latest NEWSWEEK Poll (full results) shows that they remain in a close race with Republicans 12 days before Election Day, while the president’s approval ratings have climbed sharply. The poll finds that 48 percent of registered voters would be more likely to vote for Democrats, compared with 42 percent who lean Republican (those numbers are similar to those in the last NEWSWEEK Poll, which found Democrats favored 48 percent to 43 percent). President Obama’s approval ratings have jumped substantially, crossing the magic halfway threshold to 54 percent, up from 48 percent in late September, while the portion of respondents who disapprove of the president dropped to 40 percent, the lowest disapproval rating in a NEWSWEEK Poll since February 2010. However, his approval rating, which is notably higher than many recent polls of the president’s popularity, may be evidence of a closing “enthusiasm gap” more than a sea change in voter attitudes, and may not substantially affect Democrats’ fortunes come Election Day. In 1994, NEWSWEEK Polls showed a similar steep climb in President Clinton’s approval between late September and late October, but Democrats still suffered a rout in the midterms…. – Newsweek, 10-22-10
  • Republicans poised to win House and gain in Senate: Republicans enter the final week of a bitter U.S. election campaign as heavy favorites to win control of the House of Representatives and score big Senate gains, dealing a severe blow to President Barack Obama two years after he entered the White House. A thirst for change in Washington and worries about the stumbling economy appear likely to break the Democrats’ grip on Congress next Tuesday in a rout that would topple House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from power…. – Reuters, 10-26-10
  • Democrats off to good start in early voting: Democrats are off to a stronger than expected start in early voting despite months of dire predictions about their lack of enthusiasm for the November 2 midterm elections. More Democrats than Republicans cast early ballots in a handful of key states, although more Republicans took advantage of the early voting process than in 2008 when President Barack Obama led a Democratic election sweep. “The early voting numbers are favorable for Democrats, but here’s the caution — they are not as favorable as in 2008,” said Michael McDonald, a George Mason University professor who tracks early voting statistics around the country…. – Reuters, 10-26-10
  • Election 2010: Where Things Stand with One Week to Go: The CBS News Critical Contests analysis continues to point to GOP gains – but just how many? Enough for House control? Here’s what to watch in the final week:
    House: Republicans need 39 net pickups to get control and they can get there with a combination of the seats in which they are favored, plus just a few of the remaining tossups races. We show a net 33 seats they’re now favored to gain, PLUS 25 more tossup races in Democratic seats remaining up for grabs. So if Republicans win in 6 of 25 tossups, and they also net the 33 where we see them favored today, that would give the GOP the House. More broadly, the battle in final week hinges on many of the districts the Democrats took in ’06 and ’08 and on the gains they made with suburban and some rural independents in the last two cycles. If, come Election day, the GOP can roll back most of those gains, they would be in good position to win at least a narrow majority. If the Republicans see even more pickups than that, that scenario would probably be marked by a national two-party House vote of greater than 52%…. – CBS News, 10-25-10
  • Early voting data: beware any conclusions: Democrats are looking at early voting data from several key states and suggesting that Election Day might not be too bad for them. But experts say the data are unclear. Election Day is tantalizingly close, and, like children a week before Christmas, some political junkies can’t wait till the real returns are in to open their “presents.” So they’re taking an early peek, thanks to the advent of early voting in many states. Election officials don’t actually start tallying the votes until Election Day, but they can tell us how many people have already voted and, in states that register voters by party, their partisan breakdown. The problem is, there are so many ways to slice and dice the numbers, it’s possible to show just about anything. But for Democrats, fighting hard against strong evidence that they will do badly in the Nov. 2 midterms, any glimmers of hope in early voting are worth a shout, if only to keep their side from getting discouraged and staying home altogether. On Monday, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) put out a memo touting numbers in a handful of crucial states that – surprise, surprise – purport to show the Democrats competitive or even doing well…. – CS Monitor, 10-25-10

THE HEADLINES….

West Wing Week

  • Palin gives strong indication of 2012 presidential run: Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin gave the strongest indication yet that she is preparing a 2012 White House bid, saying Thursday she would run for president “if there is nobody else to do it.” The former Republican vice presidential candidate, who was lampooned in the media for her political naivety in the hard-fought final weeks of the 2008 campaign, is now among the most popular conservative politicians in America. Palin, who left office midway through her first term in office as governor of Alaska, told Entertainment Tonight it would take someone willing “to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you. “It’s going to entail a discussion with my family (and) a real close look at the lay of the land, to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion…. – AFP, 10-28-10
  • GDP rises slightly to 2% in sign that economy remains sluggish: The third-quarter growth is in line with analysts’ forecasts but isn’t enough to spur momentum or bring down the jobless rate. In one positive sign, consumer spending grows 2.6%…. – LAT, 10-29-10
  • NJ governor shifting focus to state road projects: A day after Gov. Chris Christie killed the nation’s largest public works project, an underwater rail tunnel linking New York City to its populous New Jersey suburbs, he said Thursday that it’s time to focus on badly needed improvements to the state’s roads and bridges. The Republican governor, who burnished a national reputation for cost-cutting by putting his foot down on the $9 billion-plus tunnel, told 200 people at a town hall meeting in Moorestown it’s time to pay for improvements to state infrastructure, sometimes rated among the worst in the country.
    “We need to start investing money in that and improving that first,” Christie said. “And if we find partners in the future like the city and state of New York, like Amtrak, like the federal government, who want to partner with us on the tunnel, I’m happy to listen to them. But if it’s to benefit the region, then the region has to pay not just New Jersey.”… – AP, 10-29-10
  • Will the Rally to Restore Sanity actually restore sanity?: We’re pretty sure that on Sunday, Democratic and Republican candidates will still be running attack ads. But it’s possible the Rally to Restore Sanity could have some effect on the national conversation…. – CS Monitor, 10-29-10
  • Democratic Messaging Diluted as Obama Pleads With Base: President Obama still has a series of campaign events this weekend ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day, but it’s his appearances off the campaign trail that has Washington watchers wondering whether he’s trying to shed his coattails before an expected Democratic drubbing at the polls. The choice of non-political events the president has selected this campaign season doesn’t appear to be doing hopeful Democrats any favors. And with the House expected to lose anywhere from 45-60 Democratic seats to Republicans and the Senate likely to turn a handful or more seats to the GOP, according to the latest polling prognosticators, the president already is setting the bar low for the next two years.
    “I’m president and not king,” Obama said Wednesday night in a meeting with bloggers meant to shore up what’s left of his support. “And so I’ve got to get a majority in the House and I’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate to move any legislative initiative forward.”… – Fox News, 10-28-10
  • Why has GOP found health care law such a potent weapon?: The specter of “Obamacare” has become a powerful weapon for Republicans this campaign season, as the GOP uses the new health care law as its favorite symbol of big government gone amok.
    “Health care reform is the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration,” said Republican strategist Neil Newhouse. “For a lot of people, it epitomizes big government and wasteful spending. It’s everything they hate about government rolled into one.” The message appears to be resonating, even though polls repeatedly show people like many provisions of the new health care law.
    Nevertheless, the “Pledge to America,” the House Republicans’ book of promises, gets right to the point: “We now know the new health care law will mean more financial pain for seniors, families and the federal government,” it says, and urges repeal of the landmark law President Barack Obama signed seven months ago…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 10-28-10
  • Analysis: Republican win could revive U.S. trade deals: Three long-delayed trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia could jump to the top of the U.S. congressional agenda if Republicans win control of the House of Representatives next week. While the fate of those deals rests primarily with President Barack Obama, U.S. business leaders say trade is one area of potential compromise between the White House and Republicans in 2011.
    “Trade has been at the back of the bus for last two years and I think there’s a real opportunity for trade to be in the front seat next year,” said Christopher Wenk, senior director for international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Republicans are expected to pick up enough seats in Tuesday’s congressional elections to take control of the House, which they lost to Democrats in 2006. Democrats are likely to hold onto the Senate, but the party’s opposition to trade agreements traditionally has been strongest in the House…. – Reuters, 10-28-10
  • Sarah Palin Offers Herself for 2012 Bid: Sarah Palin cracked open the door to a presidential bid just a little bit wider Thursday, telling “Entertainment Tonight” that she would run in 2012 “if there’s nobody else to do it.” Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, spoke with Mary Hart of “Entertainment Tonight” from her home is Wasilla and told her, “I still have not decided what I’m going to do in 2012.”
    “For me, Mary, it’s going to entail a discussion with my family — a real close look at the lay of the land, and to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion, whether there are already candidates out there who can do the job and I’ll get to be their biggest supporter and biggest helpmate if they will have me,” Ms. Palin said. “Or whether there’s nobody willing to do it, to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you, just going forward according to what I believe the priorities should be. If there’s nobody else to do it, then of course I would believe that we should do this.”… – NYT, 10-28-10
  • White House declares ‘Daily Show’ interview a success Obama wasn’t expecting softball questions from Stewart, his spokesman says: The White House on Thursday declared President Obama’s interview with Jon Stewart “a success,” though others have questioned whether the appearance may have backfired. At his daily briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs faced more questions about the president’s “Daily Show” interview than any other topic. He defended the White House’s decision to schedule it, repeating that it was a way of speaking directly to voters who may not watch traditional news outlets.
    “I think Jon Stewart is about as good an interviewer as there is in the public domain,” Gibbs said. “We didn’t walk into that interview thinking we were going to be asked a list of softball questions.” “When the president gets to talk about what he’s done, and sift through what people may or may not have heard, it’s a positive benefit,” he said. “I would think of it as a success.”… – LAT, 10-28-10
  • Republicans, heading for big gains, ready agenda: Republican leaders, ever more confident of their chances of winning control of the House and possibly even the Senate, have begun plotting a 2011 agenda topped by a push for more than $100 billion in spending cuts, tax reductions and attempts to undo key parts of President Barack Obama’s health care and financial regulation laws. The question is how much of the GOP’s government-shrinking, tax-cutting agenda to advance, and how fast. It’s certain that Republicans want to capitalize quickly on tea party-fueled anger and the antiestablishment fervor that they believe will provide momentum to accomplish an activist to-do list. It’s equally clear, however, that the outsized expectations of a fed-up electorate and a crop of unruly newcomers could complicate the plans. So could Obama and fellow Democrats who will still be around after Tuesday’s elections.
    GOP lawmakers are publicly mum about much of what they intend to do if they prevail in midterm congressional contests. Many say privately they want to avoid appearing to “measure the drapes” for new leadership offices before winning any majority. But especially in the House — where Republicans have a clear shot at scoring the 40-seat gain they would need for control — they are in intense internal talks about how a GOP-driven agenda would work. Rep. John Boehner, in line to become speaker under that scenario, and Rep. Eric Cantor, his No. 2, have had initial discussions to ensure a plan is ready, a spokesman said…. – AP, 10-27-10
  • White House prepares for foreign policy challenges — from Congress: If, as expected, the GOP wins control of the House and makes gains in the Senate, it is expected to challenge the Obama administration’s foreign policy in a number of key areas, including Afghanistan and foreign aid. With voters focused on the U.S. economy, President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been largely overlooked in the midterm campaigns, but it will come under harsh scrutiny in the Congress that emerges after election day, say Republican and Democratic strategists. Republicans, considered likely to win control of the House and to pick up seats in the Senate on Tuesday, are expected to challenge the White House on its policies involving Afghanistan, nuclear arms control, Russia, China and foreign aid spending, to name a few…. – LAT, 10-27-10
  • Health Law Unpopular in Key House Districts: A majority of likely voters in the most competitive House districts support repealing the Democrats’ health overhaul, according to recent polling data. The figures are one of the sharpest signals yet that Democrats are unlikely to translate their signature legislative achievement into success inside the voting booth. The health bill passed in March is particularly unpopular in the districts that matter most in the Republicans’ effort to retake the House. Some of the most embattled House Democrats are the five moderates who voted “yes” on the final health-care bill after voting “no” on the House version in November 2009…. – WSJ, 10-27-10
  • Obama courts young voters as election looms: Less than one week before key US elections, President Barack Obama courted young voters Wednesday with an unorthodox appeal from the set of the popular “Daily Show” satirical television show. Obama was to become the first sitting president to appear on the program hosted by Jon Stewart, whose nightly skewerings of political hypocrisy and US media shortcomings have endeared him to young Democrats. With the party fearing a rout at the hands of fired-up Republicans in the November 2 elections, including the loss of at least the House of Representatives, the White House described the outreach as no laughing matter.
    “I think obviously you’ve got a constituency of younger voters that watch that show, and it’s a good place to go and reach them,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Tuesday.
    “The president hasn’t been shy about going to the places where people are getting their information and trying to make his case. And I think that’s what he’ll do on the show,” said Gibbs. The move came as new polls let downcast Democrats breathe a small sigh of relief, notably surveys showing the party’s candidates in California holding healthy leads over their well-funded Republican rivals…. – AFP, 10-27-10
  • Stewart, Colbert say it’s not a political rally, but fans say otherwise: Despite the Comedy Central hosts’ insistence, many attending their ‘Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear’ in Washington and satellite gatherings in other cities see the events as a catalyst for the liberal political movement…. – LAT, 10-27-10
  • 2012: How Sarah Barracuda Becomes President: Why do you think Barack Obama is being so nice to Michael Bloomberg?…. – NY Mag, 10-24-10
  • 2012 Republican hopefuls head to Iowa for final ’10 campaign swing: Leading GOP candidates for president are getting an early start on 2012 in the last days of the 2010 campaign season. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), for instance, plans campaign stops this week on behalf of Republican candidates in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which just happen to host the first three contests for nominating a Republican presidential candidate. But the perceived GOP front-runner for 2012 is hardly alone. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will all make stops this week in Iowa, which hosts the first-in-the-nation caucuses in January 2012…. – The Hill, 10-26-10
  • McCain: Too early to endorse Sarah Palin for 2012: Sen. John McCain is calling Sarah Palin an “outstanding candidate” for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but says it’s too early to endorse her. McCain told CBS’s “The Early Show” Tuesday that “I don’t think Sarah would want me to, before she’s even able to make a decision” about running. The Arizona Republican said “it’s very early to start picking winners and losers.” He said he still holds his 2008 running mate “in high regard” and said he’s been amused by the former Alaska governor’s confrontations with “the liberal media.” Palin has been active in the campaign, raising money, throwing her support behind a host of tea party-backed conservative Republicans and giving speeches around the country…. – AP, 10-26-10
  • Michelle Obama Deployed in Turnout War: Democrats are pulling out all the stops to get their voters to cast ballots early this year. Today, the party’s official apparatus is hoping to convince as many people as possible to change their Twitter icon to an “I voted early” picture. But another effort is a new video of Michelle Obama that Democrats will release online this morning. In it, the First Lady urges voters not to wait until election day next Tuesday to cast a ballot. NYT, 10-26-10
  • Palin makes more endorsements: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed eight more GOP candidates on her Facebook page in the past week, including four today. On Oct. 21, Palin put her social-networking support behind Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (who’s running for re-election), Sean Bielat (who’s challenging Rep. Barney Frank in Massachusetts), Stephen Fincher (running for an open congressional seat in Tennessee), and Randy Hultgren (who’s challenging Rep. Bill Foster in Illinois).
    And today, she backed Dick Muri (challenging Rep. Adam Smith in Washington state), Rob Steele (taking on Rep. John Dingell in Michigan), Ilario Pantano (facing off against Rep. Mike McIntyre in North Carolina), and Chuck Wilkerson (who’s challenging Rep. Henry Waxman in California)…. – MSNBC, 10-26-10
  • Obama votes by mail in Illinois: President Barack Obama on Tuesday cast an absentee ballot for races in his adopted home state of Illinois, a week before key midterm elections, his spokesman said.
    Obama, who has a home in Chicago, Illinois, “just voted absentee in the West Wing,” his spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. Asked about Obama’s choices, with a US senator’s seat and the state governor’s mansion at stake on November 2, Gibbs said “I did not ask. I assume that’s a private decision.”… – AP, 10-26-10
  • Obama to Rally for Perriello in Virginia: President Obama has added a surprise stop to his campaign schedule, heading to Central Virginia on Friday in a last- minute bid to help Tom Perriello, a freshman Democrat in the House who has been an unapologetic backer of the president’s agenda. That has cost Mr. Perriello support in Virginia’s sprawling Fifth District and made him a prime target for Republicans. His opponent, former state Senator Robert Hurt, has led in most polls for much of the fall. But Mr. Obama must believe that a visit to Charlottesville, the most Democratic part of the district, can help close that gap. White House officials confirmed a report in the local newspaper, The Daily Progress, that the president would rally there with Mr. Perriello on Friday. The visit for Mr. Perriello is unusual for Mr. Obama, who has spent most of the last month holding large rallies for statewide candidates or attending private fund-raisers…. – NYT, 10-26-10
  • Chicago is Clinton’s latest stop to rally Dems: Former President Bill Clinton is rallying Democrats to turn out for close races for Illinois governor and President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat. A downtown Chicago hotel Tuesday marked Clinton’s latest stop to bolster the party faithful. He’s urging Democratic activists to get out the vote Nov. 2, saying the goals they hoped to achieve by electing Obama two year ago are at stake. Rally-goers say Clinton’s presence means the party still thinks the races are winnable…. – AP, 10-26-10
  • Mississippi Democrat’s vote for McCain starts Internet furor: Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi caused something of a minor sensation in political circles Monday when a comment he made to the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss. — that he had voted for GOP nominee John McCain instead of Democratic standard-bearer Barack Obama in 2008 — went viral on the web. The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, queried the Sun Herald and wrote a story, which was matched by one in Politico and linked on various websites, including the Washington Post’s website. The NBC Nightly News and CBS Early Show also mentioned the vote — an unusual act of party treason. Taylor, for his part, in an interview Tuesday downplayed the episode and said that only national reporters were reacting with surprise. “Locally, they know,” said Taylor of his constituents and media. However, a search of the Sun Herald archives did not turn up any revelation about Taylor’s vote, which is by secret ballot. Taylor said that at the time of the 2008 election, die-hard Democrats in the Magnolia State confronted him about his choice and he said he told them: “I know John McCain. I don’t know Barack Obama.” Taylor complained Tuesday that Republicans were trying to jump on the admission for the 2010 election. “They’re trying to make it a sign of desperation,” he said…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 10-26-10
  • Obama touts job creation as midterm elections near: U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday touted his administration’s job-creation efforts just eight days before elections in which voters’ economic anxiety threatens his Democrats’ grip on Congress. Making a campaign stop in the tiny state of Rhode Island, Obama acknowledged some of his policies were not popular and that Americans were frustrated by the weak economic recovery. But the steps he took averted a second Great Depression, he stressed.
    “It took us a long time to get us into this economic hole that we’ve been in. But we are going to get out and I am absolutely convinced there are brighter days ahead for America,” Obama told workers after touring the American Cord & Webbing plant in Woonsocket, outside Providence.
    It was the start of the last full week of campaigning before the November 2 elections, with polls showing Obama’s Democrats at risk of losing control of the House of Representatives and headed for a slimmed-down majority in the Senate.
    U.S. voters will elect 435 members to the House of Representatives and fill 37 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Projected Republican gains could put the brakes on Obama’s legislative agenda…. – Reuters, 10-25-10
  • Obama: Republicans Playing Politics With Nation’s Challenges: President Barack Obama on Monday accused Republicans of playing politics with the nation’s biggest challenges. In a 10-minute speech at American Cord & Webbing Co., a small travel-gear and sporting-goods maker in Rhode Island, Obama said that he hopes Republicans will deliver on ideas to help put the American jobless back to work…. – WSJ, 10-25-10
  • Obama Gets a Caustic Welcome in Rhode Island: Welcome to Rhode Island, where Democratic politics are so quirky that the party’s nominee for governor welcomed President Obama on Monday by declaring, on live radio, that the president could “take his endorsement and really shove it.”
    Later, as if to drive home his point, the Democrat, Frank T. Caprio – miffed that Mr. Obama is refusing to endorse him in the governor’s race – was a no-show when the president toured a local factory here, although he had an invitation from the White House to attend.
    “This has been a very topsy-turvy, some people call it a “through-the-looking glass” election year,” said M. Charles Bakst, a veteran, now-retired, political columnist for The Providence Journal. Mr. Bakst, seeking to explain Monday’s curious turn of events, said he did not view Mr. Caprio’s remark as “a slap” at the president, but rather “a lashing out at Obama, at the last minute, from a guy who said he would welcome the endorsement.”
    Slap or not, Mr. Caprio’s unconventional greeting and subsequent snub overshadowed Mr. Obama’s message as he opened the critical, final, week of the election – a week in which his White House is sending Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and First Lady Michelle Obama across the country to deliver a closing argument to Democrats in a desperate effort to get them to the polls.
    More than a political sideshow, the Rhode Island intra-party spat was a stark reminder that the president is willing to go to great lengths to keep his party in power on Capitol Hill – even if it means stepping into a hornet’s nest of local politics and getting stung…. – NYT, 10-25-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

Kendrick Meek, Bill Clinton

Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek listens as former President Bill Clinton addresses supporters during a rally last week at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. (John Raoux, Associated Press / October 20, 2010)

  • Can the tea party deliver voters on Election Day?: Come Tuesday, can the tea party deliver the votes to turn a campaign of fiery enthusiasm into actual members of Congress?… – WaPo, 10-29-10
  • GOP Claims Democrats Trying to Steal the Election: Republicans are ramping up their efforts to make the case that Democrats are trying to steal the midterm elections, despite little evidence to support such claims. The strategy appears designed to fire up the Republican base, potentially depress Democratic turnout and set the stage for possible legal challenges to Democratic victories. The Republican National Committee has launched a website called “No More Frankens” that is grounded in the notion that Democratic Sen. Al Franken essentially stole the Minnesota Senate election in 2008 from Norm Colman thanks to “lawyers, big labor, left wing shadow organizations and the illegal votes of convicted felons.” It took eight months of legal battles before Coleman conceded the race in June 2009, following a decision in Franken’s favor by the Supreme Court of Minnesota. The “No More Frankens” site argues that “we have to win BIG” to overcome Democratic malfeasance, and requests donations of up to $5,000 to fund a GOP “get out the vote” effort…. – CBS News, 10-29-10
  • Joe Miller Gets in the Halloween Spirit: It’s the season for bewitching political ads, and now, just in time for Halloween, Joe Miller, the Republican Senate nominee in Alaska, has released a spooky Web video of his own, attacking his rival, Senator Lisa Murkowski, without ever mentioning her name…. – NYT, 10-29-10
  • NC Rep. Shuler considers run for House Speaker: North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler said Thursday he would consider running for speaker of the U.S. House if he’s re-elected because the chamber needs a more moderate leader. The Democratic lawmaker, though, may not get the chance if Republicans gain control of the House next week. And the former University of Tennessee football star is locked in his own re-election campaign, facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads that accuse him of working for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.
    Shuler told The Associated Press that he will run against Pelosi if there are no viable alternatives. And he said he would not vote for her to remain in charge. “I feel very strongly that a moderate in the House can bring the political parties together,” Shuler said. “The only way that’s going to happen is to put a moderate as speaker of the House.” AP, 10-29-10
  • O’Donnell calls blog posting shameful, sexist: Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell says an anonymous website posting from a man claiming a romantic encounter with her several years ago is another example of sexism facing women candidates. The gossip blog Gawker posted a story Thursday that it paid for from a man saying he and O’Donnell drank beer and spent the night together on Halloween in 2007, but did not have sex…. – WaPo, 10-29-10
  • Kendrick Meek-Bill Clinton Controversy Gives GOP Fresh Ammo in Final Days Marco Rubio Calls Report Example of Washington’s Backroom Dealing: The controversy over whether former President Bill Clinton urged Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida Senate race to help an Independent win has given a last minute issue to Republicans, who called the report an example of Washington’s penchant for backroom deals. Meek, the Democratic Senate contender from Florida, is denying that he ever agreed to get out of the race or that Clinton encouraged him to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist, former Republican turned independent candidate. It was Crist who called both Meek’s campaign and Clinton to ask the Democratic candidate to drop out, the Democratic congressman said.
    Clinton’s aides however contrast Meek’s claims and say the former president asked the Democrat twice to drop out while campaigning for him in the Sunshine state last weekend, as Politico first reported.
    Clinton was coy when asked about the conversation. “He was trying to decide what to do and I talked to him and I told him that, we went through everything, we talked about it a couple of times, and I said in the end, you know, you would have to do what you thought was right,” Clinton told CNN. “I would have to let him say whatever he wants to say about the conversation. It would be wrong of me to discuss it.”… – ABC News, 10-29-10
  • Bill Clinton Tried to Get Meek to Drop Out: Former President Bill Clinton last week tried to convince Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Florida, to drop out of the race – but Mr. Meek changed his mind at the last minute, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton said Thursday evening.
    Matt McKenna, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman, said the former president believed that Mr. Meek would not win on Tuesday and was urging him to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist, the state’s governor, who is running for the Senate as an independent.
    The back-channel efforts by Mr. Clinton, which were first reported by Politico, were apparently an effort to prevent the state’s Senate seat from falling into the hands of Marco Rubio, the Republican who is leading both of his rivals in the polls…. – NYT, 10-28-10
  • Tea Party Candidates Get Some Surprising Help Strange Political Bedfellows: Democrats Help Tea Party Candidates in Some Key Races: In a handful of hotly-competitive races, Tea Partiers are running as third-party candidates. As CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports, Democrats are doing what they can to help them – hoping they’ll siphon votes away from the Republican. Never perhaps have there been stranger political bedfellows. In Nevada, a pro-Harry Reid group — he’s the Senate’s lead Democrat — promotes a little-known Tea Party candidate running against Reid: Scott Ashjian…. – CBS News, 10-28-10
  • Giannoulias and Kirk swing away in final Senate debate: Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk acted amicably at the beginning and end of their last debate in the U.S. Senate campaign Wednesday, but filled the rest of the hour with innuendo and suggestions of guilt by association. Both men traveled well-covered ground they’ve exploited repeatedly in expensive TV attack ads. But the venue, a live broadcast on WTTW-Ch. 11, allowed them to confront each other directly…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-28-10
  • Bill Clinton, Andrew Cuomo’s Former Boss, Is Also an Admirer: Bill Clinton appeared on Wednesday at a rally in Brooklyn for Andrew M. Cuomo, who served as his housing secretary from 1997 to 2001. Mr. Clinton had faith after Mr. Cuomo exited the race for governor in 2002. Eight years ago, Bill Clinton stood alongside Andrew M. Cuomo, bucking him up as Mr. Cuomo made a humbling exit from the primary for governor of New York with assurances from Mr. Clinton that his political career was far from over.
    On Wednesday, the former president and his onetime housing secretary, their grins real and broad, pumped fists, clasped hands and embraced — exulting in what, come Tuesday, could well mark the completion of Mr. Cuomo’s arduous comeback.
    “If you really want him to be effective, give him a whopping victory,” Mr. Clinton urged a crowd in a Downtown Brooklyn college gym, as Mr. Cuomo nodded approvingly. “Send him to Albany with a massive majority.” For the two men, the rally was a reminder not just of that 2002 gesture, which one Cuomo aide recalled as deeply touching, but also of the closeness they forged during Mr. Clinton’s two terms in the White House, and the similarities they share as political animals…. – NYT, 10-27-10
  • GOP Targets Senate Control Republicans See Alliance With Cuomo: Republicans, trailing badly in the gubernatorial race, are setting their sights on reclaiming the state Senate. And, if they do, they expect to find a friend in the governor’s mansion, even if it’s Democrat Andrew Cuomo. Two years ago, the prospects were grim for Senate Republicans, an aging conference that lost its four-decade grip on the chamber as their leader, Sen. Joseph Bruno, was tarred with scandal and a tide of Democratic voters swept to the polls to vote for President Barack Obama. Along with broader economic trends, voter anger over legislative chaos in Albany and a fresh barrage of Democratic ethics scandals have given Senate Republicans and their current leader Sen. Dean Sklelos a new lease that once seemed permanently out of reach. With Republicans needing to gain two seats, the battleground is concentrated around fewer than a dozen seats, about half of which are held by Democrats. The GOP is targeting Democrats in Upstate and suburban areas where tea-party activism is higher, including Sens. Brian Foley on Long Island, Suzi Oppenheimer in Westchester, and Darrel Aubertine in the North Country…. – WSJ, 10-27-10
  • California Senate hopeful Fiorina hospitalized: California GOP Senate challenger Carly Fiorina was sidelined Tuesday from the campaign trail in the final week of a close race to be treated for an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery after breast cancer. The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital, forcing her to cancel campaign appearances in Riverside and Coachella just as polls suggested she was starting to gain momentum in her race against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. According to Deborah Bowker, the campaign’s chief of staff, Fiorina was being treated with antibiotics.
    “While this will impact her campaign schedule today, Carly is upbeat and her doctors expect her to make a quick and full recovery and be back out on the campaign trail soon,” Bowker said in the statement.
    Boxer’s campaign sent their well wishes. “We wish Carly Fiorina a speedy recovery and hope she is able to return to her normal schedule soon,” Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said in a statement…. – AP, 10-26-10
  • Records: GOP’s Miller admits to computer use, lies: Alaska Republican Senate hopeful Joe Miller admitted to improperly using three government computers over a lunch break to participate in a political poll, then cleaning the caches to try to cover up the activities. Miller’s admission is included in records released Tuesday under court order following an open records request by The Associated Press and other media organizations…. – AP, 10-26-10
  • Rand Paul supporter who stomped MoveOn activist’s head is not just volunteer but a campaign donor: The man apologizing for stomping on a MoveOn activist’s head in Kentucky isn’t just a Rand Paul volunteer, he’s a donor. Tim Profitt told the Associated Press this afternoon that he didn’t mean to hurt Lauren Valle when he and others knocked her to the ground and Profitt tromped on her head.
    “I’m sorry that it came to that, and I apologize if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand’s safety,” Profitt told the AP. Police interviewed Profitt, and let him go. And they told the Daily News that Paul’s campaign was not involved. Still, Profitt was a leading volunteer for Paul until today, when the campaign fired him as its coordinator in Bourbon County…. – NY Daily News, 10-26-10
  • Sharron Angle ad: Is it racist?: Sharron Angle, the Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, has released a hard-hitting new ad on illegal immigration. But Hispanic groups say the ad is racist and accuse Sharron Angle of running ‘one of the ugliest anti-illegal immigrants ad campaigns in history.’… – CS Monitor, 10-26-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Fla. Democrat Meek denies he’ll quit 3-way Senate race: The congressman goes on national TV news shows to counter reports that Bill Clinton told him to drop out to improve Gov. Charlie Crist’s chances of defeating Republican Marco Rubio.
    “Gov. Crist talked to me about getting out of the race. I recommended to the governor that he should consider getting out of the race,” Meek said on CNN’s “American Morning.”
    “I told him I didn’t have any thoughts about getting out of the race. He didn’t encourage me to get out of the race,” Meek said on ABC’s “Good Morning America”… – AP, 10-29-10
  • President Obama on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: UPDATE: Watch the entire interview. – WH, 10-27-10
  • Sarah Palin for president? It’s possible, she says: Sarah Palin says if nobody else is up to the job, she could run for president. But her political clout is on the line in Alaska with the flagging US Senate campaign of tea party favorite Joe Miller. Is Sarah Palin just toying with us about running for president in 2012? Or did she really mean it when she told “Entertainment Tonight” she could run. Interviewed at her home in Wasilla, Alaska, for a segment to be broadcast Thursday evening, Ms. Palin told the show’s Mary Hart:
    “I think, still, it is too early for anybody to get out there declaring what their intentions are. For me, Mary, it’s going to entail a discussion with my family, a real close look at the lay of the land, and to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion – whether there are any candidates out there who can do the job.”
    But then she added, “If there’s nobody else to do it, then of course I would believe that we should do this.” (It was unclear whether she was using the collective “we,” the editorial “we,” or the royal “we.”)… – CS Monitor, 10-28-10
  • Life after the White House: What’s on the president’s iPad?: Doing the dishes, making coffee for his wife, and reading the Wall Street Journal on his iPad. That’s what day-to- day life is like these days for former President George W. Bush, according to his wife, Laura.
    In an exclusive interview with Deborah Roberts for Yahoo! News and ABC News at the Women’s Conference 2010, former first lady Laura Bush talked about life post-White House and her husband’s upcoming book, “Decision Points.”… – Yahoo News, 10-27-10
  • Gingrich: No Tax Increases: Should Republicans takes the House, Gingrich urges them, in the “very first week,” to pass a ‘no tax increase on any American during the recession’ bill and send it to the president in January. “Maybe the liberals felt this way about Nixon during Watergate, but I have never seen this level of conservative anger at somebody, the way [they’re angry] with the president.” “Radical elites are in such denial about reality right now, whether it’s the president, Speaker Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Reid,” Gingrich says. The frustration with Democrats, he says, is “bigger and deeper than in 1994.”… – The Atlantic, 10-26-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • After Midterm Elections, Congress Faces Likely Legislative Gridlock: “Both parties don’t like to work with each other. We keep seeing that over and over,” said Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University professor of history and congressional expert. “It’s like Lucy and Charlie Brown with the football.”
    Zelizer said an alternative approach would be for the GOP to focus on issues that “Democrats are going to have trouble saying no to,” such as extending tax cuts for wealthy Americans.
    Would-be House Speaker Boehner and Obama could try to work together on deficit reduction. For Republicans, part of it would be symbolic leading up to the ’12 elections, Zelizer said. “But part of it is to see if there is enough Democrats to work on it,” he added… – Fox News, 10-28-10
  • Polls Gone Wild: Political Gripes In Internet Age: When a widely publicized poll showed Republican John Kasich with a commanding, 10-point advantage in Ohio’s governor’s race, aides to Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland fought back hard. Against the poll.
    “With just two weeks until Election Day, it is our opinion that the Quinnipiac polls are irresponsible, inaccurate and completely removed from the reality of the Ohio governor’s race,” the campaign said in a statement that noted other private and public surveys were showing a much closer contest.
    The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, an organization with an unchallenged reputation for nonpartisanship, responded mildly. “We stand by our numbers and our overall record for reliability,” said Doug Schwartz, the organization’s polling director. The flare-up underscored a widely held view among both politicians and pollsters that polls, once used largely to help a candidate shape strategy, increasingly can affect the outcome of political campaigns in the Internet Age. Candidates and their allies instantly disseminate bare-bones results, seizing on those that reflect well on their own prospects, ignoring the rest and generally skipping over details that might caution people about reading too much into them…. – AP, 10-28-10
  • Rupert Cornwell: Yes we can, Obama said. But can he? US gets ready for a new kind of presidency: For Barack Obama, the past is mere prologue. From January 2011, the President will be part of an entirely new political play in Washington. Unless every poll in these last days of the mid-term election campaign is wrong, next week’s vote will force him to deal with a world in which Republicans have a majority in the House and near- parity in the Senate – and in which his plans for the presidency will have to take quite a different tack. For Mr Obama’s first term, at least, the time of sweeping political change is at an end. And yet, just possibly, a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections could be the making of the President…. – Independent UK, 10-29-10
  • KARL ROVE: Signs of the Democratic Apocalypse: Midterms are tough for presidents, but party leaders aren’t usually in trouble. Next Tuesday Democrats will receive a crushing rebuke. More to the point, voters will be delivering a verdict on the first two years of the Obama administration. Midterm elections are almost always unpleasant experiences for the White House, especially when the economy is weak. But key races that should have been safe for the party in power demonstrate the extent to which President Obama and his policies have nationalized the election. In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a huge war chest in a state Mr. Obama won in 2008 by 12 points. Mr. Reid trails Sharron Angle by four points in the latest Rasmussen poll…. – WSJ, 10-28-10
  • Gil Troy: Obama at Midterm – Grading on a Presidential Curve: The United States has traveled a long way from the euphoria of Election Night, 2008 to the crankiness of the 2010 midterm elections. Even President Barack Obama’s most ardent supporters agree that the turnaround in popular support he has experienced has been dramatic, unprecedented, unnerving, The “Yes We Can” Candidate of 2008 – who seemingly could do no wrong – is now seen by millions as the President who can do no right leading a sobered “No We Can’t” citizenry, many of whom have lost jobs, lost hope for the future, and lost faith in the man who seemed so promising as a leader just two years ago. Here is Barack Obama’s challenge. He is not only confronting two wars, one ongoing economic mess, and countless other cultural, social, diplomatic, ideological and political crises. He is not only being measured against the Presidents who preceded him, some of whom are encased in legend, setting stratospheric standards for any worthy successor. He is also competing against himself and the impossibly high hopes his election unleashed…. – Institute for Research on Public Policy’s “Policy Options”, Oct. 2010
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Why Democrats are hurting: With the midterm elections just a week away, many Democrats are scratching their heads and wondering what went wrong.
    After Barack Obama’s election in 2008, many in the party thought that they were on the cusp of a new era in American politics. Republicans, and the conservative philosophy that had shaped their party for several decades, seemed to be in retreat.
    Yet less than years later, Republicans are on the verge of recapturing control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate. President Obama’s approval ratings have slid since his first year, while Republicans are now looking forward to the election of 2012.
    The most conventional argument about what went wrong for Democrats is that Obama moved too far to the left in a country that is center-right. But this argument is not supported by a recent study by The Washington Post, Henry Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.
    The study found that Americans are philosophically conservative but operationally liberal….Conservatives have also done very well at playing the politics of the media by staying on message and framing Obama and his policies in a negative light. They have been able to turn the president’s legislative victories into political defeats. Obama and his supporters have spent the last few months trying to explain all that he has done. But when a president has to do so much explaining, that means that he has already lost the battle.
    Whatever the outcome of the midterms, Democrats will need to regroup in the coming months. Rather than focusing on allegations of foreign money flowing into the campaign or embarking on some wholesale philosophical shift to the right, Democrats would do better to look at the specific strategic mistakes that they have made along the way and make sure that they don’t repeat them on the road to 2012. – CNN, 10-25-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Obama dropped ball on campaign reform: President Obama has recently blasted the influx of money from undisclosed donors flowing into the midterm campaigns. He repeated a claim, which major media outlets have not been able to substantiate, that foreign funds may have been used in the United States.
    At a recent rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the president said “American people deserve to know who is trying to sway their elections.”
    “You don’t know: It could be the oil industry. It could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose.”
    In making these attacks Obama is returning to a central theme that animated his 2008 campaign: the need to change the campaign finance system. As a candidate, Obama railed against the way that money influenced politics. He reiterated a long-standing theme of reform-candidates that unless the political process changed, policies would remain the same and Americans would never gain confidence in their government.
    But Obama broke from these principles almost as soon as he made the argument. During the campaign, Obama disappointed many campaign reform advocates when he announced that he would not use public funds in the general election campaign so that he could raise an unlimited amount of money in his race against Sen. John McCain….
    Until presidents and congressional leaders decide to make campaign finance reform a priority issue the relationship between money and politics won’t change. This is unfortunate since the way that politics works profoundly influences the type of policies that government can produce.
    The power of money in politics was there for all to see when interest groups were able to gut key cost control measures during the health care debate.
    Like most presidents before him, both Democrats and Republicans, Obama is now witnessing the consequences of accepting the status quo, and the flow of money is only likely to grow. As Jan Baran, a former general counsel for the Republican National Committee told The New York Times, “This year is practice for 2012.”… – CNN, 10-18-10

Political Highlights October 25, 2010: Obama & Palin Campaign for Democrats & Republicans – Polls Predict GOP House Victory

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

Image: Sarah Palin in Florida and President Obama in Minnesota
Reuters, AP
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addresses a Republican rally in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, the same day President Barack Obama addresses a Democratic rally in Minneapolis, Minn.

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Brown surges against Whitman in Calif. gov race-poll: Democrat Jerry Brown has more than doubled his lead over Republican rival Meg Whitman in the California governor’s race, gaining support from Latino voters after an illegal immigration furor over the former eBay chief’s ex- housekeeper. A Los Angeles Times/USC poll on Sunday gave Brown, the state’s attorney general who first served as California governor from 1975 to 1983, a 13 point lead over Whitman. Brown has 52 percent support, compared to 39 percent for Whitman. In the same poll a month ago, Brown had a five point overall lead over Whitman. Sunday’s survey showed he now has a 36 percentage point lead over Whitman among Latino voters, up from 19 percent in September…. – Reuters, 10-24-10
  • Jobless Rate Declines in 23 States: Unemployment rates were little changed in most states in September, as a recovery in the labor market remained sluggish across the country. The Labor Department reported Friday that 23 states and Washington, D.C., experienced decreases in jobless rates, while the rate rose in 11 states and was unchanged in 16.
    States hardest-hit by the housing bust, such as Florida and California, continue to struggle with double-digit unemployment rates. Nevada remained the state with the highest unemployment rate, at 14.4%, more than a percentage point higher than the 13% recorded in second-place Michigan. In all, 15 states had rates above the 9.6% national figure released earlier this month.
    North and South Dakota continued to have the lowest rates in the country, at 3.7% and 4.4%, respectively.
    Despite some improvement in jobless rates, 34 states reported a decrease in the number of people employed, possibly as fewer people hunted for jobs. Fourteen of the state declines are regarded as statistically significant. Just New Mexico, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., posted statistically significant increases in employment from August…. – WSJ, 10-20-10
  • Prop. 19 trailing badly, poll shows: Prop. 19 would legalize marijuana in California. But the Los Angeles Times/USC Poll found that voters oppose the measure 51% to 39%. The poll found that the measure is far behind in Southern California…. – LAT, 10-22-10
  • American Voices: Candidates Want More than “Maybe” From the Youth Vote: The midterm elections potentially bring major victories for the Republican party, which was run out of town in the 2008 presidential election. Now that the tables are turned, the Democrats are scrambling to convince voters to support their candidates on November 2. A key constituency for both parties is the youth vote, which made up 18 percent of the electorate in 2008 and helped catapult Barack Obama into the presidency. A recent Rock the Vote survey found 34 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 favor the Democrats, compared with 28 percent for Republicans, with 36 percent not concerned about which party ends up controlling Congress. A CBS News-Knowledge Networks poll released Tuesday found that two-thirds of Obama voters in 2008 (67 percent), which included young voters, say they’ll vote for one of his fellow Democrats in 2010. Eight percent of those voters say they will vote Republican this year, and 21 percent say it depends…. – CBS News, 10-21-10
  • AP-GfK Poll: Likely voters ready to embrace GOP: All signs point to huge Republican victories in two weeks, with the GOP now leading Democrats on virtually every measure in an Associated Press-GfK poll of people likely to vote in the first major elections of Barack Obama’s presidency. In the final survey before Election Day, likely voters say the GOP would do a better job than Democrats on handling the economy, creating jobs and running the government. Most also think the country’s headed in the wrong direction. More than half disapprove of Obama’s job performance. And even more don’t like the Democratic-controlled Congress. Neither party is popular. But likely voters view the GOP a bit more positively than they do the Democrats. Slightly more say they will vote for the Republican congressional candidate in their district over the Democrat. And most think the GOP will win control of Congress from the Democrats…. – AP, 10-20-10
  • GOP in Lead in Final Lap: A vigorous post-Labor Day Democratic offensive has failed to diminish the resurgent Republicans’ lead among likely voters, leaving the GOP poised for major gains in congressional elections two weeks away, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
    Among likely voters, Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge, up from a three-percentage-point lead a month ago.
    In the broader category of registered voters, 46% favor a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 44% who want Republican control. But in the 92 House districts considered most competitive, the GOP’s lead among registered voters is 14 points, underscoring the Democrats’ challenge in maintaining their hold on the House. The poll of 1,000 registered voters was taken Oct. 14-18…. – WSJ, 10-19-10
  • Need to get voters excited? Call Bill Clinton, not Obama: A Gallup poll suggests that both Democrats and independents are more likely to be enthusiastic about a campaign visit from former President Bill Clinton than from President Obama. In a poll conducted October 14-17, Gallup asked registered voters whether having Clinton or Obama campaign for a candidate would be a plus, minus, or make no difference. From those responses, Gallup calculated a “net impact” by subtracting the percentage who said campaigning would make them less likely to vote for a candidate from the percentage who said it would make them more likely to vote for a candidate.
    “Clinton does modestly better than Obama among Democrats,” writes Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport. The net positive impact of Clinton’s campaigning among Democrats is 48 percent, while for Obama it is 42 percent. Where the former president dramatically outshines Obama is with independent voters. Among independents, “Clinton’s impact breaks about even,” Mr. Newport writes. Some 21 percent of independents are more likely to support a candidate if Mr. Clinton works for them, while 23 percent are less likely, leaving the net result at a negative 2 percent…. – CS Monitor, 10-19-10
  • Election 2010 Monday Polls: Voter Enthusiasm, Nevada, Colorado Obama voters vs. McCain Voters, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii, Utah Senate Races: An AP-Knowledge Networks poll released today shows 67 percent (about two-thirds) of John McCain voters are certain to vote in the 2010 election, compared to only 51 percent of Obama voters. The same study indicated that the majority of Obama voters (59 percent) feel “hopeful” about Obama’s presidency, while the majority of McCain voters (71 percent) feel “frustrated.” The poll also shows that 30 percent of Obama voters think he is maintaining his promise to change Washington. And, about 25 percent of Obama voters say they are thinking about voting for the GOP in 2010.
    A Gallup Poll released today shows that 66 percent of Republicans think the federal government “poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens” in 2010 compared to 21 percent of Democrats. However, the same poll found the opposite results when George W. Bush was president. In 2006, 57 percent of Democrats saw the federal government as a threat compared to 21 percent of Republicans. The overall percentage of Americans who agree has shifted only 2 percentage points in the four years, with 46 percent of Americans viewing the government as a threat in 2010…. – US News, 10-18-10

THE HEADLINES….

A backyard discussion with Seattle area families

White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 10/21/10
  • Obama likely to focus on deficit in next 2 years: Preparing for political life after a bruising election, President Barack Obama will put greater emphasis on fiscal discipline, a nod to a nation sick of spending and to a Congress poised to become more Republican, conservative and determined to stop him. He is already giving clues about how he will govern in the last two years of his term.
    Obama will try to make gains on deficit reduction, education and energy. He will enforce his health care and inancial overhauls and try to protect them from repeal should Republicans win control of Capitol Hill. He will use executive authority when blocked by Congress, and steel for scrutiny and investigations if the GOP is in charge.
    While trying to save money, Obama will have to decide whether to bend to Republican and growing Democratic pressure to extend Bush-era tax cuts, even for the wealthy, that expire at year’s end. Obama wants to extend them for people making less than $200,000 and married couples making less than $250,000, but a broader extension is gaining favor with an increasing number of Democrats. Moving to the fore will be a more serious focus on how to balance the federal budget and pay for the programs that keep sinking the country into debt…. – AP, 10-24-10
  • In Losing the Midterms, There May Be Winning: Let there be no mistake: President Obama wants the Democrats to win next week’s midterm elections. His voice has gone hoarse telling every audience that from Delaware to Oregon. But let’s also acknowledge this: Although he will not say so, there is at least a plausible argument that he might be better off if they lose. ADVERSARY President Clinton was able to play off Speaker Newt Gingrich, left. The reality of presidential politics is that it helps to have an enemy. With Democrats controlling the White House and Congress, they shoulder responsibility for the country’s troubles. No amount of venting about George W. Bush or the filibuster rule has convinced the public otherwise. But if Republicans capture Congress, Mr. Obama will finally have a foil heading toward his own re-election battle in 2012.
    “The best possible result for Obama politically is for the Republicans to gain control of both houses,” said Douglas E. Schoen, a Democratic pollster and strategist who helped President Bill Clinton recover from his own midterm Congressional defeat in 1994 to win re-election two years later. “That’s what Obama should want.”… – NYT, 10-24-10
  • G.O.P. Is Poised To Seize House, If Not Senate: A costly and polarizing Congressional campaign heads into its closing week with Republicans in a strong position to win the House but with Democrats maintaining a narrow edge in the battle for the Senate, according to a race-by- race review and lawmakers and strategists on both sides. President Obama campaigned for a fourth consecutive day on Saturday as the Democratic Party threw its full weight into preventing a defeat of historic proportions in an election shaped by a sour economy, intense debate over the White House’s far-reaching domestic agenda and the rise of a highly energized grass-roots conservative movement. But Republicans have placed enough seats into play that Democrats now seem likely to give up many of the gains they made in the last two election cycles, leaving Washington on the brink of a substantial shift in the balance of power. The final nine days of the midterm election are unfolding across a wide landscape, with several dozen House races close enough to break either way, determining whether the election produces a Republican wave that reaches deep into the Democratic ranks. In the Senate, Democrats were bracing to lose seats, but the crucial contests remained highly fluid as Republicans struggled to pull away in several Democratic-leaning states…. – NYT, 10-23-10
  • Big guns push midterm campaigns into high gear In Florida, Palin invokes past; in Minneapolis, Obama says don’t repeat it: President Barack Obama warned against a return to the past while former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin invoked a past president’s name Saturday as each led midterm election rallies thousands of miles and millions of voters apart. Obama closed a four-day campaign swing ahead of the Nov. 2 elections by imploring supporters to defeat the conventional wisdom that Democrats face steep losses. He cast the choice Election Day as one between the economic policies “that got us into this mess” and the policies leading the nation out…. – MSNBC, 10-23-10
  • President Seeks Edge in a Contest for Governor: President Obama wrapped up a four-day campaign swing on Saturday, telling students and the Democratic Party faithful to seize the chance to win a Republican-held governor’s seat here next month. Mr. Obama appeared at a rally on behalf of the candidate Mark Dayton, who probably represents the Democrats’ best chance in the midterm elections to take a seat held by a Republican governor. Unlike many other races across the country where polls show Republicans with an edge, in Minnesota, Mr. Dayton, a former United States senator, is polling ahead of Tom Emmer, a Republican, and Tom Horner of the Independence Party…. – NYT, 10-23-10
  • G-20 powers agree to Geithner currency and trade plan: Finance ministers from the world’s major nations agreed to a U.S.-brokered plan for easing tensions over exchange rates and world trade patterns, saying that a “fragile and uneven” economic recovery was at risk if top powers pursued conflicting policies or used the value of their currencies to gain an edge for their exports. Aiming to head off what some have dubbed a developing “currency war,” the statement from the finance leaders of the Group of 20 nations was a carefully worded bargain across a range of issues. It put China on the record as seeking to bring down its massive trade surplus and let its exchange rate fluctuate more. It also hinted that any move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to further ease monetary policy would be measured so as not to disrupt currency values or capital flows in emerging market nations…. – WaPo, 10-23-10
  • Despite latest coup, WikiLeaks facing challenges: “Wikileaks,” said the godfather of whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg, “has become the future of unauthorized disclosure.” Speaking Saturday in London, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers and their damning history of American involvement in Vietnam a generation ago, expressed what is partly hope and partly a reflection of reality: the Internet makes it harder to keep secrets. But still to be determined is whether WikiLeaks itself is that future, or some other Web site or collection of online organizations. WikiLeaks is evolving, working through challenges posed by the new media model, such as to what degree can a site devoted to holding the powerful accountable hold itself beyond reach? And can a site dedicated to combating secrecy continue to be so secret… – WaPo, 10-23-10
  • U.S. Offers Pakistan Army $2 Billion Aid Package: Even as the Obama administration moved to stop training and equipping Pakistani Army units that have killed civilians in the offensive against the Taliban, the United States said Friday that it planned increased aid for Pakistan’s military over the next five years. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the announcement in Washington alongside the Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, as leaders from both nations convened for a series of meetings.
    The new aid package, totaling $2 billion, is meant to replace one that expired Oct. 1. It would complement $7.5 billion in aid that the United States has already pledged to Pakistan for civilian projects, some have which have been directed toward helping the nation recover from the damaging floods…. – NYT, 10-22-10
  • The Iraq Archive: The Strands of a War: A huge trove of secret field reports from the battlegrounds of Iraq sheds new light on the war, including such fraught subjects as civilian deaths, detainee abuse and the involvement of Iran. The secret archive is the second such cache obtained by the independent organization WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations. Like the first release, some 92,000 reports covering six years of the war in Afghanistan, the Iraq documents provide no earthshaking revelations, but they offer insight, texture and context from the people actually fighting the war. A close analysis of the 391,832 documents helps illuminate several important aspects of this war…. – NYT, 10-22-10Read the full Pentagon response
  • Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands, Logs Say: The public image of detainees in Iraq was defined by the photographs, now infamous, of American abuse at Abu Ghraib, like the hooded prisoner and the snarling attack dog. While the documents disclosed by WikiLeaks offer few glimpses of what was happening inside American detention facilities, they do contain indelible details of abuse carried out by Iraq’s army and police…. – NYT, 10-22-10
  • Obama rallies voters in Los Angeles to support Sen. Boxer, Democratic control of Congress: President Barack Obama is accusing Republicans of peddling “snake oil” as he asks voters who backed him over the GOP in 2008 for a repeat performance. Obama was raising money and rallying support for Sen. Barbara Boxer of California on Friday, day three of a four-day tour ahead of the Nov. 2 election. Boxer is one of several endangered Democratic incumbents Obama is trying to help on a campaign trip that started Wednesday in Portland and ends Saturday in Minneapolis…. – CP, 10-22-10
  • Obama targets women voters in Seattle trip with talk of jobs, cupcakes: President Obama tried to energize women voters at a town hall meeting Thursday in Seattle. He’s also set to campaign for Washington’s Patty Murray and California’s Barbara Boxer…. – CS Monitor, 10-21-10
  • Happy Dems, a few GOPers pack Obama-Murray rally: With Washington’s vote-by-mail election already under way, President Barack Obama urged a raucous crowd Thursday to quickly cast their votes for Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. With Washington’s vote-by-mail election already under way, President Barack Obama urged a raucous crowd Thursday to quickly cast their votes for Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. “You need to go, right after this rally, fill out that ballot, and mail it in,” Obama told a packed crowd at the University of Washington’s basketball arena. “Today. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but today.” Obama’s second campaign trip to Washington state this year was part of a flood of high-profile Democrats trying to whip up voters for Murray this month. The three-term incumbent is in a competitive race with Republican Dino Rossi, a two-time runner-up for governor. “I am proud to be at your back, and I know you’re proud to be at mine,” Murray told the crowd. “We are going to continue to move forward with leadership for this state.”…. – Seattle Times, AP, 10-21-10
  • ‘The Daily Show,’ Rolling Stone, and MTV: Obama’s youth vote push: President Obama isn’t trying to make Stephen Colbert jealous by appearing on ‘The Daily Show’ five days before the midterm elections – he’s trying to fire up young voters. President Obama is going to appear on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart before the November elections. Last night the White House announced that Obama will tape a segment for the show on October 27. What’s the point of that? Is the president angling to get a good spot on the stage for Mr. Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity,” which will be held on the National Mall the following weekend? Or is he just trying to make Stephen Colbert jealous? Well, he’s probably not going to hang around Washington for the “Sanity” meeting and Mr. Colbert’s competing “March to Keep Fear Alive.” In all likelihood Obama will be out campaigning that weekend in a last-minute push to avoid a Democratic electoral apocalypse. Obama has called the dueling-rally premise “amusing”, but that’s not exactly a full-throated endorsement is it? No, Obama is appearing on “The Daily Show” for the same reason he recently gave an interview to “Rolling Stone” and appeared in an hour-long MTV “town hall” – young voters. He’s trying hard to fire up a cohort that went overwhelmingly for Democrats in 2008. The audience for Stewart’s show skews young, and many of them view it as a main source of news, even if the producers insist their product is really a hybrid of pseudo-news and comedy…. – CS Monitor, 10-20-10
  • Justice Department asks appeals court to overturn ‘don’t ask’ injunction: The motion calls on the appeals court to lift a judge’s order immediately. The government says the ‘extraordinary decision’ went too far, too fast and is causing ‘confusion and uncertainty’ in the Pentagon and among gays and lesbians in the ranks…. – LAT, 10-20-10
  • The Conversation: Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, Nearly 20 Years Later After Virginia Thomas Asks Hill for an Apology, Explosive Hearings Are Back in the News: In October 1991, the Senate was set to confirm Clarence Thomas as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court when Anita Hill, a former aide to Thomas, came forward publicly with allegations of sexual harassment. Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee riveted the nation, airing live on the broadcast networks. After three days of contentious hearings, the Senate voted to confirm Thomas as a Supreme Court justice in a narrow 52-to-48 vote. A New York Times/CBS News poll at the time found that 58 percent of Americans believed Thomas, while only 24 percent believed Hill. Hill’s words and Thomas’s denial turned sexual harassment into a national discussion, prompting a wholesale reexamination of workplace policies and training procedures. To this day, Anita Hill and her allegations are firmly linked to Justice Thomas and his reputation. That, perhaps, is why Thomas’s wife, Ginny Thomas, called Hill to ask for her apology, catapulting the story back into the news all these years later…. – CBS News, 10-20-10
  • Official: Shooting at Pentagon appears to be a ‘random incident’: A Pentagon official said he believes the shooting early Tuesday at the U.S. Defense Department headquarters was a “random incident.” “We are looking at all the possibilities,” Steven E. Calvery, director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, said at a news conference late Tuesday morning. “What we have is an isolated incident, so far.” Pentagon police officers, as well as several construction workers in the area, heard at least five shots fired around 4:50 a.m., Pentagon officials said…. – CNN, 10-19-10
  • Obama and Democrats count on Senate wins out West: With Republicans headed to big election gains on November 2, Democrats are counting on the liberal-leaning West Coast to counter the national trend and help them preserve their fragile Senate majority. President Barack Obama heads to California and Washington state this week to drum up support for endangered incumbents Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray in the last days of a campaign that finds his Democrats playing defense around the country. Wins in those two Democratic-leaning states — most polls show Boxer and Murray with slight leads — likely would be enough to ensure Democrats retain narrow control of the Senate even if Republicans sweep the other competitive races…. – Reuters, 10-19-10
  • Democrats try to woo women as more embrace GOP candidates: In the final stretch before the midterms, President Obama is giving a lot of attention to the traditional Democratic base: young people, black voters and white women. But women are his most urgent target. Unlike the other core groups, women are undecided, rather than merely unmotivated. And there are signs in parts of the country that they are open to defecting to the Republicans, potentially defying the long-standing “gender gap” that has skewed heavily toward Democratic candidates…. – WaPo, 10-19-10
  • Is Obama’s Excuse for Not Repealing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Legitimate?: President Obama claims he must defend and enforce the ban on gays serving in the military, even though he opposes it. But most experts in constitutional and military law say he has other options…. – Newsweek, 10-19-10
  • US military ready to accept gay applicants: Pentagon: The US military is ready to accept gays applying to join the armed forces, a spokeswoman said Tuesday after a federal judge struck down a ban on homosexuals serving openly in uniform. But the military will tell potential recruits that a law barring openly gay members — known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — could still be reinstated depending on the outcome of pending court decisions, spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said.
    “Recruiters have been given guidance, and they will process applications for applicants who admit they are openly gay or lesbian,” she told AFP. “Recruiters are reminded to set the applicants’ expectations by informing them that a reversal in the court’s decision of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law/policy may occur,” she said in an email.
    A federal judge in California, Virginia Phillips, last week ordered the government to immediately suspend the rule, which requires gay troops to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion…. – AFP, 10-19-10
  • Republican Candidates Outpacing Democrats in Race for Campaign Cash: Republican candidates have pulled ahead in the bare-knuckles race for campaign cash, registering big hauls in the final weeks and months before Election Day. Though the Democratic congressional campaign arms are outpacing their GOP counterparts in the fundraising race, individual GOP candidates are consistently attracting the most money. In Nevada, Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle reported raising a whopping $14 million in the critical third quarter, compared with less than $3 million for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In Kentucky, Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul raised $2.7 million in that period, $1 million more than Democrat Jack Conway. According to local reports, Delaware Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell raised $3.8 million between the end of August and the end of September, while Democrat Chris Coons raised just over $1 million…. – Fox News, 10-18-10
  • Five myths about Sarah Palin: Think you know Sarah Palin? The former Alaska governor has been in the spotlight ever since John McCain named her as his running mate on Aug. 29, 2008. Yet, while practically everybody has an opinion about Palin, not all of those opinions are grounded in reality. Many of them are based more on a “Saturday Night Live” caricature than on the living, breathing, 46-year-old mother of five. The real Sarah Palin is a complex woman who has risen in no time from obscurity to the stratosphere of American politics, fusing celebrity and populism in novel ways. Now that she’s laying the foundation for a possible presidential run in 2012, it’s worth taking a moment to separate the facts about Palin from the fables…. – WaPo, 10-17-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mr. Obama at a rally Saturday at the University of Minnesota.

  • Political ads: Mean, and getting meaner, before Nov. 2: It’s nastier than ever this election cycle. Coast to coast, North to South, hotly contested mid-term races have candidates going negative in ads in a big way. And it’s getting personal, with zingers aimed at the private lives and even the religious beliefs of opponents. Political operatives and observers wonder how low it can go before Nov. 2. While no one can put a hard number on negative ads, neither does anyone dispute that they are especially rampant this election season…. – AP, 10-24-10
  • Crist, Meek gang up on Rubio in Fla. Senate debate: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist defends his changing positions on issues by saying as a former college quarterback he knows how to call an audible. By the end of Sunday’s debate with his opponents for U.S. Senate, it looked like he was throwing a Hail Mary. The debate spun out of control near the end as independent Crist and Republican Marco Rubio rapidly talked over each other. Crist, who is down by double digits in multiple polls with just more than a week left before the election, repeatedly interrupted Rubio with accusations that as House speaker he steered money to a university and a hospital and later took jobs from them. He also said Rubio doesn’t advocate transparency because he won’t release credit card records from his state GOP-issued American Express card.
    “I’ve never had a heckler at the debate, I’ve always had them in the audience,” Rubio said with a laugh.
    “Welcome to the NFL,” responded Crist.
    It was clear that Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek stepped up their efforts to make up ground against Rubio. Earlier in the debate, Meek, a congressman from Miami-Dade County, argued with Rubio about whether tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush should be extended. The debate was sponsored by CNN, the University of South Florida and the St. Petersburg Times…. – AP, 10-23-10
  • Love-hate relationship with Washington plays out in Nevada politics: The West has long been torn between attacking and cozying up to the federal government. Now Harry Reid and Sharron Angle have picked sides in that fight…. – LAT, 10-23-10
  • Rand Paul will face Jack Conway in final debate after all: Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul will participate in a debate Monday night on Kentucky Educational Television with his Democratic rival, Jack Conway. Paul, who said earlier in the week that he was not sure if he would appear with Conway in the fifth and final scheduled debate before the Nov. 2 election, held a news conference Friday afternoon at the Lexington Hyatt Regency to discuss his decision…. – The Lexington Herald-Leader, 10-22-10
  • Sharron Angle, Harry Reid Nevada race: Wild, woolly, and weird: If you believe the ads, Harry Reid is a rich playboy and Sharron Angle doesn’t know the difference between Latinos and Asians. Then there’s the former Republican Party chief who’s endorsed the Democrat…. – CS Monitor, 10-22-10
  • Reid Speculates Angle’s in “Cheney’s Bunker”: Leader discusses opponent’s absence from interviews, addresses questions of his “manhood” in MSNBC interview…. – Time, 10-21-10
  • Former GOP national chairman endorses Reid: Former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. has endorsed Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, saying it would be a mistake for Nevadans to elect Republican Sharron Angle and lose Reid’s clout to protect the state’s lifeblood gambling industry. Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, suggested Angle should distance herself from the anti- gambling Campaign for Working Families, which has endorsed her and begun running television advertisements attacking Reid. The political action committee’s founder and chairman is Gary Bauer, a former Republican presidential candidate affiliated with several Christian right groups over the years. “It’s disturbing that she (Angle) is taking money from people who oppose gambling,” Fahrenkopf told The Associated Press. “She may not even know it, but Gary Bauer has been a longtime, outspoken opponent of legalized gambling. I did a double-take when I read she was receiving assistance from someone who has opposed Nevada’s chief industry for so long.”…. – Business Week, 10-21-10
  • In California midterm election’s tight races, voter turnout is key: Voter turnout will be especially important for Democrats in the midterm elections. The higher the overall turnout, the more likely Democrats will benefit. Both parties are appealing energetically to independents and the undecided…. – CS Monitor, 10-21-10
  • Sarah Palin endorses Pat Toomey for Pa. Senate: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is backing Republican Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania’s competitive race for U.S. Senate against Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak. In a note posted on her Facebook page — her preferred method of endorsing candidates — the conservative stalwart tied Toomey to several other Republican candidates running in “‘rust belt’ and energy producing states,” including West Virginia and Kentucky. “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think cap-and-tax could potentially be more disastrous to our economy than Obamacare because it would devastate our businesses and cripple our energy and industrial sectors,” Palin wrote, referring to the Democratic energy policy approved by the House last year to curb greenhouse gas emissions. “Senate races in particular have national significance when it comes to legislation like cap-and-tax.”… – AP, 10-20-10
  • Is Giannoulias ready to take on Senate job?: At 34 years old and yet to complete his first term as Illinois treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias decided the time was right for him to succeed an admired friend and basketball buddy, President Barack Obama, in the U.S. Senate. Giannoulias, whose only other big job was working at his late father’s bank, was told by some to get more experience under his belt. Even the White House courted another Democrat for the job. But Giannoulias pushed ahead — eventually winning the nomination and the embrace of national party leaders — in what some call a mark of the drive and ambition that also characterizes his style on the basketball court, where he likes to have his hands on the ball and admittedly doesn’t pass as much as he should. Giannoulias attributes his ambition to his Greek family’s immigrant background, and some of his success to a lucky sense of timing…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-20-10
  • Why Republicans shouldn’t take a Pennsylvania Senate win for granted: Polls suggested that Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey had a firm grip on his race with Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania. But new polls point to hope for Democrats here and elsewhere…. – CS Monitor, 10-20-10
  • Separation of church and state questioned by Christine O’Donnell: Delaware Senate candidates Chris Coons (D) and Christine O’Donnell (R) met again Tuesday at Widener University’s School of Law for a debate over, among other contentious topics, the separation of church and state. After a squabble over whether or not schools should be permitted to teach creationism as a competing theory to evolution, Coons said that the First Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to imply the case for the separation of church and state…. – WaPO, 10-19-10
  • Did Jack Conway go too far?: A new ad being run by state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) against ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) in the Kentucky Senate race using several college-era incidents to raise questions about the Republican’s character has created a national firestorm.
    “Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible a ‘hoax’,” asks the ad’s narrator. “Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up, tell her to bow down before a false idol and say his god was ‘Aqua Buddha’.” The ad’s charges both can be traced back to Paul’s collegiate years…. – WaPo, 10-19-10
  • Sarah Palin kick-starts final Tea Party Express bus tour of 2010: Tea Party Express launches its last tour of the 2010 campaign in (guess where) Sen. Harry Reid’s home state of Nevada with an event headlined by (guess who) Sarah Palin…. – CS Monitor, 10-18-10
  • Palin in Nevada launch Tea Party Express tour: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was back in Nevada on Monday to help rev up the Tea Party Express for the stretch drive of a coast-to-coast campaign determined to throw out Sen. Harry Reid and his Democratic allies in Congress. Palin headlined a rally outside county GOP headquarters in Reno to kick off the 15-day bus tour hoping to capitalize on government discontent and unify conservatives two weeks away from the off-year election…. – AP, 10-18-10
  • Kentucky Senate Election 2010: Rand Paul and Jack Conway trade attacks in contentious final weeks until election: The Kentucky Senate race has turned ugly, as both Rand Paul and Jack Conway traded barbs in their final debate, even refusing to chake hands afterwards. As election day nears this contest will receive ample national attention from both parties and the national media. As WhoRunsGov explains: In May 2010, riding a wave of anti-Washington anger as part of the tea party movement, he crushed the competition to win the Republican nod for the open seat of retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). “I have a message, a message from the tea party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back,” Paul said…. – WaPo, 10-18-10
  • Nevada Senate Election 2010: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid looks to fend off Sharron Angle, retain seat: Nevada’s Senate race has attracted national attention as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fights for his political life against Republican Sharron Angle, who has been a lightning rod of controversy from the start of her campaign…. – WaPo, 10-18-10
  • Sharron Angle Tells Hispanic Students That They Might Be Asian: When Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle dropped by the Rancho High School Hispanic Student Union in Las Vegas on Friday, she was asked about an ad she aired which, in criticizing Harry Reid on immigration, included a photo of three allegedly menacing-looking Hispanics…. – NY Mag, 10-18-10
  • Miller cites Communist East Germany as effective in dealing with border security: The scuffle between the editor of Alaska Dispatch and Joe Miller’s security guards at a public forum in Anchorage late Sunday is getting much national attention today. Getting lesser but growing attention is Miller’s answer at the forum to a question from the audience about how he would deal with illegal immigration. Anchorage blogger Steve Aufrecht was there and is among those today who are criticizing Miller’s response that Communist East ermany is a good example of a nation achieving border security. He quotes Miller as saying: “The first thing that has to be done is secure the border. … East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow. Now, obviously, other things were involved. We have the capacity to, as a great nation, secure the border. If East Germany could do it, we could do it.”… – Anchorage Daily News, 10-18-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

The President Records the Weekly Address

White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 10/20/10
  • No surprise: Democrats and Republicans differ on election predictions: Will an anti-incumbent wave return Republicans to power in the House and Senate, or can Democrats engineer a late rush to hold on to their congressional majorities? The 2010 mid-term elections comes down to campaign basics in the final nine days until vote-counting begins. For now, the two parties agree that Republicans will win more seats than they currently hold, but they differ sharply on how many and whether a major power shift will occur.Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that an unprecedented GOP wave would win control of both chambers as well as state legislatures in a broad condemnation of President Barack Obama and Democratic policies.
    “The voters are tired of the fact that the federal government has not listened to them over the past two years, has moved in its own direction, at its own rhythm and they want to pull back on that,” Steele said. “And I think you’re going to see a wave, an unprecedented wave on election day that’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
    His Democratic counterpart, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, pointed to strengthening poll numbers for his party’s candidates as a sign that the Democratic base was getting energized. “From this point forward, it’s all about turnout and ground game, and we’re seeing good early voting trends,” said Kaine, the Democratic National Committee chairman, when asked on the ABC program “This Week” if Democrats can hold their majorities. “We’ve got work to do, but we think we can do it.”
    While Kaine said the House remains uncertain, he sounded much more confident about the Senate.
    “Four or five months ago, the Republicans thought they had a great chance at taking both houses,” Kaine said. “For a variety of reasons, the Senate has gotten much more difficult for them. And again, we’re seeing this week strong moves in polling for our Senate candidates” in several states…. – CNN, 10-24-10
  • Weekly Address: Warns of GOP Efforts to Repeal Wall Street Reform – Including Foreclosure Protections
    Remarks of President Barack Obama, Saturday, October 23, 2010, Weekly Address, Washington, DC:
    Over the past two years, we’ve won a number of battles to defend the interests of the middle class. One of the most important victories we achieved was the passage of Wall Street Reform.
    This was a bill designed to rein in the secret deals and reckless gambling that nearly brought down the financial system. It set new rules so that taxpayers would never again be on the hook for a bailout if a big financial company went under. And reform included the strongest consumer protections in history – to put an end to a lot of the hidden fees, deceptive mortgages, and other abusive practices used to tilt the tables against ordinary people in their financial dealings.
    Yet despite the importance of this law – and despite the terrible economic dislocation caused by the failures in our financial system under the old rules – top Republicans in Congress are now beating the drum to repeal all of these reforms and consumer protections. Recently, one of the Republican leaders in the Senate said that if Republicans take charge of Congress, repeal would be one of the first orders of business. And he joins the top Republican in the House who actually called for the law to be repealed even before it passed. I think that would be a terrible mistake. Our economy depends on a financial system in which everyone competes on a level playing field, and everyone is held to the same rules – whether you’re a big bank, a small business owner, or a family looking to buy a house or open a credit card. And as we saw, without sound oversight and common-sense protections for consumers, the whole economy is put in jeopardy. That doesn’t serve Main Street. That doesn’t serve Wall Street. That doesn’t serve anyone. And that’s why I think it’s so important that we not take this country backward – that we don’t go back to the broken system we had before. We’ve got to keep moving forward. – WH, 10-23-10
  • Big guns push midterm campaigns into high gear In Florida, Palin invokes past; in Minneapolis, Obama says don’t repeat it: Palin, at a Republican rally in Orlando, Fla., claimed Obama and other Democratic leaders created more debt instead of jobs by funding “shovel-ready” projects such as a $3 million Tallahasee turtle tunnel. “We know what he’s shoveling and it’s not asphalt,” Palin said. No matter what your political views may be, if you’re in a contested race for federal office this cycle, someone, somewhere, is probably calling you “extreme.”
    “The momentum is with us but now is not the time to let up; now is the time to dig deep,” Palin said with 10 days to go until the elections. Hundreds of Republicans with “Fire Pelosi” and “Listen to Me!” signs clapped, hooted and waved American flags in the ballroom of the Marriott World Center near Walt Disney World. The gathering was cast as a fundraising rally but had the feel of a county fair.
    “You know, the president is now telling us that we’re not thinking straight because of all the fear and frustration,” Palin said. “You know Mr. President, you have it right on one point there. We are afraid, knowing that your economic policies are driving us off a cliff.” Palin referred to the rally as a “Reagan crowd,” and invoked late President Ronald Reagan’s name several times, noting he was for “the little guy.” “What I love best is he didn’t waste time looking back,” Palin said.
    “Remember the national security policy back then, that was lived out by (former Florida Gov.) Jeb and (former President) G.W. Bush, of we win and they lose.”
    “Before spending more or borrowing or printing, adopt the test of Reagan: Will it empower the individual and make us reach for the stars?”… – MSNBC, 10-23-10
  • In Seattle, Obama tells party faithful: ‘We need you fired up’: President Obama swooped into this traditionally Democratic corner of the country Thursday to implore the party faithful to rekindle the enthusiasm they felt in 2008 and help propel a senator locked in a surprisingly close reelection contest.
    “We need you fired up,” Obama told a packed crowd inside a basketball arena here at the University of Washington to rally for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). He added: “We are grinding it out. We are doing the hard, frustrating, inch-by- inch, day-by-day, week-by-week work of bringing about change.”
    “They figured if they just sat on the sidelines and opposed us every step of the way, then eventually they could ride that anger and that frustration to success in this election,” Obama said. “In other words, they were betting on amnesia. They were betting on the idea that you’d forget who caused this mess in the first place. Now let me tell you, Seattle: It’s up to you to tell them you haven’t forgotten.”
    Obama drew about 10,000 students and area residents to the arena here, with 3,000 more watching from a nearby stadium, in a gathering reminiscent of the huge rallies he staged during his 2008 presidential campaign. As Seattle’s morning fog was lifting, the line of supporters wrapped around the university’s soccer field and stretched for several blocks through campus…. – WaPo, 10-21-10
  • Obama: Biden and Clinton are doing great ‘where they are’: President Obama said today that stories about Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton switching jobs are “completely unfounded.” “They are both doing outstanding jobs where they are,” Obama said in an interview with National Journal. It’s the surest sign yet that Biden will be on the ticket when Obama seeks re-election in 2012. The president has been chatting up his veep ever since book author Bob Woodward and others began talking about the prospect of a Biden-Clinton switch. During a Democratic fundraiser Friday in Biden’s home of Wilmington, Del., Obama said, “The single best decision that I have made was selecting Joe Biden as my running mate.” USA Today, 10-19-10
  • Helen Thomas Cries, Denies Anti-Semitism, Calls President Obama ‘Reprehensible’: In a radio interview, former White House correspondent Helen Thomas acknowledges she touched a nerve with remarks about Israel that led to her retirement. But she says the comments were “exactly what I thought,” even though she realized soon afterward that it was the end of her job. “I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive,” Thomas told Ohio station WMRN-AM in a sometimes emotional 35-minute interview that aired Tuesday. It was recorded a week earlier by WMRN reporter Scott Spears at Thomas’ Washington, D.C., condominium. Thomas, 90, stepped down from her job as a columnist for Hearst News Service in June after a rabbi and independent filmmaker videotaped her outside the White House calling on Israelis to get “out of Palestine.” She gave up her front row seat in the White House press room, where she had aimed often pointed questions at 10 presidents, going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower. She has kept a low profile since then….
    In the below clip (via Mediaite), Thomas can be heard crying after learning that President Obama condemned her remarks about Israel on the “Today” show, calling them “offensive and out of line.” “I think he was very unfair, and I return the compliment on his remarks,” Thomas said. “Reprehensible.”… – Huffington Post, 10-13-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian E. Zelizer: Why Democrats are hurting: With the midterm elections just a week away, many Democrats are scratching their heads and wondering what went wrong.
    After Barack Obama’s election in 2008, many in the party thought that they were on the cusp of a new era in American politics. Republicans, and the conservative philosophy that had shaped their party for several decades, seemed to be in retreat.
    Yet less than years later, Republicans are on the verge of recapturing control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate. President Obama’s approval ratings have slid since his first year, while Republicans are now looking forward to the election of 2012.
    The most conventional argument about what went wrong for Democrats is that Obama moved too far to the left in a country that is center-right. But this argument is not supported by a recent study by The Washington Post, Henry Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.
    The study found that Americans are philosophically conservative but operationally liberal…. 

    Conservatives have also done very well at playing the politics of the media by staying on message and framing Obama and his policies in a negative light. They have been able to turn the president’s legislative victories into political defeats. Obama and his supporters have spent the last few months trying to explain all that he has done. But when a president has to do so much explaining, that means that he has already lost the battle.
    Whatever the outcome of the midterms, Democrats will need to regroup in the coming months. Rather than focusing on allegations of foreign money flowing into the campaign or embarking on some wholesale philosophical shift to the right, Democrats would do better to look at the specific strategic mistakes that they have made along the way and make sure that they don’t repeat them on the road to 2012. – CNN, 10-25-10

  • FRANK RICH: What Happened to Change We Can Believe In?: PRESIDENT Obama, the Rodney Dangerfield of 2010, gets no respect for averting another Great Depression, for saving 3.3 million jobs with stimulus spending, or for salvaging GM and Chrysler from the junkyard. And none of these good deeds, no matter how substantial, will go unpunished if the projected Democratic bloodbath materializes on Election Day. Some are even going unremembered. For Obama, the ultimate indignity is the Times/CBS News poll in September showing that only 8 percent of Americans know that he gave 95 percent of American taxpayers a tax cut.
    The reasons for his failure to reap credit for any economic accomplishments are a catechism by now: the dark cloud cast by undiminished unemployment, the relentless disinformation campaign of his political opponents, and the White House’s surprising ineptitude at selling its own achievements. But the most relentless drag on a chief executive who promised change we can believe in is even more ominous. It’s the country’s fatalistic sense that the stacked economic order that gave us the Great Recession remains not just in place but more entrenched and powerful than ever.
    No matter how much Obama talks about his “tough” new financial regulatory reforms or offers rote condemnations of Wall Street greed, few believe there’s been real change. That’s not just because so many have lost their jobs, their savings and their homes. It’s also because so many know that the loftiest perpetrators of this national devastation got get-out-of-jail-free cards, that too-big-to-fail banks have grown bigger and that the rich are still the only Americans getting richer… – NYT, 10-24-10
  • MARK HALPERIN: After the Midterm Elections: How Obama Can Meet Promises: It is time for a new White House plan. Even the best case for Democrats in the midterms will leave President Barack Obama with the tarnish of repudiation and far fewer members of his own party with whom to work.
    If he wants to continue to achieve his campaign promises, the President is going to have to make some profound changes, something Obama’s stay-the-course history suggests does not come naturally to him. (See scenes from a midterm-elections road trip.)
    By luck or design, however, the newly installed interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse, is one of Washington’s great long-range planners. And Obama and Rouse have at least one comeback model. The Clinton game plan circa 1994 shows how a young Democratic President, seen as overreaching and lurching leftward two years into his term, can move back to the political center, reconnect with the opposition, reclaim his momentum and successfully maintain his agenda…. – Time, 10-25-10
  • Julian Zelizer: FDR Has Suffered This, Too Just when Democrats think they’re making headway, voters send them a midterm message”: President Obama has warned Democratic voters not to be apathetic. “If the other side does win,” he told an audience in Wisconsin on Sept. 28, “They will spend the next two years fighting for the very same policies that led to this recession in the first place.” But Obama probably understated the case. Over the last century, a series of pivotal midterm elections has severely undermined liberal policies—at just those moments when it seemed they were flourishing. With polls predicting strong Republican gains, this election looks to be another such turnaround…. – Newswweek, 10-22-10

GOP in Lead in Final Lap: 2010 Campaign News: Poll Shows GOP Poised for Big Gains in Midterm Elections

GOP in Lead in Final Lap:

A vigorous post-Labor Day Democratic offensive has failed to diminish the resurgent Republicans’ lead among likely voters, leaving the GOP poised for major gains in congressional elections two weeks away, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
Among likely voters, Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge, up from a three-percentage-point lead a month ago.
In the broader category of registered voters, 46% favor a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 44% who want Republican control. But in the 92 House districts considered most competitive, the GOP’s lead among registered voters is 14 points, underscoring the Democrats’ challenge in maintaining their hold on the House. The poll of 1,000 registered voters was taken Oct. 14-18…. – WSJ, 10-19-10

October 18, 2010: The Obamas on the Campaign Trail for Democrats, Republicans Set for Big Wins

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

Drew Angerer/The New York Times

President Obama campaigning with Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts in Boston on Saturday.

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Obama Supporters Defecting to GOP, Poll Shows: President Obama’s winning coalition from 2008 has crumbled and his core backers are dispirited. It’s now Republicans who stand to benefit from an electorate that’s again craving change. Nearly two years after putting Obama in the White House, one-quarter of those who voted for the Democrat are defecting to the GOP or considering voting against the party in power this fall. Just half of them say they definitely will show up Nov. 2, according to an Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll released two weeks before Obama’s first midterm elections. Yet in a reflection of broad dissatisfaction with politics, just as many people who backed Republican presidential nominee John McCain are either supporting Democrats now or still considering how to vote. Still, McCain voters — to borrow Obama’s campaign rallying cry — are far more “fired up, ready to go.” Two-thirds say they are certain to vote next month…. – Fox News, 10-17-10
  • Fox News Poll: Republicans Maintain Lead in Midterms: American voters would give the edge to Republicans over Democrats by a 9-percentage point margin if the Congressional election were held today, according to a Fox News poll. The poll released Thursday finds that 48 percent of likely voters say they’d back the Republican candidate in their congressional district, while 39 percent say they’d support the Democratic candidate. Recent Fox News polls of registered voters have shown a Republican advantage of six to nine percentage points.
    More Republicans than Democrats continue to say they are extremely or very interested in the upcoming elections, but this “interest gap” has narrowed. The new poll found 71 percent of Republicans are interested in the election, down from 75 percent a month ago. Among Democrats, 64 percent are interested now, up from 50 percent earlier. As a result, the interest gap has gone from 25 points in mid-September to 7 points now.
    It’s a gloomy electorate heading to the ballot box this year. Three of four voters — 75 percent — are extremely or very worried about the future of the country, and 61 percent think life will be worse for their kids. Just 27 percent think life for the next generation of Americans will be better than life today.
    Overall, majorities of voters disapprove of the job Congressional Republicans (60 percent) and Congressional Democrats (57 percent) are doing. In fact, by 55-35 percent, more voters think an “everyday American” could do a better job than most current members of Congress. When asked if they personally could do a better job — the number drops to 43 percent…. – Fox News, 10-14-10
  • Obama’s Miracle: He’s Making Bush Look Good A new poll shows that people are becoming more nostalgic for the Bush years: Back in April, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg was fairly confident that Republicans had peaked too early. While Democratic losses would be severe, he predicted, “it will not be another 1994.” Now the former pollster for Bill Clinton is less sure Democrats can avoid a blowout. The reason? His polls show that President Obama’s campaign refrain that the country must “go forward, not go backward” to the past actually loses votes for Democrats.
    President Obama has been enamored of the theme that the country can’t afford to return to what he terms the discredited policies of the Bush years. “That’s the mantra that he wants to drill into voters’ heads between now and November,” ABC News reported last summer.
    The only problem, according to Mr. Greenberg, is that it doesn’t work. “Though voters agree the economy was an ‘inherited’ problem, they do not like to hear politicians blaming Bush or looking backwards,” he concluded in his study. In an interview with Jane Hamsher of the blog Firedog Lake, Mr. Greenberg went on to say: “I’m really puzzled by Democratic leaders stuck in a message that demonstrably doesn’t work.” He puts it down to the president listening to economic advisers who want him to set a rhetorical tone that “will help confidence to come back.” But so far the only thing that seems to be coming back is nostalgia for George W. Bush. A new CNN poll finds voters still believe Mr. Obama is a better president than Mr. Bush was, but by only 47% to 45%. That’s down from a whopping 23-point margin last year. “Democrats would be wise to think twice before bringing up the name of President Bush on the campaign trail this fall,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. – WSJ, 10-12-10
  • President Obama losing support among his backers, poll finds, GOP has edge going into midterms: Has hope turned into hopelessness? More than 40% of voters who once considered themselves as backers of President Obama now say they either support him less or don’t support him at all, according to a Bloomberg National poll Tuesday. With exactly three weeks until crucial midterm elections, voters seem to dislike both parties, but Republicans appear likely to make big gains in the House and Senate….
    Though the Democrats hold a 47%-45% advantage in favorability over the GOP, independent voters prefer Republicans six points more than Democrats. For the most motivated voters, Republicans have a strong 51%-37% lead…. – NY Daily News, 10-12-10

THE HEADLINES….

The President Records the Weekly Address
White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/15/10
  • Obama targets key groups in election’s homestretch: Heading into the homestretch of the midterm elections, President Barack Obama is targeting key Democratic constituencies as he tries to energize voters and build up Election Day turnout among his supporters. The groups Obama is targeting mirror those that helped him win the White House: young people, African-Americans and women. A crucial element of the president’s strategy in the two weeks before the Nov. 2 election is finding a way to get first-time voters from 2008 to head back to the polls even though Obama’s name isn’t on the ballot. Obama isn’t shying away from reality: The sputtering economy has created a tough political environment for Democratic candidates.
    “When times are that difficult, elections are going to be difficult and understandably so,” Obama said Sunday while speaking at a fundraiser for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland at a private home outside Cleveland.
    Obama was joined at the fundraiser by first lady Michelle Obama. From Cleveland, the Obamas were to travel to Columbus to headline a large nighttime rally on the campus of Ohio State University. The president and first lady have campaigned individually for Democratic candidates in the final weeks before the midterms, but Sunday marked the first time the Obamas had campaigned together since the presidential election…. – AP, 10-17-10
  • Obama: End tax breaks to stop overseas hiring: End tax breaks that reward some U.S. companies with overseas subsidiaries and encourage those businesses to create jobs in other countries, President Barack Obama is telling Congress. Yet it’s an idea that has raised concerns even among some lawmakers in the president’s own party. At issue is a bill, now stalled in the Senate, that would do away with some tax credits and deferrals for U.S. companies for operations abroad.
    “There is no reason why our tax code should actively reward them for creating jobs overseas,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. “Instead, we should be using our tax dollars to reward companies that create jobs and businesses within our borders.”… – AP, 10-16-10
  • Obama Rallies Massachusetts Democrats: President Obama sought to rally Massachusetts Democrats on Saturday to help re-elect Gov. Deval Patrick, his friend and political twin, whose 2006 campaign of “hope” and “change” presaged Mr. Obama’s own two years later, but who now struggles against voter anger in a weak economy. Mr. Obama, speaking to about 8,000 people in the Hynes Convention Center and more listening outside and in an overflow room, praised Mr. Patrick, the first black elected governor of Massachusetts, in ways that Mr. Obama often describes himself, calling him someone who “represents the politics of conscience and conviction” and who does what is right, not what is easy.
    Mr. Patrick’s accomplishments have been offset by stumbles and by the negative political winds that are buffeting Democrats nationwide, eroding his lead in the polls. A recent poll by Suffolk University/7 News showed that 46 percent of likely voters favored Mr. Patrick and 39 percent favored the Republican candidate, Charles D. Baker, a former health insurance executive and state budget official. A third candidate, Tim Cahill, the state treasurer who is a former Democrat running as an independent, received 10 percent in the poll. He has lost ground since the Republican Governors Association hit him with negative advertisements, as Republicans feared that Mr. Cahill was getting support from conservative and independent voters that would otherwise go to Mr. Baker…. – NYT, 10-16-10
  • US vows marijuana enforcement regardless of California vote: Federal law enforcement agencies intend to aggressively go after marijuana possession and cultivation even if California voters vote in favor of legalization in a November 2 referendum, US newspapers reported Saturday. The reports cited a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to former chiefs of the Drug Enforcement Administration vowing no let up in enforcement of marijuana laws.
    “Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19. If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens,” it said…. – AFP, 10-16-10
  • Obama to seek $250 payment to Social Security recipients: After officials announce there will be no cost-of-living increase for the second consecutive year, the White House says Obama will ask Congress to authorize the one-time payment. A key Republican says long-term funding for Social Security must be addressed…. – LAT, 10-15-10
  • Petraeus: NATO has facilitated Taliban movement: Commanding Gen. David Petraeus confirmed Friday that coalition forces have allowed Taliban representatives to travel to Kabul for peace discussions with the Afghan government, but a Taliban spokesman said all such talk is only propaganda, designed to lower the morale of the movement’s fighters.
    U.S., Afghan and Taliban sources all declined to give details of the contacts, if they are taking place at all. “There have been several very senior Taliban leaders who have reached out to the Afghan government at the highest levels, and also in some cases have reached out to other countries involved in Afghanistan,” Petraeus told reporters at the Royal United Services Institute in London.
    “These discussions can only be characterized as preliminary in nature,” Petraeus said. “They certainly would not rise to the level of being called negotiations.”… – AP, 10-15-10
  • Marijuana in California: Prop. 19 won’t stop federal drug enforcement: Even if voters pass Proposition 19 on Nov. 2, which would legalize use of marijuana in California, the Justice Department will continue to enforce federal drug laws there, Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday…. – CS Monitor, 10-15-10
  • ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ may be ‘flippin’ fun,’ but will it be any good?: The trailer for TLC’s upcoming show, ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska,’ is out, featuring themes of family, fun, and freedom. It functions well as a political ad, too. The trailer for TLC’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is out, and it looks like a show that will fit in great with many of the other productions of Discovery Channel affiliates. It features the outdoors, bad weather, scary animals, and lots of roaring machines. Think of it as “Deadliest Catch” with a little politics thrown in, or maybe “Man vs. Wild” plus antigovernment rhetoric. Fortunately there is no dancing. Daughter Bristol Palin is currently on “Dancing with the Stars,” and Mama Grizzly Palin has supported her and all, but American politics has not yet progressed to the point where the ability to tango is considered an asset for potential presidential candidates…. – CS Monitor, 10-15-10
  • Obama’s campaigning blitz: It’s about 2012, too: Republicans are poised to topple at least a dozen Democratic governors next month, and that could cause President Barack Obama and his party major headaches far beyond this year’s elections. A cadre of new GOP governors, including some in battleground states that Obama won two years ago, could complicate his efforts to deliver benefits to voters and campaign effectively in 2012. They could also help create Republican- friendly House seats in next year’s once-a-decade redistricting process.
    In the final weeks of this year’s contest, Obama is campaigning hard for Democrats coast to coast, well aware of the worrisome signs for the future. So far, his results seem mixed, and some candidates seem wary of him. Democrats are at risk of surrendering governorships in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Oregon, New Mexico and Maine, among others. Obama carried all those states under Democratic governors in 2008. And all will be competitive in a 2012 re-election contest except, presumably, his home state of Illinois. Republican governors already have replaced Democrats in New Jersey and Virginia, states that Obama also carried two years ago…. – AP, 10-14-10
  • Obama to hold town hall with young voters: President Barack Obama is taking his message to young people in a televised town hall meeting Thursday. The president will appear before about 250 young people with a cross-section of backgrounds and political views. He’ll answer questions from those in the audience and from viewers submitting questions on Twitter. An Associated Press-mtvU poll found college students cooling in their support for Obama…. – AP, 10-14-10
  • Michelle Obama votes early in hometown of Chicago: First lady Michelle Obama has cast her ballot at a polling place on Chicago’s South Side. Obama voted in Illinois’ election at the Martin Luther King Community Center on Thursday. As she left, she told the election judges to make sure that everyone is voting early. Anna Roberts voted near the first lady, and she became emotional, describing the experience as very moving. Roberts says she came to the polling place after hearing Obama planned to vote while she was in town, in hopes of seeing her. The first lady came to Chicago on Wednesday to raise money for U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias and Democrats running for Congress…. – AP, 10-14-10
  • Clinton Suggests Conditions on Pakistan Flood Relief: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested European Union leaders should follow the U.S. and withhold further flood-relief funding from Pakistan until Islamabad shows it is doing more to fight corruption and collect tax revenue from its wealthiest citizens. After meeting with Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high representative, Mrs. Clinton praised recent EU aid efforts but added, “the international community can only do so much.” It is unacceptable, she said, “for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people.”… – WSJ, 10-14-10
  • Judge acts while others debate Pentagon gay policy: A federal judge’s ruling that the military must stop its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy comes amid conflicting concerns of gays who think the government is moving too slowly to let them serve openly and Pentagon officials who believe that moving too quickly might disrupt a military engaged in war. Gay rights groups have said they are disappointed that legislation to override the ban is likely to languish in Congress until next year, when Democrats could have fewer seats and less power to override Republican objections. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, the military’s top uniformed officer, have supported lifting the ban on gays serving openly. But Gates and Mullen also have warned that they would prefer to move slowly. Meantime, despite a federal judge’s ruling in San Diego on Tuesday, the battle in the courts over gays in the military may be far from over…. – AP, 10-13-10
  • Obama team faces tough politics on gay rights legal issue: A federal judge’s decision to block the military from enforcing its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward gays creates tough politics for the Obama administration. If it appeals the decision — as seems likely — the administration faces criticism from gay rights supporters who say the Obama-ites have been slow to overturn the military policy.
    “The president has said this law harms our national security, and we believe it would be a mistake to appeal the decision,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Each additional day that this unjust law remains in force is one more day the federal government is complicit in discrimination.” If the administration lets the ruling stand, Obama and his aides face more heat from social conservatives.
    “Once again, an activist federal judge is using the military to advance a liberal social agenda, disregarding the views of all four military service chiefs and the constitutional role of Congress,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, adding that this should be an issue in the Nov. 2 congressional elections. The Justice Department has appealed previous judicial decisions against “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and may seek an injunction against the ruling that forbids the military from enforcing the policy. In most cases, the Justice Department is obligated to defend laws passed by Congress…. – USA Today, 10-13-10
  • Obama utters words ‘tax and spend liberal.’ Republicans drool: In a candid magazine interview, President Obama acknowledges that he made it too easy for Republicans to cast him as a ‘tax and spend liberal.’ The comments could backfire against Democrats. So at a meeting Wednesday morning with reporters, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was at pains to tamp down reaction to comments President Obama made for an interview with the New York Times Magazine that will be distributed this Sunday. In the cover story, by reporter Peter Baker, Mr. Obama admits to learning “tactical lessons” in his first two years in office. He let himself look too much like “the same old tax and spend liberal Democrat,” the president said. When it comes to public works programs, the President said, “there’s no such thing as shovel ready projects.” And he raised the possibility he should not have included tax breaks as part of the stimulus bill and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts,” thus casting the aura of bipartisan compromise on the legislation. And the story said the president is spending time with key aides mapping a changed course for the next two years.
    “There is no post mortem” underway, Mr. Gibbs told reporters. As to the magazine’s report that White House insiders think the administration has a communications problem, Gibbs quipped he was “sort of used to it.” In the magazine story, Gibbs is quoted as saying “I haven’t been to a policy-problem meeting in 20 months.”
    Republicans were quick to jump on the president’s comments. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) sent out a press release titled “Obama Acknowledges Stimulus Failures – Does Bishop Agree?” The sub-head read “Twenty Days Until Election Day, Self-Proclaimed ‘Tax and Spend Democrat’ Admits There is ‘No Such Thing as Shovel-Ready Projects.’”
    The press release referred to a race pitting incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop, who represents the eastern end of Long Island, against Republican challenger Randy Altschuler. But the NRCC said it fired off a similar release to a long list of Congressional districts…. – CS Monitor, 10-13-10
  • Michelle Obama hits campaign trail for Democrats: In her first campaign swing for the November elections, first lady Michelle Obama made the political personal, harkening back to her days growing up in Chicago, recalling the electricity of the 2008 presidential campaign and telling an audience of Democratic donors that her understanding of the issues of the day comes down to her role as a mother.
    “You see, more than anything else, I come at this stuff, more, as a mom,” she said Wednesday in Wisconsin. “When I think about the issues facing our nation, I think about what it means. And I think about what it means for the world we’re leaving for them and for all our children. As I travel around this country, and look into the eyes of every single child I meet, I see clearly what’s at stake.”
    Her remarks marked her first full foray into the midterm campaign and came in a state where Sen. Russ Feingold (D) is battling Republican Ron Johnson to keep his seat. While Feingold is ahead in fundraising, his popularity has lagged in most polls. Held at the U.S. Cellular center in downtown Milwaukee, the event attracted about 500 people who paid $250 to $500 for a ticket.
    In her speech, which ran about 20 minutes, Obama took a page from her address two years ago at the Democratic National Convention, mentioning her family and the president’s remarks that “we all want to leave something better for our kids.”
    “I know that was true in my family growing up. That’s why even after my dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he hardly ever missed a day of work. . . . My dad kept getting up . . . because he wanted something better for me and my brother,” she said. “And it was also true in Barack’s family. That’s why Barack’s grandmother woke up before dawn each morning to catch the bus to her job at a bank. And even when she was passed over for promotions year after year because she was a woman, she rarely complained . . . because she wanted something more for Barack and his sister.”… – WaPo, 10-13-10
  • Mrs. Obama extols Sen. Feingold at Milwaukee event: First lady Michelle Obama said Wednesday that even though change hasn’t come fast enough for some citizens, it would be a mistake for voters to return Republicans to power next month. Mrs. Obama, in Milwaukee to stump for Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, tried to restore the same enthusiasm that surrounded President Barack Obama’s inauguration early last year. She said people were energized back then because they were hopeful and that it was important for them to re-ignite that passion so the country can finish what voters started.
    “This election isn’t just about all that we’ve accomplished these past couple of years,” she said. “This election, Wisconsin, is about all we have left to do in the months and years ahead.” Feingold is facing an unexpected battle as he seeks a fourth term in the Senate. Recent polls show his Republican challenger, Ron Johnson, with a slight lead…. – AP, 10-13-10
  • U.S. sees Israel’s ‘Jewish’ demand as legit: The United States sees as legitimate Israel’s demand that Palestinians and other Arab states recognize Israel’s Jewish character, a State Department spokesman said. P.J. Crowley was pressed in a briefing Tuesday about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to extend a partial settlement building freeze in exchange for the Palestinian leadership’s recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
    “What Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday is, in essence, the — a core demand of the Israeli government, which we support, is a recognition that Israel is a part of the region, acceptance by the region of the existence of the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, and that is what they want to see through this negotiation,” Crowley said.
    Palestinians have balked at the offer, saying that recognizing Israel as Jewish should be reserved for final-status talks. Crowley said Netanyahu’s offer was appropriate, considering that the sides have agreed to come to a final-status agreement by next September. He said the Palestinians could break the current impasse in the talks over extending the settlement freeze by countering with their own “core issue” demand. “This is not a one-way street. It is a two-way street,” he said. “The prime minister is offering something and asking for something. It is perfectly within the rights of the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas to say there’s something I need and there’s something I’m willing to give. This is the essence of the negotiation that is ongoing and the essence of the negotiation that we want to see continue.”… – JTA, 10-13-10
  • White House steps up attack on anonymous campaigning: The White House stepped up its attacks on Tuesday against anonymous funding of anti-Democrat advertising before the Nov. 2 elections, and shrugged off claims it was trying to distract voters from the weak economy. President Barack Obama, while taking care not to point the finger directly at any specific group, has escalated warnings that big business, and even foreign corporations, are spending heavily to sway the congressional and governors’ elections in favor of Republicans.
    “If there are organizations raising tens of millions of dollars who won’t tell us who their donors are, my guess is they’re not telling us for a reason — because they have something to hide,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. “The best way to clear any of this stuff up would simply be to disclose the names.”
    Republicans, who are expected to make strong gains in the midterm poll as voters punish Obama’s Democrats for a stuttering economy and unemployment stuck near 10 percent, say Americans care about job creation, not campaign finance. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 37 of the 100 Senate seats are up for grabs next month. Polls show Republicans could win control of the House and may even challenge Democratic command of the Senate…. – Reuters, 10-12-10
  • Obama to college students: Help us in the elections: President Obama continued a series of get-out-the-vote appeals to young people tonight, telling students at George Washington University that, “I really need you to get out on Nov. 2.” Obama also took a series of friendly questions during an interactive town hall that was broadcast to Democratic- sponsored house parties across the country…. – USA Today, 10-12-10
  • Republicans Dish Praise for Bill Clinton’s Style Despite Campaign Trail Blitz: Bill Clinton is everywhere. And Republicans don’t seem to mind. If anything, the party that brought you the second presidential impeachment in U.S. history is pining for the days when the Clintons ruled Washington. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in an interview last month that Clinton “will go down in history as a better president” than Obama. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a rising GOP star, told The New York Times he enjoys the ex-president and that when he was in power, “the nation benefited” from his moderation — at least in the last six years. Ex-Clinton foe David Bossie, now the head of the Citizens United group behind the Supreme Court decision that tore apart campaign finance law, told The Daily Beast he was wrong to think Clinton was a “radical” in the ’90s. But wait a minute. Isn’t Clinton the guy actively campaigning for Democrats across the country while offering dire warnings about what will happen if Republicans take over Congress? While some Republicans look back fondly on the Clinton years as a time when bipartisan legislation like welfare reform was possible, those in Clinton’s crosshairs have not forgotten his power on the stump…. – Fox News, 10-12-10
  • Nine states, 11 days : Obama on Democratic rescue mission: US President Barack Obama will visit at least nine states in 11 days starting on Friday as he cranks up his bid to stem expected heavy Democratic losses in mid-term elections. Obama will also make his first appearances on the campaign trail with his wife Michelle Obama since his 2008 presidential run, as the couple stump at the weekend in midwestern Ohio, a bellwether state ravaged by the recession. Polls show Republicans on course to grab back control of the House of Representatives on November 2, and all but certain to at least decimate the Democratic majority in the Senate. Obama’s trip is a mixture of appearances with candidates and flexing political star power to raise campaign cash and persuade his young and diverse coalition to show up to vote even though he is not on the ballot…. – AFP, 10-12-10
  • Obama calls for $50 billion infrastructure initiative: President Barack Obama is pushing a $50 billion plan to upgrade the nation’s transportation networks and create jobs, bringing governors and mayors to the White House to help him make the case. President Obama called on lawmakers Monday to back an ambitious initiative to modernize the nation’s crumbling roads, railways and airports, saying the strategy would not only improve the economy in the long run but create good jobs now.
    On the heels of a report last week showing the jobless rate stuck at 9.6 percent, Obama touted his infrastructure plan as the ideal antidote, noting that unemployment is particularly high in the construction trades.
    “Nearly one in five construction workers is still unemployed and needs a job. And that makes absolutely no sense when so much of America needs rebuilding,” Obama told reporters in the Rose Garden. “Investing in infrastructure is something members of both political parties have always supported,” Obama said. “There’s no reason why we can’t do this. This is work that needs to be done. There are workers who can do it. All we need is the political will.” WaPo, 10-11-10
  • Obama gets book thrown at him: President Obama enjoys books — but not necessarily those thrown at him. An enthusiastic author tossed a copy of his latest work at Obama after the president’s speech yesterday in Philadelphia. The incident alarmed some witnesses, but appears to he harmless.
    The Secret Service sent us a statement: The person who threw the book was just an over exuberant person. Our agents observed him throw it, detained him and interviewed him. He threw a book he had written onto the stage hoping the President would read it. He was deemed to not be a threat and released with no charges.
    Hey, it could have been worse. Earlier in the program, a naked man — an overweight naked man — streaked in front of the presidential podium. – USA Today, 10-11-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Can Democrats and Republicans work together after the election?: Bipartisanship is in the eye of the beholder, it seems, as Democrats and Republicans ponder how cooperation between them can improve after the upcoming congressional elections. The voting on November 2 is expected to diminish Democratic majorities in both chambers and perhaps cost them control of the House. Whatever the final tally, widespread voter dissatisfaction with the hostile political climate in Washington is evident. Democrats blame Republican intransigence, calling the GOP a “party of no” that has opposed almost every initiative to undermine President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to change Washington politics. Republican leaders say their opposition is a response to a left-leaning agenda pushed by Obama and Democratic leaders that far exceeds what the public wants. In a new development this election cycle, the conservative Tea Party movement wants to throw out both parties, but its agenda aligns it with Republicans in the heated campaigning. While Obama and some Democrats and Republicans say they hope for better relations after the election, they express different views of what that would mean…. – CNN, 10-17-10
  • Whitman has reason to want police, firefighters as allies: Public safety unions have a lot of influence in Sacramento and on voters. The GOP gubernatorial candidate says that’s not why she’d let them keep their pensions…. – LAT, 10-17-10
  • Collegians on O’Donnell and Coons: What debate? What witch?: The nation’s comedians are following the Delaware Senate race, but are the state’s college students doing so as well? The campaign for Vice President Joe Biden’s former Senate seat has gotten much attention in the weeks leading up to midterm elections on November 2, largely because of revelations about Republican Christine O’Donnell’s past, including an old television clip where she said she had dabbled in witchcraft and questions about her financial and educational history. After Barack Obama’s campaign famously focused on turning out the youth vote in 2008, political analysts have debated how large a role voters younger than 30 might play…. – CDNN, 10-17-10
  • Buck’s remarks on homosexuality loom after Meet the Press debate: Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck suddenly elevated the culture wars from minor player to center stage in the Senate race today when he compared homosexuality to alcoholism in a nationally televised debate.
    Appearing with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in a 27-minute showdown on Meet the Press, Buck responded to a question from host David Gregory by saying that he believed homosexuality was a choice but had limited biological influences “like alcoholism and some other things.”
    Buck said after the debate that he “wasn’t talking about being gay as a disease” but also said of his remark that “there’s no doubt there will probably be a commercial on something like that” from Democrats.
    Tough questioning by Gregory and a national television audience turned the debate into a significant and uneven test for both men, with Bennet struggling to explain his relationship to President Barack Obama’s agenda and Buck defending a series of campaign flip-flops…. – Denver Post, 10-17-10
  • Letting bygones be bygones, Bill Clinton stumps for former rival: Once bitter political rivals, former President Bill Clinton and California gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown were on the same stage Friday to rally voters. Talk about burying the hatchet. When former President Bill Clinton turned out to rally for California Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown on Friday night, the former rivals hugged and made up. Really, they embraced. The two have a bitter political history dating to 1992, when they ran against each other in the Democratic presidential primary. Back then, Brown earned Clinton’s animus by refusing to drop out until well after it was clear Clinton had locked up the nomination. Speaking before a crowd on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, Brown heaped praise on the former president.
    “Let me tell you about President Clinton. I don’t need to say much. Not only was he great in office, but he has been great after he left office,” Brown said. “He didn’t retire to Palm Springs to play golf, he’s out there doing stuff. He’s helping people in Haiti. He’s fighting AIDS.” He cheered the former president for “motivating … the highest angles of our spirit.”
    Clinton returned the favor, telling the crowd of screaming students, “I’ve known Jerry Brown for almost 35 years. When we were governors together, we strongly supported to push for green energy … he knew it was good economics when most people thought it was a fools errand.” Reviewing Brown’s history as a two-term California governor, then mayor of Oakland and now attorney general, he enthused, “I watched him consistently choose the future over the present, but not take a meat axe to the present” insisting “that’s what you need now.”… – CNN, 10-16-10
  • Delaware race could put hex on GOP hopes: The surprising campaign of Republican US Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell has charmed Tea Party conservatives, energized voters of both parties, and transformed the traditionally buttoned-down world of Delaware politics into a noisy carnival of witch costumes and intense national media attention. But the candidate, hounded by an old admission she “dabbled into witchcraft,” has not built confidence among mainstream Republicans that she can win what the party had once considered theirs for the taking: the Senate seat held by Vice President Joe Biden for 36 years. O’Donnell’s stark rightward positions and her history of bizarre statements, replayed on television and the Internet, have alarmed many voters. Now, Democrats are confidently pushing back…. – Boston Globe, 10-16-10
  • Republican funding surge provides crucial advantage: Some Democrats now fear a historic rout in next month’s midterm election as GOP advocacy groups funnel $50 million into campaigns. Fueled by a surge of outside money, Republicans have begun gunning for Democratic House seats once considered safe and beyond GOP reach — a drive that threatens to reshape the electoral map and raises the specter of a historic rout in the midterm election two weeks away…. – LAT, 10-16-10
  • O’Donnell rakes in cash for tea party-fueled bid: Republican Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell of Delaware may be trailing in the polls but she’s strongly outpacing Democratic rival Chris Coons in fundraising. O’Donnell took in nearly $3.8 million in just over a month as she pulled off her stunning upset in the Sept. 15 GOP primary – more than 10 times what her campaign had collected during her entire campaign previously. The money came from all corners of the country and included many small donations. She said in a finance report Wednesday that after spending $1.2 million, she had $2.6 million in the bank for the final month of the campaign…. – AP, 10-15-10
  • Does Reid’s “Tepid” Performance Gives Angle Upper Hand?: Thursday’s one-and-only debate between Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle was got less-than-glowing reviews from most political pundits and analysts. The question now turns to what impact, if any, it will have on the tight and nasty Nevada Senate race. On Friday’s Washington Unplugged, Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris told CBS News’ John Dickerson that, in his opinion, the debate was a draw. “You had two candidates who seemed determined not to make big mistakes. It made kind of a stilted performance,” Harris said. “I didn’t find any of the candidates that impressive but I am struck that it was a pretty tepid performance by Reid when what he really needs is to figure out a way to put Angle away.” Harris added: “He clearly didn’t do that with that performance and so a candidate that people said is too extreme to win actually seems in pretty good position.” He said Angle has “even odds” of winning the race…. – CBS News, 10-15-10
  • Harry Reid vs. Sharron Angle: huge stakes in first and only debate: The only Harry Reid-Sharron Angle debate is set for Thursday. The focus is Nevada’s troubled economy, but the race is also a referendum on Obama and a test of ‘tea party’ power…. – CS Monitor, 10-14-10
  • Sarah Palin advisers prepped Christine O’Donnell for debate: By some reckonings, Christine O’Donnell had a bit of a rocky time at her Delaware Senate debate with Dem Chris Coons last night. She wouldn’t say whether she believe in evolution, described Coons as a Marxist, and appeared to stumble over her answer on discretionary funding. And yet, as Dana Milbank notes, in comparison to recent revelations about her and the national caricature that is the result, her performance was clearly an improvement. If that’s so, there are two people she has to thank for that, and they’re both Sarah Palin advisers: Randy Scheunemann and Michael Goldfarb. They were the ones who took on the job of prepping O’Donnell for the debate, Goldfarb confirms. Palin, in a conversation with O’Donnell, recommended the two men to her, and the O’Donnell campaign reached out to them to enlist their help, Goldfarb says. They spent the day with her yesterday in Wilmington getting her ready…. – WaPo, 10-14-10
  • O’Donnell, Coons stage feisty debate in Delaware: A feisty Christine O’Donnell attacked her Democratic opponent but also stumbled in Wednesday’s debate with Chris Coons in their election battle for Delaware’s U.S. Senate seat held for nearly four decades by Vice President Joe Biden. The highly anticipated showdown between two candidates considered surprise contenders featured O’Donnell displaying her conservative credentials that gained Tea Party backing while Coons, put on the defensive at times, generally backed Democratic policies favored by President Barack Obama. O’Donnell’s primary victory over a veteran mainstream Republican candidate last month shook up the GOP establishment, with party strategist Karl Rove even questioning her qualifications. Now trailing badly according to the latest polls, she appeared nervous at the start but quickly went on the attack, accusing Coons of raising taxes and offering a “rubber stamp” to Obama administration policies if elected.
    “My opponent wants to go to Washington and rubber-stamp the spending bills” that she said are hurting the nation and Delaware. Later, O’Donnell said, a vote for Coons would cost the average Delawarean $10,000 “instantly” in tax hikes and energy reform costs.
    At other times, her attacks were less precise and drew scorn from Coons, such as when she said the influence of a Marxist college professor on Coons’ political beliefs should “send chills up the spine of every Delaware voter.”.. – CNN, 10-13-10
  • Karl Rove has $56 million in campaign cash. Where will he spend it?: Two Karl Rove political groups have raised $56 million to dole out to Election 2010 candidates. It could help Republicans at a crucial point in the election cycle…. – CS Monitor, 10-13-10
  • RFK Jr.: Dem can’t win in Fla. Senate race: A member of the Kennedy clan says Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek can’t win the Florida Senate race. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says he would support Meek if he thought he could win. Instead he’s endorsing Gov. Charlie Crist, who bolted the GOP to run as an independent. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows both Crist and Meek trail tea party-backed Republican Marco Rubio by double digits, but Meek is further behind…. – AP, 10-13-10
  • R.F.K. Jr. Endorses Crist’s Senate Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told a bagel-noshing crowd of Florida voters here today that Marco Rubio, the Republican candidate for Senate, was a Tea Party “crackpot,” “a radical,” and a “sock puppet” who speaks for a “corporate plutocracy threatening to crush our democracy.” It was a compelling, if incendiary description, given not on behalf of Representative Kendrick B. Meek, the Democrat in the race, but rather Gov. Charlie Crist, the newly minted independent. The Rubio campaign immediately denounced Mr. Kennedy’s comments as another example of Mr. Crist going negative, showing “that there’s nothing he won’t say or do to try to win an election.” But the real sting may be felt by die-hard Democrats. Mr. Kennedy, a well-known environmentalist, is the most prominent Democrat to have sided with Mr. Crist in the unexpected battle for Florida’s left and middle, which if unified, could knock Mr. Rubio off his apparent path to victory. Mr. Kennedy said it was a tough decision, made because he did not think Mr. Meek could bring Florida a Rubio defeat. “The only person who can win this race and bring common sense to Washington is my friend Charlie Crist,” he told the group of about 100 Crist supporters…. – NYT, 10-13-10
  • The Christine O’Donnell fascination, examined: Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donell is a media darling. Tonight’s Delaware Senate debate between marketing consultant Christine O’Donnell (R) and New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) will be carried live on CNN and co-moderated by the network’s lead anchor Wolf Blitzer. Judging from that treatment, a casual viewer might conclude that the race for Vice President Joe Biden’s old seat is among the most competitive in the country. That, of course, would be wrong. Way wrong.
    In the Real Clear Politics polling average on the Delaware race, Coons hold a lead of 17 points over O’Donnell. Two other Democratic Senate seats have similar polling numbers.
    In Oregon, Sen. Ron Wyden (D) holds an average 16-point lead over someone named Jim Huffman (R).
    And, in New York, appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) holds a similar 16-point average lead over former Rep. Joe DioGuardi (R) — best known for being the father of former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi — in the race for the seat being vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton…. – WaPO, 10-13-10
  • Schwarzenegger endorses Crist for Fla. Senate: Gov. Charlie Crist lost endorsements from prominent Republicans when he bolted the party for an independent Senate run, but one is sticking by him: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    Schwarzenegger made his announcement over Twitter on Tuesday. He summed up his thoughts on Crist in 136 characters: “I endorse Gov (at)charliecristfl for Senate. Great leader, works with both parties, and our country needs someone like him in DC right now.”
    Crist was shunned by the Republican establishment when he announced in April that he would run on his own after falling far behind Marco Rubio in the GOP primary. He later changed his voter registration to no party affiliation. Republican leaders quickly pulled back endorsements, including Crist’s appointee to the seat he’s trying to fill, Sen. George LeMieux
    “Governor Schwarzenegger has led California in a bipartisan way,” Crist said in a campaign release. “We have worked together on such critical issues as reducing climate change and promoting alternative energy. In the United States Senate, I will work toward bipartisan solutions to our common challenges so we can create jobs and put Florida back to work.”… – AP, 10-12-12
  • Angle raises $14 million in 3 months in Nevada: Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle raised more than $14 million in three months in her bid to oust Majority Leader Harry Reid, her campaign announced Tuesday. The cascade of cash Angle collected between July and September is a worrying sign for the Democratic leader, who is locked in a dead heat with the Republican challenger. Angle’s campaign did not immediately release figures showing how much money she had left in the bank for the campaign’s stretch run. Those figures will be released later this week, spokesman Jarrod Agen said…. – AP, 10-12-10
  • GOP buying Election 2010 with foreign cash? What Obama’s talking about: President Obama is suggesting that some GOP donors in Election 2010 are using money collected abroad – which would be illegal. But there’s no hard evidence yet. President Obama and other top Democrats in recent days have stepped up attacks on Republican-linked organizations for allegedly using foreign cash donations in Election 2010. Why are they making such inflammatory charges now? Just look at the calendar. Time is short, in electoral terms – the midterm vote is now less than a month away. The Democratic Party needs to do all it can to excite and motivate its own base, since GOP voters are already fired up and ready to go, relatively speaking. Plus, midterms are usually referendums on the party in power. In an effort to try and avoid sweeping losses, the White House may be trying to change the subject by talking up the foreign money allegations…. – CS Monitor, 10-11-10
  • Paladino defends comments on gays: Carl Paladino, the volatile GOP candidate for governor of New York, on Monday refused to step back from his inflammatory comments disparaging gays over the weekend, saying that children should not attend gay pride parades because they featured men in bikinis “grinding at each other and doing these gyrations.” “I don’t think that’s proper, I think it’s disgusting,” Paladino told NBC’s “Today.” In appearances before Orthodox Jewish groups Sunday in Brooklyn, the Buffalo developer and tea party-backed candidate created an uproar by saying that children should not be “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable.” He also took a swipe at his opponent, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade with his children…. – WaPo, 10-11-10
  • Manchin shoots climate bill in W.Va. Senate ad: Democratic Senate hopeful Gov. Joe Manchin takes up a rifle in a TV ad to show voters in his coal-mining state how much he opposes his own party’s climate change legislation. Manchin and Republican industrialist John Raese unveiled new ads over the weekend in their race to fill the shoes of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd…. – AP, 10-11-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

The President on Investing in Infrastructure
White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/11/10
  • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama: Washington Republicans “Rewarding Corporations That Create Jobs and Profits Overseas”
    Remarks of President Barack Obama As prepared for delivery Saturday, October 16, 2010 Washington, DC:
    After a decade of hardship for middle class families, and a recession that wiped away millions of jobs, we are in the middle of a tough fight to rebuild this economy and put folks back to work….
    I want to close these tax loopholes. Instead, I want to give every business in America a tax break so they can write off the cost of all new equipment they buy next year. That’s going to make it easier for folks to expand and hire new people. I want to make the research and experimentation tax credit permanent. Because promoting new ideas and technologies is how we’ll create jobs and retain our edge as the world’s engine of discovery and innovation. And I want to provide a tax cut for clean energy manufacturing right here in America. Because that’s how we’ll lead the world in this growing industry.
    These are commonsense ideas. When more things are made in America, more families make it in America; more jobs are created in America; more businesses thrive in America. But Republicans in Washington have consistently fought to keep these corporate loopholes open. Over the last four years alone, Republicans in the House voted 11 times to continue rewarding corporations that create jobs and profits overseas – a policy that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year.
    That doesn’t make a lot sense. It doesn’t make sense for American workers, American businesses, or America’s economy. A lot of companies that do business internationally make an important contribution to our economy here at home. That’s a good thing. But there is no reason why our tax code should actively reward them for creating jobs overseas. Instead, we should be using our tax dollars to reward companies that create jobs and businesses within our borders.
    We should give tax breaks to American small businesses and manufacturers. We should reward the people who are helping us lead in the industries of the future, like clean energy. That’s how we’ll ensure that American innovation and ingenuity are what drive the next century. That’s how we’ll put our people back to work and lead the global economy. and that’s what I’ll be fighting for in the coming months. – WH, 10-16-10
  • Axelrod Says ‘More Growth, Jobs’ Will Be White House Top Priority in 2011: White House adviser David Axelrod said generating “more growth and jobs” will be the Obama administration’s top priority next year. “That’s fundamental,” Axelrod said today on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. Axelrod also said the Democratic administration would focus on the U.S. “fiscal situation” and push immigration overhaul next year. “We’re in a tough political environment because the country’s in a tough economic environment,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” While Axelrod predicted that Republicans will gain seats in Congress in November and pledged to work with them, he said tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans shouldn’t be extended and wouldn’t stimulate the economy…. – Bloomberg, 10-17-10
  • Sarah Palin says if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it could lead to Armageddon or World War III: Sarah Palin doesn’t see Iran having a nuclear weapon as a mere national security problem, she believes it could lead to an ultimate world battle between good and evil. The Mama Grizzly delivered some of her foreign policy leanings in an interview with the conservative website Newsmax.com, which will further fuel speculation she is running for President in 2012. “We have to realize that, at the end of the day, a nuclear weapon in that country’s hands is not just Israel’s problem or America’s problem — it is the world’s problem,” Palin said of Iran. “It could lead to an Armageddon,” Palin said, referencing an epic, end-of-days Biblical battle. “It could lead to that World War III that could decimate so much of this planet.”… – NY Daily News, 10-12-10
  • Paladino apologizes (somewhat) for gay remarks: Domenico Montanaro writes: Carl Paladino’s campaign just sent out an something of an apology for his recent comments. It might be one of the weirder apologies ever: (By the way, he misspells President Barack Obama’s name.)
    I am Carl Paladino, a father, a husband, a builder and a business owner. I am neither perfect, nor a career politician. I have made mistakes in this campaign – I have made mistakes all my life- as we all have. I am what I am – a simple man who works hard, trusts others, and loves his family and fears for the future of our State.
    Yesterday I was handed a script. I redacted some contents that were unacceptable. I did also say some things for which I should have chosen better words. I said other things that the press misinterpreted and misstated. I sincerely apologize for any comment that may have offended the Gay and Lesbian Community or their family members. Any reference to branding an entire community based on a small representation of them is wrong. My personal beliefs are:
    1) I am a live and let live person.
    2) I am 100% against discrimination of any group. I oppose discrimination of any kind in housing, credit, insurance benefits or visitation.
    3) I am 100% against hate crimes in any form.
    4) I am in support of civil agreements and equal rights for all citizens.
    5) My position on marriage is based on my personal views. I have the same position on this issue as President Barrack Obama. I have previously stated I would support a referendum by New York voters. I have proposed Initiative and Referendum so New Yorkers can decide important issues like this.
    6) The portrayal of me as anti-gay is inconsistent with my lifelong beliefs and actions and my prior history as an father, employer and friend to many in the gay and lesbian community.
    I am concerned with the future for all our citizens, gay, straight, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim and Agnostic. Although I am not perfect I do admit my mistakes. I will reach out to leaders of the gay community to educate me on how to better represent my support for the rights of all citizens. If elected as your governor I will stand and fight for all gay New Yorkers rights. I ask you for forgiveness on my poorly chosen words and the publication by others not involved with our campaign of unredacted script that did not reflect my oral statement or match my personal feelings. Please go to my website http://www.paladinoforthepeople.com to learn more detail about the issues including my staunch support for civil rights for all New Yorkers. – MSNBC, 10-12-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Linn Washington Jr.: “Obama’s Failure: Not Flaunting His Record Of Achievements”: US President Barack Obama grudgingly gets credit for bringing the America economy back from brink of total collapse yet he’s slammed from the left and the middle for doing too little to lower historic high rates of unemployment while the right-wing constantly castigates Obama for just being Obama mischaracterizing him as a socialist, communist and even a Hitler-clone.
    While critics on the right and left pound US President Barack Obama daily for not doing enough one of the Obama Administration’s biggest shortcoming is its failure to effectively publicize the many achievements they’ve made.
    Far from doing too little, Obama’s presidency “is easily one of the most active in history,” states Dr. Robert P. Watson of Lynn University in Florida. Watson, a presidential historian, recently released an update of his “The Obama Record” that lists 240 Obama initiatives in 15 separate categories including ethics (11 initiatives), foreign policy (28 initiatives), taxes (10 initiatives) and national security (16 initiatives).
    On the economy Watson’s “Record” lists 23 items beginning with crediting Obama for increasing infrastructure spending on roads, bridges, power plants, etc. noting that former President Bush was “the first president since Herbert Hoover to not make infrastructure a priority.”…. – Afrik News, 10-15-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: ‘Big Tent’ Already Thing of the Past: According to POLITICO’s John Harris, just as former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has departed from Washington, many of his congressional recruits from the class of 2006 — when he chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — may soon be gone as well.
    Emanuel’s strategy of recruiting more Democrats from conservative “red” districts swam against the tide of history. For almost four decades, Democrats and Republicans had been sorting themselves out ideologically, so that there were fewer moderates in either caucus….
    This was a big contrast from the state of the nation’s