Full Text December 3 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congress to Pass Payroll Tax Cut Extension

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama calls on Congress to extend and expand the payroll tax cut — to protect middle class families and ensure that the economy continues to grow.

President Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 12/2/1

Weekly Address: Extending and Expanding the Payroll Tax Cut

Source: WH, 12-3-11

President Obama calls on Congress to extend and expand the payroll tax cut — to protect middle class families and ensure that the economy continues to grow.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Extending and Expanding the Payroll Tax Cut

In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people that although the United States has created private sector jobs for the past 21 months in a row, that is not enough for struggling Americans. We must continue growing the economy by passing the payroll tax cut, which will give the middle class a tax cut of $1,500 and provide small businesses more money to hire workers by cutting their payroll taxes in half. The President urges all Americans to tell Congress not to raise taxes during the holidays and act in the best interests of middle class families and pass the tax cuts now.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 3, 2011

This week, we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. Despite some strong headwinds this year, America’s economy has now created private sector jobs for the past 21 months in a row – almost three million new jobs in all, more than half a million of them in the past four months alone.

We need to keep this growth going and strengthen it. That’s why we’ve been fighting to pass a series of jobs bills through Congress – bills that independent economists say will create more jobs and grow the economy even faster. Because now is the time to step on the gas, not slam on the brakes.

Unfortunately, too many Republicans in Congress don’t seem to share that same sense of urgency. Over the last few months, they’ve said “no” to most of these jobs bills. “No” to putting teachers and firefighters back to work. “No” to putting construction workers back on the job. And this week, they actually said “no” to cutting taxes for middle-class families.

You see, last year, both parties came together to cut payroll taxes for the typical middle-class family by about $1,000. But that tax cut is set to expire at the end of this month. If that happens, that same family will see its taxes go up by $1,000. We can’t let that happen. In fact, I think we should cut taxes on working families and small business owners even more.

And we’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen. They shouldn’t go home for the holidays until they get this done. And if you agree with me, I could use your help.

We’ve set up a simple tax cut calculator on WhiteHouse.gov so that you can see exactly what the stakes are for your family. Try it out. Then let your members of Congress know where you stand.

Tell them not to vote to raise taxes on working Americans during the holidays. Tell them to put country before party. Put money back in the pockets of working Americans. Pass these tax cuts.

We’re all in this together. The more Americans succeed, the more America succeeds. And if we remember that and do what it takes to keep this economy growing and opportunity rising, then I’m confident that we’ll come out of this stronger than before.

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Political Headlines September 23, 2011: House Passes Stopgap Spending Bill 219-203 Then Senate Defeats Bill 59-36 — Goverment Shutdown Possibility Looms for October 1

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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:

THE HEADLINES: HOUSE PASSES STOPGAP SPENDING BILL — SENATE DEMOCRATS DEFEATS BILL

Americans in hard-hit communities are counting on federal disaster relief, and disaster funds will run out as soon as Monday. The House last night passed a responsible measure to prevent this from happening. It is critical that the Senate now pass the bill and send it to the president. — John Boehner

“The bill the House will vote on tonight is not an honest effort at compromise. It fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

House passes temporary spending measure: A day after defeating a virtually identical bill, the U.S. House has passed a temporary spending measure to fund the government through Nov. 18 by a vote of 219 to 203 after Republican leaders included a new spending cut to lure conservative votes. The measure is now on a collision course with the Democratic-led Senate, which believes the bill does not do enough for disaster victims, raising a new specter of a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Senate defeats short-term measure to fund government: Early Friday afternoon, the Senate defeated, 59 to 36, a spending bill to fund the government through Nov. 18.
With both chambers scheduled to begin a week-long recess later Friday, the next step on the funding resolution remains unclear. The Federal Emergency Management Agency could run out of funding as early as Monday, and the resolution currently keeping the federal government open is set to expire on Sept. 30.
The House had passed the bill, 219 to 203, in the early hours on Friday morning after an earlier failure.

 

  • House passes measure to avoid government shutdown, but Senate won’t: The House of Representatives early Friday morning passed in a vote of 219-203 a continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a looming shutdown after the first attempt to pass a resolution failed. But Senate Democrats are strongly opposed to the new measure.
    Democrats argue the new resolution includes inadequate disaster funds for FEMA, and they oppose spending cuts to programs they say are necessary to stimulate the economy.
    The Senate voted to table the resolution 59-36. Reid has scheduled a vote for Monday evening…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • House approves spending measure opposed by Senate; shutdown possible: Washington lurched toward another potential government shutdown crisis Friday, as the House approved a Republican-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep government running through Nov. 18…. – WaPo, 9-23-11
  • House approves funding bill; Senate passage in doubt: The measure would avert a government shutdown by funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency and drawing money away from a green vehicle program championed by Democrats…. – LAT, 9-23-11
  • House passes funding bill but conflict looms: Working past midnight, the Republican House narrowly approved a stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating past Sept. 30 but inviting new conflict with the Democratic Senate over emergency disaster aid and proposed cuts from alternative … – Politico, 9-23-11
  • Boehner works to rally House conservatives: GOP leaders in the House were working feverishly Thursday afternoon to persuade conservatives in their own party to reverse their opposition to a short-term funding measure identical or nearly identical to one they rejected…. – WaPo, 9-23-11
  • Senate Blocks House Spending Bill to Set Up Showdown: The Senate voted Friday morning to reject the House’s stopgap spending bill, less than twelve hours after the House’s Republican leaders had forced it through on their second try.
    The Senate vote was 59 to 36 to table the House bill, effectively killing it. Some conservative Republicans joined in rejecting the measure.
    The House, in the wee hours of Friday morning, had passed its latest version of a stopgap spending bill after rejecting on Wednesday a nearly identical version of the legislation, which is needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30 and to provide assistance to victims of natural disasters. The House vote was 219 to 203. NYT, 9-23-11
  • Senate rejects the House stop-gap spending bill. Is a government shutdown avoidable?: With near permanent brinksmanship the new normal, Congress headed into votes Friday to try to avert a government shutdown that is slated to occur on Oct. 1 if a continuing resolution bill is not passed…. – CS Monitor, 9-23-11
  • Senate blocks House disaster aid bill: The Democratic-led Senate blocked a House-passed bill on Friday that would provide disaster aid and keep government agencies open, escalating the parties’ latest showdown over spending and highlighting the raw partisan rift…. – USA Today, 9-23-11
  • Senate Delays Spending Bill, Leaving FEMA at Risk: The Senate voted to put aside a short-term spending bill that ties disaster-relief funding to cuts in Democratic-backed programs aiding the auto industry, leaving government funding unsettled…. – WSJ, 9-23-11
  • Spending bill fails: The Senate on Friday, 59 to 36, defeated a GOP-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep the government running through mid-November, ratcheting up the pressure on party leaders…. – WaPo, 9-23-11

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown August 3-5, 2011: Debt Ceiling Aftermath — Reactions, Fall Out & Poll Numbers — Low Marks for Congress, Speaker Boehner & President Obama

POLITICAL BUZZ

IN FOCUS: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN AFTERMATH: THE REACTIONS, FALLOUT, & POLL NUMBERS

“Never again will any president, from either party, be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people and without having to engage in the kind of debate we’ve just come through….
This kind of discussion isn’t something to dread; it’s something to welcome,” Mr. McConnell said. “And while the president may not have particularly enjoyed this debate, it was a debate that Washington needed to have.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“The debt ceiling should not be something that is used as a gun against the heads of the American people.” — President Barack Obama

“I don’t think it’ll have any impact because there’s no revenues, there’s nothing done to Social Security or Medicare.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told POLITICO Tuesday

“Who voted against it?… The extreme left, extreme right. Florida is not extreme in its politics.” — Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat whose seat is targeted in 2012.

“While deficit reduction is part of that agenda, it is not the whole agenda. Growing the economy isn’t just about cutting spending. That’s not how we’re going to get past this recession. We’re going to have to do more than that.” — President Barack Obama

The partisan battle to raise the government’s debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars from its spending ended on Tuesday just hours before the nation’s borrowing authority was set to run out. The impact of such a divided government is now abundantly clear: The agenda of the 112th Congress will be dominated by continual fighting over spending priorities and regulations, with a high bar for big debates on foreign policy…. – NYT, 8-2-11

 

STATS & POLLS

Disapproval Rating of Congress at a Record 82 Percent, Poll Finds: The debate over raising the debt ceiling, which brought the nation to the brink of default, has sent disapproval of Congress to its highest level on record and left most Americans saying that creating jobs should now take priority over cutting spending, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
A record 82 percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job — the most since The Times first began asking the question in 1977, and even more than after another political stalemate led to a shutdown of the federal government in 1995. More than four out of five people surveyed said that the recent debt ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than about doing what is best for the country. Nearly three-quarters said that the debate had harmed the image of the United States in the rest of the world…. – NYT, 8-4-11

  • Poll: Disapproval of U.S. Congress hits new high: Disapproval of Congress rose to an all-time high after weeks of rancorous partisan battles over raising the U.S. debt ceiling took the country to the brink of default, according a New York Times/CBS News public opinion poll published on Thursday.
    A record 82 percent of Americans now say they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, compared with 14 percent who approve, the poll found.
    The disapproval rating for Congress was the highest in the 34 years the question has been asked in the poll and up from the previous high of 77 percent set in May 2010…. – Reuters, 8-4-11
  • Polls: No one wins in debt ceiling deal: No one has emerged spotless from the debt-ceiling debate, according to a survey conducted in the aftermath of the agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
    A CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday revealed that eight in 10 Americans say they disapprove of how Congress is handling its job – the highest number in the poll’s history since 1977.
    A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday echoes the nation’s displeasure with congressional leaders. Eighty-four percent of the nation disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job in the poll; only 14 percent approved.
    But the country is split over how the president is handling his responsibilities in the White House. Forty-eight percent said they approve of how President Barack Obama is handling his job and 47 percent disapprove in the CBS News/New York Times survey.
    When it comes to the debt-ceiling negotiations, 66 percent said they disapprove of how Democrats handled the talks and more – 72 percent – said they disapprove of the way Republicans negotiated to broker the deal…. – CNN, 8-4-11
  • New Poll a Warning for Congress as Battles Loom: Americans’ ire for Congress grew after the debt ceiling compromise, a New York Times/CBS poll finds in a sharp warning for legislators as another battle brews over long-term funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. And that’s just one issue among many that could mimic the debt debate theatrics.
    A full three quarters of those polled this week said most members of Congress deserve to get the boot in 2012. Eighty-two percent disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job overall, up from 70 percent in late June, and just 14 percent approve. [Read Walsh: Congress reverts to its customary bickering and backbiting.]
    Speaker of the House John Boehner also took a hit this year—a majority, 57 percent, now disapproves of his performance, compared to 41 percent in April, just after the government shutdown was narrowly averted. The change seems due to the increased public scrutiny he sustained during the debt ceiling debate, since the real change came from the “don’t know/not applicable” category, which dropped by more than half, from 27 to 13 percent, during the same period. His approval rating only decreased from 32 to 30 percent. Familiarity does indeed breed contempt…. – US News, 8-5-11
  • Poll: Thumbs down on the debt-ceiling deal: The hard-won, last-minute agreement to raise the debt ceiling and cut the deficit gets low ratings from Americans, who by more than 2-1 predict it will make the nation’s fragile economy worse rather than better.
    In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken hours after the Senate passed and President Obama signed the deal, 46% disapprove of the agreement; 39% approve, 41% of people polled said the deal will make the economy worse. Only one in five see it as a step forward in addressing the federal debt.
    The dyspeptic view may reflect less an assessment of the plan’s particulars than dismay at the edge-of-a-cliff negotiations to reach it.
    “Most people assume that whatever came out of this horrible process was pretty crappy,” says Joseph White, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland who studies budget policy…. – USA Today, 8-3-11

THE HEADLINES….

  • Politics of 2012, clashes over policy pose huge obstacles as Congress seeks more deficit cuts: The special panel’s goal is lofty: concoct a deal both parties will embrace to slash federal deficits by a mammoth $1.5 trillion or more over the next decade.
    Yet from the moment House and Senate leaders appoint the 12 members until the 2012 elections, hurricane-force political pressures are going to make it tough to produce anything substantial.
    All sides will fiercely defend core priorities, Republicans opposing tax increases and defense cuts and Democrats protecting benefits for Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid recipients. Those happen to be exactly where nonpartisan analysts say savings must occur for any serious deficit-cutting package to emerge.
    The decisions — at least the next big ones — rest with the committee set up by the agreement that defused the debt-limit crisis this week.
    Every choice will have implications for President Barack Obama’s re-election, for Republican hopefuls jockeying to unseat him and for Democrats and Republicans struggling for control of the House and Senate.
    If the special committee of lawmakers fails to produce a savings plan by Thanksgiving or if Congress rejects it by Christmas, this week’s compromise debt limit accord between Obama and Congress will automatically trigger cuts of $1.2 trillion from much of the budget, with half from the military…. – WaPo, 8-4-11
  • Try as he might, Obama can’t shake Bush tax cuts: Time and again during his presidential campaign, Barack Obama was unequivocal: “We are going to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.” But when the chips were down, now-President Obama blinked and backed away.
    Twice in less than nine months, Obama has shelved his pledge in deadline-pressing negotiations with congressional Republicans. Obama insists he still is determined to find new revenue by making taxpayers who make more than $200,000 and big corporations pay more, but frustrated liberals say he has already missed key opportunities.
    Inaction on taxes and his willingness to consider structural changes to Medicare and Social Security, long-cherished Democratic programs, have strained relations with some Democratic lawmakers and liberal backers who complain Obama has been too willing to backtrack from his positions. The increasingly urgent twists and turns over raising the government’s debt ceiling placed Obama’s concessions in sharp relief.
    “It’s his wanting to be the reasonable guy and thinking this is the way to appeal to independent votes,” said Lawrence Mishel, president of the labor-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “I think he’s engaged in a fool’s game that ultimately won’t win him independent voters and will actually just hurt people and the economy.”… – AP, 8-4-11
  • Threatened Defense Cuts in Debt Deal Could Loom Over 2012 Race: The threat of $500 billion in future defense cuts codified in the new deficit-reduction law could sharpen a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over national security as the 2012 campaign intensifies.
    President Barack Obama and congressional Republican leaders designed the defense cuts — as well as reductions in all other areas of government, including Medicare — as a doomsday incentive to force Congress to enact a more targeted spending- cut package by year’s end.
    For the Defense Department, cuts ranging from substantial reductions in the military’s 1.43 million-strong force to eliminating subsidies for the Pentagon’s chain of subsidized grocery stores would likely be on the table under the worst-case scenario. Regardless of whether they materialize, the potential cuts to the military have become a political weapon for both sides…. – Bloomberg, 8-4-11
  • Debt Ceiling Votes Herded Without Carrots, Sticks: Speaker John Boehner was desperate in his search for votes from his party to prevent a first-ever government default. But despite what a GOP freshman called “hour by hour by hour” pressure from the Ohio Republican leader and his lieutenants, rank-and-file holdouts said they were neither offered carrots nor threatened with sticks to change their minds. That’s a major transformation from the not too distant past.
    There were no promises of new bridges or campaign help. No threats to boot members off coveted committees. And, if some of those tactics had been tried, it’s unlikely that many House Republican tea party supporters would have been swayed. They came to Washington disdainful of such wheeling and dealing and promising to fix what members of both parties had come to describe as a culture of corruption.
    Boehner, who has risen, fallen and risen again in the House GOP hierarchy, has long shunned earmarked “pet projects” and had no objection when more conservative deficit hawks succeeded in getting them banned…. – AP, 8-4-11
  • Debt-ceiling deal doesn’t end this argument: In the end, President Barack Obama got his longer debt-ceiling extension, and tea party Republicans succeeded in forcing more future spending cuts as the price.
    But assessment of the ultimate fallout from the agreement that ended the disheartening display of dysfunctional politics that preoccupied the capital and threatened government default is more complex. It depends on how its procedures affect future spending and the ultimate impact on the economy and the 2012 election.
    The bad news is that, despite Obama’s plea Tuesday for action on trade deals and other measures that could help the economy, Congress is likely to remain fixated on cutting spending, an essential long-term goal but one that might hamper efforts to create jobs and provide the economic boost voters demanded last fall…. – The Dallas Morning News, 8-4-11
  • After debt deal, Obama takes staff to lunch: What to do now that the debt crisis is over? President Barack Obama took some of his hard-working debt warriors out for lunch on Wednesday.
    The president rounded up a handful of staff members who have been working almost nonstop for months on the debt issue and headed to Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill.
    “It smells pretty good,” Obama said as he arrived at the restaurant. “Michelle eats here all the time.”
    Those who joined him at a rectangular wooden table included Jack Lew, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and White House Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors. Others in the group were White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy Ann DeParle and Gene Sperling, the head of the National Economic Council. Also included was Bruce Reed, chief of staff to Vice President Barack Obama…. – AP, 8-3-11
  • The real drama was in private as debt deal hatched: It played out on two tracks, the struggle to head off a national default. One was for show. The other was for real. That’s how most big things happen in Washington.
    The final votes were public, not even all that close in the end. But the crisis was genuine, and the real crisis management took place in private
    The tracks finally came together, in the nick of time, when the Senate granted final passage to legislation raising the U.S. debt ceiling, trimming spending and punting the most painful decisions on deficits down the road. President Barack Obama’s pen sealed the deal Tuesday afternoon.
    Anyone tuned to the capital’s ways just knew the negotiations for a debt deal would go down to the final hours and everything that unfolded before that in the public eye was theater, hollow suspense.
    The drama was behind the curtains. That’s where Republicans and Democrats up and down the chain of authority finally joined in a common cause to stave off a potentially catastrophic default on debt payments…. – AP, 8-3-11
  • Did debt-ceiling drama damage Obama?: The president is the most visible symbol of what voters see as a badly dysfunctional government. Some Democrats say he could have negotiated better….
    Administration officials concede the debate gave the public a look at government sausage-making at its worst. And White House officials also know that as president, Obama is the most visible symbol of a government that voters see as badly dysfunctional. The turmoil in Washington is not what voters signed up for when Obama was elected, officials say, acknowledging that as president, he absorbs a substantial share of voters’ unhappiness.
    Voters used words such as “disgusting” and “ridiculous” in summarizing their view of the debt fight, according to one poll released this week. And that unhappiness comes as Obama faces fresh signs that the economic recovery is stalled.
    Obama is hardly the only incumbent in trouble with voters. His approval ratings, which have dropped to the low 40s, still far exceed those of Congress. A Gallup poll last month showed that only 33% approved of congressional Democrats; 28% of Republicans. But congressional disapproval numbers are of limited comfort to a president facing a difficult reelection campaign.
    Moreover, many Democrats — including some ordinarily sympathetic to the president — feel part of the problem is of Obama’s own making…. – LAT, 8-3-11
  • Can the Debt Ceiling Genie Be Put Back in the Bottle?: If there was any doubt that Washington’s acrimonious debt fight created a new political reality, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dashed it on Tuesday.
    The very real threat of forcing the nation into a first-ever financial default — along with the potential for economic calamity — will forever be a powerful tool used by lawmakers and presidents alike, the Senate’s top Republican predicted.
    President Obama had argued repeatedly during the last several weeks that holding up a debt ceiling increase amid partisan political bickering was the equivalent of a hostage-taking, with the global economy at stake…. – NYT, 8-3-11
  • Obama signs debt ceiling deal to avert default, eyes now turn to ‘supercommittee’: President Obama signed the compromise deal to raise the debt ceiling and take the first steps toward deficit reduction after the Senate passed the measure Tuesday morning. As Paul Kane, Lori Montgomery and William Branigin reported:
    The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a plan to raise the federal debt limit and cut government spending, ending a bitter partisan stalemate that had threatened to plunge the nation into default and destabilize the world economy.
    One day after a climactic vote in the House, the Senate easily approved the measure, 74 to 26, with significant majorities of both parties supporting it. President Obama promptly signed the bill and submitted a formal request to Congress to lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, instantly giving Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing power.
    With the immediate crisis averted, Obama and congressional leaders quickly turned their attention to the next front in the war over the federal budget: a new legislative committee that will have the job of developing a broader plan to control the government’s debt…. – WaPo, 8-3-11
  • The Problem is Too Much Debt: For the past two years or so, my prediction for the cumulative debt of the United States government over the next ten years has been in the $15 to $20 trillion range. This would more than double the current amount of government debt outstanding.
    Since the events of the past few days in Washington, D. C., my prediction for the cumulative debt of the United States government over the next ten years is still in the $15 to $20 trillion range.
    The most descriptive characterization of the “debt deal” that I have heard is that Congress (and the President) has just “kicked the can down the road.”… – Wall Street Pit, 8-3-11
  • In debt deal, the triumph of the old Washington: In the end, though, the bill sold itself. Instead of making the “hard choices” that both Obama and the new Republicans said they wanted, it put many of them off. It will be up to that bipartisan committee to determine where difficult cuts will come.
    It was an idea straight out of old Washington: To solve a crisis today, the bill created a crisis three months from now, when the committee’s report is due.
    And each party seemed willing to believe that the committee would do what they had wanted all along…. – WaPo, 8-2-11
  • Debt Fight Over, Obama Promises Action on Jobs: Having ceded considerable ground to Republicans in the debt ceiling fight, President Obama set out Tuesday to reclaim the initiative on the economy, promising a new effort to spur job creation while seeking to position himself as a proven voice of reason in an era of ideological overreach.
    After being cloistered in Washington for a month haggling with Congressional leaders, Mr. Obama will embark on a bus tour of the Midwest the week of Aug. 15 — a chance to show his commitment to reviving the economy in a region of important electoral battlegrounds, and to turn the page from the tangled, often toxic, debate in the capital.
    On the policy front, Mr. Obama shifted quickly to pushing Congress to adopt a raft of familiar measures to stimulate the flagging economy, including extending the payroll tax suspension for workers, beefing up benefits for the unemployed, approving trade agreements and investing in infrastructure projects.
    The debt ceiling plan, with its emphasis on cutting government spending, underscores the constrained atmosphere in which Mr. Obama is operating. While he promised on Tuesday to present new ideas to encourage companies to hire workers, a senior aide acknowledged that Mr. Obama had no “magic beads.”… – NYT, 8-2-11
  • What will debt-ceiling deal do to the fragile US economy?: The political deal to raise the debt ceiling averted a fiscal crisis, but a big question remains: Will the cuts in spending help or harm the economic recovery? So far the markets are unimpressed…. – CS Monitor, 8-2-11
  • Debt deal signed, so Dems try job agenda again: The debt ceiling crisis barely was averted Tuesday when President Barack Obama and other top Democrats were ready to change the subject.
    Obama offered little praise for the $2.1 trillion deficit package during a press conference at the Rose Garden, instead vowing to fight for “new jobs, higher wages and faster economic growth” in the coming months — an agenda he has tried to resurrect at least a half-dozen times in the past two years. Politico, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling compromise might not have political impact: But there were clear divisions between Republican and Democratic lawmakers who’ll face off in Senate races in Montana, Nevada and Missouri, and it remains to be seen whether the public accepts the deal as a credible budget plan. If it fails to control budget deficits, lawmakers who backed the plan could face outrage from tea party activists already disappointed by the deal. Or if the House-Senate committee created by the new law overhauls entitlements, the left may be furious.
    With 23 Democratic Senate seats in cycle, compared to just 10 for the GOP, Republicans believe that the public’s anger with Washington will hurt Democrats far more — while Democrats believe that the GOP will be blamed for causing an ugly fight that took the economy to the brink…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • John Boehner reflects on debt ceiling debate:
    Speaking on Monday, House Speaker John Boehner reflected on the debate over raising the nation’s debt limit, saying the deal represents a victory for Republican lawmakers.
    “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy,” Mr. Boehner said in an interview with CBS News.
    “It really boiled down to two issues. President was insisting on more taxes. President never got serious about the kind of spending cuts that were necessary in order to get America back on a sound fiscal footing,” Mr. Boehner said…. – The State Column, 8-2-11

Featured Historians Julian Zelizer: The painful price of deficit hysteria — Debt Ceiling Showdown

FEATURED HISTORIANS

Source: Julian Zelizer, Salon, 7-29-11

The painful price of deficit hysteria

Library of Congress/AP
Barry Goldwater and Paul Ryan

Regardless of the outcome of the debt ceiling debate, conservatives have already scored a major victory over liberalism. Even if President Obama emerges from the struggle in stronger political shape than the GOP, the fiscalization of American politics — meaning the focus of debate on deficits and debt — constitutes a powerful blow to liberal Democrats who once hoped that President Obama’s election would herald a new era for their cause.

Liberals were wrong. Conservatives, who have a mediocre field of presidential candidates and who don’t control the Senate, have been able to stand their ground.

Perhaps one of their most lasting accomplishments since the midterm elections has been their ability to shift national debate toward the problem of deficit reduction. While there has been disagreement among politicians and economists about whether this is the correct time to deal with this issue given the laggard state of the economy, conservatives have won the battle. Even Nancy Pelosi said this week, “It is clear we must enter an era of austerity, to reduce the deficit through shared sacrifice.”

We are all fiscal conservatives now, at least on paper.

None of this should come as a surprise. Focusing on deficit reduction has been a long-standing strategy for proponents of conservatism ever since modern liberalism took hold in the 20th century. Whenever liberals make progress on their policy agenda, conservatives’ best bet has been to talk about the budget. While it is difficult to directly oppose many government programs, since the public tends to support specific services, it is easy to raise fears about overall costs. Those are just numbers, not programs. Moreover, budget-balancing has long been symbolically important to many Americans. As the political scientist James Savage has shown, a balanced budget represents to many citizens the perception that the government maintains control over its operations….READ MORE

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown, July 25, 2011: Press Secretary Jay Carney’s Statement that the Obama White House Supports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Debt Plan

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Statement by the Press Secretary

The President has been advocating a balanced plan that would reduce our deficit by $4 trillion by making large cuts in domestic and Pentagon spending, reforming entitlement programs, and closing tax loopholes for corporations, millionaires and billionaires.  This sort of approach won support from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, but the House Republicans walked away after insisting that the budget be balanced on the backs of seniors and the middle class.

Now, faced with the “my way or the highway,” short-term approach of the House Republicans, Senator Reid has put forward a responsible compromise that cuts spending in a way that protects critical investments and does not harm the economic recovery.  All the cuts put forward in this approach were previously agreed to by both parties through the process led by the Vice President.  Senator Reid’s plan also reduces the deficit more than enough to meet the contrived dollar-for-dollar criteria called for by House Republicans, and, most importantly, it removes the cloud of a possible default from our economy through 2012. The plan would make a meaningful down payment in addressing our fiscal challenge, and we could continue to work together to build on it with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes additional spending reforms and closing tax loopholes for corporations, millionaires and billionaires.

Senator Reid’s plan is a reasonable approach that should receive the support of both parties, and we hope the House Republicans will agree to this plan so that America can avoid defaulting on our obligations for the first time in our history. The ball is in their court.

Political Highlights January 24, 2011: Obama & the State of the Union — Chinese President Visits White House — House Votes to Repeal Health Care Bill

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:

STATS & POLLS

  • Who is Obama? Pragmatism makes him tough to define: A socialist? A steady hand? A sellout? Halfway through his first term — or only term, if Republicans can eject him in the 2012 elections — President Obama’s leadership style has made him something of a political enigma. His health care law ushered in the most sweeping social legislation since the 1960s, but he abandoned the government-sponsored coverage he embraced during his campaign. His tax-cut compromise with Republicans to extend unemployment benefits and provide relief to the middle class discarded a key campaign promise to roll back Bush-era tax cuts for top earners. His Wall Street bailouts alienated some of the Main Street workers he said he was trying to help. His soaring rhetoric from the campaign often dried up during debates on health care and jobs, but it re-emerged powerfully this month as he honored the victims of the mass shooting in Tucson.
    Two years into his presidency, who is Barack Obama? Ronald Reagan stood firm for limited government and against communism. Bill Clinton stayed focused on the economy. George W. Bush launched a post-9/11 war on terrorism. Obama’s political North Star is harder to define…. – USA Today, 1-18-11
  • Obama’s job approval rebounds in latest polls, but can it last?: The latest polls show Obama’s job approval back up to 50 percent. His response to Tucson and the bills passed by the lame-duck Congress are credited, but the economy remains a challenge.
    On the second anniversary of his inauguration – and days before his State of the Union address next Tuesday – President Obama is on the rebound with the American public. A slew of major polls now show Mr. Obama with more public approval than disapproval of his job performance, many of them putting him over the 50 percent mark. A survey of the latest polls by RealClearPolitics shows Obama averaging 50 percent approval versus 45 percent disapproval. The last time the positive outweighed the negative was in July. The last time that gap was at least 5 percentage points was a year ago…. – CS Monitor, 1-20-11
  • President Obama’s approval rating surges at midpoint of term: Several polls note a rise in public approval for Obama. The bump comes after his Tucson shooting speech and a productive lame-duck congressional session.
    The same polling shows that although new Speaker of the House John Boehner is getting favorable reviews early on, Americans don’t expect that much from the new Congress.
    A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Wednesday night showed Obama’s job-approval rating at 53%, an eight-point jump from mid-December and his highest rating since July 2009. Surveys from CNN/Opinion Research and ABC News/Washington Post also put Obama’s approval rating above the 50% threshold.
    An aggregation of polling data by Real Clear Politics shows Obama with a net approval rating of 5%, a jump of 8% from mid-December and at the highest level since January 2010…. – LAT, 1-20-11
  • Poll shows high marks for Obama on Tucson, low regard for political dialogue: Evaluations of President Obama’s handling of the Jan. 8 tragedy are highly positive across the political spectrum, with nearly eight in 10 giving him high marks for his response to the incident. A robust 71 percent of Republicans say they approve of his leadership following the shootings.
    The strong reviews of the president’s response to the Arizona incident – which included giving a prime-time eulogy at a memorial service for the victims – have helped boost Obama’s overall approval rating to its highest point since last April. Fully 54 percent of all Americans now approve of the way he is handling his job as president, while 43 percent disapprove…. – WaPo, 1-17-11

2011 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

The President gives the 2010 State of the Union Address
  • State of the Union – NYT
  • The State of the Union and You: On Tuesday, January 25, at 9 p.m. EST, President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol. We have been working on a number of ways citizens can get involved in the State of the Union and ask their questions of President Obama and senior Administration officials. You can find all the details on the brand new State of the Union page.
    Here’s the lineup of events next week. Be sure to tune in to watch the speech live at 9 p.m. on Tuesday and find a way get involved.
    Tuesday at 9 PM: Live Stream of the State of the Union Watch the live stream of the State of the Union Address on WhiteHouse.gov.
    Tuesday Immediately After the Speech: Open for Questions Immediately following the State of the Union Address, stay tuned for a live Open For Questions event where Senior White House officials will answer your questions about key issues addressed in the speech live from the White House…. – WH, 1-21-11
  • Obama’s speech will expose partisan divide on spending: President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech will emphasize “winning the future” for America by strengthening the nation’s ability to compete in a changing world, according to White House talking points provided Monday by a Democratic source. Tuesday night’s annual speech to Congress, a nationally televised event considered the president’s biggest address of the year, brings together the three branches of government for an assessment of where America stands and where it is heading.
    “The president will lay out a plan to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world,” said the White House talking points. “He will talk about the need to take responsibility for our deficits, by investing only in what makes America stronger and cutting what doesn’t, and reforming our government so that it’s leaner and smarter for the 21st century.”… – CNN, 1-24-11
  • State of the Union: It’s the economy, again: Standing before a nation clamoring for jobs, President Barack Obama will call for targeted spending to boost the economy but also for budget cutting in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, his first in a new era of divided political power.
    To a television audience in the tens of millions, Obama will home in on jobs, the issue of most importance to the public and to his hopes for a second term. Though war and other concerns bid for attention, the president has chosen to lean heavily on the economy, with far less emphasis on Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism and foreign affairs.
    Specifically, Obama will focus on improving the education, innovation and infrastructure of the United States as the way to provide a sounder economic base. He will pair that with calls to reduce the government’s debt — now topping a staggering $14 trillion — and reforming government. Those five areas will frame the speech, with sprinklings of fresh proposals.
    Yet no matter how ambitious Obama’s rhetorical reach, his speech at the halfway point of his term will be viewed in the context of his new political reality…. – AP, 1-24-11
  • Obama to Press Centrist Agenda in His Address: President Obama will outline an agenda for “winning the future” in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, striking a theme of national unity and renewal as he stresses the need for government spending in key areas and an attack on the budget deficit.
    “My No. 1 focus,” he said, “is going to be making sure that we are competitive, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future.”
    “These are big challenges that are in front of us,” Mr. Obama also said in the video, sent to members of Organizing for America, his network of supporters from the 2008 campaign. “But we’re up to it, as long as we come together as a people — Republicans, Democrats, independents — as long as we focus on what binds us together as a people, as long as we’re willing to find common ground even as we’re having some very vigorous debates.”… –
    NYT, 1-23-11
  • Tensions rise between Supreme Court, politicians: The moment lasted about 20 seconds. But its political reverberations have endured for a year and exemplify today’s knotty confluence of law, politics and public perception.
    At last year’s State of the Union speech Jan. 27, with six Supreme Court justices in attendance, President Obama denounced a recent campaign-finance ruling, saying it reversed a century of precedent and warning that it would “open the floodgates” for corporate spending on elections. Justice Samuel Alito shook his head and mouthed “not true.” That tense moment has been viewed on youtube.com more than 650,000 times in the past year. It was singularly controversial but not the only headline-grabbing interaction between members of the political branches and the Supreme Court in the past twelve months.
    A series of events, most recently Justice Antonin Scalia’s acceptance of an invitation to speak to Tea Party members, has made clear that against the backdrop of an increasingly polarized Washington and the 24-hour media frenzy, interactions between justices and the two elected branches have become more politicized…. – USA Today, 1-24-11
  • State of Union Near, Republicans Draw Line on Spending: Congressional Republicans, seeking to recapture the debate over the country’s economic recovery in advance of President Obama’s State of the Union address, warned Sunday that they would oppose any new spending initiatives and press ahead with their plans for budget cuts in every realm of government, including the military…. – NYT, 1-23-11
  • State of the Union speech to focus on jobs: Obama: President Barack Obama said on Saturday he would use his annual State of the Union address to urge both parties to act to lift U.S. growth and create more jobs.
    “My number one focus is going to be making sure that we are competitive, that we are growing, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future,” he said in a video e-mailed to members of his Organizing for America grassroots movement.
    Obama’s speech on Tuesday to a joint session of the U.S. Congress will show how he plans to rise above the political gridlock that marked his first two years in the White House, shaping his 2012 re-election prospects…. – Reuters, 1-22-10
  • Obama touts U.S. innovation in State of the Union preview: In his weekly address, Obama hails American economic potential and efforts to ‘win the future.’ In their response, Republicans focus on the repeal of the healthcare overhaul law.
    President Obama hailed the economic potential of increased American exports and green technology Saturday, previewing themes expected to be at the heart of his second State of the Union address Tuesday night. In his weekly address, Obama referred to Wednesday’s state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao and his own trip to a General Electric plant in New York on Friday as examples of how innovation and opening new overseas markets to American products will help “win the future.”
    “Countries around the world are upping their game and giving their workers and companies every advantage possible. But that shouldn’t discourage us,” he said. “We just have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to unlock the productivity of American workers, unleash the ingenuity of American businesses, and harness the dynamism of America’s economy.”
    Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a doctor, pressed the Democrats who still control the Senate to bring a repeal bill up for a vote in the chamber. “We are now one step closer to victory in the fight for a healthcare policy that puts Americans first — not Washington,” he said. “Our job won’t be done until we repeal and replace this bad law.”… – LAT, 1-22-10
  • A ‘state of the union’ fight ahead over US government spending: How furiously to cut government spending is likely to be a major point of departure between Obama, who gives the State of the Union address on Tuesday, and congressional Republicans…. – CS Monitor, 1-22-10
  • Obama’s economic agenda: Boost US competitiveness: Under pressure to energize the economy, President Barack Obama will put job creation and American competitiveness at the center of his State of the Union address, promoting spending on education and research while pledging to trim the nation’s soaring debt.
    Obama hopes this framework will woo Republicans as he searches for success in a divided Congress and will sway a wary private sector to hire and spend money it’s held back. The economy is on firmer footing than when he took office two years ago, and his emphasis on competitiveness signals a shift from policies geared toward short-term stabilization to ones with steady and long-term growth in mind.
    Obama will speak to a Congress shaken by the attempted assassination of one of their own. Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head two weeks ago during an event in her district in Tucson, Ariz.
    The president has appealed for more civility in politics, and in a nod to that ideal, some Democrats and Republicans will break with tradition and sit alongside each other in the House chamber Tuesday night during a joint session of Congress…. – AP, 1-22-10
  • In this year’s State of Union, seating could blur party lines: Flash-forward now to the Congress of today, the Era of I-Hate-Your-Guts-And-Want-To-Rip-Your-Lungs-Out-You- Unpatriotic-Jerk. Weary of a climate that has grown so toxic that Congress should earmark money for a political Hazmat team, some lawmakers have a solution. When President Barack Obama comes to Capitol Hill Tuesday night to deliver the State of Union speech to a joint session of Congress, Democrats and Republicans should sit together, not in opposing camps of red and blue. The opposing camps idea has been the tradition since 1913, when Woodrow Wilson became the first president since Thomas Jefferson to personally deliver the annual speech to Congress…. – Miami Herald, 1-21-11
  • Obama’s Tuesday speech to stress economy, civility: President Barack Obama, midway through his term and mindful of positioning himself for next year’s re-election campaign, will use the annual State of the Union address Tuesday night to recast himself to voters and regain the confidence of centrists and independents. Expect the economy to serve as the major focus of the speech, both short-term job creation and his plans for long- term stability, with a secondary theme being a call for civility and compromise.
    “The great majority of the speech will be on the steps that the president believes our country has to take to continue that economic recovery,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs…. – Miami Herald, 1-21-11
  • GOP taps Paul Ryan to give rebuttal to Obama’s speech: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a rising Republican star who’s stirred controversy with his approach to budget-cutting, will give the GOP response Tuesday to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. The choice is aimed at showcasing the commitment of Republicans, who earlier this month took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in four years, to deficit reduction.
    Previous Republican responses to Obama’s State of the Union addresses were given by governors, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia.
    Ryan, 39, a seventh-term Wisconsin Republican, is known for his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a plan for reducing federal budget deficits that includes permitting younger workers the option of setting aside Social Security tax payments for “personal retirement accounts.”
    In addition, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a favorite of the tea party movement, will deliver a separate reaction to Obama’s speech on behalf of the Tea Party Express, one of the movement’s largest groups. The broadcast, following Obama and Ryan, will be broadcast on live streaming video at http://www.TeaPartyExpress.org or at http://www.TeaPartyHD.com…. – Miami Herald, 1-21-11
  • Scenarios: Possible themes in Obama’s State of Union speech: President Barack Obama faces a new political reality when he gives his State of the Union address on Tuesday: greater Republican power in Congress that will hamper his ability to make sweeping policy proposals. So the president, a Democrat, will make an even greater attempt to highlight areas of common ground with the opposition party on areas that are priorities for both sides such as boosting the economy and reducing the deficit. Here are a few potential areas he may touch upon…. – Reuters, 1-21-11

REMEBERING SARGENT SHRIVER: PEACE CORPS FOUNDER, DIES AT 95

https://i0.wp.com/multimedia.heraldinteractive.com/images/20110118/7dae46_Shriv_01192011.jpg
  • R. Sargent Shriver has died: Robert Sargent Shriver, the former Peace Corps director and vice-presidential nominee, has passed away.
  • Sargent Shriver, former Peace Corps director, Dies — NYT Slideshow
  • Sargent Shriver eulogized at funeral Mass in Maryland: Maria Shriver, the former NBC reporter and wife of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said her family took comfort in ‘knowing that Daddy is in heaven with God and with Mummy.’… – LAT, 1-22-10
  • Sargent Shriver remembered at star-studded funeral: Maria Shriver and husband Arnold Schwarzenegger helped carry the casket of Sargent Shriver today at a funeral mass at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, the Shriver family’s church in Potomac, Md. President Bill Clinton, First lady Michelle Obama, U2’s Bono and Oprah Winfrey attended the funeral. Others on the guest list included Muhammad Ali, Clint Eastwood and congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, reports AP. Wyclef Jean played piano and sang All the Ends of the Earth as guests including the Shriver family clapped along. Later, Vanessa Williams sang Soon and Very Soon.
    At a wake held for Shriver on Friday, some of Washington’s most notable figures extended condolences to the family. Shriver, the husband of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died Tuesday at age 95…. – USA Today, 1-22-

Smiling at the Life of R. Sargent Shriver at His Funeral Mass

  • R. Sargent Shriver remembered for heritage, hugs: R. Sargent Shriver was honored Saturday as much for his passion for helping others as his loving hugs and enjoyment of baseball. Shriver, who fulfilled his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy’s campaign promise by starting the Peace Corps, developed the aid organization into an international force. Philanthropists and politicians who have worked to help others through charities were among hundreds honoring Shriver at a funeral Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, the Shriver family’s church in Potomac, Md.
    Former President Bill Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama, U2 frontman Bono and singer Wyclef Jean were among those in attendance, along with members of the Kennedy and Shriver families.
    One by one, some of Shriver’s 19 grandchildren read short remembrances about their grandfather, recalling his passion for helping people, his hugs and his love of baseball.
    Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington told Shriver’s grandchildren to live with the same courage and fortitude of Shriver and his late wife, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Wuerl spoke of Shriver’s legacy and belief that the world could be filled with peace, compassion and love. “Ask your parents to tell you stories. Read what your grandfather has written,” Wuerl said. “When you think of him, rejoice in the heritage he has given you.”… – AP, 1-22-10

  • Sargent Shriver’s family, veterans of social programs honor his life at wake: On Friday, Koskin was among hundreds who stood in a long but fast-moving line outside Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown to pay tribute to R. Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps. Shriver died Jan. 18 at age 95. Koskin met Shriver a couple of times and has fond memories. “I’m here to celebrate a man who was an extraordinary role model for anyone who values what a just and civilized society should be,” said Koskin, an Arlington County resident who works in the Treasury Department’s inspector general’s office. “If you go to the Peace Corps building, his spirit is very much alive. You feel an incredible optimism for what is possible. Anyone who ever worked in that building comes away with an intolerance for the word ‘No.’ ” Mourners included dowagers in full-length fur coats, Special Olympians, civil servants and young college students who said Shriver inspired them to aim for a life in public service. Former Peace Corps volunteers, who formed the largest contingent at Friday’s wake, said they carried their idealism into middle age. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac. Cardinal Donald Wuerl will deliver the homily…. – Washington Post, 1-21-11
  • R. Sargent Shriver, Peace Corps Leader, Dies at 95: R. Sargent Shriver, the Kennedy in-law who became the founding director of the Peace Corps, the architect of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, a United States ambassador to France and the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972, died on Tuesday in Bethesda, Md. He was 95. Mr. Shriver was found to have Alzheimer’s disease in 2003 and on Sunday was admitted to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where he died. He had been in hospice care in recent months after his estate in Potomac, Md., was sold last year.
    White-haired and elegantly attired, he attended the inauguration of his son-in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the Republican governor of California in the fall of 2003. Mr. Schwarzenegger is married to Maria Shriver, a former NBC News correspondent. But in recent years, as his condition deteriorated, Mr. Shriver was seldom seen in public. He emerged in one instance to attend the funeral of his wife of 56 years, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a sister of John F. Kennedy; she died in 2009 in Hyannis, Mass., at the age of 88…. – NYT, 1-18-11
  • ‘Sarge’ Shriver, founder of Peace Corps, dead at 95: Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., founder of the Peace Corps and husband of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died yesterday after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
    The 95-year-old former vice-presidential candidate, known fondly as “Sarge,” “went to heaven to join the love of his life,” the family said in a statement.
    Shriver died at a Maryland hospital surrounded by his five children — Bobby, Maria, Tim, Mark and Anthony — their spouses and 19 grandchildren. His death came less than two years after his wife died in August 2009 at age 88.
    “He was a man of giant love, energy, enthusiasm and commitment. He lived to make the world a more joyful, faithful and compassionate place,” the family statement read. “We will miss him forever.” – Boston Herald, 1-18-11
  • Sargent Shriver, founding director of Peace Corps, dies at 95: Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., husband of the late Eunice Kennedy and father of five children, spent more than seven decades in public service.
    R. Sargent Shriver, who was tapped to create the Peace Corps by his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy and crafted 1960s-era programs that remain cornerstones in the federal government’s efforts to combat poverty, died Jan. 18 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, a family spokesman said. He was 95 and had Alzheimer’s disease.
    A Yale-educated lawyer from a prominent Maryland family, Mr. Shriver was a businessman and aspiring political leader when he married Eunice Kennedy in the early 1950s. He served in three presidential administrations, including a stint as U.S. ambassador to France, and ran for president and vice president. His ambitions were as much propelled as they were frustrated by his connection to his in-laws, the powerful political dynasty from Massachusetts.
    When the family received word in 1964 that President Lyndon B. Johnson was considering Mr. Shriver as a running mate, Eunice balked. “No,” she reportedly said, and then invoked her brother Robert’s name. “It’s Bob’s turn.” Kennedy aide Ken O’Donnell was more straightforward, telling Mr. Shriver that if any of the inner circle were to run, it would be Bobby – not “half a Kennedy.”
    Still, it was Mr. Shriver’s status as an almost-Kennedy that landed him the role for which he is perhaps best known, as the leader of the Peace Corps during its infancy…. – WaPo, 1-18-11
  • Shriver family gave voice to ‘silent epidemic’ Public figure’s battle with Alzheimer’s helped normalize disease: Battling Alzheimer’s disease is often a private struggle, with few champions who speak on behalf of patients and their loved ones. But the family of R. Sargent Shriver, who died Tuesday, helped shed light on the disease and spur support and research for its causes.
    Since his diagnosis in 2003, the family of the influential public servant and founder of the Peace Corps had sought to change the public perception of people with Alzheimer’s so they would not be viewed as victims, said geriatrician William Thomas, professor at UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging.
    “Instead, he was a person living with Alzheimer’s, and that’s an absolutely crucial distinction,” Thomas said. “What the Shrivers were about were sort of normalizing this disease. It is important for people of stature, like the Shrivers, to step into the light and to be seen and to tell their story, because so many other people feel like they can’t do that.”… – LAT, 1-18-11
  • Statement by the President on the Passing of Sargent Shriver: I was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Sargent Shriver, one of the brightest lights of the greatest generation. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Sarge came to embody the idea of public service. Of his many enduring contributions, he will perhaps best be remembered as the founding director of the Peace Corps, helping make it possible for generations of Americans to serve as ambassadors of goodwill abroad. His loss will be felt in all of the communities around the world that have been touched by Peace Corps volunteers over the past half century and all of the lives that have been made better by his efforts to address inequality and injustice here at home. My thoughts and prayers are with Robert, Maria, Tim, Mark, and Anthony, and the entire Shriver family during this sad time. – WH, 1-18-11

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN RETIRING IN 2012

  • Joseph I. Lieberman’s Life and Career, NYT Slideshow
  • Joe Lieberman to retire in 2012: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will retire in 2012, according to two Democratic sources familiar with the decision. Lieberman is expected to announce his decision tomorrow.
  • For Lieberman, an Exit Forged in Alienation: Mr. Lieberman barely alluded to this in his speech, saying only that “I have not always fit comfortably into conventional political boxes — Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative.”
    The senator looked past the bad blood with Democrats, back all the way to John F. Kennedy, who he said had inspired him to pursue public service. He said Kennedy’s principles — “service to country, support of civil rights and social justice, pro-growth economic and tax policies, and a strong national defense” — were still his politics.
    “So maybe that means J.F.K. wouldn’t fit neatly into any of today’s partisan political boxes either,” Mr. Lieberman ventured. To his supporters, that is precisely the point: the party left Mr. Lieberman behind, not the other way around… – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman says he will retire in 2012:Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut announced Wednesday that he will not seek a fifth term, ending a political career spanning four decades in which he evolved from a reliably Democratic state legislator into an independent U.S. senator who backed the war in Iraq and the Republican candidate for president. While Lieberman’s supporters lamented his decision not to run in 2012, many constituents, especially Democrats, said they were pleased because the “Joe” they knew as a state lawmaker and activist state attorney general is already long-gone.
    With his extended family standing behind him, Lieberman announced his intentions to retire before a crowd of several hundred supporters at a downtown Stamford hotel, near the site of his childhood home. While he acknowledged that he’d likely face a difficult re-election campaign, Lieberman, 68, downplayed speculation he was backing down from a tough race.
    He invoked a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes in explaining his decision: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.” “At the end of this term, I will have served 24 years in the U.S. Senate and 40 years in elective office. For me, it is time for another season and another purpose under heaven,” he said.
    Lieberman said he’s had a history of winning tough political battles since the 1970s, including the 2006 race where he lost the Democratic primary, only to win the general election as an independent. “I know that some people have said that if I ran for re-election, it would be a difficult campaign for me. So what else is new,” Lieberman said…. – AP, 1-19-11
  • Joe Lieberman Quips: When Regis Retires, I Retire: Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut confirmed on Wednesday that he will not seek another term. When he addressed a crowd of supporters and press at a Marriott hotel in Stamford, the politician said his wife Hadassa once asked him how long he was going to stay in the Senate and he came up with this response: “I promise you, that when Regis leaves television, I’ll leave the Senate,” he quipped. “And here we are.”
    Lieberman first became a Senator in 1988. Al Gore picked him as his running mate in 2000, and since then, Lieberman’s relationship with the Democratic party has been a little rocky. TV personality Regis Philbin announced his retirement from his long-running daytime show on Tuesday.
    “I have not always fit comfortably into conventional political boxes,” he said Wednesday. “Maybe you’ve noticed that.”… – WNYC, 1-19-11
  • Joe Lieberman’s approach out of step with the times: By the geriatric standards of the Senate, the retirement of 68-year-old Sen. Joe Lieberman comes at a relatively young age. But Wednesday’s news that the Connecticut Democrat plans to leave the stage in 2012 surprised no one: It was clear the role he played was outdated and even clearer that he was thoroughly unsuited for the modern political era.
    The circumstances surrounding Lieberman’s decision not to seek reelection attest to that. In the span of just a decade, he went from celebrated vice-presidential nominee—he was the first Jewish candidate on a major party ticket in American history—to near-pariah status within his own party. The speed and arc of his political decline is stunning: In 2000, Lieberman won reelection to a third Senate term in a landslide, even as he spent the bulk of his time campaigning outside his home state as Al Gore’s running mate. By 2006, Lieberman couldn’t even win the Democratic nomination for his own seat. He was forced to run as a third-party candidate, winning with a bare 50 percent of the vote.
    The pendulum swung so far for Lieberman that he got a serious look to be Republican Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008. Both Gore and McCain saw in Lieberman the same thing, in mirror image: a moderate-to-conservative grown-up, whose very presence would signal to voters that the man at the top of the ticket wasn’t as extreme as he might appear at first blush, either to the left or to the right.
    But these days, at a time when most politicians prefer to pledge devotion to bipartisanship while not actually practicing it, a man with a foot in two parties really has no party. And therefore, really, no political future…. – Politico, 1-19-11
  • Norton: Lieberman’s exit a loss for the District: With Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) announcing Wednesday that he will not run for reelection in 2012, plenty of members of his old party and liberal commentators are happy to see the Democrat-turned-Independent go. But at least one Democrat is sorry to hear the Connecticut lawmaker’s decision — Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.).
    “The people of the District of Columbia have no senator of their own, but they have had in Senator Joe Lieberman an unfailing champion of their rights,” Norton said in a press release. “Senator Lieberman has been the lead sponsor of virtually every bill for our rights since I have been a Member of the House. As conditions allowed, he was always there for this city, first for statehood, then for seats in the House and Senate, and finally for the House vote. Beyond sponsorship, Joe Lieberman has been our chief advocate and strategist in the Senate.”… – WaPo, 1-19-11
  • No Fifth Term for Lieberman: Mr. Lieberman, 68, whose term is up in January 2013, has chosen to retire rather than face a difficult campaign for re-election, according to aides and others who spoke to the senator on Tuesday.
    “He believes that if he were to run for re-election it’d be a tough fight,” said Marshall Wittmann, a member of Mr. Lieberman’s Senate staff. “He’s confident he could’ve won that fight. He’s had tough fights before. But he wants to have a new chapter in his life.”
    News of Mr. Lieberman’s plans surfaced on the same day that Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, announced he would retire.
    Democrats say the decision by Mr. Lieberman, which his office declined to confirm, increases the likelihood that their party will capture his seat next year. Among other things, Democrats noted that President Obama, who won Connecticut overwhelmingly in 2008, would be on the ballot in 2012…. – NYT, 1-18-11
  • Lieberman Decision Could Set Off a Wild Race: Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut plans to announce Wednesday he will not seek a fifth term in office, setting the stage for what will likely be a wide-open Democratic primary and perhaps another deep-pocketed campaign by former wrestling executive Linda McMahon.
    Mr. Lieberman’s decision would end a remarkable and unusual political career when his current term expires in January 2013. His independence has made him an important factor in close Senate votes, but it has not endeared him to the Democrats and left-leaning independents in his state…. – WSJ, 1-18-11

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: SHOOTING IN TUCSON, ARIZONA

  • Updated rehab aims to give Giffords her life back: She inspired the nation with her fairy-tale recovery. Now Rep. Gabrielle Giffords must inspire herself through the ordeal of rehabilitation, and doctors say it’s likely to be the hardest work she’ll ever do. Just a couple of decades ago, rehab was little more than physical therapy for shuffling stroke victims and wheelchair-bound quadriplegics, a last resort after doctors had done all they could.
    Now it’s a sophisticated science at the forefront of treating people like Giffords, who was shot in the forehead two weeks ago while meeting constituents in Tucson. An early start on rehab is key to limiting permanent damage, and the Houston hospital where she will be treated uses high-tech tools to push the brain to rewire itself.
    The Arizona congresswoman arrived Friday at the Texas Medical Center, where she is expected to spend a few days in intensive care before moving to TIRR Memorial Hermann rehab hospital. Instead of doctors making you well, rehab means “teaching you how to help yourself” to get your life back, said Dr. William Donovan, a former medical director of the rehab hospital who still works there part-time…. – AP, 1-22-11
  • Doc: Giffords heard cheers leaving Ariz., smiled: She heard them, smiled, and tears welled up in her eyes. The caravan carrying Rep. Gabrielle Giffords swept past cheering crowds Friday as she left the hospital in Tucson, Ariz., where she dazzled doctors with her recovery from being shot in the head two weeks ago, and was moved to Houston for rehabilitation….
    By Friday afternoon, after a 930-plus-mile trip that doctors said went flawlessly, Giffords was in an intensive care unit at Texas Medical Center, where a new team of doctors planned to start her therapy immediately. After several days of evaluation, she will be sent to the center’s rehabilitation hospital, TIRR Memorial Hermann. Giffords has “great rehabilitation potential,” said Dr. Gerardo Francisco, chief medical officer of Memorial Hermann…. – AP, 1-21-11
  • Doctor: Giffords felt sunshine from hospital deck: Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday felt the sunshine on her face for the first time since she was shot, as doctors prepared her to leave behind the Arizona hospital where she dazzled them with her rapid recovery. Her next stop will be a Houston rehab center, where she will face an even more arduous task: Getting life back to normal.
    Her husband said he’s hoping she’ll make a full recovery, calling her “a fighter like nobody else that I know.”
    The doctors who will help her offered a more sober outlook. “Not everyone always gets 100 percent restoration, but we help them to get to a new normal,” said Carl Josehart, chief executive of the rehab hospital that will be the Arizona congresswoman’s home for the next month or two…. – AP, 1-20-11
  • Federal grand jury indicts Ariz. shooting suspect: A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted the suspect in the deadly Arizona shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The indictment against Jared Loughner, 22, accuses him of attempting to assassinate Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides. It does not include two murder charges listed in an earlier criminal complaint for the deaths of Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30, and U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63. Those are potential death penalty charges. A statement from the U.S. attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, said those require a more painstaking process under Justice Department rules. Burke said the initial indictment issued by a grand jury in Tucson was just the beginning of federal legal action against the 22-year-old Tucson resident…. – AP, 1-19-11
  • Giffords to relearn basic skills in Houston rehab: Less than two weeks after surviving a bullet through the brain, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is to be moved to Houston to begin an arduous journey of intensive mental and physical rehabilitation. She’ll have to relearn how to think and plan. It’s unclear if she is able to speak or how well she can see. And while she is moving both arms and legs, it’s uncertain how much strength she has on her right side. Her swift transition from an intensive care unit to a rehab center is based on the latest research, which shows the sooner rehab starts, the better patients recover. Giffords’ family hopes to move the Arizona congresswoman on Friday to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, where her husband lives and works as an astronaut. The exact day of the move will depend on her health.
    “I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting,” Mark Kelly said in a statement released by Giffords’ congressional office. The staff at University Medical Center in Tucson “has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase.”… –
  • Giffords stands with assistance, may move to rehab center Friday: A federal grand jury indicts Jared Lee Loughner on charges of attempted murder… Giffords has the strength to stand and lift her head… Giffords is to be moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston… Her husband, Mark Kelly, says Giffords feared for her safety… – CNN, 1-19-11
  • The congresswoman and the astronaut: A love story: STORY HIGHLIGHTS: The world has gotten a glimpse into the love affair of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly… The pair met in China in 2003, wed in 2007… Friends say Kelly is Giffords’ “rock” and they are devoted to each other… – CNN, 1-19-11
  • In Tucson, a Staff Mourns While Asking, ‘What Would Gabby Do?’: They still greet every visitor. They still help veterans file for disability benefits and retirees sign up for Medicare. They still send out press releases, though now they are signed by the chief of staff instead of the boss. There is an empty desk where a key aide of Representative Gabrielle Giffords sat inside Suite 112 of a modest stucco building here. And though the boss herself is not returning anytime soon, the rest of the staff is struggling every day to adapt to what one of them called “the new normal.” Ms. Giffords’s aides opened Suite 112, the congresswoman’s district office, two days after the shooting that left her with a severe bullet wound to the head, and the office has stayed open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday since. It has been one of the staff’s few constants since a gunman opened fire at a community event on Jan. 8, killing six people and wounding the congresswoman and 12 others. Staff members have dived into their jobs as a means of coping with the tragedy. The mantra has been “What Would Gabby Do?” and the answer has been clear — keep working…. – NYT, 1-18-11
  • Gabrielle Giffords responds well to skull surgery, doctors say: Physicians in Tucson say they repaired damage to Gabrielle Giffords’ eye sockets on Saturday, and that she has responded well. They are still unsure about her ability to speak…. – LAT, 1-17-11
  • More Progress Reported for Giffords: Doctors at the University Medical Center said on Monday that the condition of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who was shot through the head Jan. 8, continued to improve, and that she appeared to be focusing her eyes, a sign of progress in her recovery.
    At a news conference at the hospital, doctors told reporters that Ms. Giffords had made it through the most dangerous period as far as potential swelling of her injured brain was concerned, but that she still faced the risk of serious complications, including infection.
    Her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, a naval officer and astronaut, said in a television interview that Ms. Giffords had rubbed his back for 10 minutes, which doctors said was another positive sign. “It does imply that she is interacting, perhaps, in a more familiar way with him,” said Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., the chief neurosurgeon at the hospital…. – NYT, 1-17-11
  • Will Gabrielle Giffords keep her House seat?: It’s unclear when or if the Arizona congresswoman recovering from gunshot wounds might return to work, but her staff is keeping her offices running, and not even political opponents are talking about vacating her seat.
    Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University, said a decision on vacating the seat would probably be as much about emotions as the law. “It would still be very tough for someone to move to declare her seat vacant,” Zelizer said. “She has become a symbol to much of the nation, a symbol for the nation for hope about the political process.”… – LAT, 1-18-11

THE HEADLINES….

  • Obama vows to ‘unlock the productivity’ of Americans: US President Barack Obama expressed his determination Saturday to “unlock the productivity” of American workers to make the country more competitive in a technology-driven economy.
    “I know we can out-compete any other nation on Earth,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “We just have to make sure we?re doing everything we can to unlock the productivity of American workers, unleash the ingenuity of American businesses, and harness the dynamism of America?s economy,” he added.
    The president also referred to a raft of trade deals worth $45 billion the United States and China announced Wednesday as the two powers tried to narrow disputes by tethering their economic fortunes…. – AFP, 1-22-10
  • Hawaii law bars release of Obama birth info: A privacy law that shields birth certificates has prompted Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie to abandon efforts to dispel claims that President Barack Obama was born outside Hawaii, his office says.
    State Attorney General David Louie told the governor that privacy laws bar him from disclosing an individual’s birth documentation without the person’s consent, Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said Friday.
    “There is nothing more that Gov. Abercrombie can do within the law to produce a document,” said Dela Cruz. “Unfortunately, there are conspirators who will continue to question the citizenship of our president.”
    Abercrombie, who was a friend of Obama’s parents and knew him as a child, launched an investigation last month into whether he can release more information about the president’s Aug. 4, 1961 birth. The governor said at the time he was bothered by people who questioned Obama’s birthplace for political reasons. But Abercrombie’s attempt reached a dead end when Louie told him the law restricted his options… – AP, 1-22-10
  • Obama pays short visit to House Democratic retreat: Lawmakers who gathered here for the annual House Democratic retreat may have been disappointed to get no preview of the State of the Union address from President Obama when he paid a quick visit tonight. They were treated, however, to a display of the president’s dance moves. Obama met with more than 130 House Democratic lawmakers and their spouses for about 90 minutes, entering the first-floor ballroom at the plush Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay shortly before 7:30 p.m. Democrats have been at the sprawling bayside resort since Thursday afternoon, discussing their strategy and messaging after a midterm shellacking that saw their party lose 63 seats in the House. The resort is the same one that hosted House Republicans after they lost the majority in 2006…. – WaPo, 1-21-11
  • The reality of death panels ObamaCare’s end-of-life planning comes down to economics: SUPPORTERS OF President Obama’s health care reform law have relentlessly derided Sarah Palin’s notion of “death panels’’ as a vulgar rhetorical technique, with no basis in reality, devised merely to scare a gullible, uneducated citizenry into rallying to repeal the law. The death panel notion persists, however, because it denotes, in a pithy way, the economic realities of scarcity inherent in nationalizing a rapidly developing, high-technology industry on which people’s lives depend in a rather immediate way. G.K. Chesterton once wrote that vulgar notions (and jokes) invariably contain a “subtle and spiritual idea.’’ The subtle and spiritual idea behind “death panels’’ is that life-prolonging medical technology is an expensive, limited commodity and if the market doesn’t determine who gets it, someone else will…. – Boston Globe, 1-21-11
  • Sasha Obama spoke Chinese to who?: Nine-year-old First Daughter Sasha Obama has been learning Chinese in school, but who does she speak to outside the classroom? The answer might surprise you. China’s President Hu Jintao is introduced to nine-year-old Sasha Obama by US President Barack Obama as they greet the crowd during an official south lawn arrival ceremony for Hu at the White House in Washington Jan. 19.
    President Barack Obama’s nine-year-old daughter, Sasha, wanted to test her developing Chinese skills this week while Hu Jintao was in town.
    Just whom did she want to practice them with? The Chinese president himself, according to a White House official who recounted the story on Thursday after a formal state dinner the previous night.
    “The president pointed out last night at the state dinner that his daughter, Sasha, is a very young girl but her class is studying Chinese,” Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser, told a video conference with Chinese bloggers. “She’s under 10 years old and they’re studying Chinese, and she wanted to have the chance to practice her Chinese with President Hu.”
    Sasha attended Hu’s welcoming ceremony on the White House lawn on Wednesday morning with friends and could be seen waving a Chinese flag excitedly as her father and Hu walked around the grounds. The two presidents paused to visit when they reached the nine-year-old and her friends behind the rope line…. – CS Monitor, 1-21-11
  • Liberal group fights campaign finance decision opposed by Obama: The liberal advocacy group Common Cause has asked the Justice Department to investigate what it says are potential conflicts involving two Supreme Court justices whose votes helped clear the way for unlimited campaign spending by corporations, unions and others. President Obama cricized the ruling when it was rendered last January. Now Common Cause, in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, says Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas participated in strategy sessions with corporate leaders who benefitted by the decision inCitizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The advocacy group referred to political retreats sponsored by Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kan.-based energy company owned by brothers Charles and David Koch. Common Cause says the Koch Industries political action committee spent $2.6 million in the 2010 elections…. – USA Today, 1-20-11
  • Campaign finance ruling: Should Supreme Court justices have recused themselves?: The liberal group Common Cause asks the Justice Department to investigate whether Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas should have stepped aside in a major campaign finance reform case a year ago.
    The liberal advocacy group Common Cause announced on Thursday that it has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether two US Supreme Court justices should have recused themselves from consideration of a major campaign finance reform case last year.
    Common Cause President Bob Edgar said the group has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to examine whether Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have stepped aside rather than vote in the Citizens United case.
    The case, handed down a year ago on Friday (Jan. 21), struck down a portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law that had barred corporate expenditures for political advertisements during campaign season…. – CS Monitor, 1-20-11

Photo courtesy of White House

  • Summit yields gains for both China and U.S.: Chinese President Hu Jintao’s just-concluded summit with President Obama was a win both for the Communist Party and for Hu himself, demonstrating once again the Chinese government’s reliance on ceremony to bolster its standing among its people. China’s state-run newspapers ran enormous photographs of Hu with Obama, a not-so- subtle message that China is now the United States’ equal on the world stage.
    For the Obama administration, the meeting went smoothly and yielded some progress on difficult issues – but it also served as a reminder that the U.S.-China relationship will continue to be among Washington’s most nettlesome.
    “The most important thing they did was, for the time being, put a floor under the relationship after a very bad year,” said Michael Green, a former National Security Council senior official. “No one expected a transformational summit, but if you graded it pass-fail, I say they passed.”… – WaPo, 1-20-11
  • Business Leaders Make Cut at State Dinner With Hu: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter made the cut. So did Bill Clinton and his wife, the secretary of state. The heads of Microsoft, Boeing, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Boeing and Walt Disney were on the list. So were the singer Barbra Streisand, the ice skater Michelle Kwan, the violinist Yo Yo Ma, the architect Maya Lin and the fashion designer Vera Wang. But Fred Hochberg, the chairman of the Export-Import Bank, didn’t make it to President Obama’s state dinner for President Hu Jintao of China, even though trade was a major theme of the day. Neither did Aris Candris, the CEO of Westinghouse Electric, who attended a business leaders’ meeting with the two leaders, or Jim Sasser, the former ambassador to China, whose invitation to a State Department lunch with Mr. Hu might have served as a consolation prize.
    The 225 guests at Wednesday night’s glittering White House affair were, in a certain sense, survivors. All made it through an intense winnowing-down process by a White House confronted by some of the most intense jockeying for invitations in recent memory. The White House was intensely private about the planning, for fear of offending the Chinese. The theme for the evening was “quintessentially American,” with a menu that featured farm-fresh vegetables, poached Maine Lobster, dry aged rib eye with buttermilk crisp onions, topped off by old fashioned apple pie with ice cream. The entertainment, in the White House East Room, was the most quintessential of American music – a parade of jazz greats, including Herbie Hancock…. – NYT, 1-19-11
  • With Obama, Hu concedes China’s rights need help: In a rare concession on a highly sensitive issue, Chinese President Hu Jintao used his White House visit on Wednesday to acknowledge “a lot still needs to be done” to improve human rights in his nation accused of repressing its people. President Barack Obama pushed China to adopt fundamental freedoms but assured Hu the U.S. considers the communist nation a friend and vital economic partner.
    Hu’s comments met with immediate skepticism from human rights advocates, who dismissed them as words backed by no real history of action. Hu contended his country has “made enormous progress” but provided no specifics.
    Still, his remarks seemed to hearten and surprise U.S. officials, coming during an elaborate visit that centered on boosting trade and trust between the world’s two largest economies.
    More broadly, Hu and Obama sought to show off a more mature and respectful relationship, not the one often defined by disputes over currency, sovereignty and freedoms. Hu said he wanted even closer contact with Obama; Obama sought again to embrace China’s rise, and the two men shared some unexpected laughs…. – AP, 1-19-11
  • Obama’s day: Dealing with China: On this day in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower first agreed to something that is now essential to White House life: A news conference filmed for television. It’s a day of high level diplomacy for President Obama, as he summits with President Hu Jintao of China. After Vice President Biden greeted Hu at the airport yesterday, the Chinese president and Obama held a small private dinner at the White House. Today, it’s down to work…. – USA Today, 1-19-11
  • U.S. Shifts Focus to Press China for Market Access: A year ago, the fight over how China’s cheap currency was hurting American companies in marketplaces at home and abroad was shaping up to be the epic battle between the world’s biggest power and its biggest economic rival.
    But when President Hu Jintao walks into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with President Obama on Wednesday to face a group of 18 American and Chinese business leaders, much of the clash will be about a new economic battlefield — inside China itself…. – NYT, 1-18-11

112TH CONGRESS

John Boehner talks with reporters as he makes his way to his office from the House floor after the repeal of the Healtch Care Reform Act passed. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

  • Lawmakers’ soft words hide spending cuts’ pain: Terms like “cutting spending” and “raising taxes,” though they sound straightforward enough, are becoming battlegrounds in the Republicans’ and Democrats’ bids to frame the debate over how to cope with the growing national debt. Newly empowered congressional Republicans are playing down the big impact their proposed spending cuts would have on millions of Americans, according to Democrats and some bipartisan groups…. – AP, 1-21-11
  • House Republicans Plan Their Own Health Bills: Less than 24 hours after voting to repeal the new health care law, House Republicans said Thursday that they would pass discrete bills to achieve some of the same goals, but with more restraint in the use of federal power. At the same time, the speaker, John A. Boehner, said House Republicans would push for much stricter limits on abortion in federal programs, including those created by the new law. By a vote of 253 to 175, the House on Thursday directed four committees to draft legislation that would replace the health care law. The directive sets forth 13 objectives…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • House panel announces investigation into healthcare reform: A day after the House voted to repeal the healthcare reform law, a powerful House committee is launching a probe of the Obama administration’s efforts to implement the law. Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee are flexing their new oversight powers by calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to explain why some groups were given waivers to a key requirement of the reform law and why the department recently reorganized an office created just months ago.
    The health department’s power to provide temporary exemptions to certain groups on annual insurance-limit requirements included in the reform law is “troubling,” according to a letter from Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and investigations subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). The committee is asking the department to provide a list of every individual, organization, business, state or other entity that requested a waiver, obtained a waiver, or has been denied a waiver for any part of the reform law. The probe seeks “all documents” relating to the granting of waivers or exemptions for any reform law requirement…. – The Hill, 1-20-11
  • House votes to repeal Obama’s health care law: Swiftly honoring a campaign pledge, newly empowered Republicans pushed legislation to repeal the nation’s year-old health care overhaul through the House Wednesday night, brushing aside implacable opposition in the Senate and a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The 245-189 vote was largely along party lines, and cleared the way for the second phase of the “repeal and replace” promise that victorious Republicans made to the voters last fall. GOP officials said that in the coming months, congressional committees will propose changes to the existing legislation, calling for elimination of a requirement for individuals to purchase coverage, for example, and recommending curbs on medical malpractice lawsuits. Republicans also intend to try to reverse many of the changes Democrats made to Medicare Advantage, the private alternative to the traditional government-run health care program for seniors. Like the repeal bill itself, these other measures will require Senate approval and a presidential signature to take effect, and the prospect is for months of maneuvering on the issue. AP, 1-19-11
  • House votes to repeal health care law against long odds: McConnell pledges Senate vote… Democrats Boren, McIntyre and Ross voted for repeal… “It’s a promise kept,” a leading Republican says… The repeal bill is unlikely to survive the Senate, however…
    The House of Representatives voted to repeal the Obama administration’s signature health-care legislation Wednesday evening, a vote the newly elected Republican majority called a fulfillment of their No. 1 campaign promise. The bill, dubbed the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” passed 245-189. Three Democrats joined a unanimous Republican caucus on the vote.
    The legislation is unlikely to make it past the Democratic-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he won’t bring it to the floor for a vote. And even if it did, it would face a certain veto by President Barack Obama. But Rep. Mike Pence, a leading GOP conservative, dismissed Democratic criticism that Wednesday’s vote was a “gimmick.” “We have another term for it on our side of the aisle: It’s a promise kept,” he said. “And House Republicans are here to stand with the American people and say with one voice, ‘We can do better.’ We can do better than their government takeover of health care.”… – CNN, 1-19-11
  • Health care: Now comes the really hard part: The vote passed Wednesday 245-to-189 — with unanimous GOP support, plus three Democrats. But the repeal bill is destined to die in the Senate, so Republicans will use their newly acquired power in the House to wage a long-term campaign to weaken the law.
    The next steps — hearings, testimony from administration officials, funding cuts — lack the punch of a straight repeal vote, but Republicans said they will keep at it, hoping the end result is the same: stalling implementation of the $900 billion law.
    Republicans promise to hold a series of hearings and oversight investigations into the law, attempt to repeal individual provisions and craft an alternative health care plan. Some of the first issues they will tackle are the cost of the law, the mandate on larger employers to provide coverage and the impact of the legislation on the states.
    But the GOP is expected to be thwarted at every turn by the Democratic-controlled Senate — and ultimately President Barack Obama, who has said he is willing to “improve” the law but “we can’t go backward.”
    “This is not symbolic,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said on the floor. “This is why we were sent here, and we will not stop until we put a president in a position in the White House who will repeal this bill. … Make no mistake, we are here to stay and our resolve is firm.” Politico, 1-19-11
  • Debate To Repeal Health Care Law Begins: The house of representatives gets back to work on capitol hill for the first time since the Tucson shooting that left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the hospital.The first item of business – repealing the new healthcare law. Debate unfolded on the house floor and in a series of news conferences.Republicans showed off piles of petitions from Americans demanding a repeal. While democrats showcased the personal stories of people who say repealing the law will negatively affect them.
    Rep. Tom Price says: “In our pledge to America, we said we would do in our pledge to America, we said that if given the privilege of leading once again, one of the things we would do would be to vote in the House of Representatives to repeal Obamacare. “Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz says: “Why we are doing this other than playing to the vanity of extremely conservative right wing of the Republican party, is beyond me.”
    The repeal is expected to sail through the house. But it’s not expected to get through the democratic senate or the president’s veto. A final vote is expected Wednesday afternoon or early evening. – Fox News 12, 1-18-11
  • Congress tones down the rhetoric after shootings: Born of bloodshed, a self-proclaimed Age of Civility dawned in Congress on Tuesday. Republicans and Democrats of the House spoke without angry shouts and debated legislation to repeal the nation’s year-old health care law without rancor. By unspoken agreement, manners mattered, although there were few overt references to the reason — the shooting rampage in Arizona 10 days ago that left six dead, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords wounded and lawmakers of both parties stunned.
    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said no directives had gone out to rank-and-file lawmakers cautioning them about their behavior as the House convened to debate a highly controversial bill. “We expect the debate to ensue along policy lines,” he said, suggesting one that did not stray from the merits of the legislation itself.
    Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking Democrat, agreed. “My expectation is that members will heed their own advice and will address the issues in a way that will deal with them on the merits,” he said. In the past, he added, too much of the public debate was “about incitement rather than informing . about making people angry, disrespecting the … point of view of the other side.”
    The change in tone was evident from the opening moments of the debate about a bill Republicans promised in last fall’s campaign to make an early 2011 priority…. – AP, 1-18-11
  • GOP set to assail healthcare law and seek alternatives: Civility gets its first test in the House since the Tucson shootings in a debate over repeal of Obama’s healthcare overhaul…. – LAT, 1-17-11
  • House set for health care repeal vote: The House of Representatives is set to vote on a repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul this week, fulfilling a campaign promise of congressional Republicans and setting up a clash with the White House and Senate Democrats.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has scheduled a floor debate on the measure for Tuesday and a vote on Wednesday. The new GOP majority, in keeping with its “repeal and replace” mantra, will instruct various House committees to craft alternatives to the law.
    “Repealing the job crushing health care law is critical to boosting small business job creation and growing the economy,” Boehner wrote online Monday…. – CNN, 1-17-11
  • Some House rivals spar — cautiously — on eve of health care repeal vote: House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) noted that during last year’s debate over the health care law, he had argued that the overhaul amounted to the Civil Rights Act of the 21st Century.
    “We’re hearing some of the same rhetoric around patients’ rights that we heard around voting rights,” Clyburn said. “But does this mean that some changes should not be made? Absolutely not. When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, it did not cover public employees. When the Voting Rights Act became law in 1965, it did not cover congressional redistricting. The Fair Housing Law wasn’t perfect when it was passed, and bipartisan changes were made to all of these to improve the measures.” Clyburn added that as the House debates repeal, “I hope we can look at bipartisan changes and modifications that would increase efficiency and effectiveness but do not repeal this fundamental right.” 

    A few minutes later, however, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) had some stronger words for Republicans’ efforts to repeal the entire law.
    “Every minute that we spend fruitlessly debating the repeal of health care reform — which we know is ultimately not going to happen — is one less minute that we are spending creating jobs and focusing on getting people back to work and turning this economy around,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Why we are doing this other than playing to the vanity of the extremely conservative right wing of the Republican Party is beyond me.”

    At their weekly pen-and-pad briefings with reporters, both House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that leaders had not given any specific instructions to members of their caucuses to soften their rhetoric.
    “There’s been no discussion about acceptable language or non-acceptable language,” Cantor said. “What we’ve said, and the speaker has said, is this: We’re about a policy-oriented debate here. This is an issue of policy that was hotly debated over the last Congress, something that has great consequences for this country and deserving of a civil discourse in the House of Representatives, and that’s what we expect.”
    Repeal HealthCare Act Chairman Ken Hoagland, who also spoke at the event, called the petitions “an example to the rest of the world how even dramatic change in public policy can be effected through peaceful means.” “There is no room in our country for violent tactics to change public policy,” Hoagland said. “Our founding fathers left us every tool we need to change public policy peacefully, and that is what we intend to do. Now are the people who signed this petition angry? Yes, they are. … To suggest that that axiomatically leads to violence is just a wrong conclusion.” WaPo, 1-18-11

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

  • Ala. governor apologizes for remarks on Christians: Two days after being sworn in as Alabama governor, Robert Bentley apologized Wednesday for proclaiming to a Baptist church audience that only Christians were his brothers and sisters and vowed to work for people of all faiths and colors. His comments Monday shocked and offended some believers of other faiths, but the backlash didn’t seem to be a serious political wound for the retired dermatologist and Southern Baptist deacon. In a conservative state with some of the highest levels of church attendance in the country, some Christian leaders defended the remarks and the Republican will likely get a fair chance to pursue his agenda in the coming legislative session.
    “If anyone from other religions felt disenfranchised by the language, I want to say I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone in any way,” he told reporters Wednesday after meeting with leaders of other faiths in his new office. After he took the oath of office at the Alabama Capitol on Monday, Bentley headed across the street to a service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at King’s first church, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. During his speech, he remarked: “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”… – AP, 1-18-11

CHICAGO MAYORAL CAMPAIGN

  • Emanuel Raises $10 Million in Mayoral Bid: Rahm Emanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff, has raised more than $10 million in his quest to become mayor of Chicago. Filed with state election officials on Thursday, the campaign reports of Mr. Emanuel and his opponents offer a first real look at the financial side of this city’s first competitive race for mayor in years. In addition to the money he collected by the start of this year, Mr. Emanuel, who formerly served in Congress, also moved $1.1 million from a federal campaign fund into his mayor’s effort for a total of $11.7 million; he has already spent $3.4 million, the report showed…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Bill Clinton to campaign in Chicago for Emanuel: Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Chicago Tuesday to campaign for mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel, but his visit is the cause of some controversy. While the former White House chief of staff hopes Clinton can persuade voters to cast their ballots for him Feb. 22, a former mayoral contender has warned that Clinton is risking his popular standing with the African American community by backing Emanuel rather than a black candidate.
    Clinton is scheduled to appear with Emanuel at the Chicago Cultural Center Tuesday morning. The candidate touted the visit in his campaign mailings over the weekend, mixed with an appeal for campaign donations. “I’m honored to have President Clinton’s support,” Emanuel told supporters in the e-mail on Sunday. “I’m excited to show President Clinton the great Chicagoans who’ve made this campaign possible.”… – WaPo, 1-17-11

ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

  • Obama could survive some bumps on road to 2012 reelection: Two years later, though, many analysts and observers have forgotten the breadth of Obama’s victory in the wake of the devastating and across-the-board (not to mention down-the-ballot) losses the Democratic Party suffered in the 2010 midterms. And yet, a detailed examination of the national map heading into 2012 suggests that the president still sits in a strong position for reelection – able to lose half a dozen (or more) swing states he carried in 2008 and still win the 270 electoral votes he needs for a second term…. – WaPo, 1-23-11
  • Evangelical/Romney supporter calls for new litmus test: Mark DeMoss, a well-connected figure in the evangelical community and Mitt Romney supporter, sent a memo last week to Christian conservatives urging them to consider “a new litmus test” beyond traditional cultural issues
    1. Who is most capable of winning the Republican nomination?
    2. Who is most capable of mounting the kind of campaign (raising money, recruiting staff and volunteers, presenting a clear message) necessary to upset a sitting president?
    3. Who is most capable of actually being the president of the United States—governing and serving as the CEO of the largest enterprises on the planet?
    Romney, argued DeMoss, was well-positioned financially and in the polls to meet the electability standard and, because of his background in business, is up for the job… – Politico, 1-23-11
  • Mitt Romney easily wins New Hampshire Republican poll: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney easily won a poll of several hundred Republican delegates Saturday about whom they would choose to take on Democrat Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Also at the meeting, conservative Tea Party activist Jack Kimball beat Juliana Bergeron to be New Hampshire’s new state Republican Party chairman — an outcome that could influence presidential campaigning in the state.
    Romney won 35 percent of the poll, trouncing Texas Congressman Ron Paul, with 11 percent, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, with 8 percent, and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who took 7 percent. Some 20 names were listed on the poll, including Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York…. – Reuters, 1-22-10
  • Republican hopefuls lay groundwork for 2012: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and other potential presidential candidates have been stockpiling cash as they test the waters for a run. Nobody’s making anything official yet…. – LAT, 1-21-11
  • Poll: Mike Huckabee Takes Lead Among Potential GOP Presidential Picks: While Mike Huckabee has been cagey about whether he’ll make another run for the White House, a new poll out Friday finds the former Arkansas governor leading the pack among potential GOP presidential candidates for 2012. The Public Policy Polling survey has Huckabee with a solid 24 percent support among respondents, ahead of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, the ex-governor of Massachussetts, who are tied at 14 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich comes in third with 11 percent, followed by Tim Pawlenty, the ex-governor of Minnesota, with 8 percent.
    PPP called Huckabee “the big winner” in this poll, citing his increased appeal to both moderates and conservatives within the Republican Party. Romney isn’t so lucky, according to PPP. He’s not particulary popular among conservative voters, who give him only a 55 percent favorability rating. That’s compared to 74 percent favorability from conservatives for Huckabee and 73 percent for Palin…. – Politics Daily, 1-21-11
  • Bachmann ‘encouraged’ after Iowa visit: Michele Bachmann of Minnesota says the reactions she received in her Friday meetings with Iowa Republican leaders and conservative activists in the leadoff presidential caucus state have encouraged her to explore running for president.
    “I am very encouraged by what I heard and the level of support that I saw today,” Bachmann told The Des Moines Register after a gauntlet of meetings in Des Moines.
    Bachmann’s visit stirred up the quietly developing race for the 2012 Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa, a little more than a year away.
    Bachmann spoke Friday night at a reception for Iowans for Tax Relief, an influential advocacy and political group with roughly 55,000 conservative and Republican-leaning members across the state. “It is not too late to change course and save this great nation,” Bachmann told her audience at a downtown Des Moines hotel. “I believe we can save America. I believe we can preserve this exceptional nation — this land of promise — for our children and grandchildren.”… – USA Today, 1-21-11
  • Palin Inches Toward 2012 in Iowa, Nevada: Sarah Palin may be inching toward a presidential run in 2012 as she heads next week to Nevada for two speeches and her advisers quietly begin talking to Republican activists in Iowa. Both states will be key to winning the Republican nomination, and Ms. Palin’s advisers are determined to do the groundwork necessary should she decide to jump into the campaign. The informal conversations in Iowa, reported by the Web site Real Clear Politics, are the first baby steps in what would have to become a much more elaborate turnout effort if Ms. Palin, the former Alaska governor, decides to run.
    And her speeches in Nevada to two outdoors groups — including one on the same night that President Obama delivers his State of the Union speech in Washington — give her a platform to talk about hunting and guns in the wake of the shootings in Arizona this month.
    “There are a lot of Republican activists who want the governor to run and want to get involved and want to help,” said Tim Crawford, the treasurer of Ms. Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Obama Will Move Political Operations to Chicago: President Obama will close the office of political affairs at the White House in preparation for the establishment of his re-election headquarters, which will open its doors in Chicago by late March to concentrate on building a national fund-raising and grass-roots operation to rival his first campaign, aides said.
    The president has signed off on the plan to set up his campaign headquarters away from Washington, a first for a modern-day presidential re-election campaign. To avoid turf battles, chaotic communications and duplicated efforts, aides said, a significant realignment is under way in the West Wing, with the duties of the political office being taken up by the Democratic National Committee.
    Mr. Obama intends to make a formal declaration of his candidacy in about two months by filing papers with the Federal Election Commission, aides said. That step would allow him to raise money and hire a team of advisers, who would seek to make Mr. Obama follow Bill Clinton as the second Democrat since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be elected twice to the White House…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Pence urged to enter race for president in 2012: An independent campaign to draw GOP Rep. Mike Pence into the 2012 presidential race is under way, with a veteran of the Reagan White House launching a petition drive on Monday urging him to enter the primary contests.
    Ralph Benko, a deputy counsel to Ronald Reagan, announced the America’s President Committee to encourage a Pence- for-president bid. Former Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., is also helping the campaign to collect signatures from conservatives and tea party activists.
    “Mike Pence extraordinarily exemplifies the optimistic, pro-growth, pro-job creation Reagan-Kemp wing of the GOP. Grass-roots conservatives, Republicans, the tea party and populists are looking for a man or woman of principle who can champion and unite the newly energized and engaged citizenry,” Benko said. “Mike Pence is the best choice to lead us into a new era of peace and prosperity.”… – AP, 1-17-11

QUOTES

The President records the Weekly Address
  • Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader on “Fox News Sunday.”: “With all due respect to our Democratic friends, any time they want to spend, they call it investment, so I think you will hear the president talk about investing a lot Tuesday night. This is not a time to be looking at pumping up government spending in very many areas.”
  • Sen. John McCain praises Obama: ‘Doing a Lot of the Right Things’: Speaking on Face the Nation, Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain praised President Obama, saying the first-term president has done “a lot of the right things.” “The president, I think, has learned a lot in the last two years as any president does. He is a very intelligent man. I think he’s doing a lot of right things,” he said.
    “I’m told already that the Democrats may agree with us on some changes,” Mr. McCain said. “There needs to be a lot more changes than what they’re willing to agree to. It has to be the subject of a national debate.” – The State Column, 1-23-11
  • Weekly Address: “We Can Out-Compete Any Other Nation”: Remarks of President Barack Obama The White House January 22, 2011: Here’s the truth about today’s economy: If we’re serious about fighting for American jobs and American businesses, one of the most important things we can do is open up more markets to American goods around the world.
    That’s why I met with China’s President Hu Jintao at the White House this past week. We’re now exporting more than $100 billion a year to China in goods and services. And as a result of deals we completed this week, we’ll be increasing U.S. exports to China by more than $45 billion, and China’s investments in America by several billion dollars. Most important, these deals will support some 235,000 American jobs. And that includes a lot of manufacturing jobs.
    That goal is why I fought so hard to negotiate a new and better trade deal with South Korea – a deal with unprecedented support from business and labor – that will support more than 70,000 American jobs. And that’s why I traveled to India last fall to help pave the way for $10 billion in new deals for American businesses and more than 50,000 new American jobs.
    Now, these may just sound like statistics. But yesterday, I saw what that means firsthand when I traveled to a GE plant in Schenectady, New York. This plant is manufacturing steam turbines and generators for a big project in India that resulted from a deal we announced around that trip – a project that’s helping support more than 1,200 manufacturing jobs and more than 400 engineering jobs in Schenectady. Good jobs at good wages, producing American products for the world.
    At the same time, GE has also been investing in innovation, building a clean energy center, an advanced battery manufacturing plant, and other state-of-the-art facilities in Schenectady that are resulting in hundreds of new American jobs and contributing to America’s global economic leadership.
    Leading the world in innovation. Opening new markets to American products. That’s how we’ll create jobs today. That’s how we’ll make America more competitive tomorrow. And that’s how we’ll win the future.
    While I was in Schenectady, I announced that Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO and one of the most imaginative and visionary business leaders in America, has agreed to head up our new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The purpose of this council is to help us find ways to grow our economy by investing in our businesses here at home. And under Jeff’s leadership, I’m confident that they’ll generate good ideas about how we can spur hiring, educate our workers to compete in the 21st century, and attract the best jobs and businesses to America rather than seeing them spring up overseas.
    We’re living in a new and challenging time, in which technology has made competition easier and fiercer than ever before. Countries around the world are upping their game and giving their workers and companies every advantage possible. But that shouldn’t discourage us. Because I know we can win that competition. I know we can out-compete any other nation on Earth. We just have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to unlock the productivity of American workers, unleash the ingenuity of American businesses, and harness the dynamism of America’s economy. Thanks everyone, and have a nice weekend. – WH, 1-22-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Watch Live: The China State Visit: The President hosts Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, at the White House for a State Visit, marking the third State Visit of the Obama Administration. President Hu’s visit highlights the importance of expanding cooperation between the United States and China on bilateral, regional, and global issues, as well as the friendship between the peoples of our two countries. The President, who visited China in November 2009, looks forward to welcoming President Hu to Washington to continue building a partnership that advances our common interests and addresses our shared concerns. Watch the Arrival Ceremony, State Dinner toasts, and more on WhiteHouse.gov…. – WH, 1-19-11
  • State Dinner with President Hu of China: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host President Hu of China at a State Dinner at the White House. January 19, 2011…. – WH, 1-19-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • President Obama Welcomes President Hu of China to the White House: At a time when some doubt the benefits of cooperation between the United States and China, this visit is also a chance to demonstrate a simple truth. We have an enormous stake in each other’s success. In an interconnected world, in a global economy, nations — including our own — will be more prosperous and more secure when we work together.
    The United States welcomes China’s rise as a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations. Indeed, China’s success has brought with it economic benefits for our people as well as yours, and our cooperation on a range of issues has helped advance stability in the Asia Pacific and in the world.
    We also know this: History shows that societies are more harmonious, nations are more successful, and the world is more just, when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being.
    Mr. President, we can learn from our people. Chinese and American students and educators, business people, tourists, researchers and scientists, including Chinese Americans who are here today —- they work together and make progress together every single day. They know that even as our nations compete in some areas, we can cooperate in so many others, in a spirit of mutual respect, for our mutual benefit.
    What Deng Xiaoping said long ago remains true today. There are still great possibilities for cooperation between our countries. President Hu, members of the Chinese delegation, let us seize these possibilities together. Welcome to the United States of America. Hwan-ying. (Applause.)… – WH, 1-19-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Palin explains ‘blood libel’ comment: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, defending herself against criticism following the Tucson, Ariz., shootings, said Monday that she used the term “blood libel” to describe comments made by those who falsely tried to link conservatives to the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Speaking out for the first time since she used the term in a video, Palin said on Fox’s Sean Hannity show that the term referred to those “falsely accused of having blood on their hands.” Some Jewish groups strongly protested her use of the term, which historically was used to accuse Jews of using blood of Christians in religious rituals. “I think the critics again were using anything that they could gather out of that statement,” she said. “You can spin up anything out of anybody’s statements that are released and use them against the person who is making the statement.” Palin, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, said the criticism won’t stop her from speaking out and accusing Democrats of taking the country in the wrong direction. “They can’t make us sit down and shut up,” she said…. – AP, 1-17-11
  • Cheney: Obama has Learned that Bush Policies were Right: President Obama has “learned from experience” that some of the Bush administration’s decisions on terrorism issues were necessary, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney. In his first interview since undergoing major heart surgery last July, Cheney said he thinks Obama has been forced to rethink some of his national security positions now that he sits in the Oval Office…. – Fox News, 1-17-11
  • Tom Daschle to Barack Obama: Meet, eat with GOP leaders: As Washington begins another period of divided government, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle urged President Obama to reach out to Capitol Hill by holding more regular meetings with congressional leaders of both parties.
    “I would love to see the President of the United States hold a weekly breakfast with the four leaders, two Republican and two Democratic,” Daschle said in a recent interview with POLITICO. The former South Dakota Democrat, one of Obama’s earliest supporters and still an outside adviser, suggested the president and congressional leaders alternate venues. “I think it would be refreshing to have the President come down to Capitol Hill and meet down there,” he said…. – Politico, 1-17-11

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian E. Zelizer: What Obama can learn from Clinton, Reagan: Many political analysts are urging President Obama to give a State of the Union Address that is conciliatory toward Republicans and that acknowledges that voters are unhappy with the direction of his policies.
    Ever since he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts in a compromise with Republicans, his poll numbers have been improving, and Obama has filled several key positions in his administration with moderate Democrats. There is reason to think that the president will continue this path….
    He can use this opportunity to answer some of the big questions surrounding his presidency. He can explain how and when the government can solve certain problems better then markets. He can explain to Americans how his health care bill will help contain costs for citizens. He can share with the country how he balances concerns over the deficit with the need to stimulate the economy and what exactly is the path he envisions toward a stronger economy.
    By tackling these and other questions, Obama has to use this opportunity to explain himself and his presidency, providing voters a stronger understanding of who he is and what policies he will defend as he enters into discussion with a Republican House…. – CNN, 1-24-11
  • ‘State of the Union’ Could Mark Turning Point for Obama, Historian Says: President Barack Obama’s Tuesday night State of the Union address comes at a critical moment in his presidency and could set the tone in Washington for years to come, says a presidential historian at the University of Indianapolis. This won’t be the first State of the Union delivered amid economic woes and stiff partisan opposition, Associate Professor Edward “Ted” Frantz says. Previous examples include Bill Clinton in 1995, Ronald Reagan in 1983 and Franklin Roosevelt in 1935.
    “The fundamental challenge for Roosevelt was getting business interests to trust him, and they never did,” Frantz says. In that case, however, Roosevelt was able to continue his New Deal economic reforms with the help of large Democratic majorities in Congress, an advantage Obama does not have…. – Newswise, 1-24-11
  • Reagan and Kennedy Are Role Models for Obama Obama’s message in Tucson was the kind of speech Kennedy and Reagan would have given: But historian Robert Dallek says both Kennedy and Reagan retain a grip on the popular imagination for similar reasons. “Kennedy and Reagan are the darlings of the public,” he says. “People remember them as inspirational voices. They gave people hope.” Dallek recalled a comment by historian Richard Hofstadter that Theodore Roosevelt, another iconic leader, was “the master therapist of the middle class.” Kennedy and Reagan played the same role. “Kennedy and Reagan made people feel good,” Dallek adds. “Kennedy and Reagan have become mythological figures, iconic figures.”… – US News, 1-21-11
  • What Would Ronnie Do?: Obama starts the second half of his term with a set of obstacles similar to those that bedeviled Ronald Reagan. On Reagan’s centennial, the president is looking to the past for inspiration…. – Newsweek, 1-23-11
  • Ari Berman: Obama: Triangulation 2.0?: Immediately following the Democrats’ 2010 electoral shellacking, a broad spectrum of pundits urged President Obama to “pull a Clinton,” in the words of Politico: move to the center (as if he wasn’t already there), find common ground with the GOP and adopt the “triangulation” strategy employed by Bill Clinton after the Democratic setback in the 1994 midterms. “Is ‘triangulation’ just another word for the politics of the possible?” asked the New York Times. “Can Obama do a Clinton?” seconded The Economist. And so on. The Obama administration, emphatic in charting its own course, quickly took issue with the comparison. According to the Times, Obama went so far as to ban the word “triangulation” inside the White House. Politico called the phrase “the dirtiest word in politics.”…. – The Nation, 2-7-11
  • House votes to repeal health-care reform: What happens now?: Though the House has repealed health-care reform, it won’t be repealed by the Senate, meaning the effort is virtually dead. But House Republicans can still try to dismantle the law by other means.
    “We have a bill that expanded coverage, put new regulations in place, but it’s not clear it cuts the cost of health care,” says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University in New Jersey. “That’s a criticism you saw from left, right and center.” “If the debate moves in that direction, there’s room to form some kind of bipartisan support for more stringent cost controls,” he adds. “But on the other hand, both parties also have a stake in posturing going into 2012 elections.”… – CS Monitor, 1-19-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Can Boehner’s GOP deliver on promises?: Following a traumatic week for the nation in the wake of the Arizona shootings, Congress will get back to business this week. As House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s spokesperson announced, “It is important for Congress to get back to work, and to that end we will resume thoughtful consideration of the health care bill.”
    On Capitol Hill, Republicans find themselves in a position that seemed inconceivable a few years earlier, even to most conservatives. Although Democrats retain control of the White House and Senate, many Republicans were elated when they won control of the House and had the votes to elect John Boehner as speaker….
    The ways in which the Republican Party responds to these challenges will play an important role in defining what kind of political party Republican candidates will be able to champion in 2012 — and what kind of party President Obama will be able to attack on the campaign trail…. – CNN, 1-17-11
  • ‘Historian’ Douglas Brinkley: Obama ‘like’ Martin Luther King, Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian: “I thought President Obama did a wonderful job this evening. I thought that he really brought people together. I mean, when he, in the middle of the speech, said, ‘Gabby opened her eyes, Gabby opened her eyes,’ & you could almost hear a Martin Luther King-like inflection — And he carried that throughout a lot of the speech. “I was, like David Gergen earlier, a little put off by the atmospherics, 14,000 cheering people. But the president, I think, worked his way into that atmosphere. So, by the end of it, you could almost feel people hugging in the excitement, in the warmth & the love in the arena.”… – CNN, 1-13-11

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 

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

Campaign 2008: Barack Obama Wins the Presidency: Election Night Highlights

Barack Obama Wins the Presidency: Election Night Highlights

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

Barack Obama arrives on stage at his election night victory rally  at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois.

Barack Obama arrives on stage at his election night victory rally at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois.
Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty

Result Snapshot:

    FROM CBS NEWS

  • Barack Obama: 349, 52%
  • John McCain: 160, 47%
  • Senate:
    Democrats: 56, +5
    Republicans: 40
  • House:
    Democrats: 252, +17
    Republicans: 173

Election Day on the Campaign Trail….

  • November 4, 2008: Obama plans voting, basketball and quick trip to Indiana on Election Day … Hoping for upset, McCain to campaign in Colorado, New Mexico … Tiny New Hampshire towns go for Obama over McCain in Election Day’s first votes – AP, 11-4-08

Thousands watched the election results on giant TV screens in Times Square. (Photo: James Estrin/ The New York Times)

The Results: Presidential Race

  • BARACK OBAMA, DEMOCRAT: 349
    • California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin,
  • JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN: 160
    • Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming.
  • Live Blogging Election Night – The NYT CaucusNYT

The Results: Senate

  • Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Joe Biden, D-Del., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Richard Durbin, D-Ill., John Kerry, D-Mass., Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Kay Hagan, D-N.C., James Inhofe, R-Okla., Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Mark Warner, D-Va., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Carl Levin, D-Mich., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Max Baucus, D-Mont., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Mike Johanns, R-Neb., Mark Udall, D-Colo., Jim Risch, R-Idaho – AP
  • Live Blogging the House and Senate Races – The NYT CaucusNYT
  • Dems Snatch 4 GOP Seats In Senate Pickups In North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire And New Mexico Add To Dems’ Senate Advantage – CBS News, 11-4-08
  • Democrats expand their control of U.S. Senate – CTV/AP, 11-4-08
  • Democrats snag Va. Senate seat, seek more gains – AP, 11-4-08
  • Hagan Ousts Dole From North Carolina Senate Seat, Networks Say – Bloomberg

The Results: HOUSE

Senator Barack Obama took the stage in Grant Park in Chicago with his wife and daughters. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

The Results: GOVERNORS

  • John Lynch, D-N.H., Jack Markell, D-Del., Jay Nixon, D-Mo., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Jon Huntsman, R-Utah, Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont. – AP
  • Dems Pick Up Governor Seat Missouri Flips To Democrat; 11 Governorships Were Up For Grabs – CBS News, 11-4-08
Doug Mills/The New York Times

Supporters of Senator Barack Obama cheered during a rally in Chicago on Tuesday as they heard that he won in Pennsylvania. More Photos >

In the News…

Final Remarks

President-elect Barack Obama speaking to 125,000 suppiorters in  Chicago's Grant Park Nov 4, 2008

  • President-Elect Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech:, Download Mp3
    If there is anyone out there who still doubts America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of democracy, tonight is your answer. It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches, in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited for three hours, four hours – many for the first time in their lives – because they believed that this time must be different, and their voices could be that difference. At this defining moment, change has come to America.
    If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. A new dawn of American leadership is at hand….
    …The greatest of a lifetime, two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century….
    There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face.
    You did it because you understand the enormity of the task ahead….
    The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there….
    This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Defeated Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain

  • John McCain’s Concession Speech Download Mp3
    My friends, we have — we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Sen. Barack Obama to congratulate him.
    These are difficult times for our country and I pledged to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us in the many challenges we face. I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will.
    In a contest, as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my repect for his ability and his perseverence.
    But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hope of so many millions of Americans, who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president, is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.
    Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans, and believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that. It is natural to feel some disappointment, but tomorrow we must move beyond it and … get our country moving again. We fought as hard as we could. Though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours.
    [Sarah Palin] is one of the best campaigners I have ever seen and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength.
    This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life.

McNew/Getty

John McCain concedes victory on stage with his wife Cindy McCain.

Historians’ Comments

  • Peniel Joseph “Sen. Obama Projected to Win the Presidency”: “The Republicans are bearing the fruit of the Southern strategy that was hatched in 1968,” historian Peniel Joseph said on the NewsHour Tuesday night. “That strategy worked brilliantly in the presidential election of 1972. Now, Barack Obama is running a national campaign probably since the first time in 1964.” – PBS Newshour, 11-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph “Obama Earns a Slim Win in GOP Stronghold of Virginia”: Some of Obama’s success in the state has been attributed to an influx of professionals to Northern Virginia’s D.C. suburbs, “which has turned it into more of a swing state,” historian Peniel Joseph told the NewsHour. “Virginia, really the cradle of the confederacy,” Joseph said. “When we think about Virginia going to the first African American candidate, it really speaks to the way in which this realignment is happening.” – PBS Newshour, 11-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith “Obama Earns a Slim Win in GOP Stronghold of Virginia”: Historian Richard Norton Smith agreed the results reflect a fundamental change in how politicians should view the state. “If Republicans want to take Virginia back, they better stop talking about the ‘real Virginia.’” Norton Smith said. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith & Peniel Joseph: PBS Newhour with Jim Lehrer History’s View: Historians evaluate how the 2008 election may go down in the history books and its place in the shaping of American politic – PBS Newshour, 11-4-08
  • John Hinshaw “The morning after: Half of us will be disappointed”: John Hinshaw, a historian at Lebanon Valley College in central Pennsylvania, sees a couple things that could dictate the aftermath of Election Day — one aggravating and one mitigating. He says that many people profess after the fact to have voted for the winner even if they didn’t, thus leavening the strong reaction.
    But if voters perceive unfairness, which can happen in both thin margins and landslides, that can be a serious problem. “People can say, ‘It’s not my president. It’s your president,’” he says. “And that’s the kind of stuff that can really weaken nation-states.” – AP, 11-2-08
  • Peniel Joseph “Number of Battleground States Too Close to Call”: “I think Indiana is a big surprise. George Bush won Indiana by 31 points over John Kerry. Indiana probably has to be as rock solid of a red state in the last 44 years as we’ve seen,” said historian Peniel Joseph on the NewsHour. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith “Number of Battleground States Too Close to Call”: Historian Richard Norton Smith added that the lack of results is still telling. “The fact that Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina are too close to call – that tells you that the Democrats, both presidential and Congressional, are poaching on traditionally Republican terrain,” North Smith said. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith “Historians Weigh in on Public’s Energy, Key States”: The potential for record numbers of voters in this year’s election reflects a level of public interest that may be unprecedented, said historian Richard Norton Smith. With a number of traditionally Republican states in play for either ticket and an almost-certain shift in the balance of power in the U.S. Congress, this year’s election is “a history in the making,” he said.
    “This could be the end of a 40-year cycle of conservative domination of American politics,” said Norton Smith….
    Norton Smith feels that while Democrats are expected to seize control of many formerly Republican seats in the Senate and House of Representatives, the electorate in conservative states will still control local politics.
    “The fact is, if the Democrats pick up 20 or 25 or even 30 seats tonight, most of those, the overwhelming number of those, are going to be in red states, they’ll be on Republican turf,” Norton Smith said. “So one of the great ironies that has thus far escaped media attention is that a significantly more Democratic House of Representatives in particular might not be more automatically liberal, it might in fact be more diverse or more conservative at least in terms of the Democratic majority.” – PBS Newshour, 11-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph “Historians Weigh in on Public’s Energy, Key States”: Black studies professor Peniel Joseph says this year’s public interest mirrors the excitement of past elections. With Sen. Barack Obama vying to be the country’s first black president and Gov. Sarah Palin aimed at the vice presidency, Joseph is reminded of other important firsts in American history, such as the election of John F. Kennedy over Richard Nixon in 1960. “Kennedy’s the first Irish-Catholic and the only Irish Catholic president in the history of the United States. People don’t remember, but there was really a prejudice against Catholics, and people thought if Kennedy became president, he’d be taking his marching orders from the Pope and the Vatican in Rome, so it’s very interesting and that was really an issue during the primary,” Joseph said….
    “Indiana is really sort of the heartland of America — so for Obama to be in contention in Indiana and Indiana to be a kind of toss-up state – that’s very surprising,” Joseph said. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith “The undeniably exciting aura of ’08″: “In the spring of 1933 the most popular song in the country was ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf,’” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “Its appeal was attributed in some quarters to mass relief over the departure of Herbert Hoover from the White House.” “I am not equating the incumbent with Hoover,” Smith said. “What I am suggesting is a sense of new possibilities, as well as institutional renewal, that comes with any inauguration — a sense, ironically, heightened this time around by the very contrast with the outgoing and incoming president.” – Politico, 11-3-08
  • Alan Brinkley “The undeniably exciting aura of ’08″: “I think for many people, certainly for African-Americans and certainly for other people who yearn for a kind of final conciliation of our racial history, this is a sort of extraordinary moment, and an unimagined moment,” said Alan Brinkley, a historian of American politics and the provost of Columbia University…
    There was a “kind of zany quality of the campaign, especially for the McCain campaign, [which] at a moment like this really is unprecedented,” said Brinkley. “There’s never been anything quite like this.” – Politico, 11-3-08
  • Al Felzenberg “The undeniably exciting aura of ’08″: “I think you have to acknowledge, in the case of Obama, an event of tremendous historic significance,” said presidential historian Al Felzenberg, the author of a book on rating the presidents. “In the span of my lifetime, not even that, the span of a generation, we have gone from a period when African-American Nobel Laureates and congressional Medal of Honor winners could not walk into restaurants in parts of this country and order a hamburger to a time when an African-American is being seriously considered for the presidency of the United States.” On the other hand, he said, “The McCain campaign has lent itself to the dramatic gesture: the flying back to Washington, threatening to cancel the debate, sometimes changing themes.”
    “Clearly the economic worries have caused people to think in a very dramatic way that we may be ending an era, that we may be on the end of a certain run and on the beginning of something else,” Felzenberg said. – Politico, 11-3-08

Senator John MCCain waves to supporters in Phoenix. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)
Damon Winter/The New York Times

On The Campaign Trail…

  • THE DEMOCRATS:
    Barack Obama talks to voters in the Indianapolis area before joining supporters at Grant Park in Chicago.
    Joe Biden votes in Wilmington, Del., and stops in Richmond, Va., before joining Obama in Chicago.
  • THE REPUBLICANS:
    John McCain holds a rally in Grand Junction, Colo., and hosts an election-night party at a hotel in Phoenix.
    Sarah Palin votes in Wasilla, Alaska, before joining McCain in Phoenix.
  • John McCain makes last-minute appeal for votes I feel the momentum. I feel it, you feel it, and we’re going to win the election…..
    Things are looking good, but it’s very early. Then you’ve got to move west, my friends, and we’ve got to win New Mexico.

Senator Barack Obama with his wife, Michelle, and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. with his wife, Jill, in Chicago on Tuesday night. More Photos >

A women in Chicago yelled “Thank you God,” as CNN announced that Senator Barack Obama had won the election. (Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)
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