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

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

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

IN FOCUS: STATS

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

THE HEADLINES….

A backyard discussion with Seattle area families

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

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

Doug Mills/The New York Times

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

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

POLITICAL QUOTES

The President Records the Weekly Address

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

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

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

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

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

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

GOP in Lead in Final Lap:

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

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

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

Drew Angerer/The New York Times

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

IN FOCUS: STATS

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

THE HEADLINES….

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

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

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

POLITICAL QUOTES

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

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Linn Washington Jr.: “Obama’s Failure: Not Flaunting His Record Of Achievements”: US President Barack Obama grudgingly gets credit for bringing the America economy back from brink of total collapse yet he’s slammed from the left and the middle for doing too little to lower historic high rates of unemployment while the right-wing constantly castigates Obama for just being Obama mischaracterizing him as a socialist, communist and even a Hitler-clone.
    While critics on the right and left pound US President Barack Obama daily for not doing enough one of the Obama Administration’s biggest shortcoming is its failure to effectively publicize the many achievements they’ve made.
    Far from doing too little, Obama’s presidency “is easily one of the most active in history,” states Dr. Robert P. Watson of Lynn University in Florida. Watson, a presidential historian, recently released an update of his “The Obama Record” that lists 240 Obama initiatives in 15 separate categories including ethics (11 initiatives), foreign policy (28 initiatives), taxes (10 initiatives) and national security (16 initiatives).
    On the economy Watson’s “Record” lists 23 items beginning with crediting Obama for increasing infrastructure spending on roads, bridges, power plants, etc. noting that former President Bush was “the first president since Herbert Hoover to not make infrastructure a priority.”…. – Afrik News, 10-15-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: ‘Big Tent’ Already Thing of the Past: According to POLITICO’s John Harris, just as former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has departed from Washington, many of his congressional recruits from the class of 2006 — when he chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — may soon be gone as well.
    Emanuel’s strategy of recruiting more Democrats from conservative “red” districts swam against the tide of history. For almost four decades, Democrats and Republicans had been sorting themselves out ideologically, so that there were fewer moderates in either caucus….
    This was a big contrast from the state of the nation’s political parties throughout much of the 20th century…. – Politico (10-14-10)
  • Stanley Kutler: The Bipartisan Politics of Fear: Mercifully, the midterm election cycle is nearing its end. Both parties, we learn, are planning their “postmortem assessments.” The Daily Beast’s recent headline is a sign of the times: “Why Obama Can’t Lose in 2012.” Plan ahead….
    In the 1934 midterm elections, two years after the launching of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the president and Democrats vigorously defended their programs. No, they had not solved the Depression—not by a long shot—but nevertheless they fought hard to retain their authority. Truthdig (10-13-10)
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Why Christine O’Donnell is not you: In a very clever television advertisement, Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell looks directly at the camera and says to voters: “I’m not a witch. … I’m you.” In another ad, O’Donnell says that unlike her Democratic opponent Chris Coons, “I didn’t go to Yale. I didn’t inherit millions like my opponent. I’m you.”
    This statement, in a nutshell, is the message of the Tea Party movement. O’Donnell promises that she will not follow the practices of Washington incumbents who believe that trading favors and making backroom deals are legitimate ways to stay in office.
    O’Donnell is not alone in advancing this message….
    Given the history, O’Donnell’s ad, as good as it is as a piece of political theater, has its problems.
    Her website suggests that O’Donnell, like most Tea Party candidates, will not depart that greatly from the GOP’s economic policies of tax reductions, deregulation and the curtailment of government spending.
    It might very well be that O’Donnell is one of us, but her party’s economic policies have tended to benefit a very narrow and well-off portion of the population…. – CNN, 10-11-10

October 11, 2010: Obama Shuffles Cabinet, Talk of Obama-Hillary Ticket in 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

President Obama with his Incoming and Outgoing Chiefs of Staff   following the Personel Announcement

President Barack Obama leaves the East Room of the White House after announcing that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, left, is leaving to return to Chicago and will be replaced on an interim basis by Senior Advisor Pete Rouse, right, October 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Poll: Half of voters disapprove of Obama’s job: Half of registered voters nationwide — 50 percent — disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing in In that September poll, the same proportion of the national electorate — 50 percent — disapproved of the president’s job performance while 45 percent approved. Five percent were unsure. “The battle lines are drawn for the midterm elections,” says Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “President Obama’s approval rating is not a disaster, but it’s not high enough to be a battle cry for many of his fellow Democrats facing the 2010 electorate.” Poughkeepsie Journal, 10-8-10
  • Poll: Republicans remain revved up about Nov. 2 elections: Republicans enjoy a substantial “enthusiasm gap” in which their supporters are more likely to vote in this fall’s elections for control of Congress than Democratic voters, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
    The poll found that 51 percent of Republicans are very enthusiastic about voting, a large edge over the 32 percent of independents who are very enthusiastic and almost twice the 28 percent of Democrats. That large gap – a strong indicator that Republicans are more likely to vote – dominates the landscape despite claims by top Democrats that they’re slowly but surely getting their voters more excited and closing the gap…. – Miami Herald, 10-7-10
  • NEWSWEEK Poll: Anger Unlikely to Be Deciding Factor in Midterms: Self-described “angry voters” no more likely to vote; Democrats trusted more than GOP on key issues: Anger is dominating the current political conversation—especially if you’re an older, whiter, economically anxious voter who dislikes President Barack Obama and tends to prefer Republicans to Democrats. But according to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, there’s little reason to believe that anger alone will be the determining factor in November’s midterm elections.
    Self-described “angry” voters fit a rather predictable political and demographic profile. The survey found that only 14 percent are Democrats. The rest are either Republicans (52 percent) or independents (29 percent), with 42 percent of the angry voters declaring themselves Tea Party supporters. For the midterms, angry voters favor Republican candidates over their Democratic rivals, 73 percent to 19 percent. Three quarters want the GOP to win control of Congress. More than seven in 10 specifically describe themselves as angry with Obama and congressional Democrats, and a full 60 percent see their vote in November as a vote against the president. Compared with voters in general, angry voters are 21 percent more likely to say they’re worried about their economic future. They are 10 percent whiter than voters in general and 7 percent less likely to be under 30…. – Newsweek, 10-1-10
  • Bob Woodward Sheds Light on Possibility of Obama/Clinton 2012 Ticket: Longtime Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward made waves when he said late Tuesday that it was “on the table” for Barack Obama to run with Hillary Clinton instead of Joe Biden as a vice president in 2012. The possibility was actually first written in his book “Obama’s Wars.” “Some of Hillary Clinton’s advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012,” Woodward said on CNN yesterday. In an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer on Wednesday, Woodward said the possibility should be taken “seriously, because it’s politics.” “In the book what I lay out when Hillary Clinton was under consideration for Secretary of State, Mark Penn, one of her former top advisers said ‘look, it’s a no-brainer, take the job.’” “‘In 2012, Obama might be in trouble. You represent voting blocks Obama did not during the primaries.’ She did very well with working class, women, Latinos and with seniors,” Woodward said. “Obama might need those groups if he’s in political trouble.” Penn stepped down as chief strategist of Clinton’s presidential campaign in April 2008, though remained involved with the campaign. Mr. Obama named Clinton as his nominee to be Secretary of State on December 1, 2008…. – CBS News, 10-6-10
  • Dumping Biden for Clinton: What Would That Accomplish?: One has to wonder what the White House was thinking when a report leaked that President Barack Obama is thinking about dropping Vice President Joe Biden from the ticket in 2012 and replacing him with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Even though David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s top White House political strategist, quickly shot down the report as “absolutely” without merit, that would be the case no matter what the truth of the matter. The initial report that the idea was on the table at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., came from the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, whose Watergate fame in the early 1970s and bevy of books since then demonstrate exquisite White House sources regardless of administration. Mr. Woodward being the reporter who got such a leak gave it credibility. Mr. Axelrod and Hillary Clinton’s aides can say whatever they want, but they are not going to be able to stop the talking. Anyone with a brain had to know that would be the case once Mr. Woodward brought rumors about a job swap with Mr. Biden becoming secretary of State and Ms. Clinton vice president into the public domain. And that raises two intriguing questions: Would the switch be a good idea for the president from either a political or a policy point of view?…. – WSJ, 10-6-10
  • THE HEADLINES….

    President Obama Greets Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John   Roberts Before Justice Kagan's Investiture Ceremony

    President Barack Obama talks with Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts before Kagan’s Investiture Ceremony at the Supreme Court, October 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    • White House staff exodus exposes Obama to charges of disarray More senior staff including defence secretary Robert Gates, and senior advisor David Axelrod, leave their jobs: More senior White House staff are to leave in the next few months, adding to the high exit rate from President Barack Obama’s administration. Political analysts attribute the attrition rate to exhaustion, but Republican opponents blame disarray inside the White House, with an insular team responsible for too many policy failures. The imminent departures include those of defence secretary Robert Gates, who has said he hopes to retire early next year, and Obama’s senior White House adviser, David Axelrod, who is planning a return to his home town of Chicago early next year to concentrate on planning for Obama’s 2012 re-election bid. The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, has been mentioned in the past few weeks in connection with a range of jobs, including White House adviser or chairman of the Democratic national committee, which runs the party. This follows the departure of the national security adviser, General James Jones, after less than two years in office, as well as almost the entire economics team, of whom Peter Orszag and Christina Romer have already gone. Larry Summers is due to return to Harvard before the end of the year. The chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, left last month to stand for mayor of Chicago…. – Guardian, UK, 10-10-10
    • Obama Ratchets Up Tone Against G.O.P.: With his party facing losses in next month’s election, President Obama pressed his argument Sunday that the opposition is trying to steal the election with secret special-interest money, possibly including money from foreign companies. “Don’t let them hijack your agenda,” President Obama told supporters in Philadelphia at the second of four rallies planned. In a speech to a large rally here and in a new television advertisement, Mr. Obama and the Democrats escalated their efforts to present the Republicans as captive to moneyed interests. But Republicans and their allies fired back, dismissing the assertions as desperate last-minute allegations with no evidence to back them up. “You can’t let it happen,” Mr. Obama told thousands of supporters gathered at a school park in a predominantly African-American, working-class neighborhood in northern Philadelphia. “Don’t let them hijack your agenda. The American people deserve to know who’s trying to sway their elections, and you can’t stand by and let the special interests drown out the voices of the American people.”
      “You don’t know,” he said here. “It could be the oil industry, it could be the insurance industry, it could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose. Now that’s not just a threat to Democrats, that’s a threat to our democracy.”… – NYT, 10-10-10
    • Obama, Biden Energize Voters at Philadelphia Rally: President Barack Obama, campaigning as if his name were on the ballot, implored voters in Philadelphia stump speech to use the three weeks left in the congressional election campaign to “stay fired up” and go to the polls to prevent a Republican landslide. The president relied on an oft-used speech as he addressed the crowd in the city’s Germantown community with the driving cadences that swept him into the White House two years ago.
      “I think the pundits are wrong. I think we’re going to win. But you’ve got to prove them wrong,” Obama said, jabbing his finger toward the audience. “They’re counting on you staying home. If that happens they win.”… – Fox News, 10-10-10
    • Obama: GOP plan to cut funding will hurt education: Offering voters a reason to keep Democrats in power on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama says Republicans would cut education spending and put the country’s economic future at risk if they had their way. A quality education is paramount, Obama said. He suggested that federal spending on education is one area where he would not compromise. “What I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address….
      In his weekly message, Obama acknowledged that the country faces tight fiscal times, but he said a good education is too important to the country’s future prosperity to do it on the cheap.
      “At a time when most of the new jobs being created will require some kind of higher education, when countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow, giving our kids the best education is an economic imperative,” he said…. – AP, 10-9-10
    • Jones an awkward fit in Obama circle: The question about James L. Jones was never whether he would be among the first senior officials to depart the Obama administration. The question was always how soon. Jones was the obvious outsider in the White House he called “Obama Nation,” a rarified land populated by veterans of the rough-and-tumble 2008 presidential campaign. A generation older than the president and those immediately around him, Jones is a retired Marine general of stature and experience who believes in the hierarchy of command and the inherent wisdom of orderly decision making…. – WaPo, 10-9-10
    • Economy loses 95K jobs due to government layoffs: A wave of government layoffs in September outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation’s payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs. The unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s. The report is the final one before the November elections, which means members of Congress will face voters next month who are frustrated with an economy that is still struggling to create jobs. The figure that may matter most is 18,000 — the number of positions lost after subtracting the 77,000 temporary census jobs that ended in September. That marks the first loss for that grouping since last December, according to economists at Nomura Securities…. – 10-8-10
    • Analysis: Jobs report is bleak news for Democrats: The die is cast, and it’s grim news for the Democrats. There’s nothing now that Congress or President Barack Obama can do to before the November midterm elections to jolt the nation’s stagnant economy. Friday’s government report — the last major economic news before the midterm elections — showed the nation continued to lose jobs last month, reinforcing the bleak reality that it probably will be years — not months — before employment returns to pre-recession levels below 6 percent. That tightens the pressure on Democrats ahead of the Nov. 2 elections. And it also casts a dark shadow well into the 2012 election season and beyond. “We won’t see under 6 percent for five years,” David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York, said Friday after the Labor Department reported that 95,000 more jobs were lost in September and the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent. “It’s going to be a slow recovery.”…. – AP, 10-8-10
    • Obama economic trends on right track despite job losses: President Barack Obama said Friday economic trends were favorable despite a net loss of jobs in September, after officials released the last unemployment data before mid-term elections. Obama also attacked Republican policies which he said were hampering his capacity to ease the unemployment crisis, less than four weeks ahead of congressional polls in which his Democrats fear heavy losses.
      The president chose to highlight the fact that the economy had now produced “nine straight months of private sector jobs growth” but admitted “that news is tempered by a net job loss in September.”
      “The Republican position doesn’t make much sense, especially since the weakness in public sector employment is a drag on the private sector as well,” Obama said, after touring a small business in suburban Maryland. “The trendline in private sector jobs growth is moving in the right direction,” he said, but added he was not interested in trends or figures but the people behind them…. – AFP, 10-8-10
    • US sends $727 million to community health centers: The Obama administration on Friday announced $727 million will go to help fix up community health centers across the country, the first of $11 billion for the centers promised by the U.S. healthcare reform law. The money will go to 143 community health centers — which provide services regardless of patients’ ability to pay — in about 40 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, the Health and Human Services department said…. – Reuters, 10-8-10
    • James Jones to step down as national security advisor: The retired Marine general will be replaced by his deputy, Tom Donilon, an administration official says. The move comes amid a larger turnover in the Obama White House…. – LAT, 10-8-10
    • Year After Obama Won Nobel, World Looks for Signs of Peace Increased Fighting in Afghanistan, Stalled Negotiations in Middle East: One year after the Nobel prize jury made its controversial decision to award President Obama the prize for world peace, a larger jury is still waiting for the president to live up to those lofty expectations. Even some of Obama’s allies — like former Nobel laureates Al Gore and Jimmy Carter — declined to assess his performance in fulfilling what the peace prize citation said was his “vision” of world harmony.
      The one year anniversary of Obama’s prize comes as fighting is escalating in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq continues to smolder and Obama struggles to keep fledgling Middle East peace talks from collapsing. Drones are firing missiles in unprecedened numbers and confrontations with Iran and North Korea are hotter than ever…. – ABC News, 10-8-10
    • Obama sends foreclosure docs bill back to Congress: President Barack Obama has rejected a bill that the White House fears could worsen the mounting problems caused by flawed or misleading documents used by banks in home foreclosures. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama is sending a newly passed bill back to Congress to be fixed because the current version has “unintended consequences on consumer protections.” The bill would loosen the process for providing a notary’s seal to documents and allow them to be done electronically. Obama will not sign a bill that would allow foreclosure and other documents to be accepted among multiple states. Consumer advocates and state officials had argued the legislation would make it difficult for homeowners to challenge foreclosure documents prepared in other states…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Christie Halts Train Tunnel, Citing Its Cost: The largest public transit project in the nation, a commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River to Manhattan, was halted on Thursday by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey because, he said, the state could not afford its share of the project’s rising cost. Gov. Chris Christie said that his state could not afford the rising cost of the multibillion-dollar project. Work had already started. Mr. Christie’s decision stunned other government officials and advocates of public transportation because work on the tunnel was under way and $3 billion of federal financing had already been arranged — more money than had been committed to any other transit project in America…. – NYT, 10-7-10
    • Spill Panel Finds U.S. Was Slow to React: The Obama administration was slow to ramp up its response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, then overreacted as public criticism turned the disaster into a political liability, the staff of a special commission investigating the disaster say in papers released Wednesday. In four papers issued by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, commission investigators fault the administration for giving too much credence to initial estimates that just 1,000 barrels of oil a day were flowing from the ruptured BP PLC well, and for later allowing political concerns to drive decisions such as how to deploy people and material—such as oil-containing boom—to contain the spreading oil. “Though some of the command structure was put in place very quickly, in other respects the mobilization of resources to combat the spill seemed to lag,” the commission investigators found…. – WSJ, 10-6-10
    • U.S. ‘Supportive’ of Peace Talks as Afghans Meet Former Taliban in Kabul: The White House repeated U.S. support for Afghan peace talks with the Taliban as an aide to President Hamid Karzai met former leaders of the guerrilla movement. Education Minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak, a member of a peacemaking council appointed by Karzai, conferred in Kabul this week with ex-officials of the former Taliban regime, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news agency reported. Pakistani politicians and Arab delegates joined the meeting in the capital, which focused on how best to build a settlement with the insurgency, said a former Taliban official who attended, and who asked not to be named. Karzai’s deputy spokesman, Siamak Herawy, confirmed the meeting, which took place at Kabul’s Serena Hotel, and declined to give details. The Afghan president today summoned his peace council for an inaugural formal meeting on the ninth anniversary of the start of a U.S. bombing campaign that helped force the Taliban from power and install Karzai’s government…. – Bloomberg, 10-6-10
    • Post-election ethics trials set for Rangel, Waters: Ethics trials for two prominent House Democrats were set Thursday for after the midterm elections, depriving Republicans of headlines that could become campaign ads. An angry Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the House ethics committee chairwoman, unilaterally announced the mid-to-late November proceedings for Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California. Lofgren, D-Calif., in a written statement, said the five Republicans on the 10-member committee blindsided her last week — when they publicly requested pre-election trials. Republicans made the request while Lofgren was flying from California to Washington. The disagreement has for the moment seriously damaged efforts to run the ethics committee without the partisan rancor evident in most House proceedings…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Obama asks New Jersey donors for help: President Barack Obama asked wealthy donors Wednesday to help him close an “enthusiasm gap” with Republicans four weeks ahead of pivotal midterm elections. Speaking at a small dinner fundraiser, the president acknowledged that Democrats have a disadvantage because of the high unemployment rate, which he said would inevitably be blamed on the party in power. “Right now all the reports out there are that the main challenge we have is closing an enthusiasm gap between the Democrats and the Republicans,” the president said. “We’re not finished unless we lose sight of that long game and start sulking and sitting back and not doing everything we need to do in terms of making sure our folks turn out.”… – AP, 10-6-10
    • Obama awards Medal of Honor to Green Beret who died in Afghanistan: ‘America is forever in your debt,’ the president tells the parents of Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, an Illinois man credited with saving more than 20 U.S. and Afghan troops as he was dying. Full text: Obama awards Medal of Honor
      President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor on Wednesday to Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, who died in Afghanistan after exposing himself to enemy fire and saving the lives of more than 20 U.S. and Afghan troops. Obama presented the award — the nation’s highest military recognition — to Miller’s parents during a somber ceremony in the East Room of the White House. More than 100 of Miller’s friends and family attended the ceremony. “You gave your oldest son to America, and America is forever in your debt,” Obama told Miller’s parents, Phil and Maureen Miller. The 24-year-old Green Beret was raised in Wheaton, Ill., and “born to lead,” Obama said, noting that Miller earned two Army Commendation Medals during his first tour in Afghanistan.
      “It has been said that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point,” Obama said at the ceremony. “For Rob Miller, that testing point came three years ago, deep in a snowy Afghan valley.”… – LAT, 10-6-10
    • Rick Sanchez Tells Jon Stewart Sorry, Wife Says: Former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez apologized to “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart Monday, four days after the journalist called the comedian a bigot during a satellite radio interview, according to a post on the Facebook page for Sanchez’s wife (account required). Suzanne Sanchez wrote that her husband was “caught up in the banter and deeply apologizes to anyone who was offended by his unintended comments.” “they had a good talk,” Suzanne Sanchez wrote. “jon was gracious and called rick, ‘thin-skinned.’ he’s right. rick feels horrible that in an effort to make a broader point about the media, his exhaustion from working 14 hr days for 2 mo. straight, caused him to mangle his thought process inartfully.”…. – CBS News, 10-5-10
    • New high court era: Kagan makes 3 women on bench: The Supreme Court began a new era Monday with three women serving together for the first time, Elena Kagan taking her place at the end of the bench and quickly joining in the give-and-take. In a scene that will repeat itself over the next few months, Kagan left the courtroom while the other justices remained to hear a case in which she will take no part. She has taken herself out of 24 pending cases, including the second of the two argued Monday, because of her work as the Obama administration’s solicitor general prior to joining the court in August…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Kagan fills seats, makes her mark on first day of court term: Their membership has changed, and they haven’t sat together in months. Yet on Monday when Supreme Court justices took up the first case of the term, they quickly fell into familiar patterns. And newest Justice Elena Kagan was right in there with them…. – USA Today, 10-4-10
    • Justice Kagan makes her mark on day one, then has to go: Justice Elena Kagan made the most of her first day on the Supreme Court bench before reluctantly vanishing behind the burgundy curtains — leaving behind her bench-mates. The high court opened its new term Monday hearing oral arguments in two relatively low-profile appeals, but Kagan sat out the second case. It is one of 25 petitions from which the 50-year-old justice has so far recused herself. Because of her recent service as the Obama administration’s solicitor general, Kagan has decided to avoid any conflict of interest by withdrawing from cases the Obama administration had been involved in briefing. This means she will not sit on the bench during arguments or vote on the outcome of cases. The solicitor general works in the Justice Department as the government’s chief advocate before the high court…. – CNN, 10-4-10
    • Obama’s economic board members challenge him on taxes: The conversation was supposed to be about education and community colleges, but two Republicans on President Obama’s economic recovery advisory board challenged him this afternoon on his tax policies. Martin Feldstein and William Donaldson, who date to the Reagan and second Bush administrations, respectively, urged Obama not to raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans, as the president has proposed. No surprise? Well, Donaldson endorsed Obama in 2008, and Feldstein supported his economic stimulus plan in 2009. So they’re not conservative die-hards…. – USA Today, 10-4-10
    • Obama slams GOP over tax and spending cut plans: Intending to talk about colleges and worker training, President Barack Obama on Monday suddenly found himself in a spirited, election-year debate with a business advisory group about whose tax cuts should be extended and for how long. At a meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Harvard economist Martin Feldstein pressed Obama to keep all the Bush-era tax cuts, not just the middle-class cuts the president wants to extend. “That would give a boost to confidence,” Feldstein declared. SEC Chairman William Donaldson added that an extension would allay business and consumer uncertainty.
      Obama replied that his stand would benefit 98 percent of American taxpayers. “You’d think (that) would provide some level of certainty,” he said. Obama also reiterated his view that top-income tax brackets would do little to boost the recovery, since the wealthy aren’t holding off buying flat-screen TVs and other big-ticket purchases for lack of a tax cut. Plus, he said, those tax cuts are unaffordable. “If we were going to spend $700 billion, it seems it would be wiser having that $700 billion going to folks who would spend that money right away,” he said. Obama dismissed the notion that the well-off — he included himself — would simply “take our ball and go home” if they didn’t continue to get a big tax cut…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Jon Stewart responds to Rick Sanchez comments: “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart had a good laugh at Rick Sanchez’s expense this weekend, making light of the former CNN anchor’s recent departure over controversial comments he made about Jews and Stewart. However, Stewart did have a solution for Sanchez: “All he has to do is apologize to us,” he said, “and we’ll hire him back.” Not to be outdone, David Letterman made a surprise cameo at the benefit, telling Stewart that he decided to stop by because he was in the neighborhood, “helping Rick Sanchez clean out his office.”… – CNN, 1-4-10
    • Emanuel Says He’s Preparing Run For Chicago Mayor: Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday that he’s preparing to run for mayor of Chicago, a position widely known as being one he has long desired. Emanuel made the announcement in a video posted Sunday on his website, ChicagoforRahm.com. He had been careful not to launch his candidacy from Washington and headed to Chicago immediately after his resignation was announced by President Barack Obama on Friday.
      In the video, Emanuel said he’s embarking on a “Tell It Like It Is” listening tour of Chicago. “As I prepare to run for mayor, I’m going to spend the next few weeks visiting our neighborhoods at grocery stores, L stops, bowling alleys, and hot dog stands,” Emanuel said. The two-minute video shows a relaxed Emanuel sitting behind a desk wearing a white shirt that’s open at the collar and a dark jacket. Behind him is a photo of his family and several books…. – NPR, 10-3-10
    • Liberal coalition rallies in Washington for jobs, education: A coalition of liberal and progressive groups, including unions and civil rights activists, rallied in Washington Saturday to press for good jobs, immigration and education reform and to make a show of strength one month out from midterm elections. The “One Nation Working Together” rally was held at the Lincoln Memorial, just five weeks after Tea Party enthusiasts met in Washington.
      NAACP President Ben Jealous told CNN the “One Nation” movement is not “the alternative to the Tea Party, we’re the antidote to the Tea Party.”…. – CNN, 10-2-10
    • Big crowd gathers for liberal rally in Washington: Tens of thousands of people rallied near the Lincoln Memorial in the U.S. capital on Saturday as liberal groups attempted to energize their base a month before pivotal congressional elections.
      The rally, held under sunny skies, was billed as “One Nation Working Together” and followed a large rally by conservatives at the same site just over a month earlier. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor organization, urged the crowd to “promise that you’ll make your voices heard, for good jobs and justice and education today and on Election Day.”…. – Reuters, 10-2-10
    • DC rally shows support for struggling Democrats: Tapping into anger as the tea party movement has done, a coalition of progressive and civil rights groups marched Saturday on the Lincoln Memorial and pledged to support Democrats struggling to keep power on Capitol Hill.
      “We are together. This march is about the power to the people,” said Ed Schultz, host of “The Ed Show” on MSNBC. “It is about the people standing up to the corporations. Are you ready to fight back?”
      In a fiery speech that opened the “One Nation Working Together” rally on the National Mall, Schultz blamed Republicans for shipping jobs overseas and curtailing freedoms. He borrowed some of conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s rhetoric and vowed to “take back our country.”
      “This is a defining moment in America. Are you American?” Schultz told the raucous crowd of thousands. “This is no time to back down. This is time to fight for America.”… – AP, 10-2-10
    • Obama promotes clean energy; GOP hits Dem spending: Wind, solar and other clean energy technologies produce jobs and are essential for the country’s environment and economy, President Barack Obama said in promoting his administration’s efforts. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, a month away from congressional elections, to charge Republicans with wanting to scrap incentives for such projects.
      “That’s what’s at stake in this debate,” the president said. “We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive.”
      “With projects like this one and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy,” Obama said. “And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, homegrown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.”… – AP, 10-2-10
    • Rouse wastes no time in first day on job: The Pete Rouse era began shortly before noon on Friday. It didn’t take long before the White House started feeling the difference. Rouse, ushered in as interim White House chief of staff by President Obama in the East Room, called his first senior staff meeting for that afternoon – and scheduled it to last just 10 minutes. It is typical Rouse, advisers said: swift and to the point, without leaving room for people to show off or hold endless debates.
      “If a meeting should take 10 minutes, Pete is not going to make it go 11,” one senior administration official said. “Pete does not want to meet for the sake of meeting.” Rouse will soon move into the large corner office being vacated by Rahm Emanuel, whose resignation Obama announced Friday during an emotional farewell…. – WaPo, 10-1-10
    • Rahm Emanuel: Why Chicago mayor bid may be his toughest race yet: Rahm Emanuel was sent off from his post as White House chief of staff by President Obama on Friday. Political analysts say he won’t have it easy trying to win the race for Chicago mayor…. – CS Monitor, 10-1-10
    • Peter Rouse: out of the shadows and into the limelight Low-key troubleshooter is losing his cherished anonymity to take over as Obama’s chief of staff: Reporting from Washington — Many of the unpleasant little tasks that a White House confronts — nudging an aide out the door, perhaps, or helping a senator find someone a job — tend to wind up on Pete Rouse’s desk. Rouse, 64, a low-key troubleshooter and consummate backroom player whose work is seldom publicized, is being elevated to a post in which he may lose some of his cherished anonymity: White House chief of staff. Rouse will succeed Rahm Emanuel, who is leaving to run for mayor of Chicago. It’s an interim appointment, although White House aides say Rouse could end up getting the post on a permanent basis…. – LAT, 10-1-10
    • Chicago aldermen offended by Emanuel’s royal send-off: President Obama’s royal send-off for Rahm Emanuel may have played well in Washington today, but it laid an egg at Chicago’s City Hall. Some aldermen were downright offended by what they perceived to be Obama’s attempt to dictate Chicago’s next mayor by praising his departing chief of staff to the hilt.
      Others went so far as to advise the president of the United States to butt out or risk a political backlash.
      “The resentment is someone who appears to come in from out of state with a bunch of money — and no significant ties to the South or the West Side — and appearing to clout and buy his way into an election,” said Ald. Howard Brookins (21st). “It would be a mistake if the President goes out for Rahm Emanuel. In communities of color, I don’t believe Rahm has shown himself to be the peoples’ candidate. And I don’t know that Rahm being forced down our throats is the right thing to do.”
      Ald. George Cardenas (12th) went public with sentiment that his suddenly liberated colleagues have been expressing privately ever since Mayor Daley announced his political retirement…. – Chicago Sun-Times
    • White House defends economic stimulus plan: President Barack Obama’s $814 billion economic stimulus plan is meeting its targets for spending and job creation, White House officials said on Friday, however unpopular it may be with the public. Seventy percent of the plan’s funds were paid out by Sept. 30, with $308 billion spent and $243 billion in tax breaks provided, they said, adding that every spending deadline Congress set for the funds was met on time or ahead of schedule, with little fraud or abuse.
      Polls have shown the plan is unpopular with much of the public and has fallen short of expectations for the economy, even though the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates it boosted real gross domestic product in the second quarter by up to 4.5 percent and raised employment by up to 3.3 million jobs…. – Reuters, 10-1-10
    • CNN’s Sanchez out after controversial comments: CNN anchor Rick Sanchez abruptly left the network Friday afternoon, just one day after making controversial comments on a satellite radio program. “Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company,” according to a statement from CNN. “We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.”
      On Thursday, Sanchez appeared on the XM Sirius radio program “Stand-Up with Pete Dominick.” During the interview with Dominick, Sanchez called “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart “a bigot” and then said that he was bigoted against “everybody else who’s not like him. Look at his show, I mean, what does he surround himself with?” Dominick pressed for specifics, and Sanchez, who is Cuban-American, responded, “That’s what happens when you watch yourself on his show every day, and all they ever do is call you stupid.” Dominick, who was once the warm-up comic at Stewart’s Comedy Central show and now has a spot on CNN’s “John King, USA,” noted that Stewart is Jewish and so a minority himself. “I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah,” Sanchez responded…. – CNN, 10-1-10

    ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

    Stephen Crowley/The New York TimesRecommend
    “Don’t let them hijack your agenda,” President Obama told supporters in Philadelphia at the second of four rallies planned.

    • Democratic struggles could cost handful of contests: Rick Snyder may be House Democrats’ biggest nightmare. The Michigan Republican, a former head of the Gateway computer company, is running way ahead of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Wolverine State’s gubernatorial race. (A poll released Sunday gave him a 20-point advantage.) Such a wide margin for Snyder creates the potential for a down-ballot sweep that could wash out Democrats’ chances in two hotly contested House districts.
      State Rep. Gary McDowell (D) and surgeon Dan Benishek (R) are competing for retiring Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak’s seat in the 1st District – a swing district in northern Michigan that Barack Obama won with just 50 percent two years ago…. – WaPo, 10-10-10
    • Paladino Laces Speech With Antigay Remarks: The Republican candidate for governor, Carl P. Paladino, told a gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Sunday that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable, and criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade earlier this year. Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage. “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event. And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.” Newsday.com reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted the sentence in his speech…. – NYT, 10-10-10
    • Feingold defends health care vote in debate: Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold is defending his vote for health care reform, saying Republican challenger Ron Johnson wants to wipe out a program that saves people from being at the mercy of insurance companies. The Democratic incumbent is seeking his fourth term, though polls show him slightly trailing Johnson, a political newcomer. The two met Friday in Milwaukee for the first of three debates ahead of the Nov. 2 election…. – AP, 10-10-10
    • Paul: Wealthy should pay more for Medicare plan: Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul raised the idea Sunday that wealthier people like his opponent, the co-owner of a Kentucky Derby horse, should pay more for Medicare coverage. Paul also warned in a speech in his hometown that unless the U.S. starts dealing with its mounting debt, it could eventually face the same chaos that erupted in Greece when violent protests rocked that debt-plagued country. Paul said his Democratic opponent Jack Conway has ducked serious discussions about shoring up entitlement programs facing mounting financial strain as baby boomers retire and live longer. He also accused Conway of vilifying him in television ads showing clips of Paul once seeming to tout the idea of a $2,000 Medicare deductible…. – AP, 10-10-10
    • Kirk, Giannoulias debate on ‘Meet the Press’: The leading contenders for Illinois’ open U.S. Senate seat debated their character issues Sunday on TV, with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias insisting he knew little about convicted felons who got loans from his family bank and Republican Mark Kirk acknowledging he is accountable for embellishing his military record. Credibility has been a campaign-long theme for both men, and a recent Tribune/WGN-TV poll showed voters have difficulty trusting either in the neck-and-neck race for the Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama. The contest has national symbolism for both parties in the struggle for control of Congress and as a referendum on Obama. Moderator David Gregory focused on the trust issue and Obama’s policies during the half-hour debate with the two candidates on “Meet the Press” that included excerpts from attack ads used by both sides…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-10-10
    • Sen. Brown stumps for Conn. GOP Senate candidate: U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told a crowd of several hundred on Saturday that Connecticut voters can make history and shake up the Democratic establishment — just like when he was elected in Massachusetts — if they send Linda McMahon to Washington.
      Brown said the Republican newcomer, best known as the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is a political outsider who is “not beholden to anybody, who doesn’t owe anybody anything.” He said McMahon won’t be “in lockstep” with either the Democratic or Republican Senate leaders, and will fight for Connecticut voters. “Ever since Jan. 19 there’s a very, very powerful message that was sent, not only to Beacon Hill in Massachusetts but to Capitol Hill: That people are tired, they’re hurting, they’ve had enough,” said Brown, referring to his surprise victory last winter when he rode a wave of voter anger with Democrats and Washington and won the seat held by the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. “They want somebody who is going to be working and looking out for their interests and not the special interests and you guys have a great chance, a great chance,” he said. “The state of Connecticut has a chance to be part of history.”… – AP, 10-9-10
    • Tea party fuels GOP midterm enthusiasm, action: President Obama and Vice President Biden will travel to Philadelphia on Sunday for another rally designed to energize Democratic voters. The crowd at their Madison, Wis., rally last month was impressive, and this one may be, too. But any way you cut it, the Republicans still have the advantage in enthusiasm this fall, thanks in large measure to the tea party movement. The latest evidence comes in another of a long series of surveys conducted by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. What it shows is that tea party supporters and other conservatives are the most energized and are prepared to work the hardest to persuade friends and neighbors to vote Nov. 2…. – WaPo, 10-9-10
    • Jerry Brown reinvents himself as elder statesman: Jerry Brown sees himself as a regular guy who buys his suits on sale, drives around in a Ford Crown Victoria and enjoys dinner at home with his wife. What he wants Californians to see past is the Jerry Brown of three decades ago who was derisively dubbed “Governor Moonbeam.”
      The 72-year-old Democrat, locked in a close race with Republican Meg Whitman for governor, is determined to project an everyman image, a far cry from the eccentric Californian who romanced singer Linda Ronstadt along with a few other Hollywood actresses, recited poetry on the campaign trail and moved to Japan to study in a Buddhist monastery.
      Brown faces businesswoman and political novice Whitman, the billionaire former head of eBay who has spent more than $121 million of her own money in her bid to lead the nation’s most populous state, which has been wracked by ongoing budget crises…. – AP, 10-8-10
    • Will Brown aide’s slur of Meg Whitman tip California governor’s race?: Recent polls had shown Jerry Brown opening a slight lead over Meg Whitman. Putting him on the defensive could give her a boost. Meg Whitman was the target of ‘salty’ language by a Jerry Brown campaign aide in a voice mail released Thursday. Someone from Jerry Brown’s camp has been caught on tape using an extremely inelegant term to refer to opponent Meg Whitman. Will this remark make a difference in the already-heated California gubernatorial race? Well, we won’t know for some time whether it has an effect on the polls. The Brown-Whitman contest is already a boiling cauldron of charges and counter-charges, so the airing of the slur may make the tone of the campaign only marginally harsher. But this slip by a Brown aide may give Whitman a much-needed chance to get past the issue of whether she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. For the media there’s a new flap in town – what did Brown know about the use of this language, and how did he respond to it?…. – CS Monitor, 10-8-10
    • GOP pulling W.Va. Senate ad with ‘hicky’ actors: National Republicans pulled back a West Virginia Senate ad Thursday after Democrats revealed its casting call had sought actors who looked like hicks to play state voters. The 30-second spot, filmed in Philadelphia, was dropped from the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s YouTube channel Thursday. Republicans expected it to also be withdrawn from TV, where it has been in heavy rotation since Tuesday, according to a party official not directly involved in handling the ad. The official was not authorized to comment and requested anonymity. The ad showed men in flannel shirts and baseball caps worrying that Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin would side with President Barack Obama if elected to the Senate….. – AP, 10-7-10
    • G.O.P. Senate Odds Improve for Third Consecutive Week: Democrats are on the verge of locking up several Senate races in the Northeast, including one in Connecticut that some analysts had considered a toss-up. But Republicans have gained ground overall in this week’s Senate forecast by virtue of improved polling in Nevada and West Virginia. Their odds of taking over the Senate on Nov. 2 have now improved to 24 percent — up from 22 percent last week and 15 percent three weeks ago, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model…. – NYT, 10-7-10
    • Obama urges support for Illinois Senate hopeful: President Barack Obama is working to keep his old Senate seat in Democratic hands, urging a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Chicago to send State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (jeh-NOO’-lee-ehs) to Washington. Obama called Giannoulias a competitor who can be trusted to fight for the people who elected him. Giannoulias is battling Republican Rep. Mark Kirk in a tight contest.
      The president spoke at a fundraiser at the Drake Hotel. Earlier in the day he was in Maryland campaigning for Gov. Martin O’Malley…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Obama urges O’Malley supporters to get involved in Maryland: President Barack Obama on Thursday challenged young Democrats at an election rally for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, saying political pundits were predicting they lacked the enthusiasm of Republicans. “They say their followers are more energized,” Obama told the rally at Bowie State University. “They say you might be willing to let the other folks who left the economy in a shambles go back to Annapolis and go back to Washington.” Adding that he was betting on the young voters to prove the pundits wrong, Obama told the crowd: “Don’t make me look bad.”…. – CNN, 10-7-10
    • Dozens Fall Ill at Obama Rally in Maryland: About three dozen people fell ill at President Obama’s campaign rally at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md., Thursday, WTOP radio reported. The individuals passed out after complaining of “dizziness and fainting,” Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said. Two people were taken to the hospital while the rest were treated at the scene, Brady told the radio station….
      Approximately half an hour into the president’s remarks, another audience member swooned, briefly derailing Obama’s criticisms of Republicans. He leaned away from the microphone. “Can we get a medic up here?” he asked…. – Fox News, 10-7-10
    • Fight for Congress could last past Election Day: The nation may be waiting well beyond Election Day this year to find out who won control of Congress. It’s a troubling ballot-box scenario that has hundreds of lawyers from both parties preparing for battles that could drag on days, weeks or even months past the Nov. 3 day-after. Some states don’t count substantial amounts of votes until after Election Day. Others require mail-in ballots to be postmarked — not received — by Nov. 2, leaving the tally until well afterward. And with polls showing many Republican and Democratic candidates in tight contests, there’s plenty of opportunity for confusion, challenges and recounts that could delay the results and ultimately tip the balance of power on Capitol Hill. A muddled outcome could give rise to yet another kind of election uncertainty. If Republicans emerge from the balloting just short of a Senate majority, their leaders would almost certainly try to prod centrist lawmakers — like Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson or Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman — to switch and hand them control…. – AP, 10-6-10
    • President Trump? Time for 2012 handicapping: Have you heard the one about President Donald Trump? How about the notion that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will replace Vice President Joe Biden on the Democrats’ 2012 ticket? More than a year before the Iowa caucuses, political speculation ranges from the serious to the silly as pundits and prognosticators look ahead to the next presidential election. The open Republican field and the likelihood of President Barack Obama seeking a second term has led to rampant handicapping…. – AP, 10-6-10
    • Kendrick Meek, Charlie Crist battle Marco Rubio in U.S. Senate debate: Marco Rubio got the frontrunner treatment in a combative U.S. Senate debate Wednesday night, with both his rivals attacking him as an extremist out of step with Florida. “It’s abundantly clear that there’s an extreme right faction in the Republican party,” said said independent candidate Charlie Crist. “I’m the only candidate that can both win in November and crash that tea party in Washington.” “You want to take us back to Dick Cheney days,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, describing Rubio as a “radical” who won’t stand up for middle class Floridians. Rubio, the former state House Speaker from Miami, held his own and cast the race as a choice between two status quo candidates or a Republican who will stand up to the agenda of Barack Obama. “If you like Obamacare, if you like the stimulus plan, you can vote for Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek. I’m probably not your candidate,” Rubio said….. – Miami Herald, 10-6-10
    • Gallup: Poll of ‘likely voters’ portends big House gains for Republicans Among likely voters, the Republican advantage for this election is at least 13 percentage points, says a new Gallup poll. That’s higher than the three-point GOP edge among registered voters: Gallup gave its first estimates for “likely” voters, rather than registered voters – historically a far better predictor of the actual vote. The results are staggering. While the registered-voter ballot still gives Republicans a slight three-point lead, the Republican advantage jumps – a lot – in the poll of likely voters. Gallup gives estimates for two different likely-voter scenarios – one assuming higher turnout and one lower turnout. If voter turnout is high, Republican candidates have a 13-point advantage. If it’s low, they have a whopping 18-point edge over Democrats. Most voter surveys have shown Republicans to be much more energized about this election, but Gallup’s poll shows by far the biggest gap between registered and likely voters to date. So, what does it mean in terms of numbers? Historically, Gallup’s likely-voter poll correlates closely to the final results for midterm elections in the House. In 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House, the last Gallup poll gave Republicans a 7-point lead. According to this model, by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, the current 13-point lead would translate to Republicans picking up at least 71 seats (86 seats, in the low-turnout model). But that is pretty far outside even the most pro-Republican predictions so far…. – CS Monitor, 10-5-10
    • Republicans Hampered by Low Approval Ratings: Republicans are hanging their midterm election prospects on voters’ frustration with the Democratic Party, but a poll released by National Journal Tuesday indicates people are just as unhappy with Republicans. Six in 10 Americans polled have a negative view of GOP leadership. Perhaps that’s why Republicans have tried to efforts to frame Election Day as a referendum on the Democratic Party, not the GOP. Democratic leaders did only slightly better, with a 30/53 approval/disapproval split — though it is significant to note that their numbers are unchanged since National Journal’s polling in July. Republican disapproval figures have climbed seven points in the same amount of time, and they have the lowest performance rating in the poll’s history…. – CBS News, 10-5-10
    • Christine O’Donnell’s new ad by Republican ad wizard keeps things simple: Christine O’Donnell took to the airwaves on Tuesday with a simple message for Delaware voters: “I’m you.” When O’Donnell recently hired Fred Davis, the Republican ad wizard known for such provocative hits as “Demon Sheep,” many assumed she would use the millions she raised online to launch a shock-and-awe ad offensive. And she still might. But O’Donnell’s first general election ad is decidedly simple. Davis filmed O’Donnell, in pearls and a dark jacket, talking directly to the camera. No bells or whistles.
      “I wanted people to get to know the real Christine,” Davis said in an interview. He said the ad was designed to show “that she was not what everyone thought, that she was an everywoman – with one exception. She was one of us, but was so disappointed in our government that she was moved to action, to try and do something about it.” O’Donnell opens the 30-second spot by saying, “I’m not a witch.” It was a reference to her much-publicized 1999 statement that she dabbled in witchcraft. Davis said he included that line in the script to “once and for all put that behind her, and let people know we’re moving on from that to things that really matter today.”…. – WaPo, 10-5-10
    • Democrats hang on to leads in California: Democratic candidates hold a narrow advantage in the run-up to November’s U.S. congressional elections in California where big-spending Republican Meg Whitman is struggling in the race for governor, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Tuesday. As Democratic voters show increased enthusiasm in the country’s most-populous state, Democrat Jerry Brown leads Whitman in the race to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor, 50 percent to 43 percent…. – Reuters, 10-5-10
    • Donald Trump hints at presidential bid, sort of: Guess what television star is floating a political trial balloon (certainly inflated a bit with his own hot air), looking ahead to the 2012 presidential elections? If you said Donald Trump, you win. The cable airwaves have been chock-a-block with appearances by Trump, the reality television star, real estate developer, celebrity, beauty pageant mogul and self-promoter. He has even injected himself into the recent dispute over a Muslim community center and mosque near the former World Trade Center, destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 in a terrorist attack. Trump has offered to buy the site. Just this week, the media was again filled with discussions of Trump after word of a poll in New Hampshire, an early state in the presidential sweepstakes, included questions about Trump, host of “The Apprentice,” now in another season on NBC…. – LAT, 10-5-10
    • US Election Results Could Affect Foreign Policy: U.S. voters will elect a new Congress on November 2, and public opinion polls indicate the domestic economy will be the top issue this year. Experts say foreign policy concerns do not appear to be a major factor in the congressional midterm elections. Republican gains in November, though, could have an impact on the conduct of U.S. foreign policy over the next two years. Political experts agree that the economy and worries about the high unemployment rate will be the dominant issues in this year’s election, even though the United States and its allies remain at war in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama would like to begin drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, battlefield conditions permitting.
      “The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground and our support for Afghanistan will endure,” said President Obama. But make no mistake. This transition will begin, because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s.”…. – VOA, 10-4-10
    • Emanuel hits Chicago streets, makes case for mayor: Last week, Afghanistan. This week, parents protesting the proposed demolition of a park field house. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel hit the campaign trail on Monday and got a sudden taste of the vastly different agenda he’d face as Chicago’s mayor — and the hurdles he must overcome to be elected. A day after unveiling his campaign on a new Website, Emanuel hit the streets, vowing to “hear from Chicagoans — in blunt and honest terms” what they want from their next mayor. Many were happy just to shake hands, exchange hugs, or drink coffee with President Barack Obama’s hard-charging former right hand man. But he also faced skepticism about his intentions, loyalties and whether he even has the legal right to run to lead a city he hasn’t lived in for nearly two years. A few of his potential rivals also surfaced in public, though they insisted it had nothing to do with him….. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Democrat Feingold runs ad touting health care vote: Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin boldly embraces and defends his vote for the health care reform law in his latest campaign television ad, even as other Democrats avoid the topic and Republicans rail against it. Feingold’s Republican opponent, Ron Johnson, has his own ad taking Feingold to task for the March vote, saying Feingold went against the wishes of Wisconsin residents…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Immigration dominates Whitman-Brown debate: Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown clashed in an impassioned, sometimes angry gubernatorial debate Saturday in which immigration dominated the harsh exchanges and stoked the fallout from Whitman’s admission last week that she had employed an undocumented immigrant. San Francisco Chronicle, 10-3-10
    • Jewish voters don’t reflexively back Rahm Emanuel for Chicago mayor: Some local Jewish voters at odds with Emanuel’s role in Obama’s Israel policy, his politics when in Congress — and his coarse language Chicago Tribune, 10-3-10
    • Chicago mayor’s race may be battle of shoe leather: It used to be that getting elected in Chicago meant relying on the ward boss, the precinct captain and the small armies they deployed to fix potholes, hand out frozen turkeys and even drive people to the polls. Court rulings and corruption convictions have ended the primacy of the Machine, leaving get-out-the-vote efforts in the hands of what officials say are volunteers. But the city’s first real mayor’s race in more than two decades will test how far Chicago has advanced since the Machine’s heyday, and how badly big-name, well-funded candidates like Rahm Emanuel still need that old street-level help.
      “Never underestimate the power of the precinct worker,” said Tom Manion, a longtime political operative who directed Mayor Richard M. Daley’s first re-election campaign in 1991. “This is going to be a Generation X campaign with Facebook, Twitter and all that … but you should never forget the power of friend talking to friend, neighbor talking to neighbor.”
      After resigning as White House chief of staff, Emanuel is expected to reintroduce himself to Chicago this week with visits to neighborhoods to meet voters. He easily has greater name recognition than other contenders, and he is among several candidates seeking the support of wealthy businessmen and politicians…. – AP, 10-2-10
    • Democrats hope organizing will counter voters’ apathy: Republicans galvanized by the ‘tea party’ movement have passion on their side as the election approaches. The imperiled majority party mobilizes its get-out-the-vote machine in Nevada and elsewhere…. – LAT, 10-1-10

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    • Weekly Address: President Obama Underscores Commitment to Strengthening Our Education System Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Saturday, October 9, 2010 Washington, DC:
      …Now, it is true that when it comes to our budget, we have real challenges to meet. And if we’re serious about getting our fiscal house in order, we’ll need to make some tough choices. I’m prepared to make those choices. But what I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education. What I’m not prepared to do is undercut their economic future, your economic future, or the economic future of the United States of America.
      Nothing would be more detrimental to our prospects for success than cutting back on education. It would consign America to second place in our fiercely competitive global economy. But China and India aren’t playing for second. South Korea and Germany aren’t playing for second. They’re playing for first – and so should America.
      Instead of being shortsighted and shortchanging our kids, we should be doubling down on them. We should be giving every child in America a chance to make the most of their lives; to fulfill their God-given potential. We should be fighting to lead the global economy in this century, just like we did in the last. And that’s what I’ll continue fighting to do in the months and years ahead. Thanks, everybody, and have a nice weekend. – WH, 10-9-10
    • Rick Sanchez is sorry. Really: In an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Friday morning, the ousted CNN anchor said flatly that he “screwed up” in calling Jon Stewart a bigot and suggesting that Jews run the networks–comments that cost him his job last week.
      “I apologize and it was wrong for me to be so careless and so inartful,” Sanchez said. “But it happened and I can’t take it back and you know what now I have to stand up and be responsible.”
      The tone was much different than in a statement earlier this week, when Sanchez extended an apology to anyone who “may have been offended.”
      “I was feeling a little bit put out. And I was feeling a little sensitive,” Sanchez said. “And I was looking at the landscape and I was looking and I was seeing [little diversity] and I externalized the problem and I put it on Jon S tewart’s shoulders and I was wrong to do that.”…. – WaPo, 10-8-10
    • Weekly Address: President Obama Lauds Clean Energy Projects as Key to Creating Jobs and Building a Stronger Economy
      Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House October 2, 2010:
      Over the past twenty months, we’ve been fighting not just to create more jobs today, but to rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation. Our future as a nation depends on making sure that the jobs and industries of the 21st century take root here in America. And there is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now – and growth in the coming years – than clean energy.
      For decades, we’ve talked about the importance of ending our dependence on foreign oil and pursuing new kinds of energy, like wind and solar power. But for just as long, progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington….
      It was essential – for our economy, our security, and our planet – that we finally tackle this challenge. That is why, since we took office, my administration has made an historic commitment to promote clean energy technology. This will mean hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012. Jobs for contractors to install energy-saving windows and insulation. Jobs for factory workers to build high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, and hybrid trucks. Jobs for engineers and construction crews to create wind farms and solar plants that are going to double the renewable energy we can generate in this country. These are jobs building the future….
      With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.
      Now there are some in Washington who want to shut them down. In fact, in the Pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway – even with all the jobs and potential that they hold.
      This doesn’t make sense for our economy. It doesn’t make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn’t make sense for our future. To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations. It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil. And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need. In fact, shutting down just this one project would cost about a thousand jobs.
      That’s what’s at stake in this debate. We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive. We know the choice that’s right for America. We need to do what we’ve always done – put our ingenuity and can do spirit to work to fight for a brighter future. – WH, 10-2-10
    • Goodbye, Rahm – Remarks by the President at the Departure of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: This is a bittersweet day here at the White House. On the one hand, we are all very excited for Rahm as he takes on a new challenge for which he is extraordinarily well qualified. But we’re also losing an incomparable leader of our staff and one who we are going to miss very much.
      When I first started assembling this administration, I knew we were about to face some of the most difficult years this country has seen in generations. The challenges were big and the margin for error was small — two wars, an economy on the brinks of collapse, and a set of tough choices about issues that we had put off for decades; choices about health care and energy and education, how to rebuild a middle class that had been struggling for far too long.
      And I knew that I needed somebody at my side who I could count on, day and night, to help get the job done. In my mind, there was no candidate for the job of chief of staff who would meet the bill as well as Rahm Emanuel. And that’s why I told him that he had no choice in the matter. He was not allowed to say no. It wasn’t just Rahm’s broad array of experiences in Congress and in the White House, in politics and in business. It was also the fact that he just brings an unmatched level of energy and enthusiasm and commitment to every single thing that he does.
      This was a great sacrifice for Rahm and Amy and the family to move out here. Rahm gave up one of the most powerful positions on Capitol Hill to do this. And in the last 20 months, Rahm has exceeded all of my expectations. It’s fair to say that we could not have accomplished what we’ve accomplished without Rahm’s leadership — from preventing a second depression to passing historic health care and financial reform legislation to restoring America’s leadership in the world.
      So for nearly two years, I’ve begun my workday with Rahm. I’ve ended my workday with Rahm. Much to Amy’s chagrin, I’ve intruded on his life at almost any hour of the day, any day of the week, with just enormous challenges. His advice has always been candid; his opinions have always been insightful; his commitment to his job has always been heartfelt, born of a passionate desire to move this country forward and lift up the lives of the middle class and people who are struggling to get there.
      He has been a great friend of mine, and will continue to be a great friend of mine. He has been a selfless public servant. He has been an outstanding chief of staff. I will miss him dearly, as will members of my staff and Cabinet with whom he’s worked so closely and so well. – WH, 10-1-10
      WH, 10-1-10
    • Rahm Emanuel closed his remarks aterwards touching on his own journey, the President’s, and Pete Rouse’s:
      Both my parents raised me to give something back to the country and the community that has given us so much. And I want to thank you for the opportunity to repay in a small portion of the blessings this country has given my family. I give you my word that even as I leave the White House, I will never leave that spirit of service behind. (Applause.)
      Now, because my temperament is sometimes a bit different than yours, Mr. President — (laughter) — I want to thank my colleagues for your patience the last two years that you have shown. I’m sure you’ve learned some words that you’ve never heard before — (laughter) — and in an assortment of combination of words. (Laughter.) What we learned together was what a group of tireless, talented, committed people can achieve together. And as difficult as it is to leave, I do so with the great comfort of knowing that Pete Rouse will be there to lead the operation forward.
      From the moment I arrived, and the moment he arrived, Pete has been a good friend with great judgment. He commands the respect of everyone in this building and brings decades of experience to this assignment.
      Finally, I want to thank my wife Amy and our three remarkable children — Zach, Ilana and Leah — without whose love and support none of this would have been possible. I hope to end this soon so they can all get back to school today and finish their exams. (Laughter.)
      Mr. President, thank you. And thank you all. I look forward to seeing you in Chicago. (Applause.) – WH, 10-1-10
    • Eric Cantor: ‘Things Could Get Pretty Messy’ The man who would be the next House majority leader talks about the GOP agenda and working with Obama: ‘Look, we know we screwed up when we were in the majority. We fell in love with power. We spent way too much money— especially on earmarks. There was too much corruption when we ran this place. We were guilty. And that’s why we lost.”
      That’s the confession of Eric Cantor, the 47-year old congressman from Richmond, Va. If Republicans win back the House in November’s elections, Mr. Cantor would be the next majority leader—the second most powerful post in that chamber behind the speaker. And he could be Barack Obama’s worst nightmare…. – WSJ, 10-2-10

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

    The President Records the Weekly Address
    White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/1/10
    • Gerald Uelmen: Meg Whitman fuzzes Rose Bird quote as Jerry Brown backpedals: Brown hasn’t said anything like that about Bird. But his attempt to distance himself from his appointee by invoking Eisenhower is a tough comparison to make. Eisenhower wasn’t especially close to Warren, but appointed him in a well- documented political trade: the California governor pledged to support Ike at the 1952 Republican convention in exchange for the first available Supreme Court vacancy.
      Gerald Uelmen, a Santa Clara University law professor and court historian, said he doesn’t buy Brown’s “Eisenhower defense.” “I think he (Brown) knew what he was getting,” Uelmen said. “I think what’s going on here is a little rewriting of history.” San Francisco Chronicle, 10-8-10
    • Alan Brinkley: Anatomy of an Uprising: GIVE US LIBERTY A Tea Party Manifesto By Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, BOILING MAD Inside Tea Party America, By Kate Zernike THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History By Jill Lepore
      Jill Lepore, a historian of the American Revolution and a staff writer at The New Yorker, has written a brief but valuable book, “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History,” which combines her own interviews with Tea Partiers (mostly from her home state, Massachusetts) and her deep knowledge of the founders and of their view of the Constitution. The architects of the Constitution, she makes clear, did not agree about what it meant. Nor did they believe that the Constitution would or should be the final word on the character of the nation and the government. It was the product of much compromise, and few were satisfied with all its parts…. – NYT, 10-8-10
    • Victor Davis Hanson: Rope-a-dope: Obama’s plan: After 2010, will he be Carter or Clinton? That is the ongoing parlor game now played among pundits over how President Barack Obama will react to a probable shellacking of the Democrats in midterm elections next month. Jimmy Carter stuck to his liberal agenda after suffering a modest rebuke in the 1978 midterms amid sky-high inflation, interest rates and unemployment. He didn’t take voters’ hint and went on to get clobbered two years later by Ronald Reagan. In contrast, after his party was slaughtered in the 1994 midterms (losing 51 House and eight Senate seats), a triangulating Bill Clinton moved to the center and handily won re-election in 1996. So what will Obama do if he loses a Democratic majority in the House and quite possibly the Senate, as his approval ratings tank to 40 percent? Most likely, he will stick to his liberal orthodoxy — but in a way unlike Carter. Yet, like Clinton, Obama may still have a good chance at re-election…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-7-10
    • Julian E. Zelizer: ‘Facebook politics’ is fleeting: The Tea Party has rekindled excitement in the potential of the internet to nurture mass political movements by using the Web to raise money and mobilize manpower.
      Activists have used many aspects of cyberspace: Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, iPod apps and more to rally their supporters. According to Investors.com, “Democrats and their allies dominated cyberspace for years. Now the political right, with the Tea Party explosion, at the very least is matching the left.”
      The stories about the Tea Party movement resemble the narrative about Barack Obama’s campaign.
      In 2008, Democrats used cyberspace to the same effect. Relying on what I called “Facebook politics,” the Democrats took Republicans by surprise by demonstrating how powerful a vehicle the internet could be in promoting a candidacy, bringing like-minded citizens together and offering an organizational infrastructure for movement politics.
      Yet will this form of organizing work over the long term? Can it sustain a movement after the drama of an election is over?….
      Without question, Facebook politics has reshaped the political landscape….
      It is far too easy for the most fervent supporter of a candidate or cause to simply defriend the movement and move on to something else.
      Rather than strong, shared memories of participating in something bigger than themselves, the experience might just leave behind the address of a Web page in the auto-fill mechanism of their browser or an occasional text alert to remind them of their political past. – CNN, 10-5-10
    %d bloggers like this: