Political Musings November 1, 2014: Just a rumor Michelle Obama will not run for California Senate seat in 2018

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

 

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Political Musings September 7, 2014: Biden campaigns for Democrats on the economy helping the middle class in address

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Biden campaigns for Democrats on the economy helping the middle class in address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

With President Barack Obama returning home from the NATO conference in Wales, Vice President Joe Biden took over and delivered the weekly address released on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. In the address, Biden attempted to turn around the disappointing August…Continue

Political Musings September 3, 2014: Obama’s Labor Day campaign to raise the minimum wage in Democrats midterm push

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama’s Labor Day campaign to raise the minimum wage in Democrats midterm push

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama spent the whole Labor Day weekend renewing his push to raise the minimum wage across the country first in his weekly address released on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2014 and then delivering a speech on the economy on…

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Full Text Political Transcripts June 11, 2014: Eric Cantor’s news conference on primary loss and resignation as House Majority Leader

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Transcript: Eric Cantor’s news conference on primary loss

Source: WaPo, 6-11-14

Transcript: Eric Cantor’s news conference on primary loss

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) spoke about his political future…READ MORE

Political Headlines June 11, 2014: Eric Cantor to Step Down as Majority Leader on July 31

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Eric Cantor to Step Down as Majority Leader

Source: NYT, 6-11-14

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor attended a news conference last month on Capitol Hill.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor attended a news conference last month on Capitol Hill.

As the Republican Party takes stock after Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat, a leadership fight is already brewing for the post of House majority leader….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines June 10, 2014: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Defeated by David Brat, Tea Party Challenger, in GOP VA Primary Upset

CAMPAIGN BUZZ

Campaign_Headlines

CAMPAIGN HEADLINES….

Eric Cantor Defeated by David Brat, Tea Party Challenger, in Primary Upset

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia delivered his concession speech on Tuesday.
Steve Helber/Associated Press

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia delivered his concession speech on Tuesday.

In one of the most stunning primary election upsets in congressional history, Mr. Cantor, the House majority leader, was soundly defeated by David Brat, a Tea Party-backed candidate….READ MORE

U.S. House | Republican Primary

Virginia, 7th district

candidate Votes Pct.%
David Brat 36,110 55.5%
Eric Cantor * Incumbent 28,898 44.5%

100% reporting

11:19 PM ET
*Incumbent

Political Musings March 12, 2014: Obama hits new low in NBC News/WSJ poll spells trouble for Democrats in midterms

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

President Barack Obama’s midterm election year approval ratings are not boding well for Democrats; a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 finds the president with a new approval rating low of…READ MORE

Political Musings March 5, 2014: Obama unveils $4 trillion FY 2015 budget aimed at Democratic support, GOP anger

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

President Barack Obama is really working hard this week at making sure he holds the title of most unpopular, on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 he announced and released his budget for fiscal year 2015, which is angering Congressional Republicans, but…READ MORE

History Buzz November 1, 8, 2010: Historians Assess Midterm Elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

IN FOCUS: TED SORENSON

  • Theodore Sorensen, top JFK aide, dies at 82 in NY: Theodore C. Sorensen, the studious, star-struck aide to President John F. Kennedy whose crisp, poetic turns of phrase helped idealize and immortalize a tragically brief administration, died Sunday. He was 82. He died at noon at Manhattan’s New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center from complications of a stroke, his widow, Gillian Sorensen, said. Sorensen had been in poor health in recent years and a stroke in 2001 left him with such poor eyesight that he was unable to write his memoir, “Counselor,” published in 2008. Instead, he had to dictate it to an assistant. President Barack Obama issued a statement saying he was saddened to learn of Sorensen’s death.
    “I know his legacy will live on in the words he wrote, the causes he advanced, and the hearts of anyone who is inspired by the promise of a new frontier,” Obama said.
    Hours after his death, Gillian Sorensen told The Associated Press that although a first stroke nine years ago robbed him of much of his sight, “he managed to get back up and going.” She said he continued to give speeches and traveled, and just two weeks ago, he collaborated on the lyrics to music to be performed in January at the Kennedy Center in Washington — a symphony commemorating a half-century since Kennedy took office. “I can really say he lived to be 82 and he lived to the fullest and to the last — with vigor and pleasure and engagement,” said Gillian Sorensen, who was at his side to the last. “His mind, his memory, his speech were unaffected.” Her husband was hospitalized Oct. 22 after a second stroke that was “devastating,” she said…. – AP, 10-31-10
  • Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy Counselor and Wordsmith, Dies at 82: Theodore C. Sorensen, one of the last living links to John F. Kennedy’s administration, who did much to shape the president’s narrative, image and legacy, died Sunday in Manhattan. He was 82.
    He died in NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital from complications of a stroke he suffered a week ago, his wife, Gillian Sorensen, said. A previous stroke, in 2001, had taken away much of his eyesight, but in its aftermath “he led a very full life, speaking, writing, creating new enterprises and mentoring many young people,” she added.
    Mr. Sorensen once said he suspected the headline on his obituary would read: “Theodore Sorenson, Kennedy Speechwriter,” misspelling his name and misjudging his work, but he was much more. He was a political strategist and a trusted adviser on everything from election tactics to foreign policy.
    “You need a mind like Sorensen’s around you that’s clicking and clicking all the time,” President Kennedy’s archrival, Richard M. Nixon, said in 1962. He said Mr. Sorensen had “a rare gift”: the knack of finding phrases that penetrated the American psyche.
    He was best known for working with Mr. Kennedy on passages of soaring rhetoric, including the 1961 inaugural address proclaiming that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans” and challenging citizens: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Mr. Sorensen drew on the Bible, the Gettysburg Address and the words of Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill as he helped hone and polish that speech…. – NYT, 10-31-10
  • JFK Adviser Theodore Sorensen (1928-2010): A Remembrance: When I first told my Uncle Ted that I was engaged, he asked without hesitation, “Is she a Democrat?” He was only half joking. It’s not that Theodore C. Sorensen, my father’s brother and the man known as the “intellectual blood bank” of President John F. Kennedy was an ideologue; he merely believed to his core that the vision of his party was crucial to the future of his family, his country and his world. And well he should — it was he, through his collaboration with Kennedy, that most elegantly and timelessly gave voice to the Democratic ideals that have come to shape modern American politics. The last of the Kennedy old guard, Sorensen was a tireless defender of his legacy. Never, privately or publicly in the years since, did he take credit for the words or actions that made the 35th President an icon of the office. The many accounts of his intimacy with the political, personal and policy decisions of Kennedy’s tenure are a testament both to the humility of the man, and his unwavering belief that what he accomplished was far more than professional triumph…. – Time, 10-31-10
  • What Ted Sorensen Taught Me About Writing: He was Kennedy’s celebrated speechwriter, but mere mortals (like me) still find him inspiring. Ted Sorensen was a hero of mine before I knew who he was. Sorensen, who died on Sunday at the age of 82 from complications following a stroke, was the primary speechwriter for John F. Kennedy. He was also an aide, a confidant, an “intellectual blood bank” (as the president once called him)—and a lawyer, a memoirist, a failed Senate candidate, among other things, though history will not remember him for them. It will remember him because he had a hand—impossible to identify, impossible to deny—in some of the most famous speeches in American history.
    I will remember him, though, because of Latin class. We were studying rhetorical devices used in Latin epics and lyric poetry. English examples were discussed: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” (chiasmus). “I speak of peace … I speak of peace … I speak of peace …” (anaphora). “We choose to go to the moon” (assonance). The words came from Kennedy—or his speechwriter, my Latin teacher offhandedly said. The word “speechwriter” itself seemed an example of a rhetorical device, a paradox. Yet the word illuminated what I loved about those lines: they were intended for the ear, not the eye. I knew then that to learn to write, I was going to have to learn to listen…. – Newsweek, 11-2-10

IN FOCUS: HALLOWEEN

  • Nicholas Rogers: The dull-ification of Halloween: Fifteen years ago, a Canadian cultural historian named published an essay in the journal Social History entitled “Halloween in Urban North America: Liminality and Hyperreality.” Sound boring? Just the opposite. Rogers, a professor of history at Toronto’s York University, spoke truth to power about All Hallows’ Eve: Stop trying to transform one of the few remaining cultural events that’s actually fun into yet another politically correct, risk-averse, religiously sanitized festival of yawns. “Halloween constitutes a time of transition when orthodox social constraints are lifted, a moment of status ambiguity and indeterminacy when ritual subjects can act out their individual or collective fantasies, hopes or anxieties.”… – Magic Valley Times-News (10-31-10)
  • Halloween ghost hunters seek old soldiers in Gettysburg: Days before Halloween on a darkened street Dwight Stoutzenberger aimed his digital camera at a wall not far from where a guide was telling ghost stories to a group of tourists. Gettysburg, a historic Civil War town, is famous for ghosts and reportedly haunted sites where uniformed soldiers mysteriously walk through closed doors, or ornaments shift positions on a mantelpiece. As Stoutzenberger scrolled through his photos he found several exposures showing a bright light amid a fuzzy white oval shape apparently hovering near the wall down the street. Tour guide Ann Griffith, who has been doing ghost tours in Gettysburg for 16 years, speculated that it could be an orb — a point of light that she says is commonly seen around haunted sites…. – Reuters, 10-29-10
  • Is Candy Evil or Just Misunderstood?: FOR Samira Kawash, a writer who lives in Brooklyn, the Jelly Bean Incident provided the spark. Five years ago, her daughter, then 3, was invited to play at the home of a new friend. At snack time, having noted the presence of sugar (in the form of juice boxes and cookies) in the kitchen, Dr. Kawash, then a Rutgers professor, brought out a few jelly beans…. – NYT (10-27-10)

HISTORY NEWS:

  • Scholars Reconsidering Italy’s Treatment of Jews in the Nazi Era: …[N]ew findings contradict the conventional belief that Italians began to enforce anti-Semitic laws only after German troops occupied the country in 1943, and then reluctantly. In a spate of studies, many of them based on a little-publicized Italian government report commissioned in 1999, researchers have uncovered a vast wartime record detailing a systematic disenfranchisement of Italy’s Jews, beginning in the summer of 1938, shortly before the Kristallnacht attacks in November…. Ilaria Pavan, a scholar at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, said a series of incrementally more onerous laws in 1939 and 1940 revoked peddlers’ permits and shopkeepers’ licenses, and required Jewish owners of businesses — as well as stock or bond holders — to sell those assets to “Aryans.” Bank accounts were ordered turned over to government authorities, ostensibly to prevent the transfer of money out of the country…. – NYT (11-5-10)
  • Righteous Among the Nations: Muslims Who Saved Jews from Holocaust: In 2003, Norman Gershman was looking for some of the righteous. What he found astonished the investment banker-turned-photographer, and led him toward a project now on display in a St. Louis synagogue…. During the years of occupation, 10 times as many Jews streamed into Albania to escape persecution from Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Greece and Italy. Gershman says it was the only country in Europe where the Jewish population grew by the end of the war…. All of them were motivated by an Albanian code of honor called “besa,” a concept that can be translated into “keeping the promise,” Gershman says. The Albanian villagers were motivated to risk their lives by the simple concept of helping one’s neighbor…. Ahmet Karamustafa, professor of history and religious studies at Washington University, said saving a life is a universally acknowledged Muslim value. Protecting a life, Karamustafa said, “has always ranked at the very top of moral and legal categories articulated by legal and theological scholars in Islam.”… St. Louis Post-Dispatch (11-1-10)
  • Rise of paganism in Britain linked to discrimination against women, says historian: …Ronald Hutton, Professor of History at Bristol University, says Paganism is partly a reaction to a perceived discrimination against women, practised by mainstream religions. He says: “It’s feminist. Women have an automatic place… and in some areas of Paganism they are actually in charge. And they’re working with a goddess or goddesses who are just as powerful as gods, if not more so.”… – BBC News (10-30-10)
  • Matthew Hyland: Nazis killed ‘good feelings’ associated with 3,000-year-old emblem: Matthew Hyland, professor of history at Duquesne University, said the symbol dates to Neolithic times — as far back as 3,000 years — and mainly was a symbol of good luck. “Essentially, it’s like a good luck charm, sort of a portentous symbol of good feelings,” he said. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (10-31-10)
  • Labor law has been ‘turned inside out to help the powerful,’ James A. Gross says: U.S. labor law “has been turned inside out, protecting the powerful rather than the powerless” in the 75 years since the National Labor Relations Act was enacted, a top labor historian says. “And by that standard, it’s a failure,” adds James A. Gross of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Gross was the most provocative of many speakers at the opening Oct. 27 session of a day-and-a-half conference commemorating the 75th anniversary of the NLRA, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed on July 5, 1935…. – Workday Minnesota (10-31-10)

OP-EDs:

  • Rick Perlstein: How Obama Enables Rush: We live in a mendocracy. As in: rule by liars. Political scientists are going crazy crunching the numbers to uncover the skeleton key to understanding the Republican victory last Tuesday. – The Daily Beast (11-6-10)
  • Allan Lichtman: The Joyless Election: …[N]ever before in the history of the United States has such a sweeping victory by one political party elicited so little joy and such minimal expectations. The American voters rejected the leadership of the Democratic Party that controlled the presidency and both Houses of Congress…. Above all, this year voters repudiated the government of the United States. This is the third consecutive election in which the voters ousted the party in power. However, dissatisfaction with government extends more deeply into the American past…. – Gazette.net (MD) (11-5-10)
  • David M. Kennedy: Throwing the Bums Out for 140 Years: SO we have had three “wave” elections in a row: control of both chambers of Congress changed hands in 2006, as did the presidency in 2008, and the House flipped back to Republican domination last week. All this apparently incoherent back-and-forth has left the political class reeling and set the commentariat aflutter. Explanations for our current political volatility abound: toxic partisanship, the ever more fragmented and strident news media, high unemployment, economic upheaval and the clamorous upwelling of inchoate populist angst. But the political instability of our own time pales when compared with the late 19th century. In the Gilded Age the American ship of state pitched and yawed on a howling sea of electoral turbulence. For decades on end, “divided government” was the norm. In only 12 of the 30 years after 1870 did the same party control the House, the Senate and the White House…. – NYT (11-7-10)
  • Daniel K. Williams: A Victory for the Christian Right: Immediately after the 2010 midterm elections, the National Right to Life Committee declared the results a victory for the pro-life cause, claiming that 65 seats in Congress had switched from pro-choice to pro-life. The Family Research Council likewise declared that voters had soundly rejected President Barack Obama’s efforts to allow gays to serve openly in the military. Voters in Iowa recalled three state Supreme Court justices who had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Across the nation, Christian conservatives claimed victories for their cultural causes after seeing Tuesday’s election results. Why, then, did most of the media—and the Republican Party leadership—say so little about religion in the election analysis?…. – PBS (11-5-10)
  • Robert Dallek: The Long View of the Tea Party: Regardless of how many seats change hands in the election, one result is already clear: The tea party movement will, for the immediate future, influence the direction of the Republican Party…. – Politico (11-4-10)
  • Alan Brinkley: Obama vs. Tea Party: Think FDR vs. Huey Long: In the aftermath of the massive Democratic losses on Election Day, the tea party movements have proved that their efforts made a significant contribution to the Republican victories. Though only a few true tea party candidates were actually elected — most prominently Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida — there can be no doubt that the movement’s energy and anger were perhaps the crucial factor…. – Politico (11-4-10)
  • Steven M. Gillon: The Lessons of 1994: Democrats are still absorbing the electoral drubbing they suffered at the polls this week. As the New York Times reported, nearly every congressional district in America voted more Republican in 2010 than in 2008. Republicans rode a wave of well-financed and carefully orchestrated (but no less genuine) public anger at a struggling economy that shows little signs of improving. Gleeful conservative pundits are already predicting that the election marked the beginning of the end of the Obama presidency. Dispirited Democrats worry they may be right. But are they?… – Huffington Post (11-4-10)
  • Victor Davis Hanson: America Just Checked into Rehab: On Tuesday, voters rejected President Obama’s attempt to remake America in the image of an imploding Europe — not just by overwhelmingly electing Republican candidates to the House, but by preferring dozens of maverick conservatives who ran against the establishment. Why the near-historic rebuke? Out-of-control spending, unchecked borrowing, vast new entitlements, and unsustainable debt — all at a time of economic stagnation. So what is next? Like the recovering addict who checks himself into rehab, a debt-addicted America just snapped out of its borrowing binge, is waking up with the shakes, and hopes there is still a chance of recovery…. – National Review (11-4-10)

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Stacy Schiff: Femme Fatale: CLEOPATRA A Life “Mostly,” Schiff says of “Cleopatra: A Life,” “I have restored context.” The claim stops sounding humble when we understand what it entails. Although it’s not Schiff’s purpose to present us with a feminist revision of a life plucked from antiquity, in order to “restore” Cleopatra — to see her at all — one must strip away an “encrusted myth” created by those for whom “citing her sexual prowess was evidently less discomfiting than acknowledging her intellectual gifts.” Lucan, Appian, Josephus, Dio, Suetonius, Plutarch — the poets, historians and biographers who initially depicted Cleopatra were mostly Roman and all male, writing, for the most part, a century or more after her death with the intent to portray her reign as little more than a sustained striptease…. – NYT, 11-4-10 Excerpt Books of The Times: ‘Cleopatra: A Life’, 11-2-10
  • Joseph J. Ellis: A World Unto Themselves: FIRST FAMILY Abigail and John That the Adamses succeeded both in helping to shape the American Republic and in securing for themselves a striking measure of domestic bliss was, as Joseph J. Ellis shows in “First Family: Abigail and John,” a testament to the exceptional strength and vitality of their marriage. Although beset by myriad “twitches, traumas, throbbings and tribulations” (Ellis’s purple-prosy terms) in politics and at home, John and Abigail remained passionately devoted to each other, to their family and to their country. “As I see it,” Ellis explains, “Abigail and John have much to teach us about both the reasons for that improbable success called the American Revolution and the equally startling capacity for a man and woman — husband and wife — to sustain their love over a lifetime filled with daunting challenges.”
    As one of today’s leading historians of the Revolutionary era (his books include a biography of John Adams, a National Book Award-winning biography of Thomas Jefferson and a Pulitzer Prize-winning group portrait of the founders), Ellis is more qualified than most to tell this engaging tale. Yet his reasons for doing so — and for doing so now — are less clear than his credentials…. – NYT, 11-7-10 Excerpt
  • TIM REDMAN: Book review: ‘Washington: A Life’ by Ron Chernow: In times of crisis, nations and religions often return to their origins for guidance. This fine biography represents an attempt to recover those virtues that led to our founding. Nowhere are they better seen than in George Washington. Nearly every adult American carries his portrait with them wherever they go, but the man painted by Gilbert Stuart remains enigmatic. Ron Chernow, a renowned biographer and historian, looks beyond the myths to reveal a man much greater than all of the myths combined. For 20 years, George Washington was America…. – The Dallas Morning News, 11-7-10
  • Engagements With History Punctuate Garry Wills’s life: OUTSIDE LOOKING IN Adventures of an Observer “Square,” “colorless,” “stodgy,” “unthreatening.” Those are some of the adjectives that the prolific journalist and historian Garry Wills uses to describe himself in “Outside Looking In,” his pointillistic new memoir. Off the page, all those things may (or may not) be true. On it, as countless politicians and writers have learned, having Mr. Wills sternly contemplate your work can be like having the Red Baron on your tail. “Unthreatening” is hardly the word. Writing in The New York Review of Books and other journals, he’s sent entire squadrons of shoddy works and ideas down in flames…. – NYT (11-3-10) Excerpt Interview
  • Jules Witcover’s biography of Joe Biden, reviewed by Matthew Dallek: JOE BIDEN A Life of Trial and Redemption Veteran Washington columnist Jules Witcover has published a biography of Biden that amounts to a celebratory recitation of the major private and public moments of the sitting vice president’s life. Biden’s rich and sometimes controversial career mirrors the policy achievements and political failures of the Democratic Party in modern times, and “Joe Biden” can also be read as a meditation on his Party’s troubled and occasionally triumphant trajectory since the 1960s. WaPo, 11-5-10
  • Stacy Schiff’s new biography of “Cleopatra,” reviewed by Marie Arana: CLEOPATRA A Life If you think two millennia of dusty research and hoary legend have told us all we need to know about this woman, you’re in for a surprise. Stacy Schiff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of three highly praised biographies — of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Véra Nabokov and Benjamin Franklin — has dug through the earliest sources on Cleopatra, sorted through myth and misapprehension, tossed out the chaff of gossip, and delivered up a spirited life…. – WaPo, 11-1-10
  • A new biography of Simon Wiesenthal, by Tom Segev: SIMON WIESENTHAL The Life and Legends Plenty, as it turns out in “Simon Wiesenthal,” by Israeli journalist Tom Segev. A columnist for the newspaper Ha’aretz and the author of numerous books, Segev is one of the world’s great investigative reporters – in a class with bloodhounds like Seymour Hersh and the late David Halberstam. In this biography, the subject is not only Wiesenthal but the shifting relationship since the end of World War II of American, Israeli and European culture to what is now known as the Holocaust but was never called that in the first two decades after the war. Segev places Wiesenthal’s life within a context almost unthinkable to Americans under 50 today, for whom Holocaust memorialization is a given. That the singular fate of European Jews under the Nazis was downplayed for many years after the war and that the U.S. government was none too eager to pursue Nazi war criminals who had taken refuge here is not widely known (even among young Jews). Segev notes that the Holocaust was also “wrapped in silence” in the young state of Israel and that many Israelis who had emigrated to Palestine before the war had denigrated survivors for “remaining in Europe instead and waiting to be slaughtered without doing anything to prevent it.”… – WaPo, 11-29-10
  • Review of “OK,” a history of a favorite American expression, by Allan Metcalf: OK The Improbable History of America’s Greatest Word Probably there are as many theories about the origins of “OK” as there are theorists to expound them, but Allan Metcalf is satisfied that he knows the only one that really holds water. Relying on the work in the early 1960s of a “professor at Columbia University, scholar without equal of American English,” Metcalf reports as follows…. – WaP0, 10-29-10
  • James Kloppenberg: In Writings of Obama, a Philosophy Is Unearthed: When the Harvard historian James T. Kloppenberg decided to write about the influences that shaped President Obama’s view of the world, he interviewed the president’s former professors and classmates, combed through his books, essays, and speeches, and even read every article published during the three years Mr. Obama was involved with the Harvard Law Review (“a superb cure for insomnia,” Mr. Kloppenberg said). What he did not do was speak to President Obama. “He would have had to deny every word,” Mr. Kloppenberg said with a smile. The reason, he explained, is his conclusion that President Obama is a true intellectual — a word that is frequently considered an epithet among populists with a robust suspicion of Ivy League elites…. – NYT (10-27-10)

FEATURES:

  • Racism seen in interracial town’s fall by historical archaelogist: A 19th-century railroad doomed a black-founded western Illinois town by diverting routes around it, an archaeologist who studied its history says. New Philadelphia, Ill., was “the first town in the United States planned and legally registered by an African- American,” writes University of Illinois Professor Chris Fennell in the journal Historical Archaeology…. – UPI (11-1-10)
  • Resourceful Amish adapt as farming declines, says Indiana historian: …Once known for their strictly agricultural lifestyle and rejection of modernity — including electricity, cars and telephones — the Amish increasingly are turning away from the farm, accepting technology and opting for nontraditional jobs, academic researchers and church members say…. The shift from farmer to entrepreneur began decades ago, according to Kraybill and Steven Nolt, a professor of history at Goshen College in Indiana…. – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (11-7-10)

PROFILES:

  • Carlos Eire, Yale historian, comes out with second memoir: Now 59, Eire is not dying, nor does he live in Miami. He is a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University. But he views boarding a KLM flight from Havana to Florida in 1962 as a death — the end of Carlos and his rebirth as Charles, a boy desperate to assimilate into American life…. – Spicezee (11-7-10)

QUOTES:

  • Voters impatient with Washington enabled by technology, says Miami University historian: …The impatience narrative is compelling because the world is in a constant state of change and the public expects speedy action. Yet lack of patience isn’t anything new, says Andrew Cayton, a distinguished professor of history at Miami University. What’s new is the ability to grouse about it, en masse and instantly.
    “Now, because of cable TV and phones and the Internet, it’s much easier for that to get momentum across a wide group of people,” Cayton said. What once might have been tribal or local dissatisfaction now becomes “a global phenomenon, almost overnight.” And that hampers public officials’ ability to deal with tough issues in a deliberative manner, he says…. – Cleveland Plains Dealer (11-7-10)
  • Tea Party Rooted in Religious Fervor for Constitution, say Norton, Butler, and Greenberg: …”There’s a strong strand of divine-guidance thinking, thinking about American exceptionalism,” said Mary Beth Norton, a professor of early American history at Cornell University. “People have certainly seen the texts of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as the equivalent of a secular religion, with the idea then that you can’t challenge these texts.”…
    If anything, the Constitution is especially vulnerable to literalism. “There is a major translation problem for literalism in relation to Christian doctrine,” said Jon Butler, a professor of the history of religion in America at Yale. “And there’s the matter of the age of the texts. But there is no translation issue with the Constitution, and it’s only a couple of centuries old. So that makes it so much more susceptible. There it is. You can find it on the Internet.”
    And from there, it is a short trip indeed to the engaged, enraged Tea Party of 2010, and a campaign that charged Democrats with a kind of Constitutional heresy. “The Constitution has always been the trump card, the ultimate political weapon,” noted David Greenberg, a professor of history and presidential biographer at Rutgers University. “If you don’t like what the other side is doing, you say it’s unconstitutional.” NYT (11-5-10)

INTERVIEWS:

  • Q+A: Interview with Professor Simon Schama: Paul Holmes interviews Professor Simon Schama. PAUL Welcome back to Professor Simon Schama, one of the world’s most widely read historians. An Englishman who lives in New York, he is Professor of History and the History of Art at Columbia University, he’s also a writer and television presenter. He’s responsible for the books and the TV series Obama’s America and The American Future. Professor Schama is a political commentator for the BBC and CNN, amongst others, and so he’s got tremendous insight into President Obama and how and why America voted as it did last week. Obama himself described the Democrats’ loss last week as ‘a shellacking’, so I asked Professor Schama when I spoke to him exactly how big a thumping it was…. – TVNZ (New Zealand) (11-7-10)
  • NYT interviews Garry Wills: As a presidential historian and emeritus professor at Northwestern, you’re well aware that the Democrats are facing the likelihood of an electoral setback this Tuesday. Yet President Obama continues to be the object of scathing criticism among Democrats, including yourself. Why won’t you give him credit for getting things done? He gets things done in a very crippled way. The health care plan and the finance plan — he made so many bargains along the way…. – NYT (10-29-10)

AWARDS &APPOINTMENTS:

  • Carney, Kara, and Rosomoff to Share 2010 Frederick Douglass Book Prize: Judith Carney, Siddharth Kara, and Richard Rosomoff to Share $25,000 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Judith A. Carney, Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, Siddharth Kara, an anti-slavery researcher and advocate and correspondent for CNN.com, and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff, an independent writer, have been selected as the co-winners of the 2010 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, awarded for the best book written in English on slavery or abolition. Carney and Rosomoff won for their book Inside the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World (University of California Press), and Kara won for his book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery (Columbia University Press).
  • Cape Breton University to honour rights icon with named chair: Nova Scotia rights icon Viola Desmond is being honoured by Cape Breton University,+ which is creating a chair in her name — the Viola Desmond chair in social justice. Desmond, a black woman, was convicted in 1946 for sitting in the whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow. She was pardoned by the province earlier this year. History professor Graham Reynolds will be the first holder of the chair…. CBC News (11-5-10)
  • McGill University Professor Desmond Morton Wins 2010 Pierre Berton Award: Steady scholarship, dry wit and an appetite for public debate are the qualities that have made Professor Desmond Morton this year’s winner of the Pierre Berton Award, Canada’s History Society announced today. Desmond Morton’s incisive analysis and quiet chuckle have raised interest in and knowledge of Canadian history from coast-to-coast…. – Newswire Canada (11-3-10)
  • Pelosi Appoints Dr. Matthew Wasniewski as New House Historian: On October 20, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the appointment of Dr. Matthew Wasniewski as the new Historian of the House of Representatives. Dr. Wasniewski, who currently serves as the historian in the House Clerk’s Office of History and Preservation, received the unanimous recommendation of the House Historian Search Committee appointed by Speaker Pelosi with the input of House Republican Leader John Boehner who concurred on the appointment…. – Lee White at the National Coalition for History (10-22-10)

ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • Toronto’s 30th anniversary of Holocaust Education Week: The 30th anniversary of Holocaust Education Week will take place in Toronto and the surrounding region, from November 1 to November 9. This year more than 30,000 participants are expected to attend over 150 educational and cultural programmes. The central theme for 2010 is “We Who Survived.”… – Jewish Info News (10-24-10)
  • THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY MAKES ITS MOST IMPORTANT COLLECTIONS RELATING TO SLAVERY AVAILABLE ONLINE: Rich trove of material becomes easily accessible at www.nyhistory.org/slaverycollection The New-York Historical Society is proud to announce the launch of a new online portal to nearly 12,000 pages of source materials documenting the history of slavery in the United States, the Atlantic slave trade and the abolitionist movement. Made readily accessible to the general public for the first time at www.nyhistory.org/slaverycollections, these documents from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries represent fourteen of the most important collections in the library’s Manuscript Department….
  • Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs,” is the only comprehensive website on the famous Reagan-era government scandal, which stemmed from the U.S. government’s policies toward two seemingly unrelated countries, Nicaragua and Iran. Despite stated and repeated denials to Congress and to the public, Reagan Administration officials supported the militant contra rebels in Nicaragua and sold arms to a hostile Iranian government. These events have led to questions about the appropriateness of covert operations, congressional oversight, and even the presidential power to pardon…. – irancontra.org
  • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years…. – NYT, 5-13-10
  • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.

SPOTTED:

  • Ripping the USA: Revising History Dismally: It happened in July. A group of 25 selected professor historians met in Hawaii at a workshop sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). They were to present and hear scholarly papers on the history of these United States in World War II. It was to be a high-level intellectual rendering of that war receding now into history…. – American Thinker (11-6-10)
  • Almost 50 history teachers get lesson at Teddy Roosevelt home: “He wasn’t just the 26th president of the United States, but a real man with many exciting sides to his life,” said Eileen McGaghran, who teaches history at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua. “For history teachers, seeing all this, getting this in-depth content, the detail, the stories, will really help in the classroom to get kids’ attention. That’s what we want.” McGaghran was one of close to 50 history teachers from Westchester and Putnam who visited Sagamore Hill on Thursday as part of a special program to breathe life into history for normally classroom-bound teachers, so they can, in turn, excite students about days gone by…. – LoHud.com (11-1-10)
  • Tea Party’s impact studied on eve of election: Deputy director Tim Rives put together a program to discuss “The Tea Party and the Future of American Politics.” “The Tea Party is one of the most important political developments of modern times,” said Karl Wesissenbach, director of the Eisenhower Center, about the forum which is part of the Kansas Town Hall Forum series…. – Abilene Reflector-Chronicle (10-31-10)
  • Jan T. Gross building new history of the Holocaust: The overflow audience at Yad Vashem listens intently to Gross’s lecture, entitled “Opportunistic Killings and Plunder of Jews By Their Neighbors – A Norm or an Exception in German-Occupied Europe?” while distracted by the image…. – Jerusalem Post (10-31-10)

ON TV:

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

BOOKS COMING SOON:

  • Helen J. Burn: Betsy Bonaparte, (Hardcover), November 1, 2010
  • Noah Feldman: Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices, (Hardcover), November 2010
  • Gerald Blaine: The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence, (Hardcover), November 2, 2010
  • Greg Farrell: Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America, (Hardcover), November 2, 2010
  • Charles Rappleye: Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution, (Hardcover), November 2, 2010
  • Karl Rove: Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight, (Paperback), November 2, 2010
  • Charles HRH The Prince of Wales: Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, (Hardcover), November 2, 2010
  • Simon Winchester: Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, (Hardcover), November 2, 2010
  • Steven E. Woodworth: Manifest Destinies: America’s Westward Expansion and the Road to the Civil War, (Hardcover), November 2, 2010
  • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Adam Richman: America the Edible: A Hungry History From Sea to Dining Sea, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Rodney Stark: God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades, (Paperback), November 9, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
  • Laura Hillenbrand: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, (Hardcover), November 16, 2010
  • Mike Huckabee: A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories that Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit, (Hardcover), November 16, 2010
  • Gary Ecelbarger: The Day Dixie Died: The Battle of Atlanta, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010
  • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Linda Porter: Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII (First Edition), (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Alison Weir: The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, (Paperback), December 28, 2010
  • Donald Rumsfeld: Known and Unknown: A Memoir, (Hardcover), January 25, 2011

DEPARTED:

  • Susanna Barrows, scholar of modern French history, dies at 65: Susanna I. Barrows, a professor emerita of history at the UC Berkeley, and an authority on modern French history, died at her home in Berkeley on Wednesday, Oct. 27, after a suspected heart attack. She was 65…. – UC Berkeley News (11-2-10)
  • Korean historian and archaelogist who proved Korean Old Stone Age dies: Sohn Pow-key, an archeologist who proved humans were living on the Korean Peninsula during the Paleolithic Age by excavating related artifacts, died in Seoul on Sunday. He was 88…. From 1964 to 1974 when he was professor of history at Yonsei University and head of the university’s museum, Sohn excavated Paleolithic tools at Seokjang-ri in Gongju, South Chungcheong Province…. – Korea Herald (11-1-10)

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

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

STATS & RESULTS

Getty

    2010 Election: Live results (USA Today):

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

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

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

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

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

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

THE HEADLINES….

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

QUOTES

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

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

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

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

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

IN FOCUS: STATS

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

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

    HNN Hot Topics: Midterm Elections

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

THE RESULTS….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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

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

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

     

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

QUOTES

     

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

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

     

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

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

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

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Doug Mills/The New York Times

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

IN FOCUS: STATS

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

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

Drew Angerer/The New York Times

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

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

POLITICAL QUOTES

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

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

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

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

Political Headlines: Obama’s Miracle: He’s Making Bush Look Good

A new poll shows that people are becoming more nostalgic for the Bush years.

Source: WSJ, 10-12-10

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.

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

    Political Highlights June 23, 2010: Super Tuesday Primary Run-Off: Anti-Incumbent Votes Continue

    By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

    MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

    • South Carolina Republicans buck biases in runoff election: The conservative state’s GOP nominates Nikki Haley for governor and Tim Scott for Congress in a runoff vote. Mississippi, North Carolina and Utah also hold nomination contests for November’s midterms…. – LAT, 6-23-10
    • Inglis becomes fifth congressional casualty of anti-incumbent year: South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis became the latest victim of the anti-incumbent wave Tuesday, losing his bid for a seventh term to GOP rival Trey Gowdy. Prosecutor Trey Gowdy has just made six-term incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis the fifth congressional incumbent to fall prey to this year’s anti-incumbent tide. Gowdy has defeated the veteran South Carolina lawmaker in a runoff for the GOP nomination, the Associated Press reports…. – USA Today, 6-22-10
    • Matheson cruises to victory: Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, easily held off his first-ever primary challenge Tuesday and will get a shot at a sixth term. With 98 percent of precincts counted by press time, Matheson led 2nd Congressional District Democratic challenger Claudia Wright 68 percent to 32 percent. Republican Morgan Philpot awaits in the Nov. 2 general election…. – The Salt Lake Tribune, 6-23-10
    • Lee wins Utah GOP Senate nomination: Utah Republicans chose their nominee for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, selecting a legal scholar who grew up in a family of lawyers and fondly recalls discussing the Constitution over childhood dinners. Mike Lee is the overwhelming favorite to win in November and replace Sen. Bob Bennett, who was ousted at the Republican convention in May amid a wave of anti-incumbent rage around the country. Lee and businessman Tim Bridgewater beat out Bennett at the convention to advance to Tuesday’s primary. Lee won on Tuesday, earning a nearly a 5,000 vote lead with 84 percent of precincts reporting for about 51 percent of the vote…. – AP, 6-23-1-
    • Gowdy knocks Inglis out of office: Seventh Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg has knocked U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis out of the 4th Congressional seat. Several hundred Gowdy supporters are celebrating at the Chapman Cultural Center in downtown Spartanburg. The solicitor was the leader in the Republican Primary two weeks ago, and once again bested Inglis tonight, scoring well with voters in the congressman’s home county of Greenville. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Gowdy had 51,541 votes (70 percent). Inglis garnered 21,898 votes (30 percent)…. – Go Up State, 6-22-10
    • Harold Johnson wins 8th District GOP race Newcomer rides recognition, party endorsements to primary victory: Former sportscaster Harold Johnson defeated businessman Tim D’Annunzio Tuesday after an expensive and combative 8th District congressional primary that saw party leaders go to extraordinary lengths in supporting him. Johnson, who turns 69 next week, was winning about 61 percent of the vote in unofficial returns. He piled up big margins in the district’s western portion, including Cabarrus County, which offset D’Annunzio’s support in the east. Johnson now faces Democratic U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell and Libertarian Thomas Hill in the 10-county district that stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville…. – Charlotte Observer, 6-23-10
    • Elaine Marshall, William Randall score runoff election wins in Person County: Despite a low voter turnout, two candidates emerged victorious in a pair of runoff elections in Person County Tuesday and the two also appeared headed to wins statewide as of press time for today’s edition. The runoff contests were between two Democrats vying to challenge Richard Burr this fall for his seat in the U.S. Senate and two Republicans battling for the U.S. House of Representatives District 13 seat, now occupied by Democrat Brad Miller. The Democratic runoff featured Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham. Marshall was North Carolina’s secretary of state for over 10 years and Cunningham is a former state senator from Lexington. In the Republican runoff, William (Bill) Randall and Bernie Reeves faced off to determine who would move on to face Burr, who easily defeated his three Republican challengers in May…. – Roxboro Courier, 6-23-10
    • Primary/Runoff Day in Utah, South and North Carolina: What to Watch ForWaPo, 6-22-10
    • Utah Republican Senate primary could be a test for tea party: As a test of the “tea party” movement’s ability to galvanize voters for a single chosen candidate, Utah’s GOP Senate primary Tuesday is likely to deliver a mixed message. Republicans Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee survived a bruising convention in May that knocked out incumbent Sen. Robert F. Bennett and gave the tea party and other conservative groups bragging rights as a dragon-slayer. Now, most of those groups — but not all of them — have rallied around Lee, a 38-year-old lawyer. But Bridgewater, 49, is even or ahead in several polls…. – WaPo, 6-22-10
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