The Big Mo Slows

Charlie Cook notes Democratic momentum “is slowing but not yet reversing. What Republicans should hope for, and Democrats should fear, is that we are nearing an inflection point, when the directions change. That hasn’t happened yet.”

“The key indicator to watch for the rest of the summer is public confidence in Obama. Whether looking back at the economic stimulus package and the budget, or forward to the pending climate-change and health care reform proposals, voters see legislation that is massive, important, and complex. Few will understand the intricacies of any, let alone all, of these measures, which will be defined, positively or negatively, by the media and public dialogue. Whichever party does the better job of messaging will win.”

Fey Earns Emmy Nomination

Tina Fey’s impersonation of Sarah Palin won an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” for her appearances on Saturday Night Live as the Alaska governor during last year’s presidential campaign, according to theHollywood Reporter.

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Quote of the Day

“I am not going to be able to persuade my colleagues to do the right things, so I am just going to have to create pain.”

— Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), in an interview with World Magazine

Reid Endorses Gillibrand

Calling her a “rising star in the Democratic caucus,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he’s backing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) bid to retain her seat in 2010, CNN reports.

Reid picked Gillibrand over Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who plans to challenge the sitting senator in next year’s Democratic primary.

Slam Dunk for Sotomayor

First Read: “In the Sotomayor hearings, there were four days of statements and questioning, several witnesses, wall-to-wall coverage, and it changed … absolutely nothing. Truth is, there hasn’t been a real Supreme Court fight since Clarence Thomas (in ’91) and Robert Bork (in ’87). Folks, that’s 18 to 22 years ago, and since Thomas we’ve seen four justices confirmed quite easily — Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Alito — and Sotomayor is about to make it five.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider her nomination on Tuesday with the committee vote the following week, clearing the way for a full Senate vote by August 7.

Another “C Street” Affair Uncovered

The Capitol Hill townhouse that serves as a dormitory and meeting place for conservative Christian lawmakers “has been linked to a third episode of marital infidelity, this time in a Mississippi court filing by a former lawmaker’s estranged wife,” reports CQ Politics

In a lawsuit, former Rep. Charles Pickering’s (R-MS) estranged wife “alleges that he carried on an extramarital affair with a onetime college sweetheart while he lived at a house at 133 C Street in Southeast Washington.”

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) — both of whom admitted to cheating on their wives in recent weeks — are also members of the Christian fellowship of lawmakers known as “C Street” that met at the same townhouse.

Josh Marshall: “I mean, I don’t know about their politics. But these dudes know how to party.”

Governor Who Rejected Stimulus Funds Now Needs Loan

Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) “was one of a handful of Republican governors who refused some federal stimulus funds from President Obama’s economic recovery package on the grounds that there were too many strings attached to the money,” CBS News reports.

“Now that the state is dire straits, however, Perry is asking the federal government for a loan to cover the very expenses the rejected stimulus money would have paid for.”

Graham in Spotlight During Hearings

Washington Post: “Perhaps it is because Sen. Lindsey Graham is the only Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee who said openly that he was considering supporting Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Perhaps it is because he said that only a ‘meltdown’ would stand between her and a seat on the Supreme Court. Perhaps it is because he said that some of the speeches she has given ‘bugged the hell out of me.’ But whenever the South Carolinian spoke during Sotomayor’s four days of confirmation hearings, senators stopped fiddling with notes or talking to staff members and instead closely watched and listened. The exchanges between the two — Graham’s sorghum drawl and Sotomayor’s South Bronx responses — were the most anticipated of the committee’s work.”

Sanford Traveled in Style

Politico analysis of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R) travel records find he “traveled frequently and in a style markedly at odds with his political persona.”

“The records detail more than $468,000 worth of state-funded travel for Sanford and show that he routinely billed taxpayers for high-end airline seats, racking up more than $44,000 on business- and first-class tickets. He often stayed in pricey hotels that far exceeded the rates he imposed on other state employees.”

The AP notes Sanford’s habit “of more costly travel at the taxpayers’ expense contradicts his claim of frugality. When first running for governor in 2002, the former congressman, who once boasted of sleeping on a cot in his office to save money, blasted incumbent state officials for their expensive flights.”

Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

The biggest news in health care politics in yesterday’s endorsement of the House Democratic plan by the American Medical Association. The Hill notes the AMA “helped torpedo the Clinton administration’s effort to revamp the nation’s health care system 15 years ago.”

President Obama touted the physician group’s move, saying “these doctors are joining the chorus of Americans who know that the time to reform what is broken about the health care system is now.”

Despite the high profile endorsement, cost issues continue to dominate the debate.

CQ Politics notes CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf reported that the “bills in both chambers would increase long-term federal spending on health care. Obama has stressed that a reform bill must rein in exploding health care costs.”

The Washington Post calls the CBO report “a devastating assessment” of the legislation — “fueling an insurrection among fiscal conservatives in the House and pushing negotiators in the Senate to redouble efforts to draw up a new plan that more effectively restrains federal spending.”

$95 Per Vote

The AP crunches the numbers in the latest campaign finance filings and finds that Terry McAuliffe, the former DNC chairman, spent nearly $95 for each of the votes he received in his unsuccessful bid for Virginia governor.

Dodd Email Blasting Lobbyists Sent to Lobbyists

According to the New York Times, Sen. Christopher Dodd’s (D-CT) campaign recently sent out a fund raising e-mail with the subject line: “Those poor lobbyists!”

“To tout Mr. Dodd’s common-man credentials, it quoted anonymous lobbyists complaining that they could not get meetings with him… A link sent viewers to avideo set against the sound of weeping — presumably the tears of a lobbyist.”

The problem? The Dodd campaign neglected to remove Washington lobbyists from its e-mail fund-raising lists and sent it to them as well.

Conservative Group Offers to Sell Endorsement

“The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a $2 million check in return for the group’s endorsement in a bitter legislative dispute, then flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay,” Politico reports.

“The conservative group’s remarkable demand — black-and-white proof of the longtime Washington practice known as ‘pay for play’ — was contained in a private letter to FedEx… The letter exposes the practice by some political interest groups of taking stands not for reasons of pure principle, as their members and supporters might assume, but also in part because a sponsor is paying big money.”

Tight Race in New Hampshire

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in New Hampshire finds the U.S. Senate race shaping up to be a very close one.

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH) edges Charlies Bass (R), 42% to 37%, but gets edged out by the latest candidate to enter the race, Kelly Ayotte (R), 39% to 38%.

Maloney Holds Small Edge Over Gillibrand

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in New York finds Rep. Carolyn Maloney leading Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 33% to 27%, in a likely Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. 

Nonetheless, 30% of those surveyed weren’t sure who they would pick.

Obama Speaks to NAACP

In a speech to the NAACP, President Obama traced his historic rise to power to the vigor and valor of black civil rights leaders, saying the sacrifice of others “began the journey that has led me here.”

Sadi Obama: “We’ve got to say to our children, Yes, if you’re African American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are higher. Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that someone in a wealthy suburb does not have to face. That’s not a reason to get bad grades, that’s not a reason to cut class, that’s not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school. No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands – and don’t you forget that.”

It’s definitely worth watching the whole speech.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics, Virginia

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