Poll Gives Christie Small Lead

A new Democracy Corps (D) poll in New Jersey finds Chris Christie holding a three-point lead on Gov. Jon Corzine, 41% to 38%, with independent Chris Daggett receiving 10% of the vote.

Key finding: “Corzine’s standing has improved over the past month, with his favorable rating ticking up from 32 percent to 36 percent. Christie’s favorability rating remains at 1:1, 33 percent favorable and 33 percent unfavorable.”

Reid’s Seat Now Rated a Toss Up

The Cook Political Report just changed the rating on the Nevada U.S. Senate race from Likely Democrat to Toss Up.

Polls have consistently shown Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) behind potential GOP challengers.

Wilson Faces the Cameras

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) appeared before the television cameras for the first time since last night’s outburst and continued to defend the rationale for his comments.

He also admitted it was the House Republican leadership that asked him to call the White House last night to apologize.

Meanwhile, the AP reports Obama accepts Wilson’s apology saying, “We all make mistakes.”

Read more…

Pelosi Says There’s No Support for Additional Troops

The big story in Washington, D.C. that’s not health care is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comment that “there’s little support in the country or the Congress for sending more troops to Afghanistan, “the AP reports.

“She told reporters on Thursday that she was eager to see a classified report near the end of the month from Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the situation in Afghanistan. McChrystal is believed to have made the case for sending more troops, without asking for specific numbers.”

Republicans Close Gap in Generic Ballot

A new congressional ballot survey done for the RNC and obtained by The Fix finds 36% would vote for the Republican candidate for Congress, 36% for the Democratic candidate and 28% undecided who they would choose.

A similar poll in June found Democrats leading 38% to 33%.

Early Projection Shows Big GOP Gains in House

Larry Sabato: “In a preliminary projection, the Crystal Ball predicts the Republican Party will pick up between 20 and 30 seats in that election, a sizeable gain, but insufficient to retake the majority. The Crystal Ball reached this conclusion after intense analysis of all 435 U.S. House districts, rating each race on a scale ranging from Safe Democratic to Safe Republican.”

The race ratings also identify 13 toss-up races which will likely be the most fiercely contested in the country: AL-2, ID-1, IL-10, MD-1, MS-1, NH-1, NM-2, NY-29, OH-1, OH-15, PA-6, PA-7, and VA-5.

Democratic Senators Called to White House

ABC News reports that President Obama will be meeting with 16 Democratic senators this afternoon at the White House.

They are: Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Mark Warner of Virginia, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Tom Carper of Delaware, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, and Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

Early TV Ratings Look Good for Obama

TV by the Numbers: “President Obama’s health care speech had a combined 13.2 rating in the early metered markets across NBC (5.5), ABC (4.7) and CBS (3.0). One ratings point = 1% of the television homes. These numbers do not include the viewing on other networks or any of the cable news networks.”

More complete numbers should be available this afternoon.

Wilson’s Opponent Rakes It In

Online campaign contributions to Rob Miller (D), who is challenging Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) in next year’s election, are now pushing close to $200,000 since last night’s outburst.

Meanwhile, Greg Sargent reports national Democrats are using the incident to raise money as well.

Update: Miller’s online tally is now over $300,000.

How Wilson Helped Obama

It’s hard to believe that a lawmaker caught on a live microphone bragging about his extramarital affairs wasn’t the biggest gaffe made by a politician yesterday.

First Read: “Well, South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson didn’t help the GOP’s cause one bit. Indeed, the most effective part of Obama’s speech last night might not have been what he said — but rather what Wilson yelled: ‘You lie.’ It could be an incredibly important moment for the president and the congressional Dem leadership because it does a couple of things: 1) paint a picture of the Republicans as ornery and hard to work with, and 2) remind conservative Democrats that they may not want to line up with folks like Joe Wilson when casting votes. Let’s be honest: Wilson did more to undermine the GOP’s efforts to come across as reasonable opposition as anything any conservative cable host has done in the past few months. Remember how conservatives were able to turn Cindy Sheehan into someone very difficult for the anti-war Democrats in Congress to support during the Bush years? Well, Wilson could end up providing that kind of symbolism. In short, he gave voice — literally — to the president’s attempts to paint some of his opponents as shrill.”

Quote of the Day

“I think it was a bit of a game changer.”

— Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), quoted by Politico, on President Obama’s speech last night despite being a frequent skeptic of health care reform.

Mayoral Candidate Engages in Sex Chat on Facebook

Tony Phillips, a Republican candidate for mayor of Allentown, PA, “is considering bowing out of the race after a flirtatious-turned-salacious exchange between him and a professed married woman on his campaign’s Facebook page was made public,” the Allentown Morning Call reports.

Said Phillips: ”I just don’t know how damning this is, so I will have to wait and see.”

“The Internet chat between Phillips and ‘Delores’ happened roughly a week ago and was supposed to be private… However, a transcript of the Facebook exchange was e-mailed to Phillips and others, which suggests to Phillips that he was ‘lured’ into the chat by someone who was hoping to spoil his campaign bid.”

Biden Predicts Health Care Bill by Thanksgiving

In an interview on the Today Show, Vice President Biden asserted that a health care bill will be completed by Thanksgiving because President Obama has “re-centered debate” and there’s bipartisan consensus for change.

Said Biden: “I believe we will have a bill. I’ve been in the Congress for a very long time, eight presidents. I believe we will have a bill before Thanksgiving.” 

On Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) outburst: “Joe, you embarrased the institution I love.”

Read more…

More Reactions to Obama’s Speech

Last night we posted some instant reactions to President Obama’s address to Congress on health care reform. Here are some additional thoughts this morning:

Ezra Klein: “Obama needed to do the precise opposite of what he’s best at. He needed to bring health-care reform down to earth rather than launch it into orbit. He needed to make it seem less dramatic and unknown. He needed to cast it not as change, but as improvement. All of which he did.”

Walter Shapiro: “Obama delivered what I believe (as a long-ago presidential ghostwriter) was probably his best speech since the 2004 Convention keynote address that put this little-known Illinois state senator on the staircase to the stars.”

Read more…

Actually, Wilson was the Liar

It’s not often that a president gets heckled during a speech to Congress. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) did just that last night yelling out “you lie” when President Obama said his health care reform effort would not insure illegal immigrants. Though Wilson apologized later, he insisted he was correct in his assertion. The facts, however, are on the president’s side.

Politifact: “Obama can make a pretty thorough case that reform doesn’t apply to those here illegally. We don’t find the public option argument enough to make the case that Obama ‘lied.’ We rate Wilson’s statement False.”

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Obama’s Speech Moved Swing Voters

Democracy Corps did dial testing and focus groups with 50 independent and weak partisan voters watching President Obama’s speech last night and found “these swing voters reacted strongly to Obama’s message.” 

Key findings: “Support for Obama’s plan jumped 20 points, from 46% before the speech to 66% after. Importantly, Obama also achieved one of his principal goals of boosting the intensity of support. Prior to the speech, just 2% of these swing voters supported the plan strongly while 26% opposed it strongly; by the end of the evening those numbers were virtually reversed, with 28% supporting the plan strongly against just 8% strongly opposed.”

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