POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/24


Seven Months is a Long Time To Go

Walter Shapiro: “The truth is that we do not yet know what issues Americans will be obsessed with as they go to the polls (or forget to vote) in November. It is conceivable that the health care bill will only become a voting issue when the individual mandates and the major expansion of coverage kick in after the 2012 elections.”

Senate Debate Goes On

“The Senate adjourned late Tuesday night after a chaotic seven hours of debate on a landmark healthcare reform reconciliation bill, with Democratic leaders inching towards a final vote by the end of the week,” The Hill reports.

“The chamber adjourned about 10:30 p.m., with plans to reconvene at 9 a.m. Wednesday. In all, the Senate burned up more than seven-and-a-half hours of the 20 mandatory hours of debate required by the reconciliation process.”

“Another long day and night of debate is expected Wednesday, possibly including an overnight session.”

Quote of the Day

“I guess we’ll be considered smart again for at least another four weeks.”

— President Obama, quoted by ABC News.

A 22 Pen Signature

The White House released a photo of President Obama’s signature on the health care reform bill that he wrote with 22 pens.

Politico has a list of those who received the pens.

Stupak Blasts Claims of Backroom Deal

Republicans are complaining of an “apparent backroom deal” worth $726,000 to three airports in Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-MI) district, “suggesting the funding may have somehow swayed his vote for health care reform legislation,” the Detroit Free Pressreports.

“Problem is, the same round of improvement grants — worth millions of dollars to some airports — went to facilities all over the nation, including those in districts of some of the staunchest opponents to the reform bill. ”

Flashback of the Day

“Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.”

— Mitt Romney, defending the individual mandate to buy health care in the Wall Street Journal back in 2006. Romney now criticizes the same mandate in the recently passed national legislation.

Health Care Bill Reinvigorates Democrats

“The health-care bill that hung around Democrats’ necks for the last several months — right up to the final vote Sunday when some vulnerable congressmen were convinced to support it — has suddenly become a weapon,” the Daily Caller reports.

“If politics were war, Republicans would have just been lured from their walled city to chase a force they thought was retreating, only to find Democrats suddenly turning and attacking them head-on.”

In fact, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) tells Politico the health reform bill “will wind up being politically popular after people realize what it really does” and says he doesn’t believe it will “cost [Democrats] a lot of seats” in November’s midterm elections.

Tea Party Could Hurt Republicans

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Republicans leading the generic congressional ballot, 44% to 39%, but if there is a Tea Party candidate on the ballot, the Democrat would get 36% to the Republican’s 25%, with 15% for the Tea Party candidate.

Overall, the survey found that 13% of American voters consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “The Tea Party could be a Republican dream — or a GOP nightmare. Members could be a boon to the GOP if they are energized to support Republican candidates. But if the Tea Party were to run its own candidates for office, any votes its candidate received would to a very great extent be coming from the GOP column.”

Americans Very Pessimistic on the Economy

By an almost 2-to-1 margin Americans believe the economy has worsened rather than improved during the past year, according to a new Bloomberg Poll.

“A sense of despair pervades perceptions of the economy and nation. Barely one-in-three Americans say the country is on the right track. Fewer than one in 10 say they believe the economy will be strong again within a year. Just 4 percent of Americans who cut back on spending during the recession now say they are confident enough to open their wallets, according to the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.”

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