POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/8

Seniors Overwhelmingly Backed Republicans

Politico: “In an election marked by dramatic defections from the Democratic Party, older voters swung hardest, seemingly threatened by President Barack Obama’s mantra of change. Voters over 65 favored Republicans last week by a 21-point margin after flirting with Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections and favoring John McCain by a relatively narrow 8-point margin in 2008.”

Maine’s Early Voting Cost Cutler

Independent candidate Eliot Cutler (I) says those who cast their ballots weeks early may have cost him the election for Maine governor against Paul LePage (R), the APreports.

Many voters who wanted somebody other than LePage cast their early ballots with Libby Mitchell (D), “who three to four weeks before the election appeared to be their best bet. But many of those early Mitchell voters would have voted for Cutler had they waited and seen that Cutler was surging near the end.”

In the end, Cutler lost by fewer than 10,000 votes. He finished with nearly 37% of the vote, just 1.5 points behind LePage. Mitchell was way back at 19%.

 

Perry Proves Newspaper Endorsements are Irrelevant

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) beat challenger Bill White (D) “for an historic and unprecedented third four-year term by a whopping 13 points” but Mark McKinnonnotes “what is really surprising is the way Perry won. Sure, he did all the traditional things well. He raised a ton of money. He honed a clear and compelling message and communicated it aggressively with great discipline. And he galvanized the Republican base. But, he also did something shockingly unconventional. He told the press to take a hike.”

“Perry didn’t receive any endorsements from the major newspapers in the Lone Star State. And, the governor went out of his way to make sure he didn’t. Perry didn’t attend a single editorial endorsement meeting — knowing he would, therefore, be unlikely to gain any newspaper endorsements. And he didn’t. Which is what he wanted.”

 

Is America a Banana Republic?

Nicholas Kristof: “The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.”

“C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.”

Republicans Set Strategy to Unwind Health Care Reform

“As they seek to make good on their campaign promise to roll back President Obama’s health care overhaul, the incoming Republican leaders in the House say they intend to use their new muscle to cut off money for the law, setting up a series of partisan clashes and testing Democratic commitment to the legislation,” the New York Times reports.

“Republicans, who will control the House starting in January but will remain in the minority in the Senate, acknowledge that they do not have the votes for their ultimate goal of repealing the health law, the most polarizing of Mr. Obama’s signature initiatives. But they said they hoped to use the power of the purse to challenge main elements of the law, forcing Democrats — especially those in the Senate who will be up for re-election in 2012 — into a series of votes to defend it.”

“Given their slim majority, Senate Democrats must stick together if they want to avoid sending Mr. Obama spending bills and other legislation that he would feel compelled to veto, setting up the prospect of a broader deadlock and, in an extreme situation, a government shutdown.”

Quote of the Day

“There doesn’t seem to be anybody in the White House who’s got any idea what it’s like to lie awake at night worried about money and worried about things slipping away. They’re all intellectually smart. They’ve got their numbers. But they don’t feel any of it, and I think people sense that.”

— Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), quoted by the Washington Post.

Bush Paints McCain as Weak in New Book

Politico reports that former President George W. Bush’s new book, Decision Points, doesn’t paint 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain in particularly positive terms. At the height of the banking crisis in 2008, Bush writes, then Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was informed and calm at a meeting about drafting a financial rescue bill.

But then came McCain’s turn to talk: “When Bush turned to McCain, the senator had nothing to say. He passed.”

“I was puzzled,” Bush wrote. “He had called for this meeting. I assumed he would come prepared to outline a way to get the bill passed.”

Bush’s book comes out Tuesday.

 

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