POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/10

Pelosi Defends

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) defends her tenure in USA Today:

“The results of last week’s elections reflected the genuine frustration of the American people, who are justifiably angered by the continued high unemployment rate. While Democrats are also disappointed at the rate of job growth, it does not diminish what we have accomplished.”

“Congressional experts have called the 111th Congress the most productive Congress in a half-century. Our Democratic members took tough votes to support America’s working families, putting the American people before politics and thinking of the next generation, not the next election.”

Greene Mulls Presidential Bid

Alvin Greene (D), the unlikely U.S. Senate nominee in South Carolina, called the state Democratic Party to ask how much it would cost to run for president, Politico reports.

When asked if he’ll run, Greene said, “Maybe. I’ll have to see.”

Nelson Not Interested in Party Switch

In an interview on KFAB-AM, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) says Republicans have made no effort to get him to switch parties, saying “They’ve never approached me.”

Said Nelson: “I’m not looking to leave the party, and that’s why the party hasn’t left me.”

Eight States Will Send Just One Democrat to Congress

Roll Call reports that eight states will each send just a single Democrat to Congress next session, and many of them face difficult re-election bids in 2012.

Among those vulnerable in the Senate: Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Kent Conrad (D-ND).

 

Independents Led the GOP Landslide

Charlie Cook notes exit polls show a massive shift by independent voters, who had voted by an 18-point margin in 2006 for Democrats but chose Republicans this year by an 18-point margin.

“This huge shift from one midterm election to the next, by a group that constitutes 26 percent of the electorate, is seismic. It is not a matter of turnout or partisan intensity; it is a clear indication that Democrats alienated voters in the middle who saw an agenda in 2009 and 2010 that was quite different and much more ideological that the one described in 2006 and 2008.”

Bush Interview a Ratings Flop

According to TV by the Numbers, former President George W. Bush’s much-hyped interview on NBC with Matt Lauer finished dead last in the television ratings.

Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll shows Bush’s approval rate at just 44%, up only slightly from the 40% approval rate he had leaving office in January 2009.

Key Republicans Seek to Dump Steele

The Fix: “There is an active effort underway among prominent Republican National Committee members to recruit a serious alternative to Chairman Michael Steele if and when he decides to stand for a second term early next year, according to a series of sources familiar with the conversations.”

Obama’s Indonesian Gay Nanny

As President Obama finally makes his long planned visit to Indonesia, the New York Times takes a fascinating look at the years he spent there as a child.

Most interesting: “His nanny was an openly gay man who, in keeping with Indonesia’s relaxed attitudes toward homosexuality, carried on an affair with a local butcher, longtime residents said. The nanny later joined a group of transvestites called Fantastic Dolls, who, like the many transvestites who remain fixtures of Jakarta’s streetscape, entertained people by dancing and playing volleyball.”

Just Like 1994

Stan Greenberg: “November 2nd was a very bad day for Democrats — indeed, the worst since November 8, 1994 when Democrats lost their four-decade hold on the House of Representatives, control of the US Senate and 472 state legislative seats across the country. Newt Gingrich and his new majorities were triumphant. I was polling then for President Bill Clinton and the poll findings today in this joint poll with Resurgent Republic look eerily similar. On election night, an identical two-thirds said the country is seriously off on the wrong track; an identical 45 percent said Clinton and Obama were moving the country in the right direction; and Clinton and Obama had almost identical favorability ratings – split evenly between favorable and unfavorable responses.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“If the Red Sox came in and lost every game of the year and they kept the manager at the end of the year, that’s a problem. That’s what we seem to be on the verge of doing.”

— Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), in an interview with the Boston Globe, on House Democrats keeping Nancy Pelosi as their leader. Interestingly, Capuano will still back Pelosi.

Republicans Could Gain Edge in Senate

The Wall Street Journal notes that even though Democrats retain the majority in the U.S. Senate, Republican could have the upper hand occasionally.

Key reason: Among the 23 Democrats who face re-election in 2012 are a handful of incumbents from the kind of moderate to conservative states where Democrats took a beating last week: Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jon Tester of Montana, Jim Webb of Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

“So maybe there also are Democrats prepared to drift to the Republican side… Of course, there are distinct limits to how much that means in the ever-messy Senate. In a body where any 41 members can mount and sustain a filibuster to stop action, having a bare majority, real or functional, has limited impact.”

Gingrich Kicks Off Book Tour

Newt Gingrich starts a book signing tour today for a new novel, Valley Forge, and will make at least three different stops in Iowa over the next week.

Weekly Addresses Fall on Deaf Ears

Congress.org wonders who still listens to President Obama’s weekly addresses, the video messages delivered every Saturday morning and modeled off the fireside chats of President Franklin Roosevelt.

“Since May of last year, no video has had more than 100,000 views and most have been closer to 20,000, numbers far below the millions of his campaign videos. Some presidential watchers wonder if the time for the weekly radio address has passed… Roosevelt’s chats, which created a sense of national unity when the country was struggling with the Great Depression, received much more attention. After every address, millions of letters from listeners would pour into the White House.”

How the Industry Shaped Health Care Reform

Just out: Deadly Spin by former Cigna communications head Wendell Potter.

Wonk Room: “Following a playbook developed by the tobacco industry, Potter describes how the insurance industry relied on professional public relations firms and a wide network of news outlets and conservative think tanks to move public opinion against progressive reforms like the public option and ensure that the health law did not interfere with its profits.”

Which Politician Has Sold the Most Books?

The Daily Beast ranks the top-selling politicians in book publishing over the last decade:

1. Barack Obama — 4,650,000 copies sold

2. Jimmy Carter — 2,218,000 copies sold

3. Bill Clinton — 1,899,000 copies sold

4. Al Franken — 1,777,000 copies sold

5. Hillary Clinton — 1,491,000 copies sold

6. Sarah Palin — 1,455,000 copies sold

7. Newt Gingrich — 1,098,000 copies sold

8. Al Gore — 913,000 copies sold

9. Ted Kennedy — 651,000 copies sold

10. John McCain — 614,000 copies sold

Obama Approval Inches Higher

A new Gallup poll finds President Obama’s approval rating at 47% — up slightly from his 43% approval rating in the three days prior to and including last week’s midterm elections.

“While the increase in Obama’s job approval rating since the election is small in absolute terms, the fact that it is up at all after his party’s major congressional and gubernatorial losses is notable. According to Gallup trends, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush saw their job approval ratings decline after their parties’ midterm election losses in 1994 and 2006, respectively.”

Pollsters Warn of Polls that Impact Campaigns

A bi-partisan group of campaign pollsters issued an open letter blasting the “sometimes uncritical media coverage” of the “proliferation” of public pre-election polls that fail to disclose basic information about how they are conducted and that “have the capacity to shape media and donor reactions to election contests,” Mark Blumenthal reports.

First Read: “These pollsters zeroed in on — correctly — the BIGGER problem with public polling these days: the narrative-setting polls released (mostly by robo-pollsters) very early on in campaigns. Nobody can ever “check” the accuracy of these polls; pollsters only get graded toward the end of the campaign when, frankly, many of them can weight their way to semi-accuracy. The bottom line: The flooding the zone aspect of these dial-a-pollsters has ruined the study of public opinion and made pollsters who spend the money to do it right look obsolete. At NBC/MSNBC, we advise all our platforms against using many of these unreliable pollsters. What the industry needs is an agreed-upon grading system that ALL major media would follow.”

Majority of Voters Back Health Care Repeal

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 56% of those who voted in the midterm elections support repealing some or all of the health-care reform legislation signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.

Quote of the Day

“No one cares if you smoke a joint or not.”

— California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), in an appearance on the Tonight Show, despite not backing Proposition 19 which sought to legalize the growth, sale, and use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Manchin Quashes Party Switch Rumors

After a flurry of rumors that Sen.-elect Joe Manchin (D-WV) was considering Republican overtures to switch parties, Roll Call reports that Manchin has no intention of switching parties and is offended that you asked.

Said a Manchin spokesman: “This is exactly what is wrong with Washington — individuals try to put politics before our nation… Joe Manchin wants to go to Washington to encourage Members of Congress to stop partisan bickering and start putting our nation’s needs at the forefront.”

Senate Republican leadership has also denied any offers to Manchin.

Most Highly-Paid Pundits

Newsweek ranks the most influential political pundits according to their income. Included are “politicians, ex-politicians, media personalities, and political consultants who hawk their personal brands in the public marketplace — and influence American political discourse in the process.”

The top five: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart.

Pelosi Draws Record Attacks, Record Funds

Two new revelations show just how much of a double-edged sword outgoing Speaker and likely minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is for the House Democratic caucus.

CNN reports that “More money was spent and more commercials were run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in this midterm election cycle than against any other congressional leader since Newt Gingrich,” with over $65 million spent on 161,203 ads around the country.

On the other hand, Mike Allen notes that Pelosi is “the single largest fundraiser for Congressional Democrats: $65 million in the 2008-2010 cycle, and $231 million overall since 2002.”

Christie’s Approval Bounces Back

Though early polls showed New Jersey voters might have felt buyer’s remorse after electing Chris Christie as their governor, a new Quinnipiac poll shows him with a 51% to 38% approval rating — higher than President Obama or any other statewide leader.

Indeed, 52% say his first year in office has been mainly a success, while 35% say it’s been mainly a failure.

 

 

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