Archive for the ‘Virginia’ category


November 13, 2009

Flashback Quote of the Day

“I have no plans to leave whatsoever. The rumors that I’m about to leave are false. The reports that I’m about to leave are wrong. I have no plans to leave.”

— White House counsel Greg Craig, in an interview just one month ago.


Obama Approval Rises in North Carolina

New polls from Civitas and Public Policy Polling show President Obama’s approval rates on the uptick in North Carolina.

Tom Jensen: “This improvement in Obama’s standing means that a year after he took the state in the Presidential race by the smallest of margins he is in more or less the exact same position now that he was then. North Carolinians are evenly divided in their feelings about Obama and if he had to stand before the voters in the state again today it would probably be just as close as it was last year.”


Should the Democrats Panic?

Nate Silver looks at the recent Gallup poll showing Republicans taking a lead in the generic congressional ballot and concludes “that between the pressures of the jobs situation and the health care debate, the Democrats are in fairly bad shape.”

“Certainly, if I were the Democrats, I’d be adopting a fairly defensive posture, putting money into defending seats — especially those held by non-Blue Dog incumbents — rather than getting cute and trying to pick off more than a handful of potentially vulnerable Republican seats. I’d also be thinking about policies — like a jobs package and financial regulation — that tap a little bit into the populist spirit and might result in somewhat awkward Republican positioning.”

“So, should the Democrats be panicking? Yeah, maybe a little. But the fundamentals — particularly the poor labor situation and the Republican enthusiasm advantage — should be the reasons for their concern, rather than the results of any one particular poll.”


Not as Bad as Edwards

Matthew Continetti, the author of The Persecution of Sarah Palin and a big defender of the former Alaska governor, makes this point in the Wall Street Journal:

“An October Gallup poll put Ms. Palin’s favorable number at 40%, her lowest rating to date. In a November Gallup survey, 63% of all voters said they wouldn’t seriously consider supporting her for the presidency. Yet Ms. Palin isn’t as unpopular as John Edwards…”

Update: A Political Wire reader notes that October’s Wall Street Journal/NBC poll had Palin’s overall favorable rating at 27%, even lower numbers than in that Gallup poll.


Palin Doesn’t Mention Johnston in Book

Maybe Levi Johnson really does have a dark secret about Sarah Palin that she doesn’t want revealed.

Though Palin’s new memoir takes shots at many people — and “describes heart-wrenching anguish about her teen daughter’s pregnancy playing out before a national audience” — WCBS-TV notes “the 413-page tome doesn’t contain a single reference to the father of her granddaughter, soon-to-be Playgirl model Levi Johnston.”


Key 9/11 Suspect to Face Trial in New York

Here’s a story that will certainly jumble the politics of next year: The New York Timesreports that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, “the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and four other men accused in the plot will be prosecuted in federal court in New York City.”

Due to a recently passed federal law, none of the detainees can be brought to the United States for at least 45 days.

The Washington Post notes that officials expect “that up to 40 of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay will ultimately be tried in either federal court or military commissions.”


RNC Nixes Abortion Coverage

After news broke that the RNC’s health insurance covered abortions, Politico reports the party will opt out of such coverage.

Said RNC Chairman Michael Steele: “Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose. I don’t know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled.”

Until the announcement, the RNC’s plan had covered elective abortion — a procedure the party’s own platform calls “a fundamental assault on innocent human life.”


Leadership by Letting Some Vote Against You

Charlie Cook praises the political skills of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel in getting the health care bill passed last week.

An important point: “The key to victory was that Pelosi and Emanuel understood that their relatively new House majority is built on a layer of conservative-leaning districts won under perfect conditions in 2006 and 2008. And the two actively discourage members from some of those districts from voting in ways that would be construed as out of tune with their constituents.”

Whether it’s the health care or cap-and-trade legislation, the Democratic leaders “managed to get the bill passed with just over the minimum votes necessary while giving maximum cover to their potentially vulnerable incumbents.”


Obama To Focus on Deficit Reduction Next Year

President Obama “plans to announce in next year’s State of the Union address that he wants to focus extensively on cutting the federal deficit in 2010 – and will downplay other new domestic spending beyond jobs programs,” Politico reports.

“The president’s plan, which the officials said was under discussion before this month’s Democratic election setbacks, represents both a practical and a political calculation by this White House.”

“The big question for Obama – and the country – is whether the sudden concern about deficits will be more rhetoric than reality once his first State of the Union address concludes.”


Perry Ahead by Double Digits in Texas

A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) leads Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) by 11 points, 46% to 35%, in the 2010 Republican Primary gubernatorial race in Texas.



November 11, 2009

Strategery for Sale

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, “whose reputations for strategic acumen were badly damaged” during the Bush years, are launching a strategic consulting firm, reports TPM.

In September, the RiceHadley Group LLC was registered as a business in California, under a San Francisco address.


Powell Advised Obama to “Take Your Time”

In a radio interview this morning, retired Gen. Colin Powell says he advised President Obama “not to be rushed into a decision” on sending additional troops to Afghanistan ” because this one is the decision that will have consequences for years to come.”

Said Powell: “This is a very difficult one for him. And it isn’t just a one-time decision. This is the decision that will have consequences for the better part of his administration. So Mr. President, don’t get pushed by the left to do nothing; don’t get pushed by the right to do everything. You take your time and you figure it out. You’re the commander-in-chief and this is what you were elected for.”

Read more…


Pawlenty to New Hampshire

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) will make “the first visit by any potential 2012 presidential candidate to New Hampshire” next month, reports


Graham Censured by Local Republicans

Republicans in Charleston County, SC censured their own Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), reports The State.

Said the resolution: “Sen. Lindsey Graham in the name of bipartisanship continues to weaken the Republican brand and tarnish the ideals of freedom, rule of law, and fiscal conservatism.”

The resolution notes Graham supported the bank bailout and “has shown a condescending attitude toward his constituents” opposing his stance on amnesty for illegal aliens.

Interestingly, the National Journal ranked Graham as the 15th most conservative U.S. Senator earlier this year.


Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Grows

A new Pew Research survey finds just 52% of registered voters would like to see their own representative re-elected next year — approaching levels not seen since early October 2006 (50%) and 1994 (49%) when congressional control switched parties.

Support for incumbents is particularly low among independent voters. Only 42% of independent voters want to see their own representative re-elected — also nearing an all time low.

Despite the voter unrest, overall opinion of President Obama has not soured — his job approval rating of 51% is essentially unchanged since July.


Nothing to Hide

Porn star Stormy Daniels talks to Marie Claire about her transition to politics as a U.S. Senate candidate from Louisiana.

Q: How much will your résumé be a factor?

A: It’s actually starting to work in my favor — I have nothing to hide. A sex tape of me isn’t going to pop up and shame me; there are 150 of them at the video store.

Q: Do you think you’re more qualified than Senator Vitter?

A: Absolutely not. But in one movie, I did play a Secret Service agent marooned on an island controlled by North Korea. I butt heads with dictator Kim Jong-il and come out on top.


An Obama Floor?

According to the Gallup daily tracking poll, President Obama’s approval rate has hit 50% ten different times this year but has never fallen below the 50% line.


First Look at Palin’s Book

Copies of Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue shipped out in advance of the November 17th release date to some of Palin’s associates — and they’re talking to Mark Halperinwho makes these observations:

  • The book is just five chapters long — but “they are very, very long.”
  • The is some “score settling with McCain aides” and “names will be named.”
  • There is “a hearty bashing of the national media.”
  • Palin describes her upbringing as a maverick and talks about “the importance of faith in her life.”

Halperin also notes “don’t look for hefty policy prescriptions” or an index in the book.


Chafee Would Win Three Way Race

An Alpha Research poll in Rhode Island conducted for former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (I) shows him leading a three-way race for governor next year. He released the poll to “help quell rumors he is not long for the race.”

On one match up, Chafee leads with 37%, followed by Patrick Lynch (D) at 24% and Rory Smith (R) at 15%.

In another, Chafee leads with 36%, followed by Frank Caprio (D) at 34% and Rory Smith (R) at 8%.



Sarah Palin launches her much-anticipated book tour for Going Rogue with an appearance on Oprah on Monday. Then, according to her Facebook page, she’ll start a seven-day, 13 city tour.

For those wondering if this is the start of a presidential bid, First Read notes that 11 of the 13 stops are in battleground states and nine of the stops are in congressional districts won by McCain in last year’s presidential election.


Bonus Quote of the Day

“We need to put a bill on the president’s desk and he needs to sign it, so at the State of the Union he’s not explaining why we haven’t done health care.”

— Bill Clinton, quoted by the Wilmington News Journal, to Democrats at a Delaware fundraising dinner.


Obama Meets Again on Afghanistan

President Obama meets this afternoon with his national security team for the eighth time to discuss what to do in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reports Obama “is to consider four final options in a meeting with his national security team on Wednesday… The options outline different troop levels, other officials said, but they also assume different goals — including how much of Afghanistan the troops would seek to control — and different time frames and expectations for the training of Afghan security forces.

An announcement on the decision is now not expect until Thanksgiving week at the earliest.

First Read concludes Obama “doesn’t like his options; it’s why he keeps asking for more plans from his military advisers.”

Meanwhile, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research survey, 49% of Americans think President Obama is taking too long to decide whether to increase U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan while 50% do not.


Palin Book Not a Good Deal

Daily Finance has a great piece on the economics behind Sarah Palin’s new book,Going Rogue, and suggests the publisher may not be making any money.

In fact, “the math suggests that it may be the readers who go rogue on Palin — and on HarperCollins’s plans to right the wrongs of its dismal book sales.”


Helping the GOP’s Recruiting Pitch

First Read makes a good point noting that today’s Gallup poll showing Republicans leading Democrats in the congressional ballot “couldn’t have come at a better time for the GOP, as they put the final sale on prospective candidates for the House, in particular. There are many House GOP leaders who would truly like to make a run at the majority in 2010, but they need more quality candidates in more races. A poll like this is a boost to their sales pitch.”


Prime Minister Criticized for Sloppy Note

“It was a simple letter from the most powerful man in Britain. In an age of big political staffs, computers and spell-check, it was written and signed in the prime minister’s hand, meant to convey heartfelt condolences to a mother who recently lost her son on the battlefields of Afghanistan,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“But the note contained apparent spelling mistakes. And it left an embarrassed Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the defensive, facing a public uproar that forced him to apologize Tuesday for his sloppy handwriting, while scrambling to defend a war increasingly unpopular with the British public.”

The note was first published by The Sun.


Pessimism Grows Among Americans

A new AP-Gfk poll finds 56% of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, a dramatic turnaround from April when 48% thought the country was going in the right direction and 44% it was on the wrong track.


DeMint Seeks Term Limits

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced an amendment to the Constitution that would limit Senators to three six-year terms and House members to three two-year terms, the Washington Times reports.

However, Senate leaders said DeMint’s bill “had a zero chance of becoming law, mostly because of a general lack of interest and the high hurdles to amending the Constitution.”

“It takes a two-thirds vote of approval in both chambers to pass a constitutional amendment and then it must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. The last one to succeed — the 27th Amendment that delays pay raises for members of Congress until after the next election — was proposed in 1789 as part of the Bill of Rights but was not ratified by the states until 1992.”


Quote of the Day

“I may go across Iowa, but it will be to get somewhere.”

— Sen. John Thune (R-SD), quoted by CNN, downplaying speculation he may run for president.


Kasich Catches Strickland in Ohio

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and John Kasich (R) in a dead heat, 40% to 40%, in their race for governor. Strickland held a 10 point lead in September.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Obviously a lot has changed: the Governor’s own ratings have gone down more than the challenger’s have come up. Moreover, when voters are asked who could do a better job handling the state budget and rebuilding the state economy they say Kasich. We still have a year to go, but Kasich is in much better shape than one could have imaged earlier this year.”


Republicans Take Lead in Generic Ballot

For the first time this year, a new Gallup poll of registered voters found more would vote for the Republican candidate than said they would vote for the Democratic candidate if elections for Congress were held today, 48% to 44%.

“The overall results would predict a likely strong Republican showing if the House elections were held today. Though the registered-voter results reported here speak to the preferences of all eligible voters, voter turnout is crucial in determining the final outcome of midterm elections. Gallup will not begin to model likely turnout until much closer to the 2010 elections, but given that Republicans usually have a turnout advantage, if normal turnout patterns prevail in the coming election, prospects for a good Democratic showing appear slim. Of course, the elections are still nearly 12 months away and conditions could shift back in the Democrats’ favor over this time.”


November 11, 2009

Obama’s Best Speech Ever

President Obama’s speech at Fort Hood may go down as one of his best ever.

The president was able to balance his duties as Commander in Chief while consoling a nation in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy. That he was able to do this while taking away the focus on the shooter’s religion was even more impressive.

It was one of those speeches that makes you especially proud to be an American.

Marc Ambinder: “I guarantee: they’ll be teaching this one in rhetoric classes. It was that good. My gloss won’t do it justice. Yes, I’m having a Chris Matthews-chill-running-up-my-leg moment, but sometimes, the man, the moment and the words come together and meet the challenge. Obama had to lead a nation’s grieving; he had to try and address the thorny issues of Islam and terrorism; to be firm; to express the spirit of America, using familiar, comforting tropes in a way that didn’t sound trite.”

Chuck Todd: “That’s going to be a speech that’s remembered and quoted from for quite some time; struck a balance of commander and consoler; not easy.”

The video and transcript are below.

Read more…


Follow Olympia?

NBC News reports that when former President Clinton walked into the Capitol this afternoon to meet with Senate Democrats about health care reform, he ran into Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

At nearly the same time reporters when asked Clinton what he would tell Democrats, he said, “I’m gonna tell them Olympia is right. They ought to follow Olympia.”

The context suggested he “was probably more joking and courteous, than serious.”


Blumenthal Listening Again

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D), “the state’s attorney general since 1990 and once Connecticut’s fastest-rising political star,” was asked if he’ll run for governor now that Gov. Jodi Rell (R) is not seeking re-election, reports the New Haven Independent.

“He answered it the way he does every four years — vaguely, with lots of wiggle room. He said he has ‘no plans’ to seek the 2010 Democratic nomination — for now. But he’s ‘listening’ to people urging him to run.”


Stewart on the Health Care Debate

Last night, Jon Stewart reviewed last weekend’s health care vote in the House. Just priceless.

Read more…


Bonus Quote of the Day

“So, we’ve decided that we are going to trade our Lieberman for their Lieberman.”

— President Obama, quoted by Politico, after his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Christie Says No Funds for Transition

In a radio interview this morning, New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie (R) dropped a bomb: There are no transition funds for his incoming administration.

Said Christie: “Interestingly, the state didn’t fund the transition. They didn’t put any money in the budget for a transition so we need to talk about making sure that we get that squared away.”


Obama Hurt Deeds in Virginia

Republican pollster Glen Bolger notes that while President Obama was not the deciding factor in the Virginia governor’s race, he ended up hurting Creigh Deeds (D) more than he helped him.

In fact, by a 55% to 35% margin, voters thought it was best to elect a governor who would serve as a check and balance to Obama.

“Concern about his policies overreaching permeated to a gubernatorial campaign and helped widen the size of McDonnell’s win. It allowed the campaign to focus on issues that hadn’t been working in recent years for Republican candidates. Concern about Obama’s policies on spending, taxes, and jobs allowed McDonnell to thoroughly dominate those issues. The checks and balances message is a key one, but the bigger lesson about Obama’s impact on Virginia is that his policies have put fiscal and economic messages back into play for Republicans.”


Snowe Vulnerable to Primary Challenge

Public Policy Polling suggests Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) “could have a pretty hard time getting nominated for another term in the Senate as a Republican.”

“There are now more folks in her party who disapprove than approve of Snowe’s job performance. 46% of GOP voters think she’s doing a bad job to 40% who give her good marks.”

Against a generic conservative primary challenger, Snowe would lose 59% to 31%.


Dunn Steps Down from White House Post

White House communications director Anita Dunn “will step down from her post at the end of the month and Dan Pfeiffer, her deputy, will take over,” according to The Fix.

“Dunn, a longtime Democratic media consultant, took over the job on an interim basis earlier this year when Ellen Moran abruptly left the post to take a job at the Commerce Department. Dunn will remain as a consultant to the White House on the communications and strategic ends.”


Congressman Skips Son’s Wedding for Vote

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) “skipped his son’s Saturday afternoon wedding in Iowa in favor of the contentious debate over the public insurance option and abortion funding,” Roll Call reports.

Said King: “Not being here to cast a vote against this health care bill was never an option. I couldn’t live with myself if the bill passed by just one vote, and I wasn’t present.”

King added that voting against the bill was “the best gift I could give my son.”


The Palin Fantasy

David Frum: “Palin supporters have constructed an alternative reality in which their heroine is wildly cheered by the American yeomanry, and despised only by a small coterie of sherry-drinking snobs. No contrary evidence, no matter how overwhelming and uncontradicted, can alter this view: not the collapse in Palin’s support in just 5 weeks in 2008, not the statistical studies that show her as the only vice presidential nominee in ticket to have hurt her ticket, not her rampant unpopularity with American women, not her own flinching from a second encounter with the Alaskan electorate.”

In case you were wondering, Palin is back on Twitter as she prepares to begin her book tour next week.


Sanford Likely to Survive

With South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) “showing no sign that he plans to quit,”CNN reports “only one option may be left for critics who want him gone: impeachment.”

“But legislators on both sides of the aisle in South Carolina believe that the chances of ousting Sanford with an impeachment vote are slim, unless new evidence arises showing that the governor broke the law or abused his power by secretly leaving the state to visit his mistress.”


Reid to Bring Up Health Care Next Week

“Senate Democratic leaders are still pushing to bring up their health care reform bill next week, even though the gambit comes with risks as they race against the clock to get a measure passed before the end of the year,” Roll Call reports.

“By aiming to bring up the bill next week,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “appears to be calculating that the public relations dangers of suspending debate for the weeklong Thanksgiving recess do not outweigh the need to get debate rolling, given the time-consuming roadblocks Republicans are expected to throw up.”

What to watch: “The timing of any Senate bill depends in large part on when the Congressional Budget Office gives Reid its cost estimate of the bill, something Democratic aides said is expected by the end of this week.”


Quote of the Day

“I’m sure there are a lot of people sitting in the shade at the Aspen Institute — my brother being one of them — who will tell you what the ideal plan is. Great, fascinating. You have the art of the possible measured against the ideal.”

— White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, quoted by the Boston Globe.


Clinton Heads to the Hill

Former President Bill Clinton will address Senate Democrats today about health care, CNN reports.

“A constant refrain from Democratic leaders is that wavering Democrats must heed what they say is a lesson of the Clinton administration: fail to pass a health care reform bill, and congressional Democrats will suffer on Election Day.”

First Read: “What’s particularly interesting is that Clinton has strong ties to the Senate centrists who could very well decide the fate of the health-care bill in the Senate. Clinton was governor when Ben Nelson served as governor of Nebraska; Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor just happen to represent Clinton’s home state of Arkansas; and Clinton and Joe Lieberman used to be VERY close personally and ideologically — all before the Lewinsky scandal. In particular, what kind of advice does Clinton give to Lincoln and Pryor? What does he say to Lieberman (if the Connecticut senator ends up attending)? During the ’08 campaign, Clinton found his stride campaigning in, well, red America — in places that are similar politically to Arkansas, Nebraska, Indiana, etc. Clinton’s at his best when he’s giving OTHERS political advice, and he excels at framing an argument better than just about anyone on the political stage today.”


Poll Suggests Rell Was Vulnerable

Perhaps this is the reason Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell (R) announced yesterday she would not to run for re-election next year: A new Quinnipiac poll finds Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) just six points behind Rell in a general election match up, 46% to 40%.

In a Democratic primary matchup, Bysiewicz leads the field with 26%, followed by Ned Lamont (D) at 23% and Dan Malloy (D) at 9%. No other contender tops 3%.


Americans Divided on Health Care Legislation

Gallup: “Americans are evenly split on the potential impact of new health care legislation, should it ultimately be passed into law. Forty-one percent say a new health care bill would make the U.S. health care system better in the long run, while 40% say it would make things worse.”


Behind the Scozzafava Endorsement

The Washington Post has a great piece on how the White House orchestrated a campaign to get Dede Scozzafava (R) to endorse Bill Owens (D) in the wild special election in New York’s congressional district.

“The conservative movement’s third-party candidate, Doug Hoffman, expected her support but, she said, the newcomer accountant ‘had no integrity.’ Plus, the Democrats were so nice! They called. They sympathized. They made her feel good about tossing her support to Bill Owens, who — with her help — became the area’s first Democratic representative in more than a century.”

Meanwhile, the Albany Times Union reports Scozzafava was stripped of her GOP leadership post in the New York Assembly.


November 9, 2009

No Photo of Barack and Bibi?

First Read: “The biggest event on President Obama’s schedule today is a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at 7:00 pm ET. The Israelis usually love to get their American presidential photo-ops, but Netanyahu won’t get one unless the White House releases an official photograph. Why? There is no pool spray or media moment between the two at all. Part of the reason is that the White House only agreed to meet Netanyahu in the last 48 hours, despite Netanyahu’s pleas for a meeting for weeks.”


Club for Growth Backs Rubio

St. Petersburg Times: “It would have been bigger news if the Club for Growth didn’t endorse Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate, but the endorsement announced today is still a big deal for Rubio. The PAC could funnel millions of dollars toward the Miami Republican’s campaign. The group concluded that A) Rubio can beat Charlie Crist in the primary and B) that he can beat Kendrick Meek in the general.”


Republicans Tied in Race to Challenge Boxer

A new Los Angeles Times/USC poll in California shows Carly Fiorina (R) and Chuck DeVore (R) each with 27% support among Republican primary voters in their race to face off with Sen. Barbra Boxer (D-CA) next year.


Pelosi Got It Done

First Read: “Speaker Pelosi deserves her due on Saturday’s vote. She had said she’d get this out of the House as soon as she had the votes. By going when she did, with another Dem in her pocket (the new seat in NY-23) and keeping the House in session over the weekend, she got it done. And she even quelled a potential uprising among the most pro-choice members of her caucus. It was an impressive performance; she had her share of backseat drivers in all parts of official Washington, and she pulled it off. By the way, the NEXT health care vote in the House should be easier to get, given that what comes out of conference (the “opt out” or the trigger) will likely be a tad easier for moderates to support. That said, the abortion issue could still end up a problem at some point in this process. But the way she navigated the bill over the weekend should re-shape the C.W. on her a tad.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times notes, the Speaker is a lot more pragmatic than her opponents admit. “Pelosi’s impulse to tilt at windmills disappeared and her pragmatic heritage came to the fore. That’s what enabled Pelosi to build a majority, one compromise at a time, including the pivotal deal with antiabortion Democrats.”

As we’ve long said, Pelosi is one of the most underrated politicians of our time.


Republicans Have a Growing Women Problem

Politico notes that the “growing schism between the Republican Party’s ascendant right wing and its shrinking moderate core has clear gender undertones” which “raises fresh questions about the GOP’s ability to recruit, elect and even tolerate the sort of moderate women who used to be part of its ruling mainstream.”

Key statistic: There are just 17 Republican women in the House today.

“And with less than a year to go before the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans have enlisted just 13 more to challenge Democratic incumbents. Even if all of them won, Republicans would have at most 30 women in the House — about half the number Democrats now have.”


Crunch Time

“The countdown is on. Excluding the Veterans Day and Thanksgiving recesses,” theNew York Times notes “lawmakers have just about four-and-a-half weeks to line up 60 votes in favor of the Senate’s plan to overhaul the health care system, hash out the differences — and there are plenty — between the two chambers’ versions and get a bill to President Obama’s desk by the end of the year.”

The first step: Senate Democrats hope to get a CBO score for the merged Senate bill later this week.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports the White House, “growing concerned that the Congressional timetable for passing a health care overhaul could slip into next year, is stepping up pressure on the Senate for quick action.”


About the Length of the Health Care Bill

Despite intense criticism of the size of the House health care bill — 1,990 pages! — a simple page count vastly overstates the actual length of bill.

For instance, a word analysis shows the bill is actually less than one-half of one percent of the entire U.S. Code. It’s essentially as long as a Harry Potter novel.


Low Turnout Didn’t Cause Democratic Losses

Charles Franklin: “The shifts in outcomes between the 2008 presidential and 2009 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia were driven far more by shifts in voting preferences among groups than by changes in turnout across those groups. Only age groups show consistently substantial changes in relative share of the electorate. Vote preference, in comparison, shows quite large shifts between election years. While one narrative of the 2009 election was changing turnout motivation, this turns out to be substantially false. Instead, changes in candidate preference drove the Republican wins in both New Jersey and Virginia.”

November 6, 2009

Fox News Off Limits

“At least one Democratic political strategist has gotten a blunt warning from the White House to never appear on Fox News Channel, an outlet that presidential aides have depicted as not so much a news-gathering operation as a political opponent bent on damaging the Obama administration,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

The strategist said the message was, “We better not see you on again.”

“In urging Democratic consultants to spurn Fox, White House officials might be trying to isolate the network and make it appear more partisan. A boycott by Democratic strategists could also help drive the White House narrative that Fox is a fundamentally different creature than the other TV news networks.”


Just a Matter of Time

If you look at the age breakdown of polling data showing support for gay marriage, it’s clear that younger people are much more supportive than older people. Even in states normally considered hostile to gay rights, there is still a significant age difference: For instance, 18-29 year-olds in Alabama, for example, are still more supportive of gay marriage than people 65 and older in Massachusetts.


Tipping Point?

Kim Strassel: “On Jan. 20, Barack Obama began a race against time. The White House knew its liberal agenda would prove unpopular in many parts of the country represented by Democrats. So long as the president looked strong, those Blue Dogs and freshmen and swing-state senators would stick. Show them any sign of weakness, however, and rattled Dems would begin to care more about their own re-elections than they did their president.”

“Tuesday, the White House hit that tipping point.”


House Democrats Line Up Votes

House Democrats “are scrambling” to secure votes to pass President Obama’s health care reform effort, “working to soothe last-minute concerns from rank-and-file Democrats ahead of a make-or-break vote,” the AP reports.

Voting is set for Saturday on the 10-year, $1.2 trillion legislation.

The Washington Post says party leaders “were struggling” to “contain uprisings on the hot-button issues of abortion and immigration that have left them little margin for error as they attempt to push through a massive health-care reform bill this weekend.”

First Read: “The next 48 hours are going to be wild, but considering the country’s focus on the tragedy to Ft. Hood, the battle will take place mostly behind the scenes and out of the media spotlight.”


Unemployment Rate Hits 10.2%

“U.S. unemployment rose by more than expected in October to hit its highest level in more than 26 years and employers cut more jobs than forecast, a sign the labor market continues to struggle as the economy emerges from its deep recession,” theWall Street Journal reports.

“The unemployment rate, calculated using a survey of households as opposed to companies, rose by 0.4 percentage point to 10.2%, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast an increase to 9.9%.”

Interestingly, ABC News notes public opinion on the economy “has not moved” over the last year. But the question is “how long Obama’s got until it goes up, or he goes down – possibly with his party in tow.”


Stewart Spoofs Glenn Beck

The perfect way to start your day: Jon Stewart makes fun of Glenn Beck.

Read more…


Republicans Descend on Iowa

“It is harvest season in Iowa. For Republicans who want to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, though, it is time to start planting seeds,” Bloomberg reports.

Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, and George Pataki all have planned visits before the end of the year. Sarah Palin is considering one as well.

“If it all seems early — the next presidential election is three years away — consider that Huckabee, who won his party’s 2008 Iowa caucuses, had been to the state five times by this point in 2005.”


Strategic Vision Vanishes

Nate Silver notes polling firm Strategic Vision has been very quiet since thecontroversy broke about their methodology and accusations that they possibly faked results.

“Strategic Vision vehemently denied my interpretation of the evidence and made public threats to sue me. But no lawyer has contacted me, and in fact, Strategic Vision has not conducted any further public polling since that time.”


Feinstein Still Considering Run for Governor

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said “she will base a decision on whether to run for California governor next year largely on the solutions the announced candidates put forward to deal with the state’s fiscal problems,” the AP reports.

Republicans have three candidates running for governor: Steve Poizner (R), Meg Whitman (R) and Tom Campbell (R).

Democrats have no announced candidate so far, though Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) has formed an exploratory committee.


November 5, 2009

Crist Claims He Never Backed Economic Stimulus

“It’s getting harder every day and we know that it’s important that we pass this stimulus package.”

— Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), at a rally with President Obama on February 10, 2009.

“I didn’t endorse it. I didn’t even have a vote on the darned thing.”

— Crist, in a CNN interview yesterday.


Bonus Quote of the Day

“We’ll come after you.”

— RNC Chairman Michael Steele, in an interview on Top Line, warning Republicans who support President Obama on economic stimulus or health care.


Dueling Town Halls

In response to the RNC’s twelve hour online town hall to “explain the democratic health care bill,” DNC Press Secretary Hari Sevugan issued the following statement:

“We’re planning a twelve second town hall to explain every last detail of the GOP health care plan.”


Democrats Lead Congressional Ballot

With a year until the midterm elections, a new by Ipsos/McClatchy poll finds Democrats leading Republicans in the generic congressional ballot, 48% to 41% with 6% undecided.

Democrats lead even though 68% disapprove of the job the current Congress is doing while 29% approve.

Caveat: The survey included all adults and not just likely voters.


Avoiding Daschle’s Fate

Chuck Raasch reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has literally read the book on the last Senate leader to go down to defeat in his re-election campaign.

The book is Daschle vs. Thune: Anatomy of a High-Plains Senate Race but Raasch notes, “although there are similarities between Daschle’s experience then and Reid’s position now, there are key differences that argue that while Reid may be down, don’t yet count him out.”


Whitman Opens Up Lead in California Primary

Meg Whitman (R) has a wide lead in California’s Republican primary race for governor, according to the latest Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research poll.

“About a third of Republicans and decline-to-state voters who said they intend to vote Republican said they favor Whitman, who has a 3-to-1 edge over rival contender Tom Campbell (R), Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) remains stuck in a distant third, with 5.5 percent of Republican support.”

On the Democratic side, Jerry Brown (D) held a huge lead over Gavin Newson (D), 43% to 18%, who dropped out of the race last week.


Voter Turnout Way Down

Larry Sabato: “Turnout played a huge role in the outcomes in both NJ and VA, with Republicans showing up in droves and Democrats going fishing, at least to some degree. In Virginia, one result of absentee Democrats was the lowest voter turnout for a gubernatorial election in the state’s modern two-party history (1969 to 2009). The 2009 turnout of 39.8 percent of the registered voters was the lowest in forty years. Even with all the population growth since 2005, the absolute voter turnout in 2009 (1.97 million) fell below that of four years ago (2.0 million). And the electorate was barely more than half that of 2008 (3.7 million). Astounding.”


Quote of the Day

“I can tell you right now, if we don’t pass this bill, I don’t care who you are; if you have a D behind your name and this bill has not been passed, you are in tremendous peril next year.”

— House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), talking with Politico about the health care reform bill.


Nationalizing the Midterm Elections

First Read: “In Axelrod’s interview with one of us, he talked about the Democrats’ turnout problem on Tuesday, and he claimed that if they nationalize 2010, they won’t have that problem. Translation: The White House is going to take a page from the 2002 White House playbook, which is to nationalize the midterms and try and do it on your terms. The downside of trying to AVOID nationalizing 2010 is what happened in Virginia — the base doesn’t show up, etc. So if the White House wants to minimize losses in 2010, then it has to get as many of their 2008 voters to the polls. And that means the president has to be front and center. Axelrod made that crystal clear in his interview.”


New Hampshire May Reconsider Gay Marriage

“Now that gay marriage has been defeated in Maine, attention again shifts to New Hampshire, where lawmakers say momentum from Tuesday’s vote may fuel legislation to repeal the state’s law and give voters a say,” reports Foster’s Daily Democrat.

“Two proposals are being drafted in the N.H. House: One would repeal the law Gov. John Lynch signed in June and re-establish civil unions; the other is a constitutional amendment that would charge voters with deciding if ‘the state shall only recognize the union of one man and one woman as marriage.'”


Paul, Mongiardo Lead in Kentucky

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kentucky finds Rand Paul (R) leading Trey Grayson (R) in their Republican primary match up for U.S. Senate, 35% to 32%.

In a Democratic primary, Dan Mongiardo (D) leads Jack Conway (D), 39% to 28%.

Meanwhile, a Benenson Strategy Group (D) poll conducted for Conway also shows Mongiardo ahead in the Democratic race, 40% to 37%.


Huckabee Most Excites Republicans for 2012

Gallup: “Looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election, 71% of Republicans say they would seriously consider voting for Mike Huckabee. This gives Huckabee a slight edge over Mitt Romney (65%) and Sarah Palin (65%) in this early test of the strength of several potential Republican contenders. A majority of Republicans also say they would seriously consider voting for Newt Gingrich, but far fewer say they are currently ready to support the lesser-known Tim Pawlenty or Haley Barbour.”


O’Malley Could Face Trouble in Re-Election Bid

A new Clarus Poll in Maryland finds just 39% of voters want to see Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) re-elected with 48% seeking someone new as their governor.

O’Malley’s job approval rating is just 48% with 40% disapproving.

However, in a trial heat against former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R), O’Malley leads by a 47% to 40% margin. (In the 2006 election, O’Malley won by a 53% to 46% margin.)

Said pollster Ron Faucheux: “O’Malley faces two major problems that are dragging him down. First, his issue ratings are lackluster, especially on economic and fiscal matters. Second, he’s polling only 34 percent of independents against Ehrlich. In the 2006 election, he received 47 percent of independents. That’s a big drop, one that represents opportunity for a 2010 challenger.”


October 30, 2009

Stewart on Fox News

Jon Stewart takes on Fox News in an especially brutal segment.

Read more…

Poll Gives Christie the Edge

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows Chris Christie (R) continues to hold a three-point advantage over Gov. Jon Corzine (D) in New Jersey’s race for governor, 46% to 43%.

Poll Shows Bloomberg on His Way to Third Term

The latest Marist Poll finds New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg crushing challenger Bill Thompson (D), 53% to 38%, among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.

Thomspon’s campaign released an internal poll last night claiming the race was a statistical tie, but every single independent poll shows Bloomberg with a solid lead.

Reid’s Real Problem

Jon Ralston says Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) decision to include a public option in the health care reform bill doesn’t seem like a calculated move to enhance his re-election prospects.

“The majority leader’s difficulties back home are the product of years of being more interested in the inside-Washington game — the art of the deal — and his natural disinclination to consider the political impact as he cobbles together the necessary votes to pass legislation. That has resulted in a chronic disease — Reid Fatigue — which afflicts much of the Nevada electorate, and its potential pandemic status is the greatest threat to hiswinning a fifth term.”

Burr Faces Tough Re-Election in North Carolina

A new Elon University poll in North Carolina finds that just 19% of North Carolina residents believe Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) deserves another term in office, while more than double that amount – 42% – feel it’s time for a new person to have a chance. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they “don’t know” if he deserves re-election.

Update: NRSC spokesman Colin Reed emails: “Today’s poll demonstrates Senator Burr’s strong standing among North Carolina voters, as he maintains the highest approval rating of any state-wide elected official. While national Democrats continue to search for a challenger in 2010, Senator Burr is working hard on behalf of the people of North Carolina to lower their taxes, reduce the size of government, and fight against the Democrats’ Washington-run health care plans.”

Most Still Blame Bush for the Economy

According to a new Fox News Poll, when asked which president is “more responsible for the current state of the economy,” only 18% say President Obama while 58% say former President Bush. Nine percent blame both of them.

An Ethics Problem for Democrats

First Read: “A leaked summary of ethics inquiries in the House confirms the suspicion that many in this town already have: The Democrats have a growing ethics problem, and it took them just three years back in power to do that. Interestingly, if you dig deep into the Washington Post story, you’ll see this ethics issue really is about one subcommittee and seems to have one person at the center of it all — John Murtha. Couple him with the ethics cloud hovering over Ways and Means Chair Charlie Rangel and you’ve got yourself a ready-made issue for NEW, non-Washington Republican candidates to run on… Don’t forget the ethics clouds of ’91-94 helped derail the Democrats as did the ethics clouds of ’04-’06 for the Republicans.”

“And what really hurt both parties in power at the time was the slowness with which the leadership handled the problems. How will this Democratic leadership team handle this? Rangel and Murtha, in particular, have lots of ‘old bull’ friends in the House. At one point does the White House and Mr. (‘Change the ways of Washington’) Obama say, ‘Enough is enough.’ He’s totally steered clear of this mess for some time and passed it off as House business. But if it’s creating a cloud over Washington, then doesn’t he have to step in?”

Lieberman Will Campaign for Some Republicans Next Year

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) tells ABC News “he will campaign for some Republican candidates during the 2010 midterm elections and may not seek the Democratic Senate nomination when he runs for re-election in 2012.”

Said Lieberman: “I probably will support some Republican candidates for Congress or Senate in the election in 2010. I’m going to call them as I see them.”

Republican Guide to Undermining Health Care Reform

GOP strategist Frank Luntz briefed Republican lawmakers this week “on his new plan for undermining Democrats’ health-reform without making the GOP look bad,” reports Mike Allen.

Luntz’s 8-page memo is a fascinating read. He notes Republicans “still need to acknowledge the need for reform.” He also says President Obama “is right: what Americans want is a solution, not continued political bickering.”

However, Luntz says that once Republicans have “articulated the goal of bipartisanship, it is fair game (and according to our polling, supported by independents) to level a sharper attack on those who control Congress: ‘The Democratic Party controls a 77 seat majority in the House and almost 20 seats in the Senate, along with the White House. If they cannot get a bill passed with such overwhelming control of Washington, it says there’s something wrong with the legislation. Rather than forcing a bill through with only limited support, they should keep working until they can get a bill that represents the opinions of most Americans.'”

Read more…

Bauer Will Run for Governor

In a “sure sign” South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R) is running for governor, “the two-term, Republican lieutenant governor opened a campaign bank account and filed paperwork with the State Ethics Commission,” reports The State.

However, running for governor wasn’t Bauer’s first choice.

In late August, Bauer offered embattled Gov. Mark Sanford a deal: If Sanford would resign, Bauer would finish out the remainder of Sanford’s second term and not run for governor in 2010.

Parsing Tuesday’s Election Results

Walter Shapiro: “No matter how they are spun, rerun and overdone, the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races are not national referenda… But if you are stubbornly determined to try to find lasting answers in the 2009 results, then ignore the macro (counting up what party won what) and concentrate instead on the micro (small trends buried in the exit polls and the actual returns). These are the type of things that Campaign 2009 may help us better understand…”

“But, ultimately, it is safe to conclude that as go Virginia and New Jersey so goes…well…pretty much nothing else.”

Charlie Cook: “Whatever the outcome of this year’s New Jersey and Virginia governor’s races, the results will depend on conflicting factors that are unlikely to be replicated in many contests next year. Beware, then, of drawing sweeping conclusions.”

Daniels Insists He’s Not Running in 2012

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) was asked about possible presidential aspirations in 2012, the Herald Bulletin reports. However, he insisted once again that he has no intention of running.

Said Daniels: “No. There’s only one way you can spell it.”

Fox News Viewed as Most Ideological Network

A new Pew Research poll finds the Fox News Channel is viewed by Americans in more ideological terms than other television news networks.

Nearly half of Americans (47%) say they think of Fox News as “mostly conservative,” 14% say it is “mostly liberal,” and 24% say it is “neither in particular.” Opinion about the ideological orientation of other TV news outlets is more mixed: while many view CNN and the three broadcast networks as mostly liberal, about the same percentages say they are neither in particular. However, somewhat more say MSNBC is mostly liberal than say it is neither in particular, by 36% to 27%.

Andrew Sullivan: “It makes the partisan British tabloids feel legit. Why? Because they are not inherently dishonest the way Fox is.”

Pataki Backs Hoffman in NY-23

Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) endorsed Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman, Politico reports, “the clearest sign yet that even the most establishment New York Republicans now view Hoffman as having the best shot at preventing a Democrat from winning next Tuesday’s special election.”

Bankers Expect Bigger Bonuses

Bloomberg Global Poll of financial executives finds three in five traders, analysts and fund managers expect their bonuses to match or exceed last year’s, with 1 in 10 predicting their best-ever payout. Just one in four see a decline.

Another Poll, Another Dead Heat in New Jersey

The latest FDU Public Mind poll in New Jersey shows Gov. Jon Corzine (D) and challenger Chris Christie (R) in a close race for governor, with Corzine holding a one point lead among likely voters, 44% to 43%. Another 6% volunteer they will vote for independent Chris Daggett and 4% are undecided.

Said pollster Peter Woolley: “At this point, anyone who says their vote doesn’t count is mistaken. And no one knows that better than the campaigns.”

Interestingly, when Daggett is included in a list of possibilities his support grows to 14%, with Christie edging Corzine, 41% to 39%.