“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.
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.”
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.”
“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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.