August 16, 2010: Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Dies in Plane Crash & Robert Gibb’s “Professional Left”

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.


The President signs help for states
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 8/10/10


  • First Lady’s Poll Numbers Drop After Spain Vacation: Michelle Obama may think twice before vacationing in Europe again. While the first lady may have enjoyed her recent luxury trip to the south of Spain with 9-year-old daughter Sasha, it may be the reason her popularity rating has plummeted, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
    The survey found that just 50 percent of Americans now have a positive opinion of her, compared to the 64 percent who gave her a thumbs up in a similar April 2009 survey. The First Lady’s positive rating is just a few points ahead of her husband’s approval figure, which stands at 46 percent.
    Much of the drop is thought to be down to her five-day shopping and sightseeing tour of Andalucía, from which she returned last Sunday. That foreign fiesta — during which she stayed in a five star Costa del Sol hotel, where rooms cost up to $7,000 a night — provoked considerable anger back home, even though White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obamas had paid for all of their personal expenses…. – AOL News, 8-16-10
  • Fox News Poll: Wrong to Pass Legislation in Lame-Duck Session: A Fox News poll released Thursday also found that Republican voters remain much more interested than Democrats in this year’s elections, and GOP candidates continue to have the edge in the generic ballot test.
    By a wide 64-25 percent margin, most voters think it would be inappropriate for “current lawmakers to push through legislation on major issues that likely wouldn’t pass once the new House and Senate members take office.” Most Republicans (77 percent) and independents (68 percent) think it would be wrong, as do a plurality of Democrats (49 percent).
    If the election were held today, 44 percent of voters say they would back the Republican candidate in their congressional district and 37 percent the Democratic candidate. A month ago, the Republican candidate had a slim 4 percentage point edge (41-37 percent, July 13-14). Fox News, 8-12-10
  • Why GOP’s predicted gains in midterm elections might be short-lived: A new poll suggests that the Republican Party is actually viewed less positively than the Democratic Party. That doesn’t mean the GOP won’t make gains in midterm elections. But it does mean Americans will likely give Republicans little time to make an impact…. – CS Monitor, 8-12-10
  • On the Issues, Obama Finds Majority Approval Elusive Scores best on race relations, education: Barack Obama’s 52% approval rating for handling race relations is the only issue among 13 tested in two recent Gallup polls for which the president receives majority-level approval. In fact, a majority disapprove of the job the president is doing on eight of these issues, with his worst scores for his handling of immigration and the federal budget deficit….
    These results are based on a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted July 27-Aug. 1 and a separate Gallup poll conducted Aug. 5-8, which asked Americans to say whether they approve or disapprove of the way the president is dealing with each of several issues. Both polls measured Obama’s handling of the economy, which Americans rated essentially the same in each (39% and 38%, respectively).
    Obama’s generally tepid evaluations on issues are not surprising considering his overall job approval rating has consistently been below 50%…. – Gallop, 8-11-10
  • Unhappy birthday? President Barack Obama spends 49th bday without family, public support wanes: President Obama has made few statements about his birthday. And he doesn’t seem too excited. “I will be 49 this week,” Obama said on Monday, ABC News reported. “I have a lot more gray hair than I did last year.”
    Obama’s poll numbers have slipped to all-time lows. According to a USA/Gallup poll released Tuesday, only 36% backed Obama’s war policies, down from 48% in February…. – NY Daily News, 8-4-10


  • Obamas make quick trip to promote Gulf Coast: With a quick family trip to the Gulf Coast, President Barack Obama is offering his personal assurance that the region is a safe, clean vacation destination despite the massive oil spill. Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Sasha and family dog Bo arrived Saturday for a 27-hour stop in the Florida Panhandle. As many residents here had hoped, Obama took Sasha for a swim in the Gulf waters that have absorbed 200 million gallons of oil since an offshore rig exploded in April. The Obamas’ other daughter, Malia, is at summer camp. “Beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean, they are safe, and they are open for business,” said Obama. The president’s dip happened away from the media. The White House released an official photo, but The Associated Press does not publish such handout images. According to the White House, the Obamas swam off Alligator Point, which is in Saint Andrew Bay, not the Gulf…. – AP, 8-15-10
  • Cornyn: Obama out of touch over N.Y. mosque: A top Republican senator said Sunday that President Obama’s comments about a proposed mosque near New York’s ground zero will escalate into a campaign issue leading into the November midterm elections. Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” said that Mr. Obama’s response to the issue shows he “seems disconnected from mainstream America” and “that’s one of the reasons people are so frustrated.”
    “We all respect the right of anyone to worship according to the dictates of their conscience,” he said. “But I do think it’s unwise . . . to build a mosque at the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as a result of a terrorist attack.” Mr. Cornyn added that while the issue “is going to be a local decision,” the “American people will render their verdict.”… – The Washington Times, 8-15-10
  • Administration’s Muddled Response on Mosque Creates New Election Year Debate: The site of a planned mosque is shown two blocks from the World Trade Center, Friday, Aug. 13, 2010 in New York. President Barack Obama on Friday will speak up for religious freedom at a dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, emphasizing that point just as New York City is immersed in a deeply sensitive debate about whether a mosque should be built near ground zero. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
    President Obama’s seemingly conflicting responses over the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero demonstrate another example of the tone-deaf nature of the White House, politicians on both sides of the aisle are suggesting as the remark raises the prospect of another sticky election issue for lawmakers this November.
    The issue of whether to build the thirteen-story Park 51 mosque and Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan — two blocks from where the Twin Towers fell — is one that Democrats don’t need on their plates right now as they try to defend their economic policies and the new health care law ahead of what is expected to be pivotal a midterm election. Republicans, however, see the opening and are ready to pounce…. – Fox News, 8-15-10
  • Gruesome Details of Alaska Plane Crash Emerge: Former Sen. Ted Stevens lay dead in the mangled fuselage of the plane. A 13-year-old boy escaped death but watched his father die a few feet away. Medical workers spent the miserable night tending to survivors’ broken bones amid a huge slick of fuel that coated a muddy mountainside. The gruesome details of the plane crash that killed Stevens and four others emerged as investigators tried to figure out how the float plane crashed into a mountain during a fishing trip. Three teenagers and their parents were on the plane, including the former head of NASA… – AOL News, 8-11-10
  • Petraeus Opposes a Rapid Pullout in Afghanistan: Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of American and NATO forces, began a campaign on Sunday to convince an increasingly skeptical public that the American-led coalition can still succeed here despite months of setbacks, saying he had not come to Afghanistan to preside over a “graceful exit.”
    In an hourlong interview with The New York Times, the general argued against any precipitous withdrawal of forces in July 2011, the date set by President Obama to begin at least a gradual reduction of the 100,000 troops on the ground. General Petraeus said that it was only in the last few weeks that the war plan had been fine-tuned and given the resources that it required. “For the first time,” he said, “we will have what we have been working to put in place for the last year and a half.”… – NYT, 8-16-10
  • Obama declares Gulf Coast ‘open for business’: President Barack Obama declared Gulf Coast beaches clean, safe and open for business Saturday as he brought his family to the Florida Panhandle and promised residents that the government wouldn’t forget them once efforts to stop the leak are finished.
    On a warm and muggy day, Obama pledged to “keep up our efforts until the environment is cleaned, polluters are held accountable, businesses and communities are made whole, and the people of the Gulf Coast are back on their feet.”
    Obama is in the region for a brief weekend trip with first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Sasha (her sister Malia is at summer camp) and the family dog, Bo. Their 27-hour stop in the Sunshine State is as much a family vacation as it is an attempt by the president to convince Americans that this region, so dependent on tourism revenue, is safe for travel — and that its surf is clean…. – Boston Globe, 8-14-10
  • Obama Enters Debate With Mosque Remarks: Faced with withering Republican criticism of his defense of the right of Muslims to build a community center and mosque near ground zero, President Obama quickly recalibrated his remarks on Saturday, a sign that he has waded into even more treacherous political waters than the White House had at first realized. In brief comments during a family trip to the Gulf of Mexico, Mr. Obama said he was not endorsing the New York project, but simply trying to uphold the broader principle that government should “treat everybody equally,” regardless of religion.
    “I was not commenting, and I will not comment, on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” Mr. Obama said. “I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about.”… – NYT, 8-15-10
  • Obama’s Florida trip: With BP oil spill receding, time for a swim?: Obama is feeling pressure to take his shirt off and show the world that the Gulf Coast is safe for swimming after the April 20 BP oil spill…. – CS Monitor, 8-14-10
  • Obama signs $600M border security bill into law: President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill directing $600 million more to securing the U.S.-Mexico border, a modest election-year victory that underscores his failure so far to deliver an overhaul of immigration law. The new law will pay for the hiring of 1,000 more Border Patrol agents to be deployed at critical areas, as well as more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. It provides for new communications equipment and greater use of unmanned surveillance drones. The Justice Department gets more money to help catch drug dealers and human traffickers….
    “Our borders are just too vast for us to be able to solve the problem only with fences and border patrols,” the president said then. “It won’t work.”… – AP, 8-13-10
  • Democrat quits NH House over anti-Palin remark: A New Hampshire Democrat has quit the state legislature after cracking a joke on Facebook about Sarah Palin’s death. Rep. Timothy Horrigan of Durham posted a comment Wednesday that a “dead Palin wd be even more dangerous than a live one” and she “is all about her myth & if she was dead she cdn’t commit any more gaffes.” Horrigan apologized Thursday and resigned. He is also discontinuing his re-election campaign…. – AP, 8-12-10
  • Obama gets blasted as ‘worst president’ ever — by Dan Quayle’s son: Well, we wondered who would be the first public figure to call Barack Obama “the worst president in history” — an appellation applied to most White House occupants at one time or another. We just didn’t think it would be Dan Quayle’s son. Ben Quayle, 33, who is seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. House seat in Arizona, has cut a commercial denouncing Obama, as well as “drug cartels in Mexico” and “tax cartels in D.C.”… – USA Today, 8-12-10
  • Jury in Blagojevich corruption trial only agrees on 2 counts out of 24: Judge says keep deliberating: Elvis look-alike Rod Blagojevich may sooy 12 of deliberations announced they have hit a wall and can agree on only two out of 24 counts against him. That translates to “very good news for the defenn have a message for the jury in his corruption trial: Thank you. Thank you very much. The former Illinois governor was all smiles Thursday as jurors on dase so far,” legal analyst Terry Sullivan told The Associated Press…. – NY Daily News, 8-12-10
  • Sen. Durbin of Ill. has stomach tumor removed: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois has had a stomach tumor removed and is recovering at the University of Chicago Medical Center… – AP, 8-12-10
  • Judge keeps California gay marriage ruling on hold: The federal judge who last week overturned the state’s gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, agreed to a continued hold on his ruling while foes appeal…. – LAT, 8-13-10
  • Ted Stevens plane crash: why it’s so dangerous to fly in Alaska: The Ted Stevens plane crash points to the challenges of flying in Alaska, where the accident rate is more than two times worse than it is in the US as a whole…. – CS Monitor, 8-12-10
  • Washington vs. Paul Ryan What happens when a politician is more honest than his critics: The immune system of the modern body politic is nothing if not resilient, and this summer all of its antibodies seem to be trained on heretofore little known Congressman Paul Ryan. That makes this a particularly instructive moment, because the attacks on the Wisconsin Republican show how deeply his radical honesty is subverting Washington’s flim-flam—to borrow a phrase. “The flim-flam man” is what Paul Krugman called Mr. Ryan in a New York Times column last week that set a spleen-to- substance record even for him. Amid drive-by attacks on the Congressman’s ethics and integrity, Mr. Krugman savaged Mr. Ryan’s “roadmap”—his detailed, long-range proposal to equalize taxes and the size of government—as “a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.”… – WSJ, 8-12-10
  • Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens dies in plane crash: A float plane carrying former Sen. Ted Stevens and ex-NASA chief Sean O’Keefe crashed into a remote mountainside in Alaska, killing the longtime senator and four others, authorities said Tuesday. O’Keefe and his teenage son survived the crash with broken bones and other injuries, said former NASA spokesman Glenn Mahone. The O’Keefes spent Monday night on the mountain with several volunteers who discovered the wreckage and tended to the injured until rescuers arrived Tuesday morning…. – AP, 8-10-10
  • Cold night crept by after crash killed Stevens: Former Sen. Ted Stevens lay dead in the mangled fuselage of the plane. A 13-year-old boy escaped death but watched his father die a few feet away. Medical workers spent the miserable night tending to survivors’ broken bones amid a huge slick of fuel that coated a muddy mountainside. The gruesome details of the plane crash that killed Stevens and four others emerged as investigators tried to figure out how the float plane crashed into a mountain during a fishing trip. Three teenagers and their parents were on the plane, including the former head of NASA…. – AP, 8-11-10
  • Robert Gibbs on flak from the left: ‘No inflatable exit’ from his office: At Wednesday’s White House briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs came prepared to field questions concerning his recent complaint about the ‘professional left.’… – CS Monitor, 8-11-10
  • Gibbs stands by remarks on liberals _ sort of: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday he might have said things differently when he lashed out at liberals he called the “professional left” and suggested some of them should be drug tested. But he told his daily White house briefing that he’s certainly not leaving his job over the remark, as at least one Democratic congressman has suggested. And he stuck to his line that President Barack Obama has accomplished or made great strides on key goals and promises despite criticism from some liberals that he has not done enough…. – AP, 8-11-10
  • White House in dispute with ‘professional left’: The White House was on the defensive Tuesday after press secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out at liberals he dubbed the “professional left,” saying some of them should be drug-tested. Gibbs contended that some progressives critical of President Barack Obama wouldn’t be satisfied until the Pentagon was eliminated and Canadian-style health care ushered into the U.S. Some of them wouldn’t even be happy if anti-war congressman Dennis Kucinich were president, according to Gibbs. His comments appeared Tuesday in “The Hill” newspaper…. – AP, 8-10-10
  • White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’: The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity. During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.
    “I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.” The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.” Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.” – The Hill, 8-10-10
  • Robert Gibbs, putting things a little too plainly: The president has succeeded in passing the bulk of his agenda over the strenuous objections of a resurgent Republican minority. But his critics, particularly those on the left, are still grumbling and unsatisfied. They say the president is not moving fast enough. Some have even compared him to former president George W. Bush.
    That last was enough to send press secretary Robert Gibbs over the edge Tuesday. In a rant that he later described as “inartful,” Gibbs unloaded on what he called the “professional left” and said they were out of touch with reality. “I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug-tested,” Gibbs told The Hill’s Sam Youngman in an interview. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
    In his apology, Gibbs offered a peek inside the current mental state at the White House: “Day after day, it gets frustrating,” he wrote. – (Gibbs’s comments about the Democratic base) The Hill InterviewWaPo, 8-11-10
  • Gibbs condemns criticism from ‘professional left’: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) says Gibbs should resign. “This is not the first time that Mr. Gibbs has made untoward and inflammatory comments and I certainly hope that people in the White House don’t share his view that the left is unimportant to the president,” he said. “I understand him having some loyalty to the president who employs him, but I think he’s walking over the line.”… White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters, “I don’t think there’s any danger of that happening.”…. – WaPo, 8-11-10
  • Seeking Prompt Hearing, Rangel Vows to Stay Put: Facing serious accusations of violating House rules, Representative Charles B. Rangel offered an extended defense of his conduct on the House floor on Tuesday. He demanded a prompt ethics committee hearing and vowed to remain in office
    “I am not going away,” said Mr. Rangel, who asserted his right to take the floor between votes on other issues and drew applause from some Democratic colleagues when he pledged to fight on. “I am here.”… “I’m 80 years old,” Mr. Rangel said, arguing that his constituents deserved to know whether he had done anything wrong. “I don’t want to die before the hearing.” At another point, he said, “Don’t leave me swinging in the wind until November.”… – NYT, 8-11-10
  • House approves jobs bill: Do states deserve $26 billion more stimulus?: The House of Representatives cut short its August recess to return to Washington and pass a state jobs bill Tuesday. Supporters say the bill is much-needed additional stimulus; detractors argue that it has too little money to really make a dent in states’ budget problems. CS Monitor, 8-10-10
  • Rangel: ‘Don’t leave me swinging in the wind’: A combative Rep. Charles Rangel told the House on Tuesday he’s not resigning despite 13 charges of wrongdoing and demanded the ethics committee not leave him “swinging in the wind.” Rangel, who is 80, spoke without notes in an extraordinary, often emotional 37-minute speech that defied his lawyers’ advice to keep quiet about his case. The New York Democrat and 40-year House veteran had a sharp message in dismissing fellow Democrats who, worried about election losses, want him to quit: “If I can’t get my dignity back here, then fire your best shot in getting rid of me through expulsion.”… – AP, 8-10-10
  • Why Obama is not first ‘imposter’ president and won’t be the last: A recent CNN poll revealed that one out of four Americans doubt that President Obama is a citizen. Many are “birthers” who believe he is an illegitimate president because he wasn’t born in this country. But historians say Americans have long accused their presidents of being illegitimate officeholders for all sorts of dark, and bizarre, reasons…. – CNN, 8-9-10
  • Obama on the road to promote higher-ed, raise cash: President Barack Obama’s late-summer dash for campaign cash is picking up with two high-dollar fundraisers in Texas for the Democratic Party. His other business Monday will be a speech underscoring his commitment to higher education, although no new policy announcements are expected. From Washington to New York City to Atlanta to Chicago, Obama has headlined events to raise millions of dollars in recent days for his party. The push comes as looming midterm congressional elections in November will determine whether his party can maintain its grip on power in the House and the Senate…. – AP, 8-9-10
  • House ethics panel outlines charges against Waters: The House ethics committee on Monday announced three counts of alleged ethics violations against California Democrat Maxine Waters, including a charge that she requested federal help for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on its board. Waters, a 10-term representative from Los Angeles, has denied any wrongdoing and had urged the committee to come forth with details of the charges so that she can defend herself in a trial expected to take place this fall. That trial would be the second handled by the ethics committee this fall. Another senior Democrat, former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, faces 13 counts, including failing to disclose assets and income and delayed payment of federal taxes. With the election just three months away, Republicans have pounced on the two cases as indications of Democrats failing to live up to promises to end corruption in Washington…. – AP, 8-9-10
  • BP pays three billion dollars into oil spill fund: BP said Monday it had made its initial deposit of 3.0 billion dollars into a 20-billion-dollar US-managed fund to compensate victims of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. “The purpose of the escrow account was to assure those adversely affected by the spill that we indeed intend to stand behind our commitment to them and to the American taxpayers,” BP’s incoming chief executive Bob Dudley said in a statement. “Establishing this trust and making the initial deposit ahead of schedule further demonstrates our commitment to making it right in the Gulf Coast,” he said. President Barack Obama’s administration earned commitments from BP to pay into the account in mid-June, nearly two months after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering what has become the world’s largest unintentional oil spill…. – AFP, 8-9-10
  • Making a Supreme Court Case for Gay Marriage: Attorney David Boies knows what it’s like to argue a historic case before the U.S. Supreme Court, and he knows what it’s like to lose. A decade ago, he squared off against Republican stalwart Theodore Olson before the Justices in Bush v. Gore, the case that narrowly decided the 2000 presidential election in Bush’s favor and quickly earned a place in the minds of some legal scholars as one of the high court’s most nakedly partisan decisions of all time. Now, thanks to last week’s ruling in favor of gay marriage before a federal judge in California, Boies and Olson are working together on a case many feel is as important — and no less political — than Bush v. Gore, and one that is on a collision course with a court that has grown only more conservative over the intervening 10 years.
    If the Supreme Court decides to hear their case, Boies and Olson must persuade at least five of its Justices that the decision laid down last week in San Francisco presents the basis for a decision both sides say would be a landmark ruling on one of the fundamental rights in American jurisprudence: the right to marriage. As he awaited the California decision earlier this year, Boies told TIME that no matter what the law says, Justices bring their own perspectives to play as they confront cases that deal with vital questions of public life. “There isn’t any doubt,” Boies said, “that Justices’ private views play a role in how these cases are decided.”… – Time, 8-9-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • USA TODAY’s interactive political map – Election 2010
  • Bill Clinton back on the campaign trail stumping for others: Former President Bill Clinton hits the campaign trail Monday with three rallies for Rep. Kendrick Meek as the latter makes a bid for Florida’s Democratic Senate nomination. Last month, CNN learned that President Barack Obama’s aides were putting together an aggressive schedule to deploy Clinton at campaign and fundraising events in key states around the country in the weeks ahead. According to Democratic officials familiar with the plans, the White House specifically wants to use Clinton in key swing states where Obama is not particularly popular, such as Arkansas and Kentucky…. – CNN, 8-16-10
  • Desperate Democrats pin their hopes on scary Republicans: Democrats have no illusions about what they’re up against this fall: a terrible economic climate, a sour electorate and a sizable enthusiasm gap. There’s little that President Obama and other Democrats can do between now and November to change the economy’s trajectory, other than hope for better job numbers in September and October — a dubious proposition given assessments about the sluggishness of the recovery.
    Absent economic changes, the public’s mood isn’t likely to brighten much over the next few months. The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found that almost two-thirds of Americans believe that the economy has not hit bottom. Gallup found that 58 percent say the economy, jobs and unemployment are the major problems facing the country. No other issues come close…. – WaPo, 8-14-10
  • Dem. Party ad targets Toomey in Pa. Senate race: The first negative TV ad of the general election campaign against Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey is going on the air. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said the ad begins airing Friday and portrays the Republican as a champion of Wall Street and the financial instruments that toppled some financial institutions. Toomey is in a close race against Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak. They are seeking the seat held by Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter…. – AP, 8-14-10
  • Pelosi stumps for Democrats as GOP fires away: The big political bull’s-eye on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s back isn’t keeping her from campaigning for Democratic candidates in several states, even if she avoids some of the most conservative regions. Pelosi will attend fundraisers this month in Houston and Dallas, plus make a joint appearance Aug. 16 with President Barack Obama in Los Angeles. She recently headlined a fundraiser in Santa Fe for New Mexico’s three House Democrats, two of whom face tough Republican challengers who criticize their ties to the speaker. That Aug. 3 event underscored the double-edged nature of Pelosi visit. No Democrat except Obama raises more money, say party officials, who credit Pelosi with pulling in $189 million since 2003. But she also is the GOP’s favorite target this year, eclipsing even the president in the guilt-by- association tactic that Republicans are using in dozens of races…. – AP, 8-13-10
  • Longshot US Senate candidate from SC indicted: Longshot Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene was indicted Friday on two charges, including a felony charge of showing pornography to a teenage student in a South Carolina college computer lab. Greene surprised the party establishment with his primary victory in June. His arrest in November was first reported by The Associated Press the day after he won the nomination. Authorities said he approached a student in a University of South Carolina computer lab, showed her obscene photos online, then talked about going to her dorm room. A Richland County grand jury indicted Greene, 32, for disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity — a felony — as well as a misdemeanor charge of communicating obscene materials to a person without consent…. – AP, 8-13-10
  • Ben Quayle’s new ad: Obama worst president ever: The son of former Vice President Dan Quayle unveiled a TV campaign ad Wednesday in his bid for Congress in which he calls President Barack Obama “the worst president in history” and tells Arizona voters that he wants to “knock the hell” out of Washington.
    Ben Quayle’s provocative ad, aimed at voters in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District ahead of the Aug. 24 GOP primary, was released amid allegations that he posted items under an alias for a racy social website a few years ago. In the campaign ad, the 33-year-old Quayle faces the camera directly and begins by saying, “Barack Obama is the worst president in history.” Quayle’s generation will “inherit a weakened country,” he says. He goes on to implore voters to send him to Congress: “I love Arizona. I was raised right. Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place.”…. – AP, 8-12-10
  • For Some Democrats, Clinton Is Campaigner-In-Chief: Former President Bill Clinton has done a lot more this summer than watch his daughter get married. He’s been busy raising money for Democratic candidates, recording robocalls and radio ads, and appearing at campaign rallies. In Colorado, that campaigning rekindled an old rivalry: In the state’s Democratic Senate race, President Obama endorsed the incumbent senator, Michael Bennet, early on, while Clinton backed Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff, who lost in Tuesday’s voting. That split was unusual. For the most part, the two presidents have found themselves in the same camp. But in some parts of the country, Clinton is proving to be a more popular campaigner than Obama…. – NPR, 8-11-10
  • Primary winners highlight political inexperience: All hail inexperience — the less familiarity with politics the better, no matter the party or state. “The support of the voters of Connecticut isn’t bestowed by the establishment or the pundits or the media. It isn’t a birthright,” former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon said after winning the GOP senatorial nomination in her first run for office.
    Two mountain ranges away, appointed Sen. Michael Bennett of Colorado, tried to express the same sentiment after dispatching his rival, a former state house speaker. “This election is the first time my name has ever been on the ballot,” said Bennett, who enjoyed President Barrack Obama’s support in the bitter Democratic primary…. – AP, 8-11-10
  • Incumbent Backed by Obama Wins Colorado Primary: The predictions of doom for incumbents and establishment candidates this campaign season are proving to be more complex in the real world. On Tuesday, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, a Democrat who had hitched his star to the fortunes of President Obama, survived a bitter primary challenge.
    But in this state’s Republican primary, a Tea Party-backed insurgent, Ken Buck, upended the candidate endorsed by Washington Republicans, Jane Norton, a former lieutenant governor.
    The two victories suggested that the anticipated wrath of the American voter might not be quite ready to sweep away all before its path — but the tide is still strong…. – NYT, 8-11-10
  • Ex-senator earns comeback bid in Minnesota: With ex-Sen. Mark Dayton’s wee-hours win in Minnesota’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, we can declare a trend: In this week’s big primary races, Democrats tended to stick with establishment candidates while Republicans preferred the insurgents…. – USA Today, 8-11-10
  • Clinton stumps for Dem in close Senate race in Pa.: Former President Bill Clinton characterized Pennsylvania’s close and competitive U.S. Senate race on Tuesday as a choice between disastrous Reagan-Bush economic policies and the ability of Democrats to fix the damage they inflicted….
    “You ought to say to people, ‘Sestak’s the best candidate and give this deal two more years,'” Clinton told the crowd. “We were in a deep hole, a year and a half wasn’t enough to dig us out of it.”… – AP, 8-10-10
  • Michael Bennet faces insurgent uprising in Colorado Senate primary: Polls show both establishment candidates in the Colorado Senate race – Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican Jane Norton – trailing opponents ahead of Tuesday’s primary….. – CS Monitor, 8-10-10
  • In Connecticut, McMahon Poised to Win Intrigue-Filled Primary: With one day to go before the Connecticut Republican Senate primary, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon leads former Congressman Rob Simmons handily enough in polls that it appears she’ll win without much trouble… – The Atlantic, 8-9-10


  • Weekly Address: President Obama Promises to Protect Social Security from Republican Plans to Privatize It: Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery August 14, 2010 Washington, DC: …A few years ago, we had a debate about privatizing Social Security. And I’d have thought that debate would’ve been put to rest once and for all by the financial crisis we’ve just experienced. I’d have thought, after being reminded how quickly the stock market can tumble, after seeing the wealth people worked a lifetime to earn wiped out in a matter of days, that no one would want to place bets with Social Security on Wall Street; that everyone would understand why we need to be prudent about investing the retirement money of tens of millions of Americans.
    But some Republican leaders in Congress don’t seem to have learned any lessons from the past few years. They’re pushing to make privatizing Social Security a key part of their legislative agenda if they win a majority in Congress this fall. It’s right up there on their to-do list with repealing some of the Medicare benefits and reforms that are adding at least a dozen years to the fiscal health of Medicare – the single longest extension in history.
    That agenda is wrong for seniors, it’s wrong for America, and I won’t let it happen. Not while I’m President. I’ll fight with everything I’ve got to stop those who would gamble your Social Security on Wall Street. Because you shouldn’t be worried that a sudden downturn in the stock market will put all you’ve worked so hard for – all you’ve earned – at risk. You should have the peace of mind of knowing that after meeting your responsibilities and paying into the system all your lives, you’ll get the benefits you deserve.
    Seventy-five years ago today, Franklin Roosevelt made a promise. He promised that from that day forward, we’d offer – quote – “some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against poverty-stricken old age.” That’s a promise each generation of Americans has kept. And it’s a promise America will continue to keep so long as I have the honor of serving as President. – WH, 8-14-10
  • Obama spokesman: No need to ‘turn back’ on ending combat mission in Iraq: Let me give you a quick readout of the president’s meeting this morning with his national security team. They met today, as you know, to discuss Iraq. The president heard directly from General (Ray) Odierno who said that we were on target to complete our drawdown by the end of August. Already we have removed over 80,000 troops from Iraq since President Obama took office.
    General Odierno also reported that the security situation has retained the significant improvements made over the last couple of years and that Iraqi security forces are fully prepared to be in the lead when we end their combat mission later this month.
    The president also received an update from Vice President Biden and Ambassador Hill on our efforts to support Iraq’s leaders as they form a new government and to transition to civilian lead within Iraq…. – USA Today, 8-11-10
  • Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’ Commentary: How: Gold. Tax cuts. Debts. Wars. Fat Cats. Class gap. No fiscal discipline: “How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy.” Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, “Four Deformations of the Apocalypse.” Get it? Not “destroying.” The GOP has already “destroyed” the U.S. economy, setting up an “American Apocalypse.”… – CBS News, 8-10-10
  • Obama stresses education Perry greets commander in chief at airport and delivers letter on security along border: President Barack Obama mocked Republicans as devoid of new economic ideas at a Democratic fundraiser Monday, then pounded his message that education “is the economic issue of our time” before a cheering crowd at the University of Texas.
    “I mean, it would be one thing if having run the economy into the ground, having taken record surpluses and turned them into record deficits, if having presided over the meltdown of our financial system, that they had gone off into the desert for a while and reflected and said, ‘Boy, we really screwed up,'” Obama said at the Democratic National Committee fundraiser.
    “But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, they are trotting out the exact same ideas that got us into this mess in the first place. Their big economic plan is to renew the tax cuts that helped to turn surpluses into deficits – tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans,” Obama said. “And once you get past that, they don’t have another new idea.”…
    “Michelle and I – we had big loans to pay off when we graduated – and I remember what that felt like. That’s why I’m absolutely committed to making sure that here in America, nobody is denied a college education, nobody is denied a chance to pursue their dreams, nobody is denied a chance to make the most of their lives just because they can’t afford it,” Obama said. “We are a better country than that, and we need to act like we’re a better country than that.”…. – Houston Chronicle, 8-10-10
  • Levi Johnston to run for mayor of Wasilla in reality-show pitch: Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin’s on-again, off-again possible son-in-law, is shooting the pilot for a proposed reality show in which he runs for the former Alaska governor’s old job as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Variety reports.
    “It’s hard to figure me out,” Levi tells Variety. “You’ve got to follow me around. I’m very different. I lead a crazy life. But it will basically be both worlds, my life in Hollywood and back home, the real country boy that I am.”
    Variety says the project, being pitched by Stone and Co., is titled “Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor’s Office.”
    Johnston admits he was initially lukewarm about the idea, as pitched by the production company, but now says of his political prospects: “I think there’s a possibility we can make it happen.”… – USA Today, 8-10-10
  • Boehner Targets ‘Anchor Babies,’ McConnell Highlights ‘Birth Tourism’: House Minority Leader John Boehner entered the 14th Amendment fray Sunday, telling “Meet the Press” Sunday that granting automatic citizenship to babies born in the U.S. is “an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here.” He did not say whether he would back a change, but argued birthright citizenship draws illegal immigrants to the country and burdens schools… – The Washington Independent, 8-9-10


  • Julian E. Zelizer: It’s Obama’s White House, but it’s still Bush’s world: When conservatives brand President Obama a socialist or a foreigner, his aides laugh it off. When critics disparage him as arrogant or aloof, they roll their eyes. But if liberals dare compare Obama to his predecessor in the Oval Office, the gloves come off….
    In a host of arenas, Obama is holding on to the Bush administration’s policies and practices, even some that he decried during his presidential campaign and vowed to undo. From the wars we fight to the oil we drill for, we’re still living in the Bush era — like it or not.
    First, consider the strengthening of presidential power. Every president since Richard Nixon has fought to restore the authority of the executive branch that was diminished as a result of Watergate. No chief executive was as successful as Bush, especially since he had the help of Vice President Dick Cheney, who had dedicated much of his career to criticizing the 1970s reforms that he thought had emasculated the White House. Bush relied on signing statements and executive orders to implement initiatives such as warrantless wiretapping without having to get approval from Congress.
    Obama has not done much to reverse the trend…. – WaPo, 8-12-10
  • KARL ROVE: The Blame Bush Strategy Won’t Work Polls reveal voters are receptive to GOP ideas: To save themselves in the midterm elections, Democrats are counting on selling two themes: The state of the economy is all George W. Bush’s fault, and Republican policies will take us backwards. President Obama relished going to Texas this week to blame his predecessor for the current bad economy.
    Nice try, but it won’t work. Don’t take my word. This is what Mr. Obama’s pollster, Joel Benenson, has found. The Benenson Strategy Group wasn’t exactly quite this blunt in its report for the “Third Way,” a centrist Democratic organization. But its data was.
    In its poll released in July, Benenson asked, “Generally speaking, who is more responsible for the recent economic recession—President Barack Obama or President George W. Bush?” The answer was Mr. Bush 53%, Mr. Obama 26%, and “Don’t know” 21%…. – WSJ, 8-12-10
  • U.S. House Set to Pass State Aid as Lawmakers Return From Break: The vote is an opportunity for Democrats to say “Look, we stepped up to the plate. We interrupted our campaign to come back to Washington just for one vote,” said Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey…. – Bloomberg, 8-10-10
  • David Crockett: Why Obama is not first ‘imposter’ president and won’t be the last: “Heavens, where do I start?” says David Crockett, an associate professor of political science at Trinity University in Texas. “No one wants to admit that they got spanked in an election contest. It’s always nicer to think the opponent somehow cheated the system. So yes — Obama wasn’t born here, Bush stole the election, Clinton won only because Ross Perot screwed up Bush’s [the elder’s] chances, Bush the elder won only because he demagogued Willie Horton. … I could go back further.” – CNN, 8-9-10
  • Thomas Alan Schwartz: Why Obama is not first ‘imposter’ president and won’t be the last: You can go back to the 19th century, where calling a president illegitimate was a common — and often nasty — practice, says Thomas Alan Schwartz, a presidential historian at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Though questioning a president’s legitimacy is common, it can turn dangerous, Schwartz says. “On the extreme side, it encourages nut cases to take the law in their own hand.”…
    “Nixon didn’t challenge the election of 1960, though he had a very good case,” says Schwartz, the Vanderbilt University historian. Schwartz says Nixon didn’t protest because he didn’t want to spark a political crisis during the Cold War…. – CNN, 8-9-10
  • Randall Miller: Why Obama is not first ‘imposter’ president and won’t be the last: Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln’s successor, was deemed unqualified because of his personality and his policies, says Randall Miller, a history professor at St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania… “Johnson took everything personal,” Miller says. “He would respond to hecklers. He became engaged in these back- and-forth shouting matches, and that contributed to the idea that he was illegitimate.”…
    The Internet and the 24-hours news cycle feed into claims of presidential illegitimacy, says Randall Miller, a history professor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “The charges against a president are so constant and pervasive,” he says. “You just pound away, and the capacity for people to step back and ask if this makes sense is almost gone.”
    “It’s in our political DNA to want to believe in conspiracy theories,” he says. “That contributes to the mind-set that people in power are illegitimate.” Our love of Oval Office conspiracies and illegitimate presidents covers up a deeper fear — of change, he says. “As life becomes more complicated and you feel alienated, you look for things to make sense out of a world that’s a swirl,” Miller says. “You can comprehend these simpler explanations.”… – CNN, 8-9-10
  • Kevin Gutzman: Why Obama is not first ‘imposter’ president and won’t be the last: “It goes back to the assassination of John Kennedy and people’s feelings that they weren’t getting the straight story about really happened,” says Kevin Gutzman, a history professor at Western Connecticut State University. “People were predisposed to think of conspiracy at the highest levels.”… – CNN, 8-9-10
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: