Political Highlights November 29, 2010: Wikileaks Releases New State Documents, Thanksgiving and Stitches at the Obama White House & Sarah Palin Releases “American by Heart”

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

Image: Obama pardons a turkey

STATS & POLLS

  • Poll: Sarah Palin can’t beat Obama. But Mitt Romney can. Sarah Palin is the front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2012, according to a new Quinnipiac survey. But the poll indicates she wouldn’t win the general election: Sarah Palin can’t beat Barack Obama. But Mitt Romney can – beat Mr. Obama, that is. Except he won’t get the chance, because he can’t beat Ms. Palin to get the chance to run against Obama. Let’s start at the beginning. In a new Quinnipiac poll of GOP 2012 front-runners, Palin would lose a head-to-head matchup with Obama, if it were held today. She would win 40 percent of the vote, and Obama would get 48 percent, according to Quinnipiac survey respondents. But that does not mean Obama is in a strong position. Far from it. By 49 to 43 percent, the respondents to Quinnipiac said that the president does not deserve a second term. Mr. Romney would edge Obama by 45 to 44 percent, according to the Quinnipiac survey. Mike Huckabee would effectively tie with the incumbent US chief executive…. – CS Monitor, 11-22-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • Leaked Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy: A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.
    Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks intends to make the archive public on its Web site in batches, beginning Sunday…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • State Secrets: A cache of diplomatic cables provide a chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world: About the Documents A mammoth cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the last three years, provides an unprecedented look at bargaining by embassies, candid views of foreign leaders and assessments of threats. The material was obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations in advance….. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels: A huge trove of State Department communiqués offer an extraordinary look at the inner workings, and sharp elbows, of diplomacy…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Around the World, Distress Over Iran: Diplomatic cables show how two presidents have dealt with Iran and how President Obama built support for a harsher package of sanctions…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Iran Is Fortified With North Korean Aid: American intelligence assessments say that Iran has obtained Russian-designed missiles that are much more powerful than other weapons in its arsenal…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Mixing Diplomacy With Spying: State Department personnel were told to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, schedules and other personal data of foreign officials…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • Documents: Selected Dispatches: Cables obtained by WikiLeaks offer a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and 270 embassies and consulates worldwide…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • U.S. Expands Role of Diplomats in Spying: The United States has expanded the role of American diplomats in collecting intelligence overseas and at the United Nations, ordering State Department personnel to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, work schedules and other personal information of foreign dignitaries. Revealed in classified State Department cables, the directives, going back to 2008, appear to blur the traditional boundaries between statesmen and spies…. – NYT, 11-28-10
  • WikiLeaks: Clinton ordered probe on UN chief Secret files show Washington wanted to find links between UN members, terror groups: WikiLeaks revealed Sunday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered a probe on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as an investigation on possible ties between UN members and terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
    “Washington wanted intelligence on the contentious issue of the ‘relationship or funding between UN personnel and/or missions and terrorist organizations’ and links between the UN Relief and Works Agency in the Middle East, and Hamas and Hezbollah,” the British Guardian reported, citing the documents leaked by the controversial Web entity.
    Washington also sent out orders signed by Clinton or Rice (aka Condoleezza Rice, Clinton’s predecessor) ordering diplomats to gather “biographic and biometric” on various UN officials, including Ban, the report says.
    It adds that the US may have “blurred the line between diplomacy and spying”, and that the country’s relations with the UN may now suffer due to the publication of the secret orders…. – YNet News, 11-28-10
  • WikiLeaks: Leaked cables reveal the rough workings of diplomacy: WikiLeaks gave some 250,000 confidential and secret diplomatic cables to several news outlets, which published them Sunday. The leaks could prove embarrassing and potentially dangerous. After days of anticipation and unheeded warnings from the Obama administration, the huge and controversial data dump from whistle-blower website WikiLeaks is being published and broadcast. As reported by the New York Times (which, along with the British newspaper the Guardian and the German news magazine Der Spiegel, began revealing the data Sunday afternoon), the cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables “provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.”… – CS Monitor, 11-28-10
  • Obama back on basketball court two days after busting lip, shoots hoops with daughters Malia, Sasha: President Barack Obama got back on the basketball court Sunday, shaking off his lip injury to take on two tough opponents: his kids. Obama brought daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9, to a gym in the Interior Department building for an early morning game, according to the White House. He seemed in good spirits, despite getting 12 stitches in his lower lip on Friday after taking an elbow to the face during a game with family and friends at Fort McNair. The stray elbow belonged to Rey Decerega, director of programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, who said in a press release from the White House that the President was a “tough competitor and a good sport.” “I’m sure he’ll be back out on the court again soon,” Decerega said after the incident.
    Sure enough, Obama and his daughters were all smiles on the court on Sunday, capping off an eventful weekend in which all eyes were on the President’s lip. Known for his jump shot in high school as “Barry O’bomber,” the President is an avid basketball player, and is often snapped throwing the ball around with his family…. – NY Daily News, 11-28-10
  • Obama: “Real and Honest Discussion” on Expiring Tax Cuts: President Obama says he wants a “real and honest discussion” at the White House on Tuesday morning, as Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders meet to talk about the expiring Bush tax cuts and other issues. In his weekly address, the President said, “I believe that if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done.” The main point of contention is what to do with the tax rates for American families making over $250,000. Republicans say they should be included in any tax cut extensions. The top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, who is expected to attend the meeting at the White House on Tuesday, said last week, “Americans don’t think we should be raising taxes on anybody, especially in the middle of a recession.” But President Obama and Congressional Democrats, who argue the government can’t afford to lose tax money coming in from the wealthy, want to extend the tax cuts for those families making $250,000 or less, about 98% of taxpayers. The tax cuts expire at the end of this year…. – Fox News, 11-27-10
  • Horse-drawn wagon delivers White House Christmas tree: A horse-drawn wagon delivered the White House Christmas tree on Friday, with first lady Michelle Obama and her children Sasha and Malia on hand to receive it as a military band played “Oh Christmas Tree.” The family gave the tree — a Douglas fir from Lehighton, Pennsylvania — a thumbs up before heading back into the White House on a cool day under overcast skies…. – Reuters, 11-26-10
  • Obama’s lip busted in basketball game The president receives 12 stitches after being elbowed during a post-Thanksgiving pickup game: Presidential politics can be a bloody business, but it was a friendly basketball game Friday that gave President Obama a cut on his lip that required 12 stitches. Playing in a post-Thanksgiving pickup game with visiting family members and personal aide Reggie Love, Obama caught an elbow to the lip. The injury was treated by the medical unit located on the first floor of the White House. Obama was given a local anesthetic. The medical staff used a procedure that required more stitches than usual in an effort to minimize the scar. The White House did not name the player who bloodied the presidential lip, though in Washington’s hothouse media environment, that name isn’t likely to stay secret for long…. – LAT, 11-26-10
  • Obama Gets 12 Stitches in Lip After Basketball Mishap: President Barack Obama got 12 stitches in his lip after being injured during a basketball game, spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player’s elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the president received 12 stitches today administered by the White House medical unit,” Gibbs said in a statement. The president played basketball for about 90 minutes at a gym at Fort McNair in Washington…. – Bloomberg, 11-26-10
  • US says joint South Korea war games ‘not directed’ at China: The United States sought Friday to reassure China over joint US-South Korean military exercises, with the Pentagon insisting the war games were “not directed” at Beijing. The four-day exercises starting Sunday come in the wake of North Korea’s artillery bombardment of a South Korean island, and will include a US aircraft carrier in a bid to deter the North.
    “The Chinese government was informed of our intent to conduct this naval exercise in the areas west of the Korean Peninsula,” said Pentagon spokesman Darryn James. “It is important to point out that this exercise is not directed at China. As with previous exercises in this series, these operations are defensive in nature and designed to strengthen deterrence against North Korea,” he said…. – India Times, 11-27-10
  • North Korea Issues Warning: Tension mounted Friday near a South Korean island bombarded this week by North Korea, as the North’s military again fired artillery, this time in what appeared to be a drill on its own territory. As an American aircraft carrier steamed toward the Yellow Sea for joint exercises with South Korea, the North’s state- run media warned that the maneuvers could push the Korean Peninsula closer to “the brink of war,” while China also raised objections. South Korea, meanwhile, was struggling with domestic political fallout from Tuesday’s deadly attack, which exposed the weakness of South Korean defenses and brought criticism of President Lee Myung-bak for failing to retaliate more forcefully. On Friday, he appointed a new defense minister, whose predecessor resigned Thursday for failing to keep forces ready in an area that has been the site of repeated military clashes with North Korea…. – NYT, 11-26-10
  • Co-founder of Libertarian Party dies in Arizona: Libertarian Party co-founder David F. Nolan died unexpectedly in Arizona after making runs in recent years for the U.S. Senate and House, the party said Friday. He was 66. Nolan died unexpectedly Sunday in Tucson, where he lived, according to a statement released by the party in Washington. His cause of death remained unclear.
    Nolan helped found the party with a group of colleagues at his home in Denver on Dec. 11, 1971, the statement said. “He not only helped found the Libertarian Party but remained active and helped to guide our party for the last 40 years,” Mark Hinkle, chairman of the Libertarian Party, said in the statement. “We are now the third-largest political party in America, and one of the most persistent and successful third parties in American history, thanks in large part to David Nolan,” he said…. – AP, 11-26-10
  • WikiLeaks has a new batch of classified files: The documents, believed to include thousands of diplomatic cables between the U.S. and other countries, could be released this weekend. The State Department says international relations could be harmed…. – LAT, 11-25-10
  • U.S. embassies warn allies of possible fallout from new WikiLeaks disclosure: U.S. embassies around the world are warning allies that WikiLeaks might be poised to release classified cables that could negatively impact relations by revealing sensitive assessments and exposing U.S. sources, a State Department spokesman said Thursday. The State Department has prepared for the possible release – which WikiLeaks has said would be seven times larger than the Iraq files released last month – by reviewing thousands of diplomatic cables and “assessing the potential consequences of the public release of these documents,” spokesman P.J. Crowley said…. – WaPo, 11-25-10
  • Judge Has Many Options in Sentencing Ex-Rep. DeLay: Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay argued throughout his trial that the deck was stacked against him by a politically motivated prosecutor and a jury from the most Democratic city in one of the most Republican states. But following DeLay’s conviction Wednesday on money laundering and conspiracy charges, some legal experts say the edge may now shift to the Republican who represented a conservative Houston suburb for 22 years. Before DeLay’s inevitable appeal, which his lawyers predict will be a far friendlier process than his trial, he faces sentencing next month from Senior Judge Pat Priest. While technically the money laundering charge carries a punishment of up to life in prison, the judge has wide latitude and could end up just giving him probation…. – AP, 11-25-10
  • Obama spares turkeys ‘shellacking’ he got at polls Following decades-old tradition, president pardons ‘Cider’ and ‘Apple’ in Rose Garden ceremony: It’s official: President Barack Obama has pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Continuing a decades-old White House tradition, Obama issued pardons Wednesday to a gobbler named “Apple” and its alternate, “Cider.’ The two 21-week-old, 45-pound turkeys were raised on a California farm. Obama said it “feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November.”… – AP, 11-25-10
  • Obama pardons 2 turkeys on Thanksgiving Eve: A good-natured President Barack Obama on Wednesday spared the lives of two turkeys that played their own parts perfectly. In what has become a Thanksgiving-eve ritual, Obama offered a presidential pardon to “Apple” and its pal “Cider.” The turkeys remained calm and statesmanlike as the president blessed them with a pointed reminder of his own recent political woes. “Let me say,” Obama said, “that it feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November.” Officially, Apple is now the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Cider is the feathered understudy. Both of the 21-week-old birds were raised on the Foster Farms’ Wellsford Ranch, outside of Modesto, Calif. Both will now live out their remaining days at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. The turkeys will be part of a special holiday display through Jan. 6, and then will live with the estate’s other livestock…. – Miami Herald, 11-24-10
  • Obama to call China’s Hu over Korean crisis: With top U.S. officials continuing to declare that help from China will be key in calming tensions between North and South Korea, President Obama is planning to call Chinese President Hu Jintao in the next few days to discuss the critical situation, according to senior administration officials. The phone call will come just days after Obama held a bilateral meeting with Hu on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea, where administration officials were quick to tout the fact that it was the seventh face-to-face meeting the two leaders have had since Obama took office. “I think that the region looks to the United States, with respect to China, to engage in a positive, constructive relationship with China,” White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told reporters in Asia earlier this month. “We obviously pursue our interest; they pursue their interest. But I think the region looks to us to engage that relationship and manage that relationship in a positive and constructive way.”… – CNN, 11-24-10
  • DeLay Is Convicted in Texas Donation Case: Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful and divisive Republican lawmakers ever to come out of Texas, was convicted Wednesday of money-laundering charges in a state trial, five years after his indictment here forced him to resign as majority leader in the House of Representatives. After 19 hours of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women decided that Mr. DeLay was guilty of conspiring with two associates in 2002 to circumvent a state law against corporate contributions to political campaigns. He was convicted of one charge of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering…. – NYT, 11-24-10
  • US warns of likely harm from WikiLeaks release: The Obama administration said Wednesday it has alerted Congress and begun notifying foreign governments that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage U.S. relations with friends and allies across the globe. “These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.”… – AP, 11-24-10
  • Obama touts Chrysler rebound during Indiana visit: A week after General Motors made a showy return to Wall Street, President Obama highlighted the revival of the other bailed-out auto company during a trip to an Indiana transmission factory. The campaign-style visit to a Chrysler plant here, a city battered by plant closures, was meant to underscore the message that the stimulus, the auto-company bailouts and other federal measures had prevented even worse economic devastation. The unemployment rate in Kokomo has dropped from 20 percent last year to 12 percent, thanks in part to $400 million in stimulus money and the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, administration officials said.
    “No, we aren’t out of the woods yet,” Obama said at the plant. “It took a lot of years to get us into this mess. It will take longer than anybody would like to get us out. But I want everybody to be absolutely clear, we are moving in the right direction.”… – WaPo, 11-23-10
  • Obama Meets with Top Advisers on Korea Situation: U.S. President Barack Obama met Tuesday with his top advisers about the situation on the Korean peninsula, in the wake of North Korea’s artillery attack on a South Korean island. Obama is expected to telephone South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to reiterate U.S. support for South Korea. Immediately upon his return to the White House from a brief trip to the Midwestern state of Indiana, the president went into a meeting of his national security team. According to a White House statement, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Secretaries of State and Defense Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates were among those taking part…. – VOA, 11-23-10
  • Obama Is Preparing New Overtures to Counter Anti-Business Image: President Barack Obama is preparing new overtures to business that may start with a walk into the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a retreat with corporate chief executive officers, according to people familiar with his plans. The Obama administration has been at odds with the Chamber, which fought Obama’s health-care and financial regulatory overhauls and committed $75 million to political ads in the midterm congressional elections, mainly directed against Democrats. The CEO summit would be a way to address complaints from some executives the Democratic administration is anti- business. The Chamber had invited Obama to speak on Dec. 2 and the administration hadn’t yet replied when the Chamber canceled the event, said an administration official. The cancellation wasn’t related to the president’s potential participation, said a Chamber official who declined to be identified….. – Bloomberg, 11-23-10
  • Sarah Palin’s attacks on Barack Obama get personal in new book In America by Heart, Palin tackles race and Obama’s former pastor as well as liberals and being unpatriotic: Sarah Palin’s new book, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, added to indications she will seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 election. Sarah Palin’s new book published tomorrow reads like a dress rehearsal for a campaign against Barack Obama for the White House in 2012, making pointed criticism not just of his policies but about his personal life. In America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, Palin tackles areas that even Obama’s 2008 Republican challenger, John McCain, regarded as off-limits: race and Obama’s incendiary former pastor, the Rev Jeremiah Wright. In a lengthy passage, she questions whether Obama is proud of America. “I think ordinary Americans are tired of Obama’s global apology tour and of hearing about what a weak country America is from left-wing professors and journalists,” Palin says…. – Guardian UK, 11-22-10

111TH & 112TH CONGRESS

  • Full agenda as Congress tries to finish for year: The unemployed and millionaires. Doctors and black farmers. Illegal immigrants hiding from the law and gays hiding in the military. Along with just about everybody else, they all have something at stake as Congress struggles to wrap up its work for the year. Lawmakers, after taking Thanksgiving week off, arrive in town Monday along with the Capitol Christmas tree for the final stretch of the postelection session. Facing a daunting agenda, they could have that tree in their sights well into Christmas week. At the top of the to-do list are the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003 and due to expire at year’s end. President Barack Obama and most Democrats want to retain them for any couple earning $250,000 or less a year. Republicans are bent on making them permanent for everybody, including the richest. The cuts apply to rates on wage income as well as to dividends and capital gains. A failure to act would mean big tax increases for people at every income level. Obama has scheduled a meeting at the White House with Republican leaders on Tuesday, and possible options for compromise will be on the table, including providing a temporary extension for the wealthy….. – AP, 11-28-10
  • DC voting rights effort appears doomed: Advocates of voting rights for D.C. in the House of Representatives say the Republican takeover of Congress appears to have doomed their efforts for now. The D.C. voting rights push had momentum in 2008 after the election of President Barack Obama. But House leaders decided to pull a voting rights bill from the floor this year rather than have it coupled with a measure to weaken D.C.’s gun laws. Now, former Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia puts the chances of voting rights getting through Congress as “zero.” Davis was the lead Republican supporter of voting rights before he retired in 2008, and he says Democrats missed their best chance this year. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who sits on committees but can’t vote on the House floor, is not as pessimistic as Davis. She says she’s looking forward to meeting with new House Speaker John Boehner…. – AP, 11-28-10
  • Lame duck cuts Congress’ break short: Once again, the Capitol could be in for a long winter. Senate aides and senators believe that adjournment this year will be close to Christmas – again. And House Republicans are signaling that they’ll begin their legislating right after the Jan. 5 swearing-in of new members. And with the House planning to come into session in early January, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) might feel pressure to bring the Democratic-led upper chamber back into session around the same time. The result? A short vacation for Washington. “Voters sent a clear message on Election Day that not only didn’t they approve of the policies being pursued by Democrats, but that they expect Congress to listen and shape up,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), explaining the GOP’s desire to get a quick start…. – Politico, 11-24-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Palin says Iowa book signing stop not political: Hundreds turned out for a Sarah Palin book signing in Iowa, an event the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate insisted was not for political purposes. Palin’s stop Saturday at the Borders in West Des Moines brought her back to Iowa, which hosts the caucuses that kick off the presidential nominating season. The “American by Heart” author has hinted that she’s considering a 2012 presidential run, but says the visit was to promote her new book and that’s all. Security was tight, and Palin did no media interviews….. – AP, 11-28-10
  • Is Sarah Palin’s new book a bid for the White House in 2012?: Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and former Republican vice-presidential candidate is publishing a new book called America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag. Her first book, Going Rogue, sold two million copies. She has yet to reveal whether she intends to run for president in 2012, but some see this book as a strong hint…. – BBC, 11-27-10
  • California’s ailing Republicans: A dying breed?: Republicans are relishing the coming of a new day on Capitol Hill. But across the country in California, the party of Nixon and Reagan is drifting toward obscurity. The latest sign of imperiled health: In a year Republicans notched big victories in Congress, governor’s offices and statehouses around the nation, California Democrats made a clean sweep of eight statewide contests on Nov. 2. Democrats padded their majority in the Legislature, where the party controls both chambers and no congressional seats changed parties. California counted more registered Republicans in 1988 than it does today, even though the state population has since grown by about 10 million. Setting aside the politically ambidextrous Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose celebrity eclipsed his Republican registration, the California GOP counts only a single victory in 21 statewide contests since 2002 – that of insurance commissioner in 2006. You’d have to go back more than two decades to find a Republican, George H.W. Bush, who carried the state in a presidential election. “They know who we are and they don’t like us,” former state Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim says bluntly. “The brand of the Republican Party in California is tarnished.”…. – WaPo, 11-28-10
  • McNerney takes 11th Congressional District; Harmer yet to concede: Rep. Jerry McNerney has won the race to retain his 11th Congressional District seat. The latest ballot-tallying updates from the most populous part of the district showed McNerney, D-Pleasanton, again had widened his lead over Republican challenger David Harmer to a margin of 2,475 votes, or about 1 percent of the 237,808 ballots counted. The Associated Press reported fewer than 1,900 ballots remained to be counted. McNerney declared victory Nov. 10, when he was up by 1,681 votes, about seven-tenths of a percent. Harmer, an attorney from San Ramon’s Dougherty Valley area, has yet to concede, and recently attended the GOP’s freshman orientation on Capitol Hill. Harmer’s campaign spokesman didn’t return phone calls and an e-mail Wednesday…. – Mercury News, 11-24-10
  • Democratic Rep. Jim Costa holds on to Calif. seat: Democratic Rep. Jim Costa has narrowly won enough votes to retain his seat in a California district where Democrats hold a 20-point registration advantage. Costa, a conservative Democrat, beat Republican Andy Vidak, a farmer running for his first political office, in the 20th Congressional District. With just a small number of ballots outstanding Tuesday – three weeks after Election Day – Costa had a lead of 3,031 votes over Vidak, 51.7 percent to 48.2 percent…. – AP, 11-23-10
  • President Palin? Don’t dare dismiss it Could Prime Minister David Cameron shake hands with President Sarah Palin in two years’ time?: Before explaining why, let me interject: it is not just Brits who cringe at the prospect of the Alaskan matriarch running for the White House, let alone winning. Plenty of Americans, by no means all of them Democrats, were horrified when Palin last week all but confirmed that she would bid for the 2012 Republican nomination. But with her ineffable talent for publicity, she is proving impossible to ignore. Every speech, every tweet, every Facebook posting, every political endorsement makes headlines….
    With the recession enduring, and Obama and the Democrats over-reaching with healthcare reform, these are propitious times for a populist such as Palin, especially one from a frontier state that reinforces the nation’s pioneering spirit. Moreover, the Republican field for the nomination is, to her benefit, wide open. There is no outstanding candidate and her rivals are all men, who will be wary of criticising not only the only woman among them, but the only candidate with a solid nationwide following…. – Telegraph UK, 11-23-10
  • And Then There Were Two: 2010 Midterms Almost Over: The 2010 midterms are almost, almost over. With five House races and one Senate race yet to be decided this morning, two concessions and an executive decision by the Associated Press have narrowed things down. Democratic Rep. Jim Costa has held onto his seat in Fresno, California, the Associated Press declared Tuesday evening, fending off a challenge from Republican Andy Vidak. Costa led by over 3,000 votes after Election Day. That leaves Republicans’ total 2010 House gains at 63, with only two House races still undecided. Democrats are poised to hold onto their seats in those races…. – The Atlantic, 11-23-10
  • Factbox: Five House races still undecided: Nearly three weeks after Republicans swept Democrats from power in the U.S. House of Representatives, five House races remain undecided and the winners might not be clear for days — or longer…. – Reuters, 11-22-10
  • Mike Huckabee in Iowa: There’s no timetable for 2012 decision: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in Iowa on Sunday that he is considering a 2012 presidential campaign, but he stopped short of giving a time frame for a decision as other prospective candidates have done. “I’m not on a timetable. I’m not on somebody’s calendar to say this is the time when I have to decide,” Huckabee said at a news conference before headlining a meeting of evangelical conservatives in Des Moines. “Am I keeping the option open? Yes. Am I open to it, considering it and giving, you know, thought? Of course. I think it would be foolish not to in light of having been through it, understanding what it’s about.”… – Des Moines Register, 11-22-10

QUOTES

The President records the Weekly Address
White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 11/24/10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Delivers Thanksgiving Greeting:
    Today, like millions of other families across America, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will sit down to share a Thanksgiving filled with family and friends – and a few helpings of food and football, too. And just as folks have done in every Thanksgiving since the first, we’ll spend some time taking stock of what we’re thankful for: the God-given bounty of America, and the blessings of one another.
    This is also a holiday that captures that distinctly American impulse to give something of ourselves. Even as we speak, there are countless Americans serving at soup kitchens and food pantries; contributing to their communities; and standing guard around the world.
    And in a larger sense, that’s emblematic of what Americans have always done. We come together and do what’s required to make tomorrow better than today. That’s who we are.
    Consider our journey since that first Thanksgiving. We are among the world’s youngest of peoples, but time and again, we have boldly and resiliently led the way forward. Against tough odds, we are a people who endure – who explored and settled a vast and untamed continent; who built a powerful economy and stood against tyranny in all its forms; who marched and fought for equality, and connected a globe with our own science and imagination.
    None of that progress was predestined. None of it came easily. Instead, the blessings for which we give thanks today are the product of choices made by our parents, and grandparents, and generations before – whose determination and sacrifice ensured a better future for us.
    This holiday season, we must resolve once more to do the same.
    This is not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced. But as long as many members of our American family are hurting, we’ve got to look out for one another. As long as many of our sons and daughters and husbands and wives are at war, we’ve got to support their mission and honor their service. And as long as many of our friends and neighbors are looking for work, we’ve got to do everything we can to accelerate this recovery and keep our economy moving forward.
    And we will. But we won’t do it as any one political party. We’ve got to do it as one people. And in the coming weeks and months, I hope that we can work together, Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike, to make progress on these and other issues.
    That’s why, next week, I’ve invited the leadership of both parties to the White House for a real and honest discussion – because I believe that if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done.
    For what we are called to do again today isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not about left or right. It’s about us. It’s about what we know this country is capable of. It’s about what we want America to be in this new century.
    A vibrant nation that makes sure its children are the best-educated in the world. A healthy, growing economy that runs on clean energy and creates the jobs of tomorrow. A responsible government that reduces its deficits. An America where every citizen is able to go as far as he or she desires.
    We can do all this, because we’ve done it before. We’re made of the same sturdy stuff as the travelers who sat down to the first Thanksgiving, and all who came after – who worked, and sacrificed, and invested, because they believed that their efforts would make the difference for us.
    That’s who we are. We shape our own destiny with conviction, compassion, and clear and common purpose. We honor our past and press forward with the knowledge that tomorrow will be better than today. We are Americans. That’s the vision we won’t lose sight of. That’s the legacy that falls to our generation. That’s the challenge that together, we are going to meet.
    To every American, I am thankful for the privilege of being your President. To all our service members stationed around the world, I am honored to be your Commander-in-Chief. And from the Obama family to yours, have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you. – WH, 11-25-10
  • Michelle Obama: Giving Thanks and Giving Back:
    Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to come together with family and friends to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. It’s also an important time to be thankful for our men and women in uniform and their families who risk everything so that we can be safe and free. And we must also remember those in our community who are in need of our help and support — especially during these tough economic times.
    In our family, we have a tradition: Every year on the day before Thanksgiving, we take some time as a family to help out people in our community who are in need. Today, we’re handing out turkeys, stuffing, pumpkin pies and all the Thanksgiving fixings with our friends and family at Martha’s Table, a local non-profit organization.
    This Thanksgiving, I encourage all Americans to find a way to give back — and maybe even start a family tradition of your own. Whether you volunteer at a local soup kitchen, visit the elderly at a nursing home or reach out to a neighbor or friend who comes from a military family, there are plenty of ways to get involved in your community. If you’re not sure how to get started, visit Serve.gov.
    President Obama and I wish you and your family a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.
    Sincerely,
    Michelle Obama
    First Lady of the United States WH, 11-24-10
  • Remarks by the President Pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey: THE PRESIDENT: Please, everybody, have a seat. Good morning.
    AUDIENCE: Good morning.
    THE PRESIDENT: I have my two trusty assistants here — (laughter) — Malia and Sasha for one of the most important duties that I carry out as President.
    Before everybody heads home for Thanksgiving, there is one official duty I am sworn to uphold as the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth. Today, I have the awesome responsibility of granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys. Now, for the record, let me say that it feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November. (Laughter.)
    This year’s national turkey goes by the name of Apple, and his feathered understudy is appropriately named Cider. They are being presented today by the Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, Yubert Envia — and I want to just point out that Yubert seems very comfortable with that turkey. (Laughter.) As well as the man who helped raise and handle them since birth, Ira Brister. Where’s Ira? There’s Ira. Give Ira a big round of applause for raising such outstanding turkeys. (Applause.) I want to thank you both for joining us here at the White House.
    Now, Apple and Cider came to us from the Foster Farms Wellsford Ranch, just outside of Modesto, California. Out of about 20,000 turkeys born at Foster Farms this summer, 25 were selected for a final competition that involved strutting their stuff before a panel of judges with an eclectic mix of music playing in the background. (Laughter.) It’s kind of like a turkey version of “Dancing With the Stars” — (laughter) — except the stakes for the contestants was much higher. (Laughter.)
    Only one pair would survive and win the big prize: life — (laughter) — and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, where they’ve been living it up on corn feed at the W hotel. The W hotel has really been putting them up. (Laughter.) It’s great advertising. (Laughter.) It makes you want to stay at the W. (Laughter.) And after today, Apple and Cider will spend their retirement at the same beautiful place our first President spent his –- Mount Vernon, Virginia…. – WH, 11-24-10
  • Pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey: This, of course, is what’s truly meant by Thanksgiving -– a holiday that asks us to be thankful for what we have, and generous to those who have less. It’s a time to spend with the ones we love, and a chance to show compassion and concern to people we’ve never met. It’s a tradition that’s brought us together as a community since before we were a nation, when the ground we’re standing on was nothing but wilderness.
    Back then, the simple act of survival was often the greatest blessing of all. And later, President Lincoln declared the first national day of Thanksgiving in the midst of the Civil War. During the depths of the Great Depression, local businesses gave donations and charities opened their doors to families who didn’t have a place to celebrate Thanksgiving. In times of war, our military has gone through great lengths to give our men and women on the front lines a turkey dinner and a taste of home.
    So in America, we come together when times are hard. We don’t give up. We don’t complain. And we don’t turn our backs on one another. Instead, we look out for another and we pitch in and we give what we can. And in the process, we reveal to the world what we love so much about this country.
    That’s who we are. And that’s who Thanksgiving reminds us to be. So I hope everyone takes some time during this holiday season to give back and serve their community in some way. And I also want to take a moment to say how grateful I am to the men and women who are serving this country bravely and selflessly in places far away from home right now. You and your families are in our thoughts and in our prayers, and you make me so very proud to be your Commander-in-Chief. – WH, 11-24-10
  • Obama sets out to defend record (including health care): “The fact is, is that we stabilized the financial system,” Obama said during the interview broadcast on ABC’s 20/20. “We turned an economy that was contracting to one that was growing. We have added a million jobs over the last year to the economy.”
    I am absolutely confident that when we fully implemented health care, and we started to see those costs go down and we have seen people who don’t have health insurance get health insurance, and we have seen families who have health insurance more secure and they are not being jerked around by arbitrary rules from their insurance companies, that that’s gonna be a lasting legacy that I am extraordinarily proud of.
    We haven’t seen all the progress that they said they were going to engage in. So part of what we’re doing right now is monitoring: have, in fact, all the political prisoners who they said were going to be released, have they been released?
    Step by step, we’re exploring other ways that we can break the impasse. But my watchword is how do we assure freedom and dignity for the Cuban people? And if in fact Cuba’s ready to turn a corner, I think they will find a welcome partner in the United States of America. But we’re not there yet…. – USA Today, 11-27-10
  • Obama to ABC’s Barbara Walters: Pursuing an overhaul of the nation’s health care system was worth the time and effort. “That’s going to be a lasting legacy that I am extraordinarily proud of,” Obama says.
    The first family says grace together every night it can. “In the end we always say, ‘We hope we live long and strong,'” Michelle Obama says.
    Thanksgiving at the White House was a family-and-friends affair, but the guests didn’t have to contribute. “The Secret Service would have to taste everything,” the president quips…. – USA Today, 11-26-10
  • Exclusive: President Barack and Michelle Obama Reflect on Tenure President and First Lady Open Up to Barbara Walters on Family Life, Thanksgiving Traditions: “This is gonna be something that evolves. We are gonna have to work on it,” Obama told Barbara Walters, indicating the need for new technologies. “I understand people’s frustrations with it, but I also know that if there was an explosion in the air that killed a couple of hundred people…and it turned out that we could have prevented it possibly… that would be something that would be pretty upsetting to most of us — including me.”…. – ABC News, 11-26-10
  • Obama to ABC: Pat-downs worth the price: President Obama says full-body screenings and extensive pat-downs are part of an evolving air travel security strategy that’s needed to prevent further acts of terrorism. Obama tells ABC’s Barbara Walters that and more on a Thanksgiving special airing at 10 p.m. ET tonight. “This is going to be something that evolves. We are going to have to work on it,” Obama says, indicating the need for new technologies. “I understand people’s frustrations with it, but I also know that if there was an explosion in the air that killed a couple of hundred people … and it turned out that we could have prevented it possibly … that would be something that would be pretty upsetting to most of us, including me.”… USA Today, 11-26-10
  • Obama Hints at Greater Focus on Education, Research: President Barack Obama defends his legislative priorities in an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters that airs Friday night, while hinting at a greater focus on education and research in the future.
    “We have got a lot more work to do, but I am confident that if we make the investments we need to make sure our kids are getting the best education…if we are investing in our infrastructure…We have got a lot more work to do, but I am confident that if we are investing in research and development that continues to make us an innovation leader for the future, that we are gonna do great,” Mr. Obama says, according to excerpts released by ABC. “I am very, very confident that our best days are still ahead of us.” “This notion that somehow you can only do one thing at once is simply not true,” Mr. Obama said. “The fact is, is that we stabilized the financial system…we turned an economy that was contracting to one that was growing. We have added a million jobs over the last year to the economy…. “I am absolutely confident that when we fully implemented health care, and we started to see those costs go down and we have seen people who don’t have health insurance get health insurance, and we have seen families who have health insurance more secure and they are not being jerked around by arbitrary rules from their insurance companies, that that’s gonna be a lasting legacy that I am extraordinarily proud of,” he said. WSJ, 11-26-10
  • Sarah Palin: ‘We Gotta Stand With Our North Korean Allies’: Was it a simple blunder or did a possible 2012 presidential contender really get her geography wrong? That’s the question being debated after Sarah Palin said in an interview with Glenn Beck Wednesday that North Korea was a U.S. ally. When asked by Beck how she would handle a situation like the one that was developing in North Korea, Palin responded: “This is stemming from, I think, a greater problem when we’re all sitting around asking, ‘Oh no, what are we going to do,’ and we’re not having a lot of faith that the White House is going to come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what it is that North Korea is going to do.” It is unclear whether Palin is talking about sanctions against North Korea, or U.S. sanctioning — i.e. approving or supporting — its actions. Palin continued: “Obviously, we gotta stand with our North Korean allies,” when Beck interrupted and corrected her to say “South Korea.”… – ABC News, 11-25-10
  • Palin fires back at ‘blue-blood’ Barbara Bush: In an interview with Larry King, former first lady Barbara Bush said she hopes former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin chooses to stay in Alaska. “I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful,” Bush said. “And I think she’s very happy in Alaska — and I hope she’ll stay there.” Also of note in the Larry King interview, former President George H.W. Bush said he is “confused” by the tea party, adding that he doesn’t “know what it really is.” Still, he said, “some of [their] ideas make a lot of sense.”… – WaPo, 11-24-10
  • Palin fires back at ‘blue-blood’ Barbara Bush: “I don’t want to concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I don’t think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods — and I want to say it will all due respect because I love the Bushes — the blue-bloods who want to pick and choose their winners instead of allowing competition,” Palin said.
    Palin also suggested that the Bushes upper-class status had contributed to “the economic policies that were in place that got us into these economic woeful times.”…. – WaPo, 11-24-10
  • Sarah Palin Hits George and Barbara Bush as Elite “Blue Bloods”: Appearing on Laura Ingraham’s radio show today, Sarah Palin said that while she “love[s] the Bushes,” she sees George H.W. and Barbara Bush as “blue bloods” who are trying to “pick and choose” the 2012 Republican presidential nominee for president. Palin replied that said elites don’t understand that “competition is good.” Efforts to “shoot internally” don’t make sense, Palin continued, but “that’s the way they roll.”
    “I don’t want to sort of concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I don’t think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods — and I say it with all due respect, because I love the Bushes — but the blue bloods who want to pick and chose their winners instead of allowing competition to pick and choose the winners.”
    “I don’t know if that kind of stuff is planned out, but it is what it is, we deal with it, and as I say we forge ahead and we keep doing what we’re doing,” Palin added. Top Republicans are reportedly working behind the scenes to keep Palin from winning the Republican nomination out of fears that the polarizing former vice presidential candidate would lose badly to President Obama in a general election.
    “Instead of a government thinking that they need to take over, make decisions for us according to some politician or politician’s wife’s priority, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions, and then our country gets back on the right track,” she said…. – CBS News, 11-24-10
  • Barack Obama reveals he doesn’t view Palin as a threat: President Barack Obama indicated he is not worried about a possible 2012 presidential contest against Sarah Palin, saying: “I don’t think about her.” A poll this week showed Mr Obama, right, leading Mrs Palin, left, by 48 per cent to 40 per cent…
    Barack Obama indicated that he was not worried about a possible 2012 presidential contest against Sarah Palin, saying: “I don’t think about her.” The US president said he had “respect for her skills” but dismissed the notion that he could be defeated by the former governor of Alaska in a race for the White House. He has previously avoided discussing such a contest, but he opened up during an interview with the veteran broadcaster Barbara Walters. Asked whether he could beat Mrs Palin in 2012, he said: “I don’t speculate on what’s going to happen two years from now.” When pressed, he said: “I don’t think about Sarah Palin. Obviously, Sarah Palin has a strong base of support in the Republican Party and I respect those skills. “But I spend most of my time right now on how I can be the best possible president.”… – Telegraph UK, 11-24-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Dear First Lady Michelle: And it’s not just the president who has captured their attention — his wife, Michelle, has, too. From our students’ perspective, Mrs. Obama is glamorous but accessible, maternal but cool. They trust her. So, earlier this fall, 826 National hosted a series of workshops inviting students to write to the first lady. The results were collected in the book “I Live Real Close to Where You Used to Live: Kids’ Letters to Michelle Obama (and to Sasha, Malia and Bo).” Here is a sampling of what they came up with; some letters have been edited for space. — LAUREN HALL, grants director for 826 National… – NYT, 11-27-10
  • Is America on the path to ‘permanent war’?: When the president decided to send more troops to a distant country during an unpopular war, one powerful senator had enough…. As the Afghanistan war enters its ninth year, Andrew Bacevich and other commentators are asking: When does it end? They say the nation’s national security leaders have put the U.S. on an unsustainable path to perpetual war and that President Obama is doing little to stop them. Bacevich has become a leading voice among anti-war critics. He is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, a former West Point instructor and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He’s also a Boston University international relations professor who offers a historical perspective with his criticism. He says Obama has been ensnared by the “Washington Rules,” a set of assumptions that have guided presidents since Harry Truman.
    The rules say that the U.S. should act as a global policeman. “Fixing Iraq or Afghanistan ends up taking precedence over fixing Cleveland or Detroit,” Bacevich writes. His solution: The U.S. should stop deploying a “global occupation force” and focus on nation-building at home. “The job is too big,” he says of the U.S. global military presence. “We don’t have enough money. We don’t have enough troops. There’s a growing recognition that the amount of red ink we’re spilling is unsustainable.”…. – CNN, 11-23-10
  • Dan Mulcare, Assistant Professor of Political Science: Election: Why Republicans Fared: The 2010 midterm election had something for everyone, especially Republicans. If you were part of the Grand Old Party, you rejoiced in the winning of the House of Representatives, with a monumental swing of at least 60 seats. Additionally, the gain of six Senate seats has put additional pressure on Democrats to consider conservative policies. For Democrats, despite their drubbing, they can take solace in that the upper chamber and the White House remained blue, and they have time to convince the public to support them in 2012. Before I detail what I believe the parties should and should not do in order to remain viable, I should first discuss the reason that the Republicans fared so well and the Democrats faltered. First, it should be noted that every election cycle produces its own electorate, far from the entire American populace speaking as one at the ballot box; there are certain groups that are overrepresented and those whose voices are conspicuously absent…. – Salem State Log, 11-26-10
  • WikiLeaks release could damage diplomatic relations, former envoy says: Diplomatic cables expected to be released soon by WikiLeaks could contain highly sensitive information that reveals U.S. negotiating positions, secret intelligence and other confidential matters, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia told CNN. The expected online disclosure has to be taken seriously, said James F. Collins, who served as ambassador to Moscow from 1997 to 2001 and is currently director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
    “Leaking information of this kind will be detrimental to building the trust among officials necessary to conduct effective and productive diplomacy. It will impede doing things in a normal, civilized way,” Collins said. “I would think the information they will leak is likely to contain analysis, records of discussions or reporting on confidential conversations between officials or official policy recommendations or suggestions about policy or diplomatic actions,” he added…. – CNN, 11-26-10
  • Michelle Obama’s White House is ‘not Camelot’: “Because of the campaign, people expected Obama and the first lady to revitalize some of the glamour of the White House and bring Camelot back to Washington,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University who has studied recent presidencies. “But the realities of Washington make that difficult. We’re in an era where it’s hard to recreate Camelot. People are increasingly cynical about politics, and it’s really a partisan world. I don’t think either party would allow the president of the opposite party and the first lady to enjoy that kind of existence.”… – Politico, 11-24-10
  • Michelle Obama’s White House is ‘not Camelot’: But Catherine Allgor, a history professor at the University of California at Riverside, who studies the “parlor politics” of first ladies, said it would be a mistake to dismiss the Washington social scene. “When it comes to politics, parties are never frivolous,” she said. And Allgor has some advice for Michelle Obama: “Get out there and start making friends.”… – Politico, 11-24-10
  • Julian Zelizer: Palin pioneers reality campaigning Sarah Palin’s new reality show looks like it might become a hit.
    During its first week, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” attracted almost five million viewers, the best that a premiere has done on the TLC network.
    The same week that the show debuted, there were reports that Palin was talking with insiders about a presidential run. She told ABC News that she believed she could defeat President Obama in 2012.
    The launch of the show has felt very much like the start of a presidential campaign.
    If this turns out to be true, Palin’s reality show could be a harbinger of campaigns to come. We might be witnessing the start of a new era in presidential campaigning, where candidates take their message directly to the voters while avoiding almost any filters in the process….
    If the nation does shift toward an era of direct campaigning, the process would likely deteriorate. Voters will be exposed to a constant stream of infomercials. Much of the media, now more polarized than ever, won’t be reliable as a source of objective analysis, but rather will function as a cheering section for one of the two teams in Washington.
    We will enter deeper into a world of virtual politics where it is difficult for voters to tell fact from fiction and too easy for politicians to promote an image and arguments that have little basis in reality. – CNN, 11-26-10

First Family at Martha’s Table

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson help distribute Thanksgiving food items at Martha’s Table, a food pantry in Washington, D.C., Nov. 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama and Malia at Martha’s Table

First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia distribute various Thanksgiving food items to members of the community at Martha’s Table, a food pantry in Washington, D.C., Nov. 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Political Highlights November 15, 2010: Obama’s Asia Trip, Possible Deal with Israel, Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Run, and Nancy Pelosi Retains Democratic Leadership

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

The President speaks at the University of Indonesia
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 11/10/10

STATS & POLLS

  • Better News For Palin: PPP’s newest batch of 2012 Republican primary polls conducted right before last week’s election finds Mitt Romney ahead in the critical early state of Florida, Tim Pawlenty surprisingly weak in his home state of Minnesota, and Sarah Palin posting leads in Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Maine…. – NYT, 11-12-10
  • Republican election win fails to excite public: poll: The Republican Party may have excited conservatives when it recaptured the House of Representatives in last week’s midterm elections but a recession-jilted public is less than enthused, according to a poll released on Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
    The survey found that 48 percent of those polled were happy with the Republican victory.
    This compared to 60 percent who said they were happy in 2006 when the Democrats regained majorities in both branches of Congress and the 57 percent who applauded the historic 1994 midterm gains for the Republican Party that saw them take control of the legislature for the first time in 40 years.
    “The nature of the victory itself is a little different because the Republicans this time only captured one chamber as opposed to the whole Congress,” said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center. “One of the things that you see here is that we have seen these transitions of power before and they are happening more frequently and so it is not so novel,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview…. – Reuters, 11-11-10
  • Poll: 77% say elections more negative than 2006 campaign: Americans believe the midterm elections were more negative than the 2006 campaign, a new Pew Research Center poll says. Nearly 8 in 10 voters, or 77%, say there was more mudslinging and negative campaigning than in previous elections. That compares with 69% after the elections four years ago.
    The 2010 elections may be remembered in history for these images: attacks on President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voters clamoring for less government and taxes participating in Tea Party rallies, and people railing against “Obamacare” and the new health insurance law. Most important, this election was about the economy. So maybe it’s not surprising that the low grades for Campaign 2010 weren’t partisan: 70% of Republicans, 79% of Democrats and 81% of independents said this political season was more negative than in 2006… – USA Today, 11-11-10
  • Nine Congress and governor races not yet decided: Here are the congressional and gubernatorial races that remain uncalled after Tuesday’s election… – WaPo, 11-10-10
  • AP-GfK Poll: Palin most polarizing of 2012 crowd: Sarah Palin is the most polarizing of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, while impressions of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney lean more positive, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. As for the rest — Pawlenty, Barbour, Thune, Daniels — most Americans say, “Who?”
    Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee, is the best-known and most divisive of the bunch. In the wake of her high-profile role in endorsing candidates all over the country, 46 percent of Americans view her favorably, 49 percent unfavorably, and 5 percent don’t know enough about her to form an opinion.
    Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who won the 2008 GOP Iowa caucus, received the highest favorability rating, 49 percent. About one in four people has no opinion of him, and 27 percent view him unfavorably.
    Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who ran in 2008, had similar results. Nearly a quarter of all Americans have no opinion about him, while 46 percent view him favorably, and 31 percent unfavorably.
    In terms of winning the 2012 nomination, the question is how Republican-leaning Americans view the contenders. Palin comes out on top. Among adults who identify themselves as Republicans or GOP-leaning independents, 79 percent view her favorably, and 17 percent unfavorably.
    These findings worry many Republican officials. The poll suggests Palin might be able to win the nomination. But among independents_they could be the deciding factor in the general election — just 43 percent hold a favorable view of Palin, compared with 61 percent with a positive view of Obama…. – AP, 11-10-10
  • 2010: An Aligning Election: Elections with results as dramatic as those of Tuesday night are sometimes referred to as “realigning elections.” The term — although somewhat ambiguous and overused — usually refers to a case in which one or another party not only gains a significant amount of power, but also, in which coalitions are shifted, the signature of which is usually that the rising party performs particularly well in certain geographic regions or among certain demographic groups.
    The 1980 election, for instance, arguably marked the beginning of a long-term shift toward Republicans in America’s suburbs, with Jimmy Carter’s share of the suburban vote dropping from 53 percent in 1976 to 37 percent in 1980: the 16-point swing against Mr. Carter was about twice the one he suffered in cities or rural areas. Likewise, in 1994, the shift against Democrats was particularly sharp in the South: 19 of the 52 representatives which they lost having come from that part of the country.
    The 2010 elections, by contrast, were remarkable for their orderliness — and they tended to reinforce, to an almost uncanny degree, existing political coalitions.
    Below is a chart that arranges America’s 435 congressional districts from those (on the left) which gave the highest percentage of their vote to Barack Obama in 2008 to those (on the right) which gave the highest share to John McCain; the chart then compares which party each district had elected to the House before and after Tuesday night…. – NYT, 11-8-10

THE HEADLINES….

President Barack Obama at a Press Conference at the G20 Summit at   Coex Center in Seoul, South Korea

President Barack Obama answers questions during a press conference at the G20 Summit at Coex Center in Seoul, South Korea, November 12, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Netanyahu Backs U.S. Proposal for Freeze: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask cabinet ministers to support a U.S. proposal to extend restrictions on building in Jewish settlements for 90 days in exchange for a package of incentives from Washington, according to Israeli officials. If approved by the Israeli government, the deal could help revive peace talks with the Palestinians, which collapsed at the end of September when a 10-month period of building restrictions expired and Israel refused to extend it. Also Sunday, one of Israel’s most senior intelligence officials issued a stark warning that without immediate and meaningful progress toward peace, the Palestinian security services, which have earned consistent Israeli praise in recent months, could rapidly start to unravel. In a rare briefing to a small group of journalists, the intelligence official said there was a window of between three months and a year to show progress toward peace. “If there will not be real progress, I believe we can find that sometime within three months, six months or one year from now, that the functioning of the Palestinian security system is in a very different place,” the intelligence official said. “In order to keep the legitimacy and functioning of the Palestinian security system we need real progress in the peace process.”… – WSJ, 11-14-10
  • Obama calls latest Israeli plan promising: President Barack Obama on Sunday hailed the prospect of a new settlement freeze in the disputed West Bank as a promising step toward peace, urging Israelis and Palestinians to get back into serious negotiations quickly. An upbeat president also pledged to return to the basic principles that drove his thinking when he first came to the White House, including sticking to a more bipartisan tone and better explaining his decisions to the American people. He spoke of moving from an “obsessive focus” on policy and making changes to his approach after a humbling midterm election.
    “The fact that we are out of crisis — although still obviously in a difficult time — I think will give me the capacity,” Obama told reporters aboard Air Force One at the end of long Asia trip.
    On the Mideast, Washington’s new proposal for reviving peace talks includes a 90-day ban on housing starts in West Bank settlements — but not in east Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ hoped-for capital. The goal is to give the two sides a three-month period to shape borders of side-by-side states, a daunting, elusive mission.
    Obama commended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for making a “very constructive step” toward creating an environment for peace. “I think it’s a signal that he’s serious,” Obama said…. – AP, 11-14-10
  • White House, GOP look for middle ground on taxes: The White House and Republican lawmakers set the terms for a looming tax debate Sunday, coalescing around a possible temporary extension of existing income tax rates that would protect middle class and wealthy Americans from sharp tax increases next year. Top White House adviser David Axelrod stressed that President Barack Obama opposes a “permanent” extension of current tax rates for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and married couples making more than $250,000. But Axelrod, appearing on two Sunday television talk shows, was carefully silent on the possibility of extending current tax rates for the short term. He said he wants to leave negotiations to Obama and members of Congress. “The bottom line is he wants to sit down and talk about this,” Axelrod said. “There is no bend on the permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”… – AP, 11-14-10
  • US asks Israel for 90-day settlement building moratorium: Netanyahu discusses possibility of halting building with septet; in exchange, US would support Israel in the UN and give 20 fighter jets; request does not include e. Jerusalem. The US asked Israel to freeze all new settlement construction begun after September 26th for a 90-day period in exchange for support in the United Nations and 20 additional advanced fighter planes worth $3 billion, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The principles of this agreement designed to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, were relayed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to his inner cabinet, a forum of seven ministers, on Saturday night and will be explained to the full cabinet on Sunday. The US said that if the deal was accepted it would not request an additional settlement freeze. The request does not include east Jerusalem…. – Jpost, 11-13-10
  • Obama and Republicans find common ground on ‘earmarks’: The president and GOP House leaders agree that curtailing or eliminating the provisions would be a step toward restoring fiscal responsibility.
    “I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that, in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called ‘earmarks,'” Obama said. “We can’t afford ‘Bridges to Nowhere,’ like the one that was planned a few years back in Alaska.”
    In his radio address Saturday, Obama said that curtailing or eliminating earmarks would be a first step toward restoring fiscal responsibility.
    “I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that, in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called ‘earmarks,'” Obama said. “We can’t afford ‘Bridges to Nowhere,’ like the one that was planned a few years back in Alaska.”
    “Earmarks have become a symbol of a dysfunctional Congress and serve as a fuel line for the culture of spending that has dominated Washington for too long,” said Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive incoming House speaker, and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), likely the next majority whip. “We welcome President Obama’s remarks on earmark reform, and we call upon him to urge congressional Democrats to vote on a similar measure next week,” they said…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • Justices Leave Military Gay Ban in Place: The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy restricting openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people from serving will remain in force while a legal challenge is considered by a federal appeals court, the United States Supreme Court declared Friday. In an unsigned, two-paragraph order, the justices denied a request by the Log Cabin Republicans, the group trying to overturn the law, to reinstate an order by a federal district judge in California, Virginia A. Phillips, that prohibited enforcement during the appeal. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled, however, that the military could continue enforcement during the appeal, and on Friday the Supreme Court agreed. The decision did not address the merits of the case.
    The Supreme Court order noted that the newest justice, Elena Kagan, “took no part in the consideration or decision” of the application; she may have recused herself because she was involved in the case as solicitor general, the position she held before President Obama nominated her to the court…. – NYT, 11-12-10
  • Obama Tells Business Leaders That U.S. Is `Here to Stay’ in Asian Markets: President Barack Obama told Japanese business leaders that the U.S. is “here to stay” in Asia as he neared the end of a 10-day trip across the region. Speaking to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s CEO Business Summit in Yokohama, Japan, Obama said engagement with Asia is a “jobs strategy,” important to his goal of increasing U.S. exports and spurring economic growth around the world.
    “We don’t want to lose the opportunity to sell our goods and services in fast-growing markets. We don’t want to lose the opportunity to create new jobs back home,” he said according to the prepared text of the speech. “When it comes to this growing, sprawling region of the world, the United States is here to stay.”
    Obama is in Japan for the APEC leaders meeting on a trip that has taken him to India, Indonesia and South Korea. At each stop he’s highlighted the need to boost exports in Asia’s rapidly growing economies in order to create jobs at home, where the unemployment rate has been 9.5 percent or higher for the last 14 months.
    Obama told the hundreds of Japanese chief executives gathered at the conference that he makes “no apologies” for trying to bring jobs to the U.S. through trade, but that economic growth in any country is good for others.
    “There’s no need to view trade, commerce, or economic growth as zero sum games, where one country always has to prosper at the expense of another,” he said. “If we work together, and act together, strengthening our economic ties can be a win-win for all of our nations.”… – Bloomberg, 11-12-10
  • Obama seeking compromise on Bush tax cuts: With tax breaks for millions of Americans set to expire Dec. 31, President Obama has opened the door to a compromise with Republicans, signaling a new willingness to accept tax breaks for the wealthy to avoid immediate tax hikes across the board. But as lawmakers head back to town next week for their first battle since this month’s congressional elections, no one is sure just how far Obama is willing to go.
    In recent days, the White House has appeared to vacillate on the expiring tax cuts, swerving from a humble tone of capitulation back to one of defiance. On Wednesday, White House senior adviser David Axelrod seemed to suggest in an interview with the Huffington Post that Obama was poised to acquiesce to GOP demands to extend all the tax cuts in tandem, saying “we have to deal with the world as we find it.”
    On Friday, Obama pushed back, telling reporters with him on a trip to South Korea that “that is the wrong interpretation.” “Here’s the right interpretation: I want to make sure that taxes don’t go up for middle-class families starting on January 1,” Obama said. “That’s my number one priority for those families and for our economy.”…. – WaPo, 11-12-10
  • Obama, GOP could meet halfway on foreign policy: Voters gave no clear direction to U.S. foreign policy in this month’s congressional elections, leaving President Barack Obama and his strengthened Republican opponents plenty of room in which to find common ground — or duke it out over pressing international challenges. Senior GOP lawmakers say Republicans will challenge Obama over his approach to Iran’s nuclear program, and are balking at Senate approval of a new nuclear arms control accord with Moscow. They’ll help cushion Obama, however, against criticism of his Afghanistan war strategy from his own Democratic Party’s liberal wing. Afghanistan “is one area where Republicans feel comfortable standing with the president,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Halifax International Security Forum, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Nov. 6… – Miami Herald, 11-12-10
  • After G20, Obama says his global influence is intact: President Obama asserted Friday that the punishment his party took in midterm elections has not damaged his ability to advance U.S. interests overseas, saying his Asia trip has shown that many countries still want to work with the United States. In a news conference following the Group of 20 summit, Obama said the United States, while still the world’s most powerful economy, can no longer dictate the terms of how the world does business, especially after a global economic turndown that many blame on American policies. But he said his relationships with fellow heads of state have evolved during his two years in office – relying less on the novelty of his election and the enthusiasm it generated than on a shared view of where the global economy should be heading…. – WaPo, 11-12-10
  • Deficit report favors ‘do-nothing Congress’ Debt-to-GDP ratio benefits from inaction: Buried inside the wide-ranging blueprint put out this week by the respected co-chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan commission to slash the federal deficit is a powerful argument for doing nothing. The commission’s recipe of tax increases, spending cuts, elimination of popular tax breaks and reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits continued to roil Washington on Thursday, as both liberals and conservatives condemned some of the painful steps contained in the draft proposal to reduce federal red ink over the coming decades. But the report, offered by Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, also demonstrates that Congress and Mr. Obama can take a major chunk out of the deficit without passing a single bill or issuing a single veto…. – The Washington Times, 11-11-10
  • Action, not talk: Deficit panel pushes Dems, GOP: The leaders of the deficit commission are baldly calling out the budget myths of both political parties, challenging lawmakers to engage in the “adult conversation” they say they want. Their plan — mixing painful cuts to Social Security and Medicare with big tax increases — has no chance of enactment as written, certainly not as a whole. But the commission’s high profile will make it harder for Republicans and Democrats to simply keep reciting their tax and spending talking points without acknowledging the real sacrifices that progress against government deficits would demand. It’s time for both conservatives and liberals to “put up or shut up,” says Jon Cowan, head of the centrist-Democratic group Third Way, which praised the bold new proposals and urged politicians to show courage. Republicans failed to produce their often-promised deficit reductions when they controlled the government, Cowan said, and Democrats refuse to acknowledge that entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare must be trimmed…. – AP, 11-11-10
  • Clinton offers Netanyahu security pledge on peace talks: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Israel’s security requirements would be fully taken into account in any peace deal with the Palestinians. In a move that could allow Netanyahu to persuade his governing coalition to back a new freeze on Israeli settlement construction, Clinton and the visiting Israeli leader ended a marathon round of talks in New York with a strong declaration of Washington’s “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and to peace in the region.”
    “The prime minister and the secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals,” the two sides said in a joint statement, which did not mention the settlement issue directly. But Clinton repeated that the peace talks — which have hit an impasse over the settlement issue — could yet yield an independent Palestine living next to Israel “with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”
    “Those requirements will be fully taken into account in any future peace agreement,” the joint statement said…. – Reuters, 11-11-10
  • As G-20 begins, Obama gets few concessions from other leaders: Obama predicts that leaders will reach ‘a broad-based consensus’ on trade and currency issues, but the opening session of the summit offers little evidence that other nations are willing to help the U.S…. – LAT, 11-11-10
  • SKorea-US trade chiefs end talks as Obama arrives: South Korea and the United States ended a third day of talks aimed at jump-starting a long-stalled trade agreement, offering no clues on progress a day before their presidents meet. Washington and Seoul have been holding what are seen as make-or-break negotiations to infuse new life into the deal to slash tariffs and other barriers to trade that was signed in 2007 when previous administrations were in power. It remains unratified by lawmakers in both countries…. – Business Week, 11-10-10
  • Netanyahu defiantly answers Obama’s warning over construction in East Jerusalem: The Israeli leader’s sharp words come hours after Obama, in Indonesia, said new construction could harm a renewed Mideast peace effort. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clashed publicly with President Obama on Tuesday over Israeli construction in disputed East Jerusalem, throwing a teetering Mideast peace effort deeper in doubt. Responding to criticism from Obama, Netanyahu struck a defiant tone in commenting on plans to build 1,300 more Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem, saying his government had never agreed to limit construction in the city. “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is the capital of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Israel sees no connection between the diplomatic process and the planning and building policy in Jerusalem.”
    Netanyahu’s statement came hours after Obama warned that the new construction, announced by Israel on Monday, could harm a renewed Mideast peace effort began in early September. Obama made the remarks a few hours after arriving in Indonesia, his boyhood home for four years, where he was set to deliver the second major speech Wednesday in his outreach to the Muslim world.
    “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make that extra effort involved to get a breakthrough,” Obama said. “Each of these incremental steps end up breaking trust.”
    Israel also is moving ahead with 800 units in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Israeli news reports said Tuesday. Netanyahu’s pronouncement was consistent with Israeli policy, yet his sharp tone may embarrass Obama at a moment of vulnerability. Obama is visiting the world’s largest Muslim country, and the rebuke may again raise questions in the Muslim world about how much influence the American leader really has on a priority issue. The disagreement also comes a week after Obama suffered a setback in the midterm elections, which gave Republicans, who are likely to be sympathetic to Netanyahu’s point of view, majority control of the House of Representatives. Some Israeli officials and U.S. analysts had predicted before the election that Netanyahu might feel emboldened to push back on Obama if the Democrats fared poorly…. – LAT, 11-9-10
  • No Charges in Destruction of C.I.A. Interrogation Tapes: Central Intelligence Agency officials will not face criminal charges for the destruction of dozens of videotapes depicting the brutal interrogation of terrorism suspects, the Justice Department said Tuesday. After a closely watched investigation of nearly three years, the decision by a special federal prosecutor is the latest example of Justice Department officials’ declining to seek criminal penalties for some of the controversial episodes in the C.I.A.’s now defunct detention and interrogation program. The destruction of the tapes, in particular, was seen as so striking that the Bush administration itself launched the special investigation after the action was publicly disclosed…. – NYT, 11-9-10
  • Obama trip welcomes India to high table of global influence: President Obama left India with reassurances of his strong support for a ‘strategic partnership’ – as well as strong words about his commitment to free trade…. – CS Monitor, 11-9-10
  • Fed Global Backlash Grows China and Russia Join Germany in Scolding; Obama Defends Move as Pro-Growth: Global controversy mounted over the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, with President Barack Obama defending the move as China, Russia and the euro zone added to a chorus of criticism. Mr. Obama returned fire in the growing confrontation over trade and currencies Monday in a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, taking the unusual step of publicly backing the Fed’s decision to buy $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds—a move that has come under withering international criticism for weakening the U.S. dollar…. – WSJ, 11-8-10
  • Obama heads to Indonesia, finally: President Barack Obama finally heads to Jakarta on Tuesday for a visit during which he will seek to boost U.S. security and trade ties with Indonesia, and also reach out to the larger Islamic world. His visit to a country where he spent four years of his childhood comes after two previously scheduled trips were put off because of problems at home — in March as he fought to pass his healthcare overhaul law and in June as he faced the cleanup of the massive BP oil spill. The delays disappointed and angered some Indonesians, and even this visit had been in some doubt because of concerns about volcanic ash from repeated eruptions of Mount Merapi volcano. Indonesia is important destination for Obama for a variety of strategic and personal reasons, aides said. Its importance as a U.S. ally is on the rise, even if the joy over Obama’s election has faded since he became president almost two years ago. Indonesia is an emerging economy, a democracy, a member of the G20 and the world’s most populous Muslim country…. – Reuters, 11-8-10
  • Obama boosts India for ‘rightful place in world’: Deepening America’s stake in Asian power politics, President Barack Obama on Monday endorsed India’s bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, hoping to elevate the nation of a billion people to “its rightful place in the world” alongside an assertive China.
    Obama’s declaration, delivered to the pounding applause of India’s parliament members, spoke to a mission broader than the makeup of one global institution. By spending three packed days in India, announcing trade deals, dismissing job-outsourcing gripes and admonishing India’s rival Pakistan, Obama went all in for an ally whose support he hopes to bank on for years.
    “I want every Indian citizen to know: The United States of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines,” Obama said inside the soaring legislative chamber of the capital city. “We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, because we believe in the promise of India.”… – AP, 11-8-10
  • Diplomacy, Diwali, dinner on Obama’s agenda in India: A female tribal leader working to get more girls into classrooms, in a rural society that places boys first. A former civil servant running a website to battle corruption. Schoolchildren who got the first couple dancing for the Hindu festival Diwali.
    These were some of the Indians whom President Obama met Sunday on the second day of his four-nation Asia tour. The issues raised highlight the massive challenges facing this poor but fast-growing nation of 1.1 billion people, to whom Obama promised he would elevate the U.S.-India partnership “to an entirely new level.”
    He also faced the sensitive question of Pakistan-based terrorism, when asked, at a town-hall-style meeting with students, the question on many Indians’ minds: Why hasn’t the USA declared Pakistan a terrorist state? Obama stressed the need to work with Islamabad “to eradicate this extremism that we consider a cancer within the country that can potentially engulf the country.”… – 11-7-10
  • Fresh Slate at the Pentagon Lies Ahead for Obama: With critical decisions ahead on the war in Afghanistan, President Obama is about to receive an unusual opportunity to reshape the Pentagon’s leadership, naming a new defense secretary as well as several top generals and admirals in the next several months…. – NYT, 11-7-10
  • Obama calls India creator, not poacher, of US jobs: Searching for help half a world away, President Barack Obama on Saturday embraced India as the next jobs-creating giant for hurting Americans, not a cheap-labor rival that outsources opportunity from the United States. “For America, this is a jobs strategy,” Obama said of his emphasis on trade, although it could stand as a motto for his 10-day trip. He is spending Sunday with young people in Mumbai and then heading onto meetings in New Delhi, the capital, before shifting later in the week ahead to Indonesia and economic talks in South Korea and Japan…. – AP, 11-6-10
  • Obama Invokes Gandhi, Whose Ideal Eludes Modern India: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, with Usha Thakkar, director of Mani Bhavan, the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai, “He is a hero not just to India, but to the world,” the president wrote in a guest book on Saturday in Gandhi’s modest former home in Mumbai, now the Mani Bhavan museum. Yet if paying homage to Gandhi is expected of visiting dignitaries, Mr. Obama’s more personal identification with the Gandhian legacy — the president once named him the person he would most like to dine with — places him on complicated terrain…. – NYT, 11-7-10

112TH CONGRESS

  • Democrats avoid House leadership battle Nancy Pelosi helps craft an accord with potential rivals that will make her the minority leader: House Democrats, already hurting from their election shellacking, averted a potentially ugly leadership fight Saturday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco helped broker an agreement that paves the way for her to remain Democratic leader, Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland to remain in the party’s second-ranking position of minority whip, and James E. Clyburn of South Carolina to take the new title of assistant leader. Democrats who will serve in the new Congress will vote on their leaders Wednesday. The arrangement, which Pelosi announced in a letter to her party’s rank and file, averts a clash between Hoyer, whose appeal to more conservative Democrats is seen as crucial to helping the Democrats win back control of the House in 2012, and Clyburn, a black member who is popular with the liberal base…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • House Democrats Avoid Fight on No. 2 Position: Updated: Shuler Considers Run Top House Democrats said late Friday night that they had settled on an arrangement that avoided a divisive fight for the No. 2 position in the party when it reverts to the minority in January. In a statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would nominate Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina to be the No. 3 Democrat when the party holds an internal party election on Wednesday. “Over the past four years, Congressman Clyburn’s effective leadership in the whip’s office was crucial to our passage of historic legislation on jobs, health care, veterans and Wall Street reform on behalf of the American people,” Ms. Pelosi said…. – NYT, 11-13-10
  • Ambition is curbed, but Democrats still have a lame-duck agenda: With a few weeks left in control of both houses of Congress, Democrats are pressing a scaled-back agenda that would extend middle-class tax cuts, fund the government and possibly repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday to begin a complicated lame-duck session that will mark the last time Democrats will be in control of Congress for the foreseeable future….
    Despite electoral losses that handed control of the House to Republicans and diminished Democrats’ majority in the Senate, Democratic leaders are pressing an agenda that would extend middle-class tax cuts, fund the government and perhaps repeal the ban on openly gay men and women serving inthe military.
    Yet nothing is certain in the new political climate. As many as 80 incoming House Republicans elected two weeks ago will arrive in town for freshman orientation in advance of their January swearing-in ceremony, and some plan to join a rally Monday to protest the Democrats’ plans.
    In addition, lawmakers who will be members of the 112th Congress will vote for their leaders next week. Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to become the next House speaker, while Democrats will decide whether to retain the outgoing speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as their leader. In the Senate, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to remain majority leader, with Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to continue leading the GOP…. – LAT, 11-13-10
  • Rahm: It’s on Presumptive front-runner makes official entry into race for mayor: As Rahm Emanuel made his entry into Chicago’s mayoral race official Saturday, a major theme of his campaign echoed off the school gymnasium walls: He is the tenacious leader Chicago needs during tough times. The former North Side congressman and White House chief of staff laid out a broad agenda, declaring he’d work to help generate jobs, improve education and decrease crime at a juncture in the city’s history when all three need to be addressed.
    “The choices we make in the next few years will define Chicago for future generations. They will determine whether we remain a world-class city — or fall back,” he told 250 supporters jammed in the gym at Coonley Elementary School. “The question in this election is who has the experience, imagination and strength to see a better future for Chicago? And who has the determination to see that vision through the end?” While providing few specifics in an 18-minute speech, Emanuel did say increasing taxes to address the city’s continued budget woes isn’t on the table. Still, Emanuel hinted at service cuts by promising that “necessary changes” and “tough choices” will be made and residents will “share in the sacrifices.”… – Chicago Tribune, 11-13-10
  • Recount Could Trap Pawlenty in Governor’s Mansion: Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has been gearing up for a bid for the Republican presidential nomination for months. He chose not to run for re-election as governor. He has hit the early-state circuit. Everything is ready once he leaves office on Jan. 3. Except for this: He may not be able to leave. Under Minnesota law, the governor’s term extends as long as it takes to swear in a successor, even if a recount takes months. And that could just happen.
    The race to replace Mr. Pawlenty between the Democrat Mark Dayton and the Republican Tom Emmer ended last Tuesday in what is becoming a regular outcome in the North Star state — a virtual tie. Out of about 2.1 million votes cast, Mr. Dayton leads Mr. Emmer by about 8,500 votes, less than the half-percentage point margin that mandates an automatic recount.
    That recount will start on Nov. 27 and is scheduled to last until early December, at which point the trailing candidate could choose to challenge the recount by filing a lawsuit. Mr. Emmer’s advisers and state Republicans have made it clear they will do so if they feel they have a legitimate case.
    “If we are behind and we think that there are issues with the recount, we could file a contest,” said Tony Sutton, the chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota. “We’re not looking to kick this past the first of the year. We are not going to do things to throw stuff against the law and see what sticks.”… – NYT, 11-13-10
  • No. 2 House Democrat Will Try to Retain Post: Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Monday that he would try to hold on to that position when his party slips into the minority next year as the leadership of House Democrats remained in turmoil one week after devastating election losses…. – NYT, 11-8-10
  • Hoyer collecting liberal support in whip bid: Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) continued Tuesday to collect high-profile endorsements from his party’s liberal wing in his bid to become House minority whip, trying to counter the impression that his candidacy is built around support from moderate-to-conservative Democrats. Seven Democratic committee chairmen issued a letter Tuesday endorsing Hoyer’s candidacy for the No. 2 post in the House leadership, including a trio of the leading legislative liberals: Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.), Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).
    Hoyer, currently the majority leader, has publicly touted his momentum in his campaign against Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), unveiling a string of key endorsements. With Tuesday’s rollout – first reported by Politico – Hoyer now has nearly 50 public endorsements, almost halfway to the roughly 95 or so supporters he will need to win the secret ballot later next week.
    Clyburn, currently the majority whip, the No. 3 post in the majority, has about 10 public endorsements but is also expected to collect the lion’s share of the roughly 40 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. He has won some key backing, including Monday’s endorsement by Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), who is the highest-ranking Latino member of congressional leadership…. – WaPo, 11-9-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Congressman Danny Davis announces bid for Chicago mayor: U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a veteran Chicago politician, struck populist tones as he declared his candidacy for mayor today, saying he will bridge the gap between wealthy and struggling communities.
    “Notwithstanding the economic climate, we the people, we the grassroots, everyday people, we the policeman, we the postman, we the clerks. . . can exercise our God-given rights to participate, be involved and make decisions about ourselves and our city,” Davis said at a rally held in a ballroom of the Hotel Allegro downtown.
    The announcement felt a little like a church service. Davis started with an invocation, and some of his 200 supporters gathered in the ballroom engaged in a call and response as Davis and others spoke.
    While Davis offered few policy details, he said he would create jobs and economic development opportunities and attempt to “save our children from lifetimes of drug use, abuse, (and) incarceration.”
    “I know that everyone in our city is concerned about balancing the budget and finding ways to keep our city solvent,” he said. “I don’t pretend at the moment to have the answers to all of our financial problems. . . but I can assure you that we have a team of researchers and experts looking at the issues and preparing recommendations.” … – Chicago Tribune, 11-14-10
  • Miller: Ballot fight unlikely if math doesn’t work: Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller is watching absentee ballots from military voters as he takes his next steps in Alaska’s still-undecided Senate race….
    The state has so far recorded more than 98,500 write-in ballots cast. Saturday marked the fourth day of a write-in ballot hand count that could stretch well into next week, with thousands of absentee and questioned ballots yet to be combed through.
    The count Saturday showed Murkowski with 74,449 votes, or 89.6 percent of the write-in vote undisputedly — a trend that has largely held throughout the process. Another 7.9 percent was credited to her tally over challenges by Miller observers, generally for things like misspellings of her name or penmanship. Murkowski’s campaign believes it needs to win at least 90 percent of the unchallenged vote to declare victory. Miller’s vote total, as of Friday night, was 87,517…. – AP, 11-14-10
  • Paging Jeb Bush — for 2012: In fact, some folks in the GOP are so convinced that there is a Bush renaissance in the offing that they’re hoping to turn that wave into another White House victory for the Bush family. That’s right. If the era of Bush fatigue is really over, then here comes baby brother. Jeb Bush, the popular former two-term governor of Florida, is being mentioned as a viable Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012, although he has denied having an interest in running.
    (Both Bush brothers will be guests on a special edition of State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Sunday at 8 and 11 p.m. ET.)
    While Jeb has his share of detractors, he also seems to have the same knack for bringing people together that his big brother had for driving them apart. And, with the Tea Party ready to go to war with the GOP establishment in the political equivalent of a cage match for control of the Republican Party, that skill set could come in handy…. – CNN, 11-12-10
  • Murkowski confident in re-election chances: If wrestling with a variety of spellings for write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s name isn’t enough, officials counting ballots in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race are also dealing with such oddball entries as “Donald Duck,” ”Elmo” and “Revolt.”
    Those ballots were quickly tossed Friday even as a count showed the Republican incumbent maintaining a healthy 90 percent of the write-in vote.
    Saying she feels “pretty good about the direction” the tally is headed, Murkowski expressed confidence that she’ll pull off an improbable write-in victory over Republican nominee Joe Miller.
    So far, the state has recorded 98,565 write-in votes and 87,517 votes for Miller. Murkowski has been getting about 90 percent of write-in votes. Another 7.6 percent have been apparent votes for Murkowski that have been challenged, generally by observers for Miller for things like penmanship issues and misspellings.
    The hand count is scheduled to go through the weekend and run well into next week to determine if Murkowski got enough write-in votes to win…. – AP, 11-13-10
  • Michigan Republican Anuzis to challenge RNC’s Michael Steele: Former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis announced Friday that he will run for chairman of the Republican National Committee, making him the first official challenge to current leader Michael Steele. Anuzis said in a statement that the decision for him was not easy, since he regards Steele as a “friend and colleague.” “As someone who believes in loyalty, my natural instinct would be to sit this out,” Anuzis wrote. “But the simple fact is that the overriding challenge we face is winning back the Presidency in 2012 and we will not accomplish that objective unless there is dramatic change in the way the RNC does business.”… – Yahoo News, 11-12-10
  • Reagan Library to Host First Republican Debate for 2012 Primary: What took so long? It’s been over a week since the 2010 vote and debate plans are finally being made for the presidential election in two years. The first Republican primary debate is set for spring 2011 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
    “Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his Presidential Library,” former first lady Nancy Reagan said in a press release. “I look forward to welcoming and watching the top candidates debate the issues next spring.” NBC News and Politico will be the event’s media partners. No Republicans have announced their intentions to challenge President Obama. Among names being floated are Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
    “The fact that we are already talking about the 2012 presidential race only foreshadows how invested and deeply rooted America will be in the political discussion come next spring,” NBC News President Steve Capus…. – Politics Daily, 11-11-10
  • Nancy Reagan to host debate for 2012 GOP hopefuls: Republicans hoping to take back the White House in 2012 will have an audition of sorts at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Former first lady Nancy Reagan announced today she will invite the leading 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls to a debate at the library in spring 2011. The debate will be co-hosted by NBC News and Politico. “Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his presidential library,” Mrs. Reagan said in a statement. A second Republican debate will be held at the library before the Super Tuesday primaries….. – USA Today, 11-11-10
  • Murkowski returning to Alaska amid ballot count: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is returning to Alaska as election workers continue tabulating write-in ballots that will help determine whether she wins re-election. Anchorge Daily News, 11-11-10
  • Nurkowski? Makowski? Murckoski? Counting the Write-In Votes in Alaska: “Liza Makowski?” “Challenge.” So said Terry Campo, an observer working on behalf of Joe Miller, the Republican Senate candidate, as he hovered over a table where two election workers on Wednesday helped sift through more than 230,000 ballots cast in the Alaska Senate race. The question looming over the warehouse in this remote state capital: will Senator Lisa Murkowski become the first write-in candidate elected to the Senate since 1954? Write-in votes have a clear lead over Mr. Miller, but the process of actually seeing whose name is on them did not begin until Wednesday. The count is expected to last until at least Friday – but a court fight could last much longer…. – NYT, 11-10-10
  • 2012 Senate races pose challenge to President Obama: The votes are still being counted in some states for this year’s congressional elections, but already some political types are sweating the 2012 contests in the Senate. An analysis by The National Journal discusses a “civil war” brewing for Republicans in 2012, since the anti-tax, small-government Tea Party movement roiled the GOP this year.
    There’s also been some sniping between Rep. Spencer Bachus and former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin about the Tea Party’s role in the 2010 elections. Palin has pushed back on the Alabama Republican’s comment that “Palin cost us control of the Senate” with her support of candidates such as Christine O’Donnell, who was defeated in her bid for a Delaware Senate seat. But some 2012 Senate races aren’t just interesting for Republicans. The contests also pose a challenge to Democrats and President Obama, especially in some of the states he won in 2008. In all, Democrats will have to defend 23 Senate seats including the two held by independents who vote with them. Republicans hold 10 Senate seats up for grabs in two years…. – USA Today, 11-10-10
  • Republicans Maneuver to Oust Their Leader: Turning their attention to the 2012 presidential election, Republican leaders are digging in for a battle over control of the Republican National Committee, judging that its role in fund-raising, get-out-the-vote operations and other tasks will be critical to the effort to topple President Obama. Some senior party officials are maneuvering to put pressure on Michael Steele, the controversial party chairman, not to seek re-election when his term ends in January or, failing that, to encourage a challenger to step forward to take him on…. – NYT, 11-9-10
  • GOP lawmaker: Palin cost party control of Senate: Questioned about those comments on Tuesday, a spokesman for Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama said the remarks had been taken out of context but didn’t retract them. Bachus, in line to become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, initially blamed Palin last week at a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon. According to the Shelby County Reporter, he said the Senate would be in Republican hands if not for losses by tea party candidates endorsed by the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee.
    “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. He added that while tea party candidates did well in House races, “they didn’t do well at all” in Senate contests.
    In a statement Tuesday, Bachus spokesman Tim Johnson said the congressman was expressing a widely held belief that stronger Republican candidates could have won in states such as Delaware and Nevada, where Republicans Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle lost. “That’s a lesson going forward,” Johnson said. “As the article noted, (Bachus) was extremely complimentary of the tea party movement and Governor Palin in crediting them with the great turnout of conservatives that led to many of the successes on Tuesday.” “He said that the tea party, rather than being criticized, is on the same page as many in the country, including independents, in cutting spending, lowering taxes and limiting the size of government,” Johnson added…. – WaPo, 11-9-10
  • Joe Miller: Cautiously optimistic on prospects: Alaska Senate hopeful Joe Miller says he’s cautiously optimistic about his prospects for winning on the eve of the absentee ballot count. Election workers plan to begin tallying more than 30,000 absentee ballots Tuesday; the counting of write-in ballots will begin Wednesday. Initial returns from last week’s election showed Miller trailing write-ins by more than 13,000 votes. Sen. Lisa Murkowski ran as a write-in following her loss in the GOP primary to Miller. It’s not clear how many of those votes are for her or how many for her were properly cast. Murkowski has sounded confident, telling supporters they’d “made history.” But Miller tells The Associated Press this is premature, and says her hiring of a “high-power” legal team suggests she’s nervous. – WaPo, 11-9-10
  • 12 in 2012: Jim DeMint Earns His Stripes as Tea Party Power Broker: Senator Tea Party, as Jim DeMint is sometimes known, is a moniker the first-term senator began wearing before the Tea Party became a household name. It’s also a description that has pushed the South Carolina Republican out of the shadows and into the forefront of electoral politics.
    “I’m proud to be called Senator Tea Party. I feel like I’m giving a voice to people who are very frustrated that Washington’s not listening,” DeMint told Fox News.
    This fall, DeMint, who was just re-elected to his second term in the Senate, took his commitment to making Washington listen out on the campaign trail – and not merely in his own race. He endorsed high-profile conservatives and donated millions from his political action committee to failed Senate candidates Ken Buck of Colorado, Sharron Angle of Nevada and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware as well as successful contestants Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky…. – Fox News, 11-9-10
  • Clyburn: Pelosi has a role in House leadership: Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a place in the Democratic leadership after Republicans take control next year. The South Carolina Democrat is downplaying the emerging contest between himself and Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer for the No. 2 spot when Democrats become the minority party. Clyburn says he plans to keep his current job as whip…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • Pence, Pawlenty Still Weigh 2012 Bids: Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said they were still weighing whether to run for president in 2012, but decisions could be coming shortly. Mr. Pence, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” said he was “intent on taking the coming weeks to really prayerfully consider that, to wait on the Lord, to seek counsel. And after the first of the year, we’ll make a decision.”
    “Well, I don’t know for sure what I’m going to do after I’m done being governor,” Mr. Pawlenty told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “I’ll decide that early next year.”
    Sen. Jim DeMint (R. S.C.) had some advice for whoever wants to win the Republican nomination. “I think the next Republican running for president needs to run on complete repeal” of the new health care law, he in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, said he “absolutely” was not running for president in 2012. Or vice president, for that matter.
    “Can you see me as somebody who’s a vice president?” he said on “Meet the Press.” “After that question about ‘Governor Wrecking Ball?’ I would feel bad for that poor man or woman.” – WSJ, 11-7-10

QUOTES

The President Records the Weekly Address

For this edition of West Wing Week, walk step by step with the President as he travels through Asia.

  • President Obama at the G-20 in Seoul: “Focusing on Growth”WH, 11-12-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls for Earmark Reform Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address November 13, 2010: This weekend, I’m concluding a trip to Asia whose purpose was to open new markets for American products in this fast-growing part of the world. The economic battle for these markets is fierce, and we’re up against strong competitors. But as I’ve said many times, America doesn’t play for second place. The future we’re fighting for isn’t as the world’s largest importer, consuming products made elsewhere, but as the world’s largest manufacturer of ideas and goods sold around the world.
    Opening new markets will not only help America’s businesses create new jobs for American workers. It will also help us reduce our deficits – because the single greatest tool for getting our fiscal house in order is robust economic growth. That kind of growth will require ensuring that our students are getting the best education possible; that we’re on the cutting edge of research and development; and that we’re rebuilding our roads and railways, runways and ports – so our infrastructure is up to the challenges of the 21st century.
    Given the deficits that have mounted up over the past decade, we can’t afford to make these investments unless we’re also willing to cut what we don’t need. That’s why I’ve submitted to Congress a plan for a three-year budget freeze, and I’m prepared to offer additional savings. But as we work to reform our budget, Congress should also put some skin in the game. I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called earmarks. These are items inserted into spending bills by members of Congress without adequate review….
    As a Senator, I helped eliminate anonymous earmarks and created new measures of transparency so Americans can better follow how their tax dollars are being spent. As President, time and again, I’ve called for new limitations on earmarks. We’ve reduced the cost of earmarks by over $3 billion. And we’ve put in place higher standards of transparency by putting as much information as possible on earmarks.gov. In fact, this week, we updated the site with more information about where last year’s earmarks were actually spent, and made it easier to look up Members of Congress and the earmarks they fought for.
    Today, we have a chance to go further. We have a chance to not only shine a light on a bad Washington habit that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, but take a step towards restoring public trust. We have a chance to advance the interests not of Republicans or Democrats, but of the American people; to put our country on the path of fiscal discipline and responsibility that will lead to a brighter economic future for all. And that’s a future I hope we can reach across party lines to build together. – WH, 11-13-10
  • President Obama in Jakarta: “Indonesia’s Example To the World”: I first came to this country when my mother married an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro. And as a young boy I was — as a young boy I was coming to a different world. But the people of Indonesia quickly made me feel at home.
    And we lived in a small house. We had a mango tree out front. And I learned to love Indonesia while flying kites and running along the paddy fields and catching dragonflies, buying satay and baso from the street vendors. (Applause.) I still remember the call of the vendors. Satay! (Laughter.) I remember that. Baso! (Laughter.) But most of all, I remember the people — the old men and women who welcomed us with smiles; the children who made a foreign child feel like a neighbor and a friend; and the teachers who helped me learn about this country.
    In the years since then, Indonesia has charted its own course through an extraordinary democratic transformation — from the rule of an iron fist to the rule of the people. In recent years, the world has watched with hope and admiration as Indonesians embraced the peaceful transfer of power and the direct election of leaders. And just as your democracy is symbolized by your elected President and legislature, your democracy is sustained and fortified by its checks and balances: a dynamic civil society; political parties and unions; a vibrant media and engaged citizens who have ensured that — in Indonesia — there will be no turning back from democracy.
    But even as this land of my youth has changed in so many ways, those things that I learned to love about Indonesia — that spirit of tolerance that is written into your Constitution; symbolized in mosques and churches and temples standing alongside each other; that spirit that’s embodied in your people — that still lives on. (Applause.) Bhinneka Tunggal Ika — unity in diversity. (Applause.) This is the foundation of Indonesia’s example to the world, and this is why Indonesia will play such an important part in the 21st century.
    When I moved to Indonesia, it would have been hard to imagine a future in which the prosperity of families in Chicago and Jakarta would be connected. But our economies are now global, and Indonesians have experienced both the promise and the perils of globalization: from the shock of the Asian financial crisis in the ‘90s, to the millions lifted out of poverty because of increased trade and commerce. What that means — and what we learned in the recent economic crisis — is that we have a stake in each other’s success.
    America has a stake in Indonesia growing and developing, with prosperity that is broadly shared among the Indonesian people — because a rising middle class here in Indonesia means new markets for our goods, just as America is a market for goods coming from Indonesia. So we are investing more in Indonesia, and our exports have grown by nearly 50 percent, and we are opening doors for Americans and Indonesians to do business with one another.
    These are the issues that really matter in our daily lives. Development, after all, is not simply about growth rates and numbers on a balance sheet. It’s about whether a child can learn the skills they need to make it in a changing world. It’s about whether a good idea is allowed to grow into a business, and not suffocated by corruption. It’s about whether those forces that have transformed the Jakarta I once knew — technology and trade and the flow of people and goods — can translate into a better life for all Indonesians, for all human beings, a life marked by dignity and opportunity.
    Now, this kind of development is inseparable from the role of democracy.
    Today, we sometimes hear that democracy stands in the way of economic progress. This is not a new argument. Particularly in times of change and economic uncertainty, some will say that it is easier to take a shortcut to development by trading away the right of human beings for the power of the state. But that’s not what I saw on my trip to India, and that is not what I see here in Indonesia. Your achievements demonstrate that democracy and development reinforce one another.
    I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. But I believed then, and I believe today, that we do have a choice. We can choose to be defined by our differences, and give in to a future of suspicion and mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress. And I can promise you — no matter what setbacks may come, the United States is committed to human progress. That is who we are. That is what we’ve done. And that is what we will do. (Applause.)
    Now, we know well the issues that have caused tensions for many years — and these are issues that I addressed in Cairo. In the 17 months that have passed since that speech, we have made some progress, but we have much more work to do.
    Innocent civilians in America, in Indonesia and across the world are still targeted by violent extremism. I made clear that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam. Instead, all of us must work together to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion –– certainly not a great, world religion like Islam. But those who want to build must not cede ground to terrorists who seek to destroy. And this is not a task for America alone. Indeed, here in Indonesia, you’ve made progress in rooting out extremists and combating such violence.
    That spark of the divine lives within each of us. We cannot give in to doubt or cynicism or despair. The stories of Indonesia and America should make us optimistic, because it tells us that history is on the side of human progress; that unity is more powerful than division; and that the people of this world can live together in peace. May our two nations, working together, with faith and determination, share these truths with all mankind. WH, 11-10-10
  • Palin calls Obama ‘most pro-abortion president’: Sarah Palin attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday for his support of abortion rights and for the federal health care overhaul as the former Alaska governor appeared in Texas with another tea party favorte, Gov. Rick Perry. Palin described Obama as “the most pro-abortion president to occupy the White House” at the Dallas event, which was sponsored by a nonprofit organization that promotes an anti-abortion message. The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee also said the federal health care law is the “mother of all unfunded mandates” and means federal funding will go toward abortions…. – AP, 11-11-10
  • Obama says Indonesia, U.S. ‘on right path’: President Obama on Tuesday said his efforts to find ways to cooperate with Indonesia were “direct results of my call … for a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities.” “Our efforts have been earnest, sustained,” Obama said. “We don’t expect that we are going to completely eliminate some of the misunderstandings and mistrust that have developed … but we do think that we’re on the right path.” “I have made it clear that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam,” he said in remarks prepared prior to the speech and distributed to the news media. “Instead, all of us must defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion — certainly not a great, world religion like Islam.”
    Most of Indonesia’s 240 million people follow a moderate form of Islam…. – USA Today, 11-9-10
  • Peggy Noonan: Sarah Palin A ‘Nincompoop’ For Reagan Reduction: Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I’ll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president…. – WSJ, 11-6-10
  • Obama: US elections force ‘midcourse corrections’: Hampered by heavy election losses at home, President Barack Obama promised on Sunday from Indian to make “midcourse corrections” to reinvigorate his embattled domestic agenda in the face of a testier American public and more combative Congress….
    The president agreed that people vented their frustration about the economy by sacking many incumbents. A “healthy thing,” he said, even though his Democratic Party suffered, losing control of one of the chambers in Congress. He said he would not retreat on spending money for energy and education, and offered no specific policy changes.
    But then he added that the election “requires me to make some midcourse corrections and adjustments. And how those play themselves out over the next several months will be a matter of me being in discussions with the Republican Party.”… – AP, 11-7-10
  • Obama Says Vote Turned on Economy: President Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that he views last week’s mid-term Congressional elections as “a referendum on the economy” rather than a referendum on him, his policies or the Democratic Party.
    While he said he should be held accountable for the economy as the nation’s leader, he did not accept the suggestion that he pursued the wrong agenda over the last two years, and he focused blame on his failure to build public support for what he was doing or to change the way Washington works.
    In a session taped for CBS’s “60 Minutes” before Mr. Obama left for Asia, the correspondent Steve Kroft pointed out to the president that Republicans view the election as a referendum on him and the Democrats, and asked if he agreed. “I think first and foremost it was a referendum on the economy,” Mr. Obama said. “And the party in power was held responsible for an economy that is still underperforming.”… – NYT, 11-10-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls for Compromise and Explains his Priorities on Taxes Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House November 6, 2010: This week, Americans across the country cast their votes and made their voices heard. And your message was clear.
    You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery. So am I.
    You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results. I do too.
    So I congratulate all of this week’s winners – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. But now, the campaign season is over. And it’s time to focus on our shared responsibilities to work together and deliver those results: speeding up our economic recovery, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class so that the American Dream feels like it’s back within reach….
    Here’s why this lame duck session is so important. Early in the last decade, President Bush and Congress enacted a series of tax cuts that were designed to expire at the end of this year.
    What that means is, if Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day.
    But the last thing we should do is raise taxes on middle-class families. For the past decade, they saw their costs rise, their incomes fall, and too many jobs go overseas. They’re the ones bearing the brunt of the recession. They’re the ones having trouble making ends meet. They are the ones who need relief right now.
    So something’s got to be done. And I believe there’s room for us to compromise and get it done together.
    But at a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.
    I recognize that both parties are going to have to work together and compromise to get something done here. But I want to make my priorities clear from the start. One: middle class families need permanent tax relief. And two: I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
    There are new public servants in Washington, but we still face the same challenges. And you made it clear that it’s time for results. This a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love. – WH, 11-6-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

President Barack Obama places a wreath at the base of the Yongsan   War Memorial
The President places a wreath at the base of the Yongsan War Memorial, White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 11/11/10
  • Lawrence Goodwyn: The Great Predicament Facing Obama: What happened to the dream of Barack Obama’s transformational politics? There’s been very little deviation from the disastrous Bush years on the key issues of war, empire and the distribution of wealth in the country. I turned to Lawrence Goodwyn, historian of social movements whose books and methods of explaining history have had a profound influence on many of the best known authors, activists and social theorists of our time. Goodwyn’s account of the Populist movement, Democratic Promise, is quoted extensively by Howard Zinn in People’s History of the United States, and also in William Greider’s masterpiece on the Federal Reserve, Secrets of the Temple. You can find Goodwyn quoted in the first paragraph of Bill Moyers’ recent book, On Democracy, and cited in just the same way in countless other books and essays.
    I interviewed Goodwyn from his home in Durham, North Carolina about the pitfalls of recording American history, Obama’s presidency in light of previous presidents, and portents of change in our political culture…. – Alternet (10-30-10)
  • Can the Tea Party endure? CNN asks Michael Kazin: The midterm elections dealt a powerful blow to President Obama and the Democratic Party as the country appeared to shift decisively to the right, moved by mass anger, “due to a combination of two kinds of fear,” historian Michael Kazin told CNN…. Kazin, a professor of history at Georgetown University, editor of The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History and author of “A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan” and other books, spoke to CNN last week.
    CNN: Would Republicans have captured the House without the Tea Party?
    Michael Kazin: We historians hate counterfactual questions! But clearly, the aura of a grass-roots rebellion helped to obscure the fact that most of corporate America was rooting for the GOP and helping finance Republican campaigns. The specific policy ideas of the Tea Partiers mattered less than did their anger at the perceived sins of “big government” and of President Obama. As [political writer] Kevin Phillips once wrote, much of political conflict comes down to the question of “who hates whom.”… – CNN.com (11-7-10)
  • Julian Zelizer: GOP leaders, beware the newcomers John Boehner has a huge problem on his hands. Now that the elections are over, and Republicans were victorious, he will need to tame the passions of the GOP freshmen who are coming to town determined to change everything about the way that Washington works.
    If he does not, the Republicans could divide among themselves, thereby undercutting their ability to push forward legislation and giving President Obama an opportunity to challenge their competence….
    Just as Democrats would do well to remember that life wasn’t so great for Clinton after 1994, even with his high approval rates, Republicans would do the same to recall how a massive opportunity was wasted and ultimately consumed some of its own leaders. – CNN, 11-8-1

Midterm Elections 2010: Results & Reactions, Roundup; Republican Sweep

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

https://bonniekaryn.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/midterm_elections.jpg

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.

Getty

STATS & RESULTS

    2010 Election: Live results (USA Today):  

    U.S. House RESULTS: D 187 – R 239
    CURRENT: D 256 – R 179

    U.S. Senate RESULTS: D 53 R 46 CURRENT: D 57 – R 41

    Governor RESULTS: D 17 – R 29 I – 3
    CURRENT: D 26 – R 24

    Washington Post:
    Senate: D 53 – R 46
    House: D 186 – R 239
    Governor: D 18 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

    HNN Hot Topics: Midterm Elections

  • Live Blogging Election Night – NYT, The Caucus, 11-2-10
  • Midterm elections live blog 2010 – Yahoo News, 11-2-10
  • Steny Hoyer mulls bid for minority whip
  • Nancy Pelosi announces she will run for minority leader: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has tweeted that she will run to lead Democrats in the House of Representatives.
  • Unemployment rate holds at 9.6 percent: The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in October, as the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent.
  • A.P. Projects Democrat Patty Murray Will Hold Washington Senate Seat: The Associated Press is projecting that Senator Patty Murray, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, will defeat her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, in Washington State.
  • Democrat Wins Illinois Governor Race: Gov. Patrick J. Quinn was declared the winner of the race for governor of Illinois by The Associated Press this afternoon…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • In Connecticut, Two Men Prepare to Be Governor: Thursday was the first full day of work for the transition team of Dannel P. Malloy, the Democrat who was certain he was the winner in the race for governor of Connecticut. Dannel P. Malloy, the former Democratic mayor of Stamford, was declared the unofficial winner. It was also the first full day of work for the transition team of Thomas C. Foley, the Republican who was equally sure he was the victor. Clearly, one of these men was going to be terribly disappointed. But when and how was still, well, unclear…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Oregon: Democrat wins historic 3rd term as governor: Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley are locked in a tight race for governor in Oregon after a big- spending campaign that… AP, 11-4-10
  • Murkowski acts like victor but questions linger: Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is acting as though she already has pulled off an improbable victory after her write-in candidacy, enthusiastically thanking supporters and telling them they’ve made history. She may have won. Or she may be overly optimistic. The race is far from over…. – wApO, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored huge and historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even the great performance the party had in congressional races. GOP candidates picked up about 650 Democratic-held seats, the most in nearly half a century. Republicans now control more legislative seats than at any time since 1928.
    “To describe this as a Republican wave would be a vast understatement,” says elections expert Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They won in places where we didn’t see it coming, and they won in places where we did see it coming,” he says. The shift will have a big effect on spending, taxes, public education and how political districts are drawn…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Revolution in the States The GOP also made history down ballot on Tuesday: Here’s a prediction: Democrats and liberals will soon preach the virtues of Congressional redistricting reform. The reason is the historic losses Democrats suffered on Tuesday at the state level that have set Republicans up to dominate the post-2000 Census process of rewriting district lines.
    The GOP’s failure to take over the U.S. Senate has masked the arguably more important story that Republicans picked up at least a record 680 state legislative seats nationwide. That’s more than even the 472 seat gain in 1994, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, and more than the previous record of 628 seats by … – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Poll: GOP candidates top Obama in hypothetical 2012 race: President Obama trails some top GOP contenders in a hypothetical 2012 matchup.
    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the favorite for the GOP 2012 presidential nomination
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a close second
    Nearly three-quarters of Democrats say they want to see the party renominate Barack Obama in 2012… – CNN, 11-4-10
  • Poll: Obama Would Beat Palin in 2012: The midterm elections are so yesterday. The eyes of many political insiders are already turning to 2012. President Obama would handily beat Sarah Palin in the next presidential election, despite strong anti-incumbent feelings and the Democrats losing the House to the GOP this week, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates.
    And while Obama would win against the Tea Party favorite, 52% to 44% among registered voters, pit the President against Mike Huckabee and it’s an entirely different story.
    The former Arkansas Governor and 2008 GOP White House candidate would beat Obama 52% to 44% in a hypothetical matchup, the survey reveals.
    While there’s no clear GOP frontrunner, 21% Republicans said they’re most likely to back Huckabee, 20% said they’d support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 14% said they’d back Palin and 12% were for ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
    Romney would also beat Obama 50 % to 45%, but Obama would beat Gingrich 49% to 47%…. – US News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin’s ‘Take Back the 20’ PAC scores a bull’s-eye: During the 2010 midterm elections, Sarah Palin went hunting for Democrats and nearly bagged her limit. “Take Back the 20,” Palin’s political action committee, targeted 20 congressional districts across the country that John McCain carried in 2008 but had Democratic representatives in Congress.
    The results are eye-opening. Palin succeeded in 18 of 20 districts, losing in West Virginia’s 3rd House District. At this time, the race in Arizona’s 8th House District is too close to call.
    The 18 Republican winners unseated freshman politicians, congressional veterans and even House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • Religion’s role in the November 2010 election: It may surprise some, but here are two typical pre-election statements made at churches and synagogues. From first-hand experience interviewing people in America’s two largest religions — Christianity and Judaism — about 50 percent of Bible and Torah believers often don’t let their faith influence their voting. It’s more about party affiliation and the economy…. – Yahoo News, 11-4-10
  • Parsing the Myths of the Midterm Election: Every election develops its own mythology, usually before the official results are even certified, and this week’s was no different. And like all mythology, the narrative that is being woven around the midterm elections by Bulfinches from both parties is a blend of history, facts and, yes, myths. Before it hardens into accepted fact, some of the new conventional wisdom might benefit from one more spin on the potter’s wheel: The Mandate Myth
    The Return to the Republican Fold
    The Lost Youth Vote
    Disaster for the President
    Mythmakers, or Debunkers, Know What They’re Talking About – NYT, 11-5-10
  • Snapshot: Election night at Fox News: After all the drumming for conservative candidates, you’d think the network’s talking heads would be crowing over Republican gains. But things were surprisingly subdued…. – LAT, 11-7-10
  • GOP regains control of House in historic elections: Republicans have seized control of the House for the first time since 2006, riding a wave of voter discontent and economic woes to directly challenge President Barack Obama’s agenda.
    House Republicans have captured 220 seats and were leading in 20 other races. Only 218 seats are needed for control of the House.
    Republicans have picked up a net gain of 53 seats and were leading for another 13 Democratic-held seats. If current trend holds, Republicans could record their largest gains in the House in more than 70 years.
    In 1938, the party gained 80 seats during the second term of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Republicans Will Take Control of the House: John A. Boehner, the House Republican leader, in an emotional moment during a victory gathering for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington. More Photos »
    Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory.
    A Republican resurgence, propelled by deep economic worries and a forceful opposition to the Democratic agenda of health care and government spending, delivered defeats to Democrats from the Northeast to the South and across the Midwest. The tide swept aside dozens of Democratic lawmakers, regardless of their seniority or their voting records, upending the balance of power for the second half of Mr. Obama’s term…. –
  • Republicans Will Win Control of House: The New York Times is projecting that Republicans will win the 218 seats necessary for control of the House of Representatives after four years of Democratic control of the chamber.
  • Democrats keep control of the U.S. Senate: Democrats retain enough seats to hold on to the U.S. Senate, The Washington Post projects.
  • As CNN, ABC, MSNBC and other networks are now projecting, though, even if the Democrats lose all 4 of those races, they will still have 50 seats. According to Senate rules, the Vice President breaks a tie, which means Democrats will keep control.
  • GOP to grab U.S. House majority; Democrats poised to retain Senate: Republicans rode a wave of voter dissatisfaction with the state of the economy to win majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, while Democrats were poised to retain their majority in the Senate. With results still coming in and voting continuing in Western states, the extent of the Republican takeover of the 435-member House was still to be determined. But CNN projected that Republicans would win at least 52 more House seats than they currently hold to wipe out the Democratic majority of the past four years…. – CNN, 11-2-10
  • 2010 election results: media coverage in portions for every appetite: Coverage of the 2010 election results will be provided in more ways than ever before – from centuries-old delivery methods like newspapers to ABC News’s iPad application…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Exit poll: Economy dominates voters’ worries: Voters were intensely worried about the future of the economy Tuesday and unhappy with the way President Barack Obama and Congress have been running things. They didn’t hold a favorable view of either the Republican or Democratic parties, according to an Associated Press analysis of preliminary exit poll results and pre-election polls. Overwhelmingly, people at the polls were dissatisfied with the way the federal government is working, and a fourth said they’re angry about it…. – AP, 11-2-10

THE HEADLINES….

Presumptive next Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner
  • Republicans in charge take aim at health overhaul: Resurgent Republicans rallied Sunday behind an agenda based on unwavering opposition to the Obama White House and federal spending, laying the groundwork for gridlock until their 2012 goal: a new president, a “better Senate” and ridding the country of that demonized health care law. Republicans said they were willing to work with President Barack Obama but also signaled it would be only on their terms. With control of the White House and the Senate, Democrats showed no sign they were conceding the final two years of Obama’s term to Republican lawmakers who claimed the majority in the House.
    Voters on Tuesday punished Democrats from New Hampshire to California, giving Republicans at least 60 new seats in the House. Republicans picked up 10 governorships; the GOP also gained control of 19 state legislative chambers and now holds the highest level of state legislative seats since 1928…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • ‘Obama Comes Across as Cold, Arrogant and Elitist’: Tea Party Activists display a US Flag in front of the Capitol Building in Washington. It was a failure of historic proportions. With US President Barack Obama’s Democrats having lost control of the House, there seems little hope for progress during his two remaining years, say German commentators. Obama himself, they say, bears much of the blame. On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama and his Democratic party were issued a stinging defeat in the mid-term elections as the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and installed themselves in 22 governor’s mansions. Though the Democrats narrowly were able to keep control of the Senate, the Republicans, who rode the wave of anti- incumbent sentiment and populist anger over the economy into office, now have the power to determine the House’s legislative agenda — and to block Obama proposals. Indeed, Republican leaders in the House have already promised that their first order of business will be to repeal Obama’s health care reform — his signature achievement…. – Spiegal, 11-4-10
  • Republican establishment takes on Sarah Palin: Senior officials from former president Bush on down say she’s not ready for the presidency, and some are questioning her recent decisions and pronouncements…. – Cs Monirtor, 11-6-10
  • G.O.P. Plans to Use Purse Strings to Fight Health Law: As they seek to make good on their campaign promise to roll back President Obama’s health care overhaul, the incoming Republican leaders in the House say they intend to use their new muscle to cut off money for the law, setting up a series of partisan clashes and testing Democratic commitment to the legislation…. – NYT, 11-7-10
  • How Pelosi’s determination could hamper Obama: Just when President Obama thought he had all the problems he could handle, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might have handed him another. Pelosi stunned many Democrats on Friday with the announcement that she will run for leader of the new Democratic minority in the House. If her colleagues and the smart money in Washington thought she would retreat and resign after the Democrats’ 60-seat loss Tuesday, Pelosi reminded them that she didn’t become the first female speaker in history through timidity. The question is whether she has significantly complicated life for Obama as he prepares to deal with the Republican majority in the House and Senate Republicans led by someone who spent the week hurling thunderbolts at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. From outside reports, the White House was conflicted about whether it wanted her to stay or go, torn between loyalty to the speaker for all she did during the past two years and its own political needs in the wake of Tuesday’s loss…. – WaPo, 11-6-10
  • GOP deciding which direction to go with new authority after midterm victory: Jubilant over their landslide victory in the House and their pickup of six Senate seats, Republican leaders nevertheless face a dilemma as they debate how to exert their new authority. Their energetic conservative base is eager to thwart President Obama’s every move, and if Republicans fail at doing so, they risk disappointing the supporters who turned out in vast numbers for Tuesday’s midterm elections. But if Republicans overreach, and ultimately deliver very little, independents could return to the Democratic fold in time to reelect Obama…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • Jim DeMint basks in election afterglow, but did he cost GOP the Senate?: Even as Sen. Jim DeMint emerges from the elections with widespread recognition as leader of a resurgent conservative force in Congress, he faces criticism that the millions he spent on hard-right candidates cost Republicans control of the Senate.
    Five DeMint-backed candidates were elected to the Senate, but five were defeated — with a sixth, Joe Miller of Alaska, trailing incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in her historic write-in bid as an independent to keep her seat…. – Boston Herald, 11-6-10
  • Are GOP leaders going too far with their criticism of Obama?: The president certainly has been getting it from GOP leaders the past few days. But the real question regarding Obama, the Republicans say, is: ‘Is he getting it?’…. – CS Monitor, 11-5-10
  • Obama Says Jobs Report Is Encouraging for Recovery: President Barack Obama said today’s employment report is a sign that the economy is recovering from the “terrible damage” caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression. Still, recent increases in private sector employment are “not good enough,” Obama said at the White House. “The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high.” Obama spoke before leaving for a 10-day trip through Asia that is focused on trade and expanding U.S. exports. In remarks directed at Congress, he said the U.S. can’t afford to get “mired” in partisan battles over policy while countries such as China move forward to expand their economies…. – Bloomberg, 11-5-10
  • Obama admits failing to sell successes to Americans: US President Barack Obama acknowledged he had failed to persuade Americans of his administration’s successes, following an election hammering which saw his party lose control of the House of Representatives.
    “We were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation, that it’s a matter of persuading people,” Obama told CBS show “60 Minutes” in excerpts released Friday. “We haven’t always been successful at that,” the president added. “I take personal responsibility for that, and it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully as I go forward.”… – AFP, 11-5-10
  • It’s Reaction Day, which is like Election Day but lazier: The New York Post: “HUMBLED” reads the main hed; “My fault, pres says day after Dems lose 61 seats in House.” The picture is worth a few more words: eyes downturned and closed, his mouth in a pout that gathers more flesh under his lower lip than you probably thought he had on his whole head.
    Daily News: “WOE BAMA!” is the News’ slightly less serious wood for the Obama shellacking story, advertising four pages of coverage of Reaction Day. It’s a similar, but more close-cropped pouty Obama we get here. But it’s time to move on, right?… – Capital New York, 11-4-10
  • GOP asserts new strength, targets Obama programs: Victorious at the polls, congressional Republicans asserted their newfound political strength on Thursday, vowing to seek a quick $100 billion in federal spending cuts and force repeated votes on the repeal of President Barack Obama’s prized health care overhaul.
    At the White Houses, Obama said his administration was ready to work across party lines in a fresh attempt to “focus on the economy and jobs” as well as attack waste in government. In a show of bipartisanship, he invited top lawmakers to the White House at mid-month, and the nation’s newly elected governors two weeks later…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • US president Barack Obama’s torment at election ‘shellacking’: President Barack Obama’s rivals did cartwheels of jubilation yesterday after seizing control of the US Congress. Victorious congressman Ed Perlmutter’s extravagant acrobatics marked the Republicans’ biggest win in the mid-term elections since the Great Depression of 1938. But their capture of the House of Representatives left American politics in paralysis last night as the right-wingers looked set to hamper a major economic stimulus plan by Obama’s Democrats.
    In a White House press conference yesterday, the humbled President sighed: “I am not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. I am sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. “It feels bad. It’s hard. I take responsibility. I’ve got to do a better job.” The man who swept to the White House two years ago conceded: “Some election nights are more fun than others.”… – Mirror UK, 11-4-10
  • Election doesn’t end major discord for GOP, Obama: Barely an hour after President Barack Obama invited congressional Republicans to post-election talks on Nov. 18 to work together on major issues, the Senate’s GOP leader had a blunt message: His party’s main goal is denying Obama re-election.
    “The only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
    “I want us to talk substantively about how we can move the American people’s agenda forward,” Obama said of the upcoming meeting with lawmakers. “It’s not just going to be a photo op.”… – AP, 11-4-10
  • Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan: “If the goal of the majority is to govern, what is the purpose of the minority?” one slide asked. “The purpose of the minority,” came the answer, “is to become the majority.” The presentation was the product of a strategy session held 11 days before Mr. Obama’s inauguration, when top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives began devising an early blueprint for what they would accomplish in Tuesday’s election: their comeback.
    How they did it is the story of one of the most remarkable Congressional campaigns in more than a half-century, characterized by careful plotting by Republicans, miscalculations by Democrats and a new political dynamic with forces out of both parties’ control. The unpredictable Tea Party movement, the torrent of corporate money from outside interests and an electorate with deep discontent helped shift the balance of power in Washington. The White House struggled to keep Democrats in line, with a misplaced confidence in the power of the coalition that propelled Mr. Obama into office. Republicans capitalized on backlash to the ambitious agenda Mr. Obama and his party pursued, which fueled unrestricted and often anonymous contributions to conservative groups, some advised by a nemesis Democrats thought they had shaken, Karl Rove. That money so strengthened the Republican assault across the country that an exasperated Democratic party strategist likened it to “nuclear Whac-a-Mole.”… – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The power shift may not last with Tea Partiers looking to disrupt their own leaders…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Rivalry Tests Tea-Party Clout: House Republicans are embroiled in a leadership struggle just days after their sweeping electoral victory, testing how much influence tea-party passions will have on how lawmakers run the chamber. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who raised money for many House candidates and was deeply involved in the Republicans’ campaign efforts, is running for chairman of the House Republican Conference, the No. 4 position in the House GOP, with the backing of party leaders. His opponent is Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a favorite of tea-party activists who is known for her colorful statements. Some GOP leaders believe she would be less effective, but many tea-party activists see this as a test of whether Republicans are listening to them…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even their performances in congressional races…. – USA Today, 11-4-10
  • Survivors’ scenarios could help in 2012: Figuring out why 29 vulnerable Democrats won while others lost could help leaders of both parties as they prepare for the 2012 elections…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Boost for Keeping All Bush Tax Cuts: President Barack Obama is open to considering the extension of all Bush-era tax cuts for a year or two, the White House confirmed Thursday, putting to a likely end any debate over whether to extend the breaks for high-income families. Instead, Congress is poised to grapple with a different set of questions when it returns this month for a final session of the current term: How and for how long should lawmakers grant an extension?…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • White House Pushes Back on Tax Cuts for Wealthy: While President Obama again signaled interest in finding common ground with Republicans in the wake of their electoral triumph, the White House on Thursday drew a firmer line against making permanent Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Mr. Obama and Republicans agree on extending the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush for the vast majority of Americans, but the president has opposed making them permanent for income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for households, essentially the richest 2 percent of Americans. The tax cuts expire at the end of the year…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Health-Care Industry Still Braces for Change: Repeal of the federal health-care overhaul was central to many Republican campaigns this season. But even with the House changing hands, health insurers, drug companies and hospitals said they were planning as if the law will stick…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Palin’s Endorsements Lay Base for a 2012 Run: If Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, decides to run for president in 2012, she will now have plenty of help. In New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary in the nation, Ms. Palin can count on the support of its newly elected senator, Kelly Ayotte. When the presidential campaign moves to South Carolina, the state’s new governor, Nikki Haley, will owe her one. And out West, Susana Martinez, who will take office as New Mexico’s governor, will be ready to help during a potential general election matchup with President Obama as the two parties battle over the growing number of Hispanic voters in the Southwest. Ms. Palin was not on any ballot. But the self-described “Mama Grizzly” had plenty at stake on Tuesday night as she sought to bolster her credentials as the Republican Party’s most powerful kingmaker and the voice of the newly empowered Tea Party movement. Ms. Palin had endorsed dozens of candidates, including ones in some of the highest-profile races…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • G.O.P Captures House, but Falls Short in Senate: “Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory,” writes Jeff Zeleny…. – New York Times
  • Republicans capture control of House; Dems to retain Senate: “Just four years after surrendering power, Republicans recaptured control of the House and made gains in the Senate on Tuesday night, in a major rebuff of President Obama and the Democrats by an electorate worried about the economy and the size of the government,” writes Dan Balz…. – Washington Post
  • GOP Wins House in Huge Swing: “Republicans won control of the House of Representatives as voters dealt a stiff rebuke to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in a historic wave that swept the GOP to power in states and districts across the country,” write Laura Meckler and Jonathan Weisman…. – Wall Street Journal
  • Republicans win House, Democrats retain Senate: “Republicans, tapping into widespread anger over the ailing economy and disappointment with President Obama’s leadership, wrested control of the House of Representatives from Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but fell just short of winning the Senate,” writes Douglas Stanglin…. – USA Today
  • Republicans promise limited government: Emboldened by a commanding House majority and Senate gains, Republican leaders vowed Wednesday to roll back the size of government and, in time, the nation’s sweeping health care law. President Barack Obama, reflective after his party’s drubbing, accepted blame for failing to deliver the economic security Americans demand while saying of his health overhaul: “This was the right thing to do.” He called the election a “shellacking.”
    After two years with fellow Democrats leading Congress, Obama now must deal for the rest of his term with the jarring reality of Republican control of the House, a diminished Democratic majority in the Senate and a new flock of lawmakers sworn to downsize government at every chance.
    The capital awoke — if it ever slept — to a new political order. With their lopsided win, Republicans are ushering in a new era of divided government and dethroning Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a prime target of their campaign…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Obama signals compromise with GOP on tax cuts: A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections. Obama ruefully called the Republican victories “a shellacking.”
    At a White House news conference, the president said that when Congress returns, “my goal is to make sure we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle class families.” He made no mention of his campaign-long insistence that tax cuts be permitted to expire on upper-income families, a position he said would avoid swelling the deficit but put him in conflict with Republicans.
    He also virtually abandoned his legislation — hopelessly stalled in the Senate — featuring economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources. “I’m going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem,” he said. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said, strongly implying there will be others…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • G.O.P. Leaders Vow to Repeal Health Care Law: At a news conference at the Capitol, the likely House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, invited President Obama to work with them on these and other goals. But they also quickly adopted an aggressive posture on some issues certain to antagonize Democrats, including a vow to repeal the big new health care law.
    Mr. Obama, at his own news conference in the East Room of the White House, called the election results “humbling,” but he also attributed the far-reaching Republican victories largely to the public’s frustration over the slow economic recovery. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy,” he said.
    The president said he was “eager to hear good ideas wherever they come from” and expressed a willingness to work with Republicans. “We must find common ground,” he said, “in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges.” And he cited energy and education as two policy areas on which Republicans and Democrats could see eye to eye…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • Obama Takes Responsibility for Voter Frustration: “Some election nights are more fun than others,” he told reporters in the East Room of the White House. “Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling.” He said that he had to take “direct responsibility” for the failure to repair the nation’s economic fortunes. But in his opening remarks and answers to early questions, Mr. Obama refused to say that the Republican wave that swept across the country was a fundamental rejection of his administration’s policies.
    “There is no doubt that people’s No. 1 concern is the economy,” he said. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy.” The president repeatedly said that he wanted to work with the newly empowered Republicans in Washington. But he also said more than once that there were some principles that both parties were going to be unwilling to compromise on…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • House leaders begin outlining priorities: Republicans on Wednesday pointed to their House takeover as a mandate to “change course” on economic policy and key elements of President Obama’s agenda, including the health care overhaul he pushed through Congress this year…. – USA Today, 11-3-10
  • Pelosi Election Results: What It Mean’s for Health Care Champion: Nancy Pelosi may not have been up for election Tuesday night, but many Republicans felt her ideas were, chief amongst them strong support for Obama’s health care plan. Several big ticket conservatives as well as new members of Congress have pledged to roll back key pieces of Obamacare or repeal it entirely…. – CBS News, 11-3-10
  • Sarah Palin The Mama Grizzly Scorecard: She didn’t appear on any ballot yet one big question of the Tuesday night election was how well did Sarah Palin do? Palin will point to a positive win-loss record—49 of her 77 candidates triumphed, (6 races had yet to be called by Wednesday morning.) But many of the highest-profile races, where she had loudly interjected herself, her candidates— Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and John Raese in West Virginia—lost.
    Even in her home state of Alaska, her help seems to have been less than helpful. Joe Miller, the GOP candidate and Palin protégée, ended up having to fight off the write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, and even a last-minute bit of McMentum—when Democratic candidate, Scott McAdams suddenly seemed to rally. By late Tuesday night, that race had still not been called, but Murkowski was leading.
    If there was a silver lining for the former Alaska Governor, it came in the form of Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, and Mary Fallin in Oklahoma—the first time women won governorships in those three states.
    The election may have been a vote on Obama and the Democrats. But for many watching, the most widely anticipated other referendum was how well Palin would do. Of her 77 candidates around the nation, 20 are women—in the Palin vernacular, her Mama Grizzlies who, she had predicted, would “rise up on their hind legs.”… – The Daily Beast, 11-3-10
  • Tea party-backed Rick Scott claims Fla. governor win: Tea party-backed Republican businessman Rick Scott, who ran as an outsider vowing to shake up the political establishment, claimed victory Wednesday as Florida’s next governor after Democrat Alex Sink conceded an extremely tight race…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • California Climate Law Survives Challenge at Polls: The defeat of Proposition 23 marked a big victory for Silicon Valley investors, who poured millions of dollars into defending California’s AB 32 law and protecting their massive investments in green technologies ranging from solar power to electric cars. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Boehner wants Bush tax cuts extended for all: U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner said on Wednesday that extending the Bush tax cuts for all income groups is the right policy…. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Lengthy to-do list awaits lame duck session: Now that the elections are over, a lame-duck Congress comes back to work this month to deal with a pile of unfinished business: whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts due to expire, give seniors a $250 Social Security special payment and repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gays serving openly. It’s an open question how much they’ll get done. The current Congress returns Nov. 15 for a post-election session dominated by tax and spending issues. Rarely has such a big pile of work faced lawmakers when the party in power has suffered so much at the ballot box…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Tea time: Republicans locking up House control: Republicans marched toward House control Tuesday night in midterm elections shadowed by recession, locking up enough Democratic seats to install a conservative majority certain to challenge President Barack Obama at virtually every turn. Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, his voice breaking with emotion, declared to fellow Republicans, “I’ll never let you down.”…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • GOP takes the House, but fall short in Senate: Resurgent Republicans won control of the House early Wednesday in midterm elections shadowed by recession, promising a conservative majority certain to challenge President Barack Obama at every turn. Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner called the results “a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the people.”
    Republicans fell short in their effort to gain control of the Senate and take full command of Congress, although they picked up at least five seats. They also wrested at least eight governorships from Democrats.
    Obama telephoned Boehner shortly after midnight to congratulate him, a call that underscored the transition to divided government. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Democrats lose 6 Senate seats, but keep majority: Democrats retained their Senate majority Tuesday, losing five seats but winning key races in West Virginia and California. Republicans scored big gains, taking Senate seats from Democrats in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arkansas, North Dakota and Indiana. The net gain of 10 they needed for control of the chamber, however, eluded them.
    With Republicans taking over the House, President Barack Obama will need a Democratic-run Senate to champion his legislative agenda…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • GOP captures governorships in at least 10 states: Republicans on Tuesday captured from Democrats governorships in at least 10 states, including some prime presidential battlegrounds, and hoped for even more statehouse gains. The same tide sweeping Republicans into office in Congress was leaving its mark on governors’ mansions as well, especially in the nation’s industrial heartland.
    Lost in the GOP onslaught: governorships now held by Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Wyoming…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • In Republican Victories, Tide Turns Starkly: Somewhere along the way, the apostle of change became its target, engulfed by the same currents that swept him to the White House two years ago. Now, President Obama must find a way to recalibrate with nothing less than his presidency on the line.
    The verdict delivered by voters on Tuesday effectively put an end to his transformational ambitions and left him searching for a way forward with a more circumscribed horizon of possibilities. Facing a hostile House with subpoena power and a diminished majority in the Senate, he will have to figure out the right blend of conciliation and confrontation to reassert authority and avoid defeat in 2012.
    The most pressing question as Mr. Obama picks through the results on Wednesday morning will be what lessons he takes from the electoral reversals. Was this the natural and unavoidable backlash in a time of historic economic distress, or was it a repudiation of a big-spending activist government? Was it primarily a failure of communications as the White House has suggested lately, or was it a fundamental disconnect with the values and priorities of the American public?… – NYT, 11-3-10
  • How the tea party helped GOP find a path to Election Day successes: Victories for tea-party candidates Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Jim DeMint showed the impact of the nascent conservative movement on the GOP’s ability to project a winning posture…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Republicans See Big Gains in House: The Tea Party captured its first big victories Tuesday when Marco Rubio won a United States Senate seat in Florida and Rand Paul won his Senate bid in Kentucky. The victories seemed to be a precursor of big gains in Congress for the Republican Party, as victories in several races suggesting the party could be poised to take control of the House of Representatives. The results, and surveys of voters outside polling places, signaled that the elections would recalibrate the balance of power in Washington and in state houses across the nation, as voters distressed over the lingering economic woes, seemed eager to rebuke President Obama and his fellow Democrats.
    The biggest gains for Republicans were expected in the House, where party leaders said they were confident of reclaiming the majority. Several incumbent Democrats were trailing on Ohio, a key indicator of trouble ahead for Democrats…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Tea Party Comes to Power on an Unclear Mandate: For all the ways its rank and file despises President Obama, the Tea Party’s powerful insurgency shares this with him: It has been a blank screen on which voters have projected all kinds of hopes and frustrations — not always compatible or realistic.
    As it tries to make the transition from a protest movement to a power on Capitol Hill, the Tea Party faces the challenge of channeling the energy it brought to the election into a governing agenda when it has no clear mandate, a stated distaste for the inevitable compromises of legislating and a wary relationship with Republican leaders in Congress.
    The Republican sweep looked to be largely a Tea Party sweep, with 4 in 10 voters in exit polls expressing support for the movement…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • West Virginia Senate: a crucial but hollow victory for Democrats?: Gov. Joe Manchin has declared victory in the race for the open West Virginia Senate seat. His win makes it very unlikely that the GOP will control the Senate. But in Washington, Manchin might act more like a Republican than a Democrat…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • For Obama, perils and opportunities ahead: Facing what seems certain to be a vastly more Republican and hostile Congress, President Obama will begin a new chapter in his presidency following today’s midterm elections—one filled both with pitfalls and opportunities as he struggles to enact his policies and prepare to run for reelection in two years. These election results will likely leave Obama in a bind. Enacting measures that he hopes to get passed–such as an expansion of health care to include those left uncovered by last year’s landmark legislation or an increase in educational benefits through a plan to aid community colleges–will be more difficult. Those proposals will probably have to be re-crafted or abandoned altogether…. – National Journal, 11-2-10
  • Tea time: GOP nears House control, piling up wins: House control within reach, Republicans piled up gains Tuesday night in a drive to forge a new conservative majority midway through President Barack Obama’s term. They added Senate seats, as well, but seemed likely to fall short of taking over. “We’ve come to take our government back,” Sen.-elect Rand Paul declared to cheering supporters at a victory party in Bowling Green, Ky., an early Republican winner on a night filled with them. A Republican majority in the House would usher in a new era of divided government as the nation struggles to emerge from the shadow of the worst recession since the 1930s…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • GOP celebrates first fruits of expected big night: Republicans gained a Senate seat in Indiana, and tea party favorite Rand Paul coasted to victory in Kentucky in midterm elections Tuesday night, first fruits of a drive to break the Democrats’ grip on power in Congress. Republicans also led for four House seats in Democratic hands and projected confidence they would succeed in winning a majority and installing Rep. John Boehner of Ohio as speaker…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Why Rand Paul’s victory is important: Rand Paul’s victory provides evidence that the tea party influence is real, and may hold lessons about negative campaigning…. – CS Monitor, 11-2-10
  • Long Wait Possible in Alaska: Alaska—The winner of Alaska’s Senate race might not be known for weeks, as election officials wrestle with complications created by incumbent Lisa Murkowski’s write-in effort as well as thousands of absentee ballots. Alaska voters on Tuesday were choosing among Ms. Murkowski, tea-party-favorite and Republican nominee Joe Miller, and Democrat Scott McAdams, a little-known former mayor. In addition to those votes and others cast early, there are at least 20,000 absentee ballots that won’t be counted Tuesday night. Election officials will first tally the number of votes for Mr. Miller and Mr. McAdams, and the number of voters who indicated a write-in choice. Alaskans voting for Ms. Murkowski must darken a bubble on the ballot and write her name on a line. If the number of votes with the write-in bubble filled is far lower than those for another candidate, a winner could become apparent Tuesday night. But if write-ins are in first place—or close to it, election officials must wait for laggard absentee ballots to arrive and be counted before moving beyond counting bubbles to actually tallying the names written in next to them. Any name-counting wouldn’t start until Nov. 18, and the election wouldn’t be certified until around Nov. 29. Only at that point could a candidate contest the results in court, said Gail Fenumiai, director of the state Division of Elections…. – WSJ, 11-2-10

QUOTES

  • Cantor: Democrats ‘Didn’t Get the Message’ From Voters if Pelosi Stays Leader: “If Democratic members in the House elect Nancy Pelosi as their leader, it’s almost as if they just didn’t get the message from the voters this election. I mean, the voters outright rejected the agenda that she’s been about,” he said. “I mean this is the woman who really, I think, puts ideology first, and there have been no results for the American people. And that seems the direction they want to take again. It just doesn’t make sense.”
    “I don’t think there’s any question that this says to the voters, ‘We’re not listening to you. We think we’re right. We’re going to continue the same path,'” Cantor said….
    “You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery. So am I. You’re fed up with partisan politics and you want results. I do, too,” he said…. – Fox News, 11-7-10
  • Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican who is stepping down from his post in GOP leadership: “I think this week’s election was a historic rejection of American liberalism and the Obama and Pelosi agenda… The American people are tired of the borrowing, the spending, the bailouts, the takeovers.” – AP, 11-7-10
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: “It was a very rough week, there’s no sugarcoating that…. I don’t see any sign of the president retreating from his principles, but I do see his willingness to reach out, and wherever reasonable and in the interests of moving the economy and jobs forward, he’s going to work with the Republicans, as are the Democrats,” Van Hollen said…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • Rep. Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican who is in line to become majority leader: “The president did say this week he’s willing to work with us. Now listen, are we willing to work with him? First and foremost, we’re not going to be willing to work with him on the expansive liberal agenda he’s been about.”… – AP, 11-7-10
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky: “This was a huge, huge issue in the election last Tuesday. A vast majority of Americans feel very, very uncomfortable with this new bill. People who supported us, political independents, want it repealed and replaced with something else. I think we owe it to them to try.” … “Admittedly, it will be difficult with him in the White House,” McConnell said. “But if we can put a full repeal on his desk and replace it with the kind of commonsense forms that we were advocating during the debate to reduce spending, we owe it to the American people to do that.”… – AP, 11-7-10
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who will take leadership of the House budget committee, said the GOP will reign in the overhaul through oversight hearings and cutting off money to implement the law, “but then again, the president has to sign those bills, so that is a challenge.” “You can’t fully repeal and replace this law until you have a new president and a better Senate. And that’s probably in 2013, but that’s before the law fully kicks in, in 2014,” Ryan said…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • ‘This Week’ Transcript: Rand Paul, Rep. Mike Pence and David StockmanABC News, 11-7-10
  • Transcript: McConnell on Face the Nation – Time, 11-7-10
  • Rand Paul, the tea party-backed winner in Kentucky’s Senate race: “We’re coming. We’re proud. We’re strong. We’re loud. And we’re going to co-opt. And, in fact, I think we’re already shaping the debate,” he said of his fellow tea party candidates…. – AP, 11-7-10
  • Pelosi Urges Unity and Says She Will Work Toward Democratic Rebound:
    November 6, 2010
    Dear Democratic Colleague:
    In the 24 hours since I wrote seeking your views and your vote for Democratic Leader, I have been very gratified by the extensive and enthusiastic support I have received. Many of our colleagues, from all areas of our diverse Caucus, have been generous with their ideas and their support. I am grateful for the confidence that has been placed in me to be House Democratic Leader.
    Our conversations have focused on the difficult challenges facing America’s working families and our important work on their behalf in the 112th Congress. Foremost is the need to create jobs and promote the economic security of the American middle class. In addition, we must build the capacity for effectively communicating our message of job creation and opportunity for all, while supporting our signature achievements of health care, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare.
    In the 2006 election with our “New Direction” and “6 for ’06? message, we spoke with great clarity and unity — and we won. Now we must further modernize not only that message but the way in which we communicate with constituents.
    While we are deeply affected personally and politically by the loss of excellent members of our Caucus, nevertheless we hope those colleagues will continue the fight and rejoin us again in two years. We will begin the 112th Congress with talented new colleagues, and with a renewed dedication to fighting every day for jobs, economic recovery and the middle class.
    Thank you again for your leadership and for your friendship.
    best wishes,
    NANCY PELOSI
    WaPo, 11-6-10
  • Obama: “Leadership Isn’t Just Legislation” After Midterm Defeat, Humbled President Acknowledges Failures in Exclusive “60 Minutes” Interview: “I think that’s a fair argument. I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft in an exclusive interview set to air Sunday. “Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.” – CBS News, 11-5-10
  • Obama: Put politics aside to grow economy: “Based on today’s jobs report, we’ve now seen private sector job growth for 10 straight months. That means that since January, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs,” he said at the White House after the Labor Department reported that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October. “The most important competition that we face in the new century will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It’s the competition with countries around the world to lead the global economy, and our success or failure in this race will depend on whether we can come together as a nation.” “Our future depends on putting politics aside to solve problems, to worry about the next generation instead of the next election. We can’t spend the next two years mired in gridlock. Other countries like China aren’t standing still, so we can’t stand still either. We have to move forward.” – CNN, 11-5-10
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a speech to the Heritage Foundation: “We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same time recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.”… “But the fact is … it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen.”….He reiterated that his overriding goal is to “deny President Obama a second term in office.”
  • Exclusive: Boehner Expects ‘Whale of a Fight’ With Obama Over Taxes in Lame Duck Session: “We’re not in control,” Boehner said. “And I’ve not been party to any of these conversations. I’m for extending all of the current tax rates for all Americans.”… “The American people want us to find common ground,” he said. “And I’m hoping that the president heard what the American people had to say the other night.” – Fox News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin: The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward: Have an intelligent message, and fight for your right to be heard…. – NRO, 11-4-10
  • President Barack Obama, Press Conference: “I’ve got to do a better job,” he said, “like everybody else in Washington.” And he took responsibility for not doing enough to alter the ways of the capital, whether its hyper-partisanship or back-room dealing. “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things were done.”
  • Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting: “Change course we will,” describing the outcome as a clear mandate to shrink the government. That echoed the unrelenting demand of tea party activists whose energy and votes helped to fuel the largest turnover in the House in more than 70 years.
    “I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity,” Boehner said.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, No. 2 Republican in the House: “We’ve been given a second chance and a golden opportunity.” But, he added, “People want to see results.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived a tea party challenge in Nevada: “I’m ready for some tweaking” on the health care law but would fight its repeal.
    “If we need to work something out with the people who are really rich, I’ll have to look at that,” he said. “If there’s some tweaking we need to do with the health care bill, I’m ready for some tweaking. But I’m not going to in any way denigrate the great work we did as a country, and saving America from bankruptcy because of the insurance industry bankrupting us.”
  • Sarah Palin via Twitter: “As always, proud to be American! Thanks, Commonsense Constitutional Conservatives, u didn’t sit down & shut up…u “refudiated” extreme left”—so tweeted Sarah Palin on Election Night, demonstrating characteristic optimism in the face of what was decidedly a mixed bag for her politically…. Palin tweeted on Tuesday about the media, and specifically the Today Show: “Silly fellas! Chucky, remember, I’m not on ballot.”
  • Rick Scott FLA Gov (R): “There were plenty of pundits, politicians and insiders who said this victory was impossible. But the people of Florida knew exactly what they wanted. They sent a message loud and clear: they said, let’s get to work.”
  • Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who is poised to become the new speaker of the House: “Americans have sent an unmistakable message … tonight, and that message is: Change course.” Boehner acknowledged that his party’s ability to set the nation’s path will be limited with Democrats still in power in the Senate and the White House. “It’s the president who sets the agenda for our government,” he said…. “The American people were concerned about the government takeover of health care,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity.”
  • Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., in line to take over as House majority leader, said the driving issue in his party’s success was the economy: “Jobs first,” he said in describing the GOP’s priorities. Rolling back Obama’s health care initiative also will be a goal, he said. “There’s no question, last night indicated again that the majority of Americans want to see the repeal of Obamacare.”… “I hope that we’re able to put a repeal bill on the floor right away because that’s what the American people want,” he said Tuesday night. “They understand that this bill is going to bankrupt this country and take away the health care that they — most people in this country — know and like.”
  • STATEMENT FROM RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE ON THE PENNSYLVANIA ELECTIONS: Tonight, the Keystone State delivered a resounding repudiation of the reckless tax, borrow and spend agenda of Democrats in Washington and in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania voters have chosen principled, fiscally responsible leadership by electing Tom Corbett, Pat Toomey, and five new Republican members of Congress, who will work to help fix the economy and get Pennsylvanians back to work.
    These Republican wins are proof that the real catalysts for change in this country are the grassroots activists in small towns across the nation and the millions of families looking to earn an honest living and pursue the American dream. Through the tremendous leadership of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and support of an unprecedented Victory effort of twenty-six offices and twenty-seven dedicated staff, we were able to communicate our Party’s message, identify voters, get our supporters to the polls, and deliver Republican victories across the state.
    I would like to congratulate Pat Toomey, Tom Corbett, and all of our federal and state legislative Republican candidates across Pennsylvania for their successful campaigns for limited government and fiscal responsibility. It is time for our nation and Pennsylvania to get back to work and leaders such as Pat Toomey and Tom Corbett will be on the frontlines to ensure that we do.
  • Details on President Obama’s call the House Republican leader John Boehner from the AP: “During what Boehner described as a brief but pleasant midnight conversation, the two discussed working together on priorities for Americans. Boehner says he told the president that the people expect them to cut spending and create jobs.”
  • House Republican Leader John Boehner is speaking: “Listen, I’ll be brief, because we have real work to do ?” and this is not a time for celebration … not when one in 10 of our fellow citizens are out of work …not when we have buried our children under a mountain of debt … not when our Congress is held in such low esteem.? of our fellow citizens are out of work … not when we have buried our children under a mountain of debt … not when our Congress is held in such low esteem.”
  • New York Democratic Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo seemed to be speaking to Tea Partiers in his acceptance speech: He said, “You are not going to separate us, you can try that somewhere else, but not in New York.” He acknowledged that he and his party had work to do to rebuild trust with voters. But he asserted that “politics were over, we are going to be more united than ever before.”
  • MARCO RUBIO’S WORD OF CAUTION: Marco Rubio tempered his acceptance speech in the Florida Senate race with a word of caution to his fellow Republicans. He said, “Even now, the stories are being written about what this really means. The House of Representatives will change hands, and a growing number of Republicans will also serve in the Senate. But we will make a grave mistake if we think this is an embrace of the Republican Party. ” Instead he said, it was “a second chance” for his party “to be what we were meant to be.”
  • Republican Cantor vows to repeal health reform: Representative Eric Cantor, who is likely to become majority leader in the new Republican-led House of Representatives, vowed on Tuesday to repeal healthcare reform and cut federal spending. “We will get to work right away to reduce the deficit by cutting federal spending next year down to 2008 levels. That will save $100 billion in the first year alone,” he said, according to prepared remarks…. – Reuters, 11-2-10
  • HOUSE Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said: Democratic loses in the House, especially loses in his home state of Virginia, were “very tough.””We wanted to hold on to both [chambers of Congress] especially because we have had a great Speaker in Speaker Pelosi.”Speaking to reporters at Democratic headquarters, Kaine quickly turned to the optimistic view that Democrats will retain control of the Senate. “We remain confident we will have a strong showing and keep the majority,” he said.Refusing to offer what he called a post-mortem of the night, Kaine said the night’s results point to the need for both sides of the aisle to cooperate and listen to the American public.”Maybe it is a message from the American public,” he said. “We have a Democrat in the White House; we’ll have maybe a majority of Republican governors; we’ll have a Democratic Senate; Republican House: everyone has to work together and that is what I know the president will focus on.”
  • Christine O’Donnell Concession Speech: In her concession speech, Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell gave no ground in defeat. She said she had just gotten off the phone with her opponent, Democrat Chris Coons. “And I warned him that he was now in a position to help the people who are suffering … I asked him if he would fight to stop the death tax from being reinstated this Jan. 1.” She added, “We can only hope and pray that he chooses to go against his party and do what is right for the people of Delaware.” She vowed to continue fighting for her positions. “Our elected officials will be held accountable to their constituents, like it or not.”
  • Rand Paul: KY SENATE: In his acceptance speech in Bowling Green, Ky., Republican Rand Paul called his win part of a “Tea Party tidal wave.” He said, “The American people are unhappy with what is going on in Washington. Tonight … we are sending a message to them.”
  • HOUSE: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was defiantly optimistic about his party’s chances to retain control of the house.Speaking to reporters at the Democratic headquarters shortly after 9, he rebuffed NBC News’ Norah O’Donnell when she said her network had already called Republicans had won a majority in the House. “Well, I think that is a mistake. That is way too early,” he said. and again I think that is a mistake and I think what you are seeing right now is voters going to polls and the verdict is out still.” “Democratic turnout has been higher than projected,” Van Hollen said. “Obviously we had a good early vote and we are seeing stronger than projected democratic turnout in races so far. Obviously there are a lot of polls around the country that has not closed yet in the mountain region and the West Coast. but we knew it would be challenging.” Moments after he walked out of the room CNN also called control of the House for Republicans. Van Hollen’s words seemed to be a final cry for hope: “We remain confident we will have a strong showing and keep the majority.”
  • Obama says post-election agenda hinges on having allies: President Barack Obama said the fate of his policy agenda would depend on having allies in Congress as he pressed supporters to turn out and vote in a bid to minimize his Democrats’ losses in Tuesday’s congressional elections. “Everybody who is listening: Just remember, the future is yours to shape. But if you don’t get involved, somebody is going to shape it for you … one of the best ways to do that is to vote today,” Obama said in an interview on Los Angeles radio station KPWR.
    With the midterm elections shaping up as a referendum on his first two years, Obama insisted his administration had accomplished a lot after taking office in the midst of the worst financial crisis in decades. He cited a return to economic growth — albeit slow and halting — plus a sweeping healthcare overhaul and a U.S. troop drawdown in Iraq among his achievements. Obama acknowledged that job growth is slower than it needs to be but said he would keep the focus on reducing unemployment as well as improving education. “Across the board, things have gotten better over the last two years. We can only keep it up if I’ve got some friends and allies in Congress and statehouses,” Obama, speaking from the Oval Office, said on the youth-oriented radio station’s whose slogan is “Where hip hop lives.” Reuters, 11-2-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Richard Norton Smith: Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: “Let’s face it,” says Richard Norton Smith, a history professor at George Mason University, the outcome “is schizophrenic.” He says voters demand change, then punish lawmakers who made change possible. Voters insist they want representatives who work across the aisle, yet reward the ones who make sure that doesn’t happen. “They claim to want to address fundamental issues, including the budget deficit, but don’t want to take the costly steps to get us there,” says Smith…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Gil Troy: Obama 2.0 Must Lead from the Center Humbly and Substantively: The American voters gave President Barack Obama a good, old-fashioned political whupping on Tuesday. It was a stunning political reversal as Mr. Yes We Can became Mr. Why Can’t They Understand and Appreciate Me? President Barack Obama must learn his lesson from this political drubbing. To redeem his presidency, he must do what he originally promised to do, lead from the center—humbly and substantively….
    Obama still has the time and the national good will to recover. Most Republican campaign commercials targeted Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or big government, not the president. This nuance reflected Obama’s personal popularity, despite his 55 percent negative job approval rating. Moreover, the economy could still revive, unemployment could fall, the Republicans could self-destruct by misreading this election as an invitation to showcase their extremists.
    Political greatness, in fact personal greatness, does not come from winning all the time, but from knowing how to turn devastating defeats into incredible opportunities. The true test of Barack Obama the man and the president has begun. – HNN, 11-4-10
  • Tevi Troy: Secondary Purge: Politico has a piece on an expected shakeup of the White House staff in the wake of the Democrats’ historic election defeat. This may be a good idea, but it’s important to remember that the White House has already engaged in one of the more extensive White House staff shakeups in recent memory, replacing the chief of staff, the head of the National Economic Council, the national security adviser, and the head of the Council of Economic Advisers over the last few months. The election debacle may prompt more heads to roll, but purging more staffers will not solve the White House’s problems…. – NRO, 11-4-10
  • Obama’s ‘shellacking’ puts his legacy in jeopardy: “It was conciliatory and rambling. He was flailing to find issues to compromise on,” said Princeton University public affairs professor Julian E. Zelizer. “It wasn’t the image of someone who’s decisive and in control.” The president by nature is a consensus seeker, Zelizer said. “He’s not totally comfortable with the political part of the job.” The more Obama leans toward the center to appease the Republicans, however, the more he risks alienating his liberal base. In that case, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who wisely stayed off the stump this election season — may become a more viable 2012 presidential candidate for the Democrats, Zelizer said…. – AMNY, 11-4-10
  • Rick Perlstein: How Obama Enables Rush: We live in a mendocracy. As in: rule by liars. Political scientists are going crazy crunching the numbers to uncover the skeleton key to understanding the Republican victory last Tuesday. – The Daily Beast (11-6-10)
  • Allan Lichtman: The Joyless Election: …[N]ever before in the history of the United States has such a sweeping victory by one political party elicited so little joy and such minimal expectations. The American voters rejected the leadership of the Democratic Party that controlled the presidency and both Houses of Congress…. Above all, this year voters repudiated the government of the United States. This is the third consecutive election in which the voters ousted the party in power. However, dissatisfaction with government extends more deeply into the American past…. – Gazette.net (MD) (11-5-10)
  • David M. Kennedy: Throwing the Bums Out for 140 Years: SO we have had three “wave” elections in a row: control of both chambers of Congress changed hands in 2006, as did the presidency in 2008, and the House flipped back to Republican domination last week. All this apparently incoherent back-and-forth has left the political class reeling and set the commentariat aflutter. Explanations for our current political volatility abound: toxic partisanship, the ever more fragmented and strident news media, high unemployment, economic upheaval and the clamorous upwelling of inchoate populist angst. But the political instability of our own time pales when compared with the late 19th century. In the Gilded Age the American ship of state pitched and yawed on a howling sea of electoral turbulence. For decades on end, “divided government” was the norm. In only 12 of the 30 years after 1870 did the same party control the House, the Senate and the White House…. – NYT (11-7-10)
  • Daniel K. Williams: A Victory for the Christian Right: Immediately after the 2010 midterm elections, the National Right to Life Committee declared the results a victory for the pro-life cause, claiming that 65 seats in Congress had switched from pro-choice to pro-life. The Family Research Council likewise declared that voters had soundly rejected President Barack Obama’s efforts to allow gays to serve openly in the military. Voters in Iowa recalled three state Supreme Court justices who had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Across the nation, Christian conservatives claimed victories for their cultural causes after seeing Tuesday’s election results. Why, then, did most of the media—and the Republican Party leadership—say so little about religion in the election analysis?…. – PBS (11-5-10)
  • Robert Dallek: The Long View of the Tea Party: Regardless of how many seats change hands in the election, one result is already clear: The tea party movement will, for the immediate future, influence the direction of the Republican Party…. – Politico (11-4-10)
  • Alan Brinkley: Obama vs. Tea Party: Think FDR vs. Huey Long: In the aftermath of the massive Democratic losses on Election Day, the tea party movements have proved that their efforts made a significant contribution to the Republican victories. Though only a few true tea party candidates were actually elected — most prominently Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida — there can be no doubt that the movement’s energy and anger were perhaps the crucial factor…. – Politico (11-4-10)
  • Steven M. Gillon: The Lessons of 1994: Democrats are still absorbing the electoral drubbing they suffered at the polls this week. As the New York Times reported, nearly every congressional district in America voted more Republican in 2010 than in 2008. Republicans rode a wave of well-financed and carefully orchestrated (but no less genuine) public anger at a struggling economy that shows little signs of improving. Gleeful conservative pundits are already predicting that the election marked the beginning of the end of the Obama presidency. Dispirited Democrats worry they may be right. But are they?… – Huffington Post (11-4-10)
  • Victor Davis Hanson: America Just Checked into Rehab: On Tuesday, voters rejected President Obama’s attempt to remake America in the image of an imploding Europe — not just by overwhelmingly electing Republican candidates to the House, but by preferring dozens of maverick conservatives who ran against the establishment. Why the near-historic rebuke? Out-of-control spending, unchecked borrowing, vast new entitlements, and unsustainable debt — all at a time of economic stagnation. So what is next? Like the recovering addict who checks himself into rehab, a debt-addicted America just snapped out of its borrowing binge, is waking up with the shakes, and hopes there is still a chance of recovery…. – National Review (11-4-10)
  • Historic Perspective on Republican Shift: Presidential historian Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith of George Mason University and Beverly Gage of Yale University examine the results of Tuesday’s midterm election in the context of races past…. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-10Mp3
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, presidential historian: I think we can stamp this one with historic…. But I think, in this case, it has the added advantage of being true, as they say in Texas — was historic for a couple of reasons. One is, the Obama presidency is unlikely to be the same again. The things he was able to do with control of Congress, it is going to be very different now that he’s lost one house. Also, you don’t usually see a wave of this magnitude, hasn’t happened quite like this in at least a half-century. So, the American people were obviously saying something very powerful, very different from what they said two years ago…. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-10
  • BEVERLY GAGE, assistant professor, Yale University: I do agree. And I would say that, looking back to this half-century, we really want to look at 1946 as a really good example of a moment where a midterm actually was a sea change. And I think it’s an interesting model, going back to what we were saying with the health care debate, which is that, in 1946, there was a lot of talk about labor law, and, as this new Republican Congress came in under a Democratic president, they actually managed to do something significant. They didn’t repeal the labor laws that had been passed during the New Deal, but they did actually succeed in passing new laws like Taft-Hartley, that severely restricted the kinds of legislations that they had been objecting to for upwards of a decade at that point…. – PBS Newshour, 11-4-10
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, scholar in residence, George Mason University: Let me think about that. 1930, of course, Herbert Hoover had been sold to the American people as this un — non- politician, the hero of World War 1 who defended Belgium and the rest of the world, never run for office before. Both parties wanted to make him president in 1920. The slogan was, “Who but Hoover?” He was elected in 1928 with very high expectations. And then, of course, Wall Street collapses. And, in 1930, the Democrats come within a whisker of taking over the House. And then, through a series of bi-elections, they actually take the House. And there’s no doubt that they stopped Hoover’s program cold… … and enshrined Hoover in public memory to this day as a man who is synonymous not with feeding people, but denying, in effect, government aid to victims of the Depression…. PBS Newshour, 11-4-10
  • Michael Beschloss: Historian Predicts Obama Will Be Reelected Despite Midterm Election Results (VIDEO): ‘The Daily Show’ (weeknights, 11PM ET on COM) partnered with ‘The Colbert Report’ for ‘Indecision 2010’ on election night, offering viewers live coverage of the midterm results. Jon Stewart noted that it’s standard practice for the nation’s ruling party to “lose some seats” in midterm elections. However, presidential historian Michael Beschloss admitted they don’t usually lose this many seats.
    But if history repeats itself, he had some good news for President Obama. “The three presidents in recent times who have had midterm loss like this have been Truman, Eisenhower, Bill Clinton. Every single one of them got reelected.” “So your thought is, ‘What a great night for Barack Obama!'” joked Stewart. – TV Squad, 11-3-10
  • Tevi Troy Visiting Senior Fellow, the Hudson Institute, How does Obama explain the GOP landslide?: President Obama has a lot of explaining to do. He came into office with a great deal of goodwill, strong majorities in both houses of Congress, and an opposition party in complete disarray. Less than two years later, the goodwill and the House majority are gone, and Republicans are resurgent. It will not be possible to make complete amends in a single press conference, but he can start by signaling a move to the middle and a willingness to work in a more bipartisan manner…. – Politico
  • Julian Zelizer: As the GOP Gains Control of the House, What Does the Party Have to Do? John Boehner Expected to Become Next Speaker of the House: “[Boehner’s] first challenge is to control the rebels,” said Julian Zelizer, political analyst and professor of politics at Princeton University. “Some of the ideological division we see will be because of the Tea Party types, but also just because of freshmen determined to show they’re not part of the status quo.”
    “The Republicans don’t want to look like a whole cohort of Christine O’Donnell’s came to town,” said Zelizer referring to the losing Tea Party candidate who admitted during the campaign she once dabbled in witchcraft. “Maverick outsiders who are good at attack politics but who are not necessarily politicians who can’t handle the responsibilities of the office.”
    “Boehner has to make sure that’s not the image that people are left with in two years,” said Zelizer.
    “The GOP really needs to decide whether their strategy is to try to obtain some legislation that their supporters would like or to focus on a strategy on pure obstruction and grandstanding. Both have dangers and benefits,” Zelizer said…. – ABC News, 11-3-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Is it 1994 all over again?: Republicans effectively gained control over Congress on Tuesday. The GOP won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, thus overturning the gains Democrats made in 2006 and 2008.
    In the Senate, where the procedural power of the minority has already given Republicans the power to shape deliberations, the narrowed Democratic ranks will further weaken the majority.
    In the weeks running up to the election, there were some commentators who concluded that the current situation would be the best outcome for President Obama.
    Pointing to the example of the 1994 midterms, which gave Republicans control of Congress, they have argued that a bad outcome for Democrats would ironically allow Obama to regain his standing. Obama could use Republicans as a foil to attack extremism — just as Clinton did with Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995 and 1996 — and he would have political cover and incentives to move closer toward the center, where voters would like him more….
    Now, with 2012 over the horizon, the GOP will have more incentives to oppose the president. Indeed, Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, recently said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
    At the same time, Obama faces a significant risk if he tries to appease Republicans in Clinton-like fashion. After all, many liberals are already frustrated with the kinds of compromises Obama has made. Going too far — for example, declaring that the era of big government is over — could trigger a challenge to the president in the Democratic primaries.
    We should hope that the United States is not about to live through a repeat performance of what occurred after 1994. The nation faces too many pressing economic and foreign policy problems to have that happen again. – CNN, 11-3-10
  • Paul Green, Roosevelt University political science professor and commentator Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “The election really doesn’t make a difference. Everything will be held up. Bipartisanship has become a code word for political treason.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • David Claborn, Olivet Nazarene University associate professor of political science and history Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “We voted against a party and a status quo, not necessarily for the people who won. I don’t think the election has given us much of a clue as to what will happen.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • Jacob Weisberg: Faking Right How the Republican Congress will abandon Tea Party ideas and legislate toward the center: In the likely event that Republicans capture control of one or both houses of Congress next week, the new leaders will face a strategic question. Should they pursue the agenda of the Tea Party movement that brought them to power? Or should they try to mollify their party’s base with gestures and symbols, without taking its radical ideology too seriously? While they’ll never discuss this problem honestly, indications point in the latter direction. That is, the GOP’s congressional leadership will feint right while legislating closer to the center.
    The choice is between a Ronald Reagan strategy and a Newt Gingrich strategy. Reagan, who first rode a new conservative movement to the presidency in 1980, was a master of the right fake. After one brief and disastrous attempt to reduce Social Security spending in 1981, Reagan never seriously challenged federal spending again. But Reagan sounded so convincing in his rhetorical flights that most conservatives and liberals walk around today thinking that he cut government. Reagan was just as slippery with the religious right, embracing them while wasting little political capital on issues like abortion or school prayer. President George W. Bush followed this same model, humoring the base while letting government expand…. – Slate, 11-3-10
  • A deeply divided government is tasked with building consensus: “There isn’t going to be a candidate around which they can unify all factions of the party,” University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala offered. “For all the talk from the Republican elite about unifying, I wonder if it’s already too late.”…
    “The President may go the Bill Clinton route to build up his centrist credentials,” Prof. Scala said. “If that’s the case, a lot of [progressive] House Democrats will be put in cold storage for a couple of years.”… – The Globe & Mail, 11-2-10
  • Julian Zelizer: Le Congrès, acteur central de la politique américaine: C’est dû au pouvoir que le Congrès accorde au «parti perdant au Sénat», explique Julian Zelizer, professeur de science politique à l’université de Princeton. La minorité d’opposition peut en effet décider de bloquer un projet de loi, en se livrant à la pratique de l’obstruction systématique (filibuster). Seule une majorité sénatoriale des deux tiers peut mettre fin au blocage. Le Congrès dispose d’autres «instruments» considérables pour borner et contrôler le pouvoir exécutif, puisqu’il tient les cordons de la bourse et peut décider de limiter le budget, note Zelizer. Il peut enterrer des projets législatifs et dispose aussi d’un rôle d’enquête très important grâce à ses puissantes commissions parlementaires et autres commissions ad hoc. – Le Figaro, 1-2-10
  • Stefan Zaklin: Bush Is Back Why Republicans and Democrats alike are about to contract a serious case of Bush nostalgia: Nostalgia is a powerful force in American politics. Consider this year’s midterm elections. Democrats wanted to return to the Clinton years, when budgets were balanced and the economy was booming. Glenn Beck and his Tea Party followers yearned for a time before Woodrow Wilson. And while the rest of the Republican Party didn’t pledge to take the country back quite as far—the 1950s, for example, would do just fine—it still pledged to take the country back. For a lot of people, the past is preferable to the present.
    But is our penchant for political pining expansive enough to encompass someone as seemingly irredeemable as, say, George W. Bush?
    We’re about to find out. When Bush retired in 2009, the near consensus was that he—like the Vietnam War, the Teapot Dome scandal, or Millard Fillmore—was nostalgia-proof. The national debt stood at $11.3 trillion, more than double what it was when he took office. The economy hadn’t been so bad since the Great Depression. Inherited surpluses equal to 2.5 percent of GDP had become deficits equal to 3 percent of GDP. And Americans were still dying in two wars—one neglected, the other inexplicable. In Rolling Stone, historian Sean Wilentz awarded Bush the title of “worst president in history.” Many voters agreed: his final approval ratings hovered around 22 percent, a near-record low.
    What You Missed: Midterm Elections in 7 Minutes Haven’t been paying attention this election season? Here’s everything you need to know in brief
    Over the next few months, however, the thinking on Bush is likely to be challenged. In fact, some voters—and politicians—might even find themselves longing for a return to the Inauspicious Aughties. In part that’s because the former president is releasing a memoir of his time in office, Decision Points, on Nov. 9. After nearly two years of silence, he’ll headline the Miami Book Fair, appear on Oprah, and enjoy the predictable softening of public sentiment that comes when an embattled figure emerges from the wilderness and starts spending a lot of time to promote his side of the story. But there’s a bigger reason that Bush nostalgia is about to become a very real phenomenon inside and outside the Beltway: the Tea Party. As far-right rookies like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and Ken Buck begin to arrive on Capitol Hill, as they’re expected to, both mainstream Republicans and Democrats will realize that, whatever their disagreements with him—real or fabricated—Dubya and his ilk would be far more constructive partners in governing than the new kids on the block…. – Newsweek, 11-2-10
  • A Conservative Victory for Now: The date was March 20, 1981 and Ronald Reagan who had taken the oath of office for his first term just three months earlier was addressing a joint meeting of the American Conservative Union, Young Americans for Freedom, the National Review and Human events.
    It was a very different era. Many of the youth in the audience were members of Generation X, born 1965 through 1980, and Reagan would be in office as Generation Y debuted in 1981 through 1995. Spanning those generations was one that would fill out the present demographic of today’s senior citizens, a critical voting bloc; one that can recall Reagan’s values and hopes to see them restored….
    For Reagan, the conservative goal was “to restore to their rightful place in our national consciousness the values of family, work, neighborhood, and religion” and he warned that it will not be achieved “by those who set people against people, class against class, or institution against institution.”
    That was and is a perfect description of Barack Obama and a Democratic Party that knows no other way of governing and has no faith in the people.
    Reagan never lost faith in the American people even though, for a while, they have been forgetful of the past, backsliding from the goals set by the Founding Fathers, robbed and wronged, but who are ready to rise again and restore America…. – Canada Free Press, 11-1-10
  • History Lessons: Midterms as Political Referendum: BEVERLY GAGE, professor, Yale University: Well, midterm elections, historically, are almost always overshadowed by presidential elections. We tend to think in terms of presidents. But they have played really critical roles at some really key moments in American history. And the moments where they have been most important have largely been when two things happened. The first is when either the Senate or the House or both of them have changed hands from one party to another, most often, because it’s a midterm election, from the president’s party to the opposite.
    And the second is when these party changes happen at moments where really critical issues are at stake. A couple of examples that come to mind, 1918, you see a switch in the Senate in particular under Woodrow Wilson. They scotch his plans for the League of Nations.
    Another significant midterm election, 1946, Harry Truman has just become president. You begin to get real Republican pushback against New Deal policies and against Harry Truman’s domestic agenda…..
    Woodrow Wilson notoriously handled it incredibly poorly. By the time he’s at the end of World War I, he’s had a stroke.
    But he also, in particular, took this Republican repudiation deeply personally. He refused to work with them. And it really ruined a lot of his plans. Presidents who can step back a little bit, take it a little bit less personally, and try to negotiate some sort of compromise tend to do a little bit better in those sorts of scenarios.
    I do think the 1934 election is an interesting parallel to look at. It’s, on the one hand, quite exceptional, because the Democrats, under Franklin Roosevelt, actually pick up so many seats that year.
    But, given that Obama was in fact being so roundly compared to Franklin Roosevelt when he was elected — we were going to have another New Deal in the midst of economic crisis — I do think it’s worth asking why the repudiation of Obama has been quite as severe as it is, and why he couldn’t capitalize, like Roosevelt did in 1934.
    We said, it’s an exceptional moment, certainly, but, given all of those earlier comparisons, I think it’s worth thinking about. – PBS Newshour, 10-27-10
  • History Lessons: Midterms as Political Referendum: RICHARD NORTON SMITH, scholar in residence, George Mason University: I would add, it certainly is a historical trend. In the last 100 years, only twice, has a president, his party in power added seats in…
    The first — in the two years, halfway through the first term, in 1934, FDR at the height of the New Deal. And then, in 2002, George W. Bush defied the odds in the wake of 9/11, and Republicans actually picked up seats.
    Now, the real curse in American party politics is the six-year curse. Six years into a president’s term, it’s Katy bar the door. But the fact is, two years… He’s a lame duck. He’s probably intellectually spent….
    It is increasingly so (a referendum), I think particularly in the modern media age. I mean, one of the interesting things is, for 40 years, the Democrats had the House, from early ’50s until ’94. The Republicans then took the House and held on to it for 12 years. The Democrats took the House back in 2006. If they lose it on Tuesday, they will have had it for four years.
    There’s something going on here. The period of one-party dominance has been shrinking measurably. And I think that’s in part because of the emphasis we place on the executive. We have personalized these elections. They’re not localized. This is — for lots of people, this is a referendum on Barack Obama.
    And it’s not just the angry anti-Obama forces. If you’re on the left, and you are disappointed in this administration for whatever reason, you can express your disappointment by not voting. And that is a significant fact. That’s the source of the enthusiasm gap, I think, that we have heard about all year….
    And, if you have lost your job, you’re depressed. There’s no doubt that there are lots people in this country who are hurting. More than that, there is this pervasive — I think pervasive fear that the future may not be what Americans traditionally have assumed it to be.
    There’s a clear fear of China. There’s a sense that this is a country and a culture that may be in the decline. But, in terms of 1934, it was an affirmation of, in a sense, the radicalization that was in 1932. FDR took government places that no president had before. And, by 1934, people felt, psychologically at least, whatever the economic indices were, things were getting better. And so they endorsed him.
    This time around, we didn’t go over the cliff. “It could have been worse” is not a banner that millions of people are going to march behind to the polls. But, in effect, that’s the Obama argument. The argument is, if you listen to the economists, eight million jobs were not lost because of the hated bailouts and TARP and all the other stuff, many of which are Bush initiatives….
    And I think it complicates — it’s a very difficult message that Obama has to deliver…
    I would say he has company, yes. The conventional wisdom is, Bill Clinton brilliantly stole Republican clothes.
    He actually turned this to his advantage by co-opting the center and by waiting for the Republicans to overreach, the shutdown of the government, and et cetera.
    But, I mean, he moved to a balanced budget. He signed the welfare reform package. And so, by ’96….
    Republican ideas. He basically shut the door on Bob Dole or any Republican candidate. The question is whether Barack Obama, in today’s media climate, with the left on the blogosphere holding his feet to the fire, whether he has as much latitude if he wants to move to the center that Bill Clinton had. PBS Newshour, 10-27-10

Midterm Elections 2010: Results, Reactions & Post Election Wrap-up to Historic Republican Sweep

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

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.

STATS & RESULTS

Getty

    2010 Election: Live results (USA Today):  

    U.S. House RESULTS: D 187 – R 239
    CURRENT: D 256 – R 179

    U.S. Senate RESULTS: D 53 R 46 CURRENT: D 57 – R 41

    Governor RESULTS: D 17 – R 29 I – 3
    CURRENT: D 26 – R 24

    Washington Post:
    Senate: D 53 – R 46
    House: D 186 – R 239
    Governor: D 18 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

  • Steny Hoyer mulls bid for minority whip
  • Nancy Pelosi announces she will run for minority leader: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has tweeted that she will run to lead Democrats in the House of Representatives.
  • Unemployment rate holds at 9.6 percent: The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in October, as the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent.
  • A.P. Projects Democrat Patty Murray Will Hold Washington Senate Seat: The Associated Press is projecting that Senator Patty Murray, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, will defeat her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, in Washington State.
  • Democrat Wins Illinois Governor Race: Gov. Patrick J. Quinn was declared the winner of the race for governor of Illinois by The Associated Press this afternoon…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • In Connecticut, Two Men Prepare to Be Governor: Thursday was the first full day of work for the transition team of Dannel P. Malloy, the Democrat who was certain he was the winner in the race for governor of Connecticut. Dannel P. Malloy, the former Democratic mayor of Stamford, was declared the unofficial winner. It was also the first full day of work for the transition team of Thomas C. Foley, the Republican who was equally sure he was the victor. Clearly, one of these men was going to be terribly disappointed. But when and how was still, well, unclear…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Oregon: Democrat wins historic 3rd term as governor: Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley are locked in a tight race for governor in Oregon after a big- spending campaign that… AP, 11-4-10
  • Murkowski acts like victor but questions linger: Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is acting as though she already has pulled off an improbable victory after her write-in candidacy, enthusiastically thanking supporters and telling them they’ve made history. She may have won. Or she may be overly optimistic. The race is far from over…. – wApO, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored huge and historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even the great performance the party had in congressional races. GOP candidates picked up about 650 Democratic-held seats, the most in nearly half a century. Republicans now control more legislative seats than at any time since 1928.
    “To describe this as a Republican wave would be a vast understatement,” says elections expert Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They won in places where we didn’t see it coming, and they won in places where we did see it coming,” he says. The shift will have a big effect on spending, taxes, public education and how political districts are drawn…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Revolution in the States The GOP also made history down ballot on Tuesday: Here’s a prediction: Democrats and liberals will soon preach the virtues of Congressional redistricting reform. The reason is the historic losses Democrats suffered on Tuesday at the state level that have set Republicans up to dominate the post-2000 Census process of rewriting district lines.
    The GOP’s failure to take over the U.S. Senate has masked the arguably more important story that Republicans picked up at least a record 680 state legislative seats nationwide. That’s more than even the 472 seat gain in 1994, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, and more than the previous record of 628 seats by … – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Poll: GOP candidates top Obama in hypothetical 2012 race: President Obama trails some top GOP contenders in a hypothetical 2012 matchup.
    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the favorite for the GOP 2012 presidential nomination
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a close second
    Nearly three-quarters of Democrats say they want to see the party renominate Barack Obama in 2012… – CNN, 11-4-10
  • Poll: Obama Would Beat Palin in 2012: The midterm elections are so yesterday. The eyes of many political insiders are already turning to 2012. President Obama would handily beat Sarah Palin in the next presidential election, despite strong anti-incumbent feelings and the Democrats losing the House to the GOP this week, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates.
    And while Obama would win against the Tea Party favorite, 52% to 44% among registered voters, pit the President against Mike Huckabee and it’s an entirely different story.
    The former Arkansas Governor and 2008 GOP White House candidate would beat Obama 52% to 44% in a hypothetical matchup, the survey reveals.
    While there’s no clear GOP frontrunner, 21% Republicans said they’re most likely to back Huckabee, 20% said they’d support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 14% said they’d back Palin and 12% were for ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
    Romney would also beat Obama 50 % to 45%, but Obama would beat Gingrich 49% to 47%…. – US News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin’s ‘Take Back the 20’ PAC scores a bull’s-eye: During the 2010 midterm elections, Sarah Palin went hunting for Democrats and nearly bagged her limit. “Take Back the 20,” Palin’s political action committee, targeted 20 congressional districts across the country that John McCain carried in 2008 but had Democratic representatives in Congress.
    The results are eye-opening. Palin succeeded in 18 of 20 districts, losing in West Virginia’s 3rd House District. At this time, the race in Arizona’s 8th House District is too close to call.
    The 18 Republican winners unseated freshman politicians, congressional veterans and even House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • Religion’s role in the November 2010 election: It may surprise some, but here are two typical pre-election statements made at churches and synagogues. From first-hand experience interviewing people in America’s two largest religions — Christianity and Judaism — about 50 percent of Bible and Torah believers often don’t let their faith influence their voting. It’s more about party affiliation and the economy…. – Yahoo News, 11-4-10
  • Parsing the Myths of the Midterm Election: Every election develops its own mythology, usually before the official results are even certified, and this week’s was no different. And like all mythology, the narrative that is being woven around the midterm elections by Bulfinches from both parties is a blend of history, facts and, yes, myths. Before it hardens into accepted fact, some of the new conventional wisdom might benefit from one more spin on the potter’s wheel: The Mandate Myth
    The Return to the Republican Fold
    The Lost Youth Vote
    Disaster for the President
    Mythmakers, or Debunkers, Know What They’re Talking About – NYT, 11-5-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • GOP deciding which direction to go with new authority after midterm victory: Jubilant over their landslide victory in the House and their pickup of six Senate seats, Republican leaders nevertheless face a dilemma as they debate how to exert their new authority. Their energetic conservative base is eager to thwart President Obama’s every move, and if Republicans fail at doing so, they risk disappointing the supporters who turned out in vast numbers for Tuesday’s midterm elections. But if Republicans overreach, and ultimately deliver very little, independents could return to the Democratic fold in time to reelect Obama…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • Are GOP leaders going too far with their criticism of Obama?: The president certainly has been getting it from GOP leaders the past few days. But the real question regarding Obama, the Republicans say, is: ‘Is he getting it?’…. – CS Monitor, 11-5-10
  • Obama Says Jobs Report Is Encouraging for Recovery: President Barack Obama said today’s employment report is a sign that the economy is recovering from the “terrible damage” caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression. Still, recent increases in private sector employment are “not good enough,” Obama said at the White House. “The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high.” Obama spoke before leaving for a 10-day trip through Asia that is focused on trade and expanding U.S. exports. In remarks directed at Congress, he said the U.S. can’t afford to get “mired” in partisan battles over policy while countries such as China move forward to expand their economies…. – Bloomberg, 11-5-10
  • Obama admits failing to sell successes to Americans: US President Barack Obama acknowledged he had failed to persuade Americans of his administration’s successes, following an election hammering which saw his party lose control of the House of Representatives.
    “We were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation, that it’s a matter of persuading people,” Obama told CBS show “60 Minutes” in excerpts released Friday. “We haven’t always been successful at that,” the president added. “I take personal responsibility for that, and it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully as I go forward.”… – AFP, 11-5-10
  • Introducing Sarah Palin’s ‘non-political’ Alaska: It’s a tricky thing, being “non-politcally political.” But, gosh darn it, that’s exactly the type of social media campaign that TLC has launched around its reality series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which premieres Nov. 14. Days after launching the show’s website, spalaska.com, TLC hosted a launch party Thursday night in Manhattan to show clips of the show and to convey the site’s mantra: “It’s not political!”… – LAT, 11-5-10
  • It’s Reaction Day, which is like Election Day but lazier: The New York Post: “HUMBLED” reads the main hed; “My fault, pres says day after Dems lose 61 seats in House.” The picture is worth a few more words: eyes downturned and closed, his mouth in a pout that gathers more flesh under his lower lip than you probably thought he had on his whole head.
    Daily News: “WOE BAMA!” is the News’ slightly less serious wood for the Obama shellacking story, advertising four pages of coverage of Reaction Day. It’s a similar, but more close-cropped pouty Obama we get here. But it’s time to move on, right?… – Capital New York, 11-4-10
  • GOP asserts new strength, targets Obama programs: Victorious at the polls, congressional Republicans asserted their newfound political strength on Thursday, vowing to seek a quick $100 billion in federal spending cuts and force repeated votes on the repeal of President Barack Obama’s prized health care overhaul.
    At the White Houses, Obama said his administration was ready to work across party lines in a fresh attempt to “focus on the economy and jobs” as well as attack waste in government. In a show of bipartisanship, he invited top lawmakers to the White House at mid-month, and the nation’s newly elected governors two weeks later…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • US president Barack Obama’s torment at election ‘shellacking’: President Barack Obama’s rivals did cartwheels of jubilation yesterday after seizing control of the US Congress. Victorious congressman Ed Perlmutter’s extravagant acrobatics marked the Republicans’ biggest win in the mid-term elections since the Great Depression of 1938. But their capture of the House of Representatives left American politics in paralysis last night as the right-wingers looked set to hamper a major economic stimulus plan by Obama’s Democrats.
    In a White House press conference yesterday, the humbled President sighed: “I am not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. I am sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. “It feels bad. It’s hard. I take responsibility. I’ve got to do a better job.” The man who swept to the White House two years ago conceded: “Some election nights are more fun than others.”… – Mirror UK, 11-4-10
  • Election doesn’t end major discord for GOP, Obama: Barely an hour after President Barack Obama invited congressional Republicans to post-election talks on Nov. 18 to work together on major issues, the Senate’s GOP leader had a blunt message: His party’s main goal is denying Obama re-election.
    “The only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
    “I want us to talk substantively about how we can move the American people’s agenda forward,” Obama said of the upcoming meeting with lawmakers. “It’s not just going to be a photo op.”… – AP, 11-4-10
  • Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan: “If the goal of the majority is to govern, what is the purpose of the minority?” one slide asked. “The purpose of the minority,” came the answer, “is to become the majority.” The presentation was the product of a strategy session held 11 days before Mr. Obama’s inauguration, when top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives began devising an early blueprint for what they would accomplish in Tuesday’s election: their comeback.
    How they did it is the story of one of the most remarkable Congressional campaigns in more than a half-century, characterized by careful plotting by Republicans, miscalculations by Democrats and a new political dynamic with forces out of both parties’ control. The unpredictable Tea Party movement, the torrent of corporate money from outside interests and an electorate with deep discontent helped shift the balance of power in Washington. The White House struggled to keep Democrats in line, with a misplaced confidence in the power of the coalition that propelled Mr. Obama into office. Republicans capitalized on backlash to the ambitious agenda Mr. Obama and his party pursued, which fueled unrestricted and often anonymous contributions to conservative groups, some advised by a nemesis Democrats thought they had shaken, Karl Rove. That money so strengthened the Republican assault across the country that an exasperated Democratic party strategist likened it to “nuclear Whac-a-Mole.”… – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The power shift may not last with Tea Partiers looking to disrupt their own leaders…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Rivalry Tests Tea-Party Clout: House Republicans are embroiled in a leadership struggle just days after their sweeping electoral victory, testing how much influence tea-party passions will have on how lawmakers run the chamber. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who raised money for many House candidates and was deeply involved in the Republicans’ campaign efforts, is running for chairman of the House Republican Conference, the No. 4 position in the House GOP, with the backing of party leaders. His opponent is Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a favorite of tea-party activists who is known for her colorful statements. Some GOP leaders believe she would be less effective, but many tea-party activists see this as a test of whether Republicans are listening to them…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even their performances in congressional races…. – USA Today, 11-4-10
  • Survivors’ scenarios could help in 2012: Figuring out why 29 vulnerable Democrats won while others lost could help leaders of both parties as they prepare for the 2012 elections…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Boost for Keeping All Bush Tax Cuts: President Barack Obama is open to considering the extension of all Bush-era tax cuts for a year or two, the White House confirmed Thursday, putting to a likely end any debate over whether to extend the breaks for high-income families. Instead, Congress is poised to grapple with a different set of questions when it returns this month for a final session of the current term: How and for how long should lawmakers grant an extension?…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • White House Pushes Back on Tax Cuts for Wealthy: While President Obama again signaled interest in finding common ground with Republicans in the wake of their electoral triumph, the White House on Thursday drew a firmer line against making permanent Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Mr. Obama and Republicans agree on extending the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush for the vast majority of Americans, but the president has opposed making them permanent for income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for households, essentially the richest 2 percent of Americans. The tax cuts expire at the end of the year…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Health-Care Industry Still Braces for Change: Repeal of the federal health-care overhaul was central to many Republican campaigns this season. But even with the House changing hands, health insurers, drug companies and hospitals said they were planning as if the law will stick…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Palin’s Endorsements Lay Base for a 2012 Run: If Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, decides to run for president in 2012, she will now have plenty of help. In New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary in the nation, Ms. Palin can count on the support of its newly elected senator, Kelly Ayotte. When the presidential campaign moves to South Carolina, the state’s new governor, Nikki Haley, will owe her one. And out West, Susana Martinez, who will take office as New Mexico’s governor, will be ready to help during a potential general election matchup with President Obama as the two parties battle over the growing number of Hispanic voters in the Southwest. Ms. Palin was not on any ballot. But the self-described “Mama Grizzly” had plenty at stake on Tuesday night as she sought to bolster her credentials as the Republican Party’s most powerful kingmaker and the voice of the newly empowered Tea Party movement. Ms. Palin had endorsed dozens of candidates, including ones in some of the highest-profile races…. – NYT, 11-4-10

QUOTES

  • Obama: “Leadership Isn’t Just Legislation” After Midterm Defeat, Humbled President Acknowledges Failures in Exclusive “60 Minutes” Interview: “I think that’s a fair argument. I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft in an exclusive interview set to air Sunday. “Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.” – CBS News, 11-5-10
  • Obama: Put politics aside to grow economy: “Based on today’s jobs report, we’ve now seen private sector job growth for 10 straight months. That means that since January, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs,” he said at the White House after the Labor Department reported that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October. “The most important competition that we face in the new century will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It’s the competition with countries around the world to lead the global economy, and our success or failure in this race will depend on whether we can come together as a nation.” “Our future depends on putting politics aside to solve problems, to worry about the next generation instead of the next election. We can’t spend the next two years mired in gridlock. Other countries like China aren’t standing still, so we can’t stand still either. We have to move forward.” – CNN, 11-5-10
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a speech to the Heritage Foundation: “We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same time recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.”… “But the fact is … it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen.”….He reiterated that his overriding goal is to “deny President Obama a second term in office.”
  • Exclusive: Boehner Expects ‘Whale of a Fight’ With Obama Over Taxes in Lame Duck Session: “We’re not in control,” Boehner said. “And I’ve not been party to any of these conversations. I’m for extending all of the current tax rates for all Americans.”… “The American people want us to find common ground,” he said. “And I’m hoping that the president heard what the American people had to say the other night.” – Fox News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin: The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward: Have an intelligent message, and fight for your right to be heard…. – NRO, 11-4-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Richard Norton Smith: Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: “Let’s face it,” says Richard Norton Smith, a history professor at George Mason University, the outcome “is schizophrenic.” He says voters demand change, then punish lawmakers who made change possible. Voters insist they want representatives who work across the aisle, yet reward the ones who make sure that doesn’t happen. “They claim to want to address fundamental issues, including the budget deficit, but don’t want to take the costly steps to get us there,” says Smith…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Gil Troy: Obama 2.0 Must Lead from the Center Humbly and Substantively: The American voters gave President Barack Obama a good, old-fashioned political whupping on Tuesday. It was a stunning political reversal as Mr. Yes We Can became Mr. Why Can’t They Understand and Appreciate Me? President Barack Obama must learn his lesson from this political drubbing. To redeem his presidency, he must do what he originally promised to do, lead from the center—humbly and substantively….
    Obama still has the time and the national good will to recover. Most Republican campaign commercials targeted Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or big government, not the president. This nuance reflected Obama’s personal popularity, despite his 55 percent negative job approval rating. Moreover, the economy could still revive, unemployment could fall, the Republicans could self-destruct by misreading this election as an invitation to showcase their extremists.
    Political greatness, in fact personal greatness, does not come from winning all the time, but from knowing how to turn devastating defeats into incredible opportunities. The true test of Barack Obama the man and the president has begun. – HNN, 11-4-10
  • Tevi Troy: Secondary Purge: Politico has a piece on an expected shakeup of the White House staff in the wake of the Democrats’ historic election defeat. This may be a good idea, but it’s important to remember that the White House has already engaged in one of the more extensive White House staff shakeups in recent memory, replacing the chief of staff, the head of the National Economic Council, the national security adviser, and the head of the Council of Economic Advisers over the last few months. The election debacle may prompt more heads to roll, but purging more staffers will not solve the White House’s problems…. – NRO, 11-4-10
  • Obama’s ‘shellacking’ puts his legacy in jeopardy: “It was conciliatory and rambling. He was flailing to find issues to compromise on,” said Princeton University public affairs professor Julian E. Zelizer. “It wasn’t the image of someone who’s decisive and in control.” The president by nature is a consensus seeker, Zelizer said. “He’s not totally comfortable with the political part of the job.” The more Obama leans toward the center to appease the Republicans, however, the more he risks alienating his liberal base. In that case, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who wisely stayed off the stump this election season — may become a more viable 2012 presidential candidate for the Democrats, Zelizer said…. – AMNY, 11-4-10

Midterm Elections 2010: Results & Reactions, Republicans Gain Control of House, Obama Responds at Press Conference:

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

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.

RESULTS

    Senate: D 51 – R 46
    House: D 184 – R 240
    Governor: D 16 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

    HNN Hot Topics: Midterm Elections

  • Live Blogging Election Night – NYT, The Caucus, 11-2-10
  • Midterm elections live blog 2010 – Yahoo News, 11-2-10
  • Michael Bennet (D) defeats Ken Buck (R) in Colorado Senate race: Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has beaten his tea-party-backed challenger, Republican Ken Buck, according to the Associated Press.
  • Washington, Colorado, Alaska Senate races: When will we know who won?: The Colorado, Washington State, and Alaska Senate races are undecided on Wednesday morning. They won’t tip the balance of power in the Senate, but two are important to Democrats…. – CS Monitor, 11-3-10
  • Write-in ballots lead in Alaska Senate race: The Alaska Senate race was headed for another nailbiter in the rematch between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and tea party favorite Joe Miller as supporters from both sides prepared Wednesday for a potentially prolonged ballot count…. – AP, 11-3-10

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

 

Presumptive next Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner

 

  • G.O.P Captures House, but Falls Short in Senate: “Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory,” writes Jeff Zeleny…. – New York Times
  • Republicans capture control of House; Dems to retain Senate: “Just four years after surrendering power, Republicans recaptured control of the House and made gains in the Senate on Tuesday night, in a major rebuff of President Obama and the Democrats by an electorate worried about the economy and the size of the government,” writes Dan Balz…. – Washington Post
  • GOP Wins House in Huge Swing: “Republicans won control of the House of Representatives as voters dealt a stiff rebuke to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in a historic wave that swept the GOP to power in states and districts across the country,” write Laura Meckler and Jonathan Weisman…. – Wall Street Journal
  • Republicans win House, Democrats retain Senate: “Republicans, tapping into widespread anger over the ailing economy and disappointment with President Obama’s leadership, wrested control of the House of Representatives from Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but fell just short of winning the Senate,” writes Douglas Stanglin…. – USA Today
  • Republicans promise limited government: Emboldened by a commanding House majority and Senate gains, Republican leaders vowed Wednesday to roll back the size of government and, in time, the nation’s sweeping health care law. President Barack Obama, reflective after his party’s drubbing, accepted blame for failing to deliver the economic security Americans demand while saying of his health overhaul: “This was the right thing to do.” He called the election a “shellacking.”
    After two years with fellow Democrats leading Congress, Obama now must deal for the rest of his term with the jarring reality of Republican control of the House, a diminished Democratic majority in the Senate and a new flock of lawmakers sworn to downsize government at every chance.
    The capital awoke — if it ever slept — to a new political order. With their lopsided win, Republicans are ushering in a new era of divided government and dethroning Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a prime target of their campaign…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Obama signals compromise with GOP on tax cuts: A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections. Obama ruefully called the Republican victories “a shellacking.”
    At a White House news conference, the president said that when Congress returns, “my goal is to make sure we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle class families.” He made no mention of his campaign-long insistence that tax cuts be permitted to expire on upper-income families, a position he said would avoid swelling the deficit but put him in conflict with Republicans.
    He also virtually abandoned his legislation — hopelessly stalled in the Senate — featuring economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources. “I’m going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem,” he said. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said, strongly implying there will be others…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • G.O.P. Leaders Vow to Repeal Health Care Law: At a news conference at the Capitol, the likely House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, invited President Obama to work with them on these and other goals. But they also quickly adopted an aggressive posture on some issues certain to antagonize Democrats, including a vow to repeal the big new health care law.
    Mr. Obama, at his own news conference in the East Room of the White House, called the election results “humbling,” but he also attributed the far-reaching Republican victories largely to the public’s frustration over the slow economic recovery. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy,” he said.
    The president said he was “eager to hear good ideas wherever they come from” and expressed a willingness to work with Republicans. “We must find common ground,” he said, “in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges.” And he cited energy and education as two policy areas on which Republicans and Democrats could see eye to eye…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • Obama Takes Responsibility for Voter Frustration: “Some election nights are more fun than others,” he told reporters in the East Room of the White House. “Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling.” He said that he had to take “direct responsibility” for the failure to repair the nation’s economic fortunes. But in his opening remarks and answers to early questions, Mr. Obama refused to say that the Republican wave that swept across the country was a fundamental rejection of his administration’s policies.
    “There is no doubt that people’s No. 1 concern is the economy,” he said. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy.” The president repeatedly said that he wanted to work with the newly empowered Republicans in Washington. But he also said more than once that there were some principles that both parties were going to be unwilling to compromise on…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • House leaders begin outlining priorities: Republicans on Wednesday pointed to their House takeover as a mandate to “change course” on economic policy and key elements of President Obama’s agenda, including the health care overhaul he pushed through Congress this year…. – USA Today, 11-3-10
  • Pelosi Election Results: What It Mean’s for Health Care Champion: Nancy Pelosi may not have been up for election Tuesday night, but many Republicans felt her ideas were, chief amongst them strong support for Obama’s health care plan. Several big ticket conservatives as well as new members of Congress have pledged to roll back key pieces of Obamacare or repeal it entirely…. – CBS News, 11-3-10
  • Sarah Palin The Mama Grizzly Scorecard: She didn’t appear on any ballot yet one big question of the Tuesday night election was how well did Sarah Palin do? Palin will point to a positive win-loss record—49 of her 77 candidates triumphed, (6 races had yet to be called by Wednesday morning.) But many of the highest-profile races, where she had loudly interjected herself, her candidates— Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and John Raese in West Virginia—lost.
    Even in her home state of Alaska, her help seems to have been less than helpful. Joe Miller, the GOP candidate and Palin protégée, ended up having to fight off the write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, and even a last-minute bit of McMentum—when Democratic candidate, Scott McAdams suddenly seemed to rally. By late Tuesday night, that race had still not been called, but Murkowski was leading.
    If there was a silver lining for the former Alaska Governor, it came in the form of Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, and Mary Fallin in Oklahoma—the first time women won governorships in those three states.
    The election may have been a vote on Obama and the Democrats. But for many watching, the most widely anticipated other referendum was how well Palin would do. Of her 77 candidates around the nation, 20 are women—in the Palin vernacular, her Mama Grizzlies who, she had predicted, would “rise up on their hind legs.”… – The Daily Beast, 11-3-10
  • Tea party-backed Rick Scott claims Fla. governor win: Tea party-backed Republican businessman Rick Scott, who ran as an outsider vowing to shake up the political establishment, claimed victory Wednesday as Florida’s next governor after Democrat Alex Sink conceded an extremely tight race…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • California Climate Law Survives Challenge at Polls: The defeat of Proposition 23 marked a big victory for Silicon Valley investors, who poured millions of dollars into defending California’s AB 32 law and protecting their massive investments in green technologies ranging from solar power to electric cars. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Boehner wants Bush tax cuts extended for all: U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner said on Wednesday that extending the Bush tax cuts for all income groups is the right policy…. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Lengthy to-do list awaits lame duck session: Now that the elections are over, a lame-duck Congress comes back to work this month to deal with a pile of unfinished business: whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts due to expire, give seniors a $250 Social Security special payment and repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gays serving openly. It’s an open question how much they’ll get done. The current Congress returns Nov. 15 for a post-election session dominated by tax and spending issues. Rarely has such a big pile of work faced lawmakers when the party in power has suffered so much at the ballot box…. – AP, 11-3-10

QUOTES

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama took a question from a reporter during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday.

  • President Barack Obama, Press Conference: “I’ve got to do a better job,” he said, “like everybody else in Washington.” And he took responsibility for not doing enough to alter the ways of the capital, whether its hyper-partisanship or back-room dealing. “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things were done.”

President Obama: ‘I’ve Got to Do a Better Job’

Boehner, McConnell Preview GOP Agenda for Next Congress

  • Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting: “Change course we will,” describing the outcome as a clear mandate to shrink the government. That echoed the unrelenting demand of tea party activists whose energy and votes helped to fuel the largest turnover in the House in more than 70 years.
    “I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity,” Boehner said.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, No. 2 Republican in the House: “We’ve been given a second chance and a golden opportunity.” But, he added, “People want to see results.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived a tea party challenge in Nevada: “I’m ready for some tweaking” on the health care law but would fight its repeal.
    “If we need to work something out with the people who are really rich, I’ll have to look at that,” he said. “If there’s some tweaking we need to do with the health care bill, I’m ready for some tweaking. But I’m not going to in any way denigrate the great work we did as a country, and saving America from bankruptcy because of the insurance industry bankrupting us.”
  • Sarah Palin via Twitter: “As always, proud to be American! Thanks, Commonsense Constitutional Conservatives, u didn’t sit down & shut up…u “refudiated” extreme left”—so tweeted Sarah Palin on Election Night, demonstrating characteristic optimism in the face of what was decidedly a mixed bag for her politically…. Palin tweeted on Tuesday about the media, and specifically the Today Show: “Silly fellas! Chucky, remember, I’m not on ballot.”
  • Rick Scott FLA Gov (R): “There were plenty of pundits, politicians and insiders who said this victory was impossible. But the people of Florida knew exactly what they wanted. They sent a message loud and clear: they said, let’s get to work.”
  • Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who is poised to become the new speaker of the House: “Americans have sent an unmistakable message … tonight, and that message is: Change course.” Boehner acknowledged that his party’s ability to set the nation’s path will be limited with Democrats still in power in the Senate and the White House. “It’s the president who sets the agenda for our government,” he said…. “The American people were concerned about the government takeover of health care,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity.”
  • Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., in line to take over as House majority leader, said the driving issue in his party’s success was the economy: “Jobs first,” he said in describing the GOP’s priorities. Rolling back Obama’s health care initiative also will be a goal, he said. “There’s no question, last night indicated again that the majority of Americans want to see the repeal of Obamacare.”… “I hope that we’re able to put a repeal bill on the floor right away because that’s what the American people want,” he said Tuesday night. “They understand that this bill is going to bankrupt this country and take away the health care that they — most people in this country — know and like.”

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Michael Beschloss: Historian Predicts Obama Will Be Reelected Despite Midterm Election Results (VIDEO): ‘The Daily Show’ (weeknights, 11PM ET on COM) partnered with ‘The Colbert Report’ for ‘Indecision 2010’ on election night, offering viewers live coverage of the midterm results. Jon Stewart noted that it’s standard practice for the nation’s ruling party to “lose some seats” in midterm elections. However, presidential historian Michael Beschloss admitted they don’t usually lose this many seats.
    But if history repeats itself, he had some good news for President Obama. “The three presidents in recent times who have had midterm loss like this have been Truman, Eisenhower, Bill Clinton. Every single one of them got reelected.” “So your thought is, ‘What a great night for Barack Obama!'” joked Stewart. – TV Squad, 11-3-10
  • Tevi Troy Visiting Senior Fellow, the Hudson Institute, How does Obama explain the GOP landslide?: President Obama has a lot of explaining to do. He came into office with a great deal of goodwill, strong majorities in both houses of Congress, and an opposition party in complete disarray. Less than two years later, the goodwill and the House majority are gone, and Republicans are resurgent. It will not be possible to make complete amends in a single press conference, but he can start by signaling a move to the middle and a willingness to work in a more bipartisan manner…. – Politico
  • Julian Zelizer: As the GOP Gains Control of the House, What Does the Party Have to Do? John Boehner Expected to Become Next Speaker of the House: “[Boehner’s] first challenge is to control the rebels,” said Julian Zelizer, political analyst and professor of politics at Princeton University. “Some of the ideological division we see will be because of the Tea Party types, but also just because of freshmen determined to show they’re not part of the status quo.”
    “The Republicans don’t want to look like a whole cohort of Christine O’Donnell’s came to town,” said Zelizer referring to the losing Tea Party candidate who admitted during the campaign she once dabbled in witchcraft. “Maverick outsiders who are good at attack politics but who are not necessarily politicians who can’t handle the responsibilities of the office.”
    “Boehner has to make sure that’s not the image that people are left with in two years,” said Zelizer.
    “The GOP really needs to decide whether their strategy is to try to obtain some legislation that their supporters would like or to focus on a strategy on pure obstruction and grandstanding. Both have dangers and benefits,” Zelizer said…. – ABC News, 11-3-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Is it 1994 all over again?: Republicans effectively gained control over Congress on Tuesday. The GOP won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, thus overturning the gains Democrats made in 2006 and 2008.
    In the Senate, where the procedural power of the minority has already given Republicans the power to shape deliberations, the narrowed Democratic ranks will further weaken the majority.
    In the weeks running up to the election, there were some commentators who concluded that the current situation would be the best outcome for President Obama.
    Pointing to the example of the 1994 midterms, which gave Republicans control of Congress, they have argued that a bad outcome for Democrats would ironically allow Obama to regain his standing. Obama could use Republicans as a foil to attack extremism — just as Clinton did with Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995 and 1996 — and he would have political cover and incentives to move closer toward the center, where voters would like him more….
    Now, with 2012 over the horizon, the GOP will have more incentives to oppose the president. Indeed, Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, recently said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
    At the same time, Obama faces a significant risk if he tries to appease Republicans in Clinton-like fashion. After all, many liberals are already frustrated with the kinds of compromises Obama has made. Going too far — for example, declaring that the era of big government is over — could trigger a challenge to the president in the Democratic primaries.
    We should hope that the United States is not about to live through a repeat performance of what occurred after 1994. The nation faces too many pressing economic and foreign policy problems to have that happen again. – CNN, 11-3-10
  • Paul Green, Roosevelt University political science professor and commentator Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “The election really doesn’t make a difference. Everything will be held up. Bipartisanship has become a code word for political treason.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • David Claborn, Olivet Nazarene University associate professor of political science and history Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “We voted against a party and a status quo, not necessarily for the people who won. I don’t think the election has given us much of a clue as to what will happen.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • Jacob Weisberg: Faking Right How the Republican Congress will abandon Tea Party ideas and legislate toward the center: In the likely event that Republicans capture control of one or both houses of Congress next week, the new leaders will face a strategic question. Should they pursue the agenda of the Tea Party movement that brought them to power? Or should they try to mollify their party’s base with gestures and symbols, without taking its radical ideology too seriously? While they’ll never discuss this problem honestly, indications point in the latter direction. That is, the GOP’s congressional leadership will feint right while legislating closer to the center.
    The choice is between a Ronald Reagan strategy and a Newt Gingrich strategy. Reagan, who first rode a new conservative movement to the presidency in 1980, was a master of the right fake. After one brief and disastrous attempt to reduce Social Security spending in 1981, Reagan never seriously challenged federal spending again. But Reagan sounded so convincing in his rhetorical flights that most conservatives and liberals walk around today thinking that he cut government. Reagan was just as slippery with the religious right, embracing them while wasting little political capital on issues like abortion or school prayer. President George W. Bush followed this same model, humoring the base while letting government expand…. – Slate, 11-3-10
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