Midterm Elections Results: Republicans Win House, Democrats Retain Senate

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.

IN FOCUS: STATS

    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
  • 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 RESULTS….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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 »

  • 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.
  • MARIJUANA PROPOSITION: California voters reject legalization of marijuana, AP projects.
  • A.P. Projects Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Will Defeat Republican Sharron Angle in Nevada: The Associated Press is projecting that the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, will survive a high-profile re-election campaign in Nevada against Sharron Angle, a Tea Party-backed Republican.
  • PA Senate: Pat Toomey Claims Victory in Pa. Senate Race
  • The AP has called the California governor race for the former governor, Democrat Jerry Brown: Brown defeated Republican candidate Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO.
  • DEMS KEEP SENATE, GOP WINS HOUSE: AP makes projections on two biggest storylines of the night.
  • REID PROJECTED TO SURVIVE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wins re-election, AP projects.
  • NEVADA GOV: AP projects Republican Brian Sandoval
  • FORMER OBAMA SEAT NOW RED: AP projects Republican Mark Kirk has defeated the Democrat to take the Illinois Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama.
  • TWO AP PROJECTIONS: SENATE: — Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii
    GOVERNOR: — Susana Martinez, R-N.M.
  • Barbara Boxer (D) defeats Carly Fiorina (R) in California Senate race: California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer has won her bid for a fourth term, fending off a tough challenge from former Hewlett Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina (R), the Associated Press projects.
  • With Boxer’s win in California official, the Democrats are just one win away from maintaining a clear 51-vote majority in the Senate. The competitive races still up in the air: Nevada, Washington, Illinois and Colorado.
  • TWO MORE GOVERNOR PROJECTIONS FROM AP: — Terry Branstad, R-Iowa
    — Jan Brewer, R-Ariz.
  • Nathan Deal (R) defeats Roy Barnes (D) in race for Georgia governor: Former representative Nathan Deal (R) defeated former governor Roy Barnes (D) in the Georgia gubernatorial contest, The Washington Post projects. Deal will succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue.
  • TRIO OF GOVERNOR PROJECTIONS FROM AP: — Jerry Brown, D-Calif.
    — Nathan Deal, R-Ga.
    — John Kasich, R-Ohio
  • HOUSE: AP projects that Missouri Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton has lost to GOP challenger Vicky Hartzler in the 4th district. Skelton was serving his 17th term in the House.
  • Two big Senate calls from AP: Democrat Boxer in CA and Republican Pat Toomey in PA.
  • AP is now projecting that the House will definitely take a majority in the House.
  • At this point, the GOP has won 43 seats held by Democrats and are leading in two dozen more districts. Democrats have only picked up two Republican seats, hurting their chances of keeping the House. Republicans need to capture 40 seats to win back control of the House that they lost in 2006. — PBS Newshour
  • PA Senate: A.P. Projects Toomey Will Defeat Sestak in Pennsylvania Senate Race
  • IOWA GOV: GOP challenger and former Gov. Terry Branstad has unseated Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, ABS and Fox project. That make +9 pickup for Republicans in governor races.
  • HOUSE: Fox and CBS project that Democratic Rep. John Spratt has lost his seat after 14 terms in the House to Republican Mick Mulvaney in the 5th district. Spratt was chairman of the House budget committee.
  • CA: Fox is calling California for both Democrat Jerry Brown in the governor race and Democrat Barbara Boxer in the Senate race.
  • BALANCE OF POWER: Republicans have gained 4 seats in the Senate and 35 in the House (4 away from the net gain of 39 they need), plus 8 gubernatorial seats previously held by Democrats.
  • In Ohio’s 15th District: Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy has lost to GOP challenger Steve Stivers, AP projects.
  • ILLINOIS SENATE: The margin has narrowed to one point in the still-too-close-to-call Illinois Senate race, pitting Republican Mark Kirk against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias.
  • New AP projections:
    SENATE: Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
    GOVERNOR: C.L. “Butch” Otter, R-Idaho
  • In the Ohio 16 race NewsHour has been watching, CBS and Fox have called is for GOP challenger Jim Renacci That Ohio 16 seat, held for some 60 years by the GOP until 2008… goes back to the GOP.
  • WIS GOV: Scott Walker, R-Wis., projected governor by AP. – The Journal Sentinel, 11-3-10
  • MA House: Democrat Bill Keating defeated Republican Jeff Perry in the race for the 10th Congressional District.
  • SENATE: Fox and ABC are projecting that Republican Ron Johnson will defeat incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold in the Wisconsin Senate race.
    The Associated Press is projecting that Ron Johnson, a Republican newcomer to politics, will defeat Senator Russ Feingold, the incumbent Democrat, in Wisconsin’s Senate race. – Business Week, 11-2-10
  • BALANCE OF POWER: Here’s the latest tally: Republicans have gained 4 seats in the Senate and 19 in the House. They also have won 7 gubernatorial seats that had previously been held by Democrats.
  • GOVERNOR: Republican Susana Martinez will be New Mexico’s next governor — the first female Hispanic governor in the history of the United States.
  • RANGEL RE-ELECTED: Embattled N.Y. Democrat Charles Rangel has been re-elected, AP projects.
  • UTAH PROJECTIONS: AP projects Republicans Mike Lee for Senate and Gary Herbert for governor.
  • PA GOV: Republican Tom Corbett has defeated Democrat Dan Onorato in the Pennsylvania governor race, AP projects.
  • Two AP projections for Senate: Democrat John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
  • MASS GOV: AP projects Deval Patrick, D-Mass., re-elected.
  • Two more GOP senators hold onto seats: AP projects: Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and John McCain, R-Ariz.
  • BALANCE OF POWER: Here’s where things stand at the moment: Republicans have a net gain of +12 in the House, +3 in the Senate and have also won 4 gubernatorial seats previoiusly held by Democrats. Senate results: Republicans pick up three seats – USA Today, 11-2-10
  • Rick Perry (R) defeats Bill White (D) in Texas gubernatorial race: Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) bested former Houston mayor Bill White (D) to win an unprecedented third term in the Lone Star State, the Associated Press projects.
  • MA Attorney General Martha Coakley and Secretary of State William F. Galvin were reelected today.
  • MD GOV: Maryland Democrat Martin O’Malley re-elected as governor, AP projects.
  • MA HOUSE: Democratic Rep. Barney Frank re-elected, AP projects.
  • O’Malley defeats Ehrlich in Maryland gubernatorial race: Incumbent Martin O’Malley defeats former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in Maryland’s gubernatorial race, the Associated Press projects.
  • HOUSE BALANCE OF POWER: MSNBC, Fox, CBS and CNN are projecting that Republicans will regain control of the House of Representatives, but The Associated Press has yet to make a projection.
  • Cuomo Wins New York Governor’s Race, Defeating Paladino: Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, has defeated the Republican candidate, Carl P. Paladino, in the New York governor’s race. The incumbent, David A. Paterson, a Democrat, was not running for re-election.
    Voters returned Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to Washington for new terms.
  • Andrew Cuomo (D) defeats Carl Paladino (R) in New York gubernatorial race: New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) defeated businessman Carl Paladino (R) in the New York gubernatorial contest. Cuomo will succeed outgoing Gov. David Paterson (D), the Associated Press projects.
  • Hurt defeats Perriello in Virginia’s 5th District: Rep. Tom Perriello (D) has been defeated after one term in central Virginia’s 5th District, losing to state Sen. Robert Hurt (R), the Associated Press projects.
  • Joe Manchin (D) beats John Raese (R) in West Virginia Senate race: West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) has defeated businessman John Raese (R) in the West Virginia Senate race, holding the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd for Democrats after a hard-fought campaign, the Associated Press projects.
  • A.P. Projects Wins for Blumenthal in Connecticut and Boozman in Arkansas: The Associated Press is projecting that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a popular Democrat, has defeated the Republican candidate, the pro-wrestling tycoon Linda McMahon, in the race for a Senate seat from Connecticut. — AP, 11-2-10
    In Arkansas, The A.P. is projecting that Representative John Boozman, a Republican, will defeat Senator Blanche Lincoln, an incumbent Democrat. — AP, 11-2-10
  • Democrat Christopher Coons Defeats Republican Christine O’Donnell in Delaware Senate Race: Christopher Coons, the Democratic candidate, defeated a dissident Republican and Tea Party candidate, Christine O’Donnell, for a Senate seat from Delaware.
  • Rand Paul beats Jack Conway in Kentucky Senate race: Ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) has defeated state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) in the Kentucky Senate race, holding for Republicans the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R), the Associated Press projects.
  • Florida: Republican Marco Rubio defeats Charlie Crist in Senate raceUSA Today, 11-2-10
  • Tea Party Notches Early Victories With Paul and Rubio: 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…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Tea Party Notches First Big Victory With Rand Paul: As the polls closed in a half-dozen eastern states, Kentucky and Indiana on Tuesday night, the Tea Party captured its first big victory when Rand Paul won a United States Senate seat in Kentucky, a victory that seemed to be a precursor of big gains in Congress for the Republican Party…. – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Republicans score first key election wins: Republicans scored the first key election wins on Tuesday after a long and bitter campaign that could sweep Democrats from power in Congress and slam the brakes on President Barack Obama’s agenda…. – Reutetrs, 11-2-10

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

     

  • 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

     

  • 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

     

  • 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 
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Midterm Elections 2010: Last Days on the Campaign Trail… Election Day Arrives With GOP Set for House Victory

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.

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama on Friday in Virginia for Representative Tom Perriello. He is campaigning for Senate candidates this weekend.

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Election night cheat sheet: Key races to watch: Get your last bits of election speculation and guessing out now — because starting Tuesday night we will have actual facts. People will vote. Candidates will win. Careers will end. Power in Washington will shift. There are 435 elections in the House, 37 in the Senate, and 37 gubernatorial elections. To help you sift through the returns, here’s a reader and viewer’s guide to some key things to watch.
    The official unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, though the true picture may be closer to 17 percent. In states with key races, the unemployment rate is worse: In Nevada it’s 14.4 percent; in Ohio it’s 10 percent. President Obama’s approval rating is about 45 percent. The generic ballot shows voters picking Republicans over Democrats by seven points. The congressional approval rating is below 20 percent…. – Yahoo News, 11-2-10
  • Polls: Rubio holds wide lead in Senate race; governor race neck-and-neck: Two Florida polls have Marco Rubio well ahead of the pack in the U.S. Senate race. Quinnipiac University’s final pre-election poll, which wrapped up Sunday night, shows Republican Marco Rubio with a 45-to-31 percent lead over indie Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate race, with Democrat Kendrick Meek at 18 percent. Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, says Rubio is headed for “an easy victory” with 47 percent to 30 percent for Crist and 21 percent Meek.
    But both firms say the race for governor is too close to call. Quinnipiac gives Democrat Alex Sink a 44-to-33 percent lead over Republican Rick Scott; has Sink with a 48-to-47 percent lead. Both polls have a 3.5 percent margin of error…. – Palm Beach Post, 11-1-10
  • Ohio governor’s race a close call, final polls show: Nearly every poll that weeks ago predicted an easy win for Republican challenger John Kasich over Gov. Ted Strickland is now declaring the race a toss-up as voters cast their ballots today in the closely watched race. That’s good news for Democrat Strickland, who, despite his low job approval ratings, has closed the gap on Kasich, who has watched his once double-digit lead wilt. “Ted Strickland’s chances of re-election are looking the best they have in months,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, which gives Kasich a one-point edge. In late August, the same poll had the Republican up by 10 points.
    But even if the race is too close to call, the polls still have Kasich ahead of the incumbent, which is a good position to be in, according to another pollster. “John Kasich has the historical tendency of undecided voters to break against well-known incumbents at the very end of a campaign,” Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said on Monday. Brown agreed, however, that momentum is with Strickland. Quinnipiac on Monday had Kasich leading by one point with about six percent of voters undecided. The same poll had Kasich leading by 17 percentage points in September and by 10 points just two weeks ago…. – Cleveland.com, 11-1-10
  • A Vote Against Dems, Not for the GOP: Voters don’t want to be governed from the left, right or center. They want Washington to recognize that Americans want to govern themselves.
    In the first week of January 2010, Rasmussen Reports showed Republicans with a nine-point lead on the generic congressional ballot. Scott Brown delivered a stunning upset in the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election a couple of weeks later. In the last week of October 2010, Rasmussen Reports again showed Republicans with a nine-point lead on the generic ballot. And tomorrow Republicans will send more Republicans to Congress than at any time in the past 80 years. This isn’t a wave, it’s a tidal shift—and we’ve seen it coming for a long time. Remarkably, there have been plenty of warning signs over the past two years, but Democratic leaders ignored them. At least the captain of the Titanic tried to miss the iceberg. Congressional Democrats aimed right for it…. – WSJ, 10-31-10
  • Democrats, GOP close in Nevada early votes: Nevada Democrats and their union allies appear to have blunted a surge of Republican enthusiasm in early voting, confirming a close race between Republican tea party favorite Sharron Angle and Majority Leader Harry Reid, figures showed Saturday. Two weeks of early voting that ended Friday provide only a barometer of turnout – it’s far from conclusive with Election Day to come. The early numbers confirm Republicans are fired up to deny Reid a fifth term, but Democrats are getting to the polls in significant numbers, too. Statewide, Democrats hold about a 60,000-vote registration edge over the GOP, and the decisive factor on Nov. 2 is likely to be the state’s independent voters…. – AP, 10-30-10
  • Early Voting Numbers in California: Close Races Ahead?: If early voting is an indication of how Tuesday’s midterm elections will go–and it’s debatable whether, and how, it can–early vote-by mail turnout in California predicts close races for Senate and governor. Here’s a breakdown of who has voted already through the state’s vote-by-mail program, provided to The Atlantic by a source close to the California Republican Party. By party registration, here’s a who has mailed a ballot so far… – The Atlantic, 10-30-10

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

Drew Angerer/The New York Times

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert appeared on stage Saturday. More Photos »

  • Voters cast ballots; Control of Congress at stake: The fate of the Democratic Congress was put before voters Tuesday in midterm elections that drew Americans to balloting stations starting before dawn, some clamoring for change, others digging in their heels against resurgent Republicans. Expectations took hold in both camps that the political order was in for a makeover in these anxious times…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Republicans Poised to End Pelosi’s Historic Reign: Two years after voters gave President Obama and Democrats a mandate to govern, angry voters appeared poised today to give Republicans control of the U.S. House of Representatives, leaving droves of incumbent Democrats without jobs. ABC News, 10-12-10
  • The Presidential Planner: After a weekend of campaigning in four states President Obama will spend Election eve behind-closed-doors at the White House today. In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing and meet with senior advisors in the Oval Office, his regular daily briefings. Mr. Obama will spend the rest of the day in private meetings at the White House…. – ABC News, 11-2-10
  • Kentucky Race Tests Tea Party’s Strength: Kentucky voters are casting their ballots in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate contests, which will determine the future of tea-party favorite Rand Paul. An election of Mr. Paul, a 47-year-old eye surgeon and Republican, would signal the movement’s growing political influence, while a defeat to Democrat Jack Conway would mark a substantial setback for the conservative grass-roots effort. “There is a tea-party tidal wave coming to Washington,” he said to reporters after emerging from the polling station. He described the movement as “a bunch of people who are more concerned about the [national] debt than anything else.”… – WSJ, 11-2-10
  • Reid, Angle make late push in marquee raceWaPo, 11-2-10
  • Bold Republicans bidding for control in Congress: Confident of major gains, Republicans challenged the Democrats’ grip on power in Congress on Tuesday in midterm elections shadowed by recession and stirred by the rebellion of tea party conservatives. All 435 seats in the House were on the ballot, plus 37 in the Senate. An additional 37 governors’ races gave Republicans ample opportunity for further gains halfway through President Barack Obama’s term.
    “This is going to be a big day,” House Republican leader John Boehner, in line to become speaker if the GOP wins the House, said after voting near his West Chester, Ohio, home. For those who think the government is spending too much and bailing out too many, he said, “This is their opportunity to be heard.”
    The president gave a series of radio interviews pleading with Democratic supporters not to sit on the sidelines. “I know things are still tough out there, but we finally have job growth again,” he said in one. “It is all at risk if people don’t turn out and vote today.”
    While the president’s name was not on the ballot, his record and policies were. After nearly two years in power, he and congressional Democrats were saddled politically with ownership of an economy that was barely growing, 9.6 percent unemployment, a high rate of home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies, the residue of the worst recession since the 1930s….- AP,
  • Obama’s response: President plans post-election press conference: With a Capitol Hill power shift believed to be in the making, Obama is expected to outline possible mid-course changes in the direction of his presidency. With Republicans expected to win control of the House in Tuesday’s election, President Obama scheduled a press conference for Wednesday in what was expected to amount to a mid-course correction to deal with the power shift on Capitol Hill. Obama is expected to try to reach out to Republicans, who have campaigned against his economic stimulus plan, healthcare overhaul and other policies. But if the GOP gains seats in the House and Senate, as expected, heavy partisan conflict is anticipated, especially as the parties gear up for the 2012 reelection campaign. “This election’s going to be a referendum on Obama’s policies,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Assn., said on MSNBC on Tuesday. “What is the president’s response going to be?” Citing the GOP’s pledge to cut spending aggressively, Barbour added: “Hopefully, the president is going to be willing to come forward and say, ‘I recognize we have to do that; let’s work together.'”… – LAT, 11-2-10
  • Obama Reaching Out to Voters by Radio: Voters may hear President Obama on the radio as they drive to the polls on Tuesday morning. Mr. Obama on Monday taped radio interviews with three morning drive-time hosts, Ryan Seacrest, Russ Parr and Steve Harvey, all of which will be broadcast on Tuesday. The three shows are syndicated to stations across the country, reaching millions of people, and Mr. Obama will be trying to encourage Democrats to vote. The booking with Mr. Seacrest drew some scrutiny since “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” is usually a fluffy entertainment show and Mr. Seacrest is the host of “American Idol.” The blog TVNewser noted that the show solicited questions from its Facebook fans, and the submissions included gems like “What do you think about Justin Bieber???”… – NYT, 11-2-10
  • Obama: Agenda ‘all at risk’ in any Republican romp: Even with voting already under way, President Barack Obama furiously worked the phones to urban-format radio stations Tuesday, arguing that his agenda would be “all at risk” if Republicans trampled Democrats. “We need to keep moving forward, that’s why I need folks to vote today,” Obama told listeners to KPWR in Los Angeles. Interrupting the music and chat of the station’s morning show, Obama phoned in from the Oval Office to acknowledge voter frustration with the recession-bound economy – and say that even though he’s not on the ballot, his agenda is. “Are we taking the steps now to move us in the right direction, or are going to go back to the policies that got us into that mess in the first place?” he said. Other calls went to radio stations in Las Vegas, Chicago and Jacksonville, Fla., with large African-American listenership. On Monday, Obama phoned a series of nationally syndicated radio programs…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Democrats hope to retain Delaware Senate seat: Delaware Democrats are hoping their greater numbers will help them beat back tea-party fueled Republicans including Christine O’Donnell in a rare Democratic bright spot for the midterm elections. Democratic New Castle County executive Chris Coons and O’Donnell are battling in a special election Tuesday for the Senate seat held by Joe Biden for more than three decades before he became vice president. The winner will be seated immediately after the election and serve the remaining four years of the term Biden won in 2008, when he easily beat O’Donnell…. – AP, 11-2-10
  • Obama closes 2010 campaign season with stop in Cleveland: President Barack Obama closed out his midterm campaigning Sunday in Cleveland trying to push Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland past a GOP challenger backed by a restless electorate in a race with political implications beyond the Statehouse. Making his 12th visit to Ohio since becoming president – his second visit on behalf of the governor in two weeks – Obama urged thousands at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center to vote in Tuesday’s election and encourage others to do the same.
    “Cleveland, the journey we began two years ago was not about putting a president in the White House. It was about building a movement for change,” he said. “Cleveland, I need you to keep on fighting.”… – The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11-1-10
  • John Boehner fires back at President Obama at GOP rally in Cincinnati House Minority Leader whips up crowd for election Tuesday – and 2012: House Minority Leader John Boehner, at a rally of GOP volunteers Monday evening in a Lunken Airport hangar, gave President Barack Obama a taste of what he can expect if the West Chester Republican becomes the next speaker of the House.
    “The president has been here in Ohio a dozen times this year, and (Ohio Gov.) Ted Strickland thinks it is about him,” Boehner told a crowd of over a thousand Southwest Ohio Republicans who came to Lunken to see him and John Kasich, the GOP candidate for governor, and Rob Portman, the GOP Senate candidate. “It is not about him – this is about President Obama getting re-elected in two years,” Boehner said.
    Boehner took a pointed shot at the president, who has been criticized in recent days by conservatives for an interview with Univision, the Spanish-speaking TV network, in which he used the word “enemies” to describe his political opponents. The White House clarified the statement Monday, saying he should have referred to them as “opponents.” Boehner wasn’t having any of it Monday night.
    “I have a word to describe these people who have the audacity to fight for our constitution, Mr. President,” Boehner said. “These people aren’t enemies; they are patriots.”… – cincinnati.com, 11-1-10
  • Winners Tuesday May Benefit From Economic Cycle: The impact of the anti-incumbency wave of 2010 — if, in fact, it materializes in the way that polls would indicate — will be judged in the next few days by the number of seats that change hands in Washington and in statehouses across the country. In the longer term, though, the importance of any wave election isn’t only about the sheer number of seats gained and lost, but also about when the wave hits—or, more specifically, where it falls in the economic cycles of the country. And if you look at it that way, history suggests that the expected big bang of 2010 may well end up reverberating loudly through our politics for a long time to come…. – NYT, 11-1-10
  • Appeals court extends life of gay military policy: A federal appeals court on Monday indefinitely extended its freeze on a judge’s order halting enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, heightening pressure on the Obama administration to persuade the U.S. Senate to repeal the law before a new Congress is sworn in. A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the U.S. government’s request for a stay while it challenges the trial court’s ruling that the ban on openly gay service members is unconstitutional. The same panel, composed of two judges appointed by President Ronald Reagan and one appointed by President Bill Clinton, on Oct. 20 imposed a temporary hold keeping “don’t ask, don’t tell” in place.
    Monday’s decision means gay Americans who disclose their sexual orientations still can’t enlist in the armed forces and can be investigated and ultimately discharged if they already are serving…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • Obama as American Idol: president to be guest on Ryan Seacrest radio show: In a final bid to bring young voters to the polls, President Obama will join Ryan Seacrest’s radio talk show on Election Day. President Obama chatted with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’ as part of a bid to motivate young voters. On Election Day, he’ll be a guest on Ryan Seacrest’s radio talk show. Let’s just say it’s official: President Obama will do whatever it takes to reach that younger demographic that was so important to his 2008 election.
    On Monday, American idol and radio talk show host Ryan Seacrest announced that the commander-in-chief will appear live on his syndicated, daily radio talk show. It will air at 7:15 a.m. Pacific time – drive time – on Election Day. Mr. Seacrest tweeted to his fans to submit questions for the interview.
    The questions are currently piling up on the Facebook site and run the gamut from serious ones about the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” to queries about Mr. Obama’s favorite songs and other essential POTUS trivia. (That would be President Of The United States, for the uninitiated.) This fits in with a trend that began with Bill Clinton, says Travis Ridout, a political scientist at Washington State University in Pullman. “He’s clearly trying to bypass the filter of the traditional media to get his message directly to that younger demographic,” he says. “There really are no boundaries any more,” says Washington-based digital strategist Brendan Kownacki…. – CS Monitor, 11-1-10
  • ‘American Idol’ host Ryan Seacrest to interview President Obama: The move draws disdain from the GOP, but the White House says that, in a new-media era, specialized programs are the best way to reach a variety of people.
    “I’m interviewing President @BarackObama and want to ask him YOUR questions, political & otherwise,” Seacrest tweeted Monday. Such final appeals are not uncommon from candidates in the final hours before polls close, a time when turnout trumps persuasion. But Republicans mocked the news that Obama would speak with Seacrest in particular. “Just when we thought lack of dignity in the Oval Office couldn’t drop any lower,” Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye said in an e-mail to reporters…. – LAT, 11-1-10
  • Palin endorses Tancredo in Colo. gov race: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has offered a last-minute endorsement to former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo in the Colorado governor’s race. Palin urged voters Monday to support Tancredo – who is running on the American Constitution Party ticket – saying he will fight for lower taxes and smaller government, and start growing the economy…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • In closely watched races, campaigns hunt for votes: If the nation’s most closely watched Senate race is a battle, the campaign offices and neighborhoods of recession- ravaged Nevada were the trenches on Monday in the final hours before Election Day. Volunteers at GOP offices made their best cold-call pitches: Help Sharron Angle beat U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. Democrats – one dressed as a chicken to mock Angle’s refusal to take questions from the media – hurried from door to door, urging voters in a state hit hard by unemployment and the housing bust to give the Senate majority leader another chance. Last-minute and, at times, desperate get-out-the-vote drives picked up speed in the state and across the country, with some key races, like Reid-Angle, so close that they could be decided by just a couple votes per precinct…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • Lawyers Gear Up for Post-Election Fights: Political party lawyers are gearing up for what could be a heated post-election fight over the results of Tuesday’s closest races. Multiple close races raise the possibility of inconclusive or disputed results of balloting, party operatives say, and allegations of impropriety flew in the final hours. The Justice Department, which investigates election crimes, said its Civil Rights Division plans to deploy more than 400 federal observers and department personnel to 30 jurisdictions in 18 states.
    The Democratic National Committee said it expects to deploy nearly 10,000 lawyers and other trained monitors as part of its “voter protection” effort. Joseph Sandler, a former Democratic National Committee general counsel who now represents state parties and candidates, said Democrats’ efforts are bigger than in earlier midterm elections.
    “The reason is the number of close races,” Mr. Sandler said. “Every state has become a battleground state.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent out email fund-raising appeals with the headline: “Don’t Let Them Steal This Election.” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the committee’s chairman, set a goal of raising $100,000 to help the party watch for irregularities and prepare for possible litigation…. – WSJ, 11-1-10
  • Clinton stumps for NY House Dems in tight races: Former President Bill Clinton campaigned Monday for a pair of House Democrats from New York, the latest evidence of political dedication to his adopted home state in the waning hours of the midterm elections. Clinton started the day at a rally with Rep. Scott Murphy, whom he praised for supporting local economic growth and President Barack Obama’s controversial health care law. Murphy, who won the seat in a special election last year, faces a tough challenge from Republican Chris Gibson, a retired Army colonel.
    “He gets this. You have to choose the future,” Clinton told a crowd of about 1,200 Murphy supporters. “This isn’t about right and left, this is about tomorrow versus yesterday.”
    Later, Clinton was headed to Watertown to stump for Rep. Bill Owens, who like Murphy won his seat in a longtime Republican stronghold in a special election. Owens faces millionaire businessman Matt Doheny in a tight race…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • Candidates make final push in Alaska Senate race: Alaska’s three main U.S. Senate candidates made their final cases to voters Monday, with high-profile surrogates also weighing in on the hotly contested race that might remain in limbo well after Election Day. Financial disclosures show a flurry of last-minute spending on the race, including from Tea Party Express, which had maintained a relatively low profile since helping Joe Miller defeat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the August GOP primary. Alaska Native corporations have spent nearly $1.3 million through their PAC to help Murkowski, who’s running a write- in campaign. And the millions of dollars poured into the race – by the candidates and outside groups – have kept ads on the air seemingly nonstop. Then there are the big names: former President Bill Clinton did a robocall for Democrat Scott McAdams, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, maintained a vigilant attack on Murkowski on Miller’s behalf…. – AP, 11-1-10
  • Time Off to Vote: Employer Responsibilities: November 2 is Election Day, and employees of all political stripes may be taking a bit of time off work to vote. Employers of all sizes and stripes should be sure they know the law regarding this duty and right. The laws of nearly every state allow time off from work to vote, but whether or not other benefits such as paid time off are included, vary from state to state.
    Some laws place more responsibility on the employers, some place equal responsibility on employees regarding time off to vote. In some states, the employee has certain requirements they must meet to take advantage of time off to vote. Some jurisdictions ask that employees show proof they voted, or give advance notice that they will require time off to vote. Some states allow employers to set the time that employees may take to vote. To check on the specific requirements where your business is located, your state labor department website is a good resource for time off for voting rules in each state. The amount of time off that must be given to an employee can depend on their schedule and might permit the employer to not give additional time off for voting. For example, if an employee has two or three consecutive hours off while the polls are open, or otherwise has enough time to vote before or after work, an employer may not have to let the employee take time to vote during work hours…. – Reuters, 11-1-10
  • Sarah Palin and Jon Stewart agree on this: News media are bad influence: The media are berated as ‘corrupt’ (per Sarah Palin) and as a ‘conflictinator’ (per Jon Stewart). Is it a case of shooting the messenger, or did news media miss the mark in Election 2010? A familiar bogeyman leapt back into the news this weekend – the media itself. Tarring of the media and its election coverage came from Fox News commentator Sarah Palin, who called a team of Alaskan TV newsfolk “corrupt bastards,” as well as Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, who closed his Saturday rally on the Washington Mall by saying the 24-hour news and media machine was “broke.” He coined a new term of derision for it: “conflictinator.”
    Even the nonpartisan Wesleyan Media Project added some fuel to the critique: This election cycle has the most negative political ads ever, with more than half being pure attack ads, according to its new data released Monday. Many campaigns count on the far-out content to propel the ads into the media spotlight.
    In the wake of such a barrage, Sunday’s news talk shows had a field day of self-dissection. On NBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” the host parried with columnist and Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington in a high-pitched – if friendly – frenzy of proposed solutions. She called for no more demonizing by media personalities; he laughed at the idea that people should not argue. And The New York Times ran an op-ed piece chiding Mr. Stewart for berating the messenger rather than the message…. – CS Monitor, 11-1-10
  • Michelle Obama tells Nevada ‘my husband can’t do this alone’ As the headliner at a rally for Sen. Harry Reid, Obama asks voters to heed the spirit of the 2008 campaign, which ‘was about building a movement for change.’ LAT, 11-1-10
  • At Rally, Thousands — Billions? — Respond: Part circus, part satire, part parade, the crowds that flooded the National Mall Saturday for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear made it a political event like no other. It was a Democratic rally without a Democratic politician, featuring instead two political satirists, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert, who used the stage to rib journalists and fear-mongering politicians, and to argue with each other over the songs “Peace Train” and “Crazy Train.”
    Though at no point during the show did either man plug a candidate, a strong current of political engagement coursed through the crowd, which stretched several long blocks west of the Capitol, an overwhelming response to a call by Mr. Stewart on his “Daily Show.” The turnout clogged traffic and filled subway trains and buses to overflow. The event, sponsored by Viacom’s Comedy Central network and televised live, was viewed by many in the crowd as a counterweight to Restoring Honor, a rally led by the Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck near the Lincoln Memorial two months ago. Some participants staged a protest near a Fox News satellite truck.
    The National Park Service did not offer a formal crowd estimate. But Judy McGrath, the chief executive of Viacom’s MTV Networks unit, said she had been told by the Parks Service that there were “well over 200,000 people” at the rally. Mr. Colbert offered his own guess in a Twitter message: “Early estimate of crowd size at rally: 6 billion.”… – NYT, 10-31-10
  • Facing G.O.P. Gain, Democrats Fight to Retain Senate: The battle for control of Congress rolled into a frenetic final weekend as Democrats fought to preserve the Senate as their power center on Capitol Hill, trying to hold off a Republican surge that could reshape the political order in Washington. With Republicans in a strong position to capture the House, President Obama on Saturday opened a four-state weekend swing here to rally support for Senate candidates in Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, hoping to build a critical firewall to protect the party’s Senate majority from Republican gains across the country. Republicans intensified their efforts to capitalize on a favorable political environment, with Sarah Palin making a last-minute trip to West Virginia to ask voters to elect a Republican for the Democratic seat Senator Robert C. Byrd held for 51 years. The outcome of five contests considered tossups will help determine if Democrats retain control of the Senate, according to the latest analysis of races by The New York Times, with Republicans trying to capture Democratic-held seats in Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington. Should they sweep those, they would still need to triumph in a state like California or West Virginia, where Democratic chances seemed to be improving…. – NYT, 10-31-10
  • In Ads, Candidates Make Their Final Pitches to Voters: Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for Senate in Nevada, wants the state’s voters to know that Harry Reid had his chance, but it’s her turn now. This is the final pitch Ms. Angle makes in a political ad released Thursday and titled “Our Turn,” which argues that two years ago, Democrats “promised change—but they delivered unprecedented spending, overwhelming debt, heartbreaking job loss,” and a laundry list of other economic woes. “They promised change,” the ad concludes. “Now, it’s our turn.” With Election Day on Tuesday, candidates across the nation are turning to political ads to make their closing arguments — often a last-ditch plea to win over voters by either reintroducing themselves , tearing down their opponent one last time , or something in between. And this year, both Democrats and Republicans are trying to harness the anti-Washington sentiment to push different versions of the same theme: That the nation’s capital must change, and with their independent voice and close ties to their home state, the candidate currently approving this ad is just the person for the job. NYT, 10-31-10
  • Republicans Deny Giving Up Hope on Miller as Polls Show Nominee Slipping: Republicans stood by Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller Sunday, denying a claim that the party had given up hope that he can beat write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, as polls show the GOP nominee slipping. Murkowski, the incumbent senator, launched a write-in campaign after losing to Miller in the Republican primary. Such campaigns are rarely successful in part because the names of write-in candidates do not show up on the ballot — the state Supreme Court ruled Friday, though, that the write-in list could be provided in limited cases on Election Day…. – Fox News, 10-31-10
  • Nev. Senate race converges in state capital: Nevada’s hotly contested Senate race had rivals Harry Reid and Sharron Angle serving flapjacks, petting dogs and shaking hands as they worked for last-minute votes during Nevada’s statehood celebration. The Nevada Day Parade, part of three-day state holiday, is one politicians rarely miss, especially in an election year. Reid, the Democratic majority leader, strolled the back streets before the festivities began Saturday, talking to entrants as they assembled. He watched the parade from along Carson City’s main drag. Polls have consistently shown the race too close to call…. – AP, 10-31-10
  • ‘Sanity’ rally draws tens of thousands: Tens of thousands of people turned out on the sun-splashed National Mall on Saturday to hear comedian Jon Stewart proclaim “reasonableness” as the norm in American life and to jab the cable news media for being purveyors of fear and division.
    “The country’s 24-hour politico-pundit-perpetual-panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder,” said Stewart in a speech that wrapped up the event. The three-hour “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” mixed comedy and music with a message that was non-partisan, yet deeply political…. – USA Today, 10-30-10
  • Obama fires up voters at Chicago rally: President Barack Obama is telling supporters to go to the polls themselves and get others there as well. He’s firing up thousands of people gathered in Chicago on Saturday night just a few blocks from his home in the city for a get-out-the-vote rally. He asked the cheering crowd if they were fired up. He says people have to go to the polls so Democrats can finish what they started in 2008. He said at the rally people need to get others out to the polls too. And he said if everyone who fought for change to elect him comes out to the polls on Tuesday, then Democrats will win. Chicago was Obama’s third stop in a day of campaigning as he tries to fend off Republicans trying to win his former Senate seat and the Illinois governor’s mansion…. – AP, 10-30-10
  • Clinton to campaign for Meek on election-eve: Former President Bill Clinton will factor into Florida’s Senate race one more time with an election-eve visit to Orlando for Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek. When Clinton last visited the state, he and Meek discussed the possibility of Meek dropping out of the race to give independent candidate Charlie Crist a better chance of defeating Republican frontrunner Marco Rubio.
    Meek and Clinton both say the former president never urged Meek to withdraw. Meek says Clinton was discussing rumors pushed by Crist and he said Crist asked him directly to drop out a few days ago when the two crossed paths at an AIPAC conference in Broward County…. – Palm Beach Post, 10-
  • Obama deals with protests in Connecticut: President Obama, who is having a hard enough time with the Republicans this election season, had to deal with putative supporters today in Connecticut. As Obama launched into his stump speech at an arena in Bridgeport, a group of protesters began heckling him over funding for the global fight against AIDS.
    “Excuse me … excuse me,” an irritated looking Obama said before he could finally talk over the shouting. “You’ve been appearing at every rally we’ve been doing. And we’re funding global AIDS (prevention). And the other side is not. So I don’t know why you think this is a useful strategy to take.” USA Today, 10-30-10
  • Sarah Palin to Joe Manchin: Stay in W.Va.: On a last-minute visit for Republican John Raese’s Senate campaign, Sarah Palin said Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin is a “nice guy” who’s better off sticking with his current gig. “He’s such a nice governor, I think that ‘Manchin in the mansion’ just kind of fits,” Palin to the crowd at a rally for Raese, gesturing to the governor’s official home just down the riverfront street. It was the only time Palin uttered Manchin’s name during her appearance. Instead, she told the crowd that she preferred to call him the “would-be rubber-stamp” for President Barack Obama. Palin’s visit was finalized at the last minute, less than 24 hours before she took the stage with Raese and rock guitarist Ted Nugent — and three days before the bulk of voters will head to the polls…. – Politico, 10-30-10
  • Palin: Vote for Raese, leave Manchin as governor: Sarah Palin says Democrat Joe Manchin is a good governor — but she says West Virginia voters should keep him in the governor’s mansion and out of the U.S. Senate. Palin, the former governor of Alaska and one-time vice presidential candidate, was in Charleston on Saturday to support Republican John Raese (RAY’-see)’s Senate bid. She drew cheers when she said Manchin was a better fit as governor…. – AP, 10-30-10
  • Ohio congressman leaves rally as wife gives birth: Ohio Rep. John Boccieri ran offstage Saturday during a speech by Bill Clinton after the congressman received word that his pregnant wife had gone into labor. Boccieri quickly left the podium Saturday afternoon while the former president addressed a crowd of about 1,000 people in Canton, about an hour south of Cleveland. “The baby is now being born!” Clinton announced as the crowd erupted with cheers. “You’d be amazed how many times I take a picture with a very pregnant woman and then she immediately gives birth.” Addressing both sets of grandparents, who were among the crowd standing in the parking lot, Clinton joked: “I’d like some credit for your fifth grandchild being brought into the world.” Clinton couldn’t resist one more wisecrack before continuing his speech. “We got another Democrat,” he said. “I wish we could register that baby before it’s too late.”… – AP, 10-30-10
  • Fiorina goes Boxer-bashing at Halloween-themed candy store; she, Whitman say they’ll prove polls wrong: Standing in a Halloween-decorated Menlo Park candy store Friday amid a mad scientist display, a jar of brains and big fuzzy spiders, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina portrayed Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer as the real goblin in this race.
    “No, Barbara Boxer, the stimulus bill hasn’t worked,” said Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, during a short visit to the Sugar Shack to highlight the importance of women-owned small businesses. “No, your policies of bailing, borrowing, spending, taxing are not working either.”
    Asked about a new Field Poll that shows her trailing Boxer 49 percent to 41 percent — and among women by 15 percentage points — Fiorina called the statewide poll “an outlier” compared with several others that show the race is “very, very tight” and “very, very winnable.” But a recent Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll also gave Boxer an eight-point advantage, and a Public Policy Institute of California poll put Boxer ahead by five points. An average of multiple polls at realclearpolitics.com gives Boxer an edge of 6.5 percentage points…. – Mercury News, 10-30-10
  • None of the above looms large in Nevada Senate: Choosing “none of the above,” the default option on quizzes, is looming as a potential factor in the dead-heat Nevada Senate race for voters who don’t like either Democrat Harry Reid or Republican Sharron Angle. Voters in the Silver State have nine choices on the ballot next week — eight are candidates, including Reid and Angle. The number of voters who choose “None of these candidates” is expected to be small, but in a close race those who decide to boycott the ballot could make the difference. Reid knows the risk: A dozen years ago he pulled off a 428-vote re-election victory over then-Republican Rep. John Ensign, while “none” received 8,125 votes, far more than his winning margin…. – AP, 10-29-10
  • Palin, US State Department in Twitter duel: A tongue-in-cheek US birthday message to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over Twitter may not have reached the intended recipient, but triggered a rebuke from someone else — Sarah Palin. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, learning from reporters that Ahmadinejad celebrated turned 54 on Thursday, took to the micro-blogging service to ask him to release two US hikers detained in Iran since last year.
    “Happy birthday President Ahmadinejad. Celebrate by sending Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer home. What a gift that would be,” Crowley tweeted. “Your 54th year was full of lost opportunities. Hope in your 55th year you will open Iran to a different relationship with the world,” read another tweet.
    Palin, the Republican Party’s 2008 candidate for vice president who enjoys a following among conservatives, was not amused. “Happy B’day Ahmadinejad wish sent by US Govt. Mind boggling foreign policy: kowtow (and) coddle enemies; snub allies. Obama Doctrine is nonsense,” she wrote in her own message on Twitter. Palin highlighted Ahmadinejad’s past calls for the destruction of Israel….. – AFP, 10-29-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

John Raese, Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent are pictured. | AP Photo

Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent came out to support GOP Senate candidate John Raese (left). | AP Photo
  • Upstairs at the White House, Obama says he gets no ‘Mr. President’ greeting from first lady: His party’s having trouble at the polls. But is President Barack Obama also having a spot of trouble at home? Calling in to the morning show at KVEG radio in Las Vegas, hoping to boost Democratic turnout at the polls Tuesday, Obama was asked by the host how his wife, Michelle, addresses him in the White House residence. “Is it Mr. President?” he was asked. “That would be no,” Obama deadpanned. “She calls me names sometimes, but it’s not Mr. President.”… – LAT, 11-2-10
  • GOP Leaders: Sarah Palin Must be Stopped: Last night, Politico posted an anonymously-sourced story reporting that advisers to top potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates are united in their desire to stop Sarah Palin from winning the presidential nomination out of a fear that she would lose badly in the general election. “There is a determined, focused establishment effort … to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin,” someone described as a “prominent and longtime Washington Republican” told Politico. “We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her.”
    Palin quickly responded to the story on Fox News’ “On the Record” last night, criticizing the use of anonymous sources and stating, “The paper that we just printed this article on was not worth even wrapping my king salmon in.” “This is a joke to have unnamed sources tearing somebody apart limb by limb,” said Palin. She also lit into those quoted, telling Greta Van Susteren they “want to lead the nation and run the world” and yet “they’re not brave enough to put their name in an article.” She called them “the GOP the establishment — the self- proclaimed elite” and added that “if they would man up and if they would, you know, make these claims against me, then I can debate them.”
    Palin has now sarcastically referred to Politico and other detractors “puppy-kicking, chain-smoking porn producers” in an email to the Daily Caller. She reportedly wrote: “I suppose I could play their immature, unprofessional, waste-of-time game, too, by claiming these reporters and politicos are homophobe, child molesting, tax evading, anti-dentite, puppy-kicking, chain smoking porn producers…really, they are… I’ve seen it myself…but I’ll only give you the information off-the- record, on deep, deep background; attribute these ‘facts’ to an ‘anonymous source’ and I’ll give you more.”… – CBS News, 11-1-10Politico, 11-1-10
  • Obama pulls back on ‘enemies’ remark to Latinos: A day before the pivotal midterm elections, President Barack Obama pulled back from remarks he made last month when he called on Latino voters to punish their “enemies” on Election Day. In an interview Monday with radio host Michael Baisden, Obama said he should have used the word “opponents” instead of enemies.
    Republicans were quick to criticize the president’s remarks. House Minority Leader John Boehner was expected to use Obama’s words in an election eve speech in Ohio to paint the president as a staunch partisan. “Sadly, we have a president who uses the word ‘enemy’ for fellow Americans, fellow citizens. He used it for people who disagree with his agenda of bigger government,” Boehner said, according to prepared remarks released in advance of his speech.
    Obama’s original comments came during an interview with Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, a Hispanic radio personality. Piolin questioned how Obama could ask Latinos for their vote when many don’t believe he’s worked hard to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Obama responded: “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder.”
    The president said Monday that the message he was trying to send was that voters need to support lawmakers who stand with them on the issue. “Now the Republicans are saying that I’m calling them enemies,” Obama said. “What I’m saying is you’re an opponent of this particular provision, comprehensive immigration reform, which is something very different.”… – AP, 11-1-10
  • Palin: News Station Trying to “Make Up” Stories: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Says Anchorage Station KTVA Conspired to Make Up Stories About Senate Candidate Joe Miller
    Sunday on Fox News, Palin said a cell phone recording shows two of the reporters were trying to discredit the Miller campaign.
    “It was revealed and we have the tape that proves it, that the CBS reporters, the affiliate in Alaska, conspired to make up stories about Joe Miller,” said Palin on Fox News. “We have the tape, [Host] Chris [Wallace], that proves it and I can’t wait till it busts out all over the nation.”… – CBS News, 10-31-10
  • Sarah Palin would ‘make the sacrifices’ and run for president: The former governor of Alaska predicts Tuesday’s vote will serve as a rebuke to President Obama as well as the GOP establishment. Obama exhorts Democrats in Cleveland to answer a ‘cocky’ GOP.
    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin predicted that Tuesday’s midterm elections would bring a “political earthquake” to the country and reiterated her willingness to make the personal sacrifices necessary to run for president in 2012. Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee said the message from voters this year would serve as an indictment of the current administration.
    “They’re going to say, ‘You blew it, President Obama. We gave you the two years to fulfill your promise of making sure that our economy starts roaring back to life again.’ And instead I believe things are getting worse,” Palin said.
    The election results also will deliver a stinging rebuke to the Republican establishment from the “tea party” movement, she warned.
    “Those within the establishment who have kind of perpetuated the problem by going along just to get along, including some who’ve been wishy-washy on the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda — the message sent to them is ‘No more,'” Palin said.
    She was more equivocal about her own political future, saying: “I love the freedom that I have, that I can sit here and I can tell you anything that I want to tell you and not have to worry so much about how it will affect my future political career, or my relationship with senators or congressmen.”
    But while acknowledging she was enjoying private life, the former governor hastened to clarify that she would be happy to step back into public life.
    “You know, the country is worth it, though, to make those sacrifices, when we talk about making money today, having a lot of fun today, having all this freedom,” she said. “If the country needed me — and I’m not saying that the country does and that the country would ever necessarily want to choose me over anyone else, but I would be willing to make the sacrifices if need be for America.”… – LAT, 10-31-10
  • Rally to Shift the Blame: In his new role as a political leader, which is what you call somebody if he hosts a rally on the Washington Mall for over 200,000 people, Jon Stewart was a little hemmed at the Rally to Restore Sanity on Saturday. Because sanity should know no party, partisan rhetoric was not on the teleprompter.
    At his rally, Jon Stewart said cable news “did not cause our problems,” but it “makes solving them that much harder.” So instead the host of “The Daily Show” took steady aim on the one American institution that everyone can agree to hate: The Media. Within the first minute of his deft, very articulate stump speech at the end of the rally, Mr. Stewart turned his gun sights on the, um, fake news, which he called, “the country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator,” which, he added, “did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder.” “The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous, flaming ant epidemic,” he said, to roars of approval from the crowd. “We work together to get things done every damn day! The only place we don’t is here,” he said, gesturing toward the Capitol, “or on cable TV.”… – NYT, 10-31-10
  • In radio address, Obama urges party unity after election: Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s election, it’s time to put aside partisanship, President Obama is telling Democrats and Republicans. Yet his appeal for unity includes a jab at GOP leaders in the House and Senate for comments that the president said were troubling.
    House minority leader John Boehner of Ohio “actually said that ‘this is not the time for compromise,'” Obama said yesterday in his weekly radio and Internet address. The president added that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky “said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one.”… – Boston Globe, 10-31-10
  • Obama warns of progress reversal if GOP wins: President Barack Obama implored voters on Saturday to resist a Republican tide, warning that if the GOP prevails in Tuesday’s midterm elections all the progress of his first two years in office “can be rolled back.” That would be just fine, said Rep. John Boehner, in line to become the new speaker if Republicans take the House, as expected. He declared, “Americans are demanding a new way forward in Washington.” Embarking on a four-state weekend campaign dash, Obama acknowledged the difficulties Democrats face — the distinct chance of losing their comfortable majority in the House and possibly the Senate, as well as several governors’ seats. All four weekend stops are in states Obama carried in 2008 — Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois and Ohio. But Democratic candidates for the Senate, House and governorships are struggling in these places and elsewhere, and Obama is making a last-ditch plea for the party’s core supporters not to abandon them. “It is difficult here in Pennsylvania, it is difficult all across the country,” Obama told several hundred campaign volunteers at Temple University in Philadelphia, a Democratic-leaning city he has visited often. The weekend tour marks the president’s last campaign swing of the campaign season, with Republicans expecting big victories on Tuesday. Obama’s sagging popularity has limited his ability to save Democratic candidates, and his legislative agenda may be deeply complicated if the GOP takes over the House, as many expect…. – AP, 10-30-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls on GOP Leadership to Put Aside Partisan Politics and Focus on Strengthening the Economy
    Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery The White House October 30, 2010:
    Tuesday is Election Day, and here in Washington, the talk is all about who will win and who will lose – about parties and politics.
    But around kitchen tables, I’m pretty sure you’re talking about other things: about your family finances, or maybe the state of the economy in your hometown; about your kids, and what their futures will bring. And your hope is that once this election is over, the folks you choose to represent you will put the politics aside for a while, and work together to solve problems. That’s my hope, too….
    That’s why I found the recent comments by the top two Republican in Congress so troubling. The Republican leader of the House actually said that “this is not the time for compromise.” And the Republican leader of the Senate said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one.
    I know that we’re in the final days of a campaign. So it’s not surprising that we’re seeing this heated rhetoric. That’s politics. But when the ballots are cast and the voting is done, we need to put this kind of partisanship aside – win, lose, or draw.
    In the end, it comes down to a simple choice. We can spend the next two years arguing with one another, trapped in stale debates, mired in gridlock, unable to make progress in solving the serious problems facing our country. We can stand still while our competitors – like China and others around the world – try to pass us by, making the critical decisions that will allow them to gain an edge in new industries.
    Or we can do what the American people are demanding that we do. We can move forward. We can promote new jobs and businesses by harnessing the talents and ingenuity of our people. We can take the necessary steps to help the next generation – instead of just worrying about the next election. We can live up to an allegiance far stronger than our membership in any political party. And that’s the allegiance we hold to our country. – WH, 10-30-10
  • President Obama: “A Credible Terrorist Threat Against Our Country, and the Actions That We’re Taking”: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to briefly update the American people on a credible terrorist threat against our country, and the actions that we’re taking with our friends and our partners to respond to it.
    Last night and earlier today, our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, working with our friends and allies, identified two suspicious packages bound for the United States — specifically, two places of Jewish worship in Chicago. Those packages had been located in Dubai and East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom. An initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material.
    I was alerted to this threat last night by my top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan. I directed the Department of Homeland Security and all our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps are necessary to protect our citizens from this type of attack. Those measures led to additional screening of some planes in Newark and Philadelphia…. – WH, 10-29-10
  • Ten Questions for Jeb Bush: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sat down at his Miami office with John Harwood of The New York Times and CNBC to discuss President Obama’s leadership, Republican presidential politics, and the Senate campaign of his successor, Gov. Charlie Crist. An edited transcript of their conversation…. – NYT, 10-29-10
  • Obama Says Packages Bound for U.S. Contained Explosives: Two packages containing explosive devices originating in Yemen and addressed to two places of Jewish worship in Chicago were intercepted in Dubai and Britain, setting off a global terror alert, President Obama said at the White House on Friday. The president called the packages a “credible threat,” prompting searches of cargo planes landing at Philadelphia and Newark and a delivery truck in Brooklyn, and a military escort for an inbound passenger flight. No explosive packages were found to have reached the United States…. – NYT, 10-29-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Tevi Troy: Troy responds: Bewitching hour for campaign craziness?: Elections seem more important than ever because our electorate is so closely divided. As a result, control of Congress is far more likely to change hands in each election than it was in the decades before the GOP takeover of 1994. The policy impact of such changes in Congress is what keeps bringing the intensity to higher and higher levels…. – The Arena at Politico.com, 11-2-10
  • Leading article: President Obama still offers change we can believe in: It is hard to find an American with a good word to say about Barack Obama at the moment. The President is denounced by his progressive supporters for being insufficiently liberal. He is attacked by the libertarian Tea Party movement for being a communist. He is slated by the leaders of corporate America for his supposedly “anti-business” policies. Everywhere, there seems to be anger and disillusion. The contrast with the mood of optimism and hope when Mr Obama was elected two years ago is remarkable. And the expectation is that these currents of national discontent will mean heavy losses for the Democrats in today’s midterm congressional elections…. – Independent UK, 11-2-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: It’s Tea Party vs. Bush and Obama: Former President George W. Bush loomed large throughout the 2010 campaign even though he has been out of office for nearly two years.
    The upcoming publication of Bush’s memoirs, “Decision Points,” offers us an opportunity to consider the relationship between the former commander-in-chief and the Tea Party activists who played such a major role in energizing the GOP this summer and fall. While the Tea Party attacks on President Obama and his policies were front and center, their anger was also directed toward the nature of Republican politics in the age of Bush.
    The Tea Party movement has opened up a civil war within the Republican Party. Recently these tensions exploded when Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, said the Tea Party was not very “sophisticated.” Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called Rove an “elitist” and said that “unfortunately, there is an elitism within the Republican establishment. And it’s one of the reasons the Republicans have not been able to solidify not only the Tea Party movement but solidify conservatives across America.”…
    Now that the election campaign is just about over, the party’s leaders will have to reconcile the tensions between where the party had been under George W. Bush and where Tea Party leaders would like to see it heading. The impact of the movement on the GOP will create intense pressure on elected officials to listen to what the activists have been demanding if they want their support in 2012.
    The question will be whether Tea Party activists will decide that the GOP is just no longer a home for them and if other Republicans, like former President Bush, will be left wondering what has become of their party. – CNN, 11-1-10
  • GERALD F. SEIB: Lessons of Reagan’s Rebound: As they lick their wounds during what figures to be a tough election night Tuesday, Democrats might want to reflect on the 1982 experience of President Ronald Reagan and take away some lessons from it…. – WSJ, 11-1-10
  • DOROTHY RABINOWITZ: Why Obama Is No Roosevelt: Roosevelt: ‘Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst without flinching and losing heart.’ Obama: We don’t ‘always think clearly when we’re scared.’
    Whatever the outcome of today’s election, this much is clear: It will be a long time before Americans ever again decide that the leadership of the nation should go to a legislator of negligible experience—with a voting record, as state and U.S. senator, consisting largely of “present,” and an election platform based on glowing promises of transcendence. A platform vowing, unforgettably, to restore us—a country lost to arrogance and crimes against humanity—to a place of respect in the world.
    We would win back our allies who, so far as we knew, hadn’t been lost anywhere. Though once Mr. Obama was elected and began dissing them with returned Churchill busts and airy claims of ignorance about the existence of any special relationship between the United States and Great Britain, the British, at least, have been feeling less like pals of old.
    In the nearly 24 months since Mr. Obama’s election, popular enthusiasm for him has gone the way of his famous speeches—lyrical, inspired and unburdened by the weight of concrete thought…. – WSJ, 11-1-10
  • Julian Zelizer: Obama and Democrats brace for possible Republican wave: “It’s an election in which conservatives gain enough power in Congress — even if they don’t control it — to block liberal legislation,” said Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University. “They’re usually some kind of response or backlash to a president who has put forth a big agenda.”… – USA Today, 10-31-10
  • 5 questions for 5 analysts: What will happen Election Day, what it means: Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report: The level of voter anger and the increased level of incivility really stand out to me. I’ve never heard a candidate for statewide office tell the president to “shove it,” as Rhode Island Democrat Frank Caprio did, or another candidate say that if elected he hopes for headlines that read “Gov. LePage tells Obama to go to Hell.”

    Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia: This is the first initial midterm of a Democratic president in 16 years. Oddly, Obama’s first midterm election is looking a lot like Bill Clinton’s first midterm in 1994. Democratic presidents are starting to have real problems early in their terms — although a sample of two is very, very small.
    Linda Fowler, professor of government at Dartmouth College: The economy. We haven’t had unemployment rates this high since 1982. Every forecasting model that any political scientist has ever run indicates that when you have an economy running this badly, the party that the president controls gets punished pretty heavily.
    Earl Black, co-author of “America Divided” and a political scientist at Rice University in Houston: This is the first election really since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society where we’ve had a very liberal Democratic president move to enact a highly ambitious program, health care being the most obvious, and to do this in the face of national public opinion that was opposed to the bill. This has created a lot of opposition.
    Bill Whalen, research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a GOP media consultant: That would be the “wave” dynamic seemingly working to the Republicans’ advantage for the first time in 16 years and President Clinton’s first midterm test. … (T)his is the first time the GOP is looking at landmark congressional gains (plus gaining a majority advantage among governorships) since Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America…. – Yahoo News, 10-31-10

  • Obama Tries To Rally Democrats In Final Days Before Election: In the final days before Tuesday’s (Nov. 2) congressional elections, President Barack Obama is making one last campaign swing, in hopes of persuading more of his fellow Democrats to vote. With public opinion polls predicting big losses for his Democratic Party, President Obama is on the road once more, trying to limit the damage.
    Young voters were a big part of Mr. Obama’s surge to the presidency in 2008, so he went to a university in Philadelphia on Saturday and urged students to campaign for Democratic candidates. “Coming to a rally, that is not the hard part. What I need this weekend is 20,000 doors knocked on by all the volunteers who are here today,” he said. Public opinion surveys predict that Republicans will easily win at least the 39 seats they need to take control of the House of Representatives, and probably more. There is a lesser chance that Republicans could also take over the Senate…. – VOA, 10-30-10
  • Can Sarah Palin Save Joe Miller?: Republican Joe Miller has seemingly lost his momentum in Alaska’s Senate race, going from rebel insurgent during the primary to hapless blunderer the week before the general. Miller has been slammed by a series of revelations about his background, from his family’s reliance on the federal benefits he criticizes to political indiscretions– and resulting disciplinary action–while he was working as an attorney for the state. His campaign has responded with defensive and somewhat thuggish behavior, including handcuffing a journalist who tried to question Miller at a public event.
    Though Alaska is a difficult state to poll accurately, the most recent survey from the state showed Miller trailing significantly behind write-in Republican Lisa Murkowski, who received 34 percent (the poll presented “write-in candidate” as an option rather than using Murkowski’s name), and Democrat Scott McAdams, who received 29 percent. Miller’s percentage had slipped from 31 at the beginning of the month to just 23 when the poll was released yesterday.
    Miller, then, is looking for a resurgence. He may have sparked one in a rally last night headlined by Sarah Palin, though it’s too early to judge whether the gathering will significantly energize the last days of his campaign. Palin and Miller have had a complicated background of late–at least as far as the media is aware–and she has been slow to throw her full weight into this race… – The Atlantic, 10-29-10
  • Gil Troy: Israel is peripheral in the US elections – fortunately: Although Americans glided smoothly to the 2008 presidential election, with most increasingly giddy at the prospect of Barack Obama’s historic victory, they are stumbling haphazardly toward the 2010 congressional midterms, with most increasingly cranky. Pollsters predict that on November 2, Barack Obama will suffer a major defeat. Gone is the faith that this mortal can solve America’s problems. Gone is most of the hope that galvanized millions. Gone is the sky-high popularity rating that had Republicans and comedians wondering in January 2009, “how are we ever going to criticize, let alone laugh, at this guy.” Gone is the “yes we can” optimism, as many Americans take a “no we can’t” approach. And gone may be the power President Obama drew from his Democratic congressional majority…. – JPost, 10-27-10

Political Highlights October 31, 2010: Last Full Week Campaigning, Obama Vs. Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton & Kendrick Meek, Sarah Palin for President in 2012?

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:

October 23: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks during the  Republican 2010 Victory Fundraising Rally in Orlando, Florida

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Scenarios: Election trends could be evident early: The battle for control of the Congress on Tuesday promises to stretch deep into the night or beyond, but some of the earliest results could give big clues about the eventual outcome…. – Reuters, 10-29-10
  • Midterms Q&A: what’s at stake and who might win A guide to the most crucial midterms since at least 1994: On Tuesday, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for grabs, along with 37 seats in the Senate, 37 governorships, and the usual multitude of state and local positions, including everything from state legislatures to judges to city mayors. There are no elections for “town dogcatcher”, the post sometimes used to illustrate the lowest reach of American electoral politics – though the evidence suggests there once were…. – Guardian UK, 10-29-10
  • Nearly two-thirds of U.S. Latinos detect bias, poll find: Nearly two-thirds of Latinos in the United States think they are being discriminated against, and a plurality view the backlash over illegal immigration as the central driver of such bias, according to a poll by the Pew Hispanic Center. The poll also found that 70 percent of foreign-born Latinos think they are being held back by discrimination, and half of all Latinos think the United States has become less welcoming toward immigrants than it was just five years ago…. – 10-28-10
  • Factbox: Elections for Congress, state, local offices: Voters across the United States go to the polls next Tuesday to elect senators and representatives to Congress in Washington, as well as state governors and lawmakers and local officials. While President Barack Obama is not on the ballot, the midterm election is in many ways a referendum on his presidency, which is under pressure from voters unhappy with his handling of the weak economy and high unemployment. Thousands of communities will elect mayors and city and county officials, judges, sheriffs and fill other local offices. In many areas, voters will also voice their opinions on specific initiatives — from raising or cutting state and local taxes to California’s question of whether marijuana should be legalized and taxed.
    Here are the numbers…. – Reuters, 10-27-10
  • Parts of Obama Coalition Drift Toward G.O.P., Poll Finds: Critical parts of the coalition that delivered President Obama to the White House in 2008 and gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006 are switching their allegiance to the Republicans in the final phase of the midterm Congressional elections, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Catholics, less affluent Americans and independents; all of those groups broke for Mr. Obama in 2008 and for congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls…. – NYT, 10-27-10
  • Early Voting On Track To Set Midterm Election Record 9.4 Million Americans Have Already Cast Ballots; Both Parties Claim Advantage: With less than a week to go until Election Day, more than 9.4 million Americans have already cast their ballots in what experts say could be a banner midterm election season for early voting. More than 1.5 million people have voted early in California, 1.2 million in Florida, 237,000 in Iowa and 266,000 in Nevada. Those numbers are likely to be lowball estimates, since some counties have been slow to report early voting statistics. Local newspaper headlines from around the country tell the story. It’s shaping up to be a record-breaking year in places like Polk County, Iowa; Kanawha County, West Virginia; Tazewell County, Illinois and Travis County, Texas. In St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, where early voting ended on Tuesday, the line to cast a ballot stretched out the door…. – CBS News, 10-27-10
  • Should Obama run again? More voter enthusiasm than for Reagan in ’82: Nearly half of today’s voters say they would like to see President Obama run for reelection in 2012, according to a new poll.
    President Obama might feel like a prisoner heading for the gallows, as voters prepare to give his Democratic Party a major midterm drubbing next Tuesday over his performance thus far. But it could be a lot worse. Mr. Obama could be President Reagan in August 1982, when voters were even less enthusiastic about the prospect of having the commander in chief running for reelection in two years. Nearly half of today’s voters – 47 percent – say they would like to see Obama run for reelection in 2012 versus 36 percent who said in August 1982 that Mr. Reagan should run again, according to the latest Pew Research Center/National Journal Congressional Connection poll.
    Reagan went on to win reelection by a whopping 18 points. President Clinton also had a rough first midterm election in 1994, and he faced reelect numbers similar to Obama’s at the time – 44 percent. Mr. Clinton, too, won reelection easily in 1996. For Obama, the polling on “should he run for reelection” is about the same as job approval, which is at 46 percent in the latest Pew survey. For Reagan, the job-approval numbers were better than the reelect numbers, but eventually they were the same. According to Gallup, 42 percent approved of Reagan’s job performance in August 1982. By February 1983, Reagan’s job approval had sunk to 35 percent – the same percentage of voters who thought he should run for reelection, compared with 57 percent who thought he should not…. – CS Monitor, 10-26-10
  • By slim margin, Ask America voters agree with GOP: Fully extend Bush tax cuts: Election Day is just a week away, and while politicians are focusing on issues like unemployment and health care in their campaigns, lawmakers will still have to deal with the expiring Bush tax cuts after voters hit the polls.
    The tax breaks are set to expire at the end of the year, and Congress has put the issue on the back burner until after the midterm elections. Meanwhile, as the economy hobbles out of the recession, an increasing number of Democrats in Congress are joining Republicans in favor of extending all tax breaks. President Obama supports locking in the tax cuts for the middle class but strongly opposes extending tax cuts for individuals making $200,000 or more and couples making $250,000 or more.
    The tax cuts are a popular issue on Ask America, the Yahoo! News informal polling forum. We asked if people would like to see the tax cuts extended just for the middle class or for higher-income Americans as well. So far, more than 62,000 votes have come in, and the question has generated more than 4,000 comments.
    The vote is close. So far, 54 percent of responses were in favor of extending the tax cuts to both middle- and upper-class Americans, while 46 percent favor only applying the cuts to the middle class…. – AP / Yahoo News, 10-26-10
  • NEWSWEEK Poll: Obama Approval Rating Jumps, Democrats Close ‘Enthusiasm Gap’ As the president’s numbers climb sharply, results suggest that Democrats may be succeeding in firing up their base: Despite doom-saying about Democrats’ chances in the midterms, the latest NEWSWEEK Poll (full results) shows that they remain in a close race with Republicans 12 days before Election Day, while the president’s approval ratings have climbed sharply. The poll finds that 48 percent of registered voters would be more likely to vote for Democrats, compared with 42 percent who lean Republican (those numbers are similar to those in the last NEWSWEEK Poll, which found Democrats favored 48 percent to 43 percent). President Obama’s approval ratings have jumped substantially, crossing the magic halfway threshold to 54 percent, up from 48 percent in late September, while the portion of respondents who disapprove of the president dropped to 40 percent, the lowest disapproval rating in a NEWSWEEK Poll since February 2010. However, his approval rating, which is notably higher than many recent polls of the president’s popularity, may be evidence of a closing “enthusiasm gap” more than a sea change in voter attitudes, and may not substantially affect Democrats’ fortunes come Election Day. In 1994, NEWSWEEK Polls showed a similar steep climb in President Clinton’s approval between late September and late October, but Democrats still suffered a rout in the midterms…. – Newsweek, 10-22-10
  • Republicans poised to win House and gain in Senate: Republicans enter the final week of a bitter U.S. election campaign as heavy favorites to win control of the House of Representatives and score big Senate gains, dealing a severe blow to President Barack Obama two years after he entered the White House. A thirst for change in Washington and worries about the stumbling economy appear likely to break the Democrats’ grip on Congress next Tuesday in a rout that would topple House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from power…. – Reuters, 10-26-10
  • Democrats off to good start in early voting: Democrats are off to a stronger than expected start in early voting despite months of dire predictions about their lack of enthusiasm for the November 2 midterm elections. More Democrats than Republicans cast early ballots in a handful of key states, although more Republicans took advantage of the early voting process than in 2008 when President Barack Obama led a Democratic election sweep. “The early voting numbers are favorable for Democrats, but here’s the caution — they are not as favorable as in 2008,” said Michael McDonald, a George Mason University professor who tracks early voting statistics around the country…. – Reuters, 10-26-10
  • Election 2010: Where Things Stand with One Week to Go: The CBS News Critical Contests analysis continues to point to GOP gains – but just how many? Enough for House control? Here’s what to watch in the final week:
    House: Republicans need 39 net pickups to get control and they can get there with a combination of the seats in which they are favored, plus just a few of the remaining tossups races. We show a net 33 seats they’re now favored to gain, PLUS 25 more tossup races in Democratic seats remaining up for grabs. So if Republicans win in 6 of 25 tossups, and they also net the 33 where we see them favored today, that would give the GOP the House. More broadly, the battle in final week hinges on many of the districts the Democrats took in ’06 and ’08 and on the gains they made with suburban and some rural independents in the last two cycles. If, come Election day, the GOP can roll back most of those gains, they would be in good position to win at least a narrow majority. If the Republicans see even more pickups than that, that scenario would probably be marked by a national two-party House vote of greater than 52%…. – CBS News, 10-25-10
  • Early voting data: beware any conclusions: Democrats are looking at early voting data from several key states and suggesting that Election Day might not be too bad for them. But experts say the data are unclear. Election Day is tantalizingly close, and, like children a week before Christmas, some political junkies can’t wait till the real returns are in to open their “presents.” So they’re taking an early peek, thanks to the advent of early voting in many states. Election officials don’t actually start tallying the votes until Election Day, but they can tell us how many people have already voted and, in states that register voters by party, their partisan breakdown. The problem is, there are so many ways to slice and dice the numbers, it’s possible to show just about anything. But for Democrats, fighting hard against strong evidence that they will do badly in the Nov. 2 midterms, any glimmers of hope in early voting are worth a shout, if only to keep their side from getting discouraged and staying home altogether. On Monday, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) put out a memo touting numbers in a handful of crucial states that – surprise, surprise – purport to show the Democrats competitive or even doing well…. – CS Monitor, 10-25-10

THE HEADLINES….

West Wing Week 

  • Palin gives strong indication of 2012 presidential run: Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin gave the strongest indication yet that she is preparing a 2012 White House bid, saying Thursday she would run for president “if there is nobody else to do it.” The former Republican vice presidential candidate, who was lampooned in the media for her political naivety in the hard-fought final weeks of the 2008 campaign, is now among the most popular conservative politicians in America. Palin, who left office midway through her first term in office as governor of Alaska, told Entertainment Tonight it would take someone willing “to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you. “It’s going to entail a discussion with my family (and) a real close look at the lay of the land, to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion…. – AFP, 10-28-10
  • GDP rises slightly to 2% in sign that economy remains sluggish: The third-quarter growth is in line with analysts’ forecasts but isn’t enough to spur momentum or bring down the jobless rate. In one positive sign, consumer spending grows 2.6%…. – LAT, 10-29-10
  • NJ governor shifting focus to state road projects: A day after Gov. Chris Christie killed the nation’s largest public works project, an underwater rail tunnel linking New York City to its populous New Jersey suburbs, he said Thursday that it’s time to focus on badly needed improvements to the state’s roads and bridges. The Republican governor, who burnished a national reputation for cost-cutting by putting his foot down on the $9 billion-plus tunnel, told 200 people at a town hall meeting in Moorestown it’s time to pay for improvements to state infrastructure, sometimes rated among the worst in the country.
    “We need to start investing money in that and improving that first,” Christie said. “And if we find partners in the future like the city and state of New York, like Amtrak, like the federal government, who want to partner with us on the tunnel, I’m happy to listen to them. But if it’s to benefit the region, then the region has to pay not just New Jersey.”… – AP, 10-29-10
  • Will the Rally to Restore Sanity actually restore sanity?: We’re pretty sure that on Sunday, Democratic and Republican candidates will still be running attack ads. But it’s possible the Rally to Restore Sanity could have some effect on the national conversation…. – CS Monitor, 10-29-10
  • Democratic Messaging Diluted as Obama Pleads With Base: President Obama still has a series of campaign events this weekend ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day, but it’s his appearances off the campaign trail that has Washington watchers wondering whether he’s trying to shed his coattails before an expected Democratic drubbing at the polls. The choice of non-political events the president has selected this campaign season doesn’t appear to be doing hopeful Democrats any favors. And with the House expected to lose anywhere from 45-60 Democratic seats to Republicans and the Senate likely to turn a handful or more seats to the GOP, according to the latest polling prognosticators, the president already is setting the bar low for the next two years.
    “I’m president and not king,” Obama said Wednesday night in a meeting with bloggers meant to shore up what’s left of his support. “And so I’ve got to get a majority in the House and I’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate to move any legislative initiative forward.”… – Fox News, 10-28-10
  • Why has GOP found health care law such a potent weapon?: The specter of “Obamacare” has become a powerful weapon for Republicans this campaign season, as the GOP uses the new health care law as its favorite symbol of big government gone amok.
    “Health care reform is the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration,” said Republican strategist Neil Newhouse. “For a lot of people, it epitomizes big government and wasteful spending. It’s everything they hate about government rolled into one.” The message appears to be resonating, even though polls repeatedly show people like many provisions of the new health care law.
    Nevertheless, the “Pledge to America,” the House Republicans’ book of promises, gets right to the point: “We now know the new health care law will mean more financial pain for seniors, families and the federal government,” it says, and urges repeal of the landmark law President Barack Obama signed seven months ago…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 10-28-10
  • Analysis: Republican win could revive U.S. trade deals: Three long-delayed trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia could jump to the top of the U.S. congressional agenda if Republicans win control of the House of Representatives next week. While the fate of those deals rests primarily with President Barack Obama, U.S. business leaders say trade is one area of potential compromise between the White House and Republicans in 2011.
    “Trade has been at the back of the bus for last two years and I think there’s a real opportunity for trade to be in the front seat next year,” said Christopher Wenk, senior director for international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Republicans are expected to pick up enough seats in Tuesday’s congressional elections to take control of the House, which they lost to Democrats in 2006. Democrats are likely to hold onto the Senate, but the party’s opposition to trade agreements traditionally has been strongest in the House…. – Reuters, 10-28-10
  • Sarah Palin Offers Herself for 2012 Bid: Sarah Palin cracked open the door to a presidential bid just a little bit wider Thursday, telling “Entertainment Tonight” that she would run in 2012 “if there’s nobody else to do it.” Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, spoke with Mary Hart of “Entertainment Tonight” from her home is Wasilla and told her, “I still have not decided what I’m going to do in 2012.”
    “For me, Mary, it’s going to entail a discussion with my family — a real close look at the lay of the land, and to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion, whether there are already candidates out there who can do the job and I’ll get to be their biggest supporter and biggest helpmate if they will have me,” Ms. Palin said. “Or whether there’s nobody willing to do it, to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you, just going forward according to what I believe the priorities should be. If there’s nobody else to do it, then of course I would believe that we should do this.”… – NYT, 10-28-10
  • White House declares ‘Daily Show’ interview a success Obama wasn’t expecting softball questions from Stewart, his spokesman says: The White House on Thursday declared President Obama’s interview with Jon Stewart “a success,” though others have questioned whether the appearance may have backfired. At his daily briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs faced more questions about the president’s “Daily Show” interview than any other topic. He defended the White House’s decision to schedule it, repeating that it was a way of speaking directly to voters who may not watch traditional news outlets.
    “I think Jon Stewart is about as good an interviewer as there is in the public domain,” Gibbs said. “We didn’t walk into that interview thinking we were going to be asked a list of softball questions.” “When the president gets to talk about what he’s done, and sift through what people may or may not have heard, it’s a positive benefit,” he said. “I would think of it as a success.”… – LAT, 10-28-10
  • Republicans, heading for big gains, ready agenda: Republican leaders, ever more confident of their chances of winning control of the House and possibly even the Senate, have begun plotting a 2011 agenda topped by a push for more than $100 billion in spending cuts, tax reductions and attempts to undo key parts of President Barack Obama’s health care and financial regulation laws. The question is how much of the GOP’s government-shrinking, tax-cutting agenda to advance, and how fast. It’s certain that Republicans want to capitalize quickly on tea party-fueled anger and the antiestablishment fervor that they believe will provide momentum to accomplish an activist to-do list. It’s equally clear, however, that the outsized expectations of a fed-up electorate and a crop of unruly newcomers could complicate the plans. So could Obama and fellow Democrats who will still be around after Tuesday’s elections.
    GOP lawmakers are publicly mum about much of what they intend to do if they prevail in midterm congressional contests. Many say privately they want to avoid appearing to “measure the drapes” for new leadership offices before winning any majority. But especially in the House — where Republicans have a clear shot at scoring the 40-seat gain they would need for control — they are in intense internal talks about how a GOP-driven agenda would work. Rep. John Boehner, in line to become speaker under that scenario, and Rep. Eric Cantor, his No. 2, have had initial discussions to ensure a plan is ready, a spokesman said…. – AP, 10-27-10
  • White House prepares for foreign policy challenges — from Congress: If, as expected, the GOP wins control of the House and makes gains in the Senate, it is expected to challenge the Obama administration’s foreign policy in a number of key areas, including Afghanistan and foreign aid. With voters focused on the U.S. economy, President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been largely overlooked in the midterm campaigns, but it will come under harsh scrutiny in the Congress that emerges after election day, say Republican and Democratic strategists. Republicans, considered likely to win control of the House and to pick up seats in the Senate on Tuesday, are expected to challenge the White House on its policies involving Afghanistan, nuclear arms control, Russia, China and foreign aid spending, to name a few…. – LAT, 10-27-10
  • Health Law Unpopular in Key House Districts: A majority of likely voters in the most competitive House districts support repealing the Democrats’ health overhaul, according to recent polling data. The figures are one of the sharpest signals yet that Democrats are unlikely to translate their signature legislative achievement into success inside the voting booth. The health bill passed in March is particularly unpopular in the districts that matter most in the Republicans’ effort to retake the House. Some of the most embattled House Democrats are the five moderates who voted “yes” on the final health-care bill after voting “no” on the House version in November 2009…. – WSJ, 10-27-10
  • Obama courts young voters as election looms: Less than one week before key US elections, President Barack Obama courted young voters Wednesday with an unorthodox appeal from the set of the popular “Daily Show” satirical television show. Obama was to become the first sitting president to appear on the program hosted by Jon Stewart, whose nightly skewerings of political hypocrisy and US media shortcomings have endeared him to young Democrats. With the party fearing a rout at the hands of fired-up Republicans in the November 2 elections, including the loss of at least the House of Representatives, the White House described the outreach as no laughing matter.
    “I think obviously you’ve got a constituency of younger voters that watch that show, and it’s a good place to go and reach them,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Tuesday.
    “The president hasn’t been shy about going to the places where people are getting their information and trying to make his case. And I think that’s what he’ll do on the show,” said Gibbs. The move came as new polls let downcast Democrats breathe a small sigh of relief, notably surveys showing the party’s candidates in California holding healthy leads over their well-funded Republican rivals…. – AFP, 10-27-10
  • Stewart, Colbert say it’s not a political rally, but fans say otherwise: Despite the Comedy Central hosts’ insistence, many attending their ‘Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear’ in Washington and satellite gatherings in other cities see the events as a catalyst for the liberal political movement…. – LAT, 10-27-10
  • 2012: How Sarah Barracuda Becomes President: Why do you think Barack Obama is being so nice to Michael Bloomberg?…. – NY Mag, 10-24-10
  • 2012 Republican hopefuls head to Iowa for final ’10 campaign swing: Leading GOP candidates for president are getting an early start on 2012 in the last days of the 2010 campaign season. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), for instance, plans campaign stops this week on behalf of Republican candidates in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which just happen to host the first three contests for nominating a Republican presidential candidate. But the perceived GOP front-runner for 2012 is hardly alone. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will all make stops this week in Iowa, which hosts the first-in-the-nation caucuses in January 2012…. – The Hill, 10-26-10
  • McCain: Too early to endorse Sarah Palin for 2012: Sen. John McCain is calling Sarah Palin an “outstanding candidate” for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but says it’s too early to endorse her. McCain told CBS’s “The Early Show” Tuesday that “I don’t think Sarah would want me to, before she’s even able to make a decision” about running. The Arizona Republican said “it’s very early to start picking winners and losers.” He said he still holds his 2008 running mate “in high regard” and said he’s been amused by the former Alaska governor’s confrontations with “the liberal media.” Palin has been active in the campaign, raising money, throwing her support behind a host of tea party-backed conservative Republicans and giving speeches around the country…. – AP, 10-26-10
  • Michelle Obama Deployed in Turnout War: Democrats are pulling out all the stops to get their voters to cast ballots early this year. Today, the party’s official apparatus is hoping to convince as many people as possible to change their Twitter icon to an “I voted early” picture. But another effort is a new video of Michelle Obama that Democrats will release online this morning. In it, the First Lady urges voters not to wait until election day next Tuesday to cast a ballot. NYT, 10-26-10
  • Palin makes more endorsements: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed eight more GOP candidates on her Facebook page in the past week, including four today. On Oct. 21, Palin put her social-networking support behind Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (who’s running for re-election), Sean Bielat (who’s challenging Rep. Barney Frank in Massachusetts), Stephen Fincher (running for an open congressional seat in Tennessee), and Randy Hultgren (who’s challenging Rep. Bill Foster in Illinois).
    And today, she backed Dick Muri (challenging Rep. Adam Smith in Washington state), Rob Steele (taking on Rep. John Dingell in Michigan), Ilario Pantano (facing off against Rep. Mike McIntyre in North Carolina), and Chuck Wilkerson (who’s challenging Rep. Henry Waxman in California)…. – MSNBC, 10-26-10
  • Obama votes by mail in Illinois: President Barack Obama on Tuesday cast an absentee ballot for races in his adopted home state of Illinois, a week before key midterm elections, his spokesman said.
    Obama, who has a home in Chicago, Illinois, “just voted absentee in the West Wing,” his spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. Asked about Obama’s choices, with a US senator’s seat and the state governor’s mansion at stake on November 2, Gibbs said “I did not ask. I assume that’s a private decision.”… – AP, 10-26-10
  • Obama to Rally for Perriello in Virginia: President Obama has added a surprise stop to his campaign schedule, heading to Central Virginia on Friday in a last- minute bid to help Tom Perriello, a freshman Democrat in the House who has been an unapologetic backer of the president’s agenda. That has cost Mr. Perriello support in Virginia’s sprawling Fifth District and made him a prime target for Republicans. His opponent, former state Senator Robert Hurt, has led in most polls for much of the fall. But Mr. Obama must believe that a visit to Charlottesville, the most Democratic part of the district, can help close that gap. White House officials confirmed a report in the local newspaper, The Daily Progress, that the president would rally there with Mr. Perriello on Friday. The visit for Mr. Perriello is unusual for Mr. Obama, who has spent most of the last month holding large rallies for statewide candidates or attending private fund-raisers…. – NYT, 10-26-10
  • Chicago is Clinton’s latest stop to rally Dems: Former President Bill Clinton is rallying Democrats to turn out for close races for Illinois governor and President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat. A downtown Chicago hotel Tuesday marked Clinton’s latest stop to bolster the party faithful. He’s urging Democratic activists to get out the vote Nov. 2, saying the goals they hoped to achieve by electing Obama two year ago are at stake. Rally-goers say Clinton’s presence means the party still thinks the races are winnable…. – AP, 10-26-10
  • Mississippi Democrat’s vote for McCain starts Internet furor: Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi caused something of a minor sensation in political circles Monday when a comment he made to the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss. — that he had voted for GOP nominee John McCain instead of Democratic standard-bearer Barack Obama in 2008 — went viral on the web. The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, queried the Sun Herald and wrote a story, which was matched by one in Politico and linked on various websites, including the Washington Post’s website. The NBC Nightly News and CBS Early Show also mentioned the vote — an unusual act of party treason. Taylor, for his part, in an interview Tuesday downplayed the episode and said that only national reporters were reacting with surprise. “Locally, they know,” said Taylor of his constituents and media. However, a search of the Sun Herald archives did not turn up any revelation about Taylor’s vote, which is by secret ballot. Taylor said that at the time of the 2008 election, die-hard Democrats in the Magnolia State confronted him about his choice and he said he told them: “I know John McCain. I don’t know Barack Obama.” Taylor complained Tuesday that Republicans were trying to jump on the admission for the 2010 election. “They’re trying to make it a sign of desperation,” he said…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 10-26-10
  • Obama touts job creation as midterm elections near: U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday touted his administration’s job-creation efforts just eight days before elections in which voters’ economic anxiety threatens his Democrats’ grip on Congress. Making a campaign stop in the tiny state of Rhode Island, Obama acknowledged some of his policies were not popular and that Americans were frustrated by the weak economic recovery. But the steps he took averted a second Great Depression, he stressed.
    “It took us a long time to get us into this economic hole that we’ve been in. But we are going to get out and I am absolutely convinced there are brighter days ahead for America,” Obama told workers after touring the American Cord & Webbing plant in Woonsocket, outside Providence.
    It was the start of the last full week of campaigning before the November 2 elections, with polls showing Obama’s Democrats at risk of losing control of the House of Representatives and headed for a slimmed-down majority in the Senate.
    U.S. voters will elect 435 members to the House of Representatives and fill 37 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Projected Republican gains could put the brakes on Obama’s legislative agenda…. – Reuters, 10-25-10
  • Obama: Republicans Playing Politics With Nation’s Challenges: President Barack Obama on Monday accused Republicans of playing politics with the nation’s biggest challenges. In a 10-minute speech at American Cord & Webbing Co., a small travel-gear and sporting-goods maker in Rhode Island, Obama said that he hopes Republicans will deliver on ideas to help put the American jobless back to work…. – WSJ, 10-25-10
  • Obama Gets a Caustic Welcome in Rhode Island: Welcome to Rhode Island, where Democratic politics are so quirky that the party’s nominee for governor welcomed President Obama on Monday by declaring, on live radio, that the president could “take his endorsement and really shove it.”
    Later, as if to drive home his point, the Democrat, Frank T. Caprio – miffed that Mr. Obama is refusing to endorse him in the governor’s race – was a no-show when the president toured a local factory here, although he had an invitation from the White House to attend.
    “This has been a very topsy-turvy, some people call it a “through-the-looking glass” election year,” said M. Charles Bakst, a veteran, now-retired, political columnist for The Providence Journal. Mr. Bakst, seeking to explain Monday’s curious turn of events, said he did not view Mr. Caprio’s remark as “a slap” at the president, but rather “a lashing out at Obama, at the last minute, from a guy who said he would welcome the endorsement.”
    Slap or not, Mr. Caprio’s unconventional greeting and subsequent snub overshadowed Mr. Obama’s message as he opened the critical, final, week of the election – a week in which his White House is sending Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and First Lady Michelle Obama across the country to deliver a closing argument to Democrats in a desperate effort to get them to the polls.
    More than a political sideshow, the Rhode Island intra-party spat was a stark reminder that the president is willing to go to great lengths to keep his party in power on Capitol Hill – even if it means stepping into a hornet’s nest of local politics and getting stung…. – NYT, 10-25-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

Kendrick Meek, Bill Clinton

Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek listens as former President Bill Clinton addresses supporters during a rally last week at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. (John Raoux, Associated Press / October 20, 2010)

  • Can the tea party deliver voters on Election Day?: Come Tuesday, can the tea party deliver the votes to turn a campaign of fiery enthusiasm into actual members of Congress?… – WaPo, 10-29-10
  • GOP Claims Democrats Trying to Steal the Election: Republicans are ramping up their efforts to make the case that Democrats are trying to steal the midterm elections, despite little evidence to support such claims. The strategy appears designed to fire up the Republican base, potentially depress Democratic turnout and set the stage for possible legal challenges to Democratic victories. The Republican National Committee has launched a website called “No More Frankens” that is grounded in the notion that Democratic Sen. Al Franken essentially stole the Minnesota Senate election in 2008 from Norm Colman thanks to “lawyers, big labor, left wing shadow organizations and the illegal votes of convicted felons.” It took eight months of legal battles before Coleman conceded the race in June 2009, following a decision in Franken’s favor by the Supreme Court of Minnesota. The “No More Frankens” site argues that “we have to win BIG” to overcome Democratic malfeasance, and requests donations of up to $5,000 to fund a GOP “get out the vote” effort…. – CBS News, 10-29-10
  • Joe Miller Gets in the Halloween Spirit: It’s the season for bewitching political ads, and now, just in time for Halloween, Joe Miller, the Republican Senate nominee in Alaska, has released a spooky Web video of his own, attacking his rival, Senator Lisa Murkowski, without ever mentioning her name…. – NYT, 10-29-10
  • NC Rep. Shuler considers run for House Speaker: North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler said Thursday he would consider running for speaker of the U.S. House if he’s re-elected because the chamber needs a more moderate leader. The Democratic lawmaker, though, may not get the chance if Republicans gain control of the House next week. And the former University of Tennessee football star is locked in his own re-election campaign, facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads that accuse him of working for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.
    Shuler told The Associated Press that he will run against Pelosi if there are no viable alternatives. And he said he would not vote for her to remain in charge. “I feel very strongly that a moderate in the House can bring the political parties together,” Shuler said. “The only way that’s going to happen is to put a moderate as speaker of the House.” AP, 10-29-10
  • O’Donnell calls blog posting shameful, sexist: Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell says an anonymous website posting from a man claiming a romantic encounter with her several years ago is another example of sexism facing women candidates. The gossip blog Gawker posted a story Thursday that it paid for from a man saying he and O’Donnell drank beer and spent the night together on Halloween in 2007, but did not have sex…. – WaPo, 10-29-10
  • Kendrick Meek-Bill Clinton Controversy Gives GOP Fresh Ammo in Final Days Marco Rubio Calls Report Example of Washington’s Backroom Dealing: The controversy over whether former President Bill Clinton urged Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida Senate race to help an Independent win has given a last minute issue to Republicans, who called the report an example of Washington’s penchant for backroom deals. Meek, the Democratic Senate contender from Florida, is denying that he ever agreed to get out of the race or that Clinton encouraged him to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist, former Republican turned independent candidate. It was Crist who called both Meek’s campaign and Clinton to ask the Democratic candidate to drop out, the Democratic congressman said.
    Clinton’s aides however contrast Meek’s claims and say the former president asked the Democrat twice to drop out while campaigning for him in the Sunshine state last weekend, as Politico first reported.
    Clinton was coy when asked about the conversation. “He was trying to decide what to do and I talked to him and I told him that, we went through everything, we talked about it a couple of times, and I said in the end, you know, you would have to do what you thought was right,” Clinton told CNN. “I would have to let him say whatever he wants to say about the conversation. It would be wrong of me to discuss it.”… – ABC News, 10-29-10
  • Bill Clinton Tried to Get Meek to Drop Out: Former President Bill Clinton last week tried to convince Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Florida, to drop out of the race – but Mr. Meek changed his mind at the last minute, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton said Thursday evening.
    Matt McKenna, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman, said the former president believed that Mr. Meek would not win on Tuesday and was urging him to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist, the state’s governor, who is running for the Senate as an independent.
    The back-channel efforts by Mr. Clinton, which were first reported by Politico, were apparently an effort to prevent the state’s Senate seat from falling into the hands of Marco Rubio, the Republican who is leading both of his rivals in the polls…. – NYT, 10-28-10
  • Tea Party Candidates Get Some Surprising Help Strange Political Bedfellows: Democrats Help Tea Party Candidates in Some Key Races: In a handful of hotly-competitive races, Tea Partiers are running as third-party candidates. As CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports, Democrats are doing what they can to help them – hoping they’ll siphon votes away from the Republican. Never perhaps have there been stranger political bedfellows. In Nevada, a pro-Harry Reid group — he’s the Senate’s lead Democrat — promotes a little-known Tea Party candidate running against Reid: Scott Ashjian…. – CBS News, 10-28-10
  • Giannoulias and Kirk swing away in final Senate debate: Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk acted amicably at the beginning and end of their last debate in the U.S. Senate campaign Wednesday, but filled the rest of the hour with innuendo and suggestions of guilt by association. Both men traveled well-covered ground they’ve exploited repeatedly in expensive TV attack ads. But the venue, a live broadcast on WTTW-Ch. 11, allowed them to confront each other directly…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-28-10
  • Bill Clinton, Andrew Cuomo’s Former Boss, Is Also an Admirer: Bill Clinton appeared on Wednesday at a rally in Brooklyn for Andrew M. Cuomo, who served as his housing secretary from 1997 to 2001. Mr. Clinton had faith after Mr. Cuomo exited the race for governor in 2002. Eight years ago, Bill Clinton stood alongside Andrew M. Cuomo, bucking him up as Mr. Cuomo made a humbling exit from the primary for governor of New York with assurances from Mr. Clinton that his political career was far from over.
    On Wednesday, the former president and his onetime housing secretary, their grins real and broad, pumped fists, clasped hands and embraced — exulting in what, come Tuesday, could well mark the completion of Mr. Cuomo’s arduous comeback.
    “If you really want him to be effective, give him a whopping victory,” Mr. Clinton urged a crowd in a Downtown Brooklyn college gym, as Mr. Cuomo nodded approvingly. “Send him to Albany with a massive majority.” For the two men, the rally was a reminder not just of that 2002 gesture, which one Cuomo aide recalled as deeply touching, but also of the closeness they forged during Mr. Clinton’s two terms in the White House, and the similarities they share as political animals…. – NYT, 10-27-10
  • GOP Targets Senate Control Republicans See Alliance With Cuomo: Republicans, trailing badly in the gubernatorial race, are setting their sights on reclaiming the state Senate. And, if they do, they expect to find a friend in the governor’s mansion, even if it’s Democrat Andrew Cuomo. Two years ago, the prospects were grim for Senate Republicans, an aging conference that lost its four-decade grip on the chamber as their leader, Sen. Joseph Bruno, was tarred with scandal and a tide of Democratic voters swept to the polls to vote for President Barack Obama. Along with broader economic trends, voter anger over legislative chaos in Albany and a fresh barrage of Democratic ethics scandals have given Senate Republicans and their current leader Sen. Dean Sklelos a new lease that once seemed permanently out of reach. With Republicans needing to gain two seats, the battleground is concentrated around fewer than a dozen seats, about half of which are held by Democrats. The GOP is targeting Democrats in Upstate and suburban areas where tea-party activism is higher, including Sens. Brian Foley on Long Island, Suzi Oppenheimer in Westchester, and Darrel Aubertine in the North Country…. – WSJ, 10-27-10
  • California Senate hopeful Fiorina hospitalized: California GOP Senate challenger Carly Fiorina was sidelined Tuesday from the campaign trail in the final week of a close race to be treated for an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery after breast cancer. The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital, forcing her to cancel campaign appearances in Riverside and Coachella just as polls suggested she was starting to gain momentum in her race against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. According to Deborah Bowker, the campaign’s chief of staff, Fiorina was being treated with antibiotics.
    “While this will impact her campaign schedule today, Carly is upbeat and her doctors expect her to make a quick and full recovery and be back out on the campaign trail soon,” Bowker said in the statement.
    Boxer’s campaign sent their well wishes. “We wish Carly Fiorina a speedy recovery and hope she is able to return to her normal schedule soon,” Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said in a statement…. – AP, 10-26-10
  • Records: GOP’s Miller admits to computer use, lies: Alaska Republican Senate hopeful Joe Miller admitted to improperly using three government computers over a lunch break to participate in a political poll, then cleaning the caches to try to cover up the activities. Miller’s admission is included in records released Tuesday under court order following an open records request by The Associated Press and other media organizations…. – AP, 10-26-10
  • Rand Paul supporter who stomped MoveOn activist’s head is not just volunteer but a campaign donor: The man apologizing for stomping on a MoveOn activist’s head in Kentucky isn’t just a Rand Paul volunteer, he’s a donor. Tim Profitt told the Associated Press this afternoon that he didn’t mean to hurt Lauren Valle when he and others knocked her to the ground and Profitt tromped on her head.
    “I’m sorry that it came to that, and I apologize if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand’s safety,” Profitt told the AP. Police interviewed Profitt, and let him go. And they told the Daily News that Paul’s campaign was not involved. Still, Profitt was a leading volunteer for Paul until today, when the campaign fired him as its coordinator in Bourbon County…. – NY Daily News, 10-26-10
  • Sharron Angle ad: Is it racist?: Sharron Angle, the Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, has released a hard-hitting new ad on illegal immigration. But Hispanic groups say the ad is racist and accuse Sharron Angle of running ‘one of the ugliest anti-illegal immigrants ad campaigns in history.’… – CS Monitor, 10-26-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Fla. Democrat Meek denies he’ll quit 3-way Senate race: The congressman goes on national TV news shows to counter reports that Bill Clinton told him to drop out to improve Gov. Charlie Crist’s chances of defeating Republican Marco Rubio.
    “Gov. Crist talked to me about getting out of the race. I recommended to the governor that he should consider getting out of the race,” Meek said on CNN’s “American Morning.”
    “I told him I didn’t have any thoughts about getting out of the race. He didn’t encourage me to get out of the race,” Meek said on ABC’s “Good Morning America”… – AP, 10-29-10
  • President Obama on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: UPDATE: Watch the entire interview. – WH, 10-27-10
  • Sarah Palin for president? It’s possible, she says: Sarah Palin says if nobody else is up to the job, she could run for president. But her political clout is on the line in Alaska with the flagging US Senate campaign of tea party favorite Joe Miller. Is Sarah Palin just toying with us about running for president in 2012? Or did she really mean it when she told “Entertainment Tonight” she could run. Interviewed at her home in Wasilla, Alaska, for a segment to be broadcast Thursday evening, Ms. Palin told the show’s Mary Hart:
    “I think, still, it is too early for anybody to get out there declaring what their intentions are. For me, Mary, it’s going to entail a discussion with my family, a real close look at the lay of the land, and to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion – whether there are any candidates out there who can do the job.”
    But then she added, “If there’s nobody else to do it, then of course I would believe that we should do this.” (It was unclear whether she was using the collective “we,” the editorial “we,” or the royal “we.”)… – CS Monitor, 10-28-10
  • Life after the White House: What’s on the president’s iPad?: Doing the dishes, making coffee for his wife, and reading the Wall Street Journal on his iPad. That’s what day-to- day life is like these days for former President George W. Bush, according to his wife, Laura.
    In an exclusive interview with Deborah Roberts for Yahoo! News and ABC News at the Women’s Conference 2010, former first lady Laura Bush talked about life post-White House and her husband’s upcoming book, “Decision Points.”… – Yahoo News, 10-27-10
  • Gingrich: No Tax Increases: Should Republicans takes the House, Gingrich urges them, in the “very first week,” to pass a ‘no tax increase on any American during the recession’ bill and send it to the president in January. “Maybe the liberals felt this way about Nixon during Watergate, but I have never seen this level of conservative anger at somebody, the way [they’re angry] with the president.” “Radical elites are in such denial about reality right now, whether it’s the president, Speaker Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Reid,” Gingrich says. The frustration with Democrats, he says, is “bigger and deeper than in 1994.”… – The Atlantic, 10-26-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • After Midterm Elections, Congress Faces Likely Legislative Gridlock: “Both parties don’t like to work with each other. We keep seeing that over and over,” said Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University professor of history and congressional expert. “It’s like Lucy and Charlie Brown with the football.”
    Zelizer said an alternative approach would be for the GOP to focus on issues that “Democrats are going to have trouble saying no to,” such as extending tax cuts for wealthy Americans.
    Would-be House Speaker Boehner and Obama could try to work together on deficit reduction. For Republicans, part of it would be symbolic leading up to the ’12 elections, Zelizer said. “But part of it is to see if there is enough Democrats to work on it,” he added… – Fox News, 10-28-10
  • Polls Gone Wild: Political Gripes In Internet Age: When a widely publicized poll showed Republican John Kasich with a commanding, 10-point advantage in Ohio’s governor’s race, aides to Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland fought back hard. Against the poll.
    “With just two weeks until Election Day, it is our opinion that the Quinnipiac polls are irresponsible, inaccurate and completely removed from the reality of the Ohio governor’s race,” the campaign said in a statement that noted other private and public surveys were showing a much closer contest.
    The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, an organization with an unchallenged reputation for nonpartisanship, responded mildly. “We stand by our numbers and our overall record for reliability,” said Doug Schwartz, the organization’s polling director. The flare-up underscored a widely held view among both politicians and pollsters that polls, once used largely to help a candidate shape strategy, increasingly can affect the outcome of political campaigns in the Internet Age. Candidates and their allies instantly disseminate bare-bones results, seizing on those that reflect well on their own prospects, ignoring the rest and generally skipping over details that might caution people about reading too much into them…. – AP, 10-28-10
  • Rupert Cornwell: Yes we can, Obama said. But can he? US gets ready for a new kind of presidency: For Barack Obama, the past is mere prologue. From January 2011, the President will be part of an entirely new political play in Washington. Unless every poll in these last days of the mid-term election campaign is wrong, next week’s vote will force him to deal with a world in which Republicans have a majority in the House and near- parity in the Senate – and in which his plans for the presidency will have to take quite a different tack. For Mr Obama’s first term, at least, the time of sweeping political change is at an end. And yet, just possibly, a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections could be the making of the President…. – Independent UK, 10-29-10
  • KARL ROVE: Signs of the Democratic Apocalypse: Midterms are tough for presidents, but party leaders aren’t usually in trouble. Next Tuesday Democrats will receive a crushing rebuke. More to the point, voters will be delivering a verdict on the first two years of the Obama administration. Midterm elections are almost always unpleasant experiences for the White House, especially when the economy is weak. But key races that should have been safe for the party in power demonstrate the extent to which President Obama and his policies have nationalized the election. In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a huge war chest in a state Mr. Obama won in 2008 by 12 points. Mr. Reid trails Sharron Angle by four points in the latest Rasmussen poll…. – WSJ, 10-28-10
  • Gil Troy: Obama at Midterm – Grading on a Presidential Curve: The United States has traveled a long way from the euphoria of Election Night, 2008 to the crankiness of the 2010 midterm elections. Even President Barack Obama’s most ardent supporters agree that the turnaround in popular support he has experienced has been dramatic, unprecedented, unnerving, The “Yes We Can” Candidate of 2008 – who seemingly could do no wrong – is now seen by millions as the President who can do no right leading a sobered “No We Can’t” citizenry, many of whom have lost jobs, lost hope for the future, and lost faith in the man who seemed so promising as a leader just two years ago. Here is Barack Obama’s challenge. He is not only confronting two wars, one ongoing economic mess, and countless other cultural, social, diplomatic, ideological and political crises. He is not only being measured against the Presidents who preceded him, some of whom are encased in legend, setting stratospheric standards for any worthy successor. He is also competing against himself and the impossibly high hopes his election unleashed…. – Institute for Research on Public Policy’s “Policy Options”, Oct. 2010
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Why Democrats are hurting: With the midterm elections just a week away, many Democrats are scratching their heads and wondering what went wrong.
    After Barack Obama’s election in 2008, many in the party thought that they were on the cusp of a new era in American politics. Republicans, and the conservative philosophy that had shaped their party for several decades, seemed to be in retreat.
    Yet less than years later, Republicans are on the verge of recapturing control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate. President Obama’s approval ratings have slid since his first year, while Republicans are now looking forward to the election of 2012.
    The most conventional argument about what went wrong for Democrats is that Obama moved too far to the left in a country that is center-right. But this argument is not supported by a recent study by The Washington Post, Henry Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.
    The study found that Americans are philosophically conservative but operationally liberal…. 

    Conservatives have also done very well at playing the politics of the media by staying on message and framing Obama and his policies in a negative light. They have been able to turn the president’s legislative victories into political defeats. Obama and his supporters have spent the last few months trying to explain all that he has done. But when a president has to do so much explaining, that means that he has already lost the battle.
    Whatever the outcome of the midterms, Democrats will need to regroup in the coming months. Rather than focusing on allegations of foreign money flowing into the campaign or embarking on some wholesale philosophical shift to the right, Democrats would do better to look at the specific strategic mistakes that they have made along the way and make sure that they don’t repeat them on the road to 2012. – CNN, 10-25-10

  • Julian E. Zelizer: Obama dropped ball on campaign reform: President Obama has recently blasted the influx of money from undisclosed donors flowing into the midterm campaigns. He repeated a claim, which major media outlets have not been able to substantiate, that foreign funds may have been used in the United States.
    At a recent rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the president said “American people deserve to know who is trying to sway their elections.”
    “You don’t know: It could be the oil industry. It could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose.”
    In making these attacks Obama is returning to a central theme that animated his 2008 campaign: the need to change the campaign finance system. As a candidate, Obama railed against the way that money influenced politics. He reiterated a long-standing theme of reform-candidates that unless the political process changed, policies would remain the same and Americans would never gain confidence in their government.
    But Obama broke from these principles almost as soon as he made the argument. During the campaign, Obama disappointed many campaign reform advocates when he announced that he would not use public funds in the general election campaign so that he could raise an unlimited amount of money in his race against Sen. John McCain….
    Until presidents and congressional leaders decide to make campaign finance reform a priority issue the relationship between money and politics won’t change. This is unfortunate since the way that politics works profoundly influences the type of policies that government can produce.
    The power of money in politics was there for all to see when interest groups were able to gut key cost control measures during the health care debate.
    Like most presidents before him, both Democrats and Republicans, Obama is now witnessing the consequences of accepting the status quo, and the flow of money is only likely to grow. As Jan Baran, a former general counsel for the Republican National Committee told The New York Times, “This year is practice for 2012.”… – CNN, 10-18-10

Political Highlights October 25, 2010: Obama & Palin Campaign for Democrats & Republicans – Polls Predict GOP House Victory

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: Sarah Palin in Florida and President Obama in Minnesota

Reuters, AP

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addresses a Republican rally in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, the same day President Barack Obama addresses a Democratic rally in Minneapolis, Minn.

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Brown surges against Whitman in Calif. gov race-poll: Democrat Jerry Brown has more than doubled his lead over Republican rival Meg Whitman in the California governor’s race, gaining support from Latino voters after an illegal immigration furor over the former eBay chief’s ex- housekeeper. A Los Angeles Times/USC poll on Sunday gave Brown, the state’s attorney general who first served as California governor from 1975 to 1983, a 13 point lead over Whitman. Brown has 52 percent support, compared to 39 percent for Whitman. In the same poll a month ago, Brown had a five point overall lead over Whitman. Sunday’s survey showed he now has a 36 percentage point lead over Whitman among Latino voters, up from 19 percent in September…. – Reuters, 10-24-10
  • Jobless Rate Declines in 23 States: Unemployment rates were little changed in most states in September, as a recovery in the labor market remained sluggish across the country. The Labor Department reported Friday that 23 states and Washington, D.C., experienced decreases in jobless rates, while the rate rose in 11 states and was unchanged in 16.
    States hardest-hit by the housing bust, such as Florida and California, continue to struggle with double-digit unemployment rates. Nevada remained the state with the highest unemployment rate, at 14.4%, more than a percentage point higher than the 13% recorded in second-place Michigan. In all, 15 states had rates above the 9.6% national figure released earlier this month.
    North and South Dakota continued to have the lowest rates in the country, at 3.7% and 4.4%, respectively.
    Despite some improvement in jobless rates, 34 states reported a decrease in the number of people employed, possibly as fewer people hunted for jobs. Fourteen of the state declines are regarded as statistically significant. Just New Mexico, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., posted statistically significant increases in employment from August…. – WSJ, 10-20-10
  • Prop. 19 trailing badly, poll shows: Prop. 19 would legalize marijuana in California. But the Los Angeles Times/USC Poll found that voters oppose the measure 51% to 39%. The poll found that the measure is far behind in Southern California…. – LAT, 10-22-10
  • American Voices: Candidates Want More than “Maybe” From the Youth Vote: The midterm elections potentially bring major victories for the Republican party, which was run out of town in the 2008 presidential election. Now that the tables are turned, the Democrats are scrambling to convince voters to support their candidates on November 2. A key constituency for both parties is the youth vote, which made up 18 percent of the electorate in 2008 and helped catapult Barack Obama into the presidency. A recent Rock the Vote survey found 34 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 favor the Democrats, compared with 28 percent for Republicans, with 36 percent not concerned about which party ends up controlling Congress. A CBS News-Knowledge Networks poll released Tuesday found that two-thirds of Obama voters in 2008 (67 percent), which included young voters, say they’ll vote for one of his fellow Democrats in 2010. Eight percent of those voters say they will vote Republican this year, and 21 percent say it depends…. – CBS News, 10-21-10
  • AP-GfK Poll: Likely voters ready to embrace GOP: All signs point to huge Republican victories in two weeks, with the GOP now leading Democrats on virtually every measure in an Associated Press-GfK poll of people likely to vote in the first major elections of Barack Obama’s presidency. In the final survey before Election Day, likely voters say the GOP would do a better job than Democrats on handling the economy, creating jobs and running the government. Most also think the country’s headed in the wrong direction. More than half disapprove of Obama’s job performance. And even more don’t like the Democratic-controlled Congress. Neither party is popular. But likely voters view the GOP a bit more positively than they do the Democrats. Slightly more say they will vote for the Republican congressional candidate in their district over the Democrat. And most think the GOP will win control of Congress from the Democrats…. – AP, 10-20-10
  • GOP in Lead in Final Lap: A vigorous post-Labor Day Democratic offensive has failed to diminish the resurgent Republicans’ lead among likely voters, leaving the GOP poised for major gains in congressional elections two weeks away, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
    Among likely voters, Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge, up from a three-percentage-point lead a month ago.
    In the broader category of registered voters, 46% favor a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 44% who want Republican control. But in the 92 House districts considered most competitive, the GOP’s lead among registered voters is 14 points, underscoring the Democrats’ challenge in maintaining their hold on the House. The poll of 1,000 registered voters was taken Oct. 14-18…. – WSJ, 10-19-10
  • Need to get voters excited? Call Bill Clinton, not Obama: A Gallup poll suggests that both Democrats and independents are more likely to be enthusiastic about a campaign visit from former President Bill Clinton than from President Obama. In a poll conducted October 14-17, Gallup asked registered voters whether having Clinton or Obama campaign for a candidate would be a plus, minus, or make no difference. From those responses, Gallup calculated a “net impact” by subtracting the percentage who said campaigning would make them less likely to vote for a candidate from the percentage who said it would make them more likely to vote for a candidate.
    “Clinton does modestly better than Obama among Democrats,” writes Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport. The net positive impact of Clinton’s campaigning among Democrats is 48 percent, while for Obama it is 42 percent. Where the former president dramatically outshines Obama is with independent voters. Among independents, “Clinton’s impact breaks about even,” Mr. Newport writes. Some 21 percent of independents are more likely to support a candidate if Mr. Clinton works for them, while 23 percent are less likely, leaving the net result at a negative 2 percent…. – CS Monitor, 10-19-10
  • Election 2010 Monday Polls: Voter Enthusiasm, Nevada, Colorado Obama voters vs. McCain Voters, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii, Utah Senate Races: An AP-Knowledge Networks poll released today shows 67 percent (about two-thirds) of John McCain voters are certain to vote in the 2010 election, compared to only 51 percent of Obama voters. The same study indicated that the majority of Obama voters (59 percent) feel “hopeful” about Obama’s presidency, while the majority of McCain voters (71 percent) feel “frustrated.” The poll also shows that 30 percent of Obama voters think he is maintaining his promise to change Washington. And, about 25 percent of Obama voters say they are thinking about voting for the GOP in 2010.
    A Gallup Poll released today shows that 66 percent of Republicans think the federal government “poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens” in 2010 compared to 21 percent of Democrats. However, the same poll found the opposite results when George W. Bush was president. In 2006, 57 percent of Democrats saw the federal government as a threat compared to 21 percent of Republicans. The overall percentage of Americans who agree has shifted only 2 percentage points in the four years, with 46 percent of Americans viewing the government as a threat in 2010…. – US News, 10-18-10

THE HEADLINES….

A backyard discussion with Seattle area families

White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 10/21/10
  • Obama likely to focus on deficit in next 2 years: Preparing for political life after a bruising election, President Barack Obama will put greater emphasis on fiscal discipline, a nod to a nation sick of spending and to a Congress poised to become more Republican, conservative and determined to stop him. He is already giving clues about how he will govern in the last two years of his term.
    Obama will try to make gains on deficit reduction, education and energy. He will enforce his health care and inancial overhauls and try to protect them from repeal should Republicans win control of Capitol Hill. He will use executive authority when blocked by Congress, and steel for scrutiny and investigations if the GOP is in charge.
    While trying to save money, Obama will have to decide whether to bend to Republican and growing Democratic pressure to extend Bush-era tax cuts, even for the wealthy, that expire at year’s end. Obama wants to extend them for people making less than $200,000 and married couples making less than $250,000, but a broader extension is gaining favor with an increasing number of Democrats. Moving to the fore will be a more serious focus on how to balance the federal budget and pay for the programs that keep sinking the country into debt…. – AP, 10-24-10
  • In Losing the Midterms, There May Be Winning: Let there be no mistake: President Obama wants the Democrats to win next week’s midterm elections. His voice has gone hoarse telling every audience that from Delaware to Oregon. But let’s also acknowledge this: Although he will not say so, there is at least a plausible argument that he might be better off if they lose. ADVERSARY President Clinton was able to play off Speaker Newt Gingrich, left. The reality of presidential politics is that it helps to have an enemy. With Democrats controlling the White House and Congress, they shoulder responsibility for the country’s troubles. No amount of venting about George W. Bush or the filibuster rule has convinced the public otherwise. But if Republicans capture Congress, Mr. Obama will finally have a foil heading toward his own re-election battle in 2012.
    “The best possible result for Obama politically is for the Republicans to gain control of both houses,” said Douglas E. Schoen, a Democratic pollster and strategist who helped President Bill Clinton recover from his own midterm Congressional defeat in 1994 to win re-election two years later. “That’s what Obama should want.”… – NYT, 10-24-10
  • G.O.P. Is Poised To Seize House, If Not Senate: A costly and polarizing Congressional campaign heads into its closing week with Republicans in a strong position to win the House but with Democrats maintaining a narrow edge in the battle for the Senate, according to a race-by- race review and lawmakers and strategists on both sides. President Obama campaigned for a fourth consecutive day on Saturday as the Democratic Party threw its full weight into preventing a defeat of historic proportions in an election shaped by a sour economy, intense debate over the White House’s far-reaching domestic agenda and the rise of a highly energized grass-roots conservative movement. But Republicans have placed enough seats into play that Democrats now seem likely to give up many of the gains they made in the last two election cycles, leaving Washington on the brink of a substantial shift in the balance of power. The final nine days of the midterm election are unfolding across a wide landscape, with several dozen House races close enough to break either way, determining whether the election produces a Republican wave that reaches deep into the Democratic ranks. In the Senate, Democrats were bracing to lose seats, but the crucial contests remained highly fluid as Republicans struggled to pull away in several Democratic-leaning states…. – NYT, 10-23-10
  • Big guns push midterm campaigns into high gear In Florida, Palin invokes past; in Minneapolis, Obama says don’t repeat it: President Barack Obama warned against a return to the past while former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin invoked a past president’s name Saturday as each led midterm election rallies thousands of miles and millions of voters apart. Obama closed a four-day campaign swing ahead of the Nov. 2 elections by imploring supporters to defeat the conventional wisdom that Democrats face steep losses. He cast the choice Election Day as one between the economic policies “that got us into this mess” and the policies leading the nation out…. – MSNBC, 10-23-10
  • President Seeks Edge in a Contest for Governor: President Obama wrapped up a four-day campaign swing on Saturday, telling students and the Democratic Party faithful to seize the chance to win a Republican-held governor’s seat here next month. Mr. Obama appeared at a rally on behalf of the candidate Mark Dayton, who probably represents the Democrats’ best chance in the midterm elections to take a seat held by a Republican governor. Unlike many other races across the country where polls show Republicans with an edge, in Minnesota, Mr. Dayton, a former United States senator, is polling ahead of Tom Emmer, a Republican, and Tom Horner of the Independence Party…. – NYT, 10-23-10
  • G-20 powers agree to Geithner currency and trade plan: Finance ministers from the world’s major nations agreed to a U.S.-brokered plan for easing tensions over exchange rates and world trade patterns, saying that a “fragile and uneven” economic recovery was at risk if top powers pursued conflicting policies or used the value of their currencies to gain an edge for their exports. Aiming to head off what some have dubbed a developing “currency war,” the statement from the finance leaders of the Group of 20 nations was a carefully worded bargain across a range of issues. It put China on the record as seeking to bring down its massive trade surplus and let its exchange rate fluctuate more. It also hinted that any move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to further ease monetary policy would be measured so as not to disrupt currency values or capital flows in emerging market nations…. – WaPo, 10-23-10
  • Despite latest coup, WikiLeaks facing challenges: “Wikileaks,” said the godfather of whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg, “has become the future of unauthorized disclosure.” Speaking Saturday in London, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers and their damning history of American involvement in Vietnam a generation ago, expressed what is partly hope and partly a reflection of reality: the Internet makes it harder to keep secrets. But still to be determined is whether WikiLeaks itself is that future, or some other Web site or collection of online organizations. WikiLeaks is evolving, working through challenges posed by the new media model, such as to what degree can a site devoted to holding the powerful accountable hold itself beyond reach? And can a site dedicated to combating secrecy continue to be so secret… – WaPo, 10-23-10
  • U.S. Offers Pakistan Army $2 Billion Aid Package: Even as the Obama administration moved to stop training and equipping Pakistani Army units that have killed civilians in the offensive against the Taliban, the United States said Friday that it planned increased aid for Pakistan’s military over the next five years. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the announcement in Washington alongside the Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, as leaders from both nations convened for a series of meetings.
    The new aid package, totaling $2 billion, is meant to replace one that expired Oct. 1. It would complement $7.5 billion in aid that the United States has already pledged to Pakistan for civilian projects, some have which have been directed toward helping the nation recover from the damaging floods…. – NYT, 10-22-10
  • The Iraq Archive: The Strands of a War: A huge trove of secret field reports from the battlegrounds of Iraq sheds new light on the war, including such fraught subjects as civilian deaths, detainee abuse and the involvement of Iran. The secret archive is the second such cache obtained by the independent organization WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations. Like the first release, some 92,000 reports covering six years of the war in Afghanistan, the Iraq documents provide no earthshaking revelations, but they offer insight, texture and context from the people actually fighting the war. A close analysis of the 391,832 documents helps illuminate several important aspects of this war…. – NYT, 10-22-10Read the full Pentagon response
  • Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands, Logs Say: The public image of detainees in Iraq was defined by the photographs, now infamous, of American abuse at Abu Ghraib, like the hooded prisoner and the snarling attack dog. While the documents disclosed by WikiLeaks offer few glimpses of what was happening inside American detention facilities, they do contain indelible details of abuse carried out by Iraq’s army and police…. – NYT, 10-22-10
  • Obama rallies voters in Los Angeles to support Sen. Boxer, Democratic control of Congress: President Barack Obama is accusing Republicans of peddling “snake oil” as he asks voters who backed him over the GOP in 2008 for a repeat performance. Obama was raising money and rallying support for Sen. Barbara Boxer of California on Friday, day three of a four-day tour ahead of the Nov. 2 election. Boxer is one of several endangered Democratic incumbents Obama is trying to help on a campaign trip that started Wednesday in Portland and ends Saturday in Minneapolis…. – CP, 10-22-10
  • Obama targets women voters in Seattle trip with talk of jobs, cupcakes: President Obama tried to energize women voters at a town hall meeting Thursday in Seattle. He’s also set to campaign for Washington’s Patty Murray and California’s Barbara Boxer…. – CS Monitor, 10-21-10
  • Happy Dems, a few GOPers pack Obama-Murray rally: With Washington’s vote-by-mail election already under way, President Barack Obama urged a raucous crowd Thursday to quickly cast their votes for Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. With Washington’s vote-by-mail election already under way, President Barack Obama urged a raucous crowd Thursday to quickly cast their votes for Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. “You need to go, right after this rally, fill out that ballot, and mail it in,” Obama told a packed crowd at the University of Washington’s basketball arena. “Today. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but today.” Obama’s second campaign trip to Washington state this year was part of a flood of high-profile Democrats trying to whip up voters for Murray this month. The three-term incumbent is in a competitive race with Republican Dino Rossi, a two-time runner-up for governor. “I am proud to be at your back, and I know you’re proud to be at mine,” Murray told the crowd. “We are going to continue to move forward with leadership for this state.”…. – Seattle Times, AP, 10-21-10
  • ‘The Daily Show,’ Rolling Stone, and MTV: Obama’s youth vote push: President Obama isn’t trying to make Stephen Colbert jealous by appearing on ‘The Daily Show’ five days before the midterm elections – he’s trying to fire up young voters. President Obama is going to appear on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart before the November elections. Last night the White House announced that Obama will tape a segment for the show on October 27. What’s the point of that? Is the president angling to get a good spot on the stage for Mr. Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity,” which will be held on the National Mall the following weekend? Or is he just trying to make Stephen Colbert jealous? Well, he’s probably not going to hang around Washington for the “Sanity” meeting and Mr. Colbert’s competing “March to Keep Fear Alive.” In all likelihood Obama will be out campaigning that weekend in a last-minute push to avoid a Democratic electoral apocalypse. Obama has called the dueling-rally premise “amusing”, but that’s not exactly a full-throated endorsement is it? No, Obama is appearing on “The Daily Show” for the same reason he recently gave an interview to “Rolling Stone” and appeared in an hour-long MTV “town hall” – young voters. He’s trying hard to fire up a cohort that went overwhelmingly for Democrats in 2008. The audience for Stewart’s show skews young, and many of them view it as a main source of news, even if the producers insist their product is really a hybrid of pseudo-news and comedy…. – CS Monitor, 10-20-10
  • Justice Department asks appeals court to overturn ‘don’t ask’ injunction: The motion calls on the appeals court to lift a judge’s order immediately. The government says the ‘extraordinary decision’ went too far, too fast and is causing ‘confusion and uncertainty’ in the Pentagon and among gays and lesbians in the ranks…. – LAT, 10-20-10
  • The Conversation: Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, Nearly 20 Years Later After Virginia Thomas Asks Hill for an Apology, Explosive Hearings Are Back in the News: In October 1991, the Senate was set to confirm Clarence Thomas as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court when Anita Hill, a former aide to Thomas, came forward publicly with allegations of sexual harassment. Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee riveted the nation, airing live on the broadcast networks. After three days of contentious hearings, the Senate voted to confirm Thomas as a Supreme Court justice in a narrow 52-to-48 vote. A New York Times/CBS News poll at the time found that 58 percent of Americans believed Thomas, while only 24 percent believed Hill. Hill’s words and Thomas’s denial turned sexual harassment into a national discussion, prompting a wholesale reexamination of workplace policies and training procedures. To this day, Anita Hill and her allegations are firmly linked to Justice Thomas and his reputation. That, perhaps, is why Thomas’s wife, Ginny Thomas, called Hill to ask for her apology, catapulting the story back into the news all these years later…. – CBS News, 10-20-10
  • Official: Shooting at Pentagon appears to be a ‘random incident’: A Pentagon official said he believes the shooting early Tuesday at the U.S. Defense Department headquarters was a “random incident.” “We are looking at all the possibilities,” Steven E. Calvery, director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, said at a news conference late Tuesday morning. “What we have is an isolated incident, so far.” Pentagon police officers, as well as several construction workers in the area, heard at least five shots fired around 4:50 a.m., Pentagon officials said…. – CNN, 10-19-10
  • Obama and Democrats count on Senate wins out West: With Republicans headed to big election gains on November 2, Democrats are counting on the liberal-leaning West Coast to counter the national trend and help them preserve their fragile Senate majority. President Barack Obama heads to California and Washington state this week to drum up support for endangered incumbents Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray in the last days of a campaign that finds his Democrats playing defense around the country. Wins in those two Democratic-leaning states — most polls show Boxer and Murray with slight leads — likely would be enough to ensure Democrats retain narrow control of the Senate even if Republicans sweep the other competitive races…. – Reuters, 10-19-10
  • Democrats try to woo women as more embrace GOP candidates: In the final stretch before the midterms, President Obama is giving a lot of attention to the traditional Democratic base: young people, black voters and white women. But women are his most urgent target. Unlike the other core groups, women are undecided, rather than merely unmotivated. And there are signs in parts of the country that they are open to defecting to the Republicans, potentially defying the long-standing “gender gap” that has skewed heavily toward Democratic candidates…. – WaPo, 10-19-10
  • Is Obama’s Excuse for Not Repealing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Legitimate?: President Obama claims he must defend and enforce the ban on gays serving in the military, even though he opposes it. But most experts in constitutional and military law say he has other options…. – Newsweek, 10-19-10
  • US military ready to accept gay applicants: Pentagon: The US military is ready to accept gays applying to join the armed forces, a spokeswoman said Tuesday after a federal judge struck down a ban on homosexuals serving openly in uniform. But the military will tell potential recruits that a law barring openly gay members — known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — could still be reinstated depending on the outcome of pending court decisions, spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said.
    “Recruiters have been given guidance, and they will process applications for applicants who admit they are openly gay or lesbian,” she told AFP. “Recruiters are reminded to set the applicants’ expectations by informing them that a reversal in the court’s decision of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law/policy may occur,” she said in an email.
    A federal judge in California, Virginia Phillips, last week ordered the government to immediately suspend the rule, which requires gay troops to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion…. – AFP, 10-19-10
  • Republican Candidates Outpacing Democrats in Race for Campaign Cash: Republican candidates have pulled ahead in the bare-knuckles race for campaign cash, registering big hauls in the final weeks and months before Election Day. Though the Democratic congressional campaign arms are outpacing their GOP counterparts in the fundraising race, individual GOP candidates are consistently attracting the most money. In Nevada, Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle reported raising a whopping $14 million in the critical third quarter, compared with less than $3 million for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In Kentucky, Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul raised $2.7 million in that period, $1 million more than Democrat Jack Conway. According to local reports, Delaware Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell raised $3.8 million between the end of August and the end of September, while Democrat Chris Coons raised just over $1 million…. – Fox News, 10-18-10
  • Five myths about Sarah Palin: Think you know Sarah Palin? The former Alaska governor has been in the spotlight ever since John McCain named her as his running mate on Aug. 29, 2008. Yet, while practically everybody has an opinion about Palin, not all of those opinions are grounded in reality. Many of them are based more on a “Saturday Night Live” caricature than on the living, breathing, 46-year-old mother of five. The real Sarah Palin is a complex woman who has risen in no time from obscurity to the stratosphere of American politics, fusing celebrity and populism in novel ways. Now that she’s laying the foundation for a possible presidential run in 2012, it’s worth taking a moment to separate the facts about Palin from the fables…. – WaPo, 10-17-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mr. Obama at a rally Saturday at the University of Minnesota.

  • Political ads: Mean, and getting meaner, before Nov. 2: It’s nastier than ever this election cycle. Coast to coast, North to South, hotly contested mid-term races have candidates going negative in ads in a big way. And it’s getting personal, with zingers aimed at the private lives and even the religious beliefs of opponents. Political operatives and observers wonder how low it can go before Nov. 2. While no one can put a hard number on negative ads, neither does anyone dispute that they are especially rampant this election season…. – AP, 10-24-10
  • Crist, Meek gang up on Rubio in Fla. Senate debate: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist defends his changing positions on issues by saying as a former college quarterback he knows how to call an audible. By the end of Sunday’s debate with his opponents for U.S. Senate, it looked like he was throwing a Hail Mary. The debate spun out of control near the end as independent Crist and Republican Marco Rubio rapidly talked over each other. Crist, who is down by double digits in multiple polls with just more than a week left before the election, repeatedly interrupted Rubio with accusations that as House speaker he steered money to a university and a hospital and later took jobs from them. He also said Rubio doesn’t advocate transparency because he won’t release credit card records from his state GOP-issued American Express card.
    “I’ve never had a heckler at the debate, I’ve always had them in the audience,” Rubio said with a laugh.
    “Welcome to the NFL,” responded Crist.
    It was clear that Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek stepped up their efforts to make up ground against Rubio. Earlier in the debate, Meek, a congressman from Miami-Dade County, argued with Rubio about whether tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush should be extended. The debate was sponsored by CNN, the University of South Florida and the St. Petersburg Times…. – AP, 10-23-10
  • Love-hate relationship with Washington plays out in Nevada politics: The West has long been torn between attacking and cozying up to the federal government. Now Harry Reid and Sharron Angle have picked sides in that fight…. – LAT, 10-23-10
  • Rand Paul will face Jack Conway in final debate after all: Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul will participate in a debate Monday night on Kentucky Educational Television with his Democratic rival, Jack Conway. Paul, who said earlier in the week that he was not sure if he would appear with Conway in the fifth and final scheduled debate before the Nov. 2 election, held a news conference Friday afternoon at the Lexington Hyatt Regency to discuss his decision…. – The Lexington Herald-Leader, 10-22-10
  • Sharron Angle, Harry Reid Nevada race: Wild, woolly, and weird: If you believe the ads, Harry Reid is a rich playboy and Sharron Angle doesn’t know the difference between Latinos and Asians. Then there’s the former Republican Party chief who’s endorsed the Democrat…. – CS Monitor, 10-22-10
  • Reid Speculates Angle’s in “Cheney’s Bunker”: Leader discusses opponent’s absence from interviews, addresses questions of his “manhood” in MSNBC interview…. – Time, 10-21-10
  • Former GOP national chairman endorses Reid: Former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. has endorsed Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, saying it would be a mistake for Nevadans to elect Republican Sharron Angle and lose Reid’s clout to protect the state’s lifeblood gambling industry. Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, suggested Angle should distance herself from the anti- gambling Campaign for Working Families, which has endorsed her and begun running television advertisements attacking Reid. The political action committee’s founder and chairman is Gary Bauer, a former Republican presidential candidate affiliated with several Christian right groups over the years. “It’s disturbing that she (Angle) is taking money from people who oppose gambling,” Fahrenkopf told The Associated Press. “She may not even know it, but Gary Bauer has been a longtime, outspoken opponent of legalized gambling. I did a double-take when I read she was receiving assistance from someone who has opposed Nevada’s chief industry for so long.”…. – Business Week, 10-21-10
  • In California midterm election’s tight races, voter turnout is key: Voter turnout will be especially important for Democrats in the midterm elections. The higher the overall turnout, the more likely Democrats will benefit. Both parties are appealing energetically to independents and the undecided…. – CS Monitor, 10-21-10
  • Sarah Palin endorses Pat Toomey for Pa. Senate: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is backing Republican Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania’s competitive race for U.S. Senate against Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak. In a note posted on her Facebook page — her preferred method of endorsing candidates — the conservative stalwart tied Toomey to several other Republican candidates running in “‘rust belt’ and energy producing states,” including West Virginia and Kentucky. “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think cap-and-tax could potentially be more disastrous to our economy than Obamacare because it would devastate our businesses and cripple our energy and industrial sectors,” Palin wrote, referring to the Democratic energy policy approved by the House last year to curb greenhouse gas emissions. “Senate races in particular have national significance when it comes to legislation like cap-and-tax.”… – AP, 10-20-10
  • Is Giannoulias ready to take on Senate job?: At 34 years old and yet to complete his first term as Illinois treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias decided the time was right for him to succeed an admired friend and basketball buddy, President Barack Obama, in the U.S. Senate. Giannoulias, whose only other big job was working at his late father’s bank, was told by some to get more experience under his belt. Even the White House courted another Democrat for the job. But Giannoulias pushed ahead — eventually winning the nomination and the embrace of national party leaders — in what some call a mark of the drive and ambition that also characterizes his style on the basketball court, where he likes to have his hands on the ball and admittedly doesn’t pass as much as he should. Giannoulias attributes his ambition to his Greek family’s immigrant background, and some of his success to a lucky sense of timing…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-20-10
  • Why Republicans shouldn’t take a Pennsylvania Senate win for granted: Polls suggested that Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey had a firm grip on his race with Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania. But new polls point to hope for Democrats here and elsewhere…. – CS Monitor, 10-20-10
  • Separation of church and state questioned by Christine O’Donnell: Delaware Senate candidates Chris Coons (D) and Christine O’Donnell (R) met again Tuesday at Widener University’s School of Law for a debate over, among other contentious topics, the separation of church and state. After a squabble over whether or not schools should be permitted to teach creationism as a competing theory to evolution, Coons said that the First Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to imply the case for the separation of church and state…. – WaPO, 10-19-10
  • Did Jack Conway go too far?: A new ad being run by state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) against ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) in the Kentucky Senate race using several college-era incidents to raise questions about the Republican’s character has created a national firestorm.
    “Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible a ‘hoax’,” asks the ad’s narrator. “Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up, tell her to bow down before a false idol and say his god was ‘Aqua Buddha’.” The ad’s charges both can be traced back to Paul’s collegiate years…. – WaPo, 10-19-10
  • Sarah Palin kick-starts final Tea Party Express bus tour of 2010: Tea Party Express launches its last tour of the 2010 campaign in (guess where) Sen. Harry Reid’s home state of Nevada with an event headlined by (guess who) Sarah Palin…. – CS Monitor, 10-18-10
  • Palin in Nevada launch Tea Party Express tour: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was back in Nevada on Monday to help rev up the Tea Party Express for the stretch drive of a coast-to-coast campaign determined to throw out Sen. Harry Reid and his Democratic allies in Congress. Palin headlined a rally outside county GOP headquarters in Reno to kick off the 15-day bus tour hoping to capitalize on government discontent and unify conservatives two weeks away from the off-year election…. – AP, 10-18-10
  • Kentucky Senate Election 2010: Rand Paul and Jack Conway trade attacks in contentious final weeks until election: The Kentucky Senate race has turned ugly, as both Rand Paul and Jack Conway traded barbs in their final debate, even refusing to chake hands afterwards. As election day nears this contest will receive ample national attention from both parties and the national media. As WhoRunsGov explains: In May 2010, riding a wave of anti-Washington anger as part of the tea party movement, he crushed the competition to win the Republican nod for the open seat of retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). “I have a message, a message from the tea party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back,” Paul said…. – WaPo, 10-18-10
  • Nevada Senate Election 2010: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid looks to fend off Sharron Angle, retain seat: Nevada’s Senate race has attracted national attention as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fights for his political life against Republican Sharron Angle, who has been a lightning rod of controversy from the start of her campaign…. – WaPo, 10-18-10
  • Sharron Angle Tells Hispanic Students That They Might Be Asian: When Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle dropped by the Rancho High School Hispanic Student Union in Las Vegas on Friday, she was asked about an ad she aired which, in criticizing Harry Reid on immigration, included a photo of three allegedly menacing-looking Hispanics…. – NY Mag, 10-18-10
  • Miller cites Communist East Germany as effective in dealing with border security: The scuffle between the editor of Alaska Dispatch and Joe Miller’s security guards at a public forum in Anchorage late Sunday is getting much national attention today. Getting lesser but growing attention is Miller’s answer at the forum to a question from the audience about how he would deal with illegal immigration. Anchorage blogger Steve Aufrecht was there and is among those today who are criticizing Miller’s response that Communist East ermany is a good example of a nation achieving border security. He quotes Miller as saying: “The first thing that has to be done is secure the border. … East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow. Now, obviously, other things were involved. We have the capacity to, as a great nation, secure the border. If East Germany could do it, we could do it.”… – Anchorage Daily News, 10-18-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

The President Records the Weekly Address

White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 10/20/10
  • No surprise: Democrats and Republicans differ on election predictions: Will an anti-incumbent wave return Republicans to power in the House and Senate, or can Democrats engineer a late rush to hold on to their congressional majorities? The 2010 mid-term elections comes down to campaign basics in the final nine days until vote-counting begins. For now, the two parties agree that Republicans will win more seats than they currently hold, but they differ sharply on how many and whether a major power shift will occur.Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that an unprecedented GOP wave would win control of both chambers as well as state legislatures in a broad condemnation of President Barack Obama and Democratic policies.
    “The voters are tired of the fact that the federal government has not listened to them over the past two years, has moved in its own direction, at its own rhythm and they want to pull back on that,” Steele said. “And I think you’re going to see a wave, an unprecedented wave on election day that’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
    His Democratic counterpart, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, pointed to strengthening poll numbers for his party’s candidates as a sign that the Democratic base was getting energized. “From this point forward, it’s all about turnout and ground game, and we’re seeing good early voting trends,” said Kaine, the Democratic National Committee chairman, when asked on the ABC program “This Week” if Democrats can hold their majorities. “We’ve got work to do, but we think we can do it.”
    While Kaine said the House remains uncertain, he sounded much more confident about the Senate.
    “Four or five months ago, the Republicans thought they had a great chance at taking both houses,” Kaine said. “For a variety of reasons, the Senate has gotten much more difficult for them. And again, we’re seeing this week strong moves in polling for our Senate candidates” in several states…. – CNN, 10-24-10
  • Weekly Address: Warns of GOP Efforts to Repeal Wall Street Reform – Including Foreclosure Protections
    Remarks of President Barack Obama, Saturday, October 23, 2010, Weekly Address, Washington, DC:
    Over the past two years, we’ve won a number of battles to defend the interests of the middle class. One of the most important victories we achieved was the passage of Wall Street Reform.
    This was a bill designed to rein in the secret deals and reckless gambling that nearly brought down the financial system. It set new rules so that taxpayers would never again be on the hook for a bailout if a big financial company went under. And reform included the strongest consumer protections in history – to put an end to a lot of the hidden fees, deceptive mortgages, and other abusive practices used to tilt the tables against ordinary people in their financial dealings.
    Yet despite the importance of this law – and despite the terrible economic dislocation caused by the failures in our financial system under the old rules – top Republicans in Congress are now beating the drum to repeal all of these reforms and consumer protections. Recently, one of the Republican leaders in the Senate said that if Republicans take charge of Congress, repeal would be one of the first orders of business. And he joins the top Republican in the House who actually called for the law to be repealed even before it passed. I think that would be a terrible mistake. Our economy depends on a financial system in which everyone competes on a level playing field, and everyone is held to the same rules – whether you’re a big bank, a small business owner, or a family looking to buy a house or open a credit card. And as we saw, without sound oversight and common-sense protections for consumers, the whole economy is put in jeopardy. That doesn’t serve Main Street. That doesn’t serve Wall Street. That doesn’t serve anyone. And that’s why I think it’s so important that we not take this country backward – that we don’t go back to the broken system we had before. We’ve got to keep moving forward. – WH, 10-23-10
  • Big guns push midterm campaigns into high gear In Florida, Palin invokes past; in Minneapolis, Obama says don’t repeat it: Palin, at a Republican rally in Orlando, Fla., claimed Obama and other Democratic leaders created more debt instead of jobs by funding “shovel-ready” projects such as a $3 million Tallahasee turtle tunnel. “We know what he’s shoveling and it’s not asphalt,” Palin said. No matter what your political views may be, if you’re in a contested race for federal office this cycle, someone, somewhere, is probably calling you “extreme.”
    “The momentum is with us but now is not the time to let up; now is the time to dig deep,” Palin said with 10 days to go until the elections. Hundreds of Republicans with “Fire Pelosi” and “Listen to Me!” signs clapped, hooted and waved American flags in the ballroom of the Marriott World Center near Walt Disney World. The gathering was cast as a fundraising rally but had the feel of a county fair.
    “You know, the president is now telling us that we’re not thinking straight because of all the fear and frustration,” Palin said. “You know Mr. President, you have it right on one point there. We are afraid, knowing that your economic policies are driving us off a cliff.” Palin referred to the rally as a “Reagan crowd,” and invoked late President Ronald Reagan’s name several times, noting he was for “the little guy.” “What I love best is he didn’t waste time looking back,” Palin said.
    “Remember the national security policy back then, that was lived out by (former Florida Gov.) Jeb and (former President) G.W. Bush, of we win and they lose.”
    “Before spending more or borrowing or printing, adopt the test of Reagan: Will it empower the individual and make us reach for the stars?”… – MSNBC, 10-23-10
  • In Seattle, Obama tells party faithful: ‘We need you fired up’: President Obama swooped into this traditionally Democratic corner of the country Thursday to implore the party faithful to rekindle the enthusiasm they felt in 2008 and help propel a senator locked in a surprisingly close reelection contest.
    “We need you fired up,” Obama told a packed crowd inside a basketball arena here at the University of Washington to rally for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). He added: “We are grinding it out. We are doing the hard, frustrating, inch-by- inch, day-by-day, week-by-week work of bringing about change.”
    “They figured if they just sat on the sidelines and opposed us every step of the way, then eventually they could ride that anger and that frustration to success in this election,” Obama said. “In other words, they were betting on amnesia. They were betting on the idea that you’d forget who caused this mess in the first place. Now let me tell you, Seattle: It’s up to you to tell them you haven’t forgotten.”
    Obama drew about 10,000 students and area residents to the arena here, with 3,000 more watching from a nearby stadium, in a gathering reminiscent of the huge rallies he staged during his 2008 presidential campaign. As Seattle’s morning fog was lifting, the line of supporters wrapped around the university’s soccer field and stretched for several blocks through campus…. – WaPo, 10-21-10
  • Obama: Biden and Clinton are doing great ‘where they are’: President Obama said today that stories about Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton switching jobs are “completely unfounded.” “They are both doing outstanding jobs where they are,” Obama said in an interview with National Journal. It’s the surest sign yet that Biden will be on the ticket when Obama seeks re-election in 2012. The president has been chatting up his veep ever since book author Bob Woodward and others began talking about the prospect of a Biden-Clinton switch. During a Democratic fundraiser Friday in Biden’s home of Wilmington, Del., Obama said, “The single best decision that I have made was selecting Joe Biden as my running mate.” USA Today, 10-19-10
  • Helen Thomas Cries, Denies Anti-Semitism, Calls President Obama ‘Reprehensible’: In a radio interview, former White House correspondent Helen Thomas acknowledges she touched a nerve with remarks about Israel that led to her retirement. But she says the comments were “exactly what I thought,” even though she realized soon afterward that it was the end of her job. “I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive,” Thomas told Ohio station WMRN-AM in a sometimes emotional 35-minute interview that aired Tuesday. It was recorded a week earlier by WMRN reporter Scott Spears at Thomas’ Washington, D.C., condominium. Thomas, 90, stepped down from her job as a columnist for Hearst News Service in June after a rabbi and independent filmmaker videotaped her outside the White House calling on Israelis to get “out of Palestine.” She gave up her front row seat in the White House press room, where she had aimed often pointed questions at 10 presidents, going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower. She has kept a low profile since then….
    In the below clip (via Mediaite), Thomas can be heard crying after learning that President Obama condemned her remarks about Israel on the “Today” show, calling them “offensive and out of line.” “I think he was very unfair, and I return the compliment on his remarks,” Thomas said. “Reprehensible.”… – Huffington Post, 10-13-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian E. Zelizer: Why Democrats are hurting: With the midterm elections just a week away, many Democrats are scratching their heads and wondering what went wrong.
    After Barack Obama’s election in 2008, many in the party thought that they were on the cusp of a new era in American politics. Republicans, and the conservative philosophy that had shaped their party for several decades, seemed to be in retreat.
    Yet less than years later, Republicans are on the verge of recapturing control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate. President Obama’s approval ratings have slid since his first year, while Republicans are now looking forward to the election of 2012.
    The most conventional argument about what went wrong for Democrats is that Obama moved too far to the left in a country that is center-right. But this argument is not supported by a recent study by The Washington Post, Henry Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.
    The study found that Americans are philosophically conservative but operationally liberal….Conservatives have also done very well at playing the politics of the media by staying on message and framing Obama and his policies in a negative light. They have been able to turn the president’s legislative victories into political defeats. Obama and his supporters have spent the last few months trying to explain all that he has done. But when a president has to do so much explaining, that means that he has already lost the battle.
    Whatever the outcome of the midterms, Democrats will need to regroup in the coming months. Rather than focusing on allegations of foreign money flowing into the campaign or embarking on some wholesale philosophical shift to the right, Democrats would do better to look at the specific strategic mistakes that they have made along the way and make sure that they don’t repeat them on the road to 2012. – CNN, 10-25-10
  • FRANK RICH: What Happened to Change We Can Believe In?: PRESIDENT Obama, the Rodney Dangerfield of 2010, gets no respect for averting another Great Depression, for saving 3.3 million jobs with stimulus spending, or for salvaging GM and Chrysler from the junkyard. And none of these good deeds, no matter how substantial, will go unpunished if the projected Democratic bloodbath materializes on Election Day. Some are even going unremembered. For Obama, the ultimate indignity is the Times/CBS News poll in September showing that only 8 percent of Americans know that he gave 95 percent of American taxpayers a tax cut.
    The reasons for his failure to reap credit for any economic accomplishments are a catechism by now: the dark cloud cast by undiminished unemployment, the relentless disinformation campaign of his political opponents, and the White House’s surprising ineptitude at selling its own achievements. But the most relentless drag on a chief executive who promised change we can believe in is even more ominous. It’s the country’s fatalistic sense that the stacked economic order that gave us the Great Recession remains not just in place but more entrenched and powerful than ever.
    No matter how much Obama talks about his “tough” new financial regulatory reforms or offers rote condemnations of Wall Street greed, few believe there’s been real change. That’s not just because so many have lost their jobs, their savings and their homes. It’s also because so many know that the loftiest perpetrators of this national devastation got get-out-of-jail-free cards, that too-big-to-fail banks have grown bigger and that the rich are still the only Americans getting richer… – NYT, 10-24-10
  • MARK HALPERIN: After the Midterm Elections: How Obama Can Meet Promises: It is time for a new White House plan. Even the best case for Democrats in the midterms will leave President Barack Obama with the tarnish of repudiation and far fewer members of his own party with whom to work.
    If he wants to continue to achieve his campaign promises, the President is going to have to make some profound changes, something Obama’s stay-the-course history suggests does not come naturally to him. (See scenes from a midterm-elections road trip.)
    By luck or design, however, the newly installed interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse, is one of Washington’s great long-range planners. And Obama and Rouse have at least one comeback model. The Clinton game plan circa 1994 shows how a young Democratic President, seen as overreaching and lurching leftward two years into his term, can move back to the political center, reconnect with the opposition, reclaim his momentum and successfully maintain his agenda…. – Time, 10-25-10
  • Julian Zelizer: FDR Has Suffered This, Too Just when Democrats think they’re making headway, voters send them a midterm message”: President Obama has warned Democratic voters not to be apathetic. “If the other side does win,” he told an audience in Wisconsin on Sept. 28, “They will spend the next two years fighting for the very same policies that led to this recession in the first place.” But Obama probably understated the case. Over the last century, a series of pivotal midterm elections has severely undermined liberal policies—at just those moments when it seemed they were flourishing. With polls predicting strong Republican gains, this election looks to be another such turnaround…. – Newswweek, 10-22-10

GOP in Lead in Final Lap: 2010 Campaign News: Poll Shows GOP Poised for Big Gains in Midterm Elections

GOP in Lead in Final Lap:

A vigorous post-Labor Day Democratic offensive has failed to diminish the resurgent Republicans’ lead among likely voters, leaving the GOP poised for major gains in congressional elections two weeks away, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
Among likely voters, Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge, up from a three-percentage-point lead a month ago.
In the broader category of registered voters, 46% favor a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 44% who want Republican control. But in the 92 House districts considered most competitive, the GOP’s lead among registered voters is 14 points, underscoring the Democrats’ challenge in maintaining their hold on the House. The poll of 1,000 registered voters was taken Oct. 14-18…. – WSJ, 10-19-10

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