Political Buzz May 24, 2011: Democrat Kathy Hochul Wins Upstate New York Congressional Race Over Republican Jane Corwin — Medicare Biggest Issue

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS — ELECTIONS

Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Kathy Hochul delivered her victory speech in Amherst on Tuesday evening.

Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat in Closely Watched Upstate New York Race: The Associated Press has declared Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, the winner in a closely watched Congressional race in upstate New York that is being seen as a test of a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare.
On Tuesday, she captured 47 percent of the vote to Ms. Corwin’s 43 percent, according to unofficial results. A Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, had 9 percent

  • Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat; Rebuke Seen to Medicare Plan: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against the Republican, Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on the Republican’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up…. – NYT, 5-25-11
  • Democrat Wins Upstate New York Congressional Race: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
    With 66 percent of the precincts reporting, Ms. Hochul led with 48 percent of the vote, to 43 percent for the Republican candidate, Jane L. Corwin…. – NYT, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat; Rebuke Seen to Medicare Plan: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
    Voters, who turned out in strikingly large numbers for a special election, said they trusted Ms. Hochul, the county clerk of Erie County, to protect Medicare…. – NYT, 5-24-11
  • GOP loss a Medicare message?: Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul won a House special election in western New York on Tuesday, a Democratic triumph in a conservative district that many consider a referendum on House Republicans’ efforts to reform Medicare.
    With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Hochul had 48 percent of the vote. State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, a Republican, had 42 percent, while independent candidate Jack Davis ran a distant third with 9 percent.
    The seat in New York’s 26th District became vacant when Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., resigned after revelations that he had sent shirtless pictures of himself to a woman with whom he had been corresponding on Craigslist. Seattle Times, 5-25-11
  • Democrat Wins U.S. House Race That Focused on Medicare, AP Says: Kathy Hochul was elected to a vacant U.S. House seat in western New York, the Associated Press said, following a campaign that became a referendum on a Republican plan to privatize Medicare.
    With 84 percent of the vote counted in the special election, the AP tally showed Hochul with 48 percent to 42 percent for Republican Jane Corwin and 8 percent for Buffalo- area industrialist Jack Davis, running on the Tea Party ballot line.
    The race was closely watched for its implications on national politics, including the 2012 presidential campaign. The campaign provided the first electoral test on the Medicare issue and, in a sign of its potential importance, national party groups and their independent allies helped finance a barrage of local television ads and automated telephone calls to households…. – Bloomberg, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Kathy Hochul wins upstate New York race: Democrat Kathy Hochul drew on voter discontent over Republican plans to revamp Medicare to score an upset win on Tuesday in a special election to represent a conservative upstate New York congressional district.
    Hochul defeated Republican Jane Corwin in a three-way race that also included self-described Tea Party candidate Jack Davis. The outcome did not affect Republican control of the House of Representatives.
    “Tonight the voters were willing to look beyond the political labels and vote for a person, and vote for message that they believe in,” Hochul told cheering supporters minutes after taking a phone call from Corwin, a state assemblywoman. “We can balance the budget the right way, and not on the backs of our seniors,” said Hochul, the Erie County clerk. “We had the issues on our side.”
    President Barack Obama, who is visiting Britain, issued a statement congratulating Hochul on her victory. “Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to outcompete other nations and win the future,” Obama said…. – Reuters, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Wins House Seat Third Candidate Roils New York Race in Traditionally GOP Area; Medicare Issue Studied as Factor:A Democrat on Tuesday won election to a congressional seat from a traditionally Republican district in western New York, according to Associated Press tallies, an outcome that will be studied for clues to how voters are viewing the budget battles in Washington.
    Republican candidate Jane Corwin had endorsed a plan passed by House Republicans last month to overhaul Medicare, drawing sharp criticism from her Democratic rival, Kathy Hochul.
    Ms. Hochul was leading Ms. Corwin, 48% to 43%, with 66% of the vote tallied shortly after 10 p.m. eastern time, AP reported.
    The news service declared the winner to be Ms. Hochul. She is currently the Erie County clerk.
    Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district, and voters gave former Rep. Chris Lee, a Republican, 68% of the vote in November.
    The district also supported Republicans John McCain for president in 2008 and President George W. Bush in 2004.
    While the outcome was complicated by a third-party candidate, members of Congress are sure to study the results for the role that the Medicare proposal may have played in the race…. – WSJ, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Hochul wins N.Y. special election: Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul won a House special election in western New York on Tuesday night, a Democratic triumph in a conservative district that many consider a referendum on House Republicans’ efforts to reform Medicare.
    With three-quarters of precincts reporting, Hochul had 48 percent of the vote. State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R) had 42 percent, with independent candidate Jack Davis running a distant third with 8 percent.
    Democrats contended that the race in New York’s 26th Congressional District — which the GOP had held since the 1960s — became competitive through their efforts linking Corwin to the House Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
    That plan, spearheaded by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.), has already been the subject of plenty of debate in Washington, where Republicans seek deep cuts and debt-reduction measures…. – WaPo, 5-24-11
  • Kathy Hochul wins NY congressional race: Democrat Kathy Hochul scored an upset and won a special election to represent New York’s 26th congressional district on Tuesday, defeating Republican Jane Corwin.
    Hochul, the Erie County clerk, declared victory in the conservative upstate district with just over 70 percent of the vote tallied.
    The election was held to fill the seat vacated in February by Republican Chris Lee, who resigned after shirtless photos he sent to a woman he met on Craigslist were published on the Internet…. – Reuters, 5-24-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer: N.Y. race for House seat a preview of 2012?: Next week voters in New York’s 26th Congressional District will go to the ballot box to replace Rep. Christopher Lee, who resigned after a scandal involving a photo of himself shirtless that he sent to a woman he met online.
    Like other special elections in the last two years, the rumble in the 26th has drawn the attention and resources of both national political parties. What would have ordinarily been a local race is seen as having big implications for 2012.
    Until April, few Democrats thought this race was worth contesting. The 26th is one of the most conservative districts in New York, presumably a safe Republican seat. But then something happened. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin released his budget plan, which included a drastic overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid. Many of his GOP colleagues, fearing trouble on the campaign trail, distanced themselves from the plan as soon as the details were released.
    In New York, Democrats pounced. The party has been able to generate substantial support for its candidate, Kathy Hochul, by connecting the dots between New York, Washington, and Wisconsin. Her ads have hammered away at her Republican opponent, Jane Corwin, for endorsing Ryan’s proposal and supporting “a budget that essentially ends Medicare.” She also supports, they add, reductions in Social Security benefits.
    The National Republican Congressional Committee has responded with a familiar refrain, calling Hochul a champion of the kind of big government liberalism that it says has run rampant in Washington. A recent television spot argued that Hochul, as well as independent Jack Davis, was on the same page as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
    The race is allowing both parties to test their arguments for 2012. Republicans are counting on Americans to share the party’s antipathy to the federal government and support proposals to lower the federal deficit. This anti-government ethos has been a guiding ideal for GOP candidates since Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980….
    The results in the special election may help the parties determine what their strategy should be in the 2012 elections. If Hochul wins, we can expect Democrats to focus on specifics in the upcoming months, telling voters what Democrats’ programs provide them and what Republicans hope to take away.
    If Republicans can hold this seat, they may be emboldened to continue calling for radical cuts in the federal budget and warning of the dangerous road on which Democrats have embarked. Which argument sticks in this special election will give both parties some sense of where voters stand after the heated budget battles of the past few months…. – CNN, 5-23-11
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February 22, 2011: Rahm Emanuel Elected Chicago’s Next Mayor

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

CHICAGO MAYORAL CAMPAIGN

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Rahm Emanuel, who has worked behind the scenes for other politicians, celebrated his victory in Chicago on Tuesday night.

STATS & POLLS

  • Emanuel’s Win: Voting Stats: Emanuel amassed 55.2 percent with 99.5 percent of city precincts counted, above the 50 percent-plus benchmark he needed to win outright to avoid an April runoff. Gery Chico had 24 percent, with Miguel del Valle at 9.3 percent and Carol Moseley Braun at 9 percent. Two lesser-known candidates, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins and William “Dock” Walls, received 2.5 percent combined.
    Emanuel won 40 of the city’s 50 wards, getting more than 70 percent of the vote in the heavily populated lakefront wards. Emanuel also won with more than 50 percent of the vote in wards with large African-American populations, racking up margins of at least 2-to-1 over the major black candidate, Braun.
    Chico won the remaining 10 city wards. They were primarily Latino-heavy wards on the Southwest Side, where he was raised, and the West Side. Chico, Daley’s former chief of staff, also won the 19th and 41st wards, both with large populations of police and firefighters, whose unions endorsed him. Still, Chico’s vote advantage over Emanuel in those wards was not significant.
    Turnout was 41 percent, nearly 10 points lower than election officials predicted. – Chicago Tribune, 2-22-11
  • Rahm Emanuel: a visual history Timeline of Rahm Emauel’s life Timeline of Rahm Emauel’s life

THE HEADLINES….

  • Chicago’s next mayor: Emanuel Ex-presidential adviser avoids runoff with 55%: Rahm Emanuel, a top adviser to two U.S. presidents who returned to Chicago just months ago, swept into the mayor’s office Tuesday, inheriting a city reeling from recession and promising to reshape City Hall.
    He achieved what was once considered almost unthinkable, collecting a majority of support against five opponents in the first Chicago election without a sitting mayor on the ballot since 1947.
    In a city with its share of racial divisions, Emanuel appealed to voters across those lines. He won the predominantly white wards of his former congressional district on the North and Northwest sides. And the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama also scored substantial margins in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.
    “All I can say, you sure know how to make a guy feel at home,” Emanuel, who faced a high-profile legal challenge to his residency, told a packed room at a plumbers union hall on the Near West Side. “Because of the people of Chicago, this is the warmest place in America.”… – Chicago Tribune, 2-22-11
  • Emanuel beats rivals to become next Chicago mayor: Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, easily overwhelming five rivals to take the helm of the nation’s third-largest city as it prepares to chart a new course without the retiring Richard M. Daley.
    Emanuel trounced all opponents with 55 percent of the vote — a margin that allowed him to avoid an April runoff. He needed more than 50 percent to win outright.
    It was the city’s first mayoral race in more than 60 years without an incumbent on the ballot and the first in more than two decades without Daley among the candidates. Daley and his father have led Chicago for more than 43 out of the last 56 years.
    Emanuel called the victory “humbling” and said the outgoing mayor had “earned a special place in our hearts and our history.”
    But he added: “We have not won anything until a kid can go to school thinking of their studies and not their safety. Until the parent of that child is thinking about their work and not where they are going to find work, we have not won anything.”… – AP, 2-22-11
  • Emanuel Triumphs in Chicago Mayoral Race: Rahm Emanuel, a former congressman who worked for two presidents, was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, marking a new path for a city that has, for 22 years, been led by a singular, powerful force, Richard M. Daley.
    Mr. Emanuel, who will take office in May, won 55 percent of the vote against five other candidates. That allowed him to avoid a one-on-one runoff election in April that had been seen by some opponents as their best chance to defeat Mr. Emanuel. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, his closest competitor, Gery J. Chico, a former chief of staff to Mr. Daley, got 24 percent of the vote.
    “Tonight we are moving forward the only way we truly can — together as one city with one future,” Mr. Emanuel told a crowd at a union hall west of downtown.
    Mr. Emanuel, 51, is known to nearly everyone here — less, perhaps, for his years as a congressman from the North Side than for his ties to President Obama, a fellow Chicagoan whom he served as White House chief of staff. Mr. Obama congratulated Mr. Emanuel on Tuesday evening, saying, “As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn’t be prouder.”… – NYT, 2-22-11
  • Emanuel Makes History in Win Succeeding Daley as Chicago Mayor: Rahm Emanuel, the former Chicago congressman who served two Democratic presidents in the White House, won a decisive victory to become his hometown’s next mayor following the two-decade tenure of Richard M. Daley.
    Emanuel captured 55 percent of the vote in a field of six yesterday to take leadership of the third-most populous U.S. city. Chicago’s first Jewish chief executive faces a declining population, city pension shortfalls and a 2012 budget deficit forecast at more than $600 million.
    The mayor-elect, 51, is the first top aide to President Barack Obama elected to office. He overcame a legal challenge to his residency and questions about his Chicago pedigree, and by getting more than 50 percent of the vote, avoided a runoff.
    “Thank you Chicago for this humbling victory,” Emanuel said in a victory speech at a union hall on the city’s west side. “You sure know how to make a guy feel at home.”
    The vote marked the approaching end of 22 years of rule by Daley, 68, who is retiring in May. He and his father, Richard J. Daley, ran Chicago for 43 of the past 55 years…. Bloomberg, 2-22-11
  • Emanuel Wins Election Becoming Chicago’s First Jewish Mayor: Rahm Emanuel won the Chicago mayoral election today in convincing fashion collecting the required 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.
    With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Emanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff, garnered close to 55 percent of the vote. Gerry Chico finished with 24 percent of the vote while Miguel Del Valle and Carol Moseley Braun finished third and fourth.
    Emanuel is the first mayor elected in the city since 1989 when Richard Daley began his 20 year run. He is now the first Jewish mayor elected in Chicago’s history.
    Emanuel started his campaign in November after resigning from his post under the Obama Administration. – NewsOne, 2-22-11

QUOTES

  • Rahm Emanuel’s victory speech: Thank you, Chicago, for this humbling victory.
    All I can say, you sure know how to make a guy feel at home.
    What makes this victory most gratifying is that it was built on votes from every corner of the city, from people who believe that a common set of challenges must be met with a common purpose.
    It’s a victory for all those who believe that we can overcome the old divisions and the old ways that have held Chicago back.
    It is easy to find differences, but we can never allow them to become divisions.
    Tonight we are moving forward in the only way we truly can. Together. As one city, with one future.
    And after five months, campaigning across this city and talking to thousands of Chicagoans from every community and every walk of life …
    (Interruption from crowd: “We did it for you!”)
    No, we did it for our city. We did it for our city. We did it for the place we call home.
    I am more convinced than ever that we can meet the great challenges before us.
    I can say that because for all its beauty and bounty, the key to Chicago’s greatness, it is what it’s always been since my grandfather came here in 1917, it’s you. It’s the hard-working, plain-speaking folks who share a love for their city and a determination to keep it strong and to make it a place their children one day can call home.
    I share that love and I am determined with your help to meet our challenges head on and to make a great city even greater.
    Tonight, I congratulate all my opponents and their supporters. I know that they too were driven by their love for our city, Chicago. And are determined to make sure that our city works for all its people. I look forward to drawing on their insights, their energy, their experiences in the years to come, and in the days to come.
    Because while this election was hard-fought, it was only the beginning.
    My sense, and I know it’s your sense, we have not won anything until a kid can go to school thinking of their studies and not their safety. Until that child can go to school thinking of their studies and not their safety, we haven’t won anything. Or until the parent of that child is thinking about their work and not where they’re going to find work, we have not won anything.
    The real work of building a better future begins tonight.
    And I intend to enlist every living one of you, ever one of you in our city, because the plural pronoun “we” is how we’re going to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
    We need safer streets in all our communities, because I do not want to see another child’s name on a memorial killed by gun violence.
    We need stronger neighborhood schools.
    We need our parents involved in their kids’ education and off the sidelines and involved with them, because our teachers cannot do it without the partner in that home.
    The most important door a child walks through is the front door to that home for the education. That is where they learn right from wrong and the value of education. And our teachers in the classroom deserve that partner.
    We need to attract and grow good jobs today and tomorrow. And we need to confront the budget deficit that threatens our future, not by burdening Chicagoans and Chicago families with more taxes they cannot afford, but by reinventing city government so city government works for the taxpayers.
    These are the challenges we need to set Chicago on the right course for the future. With a budget that is balanced and a playing field that is fair. I’m proud that we have never hidden the truth in this campaign. We said it’s time for tough choices because denial in the face of challenge is no strategy for success. But we also told Chicagoans that our fate, our future, is in our hands.
    I just spoke with Mayor Daley.
    (To crowd: “How are ya?”)
    I just gotta tell you, I just saw Lola Parker, who I have seen her son play great basketball at Simeon. She has been my date every Saturday night while Amy and the kids are doing their homework. How are ya?
    I just spoke to Mayor Daley, who proved that the right kind of leadership can make Chicago a world-class city while other cities around us faltered. Nobody has ever loved Chicago more or served it with greater passion or commitment. This city bears his imprint and he has earned a special place in our hearts and our history.
    Tonight, we thank Mayor Daley for a lifetime of service to his beloved city and we wish him and Maggie, Maggie who we all love, all the best in their future.
    Rich Daley is the only mayor a whole generation of Chicagoans has known. And let’s be honest, it’s an impossible act to follow, yet we have to move forward. And we know we face serious new challenges and overcoming them will not be easy. It requires new ideas, cooperation and sacrifice from everyone involved.
    As we move forward to address the great challenges before us, we must make sure every community in Chicago is heard and included and has a chance to participate in that future.
    I look forward to working with tens and thousands of dedicated public servants. Those like my uncle Les, who patrol our streets, who teach our children and fulfill so many vital functions to meet our current challenges and to do it in a way that is fair to them and fair to the taxpayers who pay all of us.
    And while not all the contests are settled, I want to reach out tonight to the members of the next City Council. We have a chance for a new partnership that will serve our city and its taxpayers well. So thank you, Chicago, for this vote of confidence in our future.
    I want to say a special thanks to my family. To Zachariah, Ilana and Leah who have joined me on the campaign in the recent days at churches, L stops, diners and actually calling voters to ask them for a vote. I want to make a special thing to my best friend, my wife Amy. Who has
    My wife Amy, who has kept our family together and who has been our rock through all of this.
    I want to thank my campaign committee, which includes outstanding community leaders like firefighter Annette Holt who gave something back to her city. And Firefighter Pat Kehoe, principals Zipporah Hightower and Kathleen Kennedy-Kartheiser, Community leaders like Juan Rangel, Robert Kohl and Reverend Alvarez and former Rep. Judy Erwin, my dear friend.
    Your faith in me is a huge source of strength.
    I also want to thank the children I met along the way, Jeremy, Martel and DiJuan (spellings unconfirmed), who showed just how important it is that we fight for a better future.
    I also want to thank all the elected officials who are here with us tonight and have been great leaders and friends to our neighborhoods and our city. Secretary of State Jesse White; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who I started working when I left college with; and Congressman Quigley and all the others who have committed their time and their (inaudible).
    I also want to thank … I have also just talked to President Obama, who sends you his love and affection for his hometown.
    And if I can take a personal moment, during this campaign I’ve been to over 110 L stops around the city.
    (Someone in the crowd said, “You forgot one,” Emanuel responded “That’s surprising to me”).
    Now we are known as the Windy City, we’re known as a cold place in the middle of winter that’s down in your bone. But I can tell you something, having been on every 110 L stops. 110 platforms when it’s 20 below with the wind-chill. Because of the people of Chicago, this is the warmest place in America.
    Now I want you to remember, let’s continue to work together to make sure Chicago remains the greatest city on earth.
    I want to thank you and tomorrow morning, I’m going to see you on that L stop.
    Thank you and God bless you. – Chicago Tribune, 2-22-11
  • President Barack Obama: “As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn’t be prouder. Rahm will be a terrific mayor for all the people of Chicago.”
  • Rahm to Obama: I couldn’t have done it without you: Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel turned President Obama’s glowing send-off into a near-endorsement that helped Emanuel claim a majority of the black vote.
    On Tuesday, Emanuel got a congratulatory phone call from his former boss — and he told the crowd at his victory party about it.
    “I also want to thank — and I just talked to President Obama, who sends you his love and affection for his hometown,” Emanuel said as the crowd erupted in applause.
    Emanuel told Obama he couldn’t have won without his help, said David Axelrod, who served with Emanuel in the White House…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 2-22-11

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Dick Simpson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago: Emanuel’s campaign drew support from each of the city’s main racial and ethnic groups — blacks, whites and Hispanics — and that will benefit him. “He will still have big challenges working with the city council and dealing with the structural deficit, Simpson said. – Bloomberg, 2-22-11

January 17, 2010: Obama, Clinton, Bush & Haiti

Support the Earthquake Recovery Efforts in Haiti: clintonbushhaitifund.org/

THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

Announcing the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

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IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Poll shows growing disappointment, polarization over Obama’s performance ONE YEAR LATER Political polarization: A year into his presidency, President Obama faces a polarized nation and souring public assessments of his efforts to change Washington, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Nearly half of all Americans say Obama is not delivering on his major campaign promises, and a narrow majority have just some or no confidence that he will make the right decisions for the country’s future…. – WaPo, 1-16-10
  • Obama Image Unscathed By Terrorism Controversy Few See Personal Upside to Health Care Reform: Yet there is little evidence that heightened security concerns are affecting Barack Obama’s standing and image. At 49%, Obama’s job approval rating is unchanged from December. He continues to get markedly higher ratings for his handling of the threat of terrorism (51% approve) than for any other issue. And just 22% say his administration’s policies have made the country less safe from terrorism when compared with the policies of the Bush administration; that is virtually unchanged from June (21%)…. – People-Press.org, 1-14-10
  • Poll: Obama’s Ratings on Health Care, Economy Drop Lower: The poll finds 46 percent approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, while 41 percent disapprove. His approval rating is down from 50 percent in a New York Times/CBS News poll last month, and 56 percent from October, to its lowest level in Times or CBS News polls to date.
    The president’s marks for handling the top domestic issues are even lower, according to the poll. On the economy, 41 percent approve, down 6 points in the last month to a new low. And just 36 percent approve of the way Mr. Obama is handling health care, also down 6 points to a new low. Most, 54 percent, disapprove…. – NYT, 1-12-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • Special US Senate Election Threatens Heath Care Deal: The talks have gained urgency with opinion polls indicating the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, could lose next week’s special Massachusetts election to replace the late Senator Edward Kennedy. A victory by the Republican, Scott Brown, would cost the Democrats their 60th Senate seat, stripping them of their supermajority and eliminating their power to override Republican delaying tactics on contentious legislation, particularly heath care reform…. – VOA, 1-16-10
  • A Presidential Triple Plea for Haiti Fund: Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton began a new venture on Saturday to raise money for the Haitian relief effort from corporations, foundations and ordinary Americans, as President Obama pledged to ramp up the American response to the devastating earthquake… – NYT, 1-16-10
  • Pentagon Report on Fort Hood Details Failures: A Pentagon review released Friday portrayed a systemic breakdown within the military that permitted an Army psychiatrist, now charged with killing 13 people, to advance through the ranks despite concerns from his superiors about his behavior…. – NYT, 1-15-10
  • G.O.P. Sees Political Gain in Health Care: Even as Democrats nail down the final details of their health care bill, Republicans are devising ways to convert it into political capital. Their greatest hope is to defeat the bill outright, rebuffing President Obama on his signature domestic issue and weakening the Democrats heading into the midterm elections. Republicans now think they can persuade some conservative and moderate Democrats in the House to vote against the final bill, which initially passed the House by just five votes…. – NYT, 1-16-10
  • In Health Talks, President Is Hands-Off No More: President Obama has taken full control of the health care negotiations, casting himself for the first time in the role of mediator between the House and Senate during a 72-hour marathon of talks that have turned his White House into a de facto Congressional conference…. – NYT, 1-15-10
  • Democrats seek quick deal on health-care bill: President Obama and congressional leaders raced Friday to strike a compromise on far-reaching health legislation, hoping to settle lingering disputes before Tuesday, when a special election in Massachusetts could hand Republicans their 41st vote in the Senate and the power to defeat Obama’s top domestic initiative…. – WaPo, 1-14-10
  • Obama’s First State of the Union Speech in Scheduling Limbo: President Obama’s first State of the Union address, which has already sparked protests for potential scheduling conflicts with TV’s most popular programs (LOST, Feb 2), should be coming soon — but exactly how soon is still anyone’s guess… – Fox News, 1-12-10
  • Obama Will Tap Bush and Clinton for Haiti Efforts: President Obama is asking his two immediate predecessors – George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – to come together to lead the nation’s humanitarian and relief efforts to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake that has ravaged the Caribbean island…. – NYT, 1-14-10
  • US Takes Charge in Haiti-With Troops, Rescue Aid: President Barack Obama and the U.S. moved to take charge in earthquake-ravaged Haiti on Thursday, dispatching thousands of troops along with tons of aid to try to keep order as well as rescue the suffering in a country dysfunctional in the best of times… – AP, 1-14-10
  • Bombing suspect had no coat, luggage Congress hears of missed signs in foiled attack: Bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded his Christmas Day flight in Amsterdam to frigid Detroit with no coat – perhaps the final warning sign that went unnoticed leading up to what could have been a terrorist attack. Congress got its first behind-the-scenes look yesterday at the attempted airline bombing, and officials said the security failures were even worse than President Obama outlined last week. It remains unclear, however, how those failures will be fixed….- AP, 1-14-10
  • Obama pledges campaign for health-care bill and Democrats: With unemployment hovering in the double digits and House Democrats eager to move on to the politically crucial task of job creation, President Obama pledged Thursday to publicly champion the health-care legislation that in the past year has consumed much of their attention and often made them targets… – WaPo, 1-14-10
  • Factbox: White House, unions agree on health insurance tax: The White House and labor unions reached tentative agreement on Thursday on a tax on high-cost “Cadillac” healthcare plans, clearing the way for union support for a sweeping healthcare reform bill… – Reuters, 1-14-10
  • Tentative tax deal marks health care breakthrough: In a major breakthrough, union leaders bowed Thursday to White House demands for a new tax on high-cost insurance plans as part of landmark health care legislation taking final shape in intensive negotiations. “We are on the doorstep” of success, President Barack Obama said…. – AP, 1-14-10
  • Obama, Congressional Leaders Resume Push on Health Care: President Obama and Senator Harry Reid hold their first face-to-face meeting on Wednesday since the controversy erupted over comments that Mr. Reid once made about Mr. Obama’s race and dialect. But that topic is not on the Oval Office agenda. Health care is…. – NYT, 1-12-10
  • AP source: Obama considers levy for rescued firms: Targeting an industry whose political deafness has vexed his administration, President Barack Obama is weighing a levy aimed at recovering tax dollars from government-rescued financial institutions…. – AP, 1-12-10
  • White House discussing healthcare help for states: Gibbs: President Barack Obama is discussing ways to help U.S. states cover costs that are destined to rise under pending healthcare reform legislation, his press secretary said on Monday… – Reuters, 1-11-10
  • G.O.P. Chairman Urges Reid to Step Down Over Remarks: Michael Steele, the Republican Party chairman, called Sunday for Harry Reid to step down as U.S. Senate majority leader in the wake of revelations of Mr. Reid’s remarks in 2008 about Barack Obama’s skin color and dialect. A new book about the 2008 campaign quotes Mr. Reid as predicting that Mr. Obama could become the country’s first black president because he was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”… – NYT, 1-10-10
  • Sarah Palin takes Fox News commentator job: Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, will return to her broadcast roots and take her conservative message to Fox News as a regular commentator, the cable channel announced Monday.
    “I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News,” Palin said in a statement posted on the network’s Web site. “It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.” – AP, 1-11-10
  • McCain aide: Palin believed candidacy ‘God’s plan’: Sarah Palin believed that Sen. John McCain chose her to be his running mate in 2008 because of “God’s plan,” according to a top political strategist in the Arizona Republican’s campaign…. – AP, 1-10-10
  • Obama Tries to Turn Focus to Jobs, if Other Events Allow: President Obama keeps trying to turn attention to “jobs, jobs, jobs,” as his chief of staff has put it. But he is finding that it can be hard to focus on any one issue when so many demand attention, often unexpectedly. And as the lackluster employment report on Friday suggested, showing concern is not the same as showing results…. – NYT, 1-8-10
  • Obama takes responsibility for lapse, pledges better investigation, info sharing: “The buck stops with me,” President Barack Obama said Thursday as he outlined measures aimed at preventing another terrorist attack on the United States in the tense aftermath of a Christmas Day attempt to blow a Detroit-bound jetliner out of the sky. “When the system fails, it’s my responsibility,” Obama said – an indication that no high-level firings of intelligence officials would result from the near-miss incident. The president said he’s ordered steps be taken to ensure all leads on potential terrorist plots are thoroughly investigated, that intelligence is better shared and that no-fly lists are utilized properly. “We can’t sit on information that can protect the American people.”… – Canadian Press, 1-7-10
  • Obama Details New Policies in Response to Terror Threat: President Obama on Thursday ordered intelligence agencies to take a series of steps to streamline how terrorism threats are pursued and analyzed, saying the government had to respond aggressively to the failures that allowed a Nigerian man to ignite an explosive mixture on a commercial jetliner on Christmas Day…. – NYT, 1-7-10
  • On the White House After Balmy Hawaii, Chilly Washington: As Air Force One lifted off late Sunday night, President Obama and his family left behind a balmy 77-degree Hawaiian evening. Bearing east, the plane headed toward Washington, where the temperature was a brisk 23 degrees. If a 54-degree climate swing were not reason enough to lament the end of vacation, Mr. Obama certainly had others. He was returning to a Washington in the throes of a political furor over the security breakdown that led to the attempted bombing of an American passenger jet on Christmas Day…. – NYT, 1-5-10
  • Third Uninvited Guest at State Dinner: The saga of President Obama’s first state dinner continues. The Secret Service said Monday that a third uninvited guest gained entry to the dinner at the White House on Nov. 24. A review of video from the party, which was held to honor the prime minister of India, showed that a man wearing a tuxedo entered with members of the Indian delegation…. – NYT, 1-4-10
  • Obama Says Al Qaeda in Yemen Planned Bombing Plot, and He Vows Retribution: President Obama declared for the first time on Saturday that a branch of Al Qaeda based in Yemen sponsored the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American passenger jet, and he vowed that those behind the failed attack “will be held to account.”… – NYT, 1-2-10
  • U.S. Had Early Signals of a Terror Plot, Obama Says: President Obama was told Tuesday about more missed signals and uncorrelated intelligence that should have prevented a would-be bomber from boarding a flight to the United States, leading the president to declare that there had been a “systemic failure” of the nation’s security apparatus.
    Two officials said the government had intelligence from Yemen before Friday that leaders of a branch of Al Qaeda were talking about “a Nigerian” being prepared for a terrorist attack. While the attacker was not named, officials said it would have been evident had it been compared to information about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian charged with trying to blow up an American passenger jet on Christmas Day…. – AP, 12-30-10
  • Obama Seeks to Reassure U.S. After Bombing Attempt: President Obama emerged from Hawaiian seclusion on Monday to reassure the American public and quell gathering criticism as a branch of Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the thwarted attack on an American passenger jet on Christmas Day.
    Mr. Obama vowed to track down “all who were involved” in helping a Nigerian man who tried to set off explosives aboard a Northwest Airlines flight as the plane approached Detroit, acknowledging the growing conclusion that the act was not that of a lone wolf but of a trained Qaeda operative. With more signs pointing to Yemen as the origin of the attack, the White House was weighing how to respond…. – NYT, 12-28-10
  • Senate Clears Final Hurdle to Vote on Health Care Bill: The Senate trudged Wednesday toward passage of sweeping health legislation after disposing of Republican claims that it would be unconstitutional to require Americans to have health insurance, as the bill does. The Senate was poised to take a final vote on the legislation, President Obama’s top priority, on Thursday morning. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, said Democrats had secured the 60 votes they needed with “a grab bag of backroom Chicago-style buyoffs” for specific states and favored constituencies… – NYT, 12-23-09
  • 6 Detainees Are Returned to Yemen: The government of Yemen on Saturday took custody of six detainees formerly held for years without trial at the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to a senior Obama administration official and others involved in the process. The transfers, which followed the repatriation of another Yemeni detainee in September, represent a test run for a policy that the administration hopes could eventually make possible a sharp reduction in the population at the prison, which President Obama is trying to close…. – NYT, 12-19-09

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Who’s ahead, Brown or Coakley? Depends on the pollBoston Globe, 1-16-10
  • Obama here for Coakley, trailing a diminished aura: The feverish excitement that propelled Barack Obama and scores of other Democrats to victory in 2008 has all but evaporated, worrying party leaders who are struggling to invigorate the base before Tuesday’s Massachusetts Senate race and November’s critical midterm contests, pollsters and party activists said. – Boston Globe, 1-17-10
  • Some Democrats Wary of 2010 Election Prospects: Retirements and declining poll numbers have some Democrats worried about the election… – US News, 1-15-10
  • The GOP’s 10 Most Wanted List: Smelling political blood in the water, the GOP has put a “Wanted” sticker on several Democrats – US News, 1-15-10
  • Obama to Campaign for Senate Candidate in Massachusetts: In a last-ditch effort to avert a debacle for the Democrats, the White House announced that President Obama would campaign here on Sunday for Martha Coakley, the Democratic Senate candidate, amid growing signs that the race for Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate seat has become too close to call…. – NYT, 1-16-10
  • Mass. Senate poll shows shift toward GOP candidate: The Suffolk University survey released late Thursday showed Scott Brown, a Republican state senator, with 50 percent of the vote in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in this overwhelmingly Democratic state. Democrat Martha Coakley had 46 percent. That was a statistical tie since it was within the poll’s 4.4 percentage point margin of error, but far different from a 15-point lead the Massachusetts attorney general enjoyed in a Boston Globe survey released over the weekend…. – WaPo, 1-15-10
  • Polls show race for ‘Kennedy seat’ about even – WaPo, 1-14-10
  • Senator Harry Reid faces ‘big trouble’ in Nevada race: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been fighting to keep his leadership post this week after his impolitic remarks about President Obama and race. Back in Nevada, that controversy is among the least of his worries. Facing re-election to a fifth term this year, polls show his home-state popularity sagging and his signature political issue, health care, bringing him little benefit among voters. Democrats fear a repeat of 2004, when Reid’s predecessor as Senate leader, Tom Daschle, was tossed from office by voters…. – USA Today, 1-15-10
  • Gingrich considers self among top 2012 prospects: “I think I’m probably on a list of seven or eight possible candidates at this stage,” Gingrich said. “We have a lot of people around the country who would like to have somebody who represents a commitment to replace the current failed programs and to develop a set of solutions that are practical and workable.”
    Gingrich listed several current and former goverors who he thinks might enter the race. They include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He said he will discuss his possible candidacy with his wife early next year before making a decision about whether to run…. – AP, 1-14-10
  • Mass. Senate race becoming proxy on health bill: The race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has turned into a proxy battle over the fate of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. A once-pedestrian contest between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown has coarsened with a week to go, as the two have cast themselves as custodians of the pivotal Senate vote to determine the bill’s fate…. – AP, 1-12-10
  • 10 Tips for the GOP in 2010: Voters who want Democrats out don’t yet believe Republicans would be better…. – WSJ, 1-10-10
  • Can Senate Democrats keep edge in ’10?: This week’s back-to-back retirements by two senior Senate Democrats puts the focus on one of the key questions of this election year: Will Democrats be able to maintain the overwhelming majority that has enabled them to push President Obama’s agenda through the Senate, or will Republicans be able to whittle it down?… – USA Today, 1-7-10
  • Giuliani says he won’t run in 2010: Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor viewed by many New York Republicans as a potential savior for the struggling party, won’t run for political office in 2010, choosing to concentrate on his law and consulting businesses…. – Boston Globe, 12-23-09

POLITICAL QUOTES

The President delivers the Weekly Address

  • The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund:
    George W. Bush: The challenges down there are immense, but there’s a lot of devoted people leading the relief effort, from government personnel who deployed into the disaster zone to the faith-based groups that have made Haiti a calling.
    The most effective way for Americans to help the people of Haiti is to contribute money. That money will go to organizations on the ground and will be — who will be able to effectively spend it. I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water — just send your cash. One of the things that the President and I will do is to make sure your money is spent wisely. As President Obama said, you can look us up on clintonbushhaitifund.org. – WH, 1-16-10
  • The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund:
    Bill Clinton: I believe before this earthquake Haiti had the best chance in my lifetime to escape its history — a history that Hillary and I have shared a tiny part of. I still believe that. The Haitians want to just amend their development plan to take account of what’s happened in Port-au-Prince and west, figure out what they got to do about that, and then go back to implementing it. But it’s going to take a lot of help and a long time. – WH, 1-16-10
  • BILL CLINTON and GEORGE W. BUSH: A Helping Hand for Haiti: This weekend, President Obama asked us to spearhead private-sector fund-raising efforts in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that ravaged Haiti. We are pleased to answer his call.
    Throughout both our careers in public service, we have witnessed firsthand the amazing generosity of the American people in the face of calamity. From the Oklahoma City bombings to 9/11, from the tsunami in South Asia to Hurricane Katrina, Americans have rallied to confront disaster — natural or man-made, domestic or abroad — with the determination, compassion and unity that have defined our nation since its founding….
    We should never forget the damage done and the lives lost, but we have a chance to do things better than we once did; be a better neighbor than we once were; and help the Haitian people realize their dream for a stronger, more secure nation. But we need more than just support from governments — we need the innovation and resources of businesses; the skills and the knowledge of nongovernmental organizations, including faith-based groups; and the generosity and support of individuals to fill in the gaps. Visit www.clintonbushhaitifund.org to make a donation and learn more about our efforts. It’s the least we can do, and the least the people of Haiti deserve. At our best, we can help Haiti become its best. – NYT, 1-16-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Vows to “Collect Every Dime” of Taxpayer Funds that Helped Big Banks Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Weekly Address January 16, 2010: …Many originally feared that most of the $700 billion in TARP money would be lost. But when my administration came into office, we put in place rigorous rules for accountability and transparency, which cut the cost of the bailout dramatically. We have now recovered most of the money we provided to the banks. That’s good news, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s not good enough. We want the taxpayers’ money back, and we’re going to collect every dime.
    That is why, this week, I proposed a new fee on major financial firms to compensate the American people for the extraordinary assistance they provided to the financial industry. And the fee would be in place until the American taxpayer is made whole. Only the largest financial firms with more than $50 billion in assets will be affected, not community banks. And the bigger the firm – and the more debt it holds – the larger the fee. Because we are not only going to recover our money and help close our deficits; we are going to attack some of the banking practices that led to the crisis…. – WH, 1-16-10
  • Text of President Obama’s Remarks Wednesday morning on the earthquake in Haiti and rescue efforts, as released by the White House: Good morning, everybody. This morning I want to extend to the people of Haiti the deep condolences and unwavering support of the American people following yesterday’s terrible earthquake.
    We are just now beginning to learn the extent of the devastation, but the reports and images that we’ve seen of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes, and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching. Indeed, for a country and a people who are no strangers to hardship and suffering, this tragedy seems especially cruel and incomprehensible. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the many Haitian- Americans around our country who do not yet know the fate of their families and loved ones back home.
    I have directed my administration to respond with a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives. The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble, and to deliver the humanitarian relief — the food, water and medicine — that Haitians will need in the coming days. In that effort, our government, especially USAID and the Departments of State and Defense, are working closely together and with our partners in Haiti, the region, and around the world…. – NYT, 1-13-10
  • Obama Will Tap Bush and Clinton for Haiti Efforts: Late this afternoon, the two former presidents released this joint statement:
    We are deeply saddened by the devastation and suffering caused by the recent earthquake in Haiti. The people of Haiti are in our thoughts and prayers.
    We are pleased to accept President Obama’s request to lead private sector fundraising efforts. In the days and weeks ahead, we will draw attention to the many ways American citizens and businesses can help meet the urgent needs of the Haitian people. Americans have a long history of showing compassion and generosity in the wake of tragedy. We thank the American people for rallying to help our neighbors in the Caribbean in their hour of suffering – and throughout the journey of rebuilding their nation. – NYT, 1-15-10
  • Reid Apologizes for Racial Remarks About Obama: Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, apologized on Saturday for saying that he believed Barack Obama could become the country’s first black president because he was “light-skinned” and had the advantage of carrying “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”… – NYT, 1-10-10
  • Majority Leader Reid apologizes to Obama for 2008 remarks: “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words,” Reid said in a statement. “I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans, for my improper comments.”
    Obama said in a statement that Reid called him about the matter on Saturday afternoon. “I accepted Harry’s apology without question because I’ve known him for years, I’ve seen the passionate leadership he’s shown on issues of social justice and I know what’s in his heart,” Obama said. “As far as I am concerned, the book is closed.” – WaPo, 1-10-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Outlines Benefits of Health Reform to Take Effect This Year Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Weekly Address January 9, 2010: A year ago, when I took office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, I promised you two things. The first was that there would be better days ahead. And the second was that the road to recovery would be long, and sometimes bumpy.
    That was brought home again yesterday. We learned that in November, our economy saw its first month of job gains in nearly two years – but last month, we lost more than we gained. Now, we know that no single month makes a trend, and job losses for the final quarter of 2009 were one-tenth what they were in the first quarter. But until we see a trend of good, sustainable job creation, we will be relentless in our efforts to put America back to work….
    In short, once I sign health insurance reform into law, doctors and patients will have more control over their health care decisions, and insurance company bureaucrats will have less. All told, these changes represent the most sweeping reforms and toughest restrictions on insurance companies that this country has ever known. That’s how we’ll make 2010 a healthier and more secure year for every American – for those who have health insurance, and those who don’t.
    We enter a new decade, now, with new perils – but we’re going to meet them. It’s also a time of tremendous promise – and we’re going to seize it. We will rebuild the American Dream for our middle class and put the American economy on a stronger footing for the future. And this year, I am as hopeful and as confident as ever that we’re going to rise to this moment the same way that generations of Americans always have: as one nation, and one people. Thanks for listening. – WH, 1-9-10
  • President Obama’s remarks on security failures Full text of Barack Obama’s speech on the failed Christmas Day bombing: The immediate reviews that I ordered after the failed Christmas terrorist attack are now complete. I was just briefed on the findings and recommendations for reform. And I believe it’s important that the American people understand the new steps that we’re taking to prevent attacks and keep our country safe.
    This afternoon my counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, John Brennan, will discuss his review into our terrorist watchlist system; how our government failed to connect the dots in a way that would have prevented a known terrorist from boarding a plane for America; and the steps we’re going to take to prevent that from happening again.
    Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will discuss her review of aviation screening, technology and procedures; how that terrorist boarded a plane with explosives that could have killed nearly 300 innocent people; and how we’ll strengthen aviation security going forward.
    So today, I want to just briefly summarize their conclusions and the steps that I’ve ordered to address them. In our ever-changing world, America’s first line of defense is timely, accurate intelligence that is shared, integrated, analyzed and acted upon quickly and effectively. That’s what the intelligence reforms after the 9/11 attacks largely achieved. That’s what our intelligence community does every day. But unfortunately, that’s not what happened in the lead-up to Christmas Day…. – Globe & Mail, 1-7-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Outlines Steps Taken to Protect the Safety and Security of the American People Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address January 2, 2010: It has now been more than a week since the attempted act of terrorism aboard that flight to Detroit on Christmas Day. On Thursday, I received the preliminary findings of the reviews that I ordered into our terrorist watchlist system and air travel screening. I’ve directed my counterterrorism and homeland security advisor at the White House, John Brennan, to lead these reviews going forward and to present the final results and recommendations to me in the days to come.
    As I said this week, I will do everything in my power to make sure our hard-working men and women in our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security communities have the tools and resources they need to keep America safe. This includes making sure these communities-and the people in them-are coordinating effectively and are held accountable at every level. And as President, that is what I will do.
    Meanwhile, the investigation into the Christmas Day incident continues, and we’re learning more about the suspect. We know that he traveled to Yemen, a country grappling with crushing poverty and deadly insurgencies. It appears that he joined an affiliate of al Qaeda, and that this group-al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula-trained him, equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America…. – WH, 1-2-10

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

President Obama, speaking on Tuesday at a Marine Corps base near Honolulu, said he would “insist on accountability at every level” for failures in security.

  • Text of Obama’s Comments on Airport Security: Good morning. Yesterday I updated the American people on the immediate steps we took — the increased screening and security of air travel — to keep our country safe in the wake of the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day. And I announced two reviews — a review of our terrorist watch list system and a review of our air travel screening, so we can find out what went wrong, fix it and prevent future attacks….
    The reviews I’ve ordered will surely tell us more. But what already is apparent is that there was a mix of human and systemic failures that contributed to this potential catastrophic breach of security. We need to learn from this episode and act quickly to fix the flaws in our system, because our security is at stake and lives are at stake.
    I fully understand that even when every person charged with ensuring our security does what they are trained to do, even when every system works exactly as intended there is still no one hundred percent guarantee of success. Yet, this should only compel us to work even harder, to be even more innovative and relentless in our efforts.
    As President I will do everything in my power to support the men and women in intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security to make sure they’ve got the tools and resources they need to keep America safe. But it’s also my job to ensure that our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security systems and the people in them are working effectively and held accountable. I intend to fulfill that responsibility and insist on accountability at every level… – NYT, 12-29-09
  • Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Extend Christmas Greeting and Express their Gratitude to America’s Servicemen and Women Remarks of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Weekly Address December 24, 2009: FIRST LADY: This is our first Christmas in the White House, and we are so grateful for this extraordinary experience. Not far from here, in the Blue Room, is the official White House Christmas Tree. It’s an 18-foot tall Douglas-fir from West Virginia and it’s decorated with hundreds of ornaments designed by people and children from all over the country. Each one is a reminder of the traditions we cherish as Americans and the blessings we’re thankful for this holiday season.
    PRESIDENT: That’s right, especially as we continue to recover from an extraordinary recession that still has so many Americans hurting: parents without a job who struggled to put presents under the Christmas tree; families and neighbors who’ve seen their home foreclosed; folks wondering what the new year will bring.
    But even in these tough times, there’s still so much to celebrate this Christmas. A message of peace and brotherhood that continues to inspire more than 2,000 after Jesus’ birth. The love of family and friends. The bonds of community and country. And the character and courage of our men and women in uniform who are far from home for the holidays, away from their families, risking their lives to protect ours…. – WH, 12-24-09

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

The President proposes new fees on the largest financial firms

  • Michael Kazin “Obama Weighs Tax On Big Banks”: What’s happening right now is that both left and right are opposed to what they see as the sins of people in power. The right doesn’t like what they see as increasing concentrations of power in government. The left doesn’t like concentrated power in Wall Street and neither group is happy with Obama’s response…. – NPR, 1-12-10
  • Peniel E. Joseph “Many say U.S. race relations have improved under Obama, but divides remain”: “Light-skinned is equated with good, an ability to pass, to fit in the mainstream,” said Peniel E. Joseph, a Tufts University historian and author of a new book about the shifting racial attitudes that allowed for Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president. “He’s light enough and mainstream enough to appeal to a broad audience. Those who are not really stand out in a conspicuous way as ‘the other.'”… – WaPo, 1-12-10
  • Is Obama History?: There were five sessions on President Obama at last week’s annual meeting of the American Historical Association…. – Chron of High Ed, 1-10-10
  • The Label Factor: Is Obama a Wimp or a Warrior?: Like every Democratic president since John F. Kennedy, President Obama is battling the perception that he’s a wimp on national security…. – NYT, 1-10-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Blame game won’t stop terrorism: Almost as soon as the botched Christmas airplane bombing hit the airwaves, the politics of national security reared its head….
    All of this is predictable. Politics has never stopped at the water’s edge and it never will. There is a long history of the parties lashing out against one another for being ineffective at protecting the nation. However, partisan wrangling is certainly not the most effective way to handle the problems at hand. Politics has never stopped at the water’s edge and it never will….
    The blame game will continue. That’s how national security politics works. But while the fights are taking place, we must make certain that the government sets up some kind of independent review to better understand what went wrong. The review must be global and involve allied nations who participate in the international campaign against terrorist threats. Let’s do it before the terrorists get it right.
    Nothing should be excluded from consideration, from the failures of U.S. officials to respond to evidence to the flaws in the system that Obama inherited. We need a comprehensive understanding of what happened so we can improve the system and make sure that innocent travelers are kept safe from the ravages of terrorism.- CNN, 1-3-10
  • The Obama Way: Every presidency is the subject of competing caricatures. But almost a year into his first term, there’s something particularly elusive about Barack Obama’s political identity. He’s a bipartisan bridge-builder — unless he’s a polarizing ideologue. He’s a crypto-Marxist radical — except when he’s a pawn of corporate interests. He’s a post-American utopian — or else he’s a willing tool of the national security state.
    The press has churned out a new theory every week, comparing Obama to John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt, to George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — to every 20th-century chief executive, it often seems, save poor, dull Gerald Ford. But none of the analogies have stuck. We’re well into the Obama era, but neither his allies nor his enemies can quite get a fix on exactly what our 44th president really represents…. – NYT, 12-25-09
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Delaying health benefits is a big risk: We will find out in the next few weeks whether the Senate can pass a health care bill and if it can reach agreement with the House on the details. But if the two houses do pass legislation, one thing seems likely — there will be a huge delay in starting most of the benefits.
    Under the House bill, much of the program won’t kick in until 2013. Under the proposed Senate bill, the date is 2014. This delay poses a political risk.
    Under the Senate bill, opponents will have a midterm (2010) and presidential election (2012) cycle to make their argument. When programs have been delayed, they often encounter political problems….
    After all the political capital that Democrats have invested in this health care debate, it would be a shame if they were able to win the battle but, as a result of flawed policy design, lose the war…. – CNN, 12-24-09

President Barack Obama: First Anniversary, One Year after the Historic Election

THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:


Doug Mills/The New York Times

  • One year after his election, what has Obama achieved?: Obama got off to a quick start. But almost one year after winning the presidency, his deeds are at risk of paling next to his aspirations. – CS Monitor, 11-2-09
  • No Walk in the Park: For Obama One Year Later, It’s the Slog of Governance: For a president elevated to power on the back of history, the tears and euphoria of Grant Park feel like a thousand years ago. It has been just one year, of course, since Barack Obama’s election, a year since that moment when supporters felt everything was possible amid lofty talk of “remaking this nation” and determined chants of “Yes, we can.”  Some White House aides are wistful for the days right after Mr. Obama won office, when everything seemed a lot simpler. A year later, as a few smaller elections yielded a more critical judgment, the hope and hubris have given way to the daily grind of governance, the jammed meeting schedule waiting in the morning, the thick briefing books waiting at night, the thousand little compromises that come in between. The education of a president is complicated, and as Mr. Obama has spent the last 12 months learning more about wielding power, his country has learned more about him.  Given the enormousness of the crises he inherited and the scope of the economic package he pushed through in his early weeks in office, it might seem odd to suggest that the hardest and most defining choices are only now confronting Mr. Obama…. – NYT, 11-4-09
  • Ted Widmer: One year after his election, what has Obama achieved?: “He’s had a good first year,” says Ted Widmer, a presidential historian at Brown University in Providence, R.I., and a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton. “Two of his biggest accomplishments are easy to overlook, but they were both important. He kept the financial crisis from becoming worse. And he vastly improved the way the rest of the world thinks about America.” – CS Monitor, 11-2-09
  • Fred Greenstein: One year after his election, what has Obama achieved?: “A decent-seeming [health reform] would redound to Obama’s advantage and reduce the buzz over whether he is ‘tough enough’ and perhaps lead to a spike in public approval,” says Fred Greenstein, professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University in New Jersey. – CS Monitor, 11-2-09
  • Russell Riley: One year after his election, what has Obama achieved?: Obama’s election itself raised expectations, says Russell Riley, a presidential historian at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. “There was a miracle at the ballot box, and people expect those miracles to continue later,” he says. “But [Obama officials] don’t help themselves by setting deadlines early on that they then don’t meet.” – CS Monitor, 11-2-09
  • Historian Eric Foner discusses Obama’s place in history: It is a major turning point in American history, and I don’t think that should be denigrated or minimized. On the other hand – and there was a lot of euphoria immediately following the election even among people who didn’t vote for him – the fact is that now most people are viewing President Obama the way they would any other president. In other words, with a “what are you doing for me?” If you look at the first eight or nine months of almost any president, they didn’t really accomplish a heck of a lot – except for Franklin D. Roosevelt, who came in under even a more dire situation than Obama. (And much of what he did in his first 100 days was sent to the scrap heap within a year or two of his administration anyway and later had to be changed.) So it’s still too early to tell what will happen with Obama’s presidency.
    Obama is a mainstream politician. I admire Obama, he’s certainly a lot more eloquent than many others, but he’s a mainstream politician. You never hear Obama say a word about “the poor.” Everything is the middle class – middle class tax cuts, middle class this and that. That’s fine, I don’t mind the middle class. But the poor – which is a rather disturbingly large number of people in this country – never get mentioned. Now, Obama is doing things to help the poor, but it’s kept under the radar. Similarly, Obama very strategically does not present himself as “a black president” in the sense of having a particular commitment to black America. I don’t think Obama’s going to come forward with a plan that says here’s what I’m going to do to help black America. I think he says, here’s what I’m going to do to help the American middle class, on the assumption that a lot of that will help blacks. And certainly, raising taxes on people earning over $250,000 a year is not going to hit a lot of black people, helping expand Medicaid will. Those aren’t race-based policies, but they will have racial effects, among others. – The Grio, 11-4-09

November 3, 2008: Last Day on the Campaign Trail for McCain, Obama, Palin & Biden

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

Senator John McCain during a “Road to Victory” rally in Las Vegas on Monday evening. (Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Election TV Coverage:

  • A Night To Remember: Historians Covering Election Night:
    ABC: Richard Norton Smith, George Mason University
    CBS: Douglas Brinkley, Rice University
    PBS: WH historian Michael Beschloss, George Mason Univ.’s Richard Norton Smith and Brandeis Univ.’s Peniel Joseph
    CTV NewsNet: Gil Troy, McGill University, Bipartisan Policy Center-
    Hotline Blog
  • BILL MANN ON TV Ready for the election Networks go visual with magic walls, election maps on ice, as BBC, BET, Comedy Central enter fray – Press Democrat, 11-3-08

The week that was….

  • November 3, 2008: Obama talks on election eve like a man who expects he’s going to win presidency … McCain speeds across 7 states in campaign finale … Palin offers optimism in Ohio Democratic suburb; draws 17,000 in Missouri … Biden tells suburban Kansas City crowd that his ticket offers most relief for middle class … Obama’s grandmother dies … Early voting: Democrats cast more ballots than GOP – AP, 11-3-08….
    McCain, Obama campaign hard as long election season draws to a close … Obama campaigns, talks on election eve like a man who expects he’s going to win presidency … Palin sounds optimistic note in Democratic stronghold in Ohio; criticizes Obama’s tax plan … Biden tells suburban Kansas City crowd that he and Obama offer most relief for middle class – AP, 11-3-08
  • November 2, 2008: McCain, Obama unleash telephone calls, mailing, door-knockings in massive GOTV effort … Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs attend Obama get-out-vote rally in South Florida … Feds investigate if laws were broken in disclosure of Obama aunt’s immigration status … – AP, 11-3-08
  • November 1, 2008: Confident Obama asks supporters to ‘change the world,’ while McCain digs for last-minute upset … Palin, in prank call from fake French president, says she might make good president in 8 years … McCain pokes fun at his presidential campaign on ‘Saturday Night Live’ – AP, 11-2-08

Obama

Senator Barack Obama on Monday evening told an audience in Charlotte, N.C., about the death of his grandmother. (Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

The Stats

  • November 3, 2008: Obama leads McCain in 6 of 8 key states –
    Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby: Obama holds a 7-point edge over McCain among likely U.S. voters in a separate Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby national tracking poll, up 1 percentage point from Sunday. – AP, 11-3-08
  • November 3, 2008: Real Clear Politics’ tracking of major polls:
  1. Florida: Obama +1.8
  2. North Carolina: McCain +0.6
  3. Virginia: Obama +4.3
  4. Ohio: Obama + 3.2
  5. Missouri: McCain +0.5
  6. Colorado: Obama +5.5
  7. Nevada: Obama +6.2
  8. Pennsylvania Obama +7.6
  • November 2, 2008: Democrat Barack Obama has a 13-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain — 53 percent to 40 percent — among registered voters, according to the latest Gallup Poll daily tracking update. Obama’s lead on Sunday was 11 points. – AP, 11-3-08
  • November 2, 2008: Obama keeps his lead in Ohio Final poll: Obama 52%, McCain 46% – Columbia Dispatch, 11-2-08
  • November 1, 2008: Obama lead on McCain slips to 9 points:
    Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll: Obama leads McCain by 51 percent to 42 percent in the rolling three-day tracking poll.
    Obama led by 10 points Friday and 12 points on Thursday. Reuters, 11-3-08

In the News…

  • The ’08 Race: A Sea Change for Politics as We Know It – NYT, 11-4-08
  • Past trouble spots could flare again, election analyst says CNN Voter Hotline at 1-877-462-6608 – CNN, 11-3-08
  • The inner workings of the Electoral College – KHQA 7, 11-3-08
  • After election, new president has to wait 77 days – AP, 11-3-08
  • Election Night (Popcorn Included) – NYT, 11-4-08
  • Election Night Essentials – NYT, The Caucus, 11-3-08
  • Candidates Visit Key States in Final Sprint: American voters head to the polls on Tuesday to elect their next president after the longest and most expensive campaign in U.S. history. As VOA’s Mike O’Sullivan reports, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made last-minute appeals in three key states on Monday, while Republican John McCain took his message across the country. – VOA, 11-3-08
  • Congressional Republicans Work to Thwart Democratic Gains – WaPo, 11-3-08
  • Obama and McCain Have Breakout Game – N”YT, 11-3-08
  • The Virginia Vibe – NYT, The Caucus, 11-3-08
  • McCain Makes Seven-State Swing In Bid for a Come-From-Behind Win – WaP0, 11-3-08
  • Obama, McCain strike familiar chords in final appeal to voters – Miami Herald, 11-3-08
  • Obama, McCain both promise change on election eve – AP, 11-3-08
  • Could voting meltdown history repeat itself? – AP, 11-3-08
  • Election Guide: Keep early eye on Ga., Va., Ind. – AP, 11-3-08
  • All signs point to Obama win on eve of election – CTV, 11-3-08
  • Report clears Palin in Troopergate probe – AP, 11-3-08
  • Obama’s grandmother dies just before Election Day – AP, 11-3-08
  • Campaigns uncork get-out-the-vote operations – AP, 11-3-08
  • McCain Camp Finds Some Hope in Philadelphia – NYT, 11-3-08

Campaign Bloopers

Historians’ Comments

  • Gil Troy “The Ghosts of the 60s and 80s Haunted and Inspired this Campaign”: When this campaign began so many months and $4.3 billion ago, many pollsters and pundits predicted that Election Day would be the final round of the battle of the New York titans, pitting Hillary Rodham Clinton against Rudy Giuliani. Back then, when we thought about waking up at 3 AM, we usually associated it with an unwelcome run to the john, not the test – as described in Hillary Clinton’s campaign commercial – of who was ready to lead the nation. If we imagined a ceiling with 17 million cracks in it, we assumed it would shatter, especially if the ceiling was glass; when we worried about meltdowns, it was because our kids were overprogrammed or undersupervised, not because our financial markets were overstretched and under-scrutinized; and when we talked about Joe the plumber we grumbled about the guy who charged too much and came too slowly not some idealized version of the people’s wisdom incarnate. In those days when we thought about the largest state in the union, we wondered what its connection was with baked Alaska, we did not think about the half-baked ideas of the governor from Alaska and the conventional wisdom in Washington described Joe Biden as a blow-dried, blowhard politician, (who barely won 11,000 votes when he ran in the 2008 primaries) rather than the ultimate democratic ideal, a working class kid from Scranton conjured into Beltway foreign policy guru. The most famous Barak in the world was Ehud, the Israeli Defense minister, and –dare I say it — the most famous Hussein was either Saddam or the late King of Jordan. Moreover, most Americans agreed that the most decent, nonpartisan, moderate member of the United States senate was… John McCain. HNN, 11-3-08
  • Michael Beschloss “Level of White Support for Obama a Surprise “: The presidential historian Michael Beschloss credits Mr. Obama with reprising the approach adopted by John F. Kennedy in his 1960 breakthrough as the first Roman Catholic to win the presidency. “He was running to be president of all the people, not president of a faction,” Mr. Beschloss said. – NYT, 11-3-08
  • Julian Zelizer “GOP fears slap-down by Dems with upper hand”: But passing sweeping legislation is far from guaranteed. Democratic leaders are likely to face divisions within the party. Liberal Democrats may push for the kind of changes seen under President Johnson, saying, “This is our moment,” said Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University professor of history and public affairs. But moderates will push back. Everyone will be jockeying to direct what goes forward, he said. “This would create the condition to really give Democrats an opportunity they have not had in decades,” Zelizer said. “On the other had, the pressures will increase on the party. Democrats for the past two years have been able to support some measures knowing they would be killed by GOP filibuster. If that goes away, Zelizer said, some Democratic support might peel away. “The burden’s all on them,” Zelizer added. “There will be immense risk and great tension.” – Denver Post, 10-29-08
  • Debbie Walsh “History just a few days away”: “Will we ever go back to a year when all four candidates are white males?” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “I don’t know if we’ll ever go back to that.” – Newsday, 11-2-08
  • Clement Alexander Price “History just a few days away”: “Barack Obama’s election, should it come to that, really does suggest a significant cultural transformation in the way that we Americans, black and white and brown, perceive color, perceive race, perceive the meaning of African-Americans,” said Clement Alexander Price, a history professor at Rutgers University, Newark. “It’s an indication that the republic continues to evolve in rather marvelous ways.” – Newsday, 11-2-08
  • Manning Marable: “History just a few days away”: “If you could pigeonhole him as the ‘black candidate’, then he would never break out and reach white audiences,” said Manning Marable, a professor of history and African-American studies at Columbia University. “So for him to break out of that, he had to put forward solutions that met the needs of a lot of racial and class groups, and he had to focus with a laserlike determination on speaking to the middle class.” – Newsday, 11-2-08
  • Julian Zelizer “Commentary:New president’s 100 days of pressure”: The new president, whether Barack Obama or John McCain, can learn a lesson from all of these presidents about how to break out of the gridlock that has bogged down Washington. They will have to use their hundred days to build confidence in the government and its ability to stabilize the economic system, taking advantage of the narrow window they will have to get legislation through.
    The new president will have to define himself in relation to his predecessor, but in this case by demonstrating clearly to the public what he will do differently, rather than the same, as President Bush. And, finally, the new president will need to find legislation that attracts some support from the opposition to diminish the power of polarization on Capitol Hill and establish the groundwork for future compromise.
    The one thing that Obama or McCain must realize is that those hundred days will disappear quickly. Once they are gone, as Bill Clinton learned after delaying his push for health care reform, the political capital is hard to get back. CNN, 10-28-08
  • Julian Zelizer “If Elected … How would a President Obama govern?”: Bush and Obama stand for very different things, says Zelizer, but Obama “runs his campaign with the same sort of methodical efficiency and closed nature of the Bush White House.” “He’s not going to have a freewheeling White House where people are free to go out on their own and do what they want and be allowed to talk to the press,” Zelizer said. – AP, 10-18-08
  • Hubert Evans “Nostradamus Writings Predict McCain Victory”: “Conventional wisdom picks Obama. Nostradamus, four and a half centuries ago, picked John McCain,” said Dr. , professor of Renaissance Studies at Yale University and author of the best-selling Nostradamus: Prophesize This! “Quatrain 78, Century X in particular seems to indicate that Obama had better not be measuring the White House windows for curtains quite yet, at least by my interpretation,” said Dr. Evans. The quatrain to which Dr. Evans refers – Quatrain 78 – is located in the grouping of stanzas known as Century X. Originally published in 1555 in Nostradamus’ still-popular Les Prophecies, Quatrain 78 reads in full:
    At the war’s end
    The Feeble Kept-One will strike down the Night
    And his Imbecile Queen will rise from the snow
    Bedecked in finery and the pelt of a wolf. – CAP News, 11-3-08
  • Arthur I. Cyr “History says not to count out McCain”: Another factor that may affect the outcome of this election is the so-called “Bradley Effect.” In 1982, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American, was defeated for governor of California even though polls showed him winning. This and other examples argue some voters are more included in opinion polls than in the voting booth to support a minority candidate. The 2008 presidential campaign has been remarkably free of appeals to racism, despite personal attacks by both sides. The fact that a major party ticket is headed by an African-American is enormously important — and positive. A Democratic victory, however, won’t be guaranteed until demonstrated by the electorate. – Scripps News, 10-31-08
  • Devin Fergus “2008 Presidential Election Signals Transition”: First 100 days crucial: Regardless of who is elected president, similarities will be drawn between the first 100 days of the new administration and that of FDR, says 20th-century historian Devin Fergus. How the new president works with Congress in handling the economic and financial crisis will set the tone for the rest of the term. If Obama is elected as a post-racial candidate, he must balance the competing concerns of the investor class with those of working and middle-class voters. Obama’s advisers should look to what lessons could be learned from the successes and failures of the New Deal. – Market Watch, 10-31-08

Gov. Sarah Palin and Todd Palin while Hank Williams Jr. sang the National Anthem in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

On The Campaign Trail...

    THE DEMOCRATS: Barack Obama holds rallies in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
    Joe Biden campaigns in Missouri, Ohio and Philadelphia.

    THE REPUBLICANS: John McCain campaigns in Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.
    Sarah Palin campaigns in Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

  • November 3, 2008: John McCain in Florida: With this kind of enthusiasm and this kind of intensity, we will win Florida and we will win this race tomorrow.
  • November 3, 2008: Barack Obama in Florida [It has been] 21 months of a campaign that’s taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California. We are one day away from changing the United States of America.
  • November 3, 2008: John McCain: Sen. Obama is in the far left lane” of politics. He’s more liberal than a guy who calls himself a Socialist and that’s not easy….
    One day left, just one day left before we take America in a new direction, my friends. We need your help, we need your help and we will win…
    With this kind of enthusiasm, this kind of intensity we will win Florida and we will win the election….
    Senator Obama’s massive new tax increase would kill jobs and make a bad economy worse — I’m not going to let that happen.
  • November 3, 2008: Sarah Palin: Iowa, do we have your commitment and can we count on you tomorrow….
    Now is not the time to experiment with socialism. Our opponent’s plan is just for bigger government.
  • November 3, 2008: Barack Obama about his grandmother’s passing: She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances…
    One of those quiet heroes that we have all across America who, they’re not famous, their names aren’t in the newspapers, but each and every day they work hard, they look after their families, they sacrifice for their children and their grandchildren. They aren’t seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do the right thing.
    In this crowd there are a lot of quiet heroes like that. The satisfaction that they get is seeing their children, or maybe their grandchildren, or maybe their great-children, live a better life than they did. That’s what America is about . . . and in just one day we have the opportunity to honour all those quiet heroes.
  • November 3, 2008: Barack Obama, when asked by ABC News Radio’s Ann Compton what keeps him up at night : Not actually winning or losing. It’s governing.
  • November 3, 2008: John McCain on the last day of the campaign: I’m an American, and I choose to fight!… Don’t give up hope. Be strong. Have courage and fight. Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what’s right for America.
  • November 3, 2008: Russ Parr Interview with Barack Obama: “What is the one thing at this point that has you a little bit concerned?” syndicated radio host Russ Parr asked. “You know, I feel pretty peaceful, Russ, I gotta say,” Obama replied. “Because my attitude is, if we’ve done everything we can do, then it’s up to the people to decide. And the question is going to be who wants it more. And I hope that our supporters want it bad, because I think the country needs it.”
  • November 3, 2008: Joe Biden to a crowd of about 1,500 at the Longview Community College Recreation Center south of Kansas City, MO : For too many families who are working hard, playing by the rules … people can see it slipping from their grasp. We are on the cusp of a new brand of leadership.
  • November 3, 2008: Joe Biden: We need to get out and elect Barack Obama president of the United States tomorrow.
  • November 2008: McCain told a rabid Dayton crowd before leading them in a rousing chant of “Nostradamus don’t like no Obamas!”: My friends, Nostradamus believed in us because he knew, knew that Sen. Obama would raise his taxes!
  • November 2, 2008: John McCain in a rally at Strath Haven High School, PA Now let me give you a little straight talk about the state of the race today. There’s just two days left. We’re a couple of points behind in Pennsylvania. The pundits have written us off, just like they’ve done before….
    My friends, the Mac is back!
    The other night, Senator Obama said that if he lost, he would return to the Senate and try again in four years for the second act. That sounds like a great idea to me! Let’s help him make it happen….
    I think that Tom Ridge — and President Bush — deserve some credit for the fact there’s not been another attack on the United States of America since 9/11,’
  • November 2, 2008: Obama say he might be headed for a win Tuesday The past couple of days I’ve just been feeling good….You start thinking maybe we might be able to win an election on November 4.
  • November 2, 2008: Sarah Palin at a Ohio Rally: A little advice to Tina Fey. I want to make sure she’s holding on to that Sarah outfit. Because she’s gonna need it in the next four years.
  • November 2, 2008: : If you have not voted yet, it would be a shame for you to come to a rally and not vote. Go vote now. Do not delay!…. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, but you and I know it’s time to come together and change this country. We can’t let this slip away….
    Washington will have to tighten its belt and put off spending on things we don’t need. As President, I will go through the federal budget, line-by-line, ending programs that we don’t need and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.

Biden

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Copley, Ohio. (Photo: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times)
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