December 10, 2013
"House and Senate negotiators are on the verge of announcing a budget agreement that would avert a government shutdown and bring a rare dose of stability to Congress's fiscal policy-making over the next two years," the Wall Street Journal
A new Quinnipiac poll
finds President Obama's job approval among American voters has dropped to a new low, a negative 38% to 57%.
Republicans lead by 41% to 38% in the generic congressional ballot, the first time they've led all year.
Said pollster Tim Malloy: "A rousing chorus of Bah! Humbug! for President Barack Obama as American voters head into the holidays with little charitable to say about the president. President Obama could be pretty lonely during his last two years in office if voters decide they want Republican majorities in the House and Senate."
However, a new Pew Research survey
finds Obama's approval rising slightly to 45% to 49%, reversing a six-month slide.
A new Public Policy Polling survey
finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) in a toss up with all of her potential Republican opponents.
She leads Thom Tillis (R) 44% to 42%, is tied with both Heather Grant (R) and Mark Harris (R) at 43%, and trails both Greg Brannon (R) and Bill Flynn (R) 45% to 43%.
Coming on DVD next month: Inequality for All
, the excellent documentary from Robert Reich.
"Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler."
-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by Public Radio International
, on President Obama shaking hands
with Cuban President Raul Castro.
"A divided U.S. Senate confirmed Washington lawyer Patricia Millett to serve on a powerful U.S. appeals court, the first Obama administration nominee to receive approval since Democrats last month made controversial changes to Senate rules," the Wall Street Journal
"The 56-38 vote showed partisan divisions remain deep after Democrats changed rules to eliminate filibusters on most nominations. The move came after Republicans blocked votes on Ms. Millett and two other nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, considered one of the nation's most influential because it considers lawsuits challenging major federal rules and regulations."
: "Is the Republican nominee for president in 2016 really going to
run on a platform of taking health coverage away from 24 million
Americans? Especially after the Republicans ran in 2014 on ensuring that
Americans can keep their health plans?"
looks at Rep. Steve Stockman's surprise announcement last night that he'll challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in a Republican Senate primary next year.
"One can't help but wonder if this primary challenge is more about Stockman trying to list build for his various political businesses than it is about winning. In a lot of ways, Stockman reminds us of JD Hayworth, who challenged John McCain in 2010 -- he's someone who can get 35%-40% of the vote, but probably can't take down Cornyn. But what Stockman DOES do, which is what Matt Bevin does to Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, is freeze the Senate GOP leadership from doing anything that remotely looks like compromising with the Democrats. McConnell and Cornyn are essentially non-players in the Senate until they get past these challenges."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leading challenger Mark Schauer (D) in the race for governor, 44% to 40%, with 16% still undecided.
In the U.S. Senate race, Terri Lynn Land (R) leads Gary Peter (D), 42% to 40%.
Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin joins us on the Political Wire podcast
for a terrific conversation about her new book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
If you're enjoying these podcasts, head over to iTunes
and give us a 5-star ranking.
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Special thanks once again to the Cook Political Report
for sponsoring this episode and offering listeners a special trial subscription.
President Obama "shook the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's memorial service -- the first time the leaders of the two countries long at odds have had any contact," McClatchy
"The brief greeting came as Obama made his way to the podium, past the VIP seating section of the soccer stadium. Castro appeared to speak to Obama, who acknowledged Castro and the encounter left Castro beaming, even as Obama moved over to warmly greet Brazil's president, Dilma Rouseff with a kiss on the cheek."
"For as long as anyone can remember the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has worked like this: two governors divide up the board and staff appointments, and the contracts that flow from that. No one blows the whistle on anyone else, because that might jeopardize one's own spoils," WNYC
That changed abruptly this week when one board member used his subpoena power "to summon officials to explain why three lanes onto the George Washington Bridge had been abruptly closed in September, causing a week's worth of traffic..."
"Democrats were swift to raise the possibility the lane closures had been made as political retribution against the Mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat, who, unlike some Democrats, had not endorsed Christie for reelection. There was a lot of whispering during Christie's re-election campaign that he had a 'naughty and nice list' but no one had been able to prove it. Now, there was talk, there might be some evidence."
Meanwhile, a new Monmouth/Asbury Park Press poll
shows Christie with a 65% approval rating.
reviews the year in politics.
"It's been a weird year, but face it: Weird is the new normal in politics."
With approval ratings flagging and his healthcare law at risk, President Obama is bringing on board John Podesta "who helped guide President Clinton through the darkest days of his presidency," the Los Angeles Times
"The Democratic veteran arrives as the president scrambles to fix the troubled start-up of the Affordable Care Act and to recover public support for his most important domestic achievement. Sources familiar with the decision said Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough asked Podesta to take on the role of guiding healthcare implementation as well as advising on other big domestic and foreign policy matters."
: "Given his chief-of-staff work during Clinton's second term (especially
during impeachment), Podesta is very familiar with how a White House can
rack up executive accomplishments when facing a recalcitrant Congress.
He also knows how to work all the departments and agencies within the
executive branch, which has been a weak spot for this administration."
Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told CNN
his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), will probably run for president in 2016.
Said Paul: "I think he probably will. I mean, he's been on TV hinting that he very well might."
A new New York Times/CBS News poll
finds that last week's "reports of hopeful economic indicators did nothing to improve the American public's negative opinion of President Obama's stewardship of the nation's economy. However, while most Americans describe the economy as in bad condition, there has been a slight uptick in the number who view the nation's fiscal circumstances positively."
Key findings: "37% of those surveyed approve of Obama's handling of the economy; 58% disapprove. These numbers are indistinguishable from the results of a CBS News poll taken last month, although better-than-expected unemployment numbers and other positive economic data were released last week."
"Republican Party of Iowa board members will no longer be able to get paid for political campaign work, eliminating potential conflicts of interests," the Des Moines Register
"It's important because Iowa plays an outsized role in winnowing the field of presidential candidates, party leaders say, and the integrity and reputation of the caucuses depend on the conviction that Iowans in positions of political power aren't being paid to stack the deck for their candidate."
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) lost $18 million in a scheme that cheated him and about 120 other investors out of more than $35 million, the AP
"The Virginia man who ran the scheme, William Dean Chapman, was sentenced Friday in federal court to 12 years in prison. Prosecutors say Chapman used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle including a Lamborghini, a Ferrari and a $3 million home."
New York Times
: "In the coming months, the African National Congress will face what may be its most fiercely competitive election since it came to power in 1994 -- and, for the first time, will do so without its most important moral figure, Mr. Mandela."
December 09, 2013
A new Inc./WomanTrend poll
in Arkansas finds Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) by seven points, 48% to 41%.
Key finding: 62% of those polled have an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) told WND
that he will run against against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in the state's Republcian primary race.
Stockman blamed the incumbent GOP senator for undermining Sen. Ted Cruz's "fight to stop Obamacare."
Said Stockman: "We are extremely disappointed in the way he treated his fellow congressmen and broke the 11th commandment and undermined Ted Cruz's fight to stop Obamacare. And now, it looks like Cruz was right and Cornyn was wrong. He sided with the president, essentially, in making sure Obamacare became law while Cruz did everything possible to stop it."
The lawyer representing Mark Obenshain (R) in the pending statewide recount in the Virginia attorney general race on "for the first time openly raised the issue of contesting the election in the General Assembly if the tally does not sway the result in the Republican's favor," the Richmond Times Dispatch
"If he loses the recount, Obenshain could ask a joint session of the General Assembly -- which is dominated by Republicans -- to reverse the results. Under state law, grounds for a contest include objections to 'the conduct or results of the election accompanied by specific allegations which, if proven true, would have a probable impact on the outcome of the election.'"
A new Pew Research/USA today survey
finds that 43% of Americans disapprove of the agreement between the U.S. and Iran over its nuclear program, 32% approve of the deal, while 25% do not offer an opinion.
Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire
"There's no telling what might happen now that Barack Obama and George W. Bush find themselves taking a long Air Force One flight from Washington to Johannesburg to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela. But history suggests something will," Time
"When Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower shared a limo back from Arlington cemetery in November 1963, following the burial of John F. Kennedy, the two men, bitter enemies for more than a decade, finally found a way to set their animosity aside... The two men got to talking and all the years of difficulty and pain melted away as the hours ticked by and the cocktails were refilled."
"Defenses came crashing down again in 1981, when Ronald Reagan sent Richard Nixon, Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter to Cairo to attend the funeral of Anwar Sadat...The ride over on the old Boeing 707 was long, crowded and awkward. But on the way home, Nixon peeled away on a different trip and Carter and Ford dropped a half decade of resentment and realized they had more in common than either imagined. They both hated raising money, they both dreaded 25 years of unexpected retirement; they both disliked Reagan. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship: over the next 25 years, Ford and Carter joined forces on two dozen projects."