May 20, 2013
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: "All the southern states except for West Virginia have a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage, which requires an amendment to repeal the previous one. The process for doing so in many southern states requires a majority in the state legislature, which is to say that voters can't just petition to get something on the ballot... Republican control is a big deal because though the rest of the country has moved, Republicans, especially southern Republicans, have not. Only 26% of Republicans support gay marriage. The percentage of Americans in favor of same-sex marriage rose by 15pt over the past decade; the percentage of Republicans favoring gay marriage only rose by 3pt over the same period. That's a growth rate of only 0.3pt a year."
digs into the latest polling and finds that in the case of the IRS and Benghazi stories, "the lurid and nefarious view of Obama's involvement in them being peddled by the right is held only by Republicans -- big majorities of them -- while most moderates and independents, i.e. the middle of the country, believe the White House's arguments."Paul Brandus
: "One reason Republicans are so obsessed with exploiting these 'scandals' is because the one issue that Americans truly care about --
jobs and the economy -- is getting better."
: "What's worse, for all the controversies -- especially the IRS targeting conservative-sounding groups -- to be a full-fledged scandal that goes all the way to the top? Or for them to be the result of bureaucratic incompetence? You could make an argument that the latter outcome could be just as damaging to the president, because it raises doubts about his competency and the public's trust in government."Joe Klein
: "It can, and will, be argued that the president is to
blame for lousy management."
"Florida Sen. Marco Rubio hasn't popped up in an early-primary state in
six months, leaving potential Republican rivals like Kentucky Sen. Rand
Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to make the
rounds while he carried the torch for his immigration reform plan. But
while furiously working the talk show circuit to sell a bill viewed
warily by many Republican voters, Rubio has been just as doggedly laying
the groundwork for a successful presidential campaign in 2016."
Wall Street Journal
"The White House's chief lawyer learned weeks ago that an audit of the
Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees
inappropriately targeted conservative groups, a senior White House
official said Sunday. That disclosure has prompted a debate over whether
the president should have been notified at that time."
: "This much we know: Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan. The Gipper wasn't aloof and detached, no siree. The fact that he called his Housing Secretary 'Mr. Mayor' -- that showed he was engaged in what the American people cared about, not Washington arcana like the names of the people he had appointed to his Cabinet. Of course, the Gipper was also so deeply and properly engaged that he had to say he did not recall no fewer than 124 times in eight hours of testimony on the Iran-Contra affair."
"Barack Obama is also far more aloof and disengaged than George W. Bush. Bush and his vice president, Darth Vader, were veritable paragons of engagement. That's how their aides ended up leaking the identity of an undercover CIA operative. President Bush and Vice President Strangelove were so busy supervising the conduct of the IRS that they didn't know what Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were up to."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Minnesota shows Jim Graves (D) leads Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in a replay of their 2012 match up, 47% to 45%.
reports the FBI is now investigating complaints of alleged campaign finance violations in Bachmann's presidential campaign.
While promoting her new book
, former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) recounted a phone call with President Obama in which he told her she could be "a modern-day Joan of Arc" by supporting his health care bill, the Portland Press Herald
When Snowe pointed out Joan of Arc had been burned at the stake, Obama reportedly replied: "Don't worry, I'll be there with a fire hose!" She still voted against the bill on the Senate floor.
"The chances of a deal between Democratic and Republican lawmakers that would overhaul the tax system, trim government spending and reform safety net spending programs appear to be fading," Reuters
"A sudden improvement in the outlook for the government deficit over the next decade has alleviated some of the pressure on lawmakers to act. And a spate of scandals, involving the Internal Revenue Service, security for the U.S. mission in Benghazi and the seizure of phone records from the Associated Press news agency, has distracted Congress and the White House."
Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) "has asserted that the state's freedom of information laws do not apply to the Office of the Attorney General, a break from past practice," the Washington Post
"While Cuccinelli's office has continued to respond to requests for documents under the law -- which says that except in certain instances, all records of public bodies should be accessible to the public -- it has begun to insert new language into its responses citing a 2011 Virginia Supreme Court case to support the claim that the law does not apply to the office."
The latest Retro Report
is out: "Crack Babies: A Tale from the Drug Wars"
Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner (D) has been arrested for extortion by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the AP
: "A union representing 12,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers will publicly oppose the Senate Gang of Eight immigration plan Monday, giving critics of the overhaul effort additional political ammunition as they work to defeat legislation working its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee."
May 19, 2013
"When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material," the Washington Post
"They used security badge access records to track the reporter's comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter's personal e-mails."
Virginia Lt. Gov. nominee E.W. Jackson once compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and bemoaned black voters' "slavish devotion" to the Democratic Party, Politico
Said Jackson in a video
posted last year: "The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was."
The Washington Post
says Hillary Clinton's top presidential campaign advisers from 2008 will not be signing up again if she runs in 2016.
"As core members of a dysfunctional 'Team of Rivals,' these top advisers were seared, scattered and, to different degrees, forged by the 2008 experience. Haunted by the failures in management and messaging, they have worked hard to get over their shattered White House dreams and rejection by a Democratic base enamored with Barack Obama. They express their requisite hope that Clinton will run and win, but also their lack of interest in jumping back in."
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward "accused Obama administration officials of invoking the worst instincts of former President Richard Nixon in their response to last year's deadly attack on two U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya," the Wall Street Journal
Said Woodward: "This is not Watergate, but there are some people in the administration who have acted as if they want to be Nixonian, and that's a very big problem."
He added: "This is a business where you have to tell the truth -- and that did not happen."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told CNN
there was a "written policy" floating around the agency that said IRS officials were "targeting people who were opposed to the president."
Said Paul: "And when that comes forward, we need to know who wrote the policy and who approved the policy."
When pressed for details about the memo he was referring to, Paul said he hasn't seen such a policy statement but has heard about it.
"I'm running a Colin Powell military operation, which is assemble an
overwhelming force, focus on a single target and have the stomach to see
it all the way through to the end."
-- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), quoted by Politico
, on how he's avoided having a primary challenge so far.
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said the question of whether any laws were broken in the IRS scandal is "irrelevant" because the agency's actions were wrong and unjustifiable, the Washington Post
Said Pfeiffer: "I can't speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant. The activity was outrageous and inexcusable, and it was stopped and it needs to be fixed to ensure it never happens again."
"Obama clearly has Muslim sensibilities. He sees the world and Israel from a Muslim perspective."
-- Virginina Lt. Gov. nominee E.W. Jackson (R), quoted by BuzzFeed
, writing in 2010.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) predicted that President Obama's health care law will be the biggest issue of the 2014 midterm elections, the Washington Post
Said McConnell: "I don't know what the issues will be next year. If I were predicting what's likely to be the biggest issue in the 2014 election, I think it would be Obamacare. I think it's coming back big-time."
Former New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne (D) told the Newark Star Ledger
that Barbara Buono (D) should consider dropping her challenge to Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Said Byrne: "Buono is way behind. I was way behind in 1977 and I was thinking, if it gets worse, I'm going to withdraw. It didn't get worse. As a matter fact, it got better. But at one point I thought of dropping out in favor of a better-positioned candidate. I don't know whether that consideration would appeal to Buono, but I would advise she make that evaluation."
"What we've seen in the last seven or eight days have really shaken me. History teaches us that when government is too large and too powerful, no matter who's in charge, it will lead to abuses."
-- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-VA), quoted by the Tampa Bay Times