June, 2012

What Colin Powell is Reading

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell tells the New York Times he’s reading The Summer of 1787 by David O. Stewart.

“As I grow older, I am
increasingly fascinated by our founding fathers. The challenges they
faced and the compromises they made, good and bad, to create a nation
have inspired us and people around the world. I wish today’s political
leaders, especially in Washington, would show the courage and
willingness to fight for what they believe in, but possess an
understanding of the need to compromise to solve the nation’s problems.
They all need to go off and read 1787.

His recommendation for President Obama: The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam.

“Theories and grand ideas are important. But they seldom unfold as planned. People — it is all about people.”

Rangel Race Turns to Chaos

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was declared the Democratic primary winner in New York’s 13th District — seemingly surviving the most serious reelection threat of his 42-year career — but now Politico reports it’s not so clear.

“It’s a bizarre situation that just keeps getting weirder, a strange case of missing precincts, questionable ballots and utter confusion over who’s to blame for the mess and when the race might be settled.”

White House Failed to Sell Health Care Law

The New York Times reports Democrats are frustrated that the White House which vowed a public relations blitz selling the health care law’s virtues “never fully followed through.”

Said one top White House adviser: “Unfortunately, we never had a really effective strategy around communicating to the public the benefits and the rationale behind health care reform. We never had a spokesperson, and the public never really understood what we were doing.”

“That failure still baffles supporters… given the significance of health care to Mr. Obama’s legacy. Some see it as a result of the president’s own instinctive diffidence or the natural desire to move to the next challenge. Others note the complexity of the act itself, or criticize the president’s advisers for not being more assertive.”

“But there was also calculation on the part of White House officials who concluded that the public was fatigued with the subject and more concerned about jobs.”

One of the Worst Presidents Ever

An excerpt of Where They Stand:The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians by Robert W. Merry in Salon suggests George W. Bush will be ranked near the bottom of all presidents.

“Based on the contemporaneous voter assessments, the objective record, and what we know of history, it’s difficult to see him even in middle-ground territory. History likely will view Bush largely as the voters did after eight years of his stewardship. And so it’s probably just as well that he doesn’t care much about the verdict of history.”

Quote of the Day

“I’m not putting my toe anywhere but I’m just going on my favorite radio
show and talking about a subject that’s very dear to me.”

— Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), quoted by Politicker, when asked if he was putting his “toe in the water” for a return to public service.

Obama Gains in National Poll

A new Democracy Corps poll shows President Obama now leads Mitt Romney in the presidential race by a 3-point margin, 49% to 46% — a net 3-point improvement since last month.

Key finding: “Obama’s gains come partially from gains on whom voters trust to handle the economy. He was down 7 points to Romney in our last poll but is now dead-even. Mitt Romney has asked voters to contrast his business experience against Obama’s record on the economy. Voters are beginning to make that choice, and it has moved voters away from Romney.”

Roberts Jokes About Hiding This Summer

Chief Justice John Roberts joked that he’ll be spending some time in “an impregnable fortress” now that the Supreme Court has ended a session in which he cast the the decisive vote upholding President Obama’s health care law, the AP reports.

Responding to a question about his summer plans, Roberts quipped that he thought his planned trip to Malta to teach a class was a “good idea.”

Flashback of the Day

ABC News digs up video of Mitt Romney admiting in a January 2008 Republican presidential debate that the individual health care mandate he passed in Massachusetts was indeed a tax.

CHARLIE GIBSON: Governor, you imposed tax penalties in Massachusetts…

MITT ROMNEY: Yes, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way; don’t be free-riders and pass on the cost to your health care to everybody else…