May 2010

May 19, 2010

On the Radar: May 19, 2010

Three Ways of Looking at an Election
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Campaign strategists and pundits hoping to find the Gospel truth in today's election results weren't disappointed: There was birth, death, and resurrection. Rand Paul was born as a national leader of the Tea Party movement. Arlen Specter's long political career came to an end. And the Democratic Party and Blanche Lincoln were brought back from the dead.  Continue Reading 

Sen. Arlen Specter loses Pennsylvania primary; Rand Paul wins in Kentucky
By Dan Balz and Chris Cilizza, The Washington Post
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (D), a Senate fixture who switched parties a year ago, lost his bid for reelection Tuesday, while in Kentucky, ophthalmologist Rand Paul rode the anti-Washington energy of the "tea party" movement to an easy victory.  Continue Reading

Specter Defeat Signals a Wave Against Incumbents 
By Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse, The New York Times
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who left the Republican Party a year ago in hopes of salvaging a 30-year career, was rejected on Tuesday by Democratic primary voters, with Representative Joe Sestak winning the party’s nomination on an anti-incumbent wave that is defining the midterm elections.  Continue Reading 

Activists seize control of politics 
By  John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei, POLITICO
For any politician with the usual instincts for self-protection, the lessons of Tuesday’s primaries could not be more clear: This could happen to you. Arlen Specter lost in Pennsylvania even though the party-switching Democrat was recruited and backed by a sitting president. Rand Paul won in Kentucky even though the Republican was regarded as an eccentric renegade. . .  Continue Reading 

Obama endorsements don't seem to help Democrats
By Charles Babington, Associated Press  
Voters rejected one of President Barack Obama's hand-picked candidates and forced another into a runoff, the latest sign that his political capital is slipping beneath a wave of anti-establishment anger. Continue Reading 

Thesis Is Window on Roots of Kagan’s Legal Creed
By Peter Baker and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The New York Times
As a young graduate student, Elena Kagan wrote that it was “not necessarily wrong or invalid” for judges to “try to mold and steer the law” to achieve social ends, but warned that such rulings must be rooted in legal principles to be accepted by society and endure.   Continue Reading

May 20, 2010

On the Radar: May 20, 2010

Voters' anger at Washington may overpower any fixes
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Voters sent a clear message on Tuesday: They don't like the way Washington works. But they sent a mixed message on what would make it work better, which adds up to a virtual guarantee that it might be a long time before Washington actually does work better.   Continue Reading 

Elections show a brawl ahead for incumbents 
By Gloria Borger, CNN 
No doubt about it, all those angry voters out there -- on the right, on the left and in the center -- can wake up today with a sense of accomplishment. The insiders were, by and large, ousted. The outsiders are a step closer to victory. In Pennsylvania and Kentucky, the establishment was routed; in Arkansas, the moderate Democratic incumbent could not win outright and faces a tough runoff.   Continue Reading

One Win Is Altering Parties' Calculus  
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Of all Tuesday's election results, it's the Democrats' win in a U.S. House contest in Pennsylvania that is causing both parties to re-examine what they thought they knew about the 2010 campaign. Voters in and around Johnstown—overwhelmingly white, blue-collar and not college-educated—sided narrowly with Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential race. Since then, national polls have shown such voters to be swinging sharply toward the GOP.  Continue Reading 

Scandalous: Who stays, who goes? 
By John F. Harris and Ekika Loveley, POLITICO
You could think of Rep. Mark Souder as something of a traditionalist. Caught in an embarrassing sex scandal, the Indiana Republican confessed that he was “shamed,” then walked what generations of misbehaving public figures have regarded as the honorable path: resigning in disgrace. Or you could think of Souder as something else: a sucker. Why step down over something so drably familiar as an affair with an aide?  Continue Reading 

Primary elections help define President Obama's role in midterm elections
By Karen Tumulty and Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post   
The biggest primary day this year brought some resolution to one of the trickiest questions confronting Democrats as they march toward the fall elections: What role will President Obama play? Continue Reading 

Obama’s Second State Dinner Attracts No Gate Crashers
By Peter Baker, The New York Times
Some of them were still clutching their embossed invitations, proof that they belonged. They had already been asked their names once, twice, three times to make sure they were actually on the list. And as the guests for the second state dinner of Barack Obama’s presidency arrived on Wednesday night, the White House tried to purge the memories of the uninvited guests   Continue Reading

GOP outsider surges in Conn. polls
By Susan Milligan, The Boston Globe
Just months ago, Republican Linda McMahon’s quest for the US Senate seat here seemed quixotic at best: a former world wrestling executive, with no political experience or network, spending millions of her own fortune on an election in a heavily Democratic state. But with a strong anti-establishment mood sweeping the country, McMahon’s candidacy has gone from a curiosity to a genuine threat to the experienced GOP opponent she faces  Continue Reading 

May 21, 2010

On the Radar: May 21, 2010

Rand Paul comments about civil rights stir controversy
By Krissah Thompson and Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Two days after becoming the newest symbol of "tea party" politics, Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky thrust himself, his party and the movement into an uncomfortable conversation about the federal government's role in prohibiting racial discrimination and about a period of history that most politicians consider beyond debate.  Continue Reading 

Rand Old Party  
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine 
This is an anti-establishment year, and no one personifies that sentiment better than Rand Paul. He trounced his establishment-backed opponent in the Kentucky Republican Senate primary by railing against Washington and GOP leaders who did not support him. It turns out, however, that the establishment isn't completely useless.  Continue Reading

Senate approves sweeping overhaul of financial regulations  
By Janet Hook and Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
The Senate on Thursday approved the most sweeping rewrite of financial rules since the Great Depression, a milestone in President Obama's drive to expand government oversight and safeguard against another crisis like the Wall Street meltdown of 2008. The 59-39 vote was mostly along party lines: Four Republicans joined all but two Democrats in supporting the legislation.  Continue Reading 

Facing a Rift, U.S. Spy Chief to Step Down 
By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times
Dennis C. Blair, whose often tumultuous tenure as director of national intelligence was marked by frequent clashes with White House officials and other spy chiefs in America’s still fractured intelligence apparatus, announced Thursday that he was resigning.   Continue Reading 

BP says it is capturing 5,000 barrels of oil a day from gulf spill 
By Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, The Washington Post
BP said Thursday that it is now capturing 5,000 barrels a day of crude oil and 15 million cubic feet of natural gas from a leaking pipe at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the first official admission that earlier estimates of the amount of oil spilling into sea were too small.   Continue Reading 

Louisiana Sandbar Plan Worries Some Scientists
By Elizabeth Shogren, National Public Radio    
Louisiana officials are pleading for federal approval to build colossal sandbars outside barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico to protect the state's vast wetlands from the oil spurting from the Deepwater Horizon rig. Heavy oil started showing up in state wetlands earlier this week, heightening the officials' urgency.  Continue Reading 

Financial reform flashpoints
By Carrie Budoff Brown and Eamon Javers, POLITICO
The financial reform bill isn’t done yet, but that isn’t stopping the parties from testing their pitches to midterm voters. To Democrats, the bill is a consumer-friendly Wall Street comeuppance. To the GOP, a market-stifling Obama overreach, just like health care.  Continue Reading

U.S. Rolls Up Red Carpet for Karzai Rival
By Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, The New York Times
The Obama administration, after pulling out all the stops last week to show some love and affection to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, is giving the cold shoulder to Mr. Karzai’s vanquished political rival, Abdullah Abdullah.   Continue Reading

May 24, 2010

On the Radar: May 24, 2010

Weekend Reports & Columns
For Democrats, a Tea Party Target
By John Harwood, The New York Times
Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, has a vision of how the foreboding national political environment might evolve to his party’s advantage. The old debate, in Mr. Emanuel’s telling, pitted Big Government against Small Government. Republicans won it in 1980 when Ronald Reagan... Continue reading

The Obama effect -- Are you with him or against him?  

By David S. Broder, The Washington Post
Halfway through the 2010 primary season, the fundamental tension in the American political system is becoming more clear: A liberal government is struggling to impose its agenda on an electorate increasingly responsive to... Continue reading  
Anti-incumbent mood with a twist
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Tuesday's election results show that the GOP isn't going to automatically benefit from voters' anti-Washington sentiment.    Continue reading
Primaries school: What GOP can learn before midterm elections  
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Democrats got an election-year wake-up call in January when they lost the Massachusetts Senate seat long held by Edward M. Kennedy. Did Republicans get their wake-up call last week? Republicans lost a winnable race in the...Continue reading
Weekly Reporter Stories

W.H. navigates marriage of necessity with BP
By Mike Allen and Eamon Javers, POLITICO
With the political pressure on the White House mounting as oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen acknowledged Sunday that it would be the massive oil company — not the federal government – that would have to stop the leak.  Continue reading    
Republicans See Big Chance, but Are Worried, Too  
By Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse, The New York Times 
Republicans remain confident of making big gains in the fall elections, but as the midterm campaign begins in earnest, they face a series of challenges that could keep the party from fully capitalizing on an electorate clamoring for change in Washington.  Continue reading
Obama calls for a strategy of global cooperation
By  Lisa Mascaro and Christi Parsons, Tribune
Returning to the place where he unveiled his war strategy, President Obama on Saturday presented a broad view of national security policy grounded in international cooperation, marking the latest repudiation of the foreign policy of George W. Bush.  Continue reading

May 25, 2010

On the Radar: May 25, 2010

Obama administration conflicted about relying on BP to stop gulf oil spill
By Karen Tumulty and Steven Mufson
The tenuous alliance among the Obama administration, the oil firm BP and Gulf Coast officials was visibly fraying on Monday, with exasperation on all sides mounting as oil from a deep-water gusher began lapping at the region's environmentally fragile shoreline.   Continue Reading 

Justice Department Closely Watching BP's Handling of Gulf Oil Spill  
By Pierre Thomas and Jason Ryan, ABC News 
ABC News has learned that the Justice Department has quietly asked BP and Transocean to preserve all documents related to the oil spill and ensuing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico -- a sign that legal action against the companies may be in the future.  Continue Reading

For Sestak Matter, a ‘Trust Us’ Response From White House  
By Peter Baker, The New York Times 
For three months, the White House has refused to say whether it offered a job to Representative Joe Sestak to get him to drop his challenge to Senator Arlen Specter in a Pennsylvania Democratic primary, as Mr. Sestak has asserted.  But the White House wants everyone who suspects that something untoward, or even illegal, might have happened to rest easy: Continue Reading 

Deal could end 'don't ask, don't tell' 
By Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro, Tribune 
President Obama reached a deal with key Democrats on Monday that could repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy governing gays and lesbians in the military — assuming Congress signs on. The proposal would let lawmakers vote now to repeal the law and allow people who are openly gay to serve, once the president and top military leaders certify   Continue Reading 

On the way out and not so restrained 
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO 
The political turmoil outside Washington has created an odd byproduct inside the Beltway: a Senate with a record number of lame ducks. The growing roster of free agents is making it harder for Democratic and Republican leaders to manage their caucuses and messaging. It also creates some opportunities for last-minute, legacy-building compromises.  Continue Reading 

Obama Asks for Authority to Cut Items on Spending   
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times    
President Obama on Monday became the latest White House resident to ask Congress for greater authority to cut specific items from spending bills, but even heightened concern about federal deficits may not be enough to overcome lawmakers’ traditional resistance to sharing more of their constitutional power of the purse. Continue Reading 

Darrell Issa: White House Can't Just Say it Didn't Break the Law
By John Dickerson, CBS News
The White House is insisting that when an unnamed administration official allegedly offered Rep. Joe Sestak a job in return for dropping his Senate bid, "nothing inappropriate happened" -- but that's not good enough, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said today on Washington Unplugged.    Continue Reading

2nd ruling on firefighter tests, death-row decision
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today 
By a 9-0 vote, the justices said African-American applicants who challenged Chicago's hiring exam for firefighter jobs did not wait too long to bring their claim of discrimination. The justices ruled narrowly on a question of deadlines in U.S. anti-bias law. The case was the second in two years involving firefighters and complaints about city testing policies.   Continue Reading 

May 26, 2010

On the Radar: May 26, 2010

BP’s Ties to Agency Are Long and Complex
By Helene Cooper and John M. Broder, The New York Times
Three years ago, the national laboratory then headed by Steven Chu received the bulk of a $500 million grant from the British oil giant BP to develop alternative energy sources through a new Energy Biosciences Institute.  Continue Reading 

Republicans escalate criticism of oil spill response  
By Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post  
Republican criticism of President Obama's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is escalating, as lawmakers grow increasingly frustrated with what has so far proved an unstoppable flow.   Continue Reading

North Korea Cuts All Ties With South  
By David E. Sanger and Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times 
North and South Korea accelerated their diplomatic confrontation on Tuesday over the recent sinking of a South Korean warship, with the South saying it would redesignate the North its “archenemy” and North Korea severing almost all of its remaining ties to its far wealthier neighbor. Continue Reading 

President Obama to send more National Guard troops to U.S.-Mexico border 
By Michael D. Shear and Spencer S. Hsu, The Washington Post 
President Obama will deploy 1,200 National Guard troops and request an extra $500 million to secure the Mexican border, his administration said Tuesday, a move dismissed by Republicans as insufficient to win their cooperation on an overhaul of the nation's immigration system.  Continue Reading 

Obama's Jobs Program 
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine 
There was a time when the White House and Rep. Joe Sestak were enemies. Now they're in the bunker together: Neither wants to talk about whether a White House official tried to get Sestak to drop his campaign for senator by offering him a job. With its reticence, the Obama White House raises some eerie (and, from its perspective, unwelcome) parallels with the Bush White House. Continue Reading 

Summers: The Fiscal Questions Don’t Change, The Answers Do    
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal     
“There is an old joke about economics exams,” economist Lawrence Summers, a top Obama adviser said in a speech Monday. “The questions never change, but the answers always do.” Take government budget deficits. At some points, economists say they must “be reduced in order to grow the economy, prevent financial Armageddon, or to keep the country solvent.” At other points,  Continue Reading 

May 27, 2010

On the Radar: May 27, 2010

Five questions for Obama on the oil spill
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post 
As his administration comes under increasing criticism for its handling of the spreading environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama will hold a White House news conference Thursday, his first since February,  Continue Reading 

New Security Strategy Focuses on Managing Threats  
By David E. Sanger and Peter Baker, The New York Times  
President Obama’s first formal National Security Strategy argues that preserving American leadership in the world hinges on learning to accept and manage the rise of many competitors, and dismisses as far too narrow the Bush era doctrine that fighting terrorism should be the nation’s overarching objective.  Continue Reading

Treasury’s Five-Point Wish List for Financial Overhaul
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal  
Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin, in remarks for delivery to a group in Baltimore today, listed five things the administration is pressing for in the House-Senate conference on the sprawling financial-regulatory reform bill — beyond those on which there is substantial agreement. Continue Reading 

Obama Outraged Over BP Spill, Federal Oil Regulators 
By Edwin Chen and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg  
President Barack Obama’s outrage over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has reached “the upper scale” and is directed at both BP Plc and federal regulators, senior White House adviser David Axelrod said. “His anger and frustration about those things, and his anger and frustration about any attempt to obfuscate the amount of damage that’s been done by the company is great,” Axelrod said Continue Reading 

U.S. police chiefs say Arizona immigration law will increase crime 
By Spencer Hsu, The Washington Post  
Arizona's new crackdown on illegal immigration will increase crime in U.S. cities, not reduce it, by driving a wedge between police and immigrant communities, police chiefs from several of the state's and the nation's largest cities said Wednesday.  Continue Reading 

Exclusive: Flying Above Afghanistan on F-15E Fighter Combat Mission
By Martha Raddatz, ABC News      
I am now an official "combat aviator" with 5½ hours in the back seat of an F-15E Strike Eagle, flying two separate combat missions over Afghanistan. The takeoff from Bagram Airfield is steep and fast, with the fighter jet's afterburners creating thrust that can rocket us up to 20,000 feet in just over a minute. It is a deadly serious combat mission, but it's hard not to be exhilarated by the power of that aircraft.  Continue Reading  

May 28, 2010

On the Radar: May 28, 2010

Obama struggling to show he's in control of oil spill
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
A defensive President Obama sought Thursday to quell doubts about his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, insisting that his administration has been "in charge" from the moment it began and bristling that critics who accuse it of being sluggish to react "don't know the facts." Continue Reading...

Louisiana Argues Over Who Pays for Sandbar
By Elizabeth Shogren, NPR
The fight over money is delaying the state's best hope of saving its marshes. Listen...

Responding to Spill, Obama Mixes Regret With Resolve
By Peter Baker, The New York Times
President Obama uttered three words on Thursday that many of his 43 predecessors twisted themselves into knots trying with varying degrees of success to avoid: “I was wrong.” Continue Reading...

Obama punts on Birnbaum exit
By Eamon Javers & Carol E. Lee, POLITICO
It was a remarkable moment in President Barack Obama’s press conference Thursday: just hours before, the head of the Minerals Management Service had left the top post at the agency that oversees offshore oil drilling. Continue Reading...

Obama Faces ‘No-Win’ Dilemma in Taking Ownership of Oil Spill
By Edwin Chen, Bloomberg
By claiming ownership of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, President Barack Obama may stem criticism that he hasn’t been sufficiently engaged. Avoiding political fallout from what may become the nation’s worst environmental disaster will be more difficult. Continue Reading...