October 2010

Oct 01, 2010

On the Radar: October 1, 2010

The Pelosi Effect
by Susan Davis, National Journal
Congress adjourned a week earlier than scheduled and lawmakers headed home, relieved to get out of Washington. But for dozens of embattled House Democrats the premature exit may not be enough to safely distance themselves from their party leader in the homestretch of the midterm campaign. Continue reading

Obama makes it official, sends off top aide Emanuel
by Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
The chief of staff is leaving to run for mayor of Chicago; his exit is the first of several planned departures of top White House officials that will bring significant turnover to the president's economic and policy team.  Continue reading

Boehner Says House Needs Renovation
by Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. House of Representatives would have to spend a whole lot more time scrutinizing appropriations bills, if Republicans win control in November and Rep. John Boehner (R., Ohio) has his way as speaker. Continue reading

The Big Interview with Austan Goolsbee
by David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to President Obama, said it isn't his job to make the business community happy, despite their frustrations with the administration. He also defended the administration's economic record in an interview with WSJ's David Wessel. Watch video

TARP Bailout to Cost Less Than Once Anticipated
by Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
Even as voters rage and candidates put up ads against government bailouts, the reviled mother of them all — the $700 billion lifeline to banks, insurance and auto companies — will expire after Sunday at a fraction of that cost, and could conceivably earn taxpayers a profit. Continue reading

Reshaped Supreme Court charts new era
by Joan Biskupic, USA Today
When the Supreme Court opens its term on Monday, it will look different from any U.S. high court in history. And as this new set of nine — including, for the first time, three women — begins to resolve cases, it could chart new territory on the law, too. Continue reading


Oct 04, 2010

On the Radar: October 4, 2010

Parties Scramble to Adapt to Shifting Political Scene
by Naftali Bendavid and Joe Barrett, The Wall Street Journal
Democrats and Republicans enter the final month before Election Day with a growing number of Senate seats in play and the parties battling in some unexpected states. Continue reading

It’s Time for Democrats to Attack, Pelosi Says
by John Harwood, The New York Times
If Washington normally blends the business of government with electoral politics, this week signifies a turn toward an unalloyed electoral brawl. Continue reading

John Boehner's useful thoughts on fixing Congress
by David S. Broder, The Washington Post
The Democrats were lying in wait for John Boehner when the Republican leader of the House announced that he would address the subject of congressional reform in a speech Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute. Continue reading

How Ugly Will It Get?
by John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Will the Republican presidential race get nasty quickly? David Plouffe, the architect of Barack Obama's 2008 victory, says he wouldn't mind at all it if Sarah Palin were to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2012. Continue reading

Governors Race Rankings
by National Journal reporters
While the House and Senate landscapes have been volatile, the slate of competitive governor's races has remained remarkably stable this year. That's not good news for Democrats, who need a miracle to prevent large-scale bloodletting of a once-promising class of chief executives. Continue reading

Obama signals continuity, for now, with staff changes
by Dan Balz, The Washington Post
If President Obama is contemplating a genuine shakeup of his White House or a significant change of direction for his administration after the November elections, his first round of personnel moves gives little hint of that. Maybe just the opposite. Continue reading

Bailout Ends, Not Anger
by Deborah Solomon and Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
The nation's top financial regulators gathered in Washington Friday to start work on a new council designed to prevent the need for more government bailouts. First, however, the U.S. will have to grapple with the long-term effects of the last one, the much-maligned Troubled Asset Relief Program. Continue reading

Courts may be key as 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal stalls
by Nancy Youssef  and William Douglas, McClatchy Newspapers
With Congress stalled on whether to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," some proponents of eliminating the long-standing prohibition on gays and lesbians in the military now believe their best hope lies with an increasingly supportive court system. Continue reading

Historic court preps for free-speech case
by Pete Williams, NBC News
The Supreme Court, now with three women justices, will try two important cases: the right to protest at a military funeral and the sale of violent video games, both of which test the protections of the First Amendment.  Watch video

Obama's Afghan War Strategy
by Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Bob Woodward's new book sheds light on the president's intentions. He clearly wants out. Continue reading

Looking Ahead to the Next Supreme Court Term
by Joan Biskupic, USA Today
Dynamics on the bench for the coming term opener of the US Supreme Court. Watch video



Oct 05, 2010

On the Radar: October 5, 2010

House Race Ranking
by National Journal reporters
The Hotline Assesses Which House Seats Are Most Likely To Switch Party Control This Year. Continue reading

by John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Examining the Democratic claim that the race is tightening. Continue reading

Parties spend due to early voting
by Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
The polls are miserable. The issues are cutting against them. But Democrats are convinced they still have one advantage in what’s shaping up to be a brutal midterm: a better ground game to take advantage of early voting. Continue reading

Democrats gain in poll but GOP still leads as midterm elections near
by Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, The Washington Post
Less than a month before the midterm elections, the political landscape remains strongly tilted toward Republicans, although Democrats have made modest improvements with voters since their late-summer low point, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Continue reading

Drones Kill Westerners in Pakistan
By Mark Mazzetti and Souad Mekhennet, The New York Times
Drone aircraft operated by the Central Intelligence Agency killed several militants with German citizenship in the mountains of Pakistan on Monday, according to Pakistani and American officials. Continue reading


Oct 06, 2010

On the Radar: October 6, 2010

Obama Strains to Get Liberals Back Into Fold Ahead of Vote
by Peter Baker, The New York Times
With four weeks until Congressional elections that will shape the remainder of his term, President Obama is increasingly focused on generating enthusiasm within the base that helped put him in the White House two years ago, from college students to African-Americans.  Continue reading...

Ohio's Fisher and Portman reveal wide partisan divide in Senate debate
by Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post
Democrat Lee Fisher and Republican Rob Portman sparred over jobs, Social Security and trade in their first of three Senate debates in Ohio on Monday night, drawing a stark contrast for voters as the state struggles to recover from the recession. Continue reading...

World Leaders to discuss averting currency war
by Tom Gjelten, NPR
At the height of the global financial crisis two years ago, world leaders braced for a trade war. Governments were desperate to save jobs and protect their industries from foreign competition. Continue reading...

Central banks open the Spigot
by David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
The world's main central banks are moving to respond to a weak global recovery, aiming to reduce global deflation risks and to stop their currencies from rising against those of trading partners. Continue reading

Consumer agency taps Wall Streeter
by Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal
Elizabeth Warren has tapped Raj Date, a former Wall Street banker, to serve as a senior adviser as she helps stand up the new consumer agency charged with writing and enforcing rules for consumer financial products, such as credit cards and mortgages. Continue reading...

Amid backlash and budget deficits, government workers' pensions are targets
by Michael Fletcher, The Washington Post
Faced with deep budget deficits and overextended pension plans, state and local leaders are increasingly looking to trim the lucrative retirement benefits that have long been associated with government employment. Continue reading...


Oct 12, 2010

On the Radar: October 12, 2010

For Democrats, Even ‘Safe’ Seats Are Shaky
by Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Republicans are expanding the battle for the House into districts that Democrats had once considered relatively safe, while Democrats began a strategy of triage on Monday to fortify candidates who they believe stand the best chance of survival. Read more

Outside spending redraws 2010 map
by Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
By August, Arizona Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick had raised more than $1.4 million for her campaign. Her opponent, Paul Gosar, had raised just $410,000 and spent all but $41,000 of it after his primary. Should be a slam-dunk for Kirkpatrick, right? Not this year. Read more

For both parties, a shared if questionable message
by Charles Babington, Associated Press
To hear top strategists from both parties tell it, Democratic candidates are clawing their way back from an electoral abyss, making small but measurable gains that might enable them to keep their congressional majorities this fall. Read more

Beyond the tea party: What Americans really think of government
by Jon Cohen and Dan Balz, The Washington Post
If there is an overarching theme of election 2010, it is the question of how big the government should be and how far it should reach into people's lives. Read more

Democrats Vie for Votes, and Their Party’s Largess
by John Harwood, The New York Times
Embattled Democratic lawmakers must fight this week to impress two audiences: voters, and party leaders back in Washington now deciding where to invest for the campaign homestretch. Read more

Little Big Race
by John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Is Nevada's Third District the most important House race in the country? Read more

Ohio's GOP Senate candidate is a man to watch
by David S. Broder, The Washington Post
There is a pattern to the political life of Rob Portman, as he reflected over dinner the other night. It is one that has brought him to the verge of victory in the Ohio Senate race and conceivably could make him the Republican presidential nominee in 2016. Read more

From offense to defense
by Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
The White House, anticipating GOP gains in the November midterm elections, is looking to hold on to what it has accomplished. Read more

Obama Pushes Transportation Spending
by Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
The Obama administration said Monday that it would ask the lame-duck Congress next month to approve a $50 billion down payment on his long-range initiative to improve the nation’s roads, railways and air systems and to find savings...Read more

Report warns of coming wave of municipal pension shortfalls
by Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post
The nation's largest municipal pension plans are carrying a total unfunded liability of $574 billion, which comes on top of as much as $3 trillion in unfunded pension promises made by the states, according to a report released Tuesday. Read more

Woodward's book hastened Jones' exit from Obama circle
by Steven Thomma and Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
Retired Marine Gen. James Jones resigned Friday as the White House National Security Adviser and was replaced by his deputy, Thomas Donilon. Read more



Oct 20, 2010

On the Radar: October 20, 2010

Talk Grows of Third-Party in 201
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Could the political turbulence of this unusual year yield a serious third-party bid in 2012? Read more

Pulse of the American Voter
By John Harwood, CNBC
A new NBC WSJ poll shows the GOP are poised to make significant gains across the country. Watch video

Democrats bank on early voting to bridge enthusiasm gap
By Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post
Walter Grimsley woke up Saturday morning and remembered he had an errand to run. He had to go vote. Read more

Losing it: Politics goes nuts
By John A. Harris, POLITICO
American politics, which has been hovering on the edge all year, has finally gone flying off it. Read more

Man Down
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Politics claims another casualty in its war against clear language. Read more

Obama's suddenly bumpy road to relection
by Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
The news of the past few weeks, especially on the economic front, has raised early warning signals about President Obama's prospects for reelection. Read more

Meg Whitman's $139 million could turn California governor's vote
by Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
To spend any time at all in California these days is to feel the gale force of Meg Whitman's money. Read more

Jobless benefits about to crash
By John Maggs, POLITICO
With no end in sight to the nation’s high unemployment, the government program to help the jobless is heading for a crash. Read more

CIA Was Told About Bomber of Afghan Base, Inquiry Finds
By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times
Three weeks before a Jordanian double agent set off a bomb at a remote Central Intelligence Agency base in eastern Afghanistan last December, a C.I.A. officer in Jordan received warnings...Read more

Oct 21, 2010

On the Radar: October 21, 2010

Republicans' secret formula — 501(c)(4)
By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times
Sure, Republicans are exploiting a gap in the law to avoid disclosing their donors. But the real question is how did the Democrats allow themselves to be so badly outfoxed in the big-money competition? Read more

Clarence Thomas's wife calls Anita Hill, stirring an old controversy
By Karen Tumulty and Kevin Merida, The Washington Postwife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to confront the woman who accused him of sexual harassment two decades ago has stirred up old and painful questions that have never fully been put to rest. Read more

 N.A.A.C.P. Report Raises Concerns About Racism Within Tea Party Groups
By Kate Zernike, The New York Times 
The nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization released a report Wednesday declaring that the Tea Party is “permeated with concerns about race,” an assessment that is likely to reignite a feud between the two groups.  Read more

Obama Tries to Shore Up the Party Base With a Western Campaign Swing
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
With two weeks to go until the midterm elections, Mr. Obama is trying desperately to shore up the Democratic base, appealing to voters in Oregon, Washington and California — traditionally blue states where Republicans have been running competitive campaigns.  Read more 

Dem donor to incumbents: Pony up
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
A furious Democratic donor is calling out safe House and Senate incumbents who are hoarding cash in hopes of shaming them into contributing to their embattled colleagues. Read more 

Appeals court temporarily reinstates military's gay ban
By Nancy Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
A federal appeals court in California temporarily reinstated "don't ask, don't tell" while it considers an Obama administration appeal of a lower court judge's ruling that the military's ban on openly gay service members is unconstitutional. Read more

Oct 22, 2010

On the Radar: October 22, 2010

Democrats Try to Revive Female Voters’ Enthusiasm
by Helene Cooper and Monica Davey, The New York Times
Women came out strong for Barack Obama in 2008. Now, with barely 10 days before the midterm elections that are looking increasingly perilous for his party, he is trying to win them back. Read more

The Good Soldier
by John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Chris Van Hollen does his valiant best at making the case for the Democrats. Read more

Democrats Try to Tie GOP Candidates to Christine O’Donnell
by Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Democrats have a new tactic in the midterm campaigns: Tie Republican candidates to Christine O’Donnell. Read more

In two years, a fearful turn in Obama's speeches
By Peter Nicholas and Christi Parsons, Tribune Washington Bureau
With the 2008 Democratic primary race all but won, Barack Obama appeared at a massive outdoor rally here and delivered a message that was unique by the cutthroat standards of American political campaigns. Read more

Bill Clinton races to help Democratic candidates
by Charles Babington, Associate Press
Bill Clinton, out of the Oval Office for nearly a decade and once considered a political liability, is campaigning for Democratic candidates at a pace no one can match, drawing big crowds and going to states that President Barack Obama avoids. Read more

Dole-Ford era offers model for Obama-GOP cooperation
by David S. Broder, The Washington Post
Itinerant politicians and journalists have learned they can expect a warm welcome and a stimulating evening when they visit the hilltop home of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics here at the University of Kansas. Read more

Pentagon revives 'don't ask, don't tell,' but with restrictions
by Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
Only top members of the Defense Department now can expel service members under the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the Pentagon announced Thursday in response to...Read more

Pakistani Troops Linked to Abuses Will Lose Aid
by Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, The New York Times
The Obama administration will refuse to train or equip about a half-dozen Pakistani Army units that are believed to have killed unarmed prisoners and civilians during recent offensives against the Taliban...Read more

China Flexes Muscles With Rare Earth Export Cut
by Tom Gjelten, NPR
To a trade dispute with China now over its export of so-called rare earth minerals. They're widely used in high-tech manufacturing. Last month, China blocked shipments to Japan. That move followed Japan's detention of a Chinese captain whose boat had ventured into Japanese waters. Read more

Oct 25, 2010

On the Radar: October 25, 2010

After the Wave: Mitch McConnell wants to learn from history, but his new recruits will not be easily led
By Major Garrett, National Journal
Mitch McConnell wants to learn from history, but his new recruits will not be easily led. Read more

Election Day could bring historic split: Democrats lose House, keep Senate
by Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
The question around Washington today is not whether Nov. 2 will be a difficult day for the Democrats who control Congress, but rather how bad it will be. Read more

Declaring Independence, Even as Obama Stumps
By John Harwood, The New York Times
Through the blur of final campaign speeches and television advertisements, here’s one thing voters everywhere can expect to see: the independence reflex. Read more

Tightening Senate races give pause to upbeat GOP
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
To understand Republicans' nagging fear that the Nov. 2 elections might not be quite the massive triumph that many have predicted, check out Pennsylvania's perplexing Senate race. Read more

The Pennsylvania Story
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
The state's Senate race may show how the parties will fare nationally in the midterm elections. Read more

G.O.P. Is Poised to Seize House, if Not Senate
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
A costly and polarizing Congressional campaign heads into its closing week with Republicans in a strong position to win the House but with Democrats maintaining a narrow edge in the battle for the Senate, according to a race-by-race review and lawmakers and strategists on both sides. Read more

Following Campaign Cash
By Eamon Javers, CNBC
A comparison of banking and hedge fund contributions towards Democrats and Republicans. Watch video

GOP Dubious About Obama's Wish List
By Fawn Johnson, National Journal
President Obama believes Democrats and
Republicans can reach agreement next year on education, infrastructure, and energy legislation. That’s a tall order. The GOP has thus far rebuffed the administration’s efforts in all three areas, although some policymakers and lobbyists say consensus is possible if the political conditions allow for it. Read more

Wikileaks Releases Disturbing Details From Iraq
By Tom Gjelten, NPR
The whistleblower site WikiLeaks has rocked the Pentagon again by releasing a huge new batch of classified U.S. military reports. Nearly 400,000 files on the Iraq war were shared initially with The New York Times, three European news organizations and Al Jazeera.  Read more

What America might learn from the British austerity model
By David Broder, The Washington Post
The most important political news last week came from across the Atlantic, where the coalition government of British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered an austerity budget that radically reduces government spending on the welfare state. Read more

Oct 26, 2010

On the Radar: October 26, 2010

Dems' 2010 crisis has roots in 2009
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
The political forces currently aligned against Democrats — apathy in the liberal base, flight among independents and Republican rage — traceback to early 2009, and the White House either miscalculated their risks or intensified them through its actions. Read more

In Nevada, it's can't live with Harry Reid and can't live without him
By Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post
The empty field on the edge of town tells the story of Harry Reid's life and the political troubles that could spell the end of his career. Read more

The Audacity of Nope
By Todd Purdum, Vanity Fair
With his perma-tan, two-pack-a-day baritone, and natty wardrobe, House Republican leader John Boehner is a backslapping, deal-making throwback to the G.O.P.’s past. But his recent “Hell, no!” anti-Obama strategy, as he seeks to ride the Tea Party wave, may point to an ugly future. Read more

Can Democrats Flip the Poll Numbers?
By John Dickerson, CBS News
The final pre-election Politico-George Washington University Battleground Poll gives the GOP a 14 percent lead over Democrats. Can Democrats gain any ground back before election day?  Watch video

Story of the Midterms, Told Through 5 Races
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
The House of Representatives increasingly looks as though it will shift significantly in favor of Republicans as campaigns head into the final week before Election Day. Read more

Divide on U.S. Deficit Likely to Grow After Election
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
A midterm campaign that has turned heavily on the issue of the mounting federal debt is likely to yield a government even more split over what to do about it, people in both parties say, with diminished Democrats and reinforced Republicans... Read more

Oct 27, 2010

On the Radar: October 27, 2010

Democrats Counting on Strength of Obama’s Get-Out-the-Vote Network 
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Democrats have tried improving the political climate, discrediting their Republican opponents and asking Americans for patience in tackling the nation’s challenges, but the party’s best hope of stemming deep losses on Election Day may now rest on loyalty and logistics, not persuasion. Read more

Pence Said to Consider Scaling Back House Duties
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Mr. Pence has come to occupy an unusual niche over the past two years. He’s one of the few Washington political leaders who’s won widespread support among tea party activists, and he’s spoken at various tea party events. He also won the presidential straw poll at the recent “Value Voters” summit. At the same time, he plays an important role in the House Republican leadership. Read more

Democrats getting outspent? Not so fast
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
To hear top Democrats tell it, the party is being wildly outgunned this year in the fight for campaign cash as Republicans rely on outside groups to funnel money to GOP contenders. But the numbers tell a different story. Read more

Jockeying for House Posts
By Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal
Senior Republicans in the House, pressed by the party's base to hew to conservative principles and rein in spending, are homing in on that message as they jockey to become chairmen of the chamber's most powerful committees. Read more

Time's up for Dems' hopes for upturn
By John Maggs, POLITICO
Time’s up for Democrats looking for good news on the economy. More bad news this week squelched any hope that President Barack Obama and his party might benefit from a glimmer of an improvement in the economic picture before Election Day. Read More

"Washington Unplugged" Answers Your Questions
With John Dickerson, CBS News

A U.S. State on the Verge of Default: A Simulation… Or Is It?
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
The scenario: It’s 2013. The third largest U.S. state — dubbed New Jefferson — faces a $1.5 billion bond payment and its governor and legislators are gridlocked. The governor calls Washington and asks for an emergency loan to avoid default and another $10 billion to tide the state over.  Read more

Global extinction crisis looms, new study says
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post 
A growing number of creatures could disappear from the earth, with one-fifth of all vertebrates and as many as a third of all sharks and rays now facing the threat of extinction, according to a new survey assessing nearly 26,000 species across the globe. Read more

In Information Age, Leaks Are Here To Stay
By Tom Gjelten, NPR
Given the problems hanging over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — his fundraising difficulties, the threat of prosecutions in the U.S. for espionage and in Sweden for rape, and the resignation of key staff — the survival of his whistle-blower organization cannot be assured. Read more

Oct 28, 2010

On the Radar: October 29, 2010

Within His Grasp
By Major Garrett, National Journal
For six hours last Saturday, top Republican strategists huddled in the offices of the National Republican Congressional Com­mittee for their last ATW, or “around the world” trip, before the midterm elections. The strategists analyzed every competitive House race, reviewed polling data, scrutinized voter-intensity models, and made final decisions about 11th-hour fundraising, TV buys, and headliner travel. Read more

Bill Clinton Urged Florida Democrat to Quit Bid
By Michael Shear and Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Former President Bill Clinton last week almost succeeded in persuading Kendrick B. Meek, the Democratic nominee for the Senate in Florida, to drop out of the three-way race — but Mr. Meek changed his mind at the last minute, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton said Thursday evening. Read more

Obama’s Re-election Could Be Tied to Ohio
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
The most politically important state in America, at least in the eyes of the White House, is Ohio. President Obama arrives this weekend for one last rally of the campaign season, his 12th visit since taking office and his second in only two weeks. Read more

Newt Gingrich: Out of the wilderness and into the mix for 2012
By Karen  Tumulty, The Washington Post
It has all the makings of Newt Gingrich's favorite kind of election: A cranky electorate. A Democratic president on the ropes. Republicans poised to take one or both houses of Congress. Read more

Doyle McManus: All bets are off in Nevada

There are many close races for the U.S. Senate this year, and many strange ones, but the bitter contest between two unlovable candidates in quirky Nevada is, for my money, the closest, strangest race of all. Read More

The Missing Mandate
By David S. Broder, The Washington Post
I have this strange feeling that we are about to be badly misled about the political climate in this country. We are going to look at the returns on the biggest Republican victory in 16 years and think that it spells doom for the Democrats and a shift to the right in our politics. And we will be wrong. Read more

New Polls Bode Ill for Democrats in House
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
A new batch of House race polls by the Hill newspaper shows several veteran Democrats trailing, even while a few others remain competitive. Read More

Across the Country, Anger, Frustration and Fear Among Voters as Election Nears
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Travel through the political battlegrounds in these final days before Election 2010, and it becomes clear how much the tenor of this recession-plagued country has changed in the two years since Barack Obama was elected president on his message of hope and change. Read more