October 2013

Oct 29, 2013

The Redemption of Clintonism

By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

It’s no secret that the post-presidential years have been exceedingly kind to Bill Clinton. The man who left the White House in a cloud of scandal, his party so divided that many rushed into the arms of Ralph Nader, is now so beloved that Republicans running for president invoke his example. At the Democratic convention, meanwhile, he threatens to overshadow the nominee. Women want him, men want to be him, as the saying goes; and pretty much everyone in politics wants whatever it is that he has.

Read more

Senate to Vote on Gay Rights Bill by Thanksgiving

By Susan Davis, USA Today

The U.S. Senate will take up a gay rights bill before Thanksgiving, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday.

Read more

Judge Blocks Parts of Texas Abortion Law

By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

A federal judge in Texas blocked two key parts of the state’s controversial abortion law Monday, ruling that one part is unconstitutional while another provision imposes an undue burden on women in some instances.

Read more

At the Source of the Shutdown, the Economy Falters — and Anger at Barack Obama Runs High

By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

Tom Hackett’s life in the meat business was nearly gone by 4 p.m. on Thursday. What remained behind yards and yards of polished glass were a few scattered remnants of his final inventory — a couple of flank steaks, some shrimp, a lonely half a pound of bologna.

Read more

Obama May Ban Spying on Heads of Allied States

By Mark Landler and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

President Obama is poised to order the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the leaders of American allies, administration and congressional officials said Monday, responding to a deepening diplomatic crisis over reports that the agency had for years targeted the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Read more

The NSA Spying Uproar: An RCP Primer

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

Spying by the National Security Agency on heads of state, including in countries that consider themselves U.S. partners, has European capitals in tizzies -- and demanding explanations from Washington.

President Obama and his team argued Monday that whatever the United States has been doing with its secret data-gathering, it’s aimed at safeguarding a dangerous world. According to spokesmen, Obama assured German Chancellor Angela Merkel that her phone communications are not and will not be collected going forward (sidestepping comments about past practices). The Wall Street Journal reported Obama was in the dark until recently about U.S. spying on the communications of other heads of state, but ended the practice when he found out.emanding explanations from Washington.

Read more

Oct 28, 2013

A Year After Romney Loss, GOP Woes Run Even Deeper

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

A year after losing a presidential race many Republicans thought was winnable, the party arguably is in worse shape than before. The GOP is struggling to control tensions between its tea party and establishment wings and watching approval ratings sink to record lows.

Read more

Data Suggests Push to Spy on Merkel Dates to ’02

By Alison Smale, Melissa Eddy and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

New details about the monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone by the National Security Agency further stoked the German government’s anger on Sunday and raised two questions: Why did the United States target her as early as 2002, and why did it take five years for the Obama administration to put a halt to the surveillance?

Read more

Obamacare's Next Hurdle

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

One of these weeks, now that the Obama administration has recruited a SWAT team of computer whizzes, Healthcare.gov will recover from its shambolic debut and turn into, well, just another website. After all, it's only a website, and websites can be fixed.

Read more

Why Wednesday will be ‘Another Tricky Day’ on Capitol Hill

By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

The House and Senate are back in town together for the first time since lawmakers voted to reopen the federal government, and this is the week that the results of the short-term deal brokered to end the impasse start playing out.

It’s also the week that could cement good, bad or mixed feelings about the new federal health-care law in the minds of the general public, as the nation’s top health official comes to Capitol Hill to explain what’s gone wrong so far with implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Read more

Why We Need a Healthcare.gov Witch Hunt

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

Washington think tanks, your moment has arrived! Healthcare.gov is a mess and someone must chronicle exactly what went wrong. The press is trying, of course, but we also must cover the aftermath—the parade of predictable behavior that obscures more than it illuminates. Did you see the hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday? Despite the best efforts of Chairman Fred Upton, between the grandstanding, confused questions, and the witness fog machine, it's a wonder anyone got out alive. Meanwhile, Republicans are pointing fingers, placing blame, and otherwise showing disgust that a program that they have tried to kill is being run so badly. (Perhaps they're jealous that the administration is better at undermining Obamacare than they are.) Administration officials, on the other hand, are caught between covering their backsides, spouting plumes of happy talk, and hiring more people to collect the springs and sprockets from the launch pad where the whole thing went kaput. On Friday, officials in charge of the #techsurge said that healthcare.gov would be running smoothly by late November, two months after the launch.

Read more

Oct 25, 2013

In Virginia, a Swing State Turns Against the Tea Party

By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

Surely the greatest irony of the recent federal government shutdown was this: Some furloughed federal workers, finding themselves with time on their hands and presumably angry at what Congress had done to their livelihoods, used their unscheduled leisure to cast their ballots early in the state’s gubernatorial race.

Read more