Blogs > HNN > September 28, 2009

Sep 29, 2009 1:12 am

September 28, 2009



  • Democrats losing independents. Republicans can only smile Barack Obama and the Democrats must feel as if the walls are closing in: Since President Obama took office, the Democratic advantage in voter identification – including those who call themselves independent but lean Democrat – has shrunk each quarter, to the point where the gap is only 6 points, the smallest since 2005, according to the latest Gallup poll. In the first quarter of 2009, when Mr. Obama took office, the gap was 13 points and in the second quarter, 9 points, per Gallup.... - CS Monitor, 10-1-09
  • Obama's approval ratings level out: Obama's polling position going into the fall is a far cry from the spring, when he was cruising in the mid-60s. But despite his summer plunge, a number of top pollsters say that Obama's 52 percent average approval rating in Gallup's September survey is well within the expected range in the first year of a new administration. Politico, 9-29-09
  • Bloomberg Leads Thompson for NYC Mayor, 52% to 36%, Poll Finds New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg leads Democratic city Comptroller William Thompson by 16 percentage points with less than six weeks until the Nov. 3 mayoral election, a Quinnipiac University poll reported today.
    Likely New York City voters favored Bloomberg, an independent seeking a third four-year term on the Republican and Independence Party ballots, over Thompson, 52 percent to 36 percent. Conservative Party candidate Stephen Christopher had 2 percent, with 9 percent undecided.
    Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac said it took its survey from Sept. 15, the day Thompson won the Democratic mayoral primary with about 70 percent of the vote, to Sept. 21..... - Bloomberg, 9-24-09


  • Dems ease impact of health bill, big advance nears: Fearing a backlash, Democrats worked to smooth the impact of sweeping health care legislation on working-class families Thursday as they pushed President Barack Obama's top domestic priority toward a crucial Senate advance. The most far-reaching overhaul in decades aims to protect millions who have unreliable coverage or none at all and to curb insurance company abuses.... - AP, 10-1-09
  • Obama uses personal touch for Chicago Olympics bid: President Barack Obama is putting his personal powers of persuasion on the line in a pitch in Copenhagen in support of Chicago's Olympics bid.
    The president's whirlwind trip was to put him in the Danish capital for less than five hours Friday, with Chicago-backers hoping that would be sufficient to give Obama's adopted home town the advantage it needed to win the close, four-way race to become the host city of the 2016 Summer Games.... - AP, 10-2-09
  • Obama: Iran must follow through on nuke promises: President Barack Obama on Thursday called landmark nuclear talks with Iran a constructive beginning, then challenged Tehran to match words with deeds by giving international inspectors"unfettered access" to a previously secret uranium enrichment plant within two weeks.
    "Talk is no substitute for action," Obama said at the White House after talks ended earlier in the day in Switzerland."Our patience is not unlimited." - AP, 10-1-09
  • Pawlenty becoming a force for 2012 race He lands high-level strategists, donors, courts Romney aides... - Pioneer Press, 10-1-09
  • Obama deputy national security adviser takes leave: President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser is taking a leave of absence. The White House says Mark Lippert is returning to active duty in the U.S. Navy.... - AP, 10-1-09
  • Dems ease impact of health bill, big advance nears: Fearing a backlash, Democrats worked to smooth the impact of sweeping health care legislation on working-class families Thursday as they pushed President Barack Obama's top domestic priority toward a crucial Senate advance. The most far-reaching overhaul in a generation aims to protect millions who have unreliable coverage or none at all and to curb insurance company abuses.... - AP, 10-1-09
  • Health bill survives attacks — vote by week's end?: A White House-backed overhaul of the nation's health care system weathered repeated challenges from Republican critics over taxes, abortion and more on Wednesday, and the bill's architect claimed enough votes to push it through the Senate Finance Committee as early as week's end.
    "We're coming to closure," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the committee chairman, as President Barack Obama lobbied at least one wavering Democrat by phone to swing behind the measure. Baucus said,"It's clear to me we're going to get it passed," although he sidestepped a question about possible Republican support.... - AP, 9-30-09
  • Secret Service investigates Obama poll on Facebook: The poll, set up by a Facebook member, asked if the president should be assassinated. It's been taken down, and the seriousness of the threat is being evaluated.... - LAT, 9-29-09
  • Bank suspends dealings with ACORN housing entity: Bank of America Corp. is suspending its work with the housing affiliate of embattled community organizing group ACORN. The decision comes as three Republicans in Congress ask Bank of America and 13 other financial institutions to give Congress a complete accounting of their dealings with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or its affiliates.... - AP, 9-28-09
  • Iran says advanced missiles can target any threat: Iran tested its longest-range missiles Monday and warned they can reach any place that threatens the country, including Israel, parts of Europe and U.S. military bases in the Mideast. The launch capped two days of war games and was condemned as a provocation by Western powers, which are demanding Tehran come clean about a newly revealed nuclear facility it has been secretly building.... - AP, 9-28-09
  • William Safire, speechwriter, NY columnist, dies: William Safire, the conservative columnist and word warrior who feared no politician or corner of the English language, died Sunday at age 79.
    The Pulitzer Prize winner died at a hospice in Rockville, Md. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, family friend Martin Tolchin said.
    Safire spent more than 30 years writing on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. In his"On Language" column in The New York Times Magazine and more than a dozen books, Safire traced the origins of words and everyday phrases such as"straw man,""under the bus" and"the proof is in the pudding."... - AP, 9-27-09
  • Republican says Dems ignoring health care concerns: Republicans say Democrats have ignored the public's concerns in drafting new health care legislation under debate in the Senate Finance Committee. Democrats are giving the public anything but an"open, honest and bipartisan debate," Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said in the GOP's weekly radio and Internet address. The Finance Committee is the last of five congressional committees to take up health care legislation, which tops President Barack Obama's domestic agenda.... - AP, 9-26-09
  • For Kirk, 'sobering, emotional' Taking over for Kennedy poses challenges, stirs feelings on first day for newcomer: Paul G. Kirk Jr. stepped decisively into his four-month stint as Massachusetts' junior senator yesterday, intent on putting the controversy of his appointment behind him and taking on a new challenge: to continue the work of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
    Yet after he was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden, Kirk spent much of his first day paying homage to his former mentor and close friend.... - Boston Globe, 9-25-09
  • Obama-led UN council backs broad nuclear agenda: With President Barack Obama presiding, the U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously endorsed a sweeping strategy aimed at halting the spread of nuclear weapons and ultimately eliminating them, to usher in a world with"undiminished security for all."
    "That can be our destiny," Obama declared after the 15-nation body adopted the historic, U.S.-initiated resolution at an unprecedented summit session."We will leave this meeting with a renewed determination to achieve this shared goal.".... - AP, 9-24-09
  • Geithner: G-20 near agreement on bankers' pay: Struggling with a contentious issue, world leaders have reached basic agreement on limiting the bonuses of bankers whose risky behavior contributed to the global financial meltdown, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday at a summit of the world's largest economies. In the streets outside, protesters tussled with police on the opening day.
    At a news conference, Geithner also expressed optimism that summit partners would endorse the broad outlines of a U.S. proposal to deal with huge imbalances in the global economy such as large trade surpluses in China and record budget deficits in the United States. He also said the U.S. supports China's efforts to gain greater voting rights in the International Monetary Fund over the reservations of European nations, who would lose influence. Given the rise of China's economic powers,"it's the right thing," and Europe recognizes that, Geithner said.... - AP, 9-24-09
  • 'Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage' New book dishes on the first couple: After a microscopic look at several famous marriages, author Christopher Andersen takes his pen -- or, some argue, a hatchet -- to the Obamas in his latest book,"Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage."
    He describes a reluctant groom-to-be, a sometimes-stormy union, and a woman sick of emptying his overflowing ashtrays -- and being shut out by his ambition. He says the Obamas survived the crucibles of battling infertility, helping nurse daughter Sasha to health after meningitis and coping with early political defeat (and debt). By the inauguration they were"indisputably the First Couple not only of America but of the world." - 9-23-09
  • Senate OK's Kennedy successor bill Governor could name interim pick tomorrow.... - Boston Globe, 9-23-09
  • Obama Genial but Chagrined in Encounter, Paterson Says: In his brief encounter this week with Gov. David A. Paterson, President Obama seemed chagrined over the uproar set off by his administration’s recent efforts to nudge Mr. Paterson out of next year's gubernatorial election, the governor said on Tuesday. At a news conference, Mr. Paterson described the exchange, which occurred Monday on the tarmac at the Albany airport, and disputed reports that the president had treated him coldly.... - NYT, 8-23-09
  • Pawlenty may be positioning himself for 2012: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is preparing to launch a national fundraising committee, another signal the Republican may be positioning himself for a possible 2012 presidential run. The 'Freedom First' political action committee will be formalized in the next few weeks, Pawlenty adviser Alex Conant said Tuesday. He described it as a logical step for the governor, who has been giving speeches and campaigning for Republicans around the country. While forming such committees is a typical step for politicians who aspire to higher office, Pawlenty downplayed any link between his new PAC and a 2012 presidential run.
    "I haven't ruled anything in or out. I'm not focused on 2012," he told The Associated Press."The formation of this PAC under law and as a practical matter is geared toward supporting and helping other candidates. It's not geared or designed, nor can it be, a vehicle for me to run for something else."... - AP, 9-22-09
  • For Edwards, Drama Builds Toward a Denouement: CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The story of the spectacular rise and fall of John Edwards, with its sordid can’t-look-away dimensions, is moving slowly but deliberately to its conclusion here in North Carolina. Mr. Edwards, the one-term senator who came close to being elected vice president in 2004 and ran a credible campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, remains largely secluded at his 100-acre estate here.... - NYT, 9-19-09
  • The TV Watch A Sunday Morning Obamathon: Five Interviewers, One Message: President Obama gave five back-to-back television interviews broadcast on Sunday that were as tightly choreographed — and eerily similar — as the multiple Magritte bowler-hatted men milling in the remake of"The Thomas Crown Affair."
    The president's talk show grand slam, conversations with CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS and Univision, all taped on Friday in the Roosevelt Room, was a remarkable — and remarkably overt — display of media management. Mr. Obama even doled out equal doses of presidential charm, chuckling ruefully about “rambunctious” protesters to Bob Schieffer of CBS and speaking self-deprecatingly to George Stephanopoulos of ABC, conceding that he had not presented his health care proposals in a way that allowed people to put “their whole arms around it.”
    "And that's been a case where I have been humbled, and I just keep on trying harder," he said."Because I — I really think it's the right thing to do for the country."... - NYT, 9-20-09

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012....

  • NY governor ignores pressure to end election quest: Gov. David Paterson isn't scrapping his plans to run for the office he inherited 18 months ago, despite growing pressure from Washington and intervention by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has contacted the governor and the White House over his concern.
    "My plans for 2010 are to run for governor of the state of New York," Paterson said Sunday after serving as grand marshal to the African-American Day Parade in Manhattan."I am running for office." - AP, 9-20-09
  • Election 2010: Redemption for Lazio, Paterson?: Next year is already about a shot at redemption. Launching his 2010 campaign for governor, former Long Island Rep. Rick Lazio runs for office for the first time since losing the 2000 Senate race. Gov. David A.Paterson seeks a personal recovery of sorts at the polls - with Attorney General AndrewCuomo in the wings. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, both appointees, seek their first statewide salvation at the polls. Rudy Giuliani could redeem his own public career in a governor's race; ex-Gov. George Pataki could do the same by running for Senate.... - Newsday, 9-20-09


  • GOP lawmaker clarifies remarks critical of Obama: A Republican congressman who called President Barack Obama an"enemy of humanity" said Tuesday that he should have made clear that he was referring to the president's policies related to abortion.
    Trent Franks of Arizona said in a speech to conservatives Saturday in St. Louis that given Obama's decision to fund international family planning organizations that support legal abortion,"we shouldn't be shocked that he does all these other insane things."
    "A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity," Franks said to the"How to Take Back America" conference.
    Franks said in a statement Tuesday that he was referring to"unborn humanity" and should have clarified his remarks. His statement listed a series of actions Obama has taken related to abortion."While I absolutely should have made the meaning of my statement more clear, the facts remain that these radical pro-abortion policies do not have place in a government founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights and chief among those rights is the right to life," Franks said in the statement.... - AP, 9-29-09
  • Obama issues ultimatum to Iran on nukes: In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said that evidence showing Iran building an underground plant to enrich uranium that could be used for an atomic bomb" continues a disturbing pattern of Iranian evasion" that jeopardizes global nonproliferation....
    "My offer of a serious, meaningful dialogue to resolve this issue remains open," Obama said."But Iran must now cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and take action to demonstrate its peaceful intentions.""Iran's leaders must now choose — they can live up to their responsibilities and achieve integration with the community of nations. Or they will face increased pressure and isolation, and deny opportunity to their own people."... - AP, 9-26-09
  • Obama: G20 brought economy back from brink: World leaders on Friday issued sweeping promises to fix a malfunctioning global economic system in hopes of heading off future financial meltdowns. President Barack Obama said actions taken so far"brought the global economy back from the brink."
    "We leave here today confident and united," Obama said at the conclusion of a two-day gathering of the world's 20 top economies to deal with the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.
    The leaders agreed to keep stimulus plans, which include government spending and low interest rates, generally in place in their respective countries for now to avoid derailing still-fragile recoveries. Obama had pressed for just such a course and praised the decision.
    "Our coordinated stimulus plans played an indispensable role in averting catastrophe. Now we must make sure that when growth returns, jobs do, too," he said at a wrap-up news conference."That's why we will continue our stimulus efforts until our people are back to work and phase them out when our recovery is strong."... - AP, 9-26-09
  • Obama to world: Don't expect America to fix it all: "Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone," said Obama in put-up-or-shut-up comments before a packed U.N. General Assembly hall."Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."
    In his first appearance before the group, Obama promised the U.S. would reach out in"a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect," but he also wagged a rhetorical finger at leaders who spend much of their time at international gatherings excoriating the U.S. He said"an almost reflexive anti-Americanism" that swept the globe under the administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush, is not"an excuse for collective inaction."
    "Nothing is easier than blaming others for our troubles and absolving ourselves of responsibility for our choices and our actions," he said.... - AP, 9-23-09
  • Obama: Health insurance mandate no tax increase: "I absolutely reject that notion," the president said. Blanketing most of the Sunday TV news shows, Obama defended his proposed health care overhaul, including a key point of the various health care bills on Capitol Hill: mandating that people get health insurance to share the cost burden fairly among all. Those who failed to get coverage would face financial penalties.
    Obama said other elements of the plan would make insurance affordable for people, from a new comparison-shopping"exchange" to tax credits.
    Telling people to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase, Obama told ABC's"This Week.""What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore," said Obama."Right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase."... - AP, 9-21-09
  • Obama takes policy to night owls: Barack Obama's first appearance as president on CBS' Late Show was marked by some banter with host David Letterman and serious words about policy. Obama made his case for changing the nation's health care system. He also expanded on comments he made Sunday on CNN about former president Jimmy Carter's assertion that some of the heated criticism directed at him is because of his race.
    "I was actually black before the election," Obama told Letterman."The American people … gave me this extraordinary honor. That tells you a lot, I think, about where the country is at." Obama conceded that whenever a president tries to bring about"significant" change, such as with his health care plan,"there is a certain segment of the population that gets riled up.".... - USA Today, 9-21-09


  • Julian Zelizer"Commentary: Obama should listen to Biden": Vice President Joseph Biden is emerging as an important voice within the White House on the war in Afghanistan.
    The New York Times reported that during a meeting in the situation room on September 13, Biden urged the president to consider reducing America's troop presence in Afghanistan. Rather than embracing a mission to protect the Afghan population, the U.S., Biden reportedly said, should target al Qaeda cells in the region through special operations forces and targeted missile attacks.
    The emerging relationship between Biden and President Obama brings back memories of Vice President Hubert Humphrey and President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1964, many congressional Democrats were strongly warning Johnson that it was not wise to escalate America's involvement in Vietnam.... - CNN, 9-28-09
  • Julian Zelizer"Commentary: Conservatism is far from dead": As the White House and Senate Democrats move toward Sen. Max Baucus' compromise on health care, there is a growing sense among Democrats that the political power of conservatism remains much stronger than some observers believed after Barack Obama's victory in November 2008.
    The White House has sent strong signals that the president is willing to abandon key components of the legislation that liberals have demanded, such as the public option, and to work with Baucus, whose proposal is far less ambitious than what other Democrats, including the president, have been pushing for.
    With Republicans lined up against the administration, centrist Democrats insisting on big reductions in the scale of the program and public support for Democratic health care proposals having fallen, some of the president's top advisers have concluded that now is the time to settle for what they can get rather than walk away with nothing.... - CNN, 9-21-09
  • Stephen Hess"Change the channel Sunday, you'll still see president": On Sunday, Obama is scheduled to appear on CBS's"Face the Nation," ABC's"This Week," NBC's"Meet the Press" and CNN's"State of the Union" programs, according to the shows' websites and the White House. He will sit for an interview on the Spanish-language network Univision to air that day as well. Obama also is booked for"Late Show With David Letterman" on Monday night.
    "He's pulling out all the stops, and why not," said Stephen Hess, a presidential historian at George Washington University in Washington."The answer to why not is that he's overbooked or that he becomes an old story. I don't think that cuts the ice. Those stories are written by people who watch everything." - Bloomberg News, 9-16-09

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