Blogs > HNN > February 8, 2010: Sarah Palin at the Tea Party Convention, Scott Brown Sworn-in, Obama and Bi-Partisanship

Feb 8, 2010 1:39 am


February 8, 2010: Sarah Palin at the Tea Party Convention, Scott Brown Sworn-in, Obama and Bi-Partisanship



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THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Factbox: Democrats face battle for Senate majority: Republican Scott Brown's formal arrival in the U.S. Senate on Thursday robbed Democrats of their crucial 60-vote supermajority and set the stage for a bitter November election fight for control of the 100-member chamber.... - Reuters, 2-4-10

THE HEADLINES....

  • Sarah Palin won't rule out 2012 run: In a 'Fox News Sunday' interview, the former Alaska governor says she'd consider running for president if it's 'the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family.' Appearing on"Fox News Sunday," Palin was asked about a recent poll that showed her topping a field of potential Republican candidates by 5 percentage points. She told interviewer Chris Wallace that she would run for the 2012 GOP nomination"if I believed that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family.""I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country," she added.... - LAT, 2-7-10
  • Tea Party Plots Its Next Move Election Wins May Be Next Goal; Palin Deepens Ties, Ponders White House Run: Tea Party activists gathered in Tennessee this weekend grappled with a central question looming over the burgeoning political movement: Where does it go from here? Organizers here seek to shift the focus from staging political rallies to winning elections."The Tea Party movement is growing up," said Judson Phillips, a Nashville-based criminal-defense lawyer who organized the National Tea Party Convention."If 2010 is another year of rallies, we've lost."... - WSJ, 2-8-10
  • Obama invites Republicans to summit on health care: President Obama moved to jump-start the stalled health-care debate Sunday, inviting Republicans in Congress to participate in a bipartisan, half-day televised summit on the subject this month. The president made the offer in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric hours before the network televised the Super Bowl. Obama challenged Republicans, who have been largely unified in opposing his proposals, to bring their best ideas for how to cover more Americans and fix the health insurance system to the public discussion."I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues," Obama said."What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table. . . . I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward." The invitation to meet together on Feb. 25 -- and to do so live in front of the American public -- represents an effort by Obama to hit the reset button on the top domestic priority of his first year in office. It also reflects a recognition that he must have at least some Republican support if he hopes to see health-care reform pass.... - WaPo, 2-7-10
  • Obama Challenges Terrorism Critics: The White House pushed back Sunday against Republican criticism of its approach to terrorism, calling it"not anchored in reality" as a national security debate that was largely muted in recent years roared back to center stage with an angry intensity.
    "The most important thing for the public to understand is we’re not handling any of these cases any different than the Bush administration handled them all through 9/11," Mr. Obama told CBS News on Sunday."They prosecuted 190 folks in these Article Three courts," he added, referring to civilian courts."Got convictions. And those folks are in maximum security prisons right now. And there have been no escapes." - NYT, 2-7-10
  • Sarah Palin to Tea Party Convention: 'This is about the people': The former Alaska governor calls on the grass-roots movement to remain decentralized, saying it's 'bigger than any king or queen of the tea party.' Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin derided President Obama, saying,"How's that hopey, changey stuff working out for you?" - LAT, 2-7-10
  • Palin Assails Obama at Tea Party Meeting: Sarah Palin at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville. Ms. Palin, while aligning herself firmly with the Tea Party, nevertheless urged the 1,100 delegates who had gathered in a hotel ballroom not to let the movement be defined by any one leader.... - NYT, 2-6-10
  • Tea Party Activists Ponder How to Win Elections: Tea Party activists gathered in Tennessee this weekend grappled with a central question looming over the burgeoning political movement: Where does it go from here? The early consensus suggests the those most associated with Tea-Party activism might change their focus from staging political rallies like the one held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. last September, to attempting to win elections."The Tea Party movement is growing up," said Judson Phillips, a Nashville-based criminal defense lawyer who organized the National Tea Party Convention."If 2010 is another year of rallies, we've lost."... - WSJ, 2-6-10
  • PERILS FOR THE PRESS Storm makes believers out of the media, and President Obama: A five-minute drive back to the White House from the Capital Hilton was a bit eventful for some of the media folks who accompanied President Obama to a speech before the Democratic National Committee... - WaPo, 2-6-10
  • Obama rallies Democrats to press forward against political headwinds: President Obama told those gathered at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting Saturday that party advocates should not simply"regroup, lick our wounds and try to hang on" during a challenging political season, but should press forward to deliver results on health-care and job-creation measures.... - Seattle Times, NYT, 2-6-10
  • Obama suggests extending debate as way to pass health reform: Speaking to members of the Democratic National Committee on Thursday night, Obama vowed to continue his year-long quest to overhaul the nation's health-care system, to curb rising costs and extend coverage to millions of families and individuals who don't have it. But he suggested a different way forward than the partisan, closed-door dealmaking underway between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.)."What I'd like to do is have a meeting whereby I'm sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats, sitting with health-care experts, and let's just go through these bills -- their ideas, our ideas -- let's walk through them in a methodical way so that the American people can see and compare what makes the most sense," Obama told DNC members... - WaPo, 2-6-10
  • Tea party groups aim to form PAC: Organizers of the National Tea Party Convention said yesterday that participants would form a political action committee aimed at electing up to 20 candidates this fall who adhere to conservative principles embraced by the grass-roots movement. The PAC, Ensuring Liberty Corp., will give money and resources to candidates who advocate fiscal responsibility, less government, lower taxes, states’ rights, and strong national security, convention spokesman Mark Skoda said.... - Boston Globe, 2-6-10
  • E-mails detail Todd Palin's role in Alaska decision-making: During the 2 1/2 years that his wife, Sarah, was governor of Alaska and then a vice presidential candidate, Todd Palin inserted himself into a host of state decisions, including judicial nominations and gas pipeline bids, according to e-mails released Friday. Before Sarah Palin resigned her office in July, the"First Dude," as Todd Palin became known, weighed in on appointments to state boards, labor disputes and the use of government aircraft, according to the documents, which were obtained by MSNBC.com under Alaska's public records law.... - WaPo, 2-5-10
  • Sarah Palin, Vocal and Ready ... but for What?: Without leaving home, Sarah Palin will be able to reach much of her political base, courtesy of a soon-to-be-built television studio in her living room paid for by her newest media patron, Fox News. From her house in Wasilla, Alaska, Ms. Palin also sends missives to 1.3 million Facebook “fans,” writes newspaper columns, Tweets and signs copies of her book for donors. She reads daily e-mail briefings on domestic and foreign policy from a small group of advisers who remained loyal after her tumultuous vice presidential campaign in 2008. And though she has fashioned an image as an antiestablishment conservative, she also speaks regularly to a bipartisan nobility of Washington insiders who have helped enrich her financially and position her on the national political stage. Ms. Palin is becoming increasingly vocal and visible, with a series of events scheduled this weekend: delivering a paid speech to the Salina, Kan., Chamber of Commerce on Friday night, headlining a national Tea Party convention in Nashville on Saturday and appearing on behalf of the re-election campaign of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas in Houston on Sunday.... - NYT, 2-5-10
  • A Kennedy jab greets new senator Embattled R.I. Democrat says Brown is in lockstep with GOP: US Representative Patrick Kennedy - who faces a Republican challenger and slipping popularity, according to a new poll - threw the Kennedys’ first stone at newly elected US Senator Scott Brown, calling his candidacy “a joke.’’ The Rhode Island Democrat was the first of the Kennedy family to openly criticize the newly sworn in Brown, who succeeded the congressman’s father, US Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The younger Kennedy slammed Brown for pressing to be sworn in early, a move that Democrats believe was timed so that Brown could vote against President Obama’s nominee to the National Labor Relations Board. Boston Globe, 2-6-10
  • G.O.P. Senator Is Sworn In, and Democrats Regroup: President Obama and Congressional Democratic leaders sought to reset their agenda as they lost their 60th vote in the Senate on Thursday, trying to push ahead with measures to spur more job creation even as they grasped for ideas to keep alive their health care legislation. On the day Scott Brown of Massachusetts was sworn in as the 41st Republican senator, Democrats offered only the bare outlines of their approach to jobs legislation and met at the White House to hash out a strategy for their agenda.... - NYT, 2-4-10
  • Brown Is Sworn In as the 41st Republican: Scott Brown took his place in the Senate this evening, ending the 60-vote Democratic supermajority and placing a Republican in the seat that Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts – that most Democrat of Democrats – held for nearly half a century. The swearing-in of Mr. Brown held extra symbolism since his arrival brought to a close the Democratic ability to shut down Republican filibusters from solely within their own ranks as long as two independents voted with them. The Democratic majority shifted only by one, to 59-41, but it was a seismic shift nonetheless... - NYT, 2-4-10
  • New senator Scott Brown sure gets down to Republican business: Republican Scott Brown took over the seat of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy on Thursday, vowing to be an independent voice in a bitterly divided Senate.
    Brown, the surprise victor in last month's special election, had raised no objection to taking his oath of office on Feb. 11. But then conservative commentators complained that he was dilly-dallying; the Boston Herald's Howie Carr accused him on Wednesday of taking"a three-week victory lap." So, in one of his first major decisions since winning election, the Republican made his choice: He would cave in to his conservative critics. He requested -- no, demanded! -- that he be seated promptly -- no, immediately! -- so that he could start to do the important work of being a senator. Democratic Senate leaders complied with his demand (they even let him have Ted Kennedy's primo office suite), and Vice President Biden made time to swear in Brown on the Senate floor at 5 p.m. Thursday.... - Washington Post, 2-4-10
  • With Scott Brown sworn into Senate, parties shift strategies: Massachusetts' Scott Brown was sworn into his Senate seat Thursday, giving Republicans the 41 votes needed to filibuster legislation... - CS Monitor, 2-4-10
  • Obama: 'Take our time' on finalizing health care: President Barack Obama says"we should take our time" getting to a final health care bill. He said Thursday he wants to go through the legislation in detail with Republicans to examine their ideas and Democratic ideas to see whether there are better ways to improve the nation's health care system than have already been proposed.... - AP, 2-4-10
  • National Prayer Breakfast Draws Controversy: For more than 50 years, the National Prayer Breakfast has served as a prime networking event in Washington, bringing together the president, members of Congress, foreign diplomats and thousands of religious, business and military leaders for scrambled eggs and supplication.... The objections are focused on the sponsor of the breakfast, a secretive evangelical Christian network called The Fellowship, also known as The Family, and accusations that it has ties to legislation in Uganda that calls for the imprisonment and execution of homosexuals.... - NYT, 2-4-10
  • Orrin Hatch is red-faced at prayer breakfast: It was supposed to be a solemn moment. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden watched Thursday as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was about to offer the prayer at the National Prayer Breakfast. Then it happened. Hatch's cell phone rang just as he stepped up to the microphone. The audience, including the president and vice president, burst into laughter.... - Deseret News, 2-4-10
  • Records show that cabins on Sarah Palin's Alaska properties weren't noted in tax assessments: Records show that Sarah Palin hasn't paid any property taxes on cabins that have been built on two backcountry plots partially owned by the former Alaska governor.... - LAT, 2-4-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012....

  • Specter wins Pa. party backing: Democrats endorsed him over Sestak for Senate. For governor, Wagner led but fell short of endorsement.... - Philadelphia Inquirer, 2-7-10
  • Illinois Democrat Quits Race: The Democratic nominee for Illinois lieutenant governor has dropped out of the race amid a political uproar about his past less than a week after he won the nomination. The nominee, Scott Lee Cohen, announced his decision Sunday night at a Chicago bar. Mr. Cohen, a pawn broker and owner of a cleaning supplies company, won the nomination Tuesday. Since then, it has become widely known that he was accused of abusing his former wife and holding a knife to the throat of a girlfriend.... - NYT, 2-7-10
  • Illinois Democrats no cure for what ails Obama: Still reeling from the loss of the late Edward Kennedy's Senate seat to Republicans in Massachusetts, Barack Obama's Democrats now face the prospect of losing the president's old Senate seat in Illinois. The Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias is trailing Republican Mark Kirk in opinion polls ahead of November's election in which Republicans are aiming to erase Democratic majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Giannoulias's struggles come at a time when Illinois Democrats appear to be in disarray. Scott Cohen, a pawnbroker-turned-politician who won the Democratic nomination to run for lieutenant governor, is fending off accusations that he brutalized women.... - Reuters, 2-5-10
  • McCain war chest: $5 million and growing: Bracing for what could be his toughest re-election challenge in nearly 20 years, Sen. John McCain entered 2010 with more than $5 million in his campaign war chest.... - The Arizona Republic, 2-5-10
  • McCain Feeling Primary Heat From His Right Flank: Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republicans' standard-bearer in 2008, is facing a surprisingly strong primary challenge from the right, evidence that even party leaders aren't safe from the swell of conservative activism heading into the 2010 midterm elections. Mr. McCain hasn't faced a serious challenge since joining the U.S. Senate in 1987. But seven months ahead of the primary, he is using tough-guy tactics and calling in conservative chits to fend off J.D. Hayworth, an ex-congressman and radio host. Mr. Hayworth, who lost his House seat in 2006 and who is best known in Arizona for his opposition to illegal immigration, has seized the Tea Party mantel of low taxes and small government.... - WSJ, 2-4-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Palin Goes After Obama at Tea Party Convention Sarah Palin goes after the Democratic agenda at the National Tea Party Convention: The Democratic agenda is"running out of time," former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Saturday at the National Tea Party Convention, claiming that the conservative tea party movement is part of a brewing"revolution" that constitutes the"future of politics.""This is the future of our country. The tea party movement is the future of politics," she said."If Scott Brown is any indication, it’s running out of time," Palin said of the Democratic agenda."It’s a ground-up call to action that is forcing both parties to change the way they do business, and that’s beautiful.""America is ready for another revolution, and you are a part of this," Palin said."Treating this like a mere law enforcement matter places our country at great risk," she said."To win that war, we need a commander-in-chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern.""It's no wonder that our president only spent about 9 percent of his State of the Union address discussing national security, foreign policy, because there aren’t a whole lot of victories he can talk about," she said. - Fox News, 2-6-10
  • Obama rallies Democrats to press forward against political headwinds: "I know we've gone through a tough year," Obama told party advocates,"but we've gone through tougher years.""It is good to be among friends who are so committed to the future of this party that you braved a blizzard," Obama said."Snowmageddon!""We can't return to the dereliction of duty that helped deliver this recession," Obama said."America can't afford to wait, and we can't look backward.""Just in case there's any confusion out there, I am not going to walk away from health-care reform," Obama said, offering no specifics for how he intended to deliver on his pledge."I'm not going to walk away on this challenge. I'm not going to walk away on any challenge. We're moving forward." - Seattle Times, NYT, 2-6-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Calls for New Steps to Support America's Small Businesses Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Weekly Address February 6, 2010: Even though our economy is growing again, these are still tough times for America. Too many businesses are still shuttered. Too many families can’t make ends meet. And while yesterday, we learned that the unemployment rate has dropped below ten percent for the first time since summer, it is still unacceptably high – and too many Americans still can’t find work. But what we must remember at a time like this is that we are not helpless in the face of our difficulties. As Americans, we make our own destiny. We forge our own path. And I am confident that if we come together and put aside the politics that keeps holding us back, we can do that again. We can rebuild this economy on a new, stronger foundation that leads to more jobs and greater prosperity. I believe a key part of that foundation is America's small businesses – the places where most new jobs begin... - WH, 2-6-10
  • Brown's remarks to the press following his swearing-in: It's a great honor to stand before you as the new United States Senator from Massachusetts....
    People have asked me why I wanted to get sworn-in so quickly after the results had been certified. It's because I want to get to work.
    There are a lot of votes pending that I would like to participate in.
    Even more importantly, these are urgent times for our nation. The President this week submitted a $3.8 trillion budget. We'll have to borrow 40% of that amount because we don't have the money to pay for all that spending. I'm concerned we're living beyond our means. Also this week, the CIA director said there will be another al-Qaeda attack in the US in the next 3 to 6 months. This is frightening news, and we owe the people of America everything we can do to deter and prevent future attacks on our nation.
    So I'm glad to be fully able to participate in the affairs our nation at this critical time.
    I also want to extend my appreciation to all of you in the press. I see many familiar faces here and I want you to know how much I respect the work you do, and the patience and many kindnesses you have shown my family... - Boston Globe, 2-4-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS' COMMENTS

  • Gil Troy:"Obama's Siren Song of ... Sacrifice?": Calls to work together for the common good during the current crises have been emanating at breakneck pace from the Obama administration. Academics discuss how to get the results of a Roosevelt, and not a Carter.
    Historian Gil Troy of McGill University in Montreal also finds that instructive, noting that gearing people up for a metaphorical war can be an effective way of asking them to sacrifice.
    In recent decades,"We've had an unfortunate tradition for decades of presidents soothing us," he said."We have sort of an addiction to having our cake and eat it too. Clearly Bush missed the moment after 9/11. That was a time when Americans might have been willing to give something up. The nation was ready to take collective action.
    "Now, Obama has an opportunity to succeed where Bush failed. There's nothing like a financial meltdown to sober people up! You don't have an enemy like after 9/11, but you have more pinched circumstances. Obama's sense prior to the crisis was that Americans were yearning for this sense of community, sense of engagement. Now he may have the conditions that will allow him to achieve that.
    "In Obama's inaugural address, he said America is a place where people are willing to work fewer hours so their friend won’t lose their job. That was a very explicit call to sacrifice — much more explicit than Kennedy’s 'Ask not what your country can do for you.' We haven’t had that kind of specifics since Franklin Roosevelt."
    Well, we did have Jimmy Carter, whose failed presidency coincides with Obama's coming of age. Troy is convinced the new president has learned from his peanut-farming predecessor's missteps.
    "Carter's mistake was his rhetoric of sacrifice was disconnected from a sense of hope," he says."He allowed himself to be tagged as the man of malaise. He was preaching the gospel of limits. What FDR did that Carter missed was preach a gospel of self-sacrifice in the context of ultimate salvation.
    "FDR's message was we're rolling up our sleeves and making sacrifices because we’re going to have a better tomorrow. With Jimmy Carter, you got the sense that we were being asked to put on another sweater, but we would still be cold."
    In contrast, Obama is overtly linking the need to sacrifice with the hope of a better future. If he can continue that balancing act, Troy believes people just may respond."Americans don't want to be told we are entering an age of limits," he said."We want to be a nation of limitless hope. That's in the American DNA." Miller McCune, 2-7-10
  • Will Scott Brown make the 'party of no' more obstructionist? Democrats say Republicans use petty tactics to block President Obama's agenda. But Senate Democrats had a hard time passing legislation even when they had a filibuster-proof majority: Obstruction in the Senate is not new. :Obstruction has been a trend in the last 20 or 30 years," says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University in New Jersey. But it's been tougher for Democrats, because of"heightened expectations about what was going to happen after the 2008 elections." He adds:"The dysfunctions of Congress are amplified because of the contrast with all the excitement of 2008 and the reality we now see." - CS Monitor, 2-2-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Americans want government reforms: Responding to President Obama's State of the Union comments about the"deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that"the American people don't care about process."
    Yet Americans have indicated that they are quite unhappy with how their government is working. According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 28 percent of those polled believe that the federal government is"working well," while seven out of 10 believe that the"unhealthy" government is in need of reform. Almost 93 percent said there was too much partisanship; 84 percent said special interests had excessive power.
    We must always take these kinds of poll numbers with a grain of salt. Polls frequently show that Americans do not like how their government works, especially Congress. The U.S. is a country that has always expressed strong distrust of government....
    Although voters tend to be more interested in bread-and-butter issues, as well as questions about war and peace, there are a few exceptional moments when public anger about the political system becomes so intense that we enter into a period of substantive reform. We might be reaching one of those points, but in the end it will require the initiative of the president and congressional leaders to make sure that calls for reform are not just empty rhetoric. - CNN, 2-2-10



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