Blogs > HNN > February 22, 2010: CPAC, Conservative Policy Action Conference and Health Care

Mar 9, 2010 8:27 am


February 22, 2010: CPAC, Conservative Policy Action Conference and Health Care



The President delivers the Weekly Address

THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Majority of Americans say President Obama doesn't deserve 2nd term: poll: President Obama's new jobs plan may include finding one, a new survey suggests. A majority of Americans think Obama should be a one-term president, the CNN / Opinion Research Corp. poll says, with 52% saying he is undeserving of a second term in office. 44% of respondents answered that Obama deserves reelection, with 4% saying they had no opinion.... - NY Daily News, 2-17-10
  • Congress poll is Capitol hell Voters' support for incumbents hits historic low: Just when you thought Congress couldn't reach a new low, it did. Only a third of US voters think their Congress members have earned the right to get sent back next year -- a record-low number, a poll released yesterday shows. Thirty-four percent of voters queried think members of the House and the Senate ought to be re-elected -- while an astonishing 63 percent were in favor of throwing the bums out, the new CNN poll showed..... - NY Post, 2-17-10

THE HEADLINES....

  • Obama plan would curb health insurers on rate hikes: The proposal would give the Health and Human Services secretary power to block premium increases deemed excessive.... - LAT, 2-21-10
  • White House adjusts strategy on Republicans: The Obama administration aims to put members of the GOP on the spot, forcing them to compromise on issues or be portrayed as obstructionists.... - LAT, 2-20-10
  • Michelle Obama thinks doubts about her have eased: Michelle Obama wears blinders, of sorts. That helps her to see the real America. As the first lady put it in an interview Saturday, the people she's met and the causes she's taken up have put her in touch with a side of the country far removed from the tempest of attack politics and nasty commentary, which she tries her best to shut out."Most of America isn't like that and they're tired of that," she said."You know, they want folks to get stuff done. The beauty of my job is that I get to see more of that America. And that feeds me."... - AP, 2-20-10
  • Conservatives Help Fuel Primary Challenges to Some Republicans: Before the activists at this week's Conservative Action Political Conference battle Democratic candidates in the fall election, they’re first helping challenge some Republican officeholders. Insurgents such as former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, former Representative J.D. Hayworth of Arizona and Utah lawyer Mike Lee -- all running against well-established Republicans in party primaries -- have found receptive audiences among those attending the annual gathering sponsored by the American Conservative Union in Washington."I'd rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who believe in the principles of freedom than 60 who don’t believe in anything," Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina told the conference."I believe in holding incumbent Republican senators accountable."... - Bloomberg
  • On Reid turf, Obama plugs his agenda: Days before hosting a potentially intensive health care summit with Republicans and Democrats, President Obama made a fervent push yesterday for his overhaul, calling it critical not just for the millions without insurance but also for the entire country’s economic well-being."It is vital for our economy to change how health care works in this country," Obama said at a town hall meeting in a high school gym."Don't let the American people go another year, another 10 years, another 20 years without health insurance reform in this country."... - Boston Globe, 2-20-10
  • Obama sets record straight: 'I love Vegas': President Barack Obama is setting the record straight - he loves Las Vegas. And Las Vegas was glad to hear it. Obama had irked Nevada officials by using Las Vegas as an example of how people should not spend irresponsibly in tough times. But during an overnight visit to the city, Obama made it clear he meant no harm."I love Vegas," Obama told an audience of 650 business and tourism leaders Friday at a resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip.... - AP, 2-19-10
  • Obama to Offer Health Bill to Ease Impasse as Bipartisan Meeting Approaches: President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week, senior administration officials and Congressional aides said Thursday. Democratic officials said the president's proposal was being written so that it could be attached to a budget bill as a way of averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate. The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority. Congressional Democrats, however, have not yet seen the proposal or signed on.... - NYT, 2-19-10
  • How the GOP Sees It What Republicans would do if given carte blanche to run the country: "We've offered to work with the president all year. We've been shut out, shut out, and shut out." —House GOP leader John Boehner Such is the lament of the party out of power in Washington. Republicans on Capitol Hill say they have many good ideas and want to join with President Obama and the Democrats to alleviate the country's problems. They want to collaborate on a health-care bill, a jobs bill, a clean-energy bill. But they can't, because the Democrats—intent on pushing through a radical agenda that is out of touch with real Americans—won't listen to them. Republicans want to help the president succeed, but he won't let them. This isn't true, of course—any more than it was true when the Democrats said the same thing as they dedicated themselves to thwarting George W. Bush. In zero-sum Washington, members of the opposition party have little incentive to help the president, especially if it means the credit for their actions could accrue to him and not them. If politics is the art of compromise, then politics as practiced in the capital is the art of preventing compromise at all costs. This is why, infuriatingly, our elected officials spend so much time plotting ways to stick it to the other side with"filibuster-proof super-majorities" and"nuclear options," while the unemployment rate hovers in the double digits and 46 million Americans go without health insurance. It is why not a single GOP senator voted for the health-care bill now stalled in Congress, and why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell turned against a GOP-inspired plan for a deficit commission once Obama endorsed the idea.... - Newsweek, 3-1-10
  • Obama tries to rally his party in Colorado visit: At a fundraiser for Sen. Michael Bennet, the president has tough words for Republicans. He'll next take his message to Nevada to help out another embattled Democratic senator: Harry Reid.
    "A lot of these guys when it comes to the ribbon-cuttings for the projects, they show up," Obama told a packed concert hall."They're holding up those big checks: 'Look what I did for you!'"I'm not going to give 'em hell," the president continued."I'm going to tell the truth and they'll think it's hell. That's what Harry Truman said."... - LAT, 2-18-10
  • Romney courts the right with jabs at Obama Crowd reserves fervor for new faces: Sounding like a potential rival for President Obama in 2012, Mitt Romney delivered a brutal critique yesterday of what he called American liberal"neo-monarchists" as he sought the favor of traditional conservatives and insurgent tea party activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. While Romney received several standing ovations in the packed ballroom, his reception did not have the same feverish enthusiasm awarded to such new faces as Marco Rubio, a conservative US Senate candidate from Florida, and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who, in a surprise appearance, introduced Romney.,... - Boston Globe, 2-19-10
  • GOP leaders agree to panel on federal deficit: With the national debt soaring, Republican leaders reluctantly consented Thursday to join Democrats on a bipartisan commission to address the government's budget problems. But they continued to reject any solution that involves higher taxes, and analysts in both parties said the effort faces a dauntingly poisoned political atmosphere.... - WaPo, 2-18-10
  • Energized conservatives pound on Democrats at CPAC: A newly muscular"tea party" movement dominated an old-line conservative conclave Thursday, depicting Democrats as destroying America's freedoms and warning Republicans not to take their support for granted. President Obama and congressional Democrats"are using this downturn as cover, not to fix America but to try to change America, to fundamentally re-define the role of government in our lives and the role of America in the world," Marco Rubio said in the opening address at the annual Conservative Policy Action Conference (CPAC). The rising conservative star, who is seeking the GOP Senate nomination in Florida, said,"The good news is it didn't take long for the American people to figure this out."... - USA Today, 2-18-10
  • Dick Cheney's bold proclamation: Barack Obama's 'a one-term president': Former Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise appearance this afternoon at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference gathering in Washington after a speech by his daughter, Liz Cheney. And a surprise proclamation. He was greeted by cheers and chants of"Run, Cheney, Run!" To which Cheney responded:"A welcome like that almost makes me want to run for office -- but I am not going to do it."... - LAT, 2-18-10
  • GOP sees possible upside in health care summit: Congressional Republicans see a chance for political gain in President Barack Obama's televised health care summit next week, even though the president will be running the show. Obama and the Democrats are certain to highlight a crucial element of their health care plan — extending coverage to more than 30 million Americans — at the one-of-a-kind event. By comparison, a Republican plan would only help 3 million more. But during a time of ballooning deficits, the GOP figures reining in rising medical costs — not coverage — could resonate with voters in an election year.... - AP, 2-18-10
  • Obama says stimulus bill averted deeper economic crisis A year later, he repudiates GOP criticism: President Obama hailed the success of his much-debated $787 billion stimulus legislation yesterday, saying the one-year-old program has created or saved 2 million jobs and helped prevent a second Great Depression.
    "No large expenditure is ever that popular, particularly at a time when we are also facing a massive deficit," the president said."Our work is far from over, but we have rescued this economy from the worst of this crisis. The American people are rebuilding a better future. We will continue to support their efforts."
    And he made fun of GOP lawmakers who he said were unsure whether to clap last month when, during his State of the Union speech, Obama recounted the tax cuts in the act."They were all kind of squirming in their seats," he said.... - Boston Globe, 2-17-10
  • Second Tea Party Convention Planned for Vegas in July: Fresh off a convention just a few weeks ago, Tea Party organizers on Wednesday announced another national convention, and this time they're going to invade Las Vegas from July 15-17 with their message of lower taxes and smaller government.... - Fox News, 2-17-10
  • Stimulus funds going to slashed programs: More than $3.5 billion in economic stimulus funds are going to programs that President Obama wants to eliminate or trim in his new budget. The president's budget released this month recommends getting rid of Army Corps of Engineers' drinking-water projects, which got $200 million in stimulus funds, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture flood-prevention program, which received $290 million from the stimulus, a USA TODAY review of stimulus spending reports show.... - USA Today, 2-17-10
  • Obama pledges $8 billion for new nuclear reactors: The move represents a new federal commitment to the low-carbon-emitting, but highly controversial, sector long championed by Republicans. Environmentalists voice concern.... - LAT, 2-16-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012....

  • Illinois Republicans see unique chance for victory: The last decade was lousy for Illinois Republicans. They lost a Senate seat, their party's last governor went to prison and they were shut out of every statewide office. But the recent surprise win by Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race and a string of setbacks for Illinois Democrats have Republicans giddy about their chances to claim the next big election prizes: President Barack Obama's old Senate seat and ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich's old job. Republicans have reason to feel confident. This year's races are likely to be fought against the backdrop of Blagojevich's corruption trial — a point Republicans are sure to belabor — and Illinois' finances are in shambles, with the state deficit likely to reach $13 billion this year.... - AP, 2-17-10
  • Elections' Stakes: Control of Senate Retirements, Voter Ire Make GOP Majority a Possibility: Lawmakers in both parties are contemplating for the first time the possibility that the Republicans might recapture the Senate this year, though it's an uphill climb in which the GOP would have to win states that have recently been inhospitable to the party. Republicans' prospects are surging, driven by an electorate deeply dissatisfied with Washington, the economy and incumbents. And the surprise retirement announcement from Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) Monday on the heels of a host of other bad news for Democrats is prompting party leaders to take a fresh look at the Senate landscape. Because Democrats hold a 59-41 voting majority in the Senate, Republicans would have to gain 10 new seats and retain all of their own to gain control.... - WSJ, 2-16-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Powell: We Are Not Less Safe Under Obama Disputes Critics' Charges That Current Admin's Actions Compromise National Security, But Says U.S."Still at Risk": Claims that the United States is less safe under President Obama are not credible, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on"Face the Nation" Sunday.
    "The point is made, 'We don't waterboard anymore or use extreme interrogation techniques.' Most of those extreme interrogation techniques and waterboarding were done away with in the Bush administration," Powell said."They've been made officially done away with in this current administration."
    "The Transportation Security Administration created by George Bush is still in action working in our airports; they take care of me every day that I go to an airport," Powell told moderator Bob Schieffer.
    The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was also created under President Bush,"and it is still under President Obama working hard," he said."Our counterterrorism authorities and forces are hard at work. Our law enforcement officials are hard at work. We have gone after the enemy in Afghanistan with 50,000 more troops, more predators are striking al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan. We have continued the policies that President Bush put in place with respect to Iraq.
    "The bottom line answer is the nation is still at risk. Terrorists are out there. They're trying to get through. But to suggest that somehow we have become much less safer because of the actions of the administration, I don't think that's borne out by the facts," Powell said. CBS, 2-21-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Says it is Time to Move Forward on Health Care Reform Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address February 20, 2010:
    And as bad as things are today, they'll only get worse if we fail to act. We’ll see more and more Americans go without the coverage they need. We’ll see exploding premiums and out-of-pocket costs burn through more and more family budgets. We'll see more and more small businesses scale back benefits, drop coverage, or close down because they can’t keep up with rising rates. And in time, we'll see these skyrocketing health care costs become the single largest driver of our federal deficits.
    That’s what the future is on track to look like. But it's not what the future has to look like. The question, then, is whether we will do what it takes, all of us – Democrats and Republicans – to build a better future for ourselves, our children, and our country.
    That's why, next week, I am inviting members of both parties to take part in a bipartisan health care meeting, and I hope they come in a spirit of good faith. I don’t want to see this meeting turn into political theater, with each side simply reciting talking points and trying to score political points. Instead, I ask members of both parties to seek common ground in an effort to solve a problem that’s been with us for generations.... - WH, 2-20-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS' COMMENTS

  • Historians say that Obama's chance to be next FDR or Reagan fading fast: "He's tried, but to this point, he's failed," said George Edwards, a scholar of the presidency at Texas A&M University."He got things done, but they're not the historic things that are transformational."...
    "I wouldn't call it transformative because it's short-term," said Edwards."It's ephemeral and it's designed to be ephemeral. And, there's no support for doing it again."... - McClatchy Newspapers (2-16-10)
  • Historians say that Obama's chance to be next FDR or Reagan fading fast: "If he doesn't get significant health care reform, it's going to be very difficult to accomplish much domestically in the remaining three years of his term," said Richard Shenkman, an historian at George Mason University in Virginia.
    "He'll have the Carter problem. Members of Congress will have taken very hard votes on this, and if there's no payoff, they're going to look out for themselves and abandon him and his leadership."
    Said Shenkman:"If I were making bets at this point, aside from his election, I would very much doubt that he's going to be much of a transformative figure.".... - McClatchy Newspapers (2-16-10)
  • Julian Zelizer: Obama can model Ike in fighting off GOP hawks: ...When Obama campaigned, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy and multilateralism -- working through international alliances and institutions -- as well as the need to re-establish stronger respect for civil liberties in counterterrorism policy.
    He has also called for more investment in domestic programs to prevent bioterrorism and to improve intelligence officials' foreign language skills, particularly in Arabic. Unless he has drastically changed his positions, there is a path for sticking with his principles. As a model, President Obama could turn to a Republican predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, who served in the White House from 1953 to 1961. Nicknamed Ike, he remains one of the most popular presidents in American history.... - CNN, 2-16-10
  • Obama as campaigner in chief: Will his record improve?: On the road in Colorado and Nevada, Obama looks to boost embattled Democrats after similar bids failed in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts."He has to pick his spots," says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University."He can’t afford that many campaigns where he’s not seen as having clout, because that just resonates toward the Republicans.".... - CS Monitor, 2-20-10
  • Obama and Reid forge bond beyond politics as usual: Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University professor who writes about U.S. politics, sees a bleak landscape ahead."The honeymoon is over, and it is possible the divorce is about to begin," Zelizer said."This has been an incredibly strained relationship. In general, there is a perception that the Senate has not delivered. President Obama has proposed, the House has passed and the Senate has stalled." - Las Vegas Sun, 2-18-10




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