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Tuesday
Sep282010

Rahm Emanuel Likely to Leave White House This Week

Photo Courtesy -- The White House(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News has learned that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is planning to make an announcement on Friday as to whether or not he is leaving his post within the Obama administration to explore a run for mayor of Chicago.  Although his decision has not been finalized, Emanuel's likely departure is not a surprise, as his mayoral aspirations have been well known.  White House officials expect that President Obama will also name an interim chief of staff, perhaps senior adviser Pete Rouse, at the announcement.   The president has been clear that Emanuel had his blessing when the job opened, aides calling it an “unbelievably attractive opportunity” for anyone that the president would support.  Emanuel has to declare his intent to enter the race by the Nov. 22nd filing deadline in Chicago. Candidates need to collect 12,500 signatures by that day to qualify for a February 22, 2011 Democratic primary.  Emanuel began to seriously consider his run for Chicago mayor when longtime Chicago mayor Richard M. Daly announced earlier this month that he would not seek reelection.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio



Monday
Sep272010

Rep. Van Hollen: 'Energy Gap is Closing'; Dems Will Hold House

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The man charged with leading Democratic campaign efforts in the House of Representatives said Monday that the Democratic base is stirring to action in advance of the midterm elections, arguing that Democrats “will retain the majority in the House” because voters won’t choose to pursue Republican policies.  “The momentum is picking up, the energy gap is closing, and the Democrats will retain the majority in the House because the American people do not want to go to the failed policies of the past,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told ABC News.”  Asked to predict how many seats Democrats would lose, he responded: “I'm not making any predictions. I know people who’ve been in the predictions business in the past and they’re often wrong -- including Karl Rove, who predicted a permanent Republican majority. Remember that one?”  Concerning Democrats choosing to distance themselves from President Obama, Van Hollen, D-Md., emphasized the ideological diversity of the Democratic caucus as opposed to the "ideological purity test" he says Republicans have.  As previously reported, Democratic party members admitted to being a party divided after a caucus meeting last Thursday which included discussion about whether or not to hold a vote on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts.  Van Hollen defended Democrats’ decision not to hold a vote on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, saying the delay is the fault of Republicans who’ve made clear they would filibuster any bill that doesn’t extend all of the tax cuts.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio




Monday
Sep272010

Obama To Target GOP "Pledge To America" On Upcoming Trip

Image Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- With just five weeks until the midterm elections, President Obama will target the House Republican “Pledge To America” during three backyard conversations on his upcoming trip. In addition to discussing the economy at each stop, the president will tackle education, taxes, deficits, and the middle class during stops in New Mexico, Iowa and Virginia. Each stop will have a different, specific focus.

The president will “talk about some of the things we’ve done in these areas and why he thinks the direction the Republicans are pushing to go would be irresponsible, would be a mistake,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told reporters on a conference call Monday.

Despite highlighting key differences between the Democrats and Republicans, Pfeiffer was adamant that the president is not campaigning. “These three backyard visits are not campaign visits,” he said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Kaiser Poll: More Than Half Of Americans Confused About Health Reform

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Six months after the passage of the health care law, more than half of Americans are still confused about it, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Monday.  Even as the first of the new “consumer protections” start kicking in this month, confusion has risen to the highest point since April, and 53 percent of Americans are in the dark about what the new law means.  Three in ten seniors polled mistakenly believe that the new law will permit government panels to make decisions about their end-of-life care, dubbed “death panels” by some.  However, favorable views of reform have regained “a small upper hand” over unfavorable views, by 49-40 percent.  But among registered voters, support is even. The report comes six weeks before a mid-term election in which health care has become the battle cry for Republicans hoping to take back majority.  Even House Democrats who voted against it are clearly using their No vote to distance themselves from the establishment. At the same time, those who supported the bill are silent on the issue.  Still, health care is largely overshadowed by the economy and jobs. Only three in ten Americans say they’re more likely to go to the polls because of the health care law, while six in ten say the law’s passage doesn’t really change their interest in voting. Republicans are pushing for a full repeal of the law, but only 26 percent of Americans say the law should be repealed as soon as possible, according to the Kaiser survey.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

President Obama Encourages Young Voters to Vote in November

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- On Monday, President Obama made a direct plea to young voters, urging them to re-engage in the political process and get out to the polls come November.

“Even though this may not be as exciting as a presidential election this is going to make a huge difference in terms of whether we’re going to be able to move our agenda forward over the next couple of years,” Obama said on a conference call with university journalists. “You can’t sit it out, you can’t suddenly just check in once every ten years or so on an exciting presidential election and then not pay attention during big midterm elections where we’ve got a real big choice between Democrats and Republicans.”

The president admitted the enthusiasm that young voters showed during his campaign in 2008 has not carried over during his first two years in office.

“Back in 2008 a lot of young people got involved in my campaign… I think people just generally felt that we needed to bring about some fundamental change in how we operate, this was all before the financial crisis,” Obama explained. “I think a lot of people felt that our campaign gave them a vehicle to get engaged and involved in shaping the direction of this country over the long-term. I’ve been in office for two years. We’ve been in the midst of this big financial crisis. I’ve been having all these fights with the Republicans to make progress on a whole bunch of these issues and during that time, naturally, some of the excitement and enthusiasm started to drain away because people felt like ‘Gosh, you know, all I’m reading about are constant arguments in Washington.’”

The president’s comments offer a preview of what is to come at his rally tomorrow at the University of Wisconsin. “What I want to do is just to speak to young people directly and remind them of what I said during the campaign which is change is always hard in this country. It doesn’t happen overnight. You take two steps forward, you take one step back. This is a big complicated democracy. It’s contentious. It’s not always fun and games.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Obama Calls Republican Leaders "Irresponsible"

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama prepared for a four-state campaign swing to support Democratic candidates for Congress, he sharpened his opposition to the Republican “Pledge to America” platform and his differences with GOP leaders.

“What I am seeing out of the Republican leadership over last several years has been a set of policies are [sic] just irresponsible,” the President said in a live interview on NBC’s Today show. “They propose $4 trillion worth of  tax cuts and 16 billion in spending cuts, and then say we are going to somehow magically balance the budget. That is not a serious approach.”

The president was careful not to criticize Republican voters, however, saying there's “a lot of wonderful people out there who consider themselves Republicans or independents who have maybe some criticisms of my administration but who basically recognize we’ve got to solve some big problems, we’ve got be serious, we’ve got to base our decisions on facts.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Obama And Biden Give Campaigning 'The Old College Try'

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are going back to school this week. Obama travels to Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday to headline a rally at the University of Wisconsin while Biden heads to Penn State to fire up voters -- particularly the younger crowd -- in the two key battleground states.  Why the emphasis on this segment of the electorate?  A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that only 55 percent of 18 to 28-year-old voters said they were “absolutely certain” to go to the polls this fall, compared to 78 percent of the 50 to 64-year-old crowd and 77 percent of those over 65.  As former Obama campaign manager and midterm election strategist, David Plouffe, told the Post’s Philip Rucker and Anne E. Kornblut: "A lot of these voters feel very strongly about the president, but still a lot of them aren't showing enough predilection to vote.” Plouffe also previewed the president’s speech on Tuesday: “When Obama steps onto a grass quad at the University of Wisconsin on Tuesday, he will deliver a newly tailored, more personalized campaign appeal aimed at ginning up enthusiasm, according to White House and senior Democratic officials. Plouffe said Obama will remind students of the work they put into his 2008 campaign and warn them that if they don't reengage now, ‘all that could be jeopardized.’” On Monday, the president will also host an on the record telephone briefing with college student journalists. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Bill Clinton Hits Campaign Trail for Democrats

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former president Bill Clinton says Democrats are not yet putting up a good fight. He was on the campaign trail this weekend, playing defense deep in home territory, where, in a typical election year, Democrats would be leading comfortably: the solid-blue states of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Clinton is campaigning for longtime politicians, including Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Senate hopeful, and 30-year Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, who crushed his last opponent. In three earlier races, the Republicans ran no one against Frank. Now, the president's point-man on the banking bailout is also on the endangered list.

Also on the campaign trail Tuesday will be campaigner-in-chief President Obama in Wisconsin and Vice President Joe Biden at Penn State. Next month, Democrats bring out the most popular resident of the White House: first lady Michelle Obama.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Poll: Obama's Approval Rating Hits New Low

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama's approval rating has hit a new low, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll. According to the survey, just 42 percent of Americans approve of the president's performance, while 54 percent said they disapprove. “Only 37 percent of likely voters say they are more likely to vote for a congressional candidate backed by Obama," the poll found. "In contrast, half of all likely voters now say they are likely to choose a candidate supported by the conservative tea party -- contributing to the GOP's 53 to 44 percent lead when such voters are asked which party's candidate they will choose in November.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Democrats on Defense, Negative Ads Fill Airwaves

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With five weeks and counting to the mid-term elections, the Democratic big guns are playing defense in Blue states, and Democrats are on the attack.

Rep. Barney Frank, of Massachusetts, has been in Congress for 30 years and for the last two decades has won re-election with huge margins, sometimes running unopposed. But in this political environment, Frank is taking no chances and over the weekend brought in former president Bill Clinton to join him on the stump.

President Obama begins a campaign Monday to four states that he won two years ago -- New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa and Virginia -- where Democrats today are struggling. A recent Pew poll shows independent voters favoring the Republican candidate over the Democrat by thirteen points -- 49% favoring the generic Republican, 36% backing the Democrat.

Many Democrats are taking to the airwaves to depict their opponents as personally unacceptable. Rep. Alan Grayson, of Florida, for example, did not serve in the military but is using an anonymous narrator in a television advertisement to accuse his Republican opponent for not having served either.

"It breaks an old soldier's heart to think that Daniel Webster could ever be elected to Congress," says the narrator, whom the Grayson campaign had declined to identify. "He doesn't love this country the way I do."

Factcheck.org has said the ad falsely impugns Webster's patriotism.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio