Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • How does a family get picked for an Obama backyard chat? A nice yard helps

    obamaclubbsIn recent weeks, President Obama has stepped out from behind the podium and taken his message on the economy to backyards around the country. He turns up at these gatherings in shirtsleeves and no tie to field questions from average American citizens.

    It's a move aimed in part at reviving the president's dismal poll numbers, which now show that most of the country disapproves of Obama's job performance and believes him to be out of touch with its economic problems.

    But do you ever wonder how the White House chooses where the president will go?

    [Photos: Latest images of the president]

    It's not random. So far, the White House has chosen backyards in swing states  that not only will be the chief political battleground in 2010 but also will probably play a big role in 2012, including Iowa, Ohio, New Mexico and Virginia.

    According to administration officials, advance teams pick a place and then begin scouting for families, sometimes based on recommendations of Obama allies.

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  • Poll: Murkowski and Miller are dead even in Alaska

    murkowskiA new poll finds Joe Miller and Lisa Murkoswki virtually tied in Alaska's Senate race.

    According to a new CNN/Time survey, Miller narrowly leads the incumbent senator by just two points, 38 percent to 36 percent, among likely Alaska voters. Democrat Scott McAdams, the mayor of Sitka, runs a distant third, garnering just 22 percent. The poll has a 3 percent margin of error.

    While this is good news for Murkowski, the poll is a little tricky, as her name won't technically appear on the ballot. Miller, a tea party-backed candidate, narrowly defeated Murkoswki in last month's GOP primary, but the senator announced plans to run a write-in candidate. If she wins, she'd be the first senator in 56 years to be elected in a write-in campaign.

    But the poll finds plenty of hopeful signs for Murkowski, including significant support among Democrats and independents. According to the survey, 39 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of independents say they will support Murkowski on Election Day.

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  • Facing a cash crunch, RNC dials back on get-out-the-vote efforts

    steeleThe Republican National Committee's less-than-stellar fundraising this summer is forcing the party to dial back on some of its traditional get-out-the-vote efforts in the final weeks of the 2010 campaign.

    As first reported by Roll Call's Jackie Kucinich, the RNC has decided to end the long-standing practice of sending congressional staffers into hotly contested districts to make contacts with voters and assist the GOP's midterm election efforts. A spokesman for the RNC says the program isn't "cost-effective" and the party plans to spend its money on other get-out-the-vote efforts, like mailing fliers to voters' homes.

    The move seems counterintuitive on the eve of an election in which Republicans are strongly favored to make serious gains in the Senate and possibly regain control of the House. But with less than five weeks to go before Election Day, the RNC doesn't have the cash it had in previous years to spend on dollar-intensive get-out-the-vote efforts.

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  • New Meek ad uses Crist’s own words against him

    crist adCharlie Crist had to know this was coming.

    Democrat Kendrick Meek and the Florida Democratic Party are out Wednesday with a joint ad using Crist's past comments as a Republican to undermine the Florida governor's independent bid in the state's closely watched Senate race.

    The 30-second ad features a camera shifting back and forth along a bank of TVs in darkened room. The screens are all airing various clips of Crist's past public statements. As ominous music plays, the viewer sees video of Crist bragging that he's "about as conservative as you can get" and that he's a "Jeb Bush Republican." There is footage of Crist praising George W. Bush as a "leader of courage and conviction" and commending Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate in 2008.

    The spot ends with Crist's own words. "I think it's important for people to understand who the true conservative is in this race," Crist says. "And it's Charlie Crist."

    You can watch the ad below:

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  • Obama urges Dems to ‘buck up’ and stop complaining, but will tough love turn out votes?


    President Obama is mad as heck, and he's not going to take it anymore — not from Democrats, anyway. With his party at risk of losing control of Congress in November, Obama is pushing back against his Democratic critics, telling Rolling Stone magazine in an interview published Tuesday that it's "inexcusable" for Democrats not to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

    "The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands, complaining, is just irresponsible," Obama told Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. "We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up."

    Obama's comments come on the heels of Vice President Joe Biden's remarks to a group of Democratic donors a New Hampshire fundraiser Monday. "Stop whining" was the vice president's message to the Democratic base. "Get out there, and look at the alternatives," Biden said. "This president has done an incredible job. He's kept his promises."

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  • GOP groups outspending Dems on TV ads

    bennett adGroups working to elect conservative candidates this year are outspending Democratic outfits nearly 6 to 1 on TV ads — a gap that seems unlikely to narrow in the last five weeks before Election Day. GOP groups have spent nearly $30 million in 15 states over the last two months, compared with the less than $5 million spent by Democratic allies, according to a tally assembled by the Associated Press' Jim Kuhnhenn and Liz Sidoti.

    That total does not include spending by party committees. Official Democratic Party organizations hold a significant financial advantage over their GOP counterparts and have announced plans to spend more on TV this fall. In the Senate, for example, Democrats have reserved nearly $20 million in ad time in the final weeks of the campaign, compared with roughly $10 million announced so far by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

    But Republicans are relying heavily on outside GOP groups to make up that financial gap. American Crossroads -- one of a network of sister GOP organizations linked to former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie -- has announced plans to spend in upward of $50 million by Election Day to elect Republican candidates. The group has raised more than $30 million since March and spent at least half of that on TV ads, which began airing in May.

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  • McMahon, Blumenthal virtually tied in Connecticut

    AP100521064053In what could be a serious blow to Democrats' chances in November, Linda McMahon has pulled virtually even with Dick Blumenthal in Connecticut's Senate race. A new Quinnipiac University poll finds Blumenthal with just a 3-point lead over his GOP opponent, within the survey's margin of error.

    That's perhaps the biggest shift of political fortunes for any Democrat this election cycle. Back in late May, Blumenthal lead his GOP opponent by 25 points — and that poll was taken after a damaging New York Times story found the Democratic nominee had exaggerated his service in Vietnam. The Vietnam controversy — which Blumenthal characterized as a few "misplaced words" — was initially viewed as one of the Democrat's biggest liabilities this fall.

    But with just five weeks to go before Election Day, Blumenthal's biggest problem may be his party affiliation. According to the new Quinnipiac poll, 43 percent of likely voters in the state say they are "dissatisfied" with the federal government, and 33 percent say they are "angry." That, in turn, seems to have prompted McMahon's surge in recent months. Among voters who say they are "angry," 78 percent support McMahon. Meanwhile, 44 percent of voters who say they will support McMahon this fall say they consider their vote to be "against Blumenthal."

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  • In new ad, Fiorina slams Boxer’s ‘arrogance’

    fiorina adIt didn't take long for California's Senate race to get nasty.

    Just a few days after Barbara Boxer unveiled her first attack ad in the race, GOP nominee Carly Fiorina is out with her first statewide TV spot, slamming the Democratic senator's "arrogance."

    The ad uses footage of a June 2009 Senate hearing, in which Boxer demanded Brigadier Gen. Michael Walsh, who heads the Army Corps of Engineers, to refer to her as "senator" not "ma'am." "I worked hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it," Boxer says.

    The spot then shifts to a close-up of Fiorina. "Twenty-eight years in Washington, and Barbara Boxer works hard for a title?" Fiorina tells the camera. "I'll really go to work to end the arrogance in Washington."

    The 30-second ad wraps up with a photo of  Boxer, captioned: "So wrong. Too long."

    You can watch the ad after the jump:

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  • McMahon won’t remove ad that includes footage of JFK

    mcmahonConnecticut GOP Senate hopeful Linda McMahon is refusing to remove a Web ad that uses archive footage of John F. Kennedy talking about the importance of tax cuts.

    The 30-second spot, titled "A Good Idea Then and Now," uses 1963 footage of the late president arguing that tax cuts would serve as an economic stimulus. It's a message meant to bolster McMahon's position that the so-called Bush tax cuts, set to expire later this year, should be extended.

    You can watch the ad here:

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