Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • Dems face a tougher-than-expected fight in California

    boxerfiorinaWith the state in a budget crisis and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger one of the most unpopular politicians in the country, California would seem to be friendly territory for Democrats in 2010 -- especially when you consider that the party has a significant edge in state voter registration.

    But California's two leading Democratic candidates — Sen. Barbara Boxer and gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown — are at serious risk of losing their races, as a new poll finds them in a dead heat with their GOP opponents heading into November. One reason: Female voters, who used to be reliable Democratic supporters, are increasingly split between the two political parties.

    A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corp. poll finds Boxer narrowly leading former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, 48 percent to 44 percent, among registered voters — a gap that's within the margin of error, meaning the two are virtually tied. Among women, Boxer leads Fiorina by just 5 points, 48 percent to 43 percent. By comparison, Boxer won her last campaign with 65 percent of the female vote.

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  • Steele stumps for Republicans halfway around the world

    michael steele
    With less than two months to go before Election Day, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is focusing his energies on trying to elect Republicans in … Guam?

    The embattled RNC chair has spent the last several days on a campaign tour that's distinctly unusual -- at least by the standards of how predecessors have typically kicked off the heart of campaign season in tough national campaigns. Rather than visiting key battleground states and districts to raise campaign cash, Steele has lately been stumping for GOP candidates in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Late last month, he made appearances in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. These are odd destinations, to put it mildly, for the runup to critical midterm election -- but, as CNN's Peter Hamby notes, these are all areas that helped Steele win the RNC chairmanship in '09. Steele's new island tour, Hamby surmises, could be a sign that he is trying to shore up support for another run next year.

    Not surprisingly, Steele's 2010 island tour has inspired all kinds of anonymous griping among GOP officials. One RNC member told The Upshot that Steele "should be more focused on raising money and electing Republicans than on his own political future." Yet the decision to scarper off the continent makes its own kind of campaign sense, since few GOP congressional hopefuls are likely to be all that keen on photo-ops with the controversy-prone RNC chair.

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  • Biden thanks Bush, troops on ‘The Colbert Report’

    biden colbertVice President Joe Biden publicly thanked former President George W. Bush for his role in helping to end major combat missions in Iraq, allowing that even though they had disagreed on "policy," the 43rd president deserves "a lot of credit."

    Appearing on "The Colbert Report" Wednesday night during a week of episodes devoted to honoring the troops, Biden was asked if he had anything to say about Bush's role in the war effort. He offered praise to the former president, going significantly further than President Obama did in last week's Oval Office address on Iraq.

    [Related: Biden discusses 'embarrassing' moments at the mic]

    "Mr. President, thank you," Biden said, looking directly at the camera. "You've honored these guys, you've honored these women, you've honored these troops. And I've known you your entire eight years as president. I've never known a time when you didn't care about what happened. We disagreed on policy, but you deserve a lot of credit, Mr. President."

    [Gaffe rewind:

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  • Angle says she’d be a ‘mainstream senator’ if elected

    angleNevada GOP Senate hopeful Sharron Angle is pushing back against rival Harry Reid's claims that she would be "too extreme" to serve, telling CNN in an interview that she would be a "mainstream senator" if elected.

    Angle's record in Nevada doesn't exactly offer strong evidence she'd be willing to work with Democrats, even when other Republicans are inclined to.

    As the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Ed Vogel reports, Angle frequently voted against bipartisan bills while she was a member of the Nevada Assembly. Between 1999 and 2005, the years she served, Angle was one of only two members of the Assembly to vote against 79 bills backed by both GOP and Democratic lawmakers. She was the only Assembly member to vote against 39 bills that all other members supported.

    During her six years in office, she sponsored 57 bills, only two of which ultimately became law.

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  • Chicago Mayor Daley won’t seek re-election


    After more than two decades in office, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced Tuesday that he won't seek reelection in 2011. "Simply put, it's time. Time for me, time for Chicago to move on," Daley told reporters Tuesday, calling it a "personal decision."

    Daley is currently Chicago's second-longest-serving mayor, trailing only his father, Richard J. Daley, who served for nearly 22 years — a record the younger Daley will pass in December.

    The decision is sure to prompt speculation about White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's future, as he has made no secret of his desire to run for Chicago mayor someday.

    (Photo of Daley: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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  • Voters still don’t see a link between Bush and 2010

    bushDemocrats have tried all summer to convince voters that electing Republicans this fall would mean a return to the policies of the George W. Bush presidency. Party committees have run ads on the subject, and President Obama mentions his predecessor on the stump more often than he refers to any other current Republican officeholder. The bad news for Dems: No matter how hard they try to link the 2010 campaign to Bush, voters still aren't buying it — especially when it comes to the No. 1 issue this fall, the economy.

    A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that just 35 percent of those polled believe that if Republicans win control of Congress they will push Bush-era economic policies, whereas 58 percent say Republicans will offer "different ideas." The poll also asks voters to rate the Democrats' argument that the GOP has been the "party of no and ... would take us back to the economic policies of George W. Bush." Forty-five percent called the argument not convincing; 40 percent said it was convincing.

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  • Obama channels Hendrix on critics: ‘They talk about me like a dog’

    obama wisconsin

    Has President Obama been listening to a lot of Jimi Hendrix lately?  With just under two months to go before Election Day, Obama kicked off the fall campaign season Monday with an aggressive speech targeting Republicans. But it was an off-script moment in the speech that's attracted the most attention, as Obama accused his GOP critics of talking about him "like a dog."

    "Some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in Washington for a very long time -- and they're not always happy with me -- they talk about me like a dog. That's not in my prepared remarks, but it's true," Obama said during a speech at Wisconsin's Laborfest on Monday.

    Watch Obama's remarks (the Hendrix quote is a little more than a minute in, at 1:13):

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  • Ohio voters to Boehner: Step away from the self-tanner


    Finally, there's one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on in this highly polarized, hotly contested election year: John Boehner is simply way too tan.

    In a survey that threatens to send a chill down Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's own perpetually tan spine, Public Policy Polling finds that a majority of voters in Boehner's home state of Ohio disapprove of the House GOP leader's year-round Bain de Soleil-esque glow. Thirty percent of voters in the state think Boehner spends way too much time on his tan, while 14 percent say he spends the "right amount" of time — suggesting that a disproportionately high number of Ohio citizens own and operate tanning salons.

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  • Tea Party Express hopes to repeat Alaska win in Delaware Senate primary

    castleBuoyed by Joe Miller's surprise win in Alaska's Senate GOP primary, the Tea Party Express is hoping to take down another heavily favored Republican incumbent, this time in Delaware. The group plans to spend $250,000 on radio and TV ads to boost Christine O'Donnell, a largely unknown conservative activist who is vying against longtime GOP Rep. Mike Castle in the state's GOP Senate primary set for Sept. 14.

    Castle, a moderate nine-term congressman and former governor, has been heavily favored to win Joe Biden's old Senate seat this fall. Recent polls had him leading Democrat Chris Coons by double digits. But O'Donnell, a former GOP operative, has attacked Castle as a "Republican in name only" — trashing his support for stem-cell research and tougher gun laws.

    Ads in the works by the Tea Party Express reportedly echo those themes. In one of them, a narrator attacks Castle for voting "with Barack Obama 60 percent of the time" — even though Castle opposed most of the big-ticket agenda items that Republican activists have forcefully denounced, including the health-care bill and last year's stimulus package.

    Still, in spite of the group's last-minute spending pledge, it's unclear that O'Donnell can make up enough ground to beat Castle. The GOP primary is closed — meaning independents can't vote — and new party registration ended weeks ago.

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  • Feingold to skip Obama rally in Wisconsin


    President Obama heads to Milwaukee  onMonday, where he'll mark Labor Day at a statewide union event with other local Democratic candidates — except for one. Sen. Russ Feingold, who is facing a tougher-than-expected re-election campaign, is too busy to meet up with Obama this weekend.

    It's the second time this summer that Feingold has dodged an Obama event — though in fairness, the Wisconsin senator did make an appearance at the president's most recent stop in the state last month.

    Yet Feingold's decision to skip the Obama labor union rally is unusual, particularly since it's Labor Day weekend — the traditional kickoff of the fall campaign season— and unions have been Feingold's biggest boosters in the state. Feingold's disappearing act will be doubly conspicuous, since gubernatorial hopeful Tom Barrett, the other statewide Democratic candidate, is scheduled to be there.

    In a historically progressive state, a photo-op with Obama would seem to be a good thing — though with the president's approval numbers sliding, the campaign payoff would be much diminished from what it might have been a year ago.

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