• Power Players

    What are the chances that the House of Representatives will pass comprehensive immigration reform?

    Political scientist Tom Wong has been taking a scientific approach to answering that very question, tallying votes and crunching numbers to forecast the potential outcomes, and tells Power Players he’s “skeptical” the House will follow the Senate’s lead and pass a comprehensive bill.

    Based on his own vote tally, Wong says there are 203 solid ‘yes’ votes in the House and an additional 11 votes that are likely but not guaranteed.

    “If we take that 203 number, add 11 more we're at 214, and we need 218 for a majority, so this ends up being a game of inches,” says the assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego. “It could go either way in the House.”

    The 11 votes that Wong has designated as maybe votes are for representatives who are facing tight reelection races in 2014.

    Wong says more than 60 percent of congressional districts are not racially diverse, with

    Read More »from Path to 218: Why one political scientist is skeptical the House will get the votes to pass immigration reform
  • Front seat to history: Cokie Roberts’ historic chat with Michelle Obama and Laura Bush

    Politics Confidential

    It’s something we’ve never seen before, let alone in Africa: first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush sharing the stage for a conversation in Tanzania. And ABC News’ Cokie Roberts had the best seat in the house—the only other seat on stage, in fact—moderating a discussion between the two women.

    Roberts, who has written a book on American first ladies, caught up with Politics Confidential shortly after the first-of-its-kind meeting and remarked on the bond that the two first ladies share.

    “They genuinely like each other--that's clear--that they genuinely like each other,” Roberts said of the relationship between the two first ladies.

    The historic meeting came together by chance, Roberts said, after Laura Bush discovered that President Obama’s tour of Africa overlapped with a trip that she and her husband, former President George W. Bush, had planned to take to Africa for their own humanitarian work on the continent.

    “Mrs. Bush invited Mrs. Obama when she

    Read More »from Front seat to history: Cokie Roberts’ historic chat with Michelle Obama and Laura Bush
  • ‘No girls allowed’: Iraq war vet Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on opening combat missions to women

    Top Line

    Ask Rep. Tulsi Gabbard why she supports the military’s new policy to allow women to serve in combat roles, and the Iraq war veteran speaks from experience.

    “I can tell you during my deployment, there were missions that I-- volunteered for and was not allowed to go on, simply because I'm a woman,” Gabbard, D-Hawaii, tells Top Line. “They said, ‘Sorry, no. No girls allowed.’”

    Gabbard served  in Iraq and says the military’s policy shift is much more than symbolic.

    “What we see in the policy change now…is just a reflection of what women have already been doing in the military,” she says. “And it'll now open those doors so that we can have women serving in positions of leadership and within units where previously they were not allowed.”

    Gabbard also brings a first-hand perspective to the issue of sexual assault in the military, saying she “heard and saw incidents” of sexual assault within her military camp when she was in Iraq.

    “We got issued rape whistles so that as we walk out

    Read More »from ‘No girls allowed’: Iraq war vet Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on opening combat missions to women

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