The Oklahoma senator and obstetrician known as “Dr. No” has taken on the most unlikely of roles: getting Republicans to say “yes” to tax hikes.
Tom Coburn, who has blocked dozens of bills, infuriated Democratic leaders and been on the lopsided end of some 96-3 votes, has been encouraging fellow Republicans both publicly and behind the scenes to break with the anti-tax orthodoxy that has come to define — some say hamstring — the modern GOP.
WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kerry is angling to be the nation’s top diplomat by being, well, diplomatic.
The longtime Massachusetts lawmaker has largely stayed quiet while President Barack Obama considers him for his next secretary of state. Kerry has asked his supporters to avoid lobbying the White House on his behalf. And he’s defended his chief rival for the State Department post, Susan Rice, amid Republican criticism of her explanation of the deadly attack on Americans in Libya.
On the day that his chief rival for the GOP gubernatorial nod dropped out of contention, Virginia Republicans rallied around Cuccinelli — their attorney general who spearheaded a lawsuit against Obamacare and ruled in 2010 that police officers are allowed to check the immigration status of those they stop or arrest.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling dropped out of the governor’s race Wednesday after it became abundantly clear he had no real chance to win the nomination at a May party convention that will be dominated by conservative activists.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) on Tuesday pressed his fellow Republicans to go along with President Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans for the time being in order to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
In an interview with Politico, the Republican said he has encouraged his colleagues in the House to extend the Bush tax rates for incomes below $250,000 immediately, after which they could push for an extension of the cuts for incomes above that level. Without any congressional action, all of the Bush tax cuts will expire on Jan. 1.
"I think we ought to take the 98 percent deal right now," Cole told Politico. “It doesn’t mean I agree with raising the top two. I don’t.”
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) — Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she will block any secretary of state nominee, not just front-runner Susan Rice, until she is satisfied on the Libya U.S. mission attack.
"My view is we should hold on this until we get sufficient information," said Ayotte, adding she "would place a hold on anybody who wanted to be promoted for any job who had a role in the Benghazi situation."
The New Hampshire Republican’s words were echoed by fellow GOP Senate Armed Services Committee member Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Former Senate Republican Leader and presidential nominee Bob Dole has been hospitalized atWalter Reed Army Medical Hospital, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Reid, D-Nev., told colleagues on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday evening that Dole, 89 years old, called him a few days ago to tell him that he is at Walter Reed and that it is “not for a checkup.”
"He is infirm, he is sick," Reid said of Dole, who has been hospitalized many times over the years. "We should do this to recognize what a great leader Bob Dole is," Reid said.
At the top of House committtees, it’s a man’s world.
Not a single woman will lead any of the major House committees in the 113th Congress.
After a day of meetings closed to the public, the House Republican Steering Committee announced an all-male slate of committee chairs, including 12 returning lawmakers who will head up some of the most important panels in Washington. The chairs for the House Ethics Committee and House Administration Committee have yet to be chosen, so a woman could end up in one of those slots.
There are some willing to write off the online secession petition movement that emerged after President Barack Obama was re-elected as “angst” over the outcome of the election. Perhaps that’s true, but the fact is that the very notion of secession defies any true understanding of the state’s fiscal realities.
You need look no further than today’s headlines for a primer on why Republicans get themselves into trouble in national elections.
After years in which prominent Republicans courted her to run for the Senate, the popular Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) announced today that she will run for the Senate in 2014, when Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) may retire. She has statewide name recognition and a 70.27 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union.
But lo and behold the Club for Growth — which backed such stellar (not!) Senate candidates as Richard Mourdock in 2012 and Sharron Angle in 2010 and losers like Mark Neumann (who did a good job beating up eventual nominee Tommy Thompson in the Wisconsin Senate primary) and Don Stenberg of Nebraska — comes out to blast Capito for voting for ”big government.”
A new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters, former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told The Palm Beach Post.
Republican leaders said in proposing the law that it was meant to save money and fight voter fraud. But a former GOP chairman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both of whom have been ousted from the party, now say that fraud concerns were advanced only as subterfuge for the law’s main purpose: GOP victory.
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.
Nov. 21, 2012 – The U.S. Supreme Court may soon decide whether states can collect DNA samples from individuals upon arrest for serious crimes, just as Wisconsin lawmakers prepare to propose a law requiring felony and some misdemeanor arrestees to submit DNA samples.
Currently, only individuals who are convicted of felonies and certain sex-related misdemeanors are required to submit DNA samples under Wis. Stat. section 973.047. All 50 states and the federal government have laws allowing DNA collection upon conviction.
The Montana Independent Record disciplined a copy editor for changing a line in an Associated Press story to read “Obama was allegedly born in Hawaii.”
The change appeared in the Sunday edition of the Helena newspaper in an AP story about President Barack Obama’s visit to Asia. The line in the Independent Record read: “The Asia trip underscores Obama’s efforts to establish the United states as an Asia-Pacific power, a worldview defined by 21st century geopolitics but also by Obama’s personal identity as America’s first Pacific president. Obama was allegedly born in Hawaii.”
Rep. Scott DesJarlais said he no plans to resign and denied he intentionally misled voters about a past that includes his wife’s two abortions and affairs he had with two medical patients, three co-workers and a drug company representative.
“I am human,” the Tennessee Republican told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Wednesday. “I don’t think I ever put myself out there to be somebody that was perfect. I put myself out there as somebody who wanted to serve the public.”
Republicans’ soul searching following the 2012 election could shortchange social conservatives, who say they’re hardly to blame for the party’s difficulties at the polls.
The snapshot analysis as for why Republican nominee Mitt Romney and a slew of downballot GOP candidates fell short on Nov. 6 has centered on changing demographics — an increasingly diverse electorate, but also softening views toward hot-button social issues.
Republicans have always likened their party to a three-legged stool, one leg representing economic conservatives, one representing national security conservatives, and one representing social conservatives — all acting in concert to support the party. And social conservatives are arguing that opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights, among other issues, are as intrinsic to the Republican Party’s identity as ever.
(CNN) - Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum offered no insight into his own political future in a Friday CNN interview, but did offer his thoughts as to why the Republican nominee lost to President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
"What Mitt Romney, in my opinion, didn’t do was go out and vigorously defend the beliefs that he said he espoused and didn’t go on the offense," Santorum said in an interview to air Friday on CNN’s "Piers Morgan Tonight." "And when you’re playing defense, which is what I believe the campaign was doing and Republicans were doing generally throughout the course of this campaign you’re not going to win.
(CNN) – A top Republican U.S. senator brushed off the anti-tax pledge pushed by activist Grover Norquist and embraced widely for years by GOP lawmakers.
"I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge," Sen. Saxby Chambliss told Georgia television station WMAZ, a CNN affiliate, on Wednesday. “If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”
Democrats in Massachusetts are culling a list of candidates for a 2013 special election should Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) be appointed to President Obama’s Cabinet.
Recently defeated Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is the most likely pick for the GOP, but Democrats don’t want a repeat of the 2010 special election — when they lost the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat to Brown — and they’re looking to groom a strong contender to keep the position in their hands.
With provisional ballots counted in the last few days, the president did increase his vote total in many “urban areas” in swing states he won. On Election Night, as votes were coming in, it wasn’t the case that the president was running up the score.
The president’s margins weren’t atypical for Democrats. They run up margins in population centers, and President Obama is no different. And certainly Obama’s margins in Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is, and Northern Virginia, put the president over the edge. But they weren’t unusual or particularly high.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., did little to tamp down speculation that he’s under consideration to become the next CIA director, saying he could neither confirm nor deny conversations with the Obama administration about the vacant position.
Speaking Tuesday on WJR radio in Detroit, Rogers, a former FBI agent who’s helmed the intelligence panel for the past two years, acknowledged that his name has been among those in public discussion to replace David Petraeus as leader of the CIA. But he said he had “every expectation” he would continue to serve as Intelligence Committee chairman.
If the growing sway of Latinos in American politics was the story of election 2012, Raul Ruiz’s triumph in California’s 36th Congressional District was a dramatic subplot.
The son of migrant farmworkers who scraped his way through UCLA and then Harvard Medical School, Ruiz dislodged Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a 14-year fixture of the Republican Conference who didn’t seem to fully appreciate the district’s fast-growing Hispanic population until it was too late.
Visions of a Booker-Christie match-up make political junkies weak at the knees, even though both were bloodied a bit during the presidential campaign. Booker was forced into an awkward mea culpa that looked like a hostage video after he called attacks on Bain Capital “nauseating.” Christie’s keynote speech at the GOP convention, meanwhile, was widely panned for focusing on himself and New Jersey instead of Romney, and there were Republican cries of “traitor!” when he praised Obama’s response to Sandy. These controversies, though, only seemed to bolster their national profiles.
The outspoken Rev. Franklin Graham claimed today that the “majority of Christians” did not vote.
“We know that from of the statistics that I’ve heard that the majority of Christians in this country just did not vote for whatever reason,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody. “The vast majority of evangelicals did not go to the polls.” He added, “God is in control, and if Christians are upset, they need to be upset at themselves. We need to do a better job of getting our people- the church to vote. Now, I’m not trying to tell you how to vote, you can vote, but vote, my goodness, and vote for candidates that stand for Biblical values.”
But Graham’s assertion — and implication that had white evangelicals just showed up in bigger numbers, President Obama would have lost — is off base.
In the wake of the GOP’s Election Day beatdown, influential Republican senators say enough’s enough: Party leaders need to put the kibosh on the kind of savage primaries that yielded candidates like Akin — and crippled Republican prospects of taking the Senate in two straight election cycles.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - By now, voters here are over the initial shock. The ranchers, businessmen, and farmers across this deep-red state who knew, just knew that Americans would never re-elect a liberal tax-and-spender president have grudgingly accepted the reality that voters did just that.
But since the election, a blanket of baffled worry has descended on conservatives here like early snow across the plains, deepening a sense that traditional, rural and overwhelmingly white states in the center of the country are losing touch with an increasingly diverse and urban American electorate.
“It’s a fundamental shift,” said Khale Lenhart, 27, a lawyer here. “It’s a mind-set change — that government is here to take care of me.”
TUCSON, Ariz. - Democratic U.S. Representative Ron Barber, a former aide to Gabrielle Giffords who was wounded alongside her in a deadly 2011 shooting, has won a full term in Congress after defeating Republican Martha McSally in a closely contested race.
Barber, 67, who won a special election in June to finish out Giffords’ term, said McSally called him on Saturday morning to concede. They were running in the November 6 election to represent southeast Arizona in the state’s redrawn 2nd Congressional District.
Individuals in all 50 states have petitioned the White House to secede from the Union following the Nov. 6 election.
These efforts aren’t likely to come close to succeeding. Governors in several states have openly stated they don’t support such efforts.
There also is the majority opinion in an 1869 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Texas v. White, to consider. The ruling in essence declared that a state can’t secede.
Texas v. White stemmed from a dispute over federal government bonds. Texas had received $10 million in bonds to settle boundary claims in the Compromise of 1850. In 1862, secessionist government leaders transferred the bonds to a number of private individuals for the purchase of Confederate military supplies. Prior to the sale a pro-Union Texan notified the federal Treasury, which ran a notice in a New York newspaper that they wouldn’t be honored unless endorsed by the pre-secession governor. Before selling them the secessionists repealed the law that required the governor to endorse them in an attempt to hide their origin.
Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) — It’s not the ideas, it’s the image.
That’s what many Republicans, stung by their losses in this month’s U.S. elections and searching for ways to rebrand their party, are concluding as they position themselves for negotiations over averting the so-called fiscal cliff, a set of automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January.
Far from jettisoning their opposition to raising taxes in a post-election show of acquiescence to President Barack Obama, Republicans are working to moderate their rhetoric while standing firm on their negotiating position.
If early reports are any guide, the Obama campaign will be dissected like no other. But if Republicans are to gain anything from this loss, it must be this: Obama was the better marketer and if the Grand Old Party wants to have a chance of resetting the electoral map they need to respect marketing – something the party simply didn’t do in this election.
This lack of respect was clear from the beginning: the inability of the Romney campaign to ever really project and maintain a consistent picture of their candidate or truly connect with the various segments of the electorate, women, Hispanics and youth, who drove the final result, were obvious signs.
Peter Drucker once said, “There will always, one can assume, be need for some selling. But the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
With the power in the State Senate hanging in the balance after last week’s election and the impact of Superstorm Sandy overshadowing the civic debate, the political calculus in Albany has shifted.
Members of the New York State Senate at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. AP/Hans Pennink
Where only a few weeks ago lobbyists and policy makers were debating the possibility of a special session of the State Legislature that would address campaign financing, the minimum wage and marijuana possession laws, they are now talking about how the government can respond with smarter policies to lessen the impact of future super storms.
He added that legislative pay raises that had long been rumored as a focus of a special session will be “a lot harder to do” now that Sandy has added to the state’s budget shortfall.
Haven and other political observers are still eyeing the outcome of key races to see whether they shift the State Senate to the Democratic Party. The Senate is currently split 33-29 in favor of the Republicans.
President Obama’s favorability has jumped to a three-year high in the week following his reelection, with 58 percent of Americans now saying they have a positive opinion of the president.
The number represents a three-point improvement for the president since a similar survey conducted by Gallup in the days immediately preceding last week’s presidential election. And it is Obama’s highest mark since July 2009, when two-thirds of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the president.
Obama’s all-time high point was a 78 percent favorability rating shortly after his inauguration in January 2009.
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) has conceded defeat in his San Diego-area district, handing Democrats another pickup with just two intra-party races yet to be determined.
Bilbray trails San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters (D) by 3,877 votes. He called Peters to congratulated him and issued a statement acknowledging Peters’ victory.
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.). (AP photo)
“While Scott and I differed sharply on how to handle the issues facing our nation, now is the time to put those differences aside and find common ground to address our country’s many challenges,” Bilbray said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Bilbray has served more than 12 years in Congress, returning to the chamber in 2006 by winning a hotly contested special election to replace jailed Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.). California’s citizen redistricting commission drew Bilbray a swing district this year.
It’s hard to talk about the 2012 congressional elections without starting with the Senate and the remarkable election night for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Democrats scored a net gain of two seats, something that was inconceivable 90 days ago or, for that matter, on Nov. 5. They held five of their six most vulnerable seats, and no Democratic incumbent lost reelection. Of 10 toss-up races, Democrats won nine. For what was generally considered to be a non-wave election, those results are extraordinary.
The DSCC was dealt a weak hand at the start of the cycle, prompting some analysts to question the sanity of Chairwoman Patty Murray of Washington, talented Executive Director Guy Cecil, and their team for taking on the challenge. They had to defend 23 seats to 10 for Republicans. Democrats had more retirements and, for much of the cycle, more vulnerable seats.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee testified during divorce proceedings that he and his former wife made a “mutual” decision for her to have two abortions, according to divorce transcripts released Thursday.
The 2001 court transcripts were released by the state Democratic Party, which had tried to air the documents before the Nov. 6 election. A DesJarlais spokesman didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
DesJarlais easily won a second term despite revelations that he once urged a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion. DesJarlais, whose campaign platform opposed abortion, acknowledged the conversation but said he was only trying to get her to admit she wasn’t pregnant.
Barring a catastrophic health event, some kind of personal scandal that seems unimaginable, or a sudden desire to become a beachcombing wastrel on a Polynesian island, John Roberts is going to be the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court for a very long time. He is fifty-seven years old. That means, all things being equal, Roberts could easily surpass the record tenure of John Marshall, who presided over the court for thirty-four years and died in office. It should be no surprise, then, that when tasked to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Roberts’s knees declined to jerk. He didn’t want to march into history with two dead elephants on his court’s back.
Prior to the decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the best-known decision produced by the Roberts court was in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which blew up a century’s worth of campaign-finance law, enshrined in law the principle that corporations are people and that money is speech, and legalized political corruption for the foreseeable future. Roberts had to know that striking down a Democratic president’s signature achievement after having struck down any barriers to unlimited corporate cash in our elections would mark his court lousy with partisanship for the rest of his tenure, which, as we said, is going to be a long one. Given that, and with the court still laboring under the long shadow of Bush v. Gore, it seems that Roberts was looking for a way to decide the case that would preserve the court’s institutional integrity. He found one.
As news spread that Mitt Romney received no votes in about 3 percent of Philadelphia voting divisions, many Republicans expressed surprise, outrage and disbelief.
Michael Meehan, the city’s GOP party leader, wasn’t one of them.
"It’s not something that is new," he said.
He has seen such patterns before, most noticeably in 1999, when Sam Katz, who ran as a Republican but has since returned to the Democratic party, lost to Democrat John Street in an election divided along racial lines.
"Do I like it? No," Meehan said Thursday.
Is he concerned about the possibility that fraud explains the fact that Romney got no votes in 59 of Philadelphia’s 1,687 voting divisions? Yes, he said, but he also finds the issue complicated, and says that race and the high percentage of Democrats in Philadelphia may be more likely explanations.
Meehan does not know of a way to cancel someone’s vote in the system, for example.
“There is no Romney wing in the party that he needs to address,” said Ed Rogers, a longtime Republican strategist. “He never developed an emotional foothold within the GOP so he can exit the stage anytime and no one will mourn.”
Added Chris LaCivita, a senior party operative: “The comment just reinforced a perception — fairly or not – that Romney, and by default, the GOP are the party of the ‘exclusives’. It’s time for us to move on and focus on the future leaders within the GOP.”
Speaking of those future leaders, several of the candidates talked about as 2016 presidential possibilities quickly condemned Romney’s comments as well.
House candidate Mia Love looked every bit the future of the Republican Party, with her prime-time convention speech, backing from Mitt Romney and a run for office in deep-red Utah.
But Love was narrowly defeated in a race that essentially unfolded like so many on Nov. 6 and emerged as a telltale for what went wrong for Republicans in 2012.
Love, a black Republican who fired up the crowd in Tampa, lost to Democrat Jim Matheson by roughly 1 percentage point, but won just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote compared to 71 percent for Matheson — numbers nearly identical to those in the presidential race between Romney and President Obama.
Love, a candidate who represents the growing diversity in the GOP, was nevertheless unable to attract quite enough support from minority voting blocs. With those populations growing, the test for the Republican Party going forward may be how it appeals to those groups. Romney on Wednesday accused Democrats of winning by giving these groups hand-outs, or “gifts.”
It’s quite a thing to see a large group of female politicians boo a reporter who asks about their leader’s age.
But that’s exactly what happened Wednesday morning when NBC reporter Luke Russert asked Nancy Pelosi, during her press conference announcing she intended to remain her party’s leader in the House, whether it might be time for the party to usher in younger leadership. Pelosi, who has been part of her party’s leadership in the House for 10 years and was its first female Speaker, is 72.
Elizabeth Warren’s race in Massachusetts may have been the most closely watched win by a female senator-elect from Tuesday night.
But her election points to another big win for women in the Senate. The returns so far show at least 20 women will be serving in the upper chamber come January, a historic high. All of the incumbents won their races, and the elections of Warren, Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Republican Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Democrat Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota brought the count from 17 to 20. They made up for two women who are retiring (Olympia Snowe of Maine and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas) and added three additional women to the total.
Business executives who met with Barack Obama Wednesday to discuss the fiscal cliff said the president was receptive to their suggestions but said the onus remained on Congress to avoid not going over the cliff.
Xerox CEO Ursula M. Burns said the meeting was “very constructive, very positive” but that the leaders “didn’t get into too many specifics.” She said they would stand by if the president required their public advocacy.
“We were very clear that if we could help him to get to a solution we are absolutely behind him because going over the cliff is not something that any of us in the room could live with,” Burns said.
Anyone thinking senators would return from last week’s elections inspired by voters’ desire for problem solving and cooperation has gotten a strong dose of reality in the first two days since the Senate came back into session this week.
Despite the talk of the need for bipartisan solutions, inflammatory issues were already dividing senators, chief among them the pending tax increase set to occur at year end and the investigation of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.