Lady Gaga may not be the only one singing a new tune in November
The 2010 Reuters Washington Summit included 4 days of on-the-record interviews with policymakers, congressmen and Obama Administration officials here in the DC bureau. The interviews covered a wide range of topicsâ€¦from the impact of the mid-term elections to the importance of the Lady Gaga vote.
With less than six weeks to go before the mid-term elections the focus was on what a potential shift in power to a Republican-controlled Congress could mean for policy priorities in the coming year. We heard from Senatorsâ€™ McCain, Dodd, Gregg and Bingaman. On the House side we spoke with the man responsible for getting Democrats electedâ€¦Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He called this election season a â€śtough and challenging environment,â€™ but predicted Democrats would retain control of the House.
From the Obama Administration, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs opened his comments by admitting that early on the administration did not have a â€śreal understanding of the depth of what we were in.â€ť News of Larry Summersâ€™ departure as White House advisor came on the eve of our interview with a man who has worked with Summers, Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. Goolsbee said he expected that Mr. Summersâ€™ replacement wouldnâ€™t be part of â€śa dramatic change in direction.â€ť On the economy, Goolsbee noted that he does not see a double dip on the horizon and that â€śpulling back on current spending programs could spook the markets.â€ť
On the regulatory front, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair was adamant in her remarks about â€śending too big to failâ€ť and said that â€śthe banking system is healingâ€¦and there is continuing improvement in low quality loans.â€ť Meanwhile, Treasuryâ€™s Special Inspector General for TARP, Neil Barofsky, the man charged with policing the governmentâ€™s exit from GM and AIG, said his group would begin a probe into the GM IPO after it launches to make sure that it was in the best interest of taxpayers.
On Afghanistan, we heard from Richard Holbrooke, Special Advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan who was measured in his response to the Obama Administrationâ€™s planned timetable for withdrawal.
And, what about the Lady Gaga vote? Senator McCain brought up the pop star and her opposition to ‘Donâ€™t Ask Donâ€™t Tell’ which was scheduled for a vote the day after McCainâ€™s visit to our bureau, saying â€śI didnâ€™t Twitter back. I only twitter with Snooki as you know. I did say, I said, look, I welcome her in the debate, Iâ€™ll welcome all of her young fans into the debate. Letâ€™s have everybody in the the debateâ€¦itâ€™s good to have lots of people involved.â€ť
The summit upshot: if polls are correct and Republicans win more seats in the Senate and retake the House, all of Washington may be singing a different tune come November 3rd.
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