Tales from the Trail

Pelosi or not Pelosi? That is the question for House Democrats

Nancy Pelosi — the first woman Speaker of the House — is soon to become the first woman ex-Speaker of the House.

But the trouncing of  House Democrats in Tuesday’s elections, which flipped control of that chamber to Republicans, has not deterred Pelosi from wanting to hang onto the leadership reins.

She announced on Twitter and in a letter to her colleagues that she will run for House Minority Leader in the new Congress. It’s a position she held before becoming House Speaker — third in line to the presidency – in 2007. USA-ELECTIONS/HOUSE-DEMOCRATS

And back then it was also a first. Pelosi became the first woman to lead a major party in the House when she was chosen as minority leader to replace Dick Gephardt, who stepped down after disappointing results in the 2002 midterms.

Before she made her intention public, some members of her caucus were quite publicly saying they wanted somebody different in the minority leader chair.

Contrite Obama shows personal side

It wasn’t quite a Bill Clinton-style “I feel your pain” moment, but for President Barack Obama it was about as emotional as he ever gets in public.

Often criticized as aloof and cerebral, Obama showed his personal side at Wednesday’s news conference. OBAMA/

His tone throughout was one of a chastened leader, aware that voters had dealt him and his party a rebuke over the failure to fix the economy.

Election is over, now can they get along?

It’s the day after the election and the big question now is will they play nice?

The Tea Party’s coming to town, Republicans seized control of the House, and Democrats are still in charge of the White House and Senate. 

Soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner today said he saw no problem with incorporating members of the Tea Party into the Republican Party. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the goal was “how do we meet in the middle?”

Reuters.com has the midterms covered

After a long and bitter campaign, Americans voted in midterm elections that could sweep Democrats from power in Congress and slam the brakes on President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda.

Our midterm coverage has all the angles covered, with the latest breaking news and developments, as well as thoughtful insight and analysis.

In between reporting the results and implications, our White House team will be tweeting the latest insights from the nation’s capital and posting behind-the-headlines stories to Front Row Washington.

Washington Extra – Midterm, one-term?

As we approach half-time in his presidency, just over half of Americans believe Barack Obama will not win re-election in 2012. Our final Reuters/Ipsos poll showed just one-third of those surveyed still thought President Obama would win a second term. An amazing transformation in the national mood in less than two years since the inauguration.

BRITAIN ECLIPSEA 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll found 39 percent of those surveyed believe Obama should be a one-term president, compared to 26 percent who wanted a second term and 33 percent who were unsure.

But as that oracle of election wisdom (my barber) observed to me today, for all the polls Obama’s chances in 2012 may come down to just one number. The jobless rate. Anything over 8 percent in 2012, and it will be a huge uphill battle for the president, Curtis predicted. Six percent and he stands a chance. Wise words indeed.

Is this the most negative campaign ever?

If you think political ads on TV this year are more negative than ever, here’s some data that back up your observation.

An academic consortium called the Wesleyan Media Project, which says it provides “real time” tracking of all political television advertising,  says in a report issued on Monday that in the last few weeks it has charted a “large uptick in negative ads.”

A couple of weeks ago, the same group said that the rate of negative advertising this year did not appear to be that much higher than in other recent general election campaigns. USA-ELECTIONS

Reuters/Ipsos poll: 52 pct don’t think Obama will be re-elected

President Barack Obama is not up for re-election this week, but the outcome of congressional elections will be seen as a referendum on his policies.

A Reuters/Ipsos  poll predicts that Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives by winning 231 seats, compared with 204 seats for Democrats, in the midterm elections Tuesday.

Among likely voters, 50 percent said they would vote for the Republican candidate, while 44 percent said they would vote for the Democrat, the poll showed. USA/

Twitter opinion analysis shows even split between parties

Social media hasn’t been around long enough for pundits to determine how accurately it reflects the mood of a nation, but Democrats grasping for positive news might take hope from a shift in the tone on Twitter.

Our analysis of some 1.6 million tweets since August, using sentiment analysis software from market research firm Crimson Hexagon, shows a more favorable trend for President Obama’s party in recent weeks.

When we first examined online sentiment back in the summer, we found considerably less enthusiasm among Twitter users for the Democrats than for the Republicans.

“Obamacare” could help Democrats in 2012

Republicans are aiming their guns at health reform as they campaign to win midterm control of Congress on Tuesday, and many Democrats are ducking the issue. OBAMA/

But come 2012, the overhaul pushed through by President Barack Obama could help him and his fellow Democrats get re-elected.

Republicans accuse Democrats who voted for “Obamacare” of supporting a government takeover of healthcare. Many promise to repeal the reform passed in March after contentious debate and extended medical insurance to millions of Americans have none.

Feds unlikely to launch campaign finance probe anytime soon

For weeks, leading Democrats have castigated pro-Republican special interest groups involved in the current election campaign for what they describe as secretive fundraising practices. USA/

In an effort to call further attention to the activities of groups like American Crossroads GPS, a political fundraising committee which GOP guru Karl Rove helped to set up, some prominent Democrats and non-partisan election watchdogs have written law enforcement agencies demanding official investigations.

But there is little indication that any relevant agency is going to launch an  in-depth probe anytime soon.