Tales from the Trail

Obama has voted…

President Barack Obama has filled out his absentee ballot to cast his vote in the Senate and governor races in Illinois.

And… drumroll please… he voted for the Democrats.

OBAMA/“He just voted absentee in the West Wing,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs disclosed. “I know who he voted for, for governor and Senate in Illinois — the two Democratic candidates who I believe will win,” he said.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, both of those candidates are trailing the Republican candidate. In the Illinois Senate race for Obama’s old seat, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is trailing Republican Mark Kirk by about 2 percentage points. It is  one of the key races that is being watched to see whether Republicans can seize control of the Senate.

In the Illinois governor’s race, Democrat Governor Pat Quinn is trailing Republican Bill Brady by an RCP average of 3.5 points.

Illinois is one of the stops on Obama’s final campaign push this weekend before next Tuesday’s election.

Reuters-Ipsos poll: Pennsylvania Senate race tied with one week left

The Pennsylvania Senate race has tightened up considerably a week before the Nov. 2 election and is likely to be hard fought to the end.

USA-ELECTIONS/Republican Pat Toomey, who had a 10 percentage point advangate among likely voters in August, is now locked in a tight race with Democrat Joe Sestak — tied at 46 percent, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll.

They are battling for the seat of Senator Arlen Specter who lost to Sestak in the Democratic primary. Pennsylvania is one of the key states that will determine whether Republicans can pick up the 10 Democratic seats they need to seize majority in the Senate.

Rhode Island Democrat says Obama can “shove it” for non-endorsement

Some unwelcoming words from a Democrat in Rhode Island for President Barack Obama who is scheduled to visit the state later today.

Frank Caprio, the Democrat running for Rhode Island governor, is miffed at Obama and not afraid to let everyone know it.

USA/He says he learned from a reporter last night that Obama did not plan to endorse his candidacy against independent Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican senator who endorsed Obama over Republican John McCain in 2008.

Ben Quayle’s famous last name a double-edged sword in Arizona House race

David Schwartz takes a look at the latest Quayle seeking to go to Washington.

Ben Quayle knows how to spell potato.

The son of former vice president Dan Quayle also knows that his famous last name is a double-edged sword when running for elected office.

“You get name recognition right off the bat,” said Quayle, vying to represent the Third Congressional District in Arizona. “It also opens you up to more scrutiny and immediate ridicule. Some people enjoy picking on Quayle again.”

In his first run for office, the 33-year-old is regarded as the front-runner when voters in his Republican-heavy district go to the polls Nov. 2 to replace veteran GOP Rep. John Shadegg. Quayle faces Democrat Jon Hulburd.

No more Mr. Nice Guy, Republican sets sights on Obama’s energy czar

Michigan Republican Fred Upton is known as a moderate who disappointed many conservatives by voting with the Democratic majority on some major issues including the taxpayer bailout of U.S. automobile manufacturers.USA/

But expect no more Mr. Nice Guy if Republicans win big on November 2 and he becomes chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Upton has a hit list of White House policy czars he plans to investigate starting with White House energy adviser Carol Browner. 

Washington Extra – Take Five

Washington Extra is going to let our correspondents do the talking today. So instead of listening to my meanderings, check out these five stories:  SWITZERLAND/

-          Mark Hosenball’s special report on Christine O’Donnell and her money problems. Her tense relationship with mainstream Republicans and her floundering campaign have led big-time donors to shun her, albeit quietly. Read here.

-          John Whitesides’ story on how big Republican gains in the governors’ races on November 2 could dramatically reshape the U.S. political landscape for a decade, giving the party an edge on next year’s redrawing of congressional district boundaries and in the 2012 presidential race. Here.

How about an Ovaltine Latte with that doughnut Mr. Obama?

Trying to get out the vote for Democrats in danger of losing one or both houses of Congress on Nov. 2, President Barack Obama is pouring it on with up-close campaigning reminiscent of 2008 as he visits coffee shops and works rope lines.

USA/On a five-state Western tour, Obama began his morning on Thursday with a stop at the “Top Pot” doughnut shop in Seattle, which featured such delectables as Ovaltine Latte, honey-glazed doughnuts and assorted pastries.

“Hi guys. How are you? Good to see you,” Obama told the servers before placing an order for two dozen doughnuts that he shared with his staff and traveling reporters. (Those who sampled them gave rave reviews).

Washington Extra – (Blue) dog days

In the immortal words of  Jonathan Swift (paraphrasing Erasmus and Hamlet) “Every dog must have his day.”

According to our correspondent Andy Sullivan, Blue Dog Democrats may have had theirs already. His report from Vermillion, South Dakota suggests the Blue Dogs may be a dying breed, their centrist brand of conservatism in danger of being swept away by the Republican tide in the midterms. PARADE MACY'S

The original Dogs were actually yellow, of course, from a Southern nickname for party loyalists who would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the ballot as a Democrat. The Blue Dog Coalition took its name from the view that members’ moderate-to-conservative ideas had been “choked blue” by the party in the run-up to the 1994 election. (Suggestions for alternative color schemes gratefully received at the Democratic National Committee.)

Barack and Jon, together again, on The Daily Show next week

First he gave an unexpected endorsement to Jon Stewart’s upcoming “Rally to Restore Sanity.” Now President Barack Obama is giving the host of the satirical talk show the ultimate television “get” — himself as a guest.

OBAMA/Obama will appear on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the middle of a week of special episodes taped in Washington ahead of the Nov. 2 midterm elections. It all culminates with a Saturday rally on the National Mall.

The Washington episodes – to air Oct. 25 – Oct. 28 – are called “When Grizzlies Attack: A ‘Daily Show’ Midterm Teapartyganza.” That’s a reference to the conservative Tea Party political movement and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin referring to conservative women politicians as “Mama Grizzlies.”

Washington Extra – A belief in tea, and the Constitution

The Tea Party takes pride in its belief in the importance and centrality of the Constitution of the United States. Indeed, Senate Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell has been reported as referring to the document as a “covenant” based on “divine principles”.

So there was some disbelieving laughter from the audience in Delaware today when O’Donnell showed she did not know the contents of the First Amendment. “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” she asked Democratic opponent Chris Coons. OBAMA/

“The First Amendment does?” O’Donnell went on to ask. “Let me just clarify: You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?” Watch the whole eight-minute exchange here, part of a debate about whether schools should teach intelligent design or evolution.