Tales from the Trail

Reuters-Ipsos Poll: Democrat closing gap in Colorado Senate race

The Senate race in Colorado is almost neck-and-neck, with Democrat Michael Bennet closing in on Republican Ken Buck and narrowing his lead to 3 points, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll.

But the enthusiasm gap favors Republicans, with 72 percent saying they are certain to vote in the Nov. 2 midterm elections compared with 55 percent of Democrats.

USA-POLITICS/The Senate contest pits Bennet, who was appointed to the seat vacated by Ken Salazar when he became President Barack Obama’s Interior Secretary, and Buck, who is backed by the conservative Tea Party movement.

Former President Bill Clinton showed up in Denver late Monday to campaign for Bennet, which was notable because he had endorsed Bennet’s rival in the Democratic primary.

Colorado is one of the races seen as a guage of how strong the anti-incumbent mood is among voters largely worried about the economy and whether Tea Party candidates can generate broad appeal.

What changes will “Obama 2.0″ bring?

What will Obama 2.0 look like?

USA/President Barack Obama has given little hint of a major shift in his governing strategy following the midterm elections on Nov. 2, but Peter Baker’s piece in the New York Times magazine suggests changes are in the works.

But it’s not clear how far-reaching they will be.

Baker writes that Obama aides Pete Rouse, the interim chief of staff, and deputy chief of staff Jim Messina have been talking with the president about “Obama 2.0.”

The piece cites education, expanded trade and scaled-back energy legislation as areas that might lend themselves to bipartisan agreement. Baker also quotes Obama as saying that “regardless of what happens after this election” there will be room for bipartisan cooperation because Republicans will feel more responsible.
    
Obama’s decision to tap insiders for key staff roles, such as Rouse for chief of staff and Tom Donilon for national security adviser, had many assuming the White House was planning few changes to its strategy. That assumption might not be entirely correct.

Reuters-Ipsos Poll: Obama approval drops to 43 pct driven by Democrats

President Barack Obama’s poll numbers keep going down, and it’s not the Republicans who are to blame.

USA/Obama’s approval rating fell to a new low of 43 percent since he took office, down from 47 percent last month, according to a Reuters-Ipsos national poll.

Ipsos pollsters say it appears that much of that drop comes from Democrats whose approval of Obama fell to 70 percent from 78 percent last month.

Bachmann says her “high-profile” congressional race targeted by top Democrats

Second-term Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who started the “Tea Party Caucus” in the House of Representatives this summer, says her “high-profile” congressional race is being targeted by some very high-profile Democrats ahead of  the Nov. 2 election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set her sights on ousting her from the congressional seat,  Bachmann said. The outspoken Republican is a social conservative and is known for her strong Christian faith.  

“I’ve been one of Speaker Pelosi’s top targets to defeat this fall,” Bachmann said on NBC’s “Today” show. ”President (Bill) Clinton came in, he was campaigning against me. In a couple of weeks Speaker Pelosi will be in Minnesota as will President Obama. Mine is a very high-profile race, and she’s trying to do everything she can to defeat me.”

NY governor candidate Paladino says he only opposes gay marriage (and doesn’t like the parades)

Carl Paladino, the Tea Party backed Republican candidate running for New York governor, says he is not against homosexuals, only gay marriage and taking children to gay pride parades.

News reports quoted Paladino, in remarks to Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn on Sunday, saying: “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t.” USA/

The Buffalo businessman was on all the morning talk shows today responding to criticism over those comments. The campaign of his opponent, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, said the remarks displayed “a stunning homophobia and glaring disregard for basic equality.”

Obama: Still the big man on (high school) campus

If President Barack Obama ever needs a pick-me-up,  he can visit the campus of an American public high school, as he did on Tuesday at La Follette High School in Madison, Wisconsin, where he remains, indisputably, a rock star.

obama_youthShouts of joy and screams of “Obama! Obama!” greeted his motorcade as Obama pulled up and strode across the school’s sports practice fields to meet with members of its teams — the Lancers.  (Team motto: “Attitude, Character, Effort.”)

He first met with members of the girl’s volleyball team, who ran out in their uniforms and knee pads, and squealed with delight as he spoke with them and then posed for pictures.

from Summit Notebook:

Five weeks: It’s an eternity in the world of politics

By Christopher Doering carper

Five weeks:  It may not be a lot of time for many people, but with the pivotal mid-term elections looming on Nov. 2 Delaware Senator Tom Carper said five weeks is an eternity for Democrats to use to turn the tide in their favor.

"Today, five weeks a lot happens. A lot of minds change in five weeks," Carper, a self-proclaimed "optimist", told the Reuters Washington Summit.

"What we have to do is to be able to remind people if there is some good news here in the next five weeks of what that is and get people to focus on the future."

from Summit Notebook:

Senator Lamar Alexander tickles the ivories

SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/ALEXANDERIn the run up to the Nov. 2 mid-term election, senior Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander has more to worry about than just the results of the vote.

Just three days before the election, Alexander has a date on center stage to play the piano with the Jackson Symphony in Jackson, Tennessee.

"I try to keep a balanced life," the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference told the Reuters Washington Summit. "I even get to play the piano some, though not as much as I'd like to."

from Summit Notebook:

Rumors of our demise exaggerated, Van Hollen says

SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/VAN HOLLENRepresentative Chris Van Hollen likes to paraphrase Mark Twain when talking about the Democratic chances in the November mid-term election.

"News of the Democratic demise is greatly exaggerated," the man in charge of the House Democrats' election effort told the Reuters Washington Summit. "I think the pundits have been wrong before and they'll be wrong again. Democrats will retain a majority in the Congress. I'm very confident of that."

Of course it's Van Hollen's job to be confident or at least project an image of confidence six weeks ahead of the election where Republicans and the conservative Tea Party movement are trying to convince Americans to vote Democrats out of office and take back Republican control of the Congress.

Republicans Portman, Kasich lead in Ohio races

Republicans Rob Portman, a former White House budget director, and John Kasich, a former House member, so far are leading in their races for new jobs in economically hard-hit and politically important Ohio.

That’s according to our new Reuters-Ipsos poll. OBAMA/

Portman leads Democrat Lee Fisher in the U.S. Senate race by 43 percent to 36 percent in the poll of likely voters, with less than three months to go until the Nov. 2 congressional elections.

Kasich has a 48 percent to 39 percent lead over incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland in the Ohio governor’s race.