Tales from the Trail

Gingrich chides Obama for acting like a teenager with credit card

Extending unemployment benefits is this week’s battleground for Democrats versus Republicans. USA/NRA

Democrats look set to push the legislation through the Senate with the help of newcomer Carte Goodwin of West Virginia. They hope to show voters in an election year that they are the party responding to the plight of the unemployed.

Republicans had blocked the measure, demanding cuts elsewhere to pay for the $34 billion price tag and prevent it from adding to the U.S. budget deficit. They want to show voters that they are the party of fiscal restraint.

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich had a dig for President Barack Obama.

“The second biggest concern of the American people after jobs is deficit spending and the fact that this president has been like a teenager with a credit card …  if he serves eight years under current plans he will double the national debt. He’ll borrow more than every previous president combined,” Gingrich said on NBC’s “Today” show.

Senate hopeful Alvin Greene makes debut

The political unknown who stunned South Carolina and the nation by winning the state’s Democratic Senate primary produced headlines again on Sunday.

Alvin Greene made what’s believed to be his first campaign appearance — ever — speaking to an audience in his hometown of Manning, South Carolina. Greene attracted an audience of about 300 people and national media eager to hear what he had to say.

As far as anyone knows, Greene did not make any speeches during the primary campaign. And, except for a few interviews, the unemployed Army veteran, has had little to say since his surprise win last month.

Don’t tell anyone, but Pelosi upset her criticism of Gibbs leaked

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear she’s upset — “ticked off” — that her private criticism of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs leaked out. OBAMA/

That’s the word from one of Pelosi’s fellow Democrats who attended another closed-door meeting with her on Thursday, two days after her now well-publicized complaints about President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman.

“She said these meetings should be an opportunity for us to speak candidly with each other,” said the Democrat, asking not to be identified by name. “She was ticked off it leaked out.”

Democrats in a dilemma on Bush tax cuts

Conventional political wisdom says that if you are going to cut taxes, do it before an election. But in a congressional election year when record deficits and a $13 trillion national debt are unnerving voters, that wisdom may not hold.

USA/At least that seems to be the case among Democrats who are facing serious voter concerns about deficits, the fragile economy and lack of job creation going into the November elections when Republicans hope to take control of Congress.

President George W. Bush’s tax cuts expire at the end of the year. Republicans want to extend all of the tax cuts. Democrats want to extend lower tax rates for middle income earners at least through 2011 and allow tax cuts for wealthier taxpayers to expire.

Snowe says “yes” to Wall St. bill

The decision is in….snowe2

Senator Olympia Snowe has ended the suspense, announcing that she will support the financial regulatory reform bill.

Snowe, a moderate Republican from Maine,  joined fellow Republicans Scott Brown and Susan Collins – the other senator from Maine — in saying “yes” to the measure that most in their party strongly oppose.

Their backing leaves Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democrats just one vote shy of the 60 needed for the measure to advance.

Will she or won’t she?

USAThe suspense continues…

All eyes are on Senator Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican from Maine, who has not yet decided on how she will vote on financial regulatory reform.

Snowe’s could be the crucial 60th vote after Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown said on Monday that he will support the bill.

On Saturday Snowe said she hadn’t decided and that the most important thing was “to get it right.” Her view had not changed so far today, a staffer tells me.

Palin seeks to harness power of “Mama Grizzlies”

Sarah Palin is out with a new video today and she clearly is attempting to position herself as the leader of Republican conservative women.

She’s had some success this campaign season, promoting Republican women candidates such as South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and California’s Carly Fiorina who have gone on to win primary votes.

And how she is declaring women conservatives as part of a den of “Mama Grizzlies” eager to stampede Washington in Nov. 2 congressional elections and take on President Obama and his Democrats.

Poll finds Obama losing favor among independents

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is showing the steepest decline among independents, slipping below 40 percent for the first time in a year, according to a new Gallup poll. OBAMA/

That’s not good news for Democrats four months before the November elections when all seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for a vote.

Even though it isn’t a presidential election year, the state of  Obama’s popularity can rub off on his party with Democrats fighting to retain control of both houses of Congress. Independents could be key in determining the outcome of close races, and certainly worthy of wooing.

Senator Byrd’s final poetic moment in the chamber he served

USA-CONGRESS/BYRD

It was a poetic moment for the Senate.

Senator Robert Byrd’s flag-draped casket  was carried into the chamber where he had fiercely protected Senate tradition, rule, and decorum during more than half -a-century of pressing for the needs of his constituents in West Virginia.

His body lay in repose on the Senate floor in front of the wooden desks where he helped shape U.S. history and displayed his oratory skills.

The last time such an honor was bestowed was in 1959, the year that Byrd joined the Senate.

Obama tries to make political mountain out of ant hill

President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats are trying to make political hay out of a comment by House Republican leader John Boehner that managed to mention ants and nuclear weapons in the same sentence.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Boehner  criticized the financial regulatory reform legislation making its way through Congress as an overreaction to the financial crisis. “This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon,” he said.

ANTSDemocrats couldn’t resist pouncing on it. Especially since they are struggling to come up with the votes to pass the landmark legislation through the Senate where 60 votes in the 100-seat chamber are required to overcome procedural hurdles.