Tales from the Trail

Bennet, Buck score wins in Colorado

In a primary drama that might have been subtitled “two presidents and a party,” incumbent Colorado Senator Michael Bennet won the battle for the state’s Democratic Senate nomination on Tuesday.

Bennet’s win was  a welcome victory for President Barack Obama who backed the incumbent who battled both anti-incumbent fever and a challenger, Andrew Romanoff, who had the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton.

On the Republican side, Tea Party-backed candidate Ken Buckbuck narrowly defeated former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton. Buck, a former prosecutor, won despite being caught on tape complaining about Tea Party “dumb-asses” who question whether Obama was born in the United States. He will face Bennet in November.

In Connecticut, the anti-establishment outsider candidate Linda McMahon — the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment — beat former Representative Rob Simmons in the race for the Republican Senate nomination.

The Colorado and Connecticut Senate races were the highlight of Tuesday’s primary races. But voters also cast ballots in Georgia and Minnesota to pick candidates for November’s midterm elections.

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.

Tea Party toughens up Republican Party – Gingrich

The Tea Party movement is a good thing for the Republican Party, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says. It toughens up the GOP.

USA/(Anyone else thinking biker jackets?)

Rather than fragment the Republican Party in the coming November elections, the conservative anti-tax, small-government Tea Party movement will rev it up,  says Gingrich, who helped orchestrate the 1994 Republican Revolution when the party won control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections.

And wins by Tea Party-supported candidates in the primaries leading up to the November midterms will benefit the Republican Party, “if the Tea Party movement and the Republicans stay together to defeat Obamaism,” Gingrich said on NBC’s “Today” show.

Gingrich once again at head of Republican pack

Once, a first-term Democratic president failed to deliver on healthcare reform and found his party USA-POLITICS/swept from office by a wave of voter anger that brought Republican Newt Gingrich to the forefront of American politics. Could this history lesson from the Clinton era be repeated?

Healthcare reform is stalled, voters are angry and Gingrich — who rose to prominence as House speaker after Republicans won Congress in 1994 — is again leading the pack, this time among  potential White House hopefuls for 2012.

The Washington-based political news outlet, Politico, says Gingrich’s political action committee is raising money far faster than those of 2008 campaign veterans including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Gingrich to Obama: keep word on televising healthcare talks

USA-POLITICS/Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants President Barack Obama to keep a promise he made on the campaign trail: televise the final talks on healthcare reform on C-SPAN.

Eight times during the campaign, Obama said he planned to put the talks on healthcare reform on television, Gingrich said — and he even has links to YouTube clips to prove it.

Now that the talks have reached the stage of reconciling separate House and Senate bills, it is the time to deliver on that promise, he said.

Unveiling the Obama Doctrine

NOBEL-OBAMA/President Barack Obama did more than collect his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. Besides the trumpet fanfare, the black-tie festivities, the pomp, the circumstance and of course the speech, he unveiled what Washington-watchers are calling the Obama doctrine. But what is it, exactly?

A quick online search shows an early mention of the Obama doctrine in March 2008, when Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton were still slugging it out for the Democratic presidential nomination. The American Prospect cited Obama speeches starting in January of that election year and talked to Obama’s foreign policy team to get an idea of what the future president’s world view might be. One key quote from the candidate on the Iraq war was seen as defining the doctrine: ”I don’t want to just end the war, but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place.”

“An inextricable part of that doctrine is a relentless and thorough destruction of al-Qaeda,” The American Prospect said. “Is this hawkish? Is this dovish? It’s both and neither — an overhaul not just of our foreign policy but of how we think about foreign policy. And it might just be the future of American global leadership.”

Clinton, Gingrich, Lott share political war stories and laughs

While members of the U.S. Congress angrily debated bogged-down efforts at healthcare reform, three one-time adversaries shared old stories, pats on the back and laughs.

Former Democratic President Bill Clinton, ex-Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senate Republican Leader Trent got together this week for the unveiling of Lott’s official Senate portrait.

“I’m still wondering why I’m here,” Clinton said, drawing chuckles and applause from a packed crowd on Capitol Hill of a few hundred people, including past and present congressional power brokers.

“We Told You So”

Sarah Palin showed up but,  did not share the stage with Newt Gingrich at the  Republican Senate and Congressional  Dinner in Washington Monday evening. Still, the Alaska governor and former Republican vice presidential candidate managed to have her say before a potentially huge audience.

sarahpalin While Gingrich was headlining the dinner, Palin took the spotlight in a taped Fox News interview that aired as the former House speaker spoke. It’s early, but both of them may be looking ahead to 2012 — or  not.

In the twin speeches, Gingrich took on Obama and the Democrats on a range of  issues and Palin took aim at the president’s economic performance.

Palin to attend big Republican dinner in Washington


WASHINGTON – Newt Gingrich, move over.

Sarah Palin is coming to town.

The latest word is that Palin is going to attend Monday night’s Republican fund-raising dinner for congressional candidates.

But she won’t be addressing the group gathered at the Washington Convention Center.

The Alaska governor, and possible 2012 presidential candidate, had gone back and forth on whether to attend the dinner, first say she would, then saying she wouldn’t and now saying she will.

First Draft: From No. 54,000 to No. 2 — after a handshake

SUMMIT-AMERICAS/The handshake that set Washington buzzing — that awkward grip-and-grin between President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez at a weekend summit in Trinidad — seems to be great for book sales. Specifically, the tome Chavez passed to Obama, “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of Pillage of a Continent” leaped from Number 54,000 on Amazon.com to Number 2, almost overnight.

The anti-colonialist book is in some strange company atop the online bestsellers list. Five of the others in the top 10 are editions in the popular romantic vampire “Twilight” series. There’s also “The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World” at Number 7. The online description says it’s about how “the United States there has been a gradual drifting away from the Founding Fathers original success formula.”

Number 9 is “The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide: Protect Your Savings, Boost Your Income, and Grow Wealthy Even in the Worst of Times.” Number 8 is “The Shack,” billed as “a one of a kind invitation to journey to the very heart of God.”