Tales from the Trail

from Ask...:

How would you grade Obama’s State of the Union speech?

OBAMA-SPEECHPresident Barack Obama proposed a five-year freeze on some government spending and struck a centrist tone in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, hoping to prove he has fiscal discipline and can work with resurgent Republicans.

Obama also said that voters want Democrats and Republicans to govern with "shared responsibility". He offered a raft of proposals that some of his opponents might find appealing as he positions himself for a 2012 re-election bid, but stopped short of the massive spending cuts demanded by some Republicans.

He called for a job-creating "Sputnik moment" fed by new investments in research and education like the 1950s space race, saying what is at stake is "whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else."  In a nod to business, Obama also called for lowering the corporate tax rate.

What do you think of Obama's call for a five-year halt on domestic spending to help rein in the national deficit? Do you think his approach to job creation will work? Grade his speech below.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Obama’s SOTU speech as a word cloud

Below is a word cloud generated from President Barack Obama’s prepared State of the Union speech:
obamanewcloud

Barbour says Clinton’s 1996 strategy might help Obama

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Friday offered some advice to the man that he may seek to unseat in next year’s  election, President Barack Obama.

The potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate said he doesn’t expect Obama to follow the lead of a Democratic predecessor and declare, “the era of big government is over.”

But Barbour said if Obama did deliver such a message, as President Bill Clinton did in 1996, “I think his job approval would go up.”

Clinton’s happy to be out of the running

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seen here in a Nov. 9, 2009 file photo of an event marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  REUTERS/Christian Charisius

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seen here in a Nov. 9, 2009 file photo of an event marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

Former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she is done seeking votes.

Clinton, who is secretary of state under President Barack Obama, said on Sunday she is not planning to run again for president or any other political office.

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.

from Reuters Investigates:

Spoiling the party

Last month The New York Times had a story about Arizona Republicans putting up homeless people as candidates for the Green Party in elections there. Now Murray Waas, our Barlett & Steele award winner, has a special report about Democratic Party shenanigans. 

USA-ELECTIONS/TRICKSWaas went to Pennsylvania's 7th district to show how Democrats helped get Tea Party activist Jim Schneller (left) on the ballot, hoping to siphon off votes from the Republican candidate.

This is what one Democrat involved in the scheme had to say:

Abu Rahman, the president of the Delaware County Asian American Democratic Association and a Lentz supporter, who admits he gathered signatures for Schneller, said in an interview that he had some mixed feelings about what he was doing. "I remember thinking to myself that this is not clean," Rahman said, "But it is not illegal."   

No decision yet on Obama Golden Temple visit: White House

Hold onto your, er, hats.

Talk that U.S. President Barack Obama has canceled a visit to The Golden Temple in Amritsar because of a dispute over headgear may be premature, the White House said on Wednesday.temple

“We pick sites on foreign trips based on what the president wants to accomplish,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters traveling on Air Force One. Not, presumably, the outfit he might have to wear at a given site.

Obama had been expected to visit the Golden Temple in northern India, a pilgrimage site for Sikhs, during his tour of the country next month. But Indian media reports said Obama’s handlers balked at the idea of the U.S. president wearing a headscarf or skullcap while touring the site.

White House Intrigue: Could Hillary Replace Joe?

OBAMA/Could Hillary replace Joe as Barack’s main squeeze in 2012? That’s the juicy bit of palace intrigue enlivening today’s U.S. political melodrama.

It started when author Bob Woodward told CNN that the idea of a Clinton-Biden switch was “on the table” — at least among some Clinton advisers. A switch would mean Hillary becoming President Obama’s vice presidential running mate and Joe taking up her State Department chores.

“President Obama needs some of the women, Latinos, retirees that she did so well with during the 2008 primaries. And so they switch jobs,” explained the veteran journalist whose new book, “Obama’s Wars,”  offers an inside look at the administration. 

Lawyer promises new bombshell in Whitman housekeeper flap

USA-ELECTIONS/WHITMAN

The political flap over what California Republican Meg Whitman knew about her former housekeeper’s illegal immigration status — and when she knew it — appears to be heading for a new climax.

The woman’s lawyer says she will release evidence today that Whitman lied when she denied knowing her ex-employee was an undocumented worker.
    
Nicky Diaz, who worked for Whitman from 2000 to 2007, emerged this week to air tearful allegations that the Republican gubernatorial nominee knowingly employed her illegally and treated her poorly.

Whitman supporters say the allegations are a political smear timed to surface in the closing weeks of her campaign against Democratic rival Jerry Brown.
    
Whitman says Diaz is lying and maintains the former housekeeper provided a Social Security card and other documents to show she could work legally in the United States when she was hired. 
    
The former eBay executive says she first learned of Diaz’ illegal status in 2009, after she had begun her run for governor, and fired the woman on the spot.

Special Relationship? How quickly they forget….

So much for “Hilly-Milly”.

Just last year U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gushed to Vogue magazine about  former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband,  calling the young diplomat a dashing addition to the international scene. AFGHANISTAN/

“Well, if you saw him it would be a big crush. I mean, he is so vibrant, vital, attractive, smart. He’s really a good guy. And he’s so young!” Clinton said in remarks that provoked a spate of joking British tabloid headlines about the new “special relationship” between the United States and Britain.

Well, absence doesn’t appear to have made the heart grow any fonder. Asked on Wednesday if she had any advice for Miliband following his decision to bow out of frontline politics after losing a Labour Party leadership contest to his younger brother, Clinton was brief.