Tales from the Trail

Pelosi boils down winning back the House to A-B-C

Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, says her party can take a strategy to regaining a House majority that is as simple as A-B-C.

At the Reuters Washington Summit on Wednesday, Pelosi, the Minority Leader in the House, repeated her optimistic contention that her party has a 50/50 chance of winning back control, two years after a crushing defeat in the 2010 mid-term elections.

According to Pelosi’s 2012 campaign aphorism, “A” stands for American made and promoting policies to help reignite manufacturing in the United States. “B” is to build American infrastructure, including a focus on broadband, water systems and high-speed rail. “C” is for a sense of community, including a focus on police officers, firefighters and public safety.

“Right now the momentum is with us,” Pelosi said of the November elections, where her party needs a net gain of 25 seats to win back the majority. “It’s easier to win 25 seats than to hold 63,” she declared. “We have out-recruited the Republicans and we have fabulous candidates. This time we will be ready.”

Never one to mince words, Pelosi, who for two terms was the first woman Speaker of the House until her party was dumped from power in 2010, bemoaned many of the current Republicans in the House as “a rabid band of anti-government ideologues.”

Lead a Super PAC, lose your friends

It’s not like the old days with his former colleagues at the White House and friends from the Barack Obama campaign anymore for Bill Burton.

The co-founder of the Priorities USA Action Super PAC, which is prevented by campaign finance rules from collaborating with the Obama campaign, told the Reuters Washington Summit he may spend his days raising money to get Obama re-elected, but he has very little contact with his old friends who are actually working in the administration or the re-election campaign.

Asked if he and White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer were limited to talking about sports if they get together for a beer, Burton just laughed.

Will the “War on Women” have legs in November?

Democrats should not hold back from the “war on women” in campaigning for the Nov. 6 election, Senator Jeanne Shaheen said, even if the economy will be on voters’ minds as they head to the polls.

“I’m old enough to remember the ’50s and before … contraceptives were widely available to people, what my mother and other women were dealing with,” the New Hampshire Democrat said on Tuesday at the Reuters Washington Summit. “I’m old enough to remember what it was like before Roe v. Wade, and I think access to reproductive health services for women is critical.  And I don’t think women in this country are planning to go back.”

Polls generally show Democratic President Barack Obama with an advantage over Republican candidate Mitt Romney among women voters, but some recent surveys have shown Romney gaining ground. Democrats have sought to maintain their advantage by advertising what they call a Republican “war on women,” which casts the party as insensitive on issues such as equal pay for women, healthcare, protection against domestic abuse and access to contraception. 

For Portman, it all comes down to beer

Rob Portman is upset about the tax laws that make a real American beer hard to find.

The senator from Ohio, who is seen as a leading candidate to be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, spoke out at the Reuters Washington Summit against tax policy that puts American companies at a disadvantage.

“I’m a beer drinker and I’m particularly upset by the fact there is no big U.S. beer company any more,” said Portman, a former budget director who criticized the Obama administration for failing to overhaul corporate taxes in the United States.

Are Republicans also losing the Asian vote?

Republican struggles winning over Hispanic-American voters have been well documented this campaign season, but there is some concern about another fast-growing ethnic group – Asian Americans.

Tom Davis, a former congressman from Virginia, discussed the Republican Party’s difficulties connecting with Hispanic voters, but said it could change that. ”They are a group that is certainly gettable,” the moderate Republican said.

However, Davis said his party should also seek to win over Asian voters.

“More troubling for Republicans is the fact they’re not winning Asians. Asians are culturally much more like Republicans. They tend to be entrepreneurial, they tend to be very upwardly mobile groups and they ought to be winning those groups in spades,” Davis said at the Reuters Washington Summit.

Introducing Reuters Elections: our new home for all things 2012

Welcome to Reuters Election 2012, our new hub for the latest political news, analysis, and opinion. With the same commitment to accuracy you’re used to, coupled with the conviction that the exchange of arguments and opinion is a vital component of political coverage, our goal is to build an online resource to help you make sense of the issues and decide which candidates win your votes.

Conceived of and executed by Jim Impoco on the editorial side and Alex Leo on the product side, the page has a number of features new to Reuters.com.

In addition to spotlighting the great homegrown work of our own journalists, we’ll be scouring the web and linking to the best news and commentary about the U.S. elections from around the globe. We’ll also be aggregating the most interesting tweets, and our Polititude widget will measure social sentiment about each presidential hopeful — powered by WiseWindow, a company that analyzes and interprets chatter on social media platforms across the web, rather than merely searching for keywords — to capture each candidate’s social favorability at any given moment.

Washington Extra – Painful choices

When it comes to framing economic policy, it looks increasingly as though Republicans are winning the debate. Not only have they made “stimulus” almost a dirty word but there seems to be a growing feeling that deficit-financed spending is not a great way to pull the economy out of a recession.jobless Forget the conclusions of the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office about how the bailouts and stimulus of 2008 and 2009 saved millions of jobs. Forget the global consensus around the need for coordinated stimulus after the financial crisis. The American public is simply not convinced.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll released today found 57 percent of Americans believe that, when economic times are tough, cutting the deficit is a better way to create jobs than deficit-financed stimulus.

With the U.S. congressional elections just six weeks away, this finding is bad news for President Barack Obama as he struggles to convince people that Republicans drove the economy into a deep ditch and Democrats are hard at work pulling it out.

Washington Extra – Gridlock and the fiscal deficit

summit

The term gridlock may have first entered the vocabulary during the 1980 New York transit strike, reportedly coined by “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, chief traffic engineer in the city’s transport department.  In those days it was definitely not something to aspire to. It is a different story in 2010.

“Gridlock’s not all bad,” Republican Senator Richard Shelby told the Reuters Washington Summit today, citing the need to “slow things down” politically.  His fellow Senator and Tea Party champion Jim DeMint would probably go even further.

But is that really what lies in store after the midterm elections?

Republican and Democratic speakers on the first day of the summit agreed on one thing above all else: that the other party is to blame for the lack of bipartisanship in Washington.