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Bump or no bump for Obama on health care?

1. A feverish debate is under way in political Washington this week about whether or not the White House can legitimately claim that the passage of the health care bill created a real bump in poll numbers both for the legislation itself and for the Democratic party who championed it.

Each side comes armed with polling that makes its case.

Democrats note that the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showed that while President Obama's approval ratings on health care (45 percent approve/54 percent disapprove) weren't great, they were an improvement from a CNN/ORC survey taken in the runup to the House vote that showed just 40 percent approval on health care with 58 percent disapproval.

Republicans retort that the most recent Washington Post poll showed 46 percent supportive of the bill and 50 percent opposed -- numbers virtually unchanged from an early February Post/ABC survey that put support at 46 percent and opposition at 49 percent.

Cherry-picking a number here or a number there from a large national poll is nothing new in the spin wars of Washington but those tactics tend to wrongly extrapolate a single piece of data into a new trend or a sign of either utter collapse of the Obama administration or, conversely, a remarkable resurgence.

The truth lies somewhere in the grayish middle. Is there still significant opposition to this bill among Republicans and lingering doubts about it among independents? Yes. Has the bill served to motivate -- at least temporarily -- a somewhat moribund Democratic base? Yes.

Which side wins on this issue depends on two factors: salesmanship and implementation. After allowing Republicans to win the message war in the long run-up to passage, President Obama seems dead-set at not repeating that mistake, embarking on a series of stops around the country to make the case for the bill. But, if the early read-out on the implementation of the plan is negative -- higher costs, confusion -- then all of the salesmanship in the world won't matter.

Trying to predict how health care will play in the midterm elections at the moment is the equivalent of standing one foot away from a wall-sized painting. You just can't get the whole picture.

2. If there was ever any doubt that the Republican chattering class was not a fan of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, a new poll of party insiders from National Journal should clear it up.

Just 20 percent of Republican insiders said that Steele was an "asset" as chairman while a whopping 71 percent described him as a "liability." (By contrast, 61 percent of Democratic party insiders said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine was an asset while 16 percent called him a liability.)

Of Steele, the assembled Republican group -- an amalgam of prominent consultants and political operatives -- were scathing, describing him as "an embarrassment," an "anchor around the neck of the Republican party," and "gaffe prone."

As we have said before, the disgruntlement to Steele among the Republican chattering class isn't likely to lead to much of anything in the short term since they aren't voting members of the RNC. But, the chattering class does have influence more broadly within the party and unless he can convert some of his doubters between now and January 2011 it's a near certainty that he will face a serious challenge for the chairmanship.

ALSO READ: Former Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum tells an Iowa crowd he was "disgusted" with the RNC's expenditure at a risque nightclub.

3. Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) remains locked in a surprisingly competitive Senate primary fight with Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

Fisher, who has the support of virtually the entire party establishment in Ohio and Washington, took 33 percent while Brunner, who has struggled to raise the money to get her message out, received 26 percent in the race to replace retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R).

The larger message from the poll? The race has not engaged and neither candidate has made any real impression on voters. In the head to head matchup, four in ten voters didn't know enough about either candidate to pick between them. More than half of Democratic primary voters (56 percent) had no opinion about Fisher while a stunning two-thirds of the sample said the same of Brunner.

Democrats acknowledge that Fisher has not run the sort of campaign many expected but insist the addition of Jay Howser, a well regarded campaign manager, and Fisher's huge fundraising edge will be enough to give him a clear win on May 4.

Even if that scenario plays out, Fisher clearly needs to improve in the general election against former representative Rob Portman (R) who has run a far more disciplined and effective campaign to date.

The Q poll suggests a jump ball in the fall. Fisher leads Portman 41 percent to 37 percent while Brunner takes 38 percent to Portman's 37 percent.

4. Wealthy financier John Chachas (R) has begun his long-awaited television ad campaign in the Nevada Senate race as he attempt to catch frontrunner Sue Lowden before the June 8 primary.

Chachas went up statewide with two ads on Tuesday. Both function as traditional bio ads, touting Chachas's roots in Nevada -- with the requisite photos of him as a cute kid -- as well his success in the business world.

Chachas is also clearly making a play for the outsider role in the primary; "I'm a businessman, not a politician," he says in one ad. "We can fix this mess if we clean house in Washington."

Chachas made waves late last year when he loaned his campaign more than $1.3 million and promised to spend it all (and more) to get himself better known to Nevadans. Chachas's campaign then went through a dormant stage for the first few months of this year before he re-emerged promising an aggressive effort to challenge Lowden and, to a lesser extent, businessman Danny Tarkanian for primacy in the primary.

It remains to be seen whether Chachas (or anyone else) can catch Lowden with roughly two months left before the state's primary. A Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey released in late February showed Lowden at 47 percent with Tarkanian a distant second with 29 percent, conservative former state legislator Sharron Angle at eight percent and Chachas at one percent.

The primary is sure to draw national attention as it draws closer since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is regarded as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.

5. The North Carolina Democratic Senate primary continues to grow more and more complicated for state Sen. Cal Cunningham, the hand-picked candidate of national Democrats who believe he represents their best -- and, perhaps, only -- chances of beating Sen. Richard Burr (R) in the fall.

The latest wrinkle is the news that former Charlotte mayor and two time Senate candidate Harvey Gantt, an iconic figure in the North Carolina black community, will throw his support to attorney Ken Lewis.

Lewis already counts black Reps. Mel Watt and G.K. Butterfield as backers of his campaign and, given that African Americans comprise 21 percent of the state's population (and a significantly larger chunk of the Democratic primary electorate), that support makes him a potentially viable contender.

Polling suggests that Secretary of State Elaine Marshall remains the candidate to beat, a status due in large part to her name identification edge over her two main primary rivals. (A new Survey USA poll suggests all three Democratic candidates are relative unknowns to voters in the state.)

The best outcome national Democrats can hope for -- seemingly -- is that no candidate breaks 40 percent in the May 4 primary, a result that would pit the two highest vote-getters against one another in a June 22 runoff. Under that scenario, Cunningham's establishment backing and likely fundraising edge could be brought to bear.

In an election cycle where Senate Democrats have a limited number of seats where they can be on offense, it's important to them to keep North Carolina on the board. Can they do that even if Cunningham isn't their nominee?

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 31, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Comments

"Just follow the money."

Another example of bipartisan agreement.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 1, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

How is it that the economic impact of this bill on AT&T, Boeing, Caterpillar, Prudential, Deere and others all are faced with "significant material impact" (GE's term) but GE doesn't seem concerned? GE has been the single most frequent corporate visitor to the White House since Obama came to power. Methinks Jeffrey Immelt knows what side his bread is buttered on."

Posted by: ceflynline
-----------------------------------------
The reason that GE is cozy with the Obama administration is that they are going to be the developer for information technology to be used as the infrastructure for the future single payer HC system. Just follow the money.

Posted by: leapin | April 1, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

shrink2
re. Drone assassinations.
I'm all for doing to the terrorists before they can do it to us. I actually agree with Obama on this one.

Posted by: armpeg | April 1, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Chinese junk merchants have no problem with spam dams. Selling their sh!t is another matter. The good news, we don't have to worry about Google in China, whether Chinese people can find the unexpurgated West. The bad news, they can find the us.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 1, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

ceflyline, when you drop dead,
donate your brain to science.

You've got skills.
Serious, funny, and sharp as a knife.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

"How is it that the economic impact of this bill on AT&T, Boeing, Caterpillar, Prudential, Deere and others all are faced with "significant material impact" (GE's term) but GE doesn't seem concerned? GE has been the single most frequent corporate visitor to the White House since Obama came to power. Methinks Jeffrey Immelt knows what side his bread is buttered on."

It's all bookkeeping ledger-de-maine. (juggling the books). These charges against earnings are for tax breaks they don't lose for four years. What they get is a paper loss now, (and therefor by implication when they are actually doing well enough to be able to use it) hoping to score political points. If, in four years, it turns out they don't even need the subsidy, and they lose that too, then what?

GE says it isn't sure, given the nature of its union contracts, that any of this has any effect on it at all. AND, it probably doesn't. Caterpillar has been trying to screw its Illinois workers for years, and this is just one more excuse for them to try again. Good ole Republican Peoria deserves it.

Posted by: ceflynline | March 31, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"Even if that scenario plays out, Fisher clearly needs to improve in the general election against former representative Rob Portman (R) who has run a far more disciplined and effective campaign to date.

The Q poll suggests a jump ball in the fall. Fisher leads Portman 41 percent to 37 percent while Brunner takes 38 percent to Portman's 37 percent."

Because, if Either Fisher or Brunner run a disciplined campaign they will be trouncing Portman by 63% to 37%?

OF COURSE Protman runs a disciplined campaign. He has his script and he is sticking to it. "Let's go back to doing it my boss's way!!"

Like the Ancient Mariner, who stoppeth one in three, (sorta like 37%, or a little less) he has this bizarre tail to tell about how he got that albatross around his neck. It still stinks, and it HASN'T sunk like lead into the sea to this point. And said AM hasn't changed his rhyme. "Tax Cuts, Tax Cuts!!"

and maybe the economy coughed up 220,000 new jobs last month. Seven months of that and Obama will have created more jobs in his first administration than Bush did in his two. Just what will Rob's retort be to 1.4 million new jobs? Especially Special trade representative Rob Portman?

That sail on the horizon, Rob, isn't exactly your particular ship.

Posted by: ceflynline | March 31, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

"The third was big on her campaign for children's health at some unspecified time in the past and how it was successful in some way."

Thank you. This is a good sign.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

shrink, I did not, for the most part, get that kind of detail from the three who responded. The first one was high on her being a biz friendly SOS who had brought new biz to NC on her initiative. Apparently she was a real good speaker, fast on her feet, and had been "Rookie of the Year" according to the Raleigh paper in a mid-nineties legislature and had done well at everything she tried since. The third was big on her campaign for children's health at some unspecified time in the past and how it was successful in some way.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 31, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

armpeg, while you are on, what do you think of drone assassinations? It seems like a lot of GI lives are spared when a guy bumping a joy stick 5 minutes from his barracks can incinerate a threat on the other side of the world. Do you support Obama's agreement with Pakistan on the use of drone killings?
You have to admit, it moots that whole, what to do with the prisoners question.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

armpeg, I am pretty sure Pres. Nixon was through with Viet Nam. Kissinger was and still is a war hawk, but I don't think Nixon had the stones for war. He seemed more at home with the corrupt game of day to day politics, the Bebe Rebozo types were his friends.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

As you read armpeg's display of rancid cracker bigotry please keep in your mind that this is a Republican and adjust your view of that party accordingly.

Posted by: Noacoler | March 31, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of liberal usefull idiots, and voila, there's Fix's racist noacoler, who'll defend his tribal member Obama no matter what he does.
Obama could run our country like Idi Amin, Hitler, or Stalin and noacoler would still support him (hey, it's a black thing). When whites do it, it's 'racist'. When blacks do it, it's called 'ethnic pride'
It figures!

Posted by: armpeg | March 31, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I spelled 'Democrats' correctly because back then we had Democrats, and not the Socialist Communists we have today, who only call themselves Democrats.

==

Now, back to reality. The Democrats of 2010 are to the right of the Republicans under Nixon, so as if anyone didn't already know this, you're completely full of it.

@buggerianpaisley: As I read further down your "market based" screed I was pretty sure you were just another of those free market bozos. Thanks for courteously Removing All Doubt with the "Obozo" thing.

Count me as one who would rather pay higher taxes than see parent burying children who could have been cured. You are garbage.

Posted by: Noacoler | March 31, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 02:13 PM
I spelled 'Democrats' correctly because back then we had Democrats, and not the Socialist Communists we have today, who only call themselves Democrats.

Posted by: armpeg | March 31, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Count racerdoc among the willfully ignorant on healthcare. Individual Health insurance is a matter of underwriting risk, not discrimination. When someone has a pre-existing condition and it is revealed to an insurance company -- which does not include zits by the way -- they can either accept the person at a standard rate, charge them a higher rate if they take, say an asthma drug, or they can reject them if they are diabetic or have some other serious disease. Keeping the cost down for the healthy and those with normal and minor maladies is the objective, which precludes allowing people with serious disease to be insured. Eliminating this practice can be done provided two things happen. First, the lower rates offered to healthy people have to go up, and by a pretty good margin. Second, all the healthy people have to be willing to pay the higher rate in order to cover those who want to buy insurance for th efirst time AFTER they have a KNOWN health condition.

Any moron knows you can "insure" against a possibile claim, but selling insurance to someone who is a known diabetic is simply trading thousands and thousands of dollars of claims for hundreds of dollars of premium. It really is arithmetic and algebra which is sort of like gravity. They are all constant and ignoring them does not make them disappear.

Now if you want to say, "I'm willing to pay more so the sick can have insurance" that is a noble objective. But the cost is real, and it is a helluva lot more than Obozo's book-cookers have been telling you. That's the issue, and the problem is that people who actually know how insurance works know the cost is plenty. Just because morons don't know it doesn't mean the cost isn't plenty.

The has been criticized as "poorly written". That depends. If the objective was to destroy the insurance market so the government can take over healthcare entirely when insurers abandon it, it gets an A+. All you have to do to complete the takeover is re-elect Obama and then in 2016 elect Alan Grayson and Maxine Waters. But I'd suggest you begin storing canned goods and water.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | March 31, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

jefferson also said this:

"And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter"

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"...This is exactly what happened when the Democrats forced Pres. Nixon to cut and run from Viet Nam..."

Uh oh, Mr. Armpeg is about to blow.
He spelled Democrats correctly.


Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

The slight bump Comrade Obama got for his Communist government takeover

==

what a moron

Posted by: Noacoler | March 31, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

.

Do the trolls all wake up simultaneously at 1 PM?

.

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

LET ME BE CLEAR - OBAMA'S TAXES ARE A JOBS KILLER.

This health care bill places BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars of OBAMA TAXES on the economy.


This is going to SLOW THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

This will cause massive parts of the health care bill TO BE REPEALED.

Let's think about it too: WHAT PART OF HEALTH CARE IS "INTERSTATE COMMERCE?"

Finally, the Courts can take a look at that question and ANSWER IT.

Let's take the "tanning tax" - what part of tanning is interstate commerce?

It just goes to the extreme - to show one that federal government is too far out there in the definition of "interstate commerce."

In fact, they have CEASED TO HAVE A DEFINITION OF "INTERSTATE COMMERCE."


Instead, they say, it means anything they want it to mean.

Well, it doesn't work that way.


.

.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 31, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

buggerianpaisley1


You have an excellent point there about the companies - I would like to add : Shouldn't Waxman KNOW what is in the bill he just voted for???


This is a joke.


Waxman wants these companies CEOs to come to Washington to TELL THE DEMOCRATS WHAT IS IN THE HEALTH CARE BILL ??

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 31, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

re. 'Bump or no bump for Obama on HC.....'

The slight bump Comrade Obama got for his Communist government takeover of one-sixth of our economy, was predicted by just about everybody doing polls, so there's no surprise there. Conveniently left out of the now gleefull psycho--babble of the liberal usefull idiots on CC's blog here though, is the fact that that "bump" was among liberal Democrap Socialist's ONLY! Comrade Obama's approval/disapproval numbers among the rest of the American voters has been tanking more and more every month, as they are starting to realize that Barack Obama is a white and America--hating Communist (something he always was for his entire adult life), and that he's trying to change our country from a Representative Republican one to a Socialist Communist one, by following Saul Alinski's script from his book "Rules for Radicals".
What's also obvious is that the liberal usefull idiot Obama--worshippers commenting here, haven't a clue how our government is run, when they claim that Comrade Obama's Communist Health Care bill is now the law of the land into infinity. Comrade Obama's and the Democrap Socialist Parties Health Care bill doesn't need to be repealed. When the Republicans take over the House of Representatives (and possibly the Senate too) in the 2010 midterms, all they have to do is cut off all funding for it, and Obama's and the Democrap Socialist's Communist Health Care bill is dead. This is exactly what happened when the Democrats forced Pres. Nixon to cut and run from Viet Nam. They cut off all funding then, forcing Nixon to withdraw all of our military from there. The same will happen with this bill.
In yo face Comrade Obama and Deomocrap Socialist's!!!

Posted by: armpeg | March 31, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

REPEAL AND REPLACE

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | March 31, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

__________

Idjit remark of the day.

All those loud mouth GOPs have realized this won't work. THEY REALIZE it already.

They had no plan. In fact the Obama plan is mostly a rewrite of PREVIOUS GOP PLans.

BUt now that it is in effect I want to see the GOP MEMBER who foolishly goes out and campains on
1. Taking children's healthcare away from them because they are poor, middle class or have a pre-existing condition - LIKE THAT WILL WORK - I am sorry poor child - you don't get healthcare for the rest of your life because you have diabetes. RIGHT

2. Engage seniors when their DONUT hole has just been closed -- I mean take a $1 away from an old person let alone thousands of dollars in RX drug beneftis and you guys will be shark bait.

3. Tell insurance companies all over that THEY can discrimate solely on the basis of disease state -- that is the same as a COLOR bias or discriminating based on genetics. AIN"T GOING TO HAPPEN -- WHY--because 80% of the US population buying healthcare HAS A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION of some sort. I don't know many people who have NEVER had the flu, or acne, or stitches, broken bones, or HAVE NEVER SEEN A DOCTOR === All of those issues can and are being used a pre-existing conditions.

Can you imagine a GOP going into the crowd at any rally and saying he wants YOU THE PERSON PAYING PREMIUMS to have to pay more SOLELY BECAUSE THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY SAYS YOUR ZITs when you were 12 are now PRE-EXSTING CONDITIONS.

The funny thing is that most people may not have had this happen to them. BUT IT WILL AND WHEN IT DOES - You will be out there on the line screaming for HELP. When you are 45 and get breast cancer, you can be denied insurance because you had acne. When you are 40 and get pneumonia, you can be denied coverage (and your claims denied) because you had the flu 3 years prior. When you are 25 you can be denied claims for a broken leg if you sprained that ankle when you were a teen.

YES you are eligible too for this discrimination -- a discrimination based solely on the fact that you were born and have lived a normal life.

Posted by: racerdoc | March 31, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his people claimed that as soon as the bill passed, the American people would flock to it, and they would like it - that did not happen.


Now a "little ripple in the margin of error" is being used as evidence of a bump.

Obama and his people are LIARS - for the French President to come here amid accusations that Obama is LYING TO THE EUROPEANS, is an national embarassment for America.

The French President danced around the question.

However, the basic truth is that Obama was being called a LIAR in front of the INTERNATIONAL PRESS.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 31, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Now that the healthcare bill's timebombs are coming to light, Henry Waxman is leading the charge to ride herd on the dissidents. The issue Henry is vexed by is that employers are doing EXACTLY what they are required to do by Sarbanes-Oxley, which is to report the material financial impact Obamacare has on their balance sheet. AT&T, Caterpillar and other companies are merely acting like prudent businesses and they are complying with legal requirements passed and championed by Mr. Waxman's ilk.

The real investigation should be on GE, the corporate lapdog of President Obama. How is it that the economic impact of this bill on AT&T, Boeing, Caterpillar, Prudential, Deere and others all are faced with "significant material impact" (GE's term) but GE doesn't seem concerned? GE has been the single most frequent corporate visitor to the White House since Obama came to power. Methinks Jeffrey Immelt knows what side his bread is buttered on.

The only way the impact of the Obamacare change in the tax law that Henry Waxman is complaining about would not have a significant impact on GE is if they do not provide retiree healthcare.

Being willfully ignorant is still being ignorant. Mr. Waxman intends to REQUIRE these companies to EXPLAIN why they are doing what they are doing. In the opening remarks from the first CEO who speaks to Waxman and his Democrat weenies, a logical opening line might be, "Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to explain the reason we took the accounting charge on our books, but my explanation REQUIRES that you listen and understand. Otherwise, my fellow CEOs and I could spend our time better by trying to teach Chinese to a chimpanzee.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | March 31, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Where the C of C/industry money is headed is targeting specifics of HCR and going after them -- still some PR but mostly to the lawyers now.

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Simply great stuff today, CC. I learned quite a bit. That's why I keep coming here.

@Mark - Interesting feedback, though the group sounds like the Tsongas crowd. I would have voted for him too, so that's not a slam.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 31, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"And forget repeal, just ain't gonna happen."

True, I'd give 10:1 odds on that.

Heard the CEO of Cigna a few days ago, he said no one in his industry is working on repeal, which means, no politicians can make any money working on repeal.

In an era when industry regulates government, lets compare this, for example, to the mountains of money being made by Republican politicians trying to kill financial reform.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

And forget repeal, just ain't gonna happen:

"Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), the GOP nominee for President Obama's former Senate seat, is refusing to say whether he would work to repeal the health care bill -- after he'd previously pledged to do just that.

The Associated Press reports: "Kirk was asked repeatedly Tuesday whether he wants the legislation repealed. He would only say that he opposes new taxes to pay for it."

"I voted against it, but we lost," Kirk said, NBC Chicago reports. "My job is to explain how this will affect voters."

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, it's part of what I do, too. The most important question to ask about a politician is can they CONNECT? Can they make a room full of people --- or a TV audience -- feel like they are speaking to each directly on an emotional level? Obama can do that, Bubba could and still can, W could, although only when he was on script, and Palin can. Reagan could, Bush I couldn't. Romney, no way.

Coakley always appeared as if she was talking down her nose at people--very off-putting.

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Mark, the second comment?

Your point, your questions...Which candidate has the best personality? The best sense of humor? The most friends around the state? The best back story? The most energy? The most appeal to moderate voters? Is the quickest on her feet? Is the easiest in a crowd?...

this level of detail interests me, maybe because of what I do.

If you look back at, for example, Creigh Deeds and Martha Coakley from this perspective, the outcome becomes obvious. Maybe I'm just tired of poll #s and beltway chatter. Last week I asked whether anyone knew anything about Meek in this regard, apart from the cw, no response (just some racist insults). I suppose this is why people publish books about themselves. Still there oughtta be a clearinghouse for this type of information, a Consumer Reports for politicians.


Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Third comment from NC: Marshall. The others are "OK".

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 31, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

'The University of Washington tried to organize a debate on whether the health-care reform bill is constitutional. But it couldn't find a law professor to argue that it isn't, reports the Seattle Times.'

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

This is so precious, from the 'fair and balanced' network:

'About a month before health reform passed last week, health insurance giant WellPoint announced record premium rate hikes all over the country, some as high as 39 percent. As an HCAN report detailed, the premium increases fed into insurer profits, rather than paying for actual health care costs.

Democrats pointed to the hikes as evidence of the need for reform, with President Obama and Democrats in Congress citing the massive hikes as another reason to pass sweeping legislation.

Today on Fox Business, WellPoint VP Brad Fluegel appeared to talk about the impact of health reform. But instead of a discussion of the legislation and its ramifications for business and customers, the hosts of Fox Business spent a large portion of the interview skewering Fluegel for helping to pass reform through rate hikes. Of course, WellPoint lobbied (directly and through front groups) aggressively against the bill.

The Fox Business hosts pointed to the hikes and whined, “you guys threw it. … [Y]ou had to know this was going to push this legislation over the top.” Fox host Charles Payne argued that WellPoint enjoys plenty of profits and could have held off the hikes “until maybe after the November elections” for Republicans to win enough to stop reform.

Stu Varney, another Fox host, was more direct. Varney looked at the WellPoint executive and muttered, “it was a bad public relations move. … [Y]ou are one of the primary reasons why we did get a vote in favor of health reform”

PAYNE: When I look at all the different operating margins in your industry, looks like WellPoint, you guys are enjoying one of the healthier, I mean you guys doubled year after year from the year before. Is there any regret about this rate hike at this time?

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

She's soooo clueless, Leichtman. She and Whitman are CEO personalities == they make gaffes all the time but they aren't even aware it of because nobody dares tell them. That's corporate culture, and why CEOs always make such horrible candidates. They aren't used to being scrutinized or questioned and they resent it.

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse


"California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R) sent a letter to her supporters yesterday in honor of the first night of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which she described as a time where "we break bread and spend time with our families and friends."

Passover a time we break bread"? huh?


What a dingbat. No wonder she drove HP into the ground. Seems like if either the candidate or her staff had any brains they would know better.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 31, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

First comments in from NC:

All Marshall - biz friendly as SOS, former ROY in the Lege, well spoken, hard working.

National Ds may have wrong horse.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 31, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"You can hide behind your student loan takeover, President"

As the parent of a college student, I thank GOD for this new legislation. Not only will it say $100 billion for taxpayers, but it will mean me and my kid are not at the mercy of predatory banks. Loan rates will be lower and they will not suddenly jack up your rates any time they feel like it.

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering when we might again hear something from the Fix about Jennifer Brunner. Lee Fisher has been the presumptive Democratic nominee for Sen. Voinovich's seat for a while now, but Brunner has hung on and kept her numbers close to Fisher's for a lot longer than anyone expected. The local party leadership has lined up behind Fisher because he's the safe choice, but Brunner's been getting a lot of support from unofficial channels. I couldn't tell you which of them is more liberal, but I can tell you that Brunner really comes off as a take-no-guff politician, and that appeals a lot more to die-hard Democratic voters than it does to party leaders who have to consider the possibility that she might be able to fire up the base, but she might scare off moderates in the general. I could see Brunner benefiting from a bump in Democratic poll numbers following the passage of the health care bill -- with voters less worried about her screwing the pooch in November -- but she's only got about a month to take advantage of that and absentee voters are already starting to trickle in. I think Fisher's probably got this one.

The challenge will come when Rob Portman really starts campaigning in earnest; he's been coasting these last few months as the obvious Republican nominee, but he's going to hit hard right out of the gate once the Democratic nominee is determined. He's going to have to walk a tightrope, though; he has to raise his profile enough to overtake Fisher (or Brunner) in recognition, but not enough that voters start souring on him. Voinovich is a Republican, but he's done a great job of satisfying moderate voters, and those same voters might be turned off by Portman's knee-jerk conservatism and ties to the Bush administration. Moreover, they might find something they like in Fisher, who generally takes a pretty measured approach and is second-in-command to Gov. Strickland, who does a good job of appealing to moderates when he wants to.

Regarding the question of the Democratic bump following health care reform, I did expect to see some sort of bump, but frankly, I was expecting it to take longer, with numbers dropping for Dems in the short term only to rise when some of the more halfhearted critics look out their windows and realize the sky hasn't fallen. I wonder if the numbers for Dems on health care reform, like the numbers for the GOP on its opposition to everything, might be peaking too early.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | March 31, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Rick Green is from the Cynthia Dunbar wing of the Texas GOP and advocates prayer in our Texas school something my family had to fight in the 1960s. That is a no brainer mark and glad I voted in the GOP primary.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 31, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Lehrmann over Green? You betcha. Mailed all my clients eligible to vote in the R Primary.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 31, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

GOP WARY OF CAMAPAIGN TO REPEAL HEALTH CARE

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 31, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The health care bill is piece of garbage - with a few redeeming qualities that could have been enacted with simple legislation.

Socialist Obama and Democrats thought that they had threatened, conditioned, and bullied Americans enough that they would remain mute sheep and stand by while they destroyed our country.

There is no more hiding, Socialists and Progressives. Remember the Internet? We know more than YOU do about the disastrous effects of your "tinklebell, fairyland" ideas and your schoolyard bullying process.

You can hide behind your student loan takeover, President, but you can't lie about or paint the HC as anything but it is: A DISASTER.

REPEAL AND REPLACE

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | March 31, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Do you think White is waiting too long to go public?"

he is spending a lot of time in the Valley and San Antonio where he thinks the election will be decided. White reportedly has $5.5 million I think Perry has $12 million so other than targeted bios spots in those markets I don't expect him to start spending on tv til summer after HC chatter has died down. The good point is that White won t have to spend big bucks in our expensive Houston market. I am surprised that Perry hasn't started his nasty attack ads yet I am sure they are filmed and ready to run and he is flush with money. Hope you will be joining me and voting in the State Supreme Ct race in a couple of weeks. I will be interested to see White's fund raising totals next month that should be an impt indicator of his chances in Nov and how his campaign is truly doing. What kind of reception do you think White is getting in Austin, the campus and the Lakeway/West Lake Hills areas, curious if anyone knows anything about him other than his being Houston's mayor?

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 31, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Curious why this was not the topic of today's thread?


GOP WARY OF CAMAPAIGN TO REPEAL HEALTH CARE

"(AP) Top Republicans are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that's roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama's new health care law."

or perhaps the more humorous story coming out yesterday that my joke of a US Senator, John Cornyn, is pushing, taking credit for parts of the Health Care Bill that he and his obstructionist party universally opposed. By Nov few will take GOP blustering about HC seriously.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 31, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Leichtman, that is too bad - Sharp really had a shot. 2012 will not be a Special and that minimizes D chances, I think, in the Senate race. Of course, KBH could retire then.

Do you think White is waiting too long to go public?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 31, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

actually Obama's number b/w 48% and 55% have been pretty steady over the last 6 monts. What were Bush's numbers when he left office 18%. He would have salivated had he had Obama's numbers. The much more important generic Congressional numbers have moved in the last 2 weeks from -5% to +3% for Ds. Since Congressional elections are in 7 months and Obama's in 30 months critics should care more about the generic Congressional polling numbers since Rs are already measuring for Congressional speaker's curtains. Not so fast.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 31, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Bsimon, Andy, Bondosan, and Shrink - I emailed #5 to my sis and bro-in-law and four of their friends, one of whom is an R and two of whom are ticket splitters. They all live in Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill. They all have advanced degrees, two in science, one in business, two in social sciences and one in fine arts. Their advanced degrees are from Carolina, Duke, and State. They are all at least 40 year residents of the Research Triangle. Three lapsed Baptists, two practicing Episcopalians, and a practicing Jew. They are NOT typical voters by any stretch, but they know people, so I am hoping their opinions will be enlightening.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 31, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

they get campaigning mark its the governing part they seem to have problems with.

And news from another cheap politican who's word means absolutely nothing. No one here in Texas ever believed she ever had any intention to leave the US Senate. She and Cornyn have done absolutely nothing for the nation or Texas while in the Senate and are perhaps the least accomplished of its 100 members. Rs are all talk when it comes to term limits, its about time that other cheap Texas politicians like Perry are term limited by voters.

"ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, plans to announce this morning that she plans to stay in the Senate, despite a pledge to resign her seat regardless of whether she won or lost the primary for governor, a Republican source tells ABC News"

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 31, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

A dead cat bounce, maybe. But, according to RealClearPolitics, his positves are still trending down and his negatives are still trending up.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

Go ahead and high-five each other while you can, silly-socilists. It all comes to a screaching halt in November.

Posted by: sosueme1 | March 31, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Health Care? Let's Talk About The Apparent Big Oil Entrainment of Barack Obama...

OBAMA OKAYS DRILLING JUST 50 MILES OFFSHORE FROM EAST COAST AND GULF BEACHES.

I can see it now:

It's the height of the 2012 presidential campaign. President Obama, his coffers overflowing with a new infusion of oil money, is fighting for his political life, trying to retain his party's razor-thin majority in Congress. (The 2010 elections saw major GOP gains.)

And then comes the news flash: An off-shore drilling rig suffers a pipeline break, and a giant oil slick washes up on the East Coast's family beaches, from North Jersey to the North Carolina coast and all points in between. The thick, oozing oil results in a massive fish and bird kill; clogs inlets and storm sewer outlets; ruins beaches; and destroys a multimillion-dollar tourist economy.

The New York Post publishes a cartoon depicting President Obama as an oil-soaked East Coast shore bird, unable to fly, his "wings" fouled with a thick coat of oil.

The Obama camp calls it racist. Environmentalists get it.

An investigation can't rule out sabotage, but administration officials also float the idea that the pipeline may have been constructed with cheap, inferior bolts and nuts imported from China.

President Obama promptly announces the formation of a commission intended to impose strict new government regulations on the quality of Chinese fasteners.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wins the presidential election in a landslide -- a Republican tidal wave that the pundits attribute to Obama's decision to open the East and Gulf Coasts to offshore drilling.

Sarah Palin is spotted trying to hide a telling smirk; her "drill, baby, drill!" strategy has yielded what some might call unintended consequences.

***

== Has President Obama Been Targeted for Silent Microwave Entrainment? ==

This is not a joke. Please read the "comments" section of the following article by a mainstream journalist who has exposed the U.S. government's covert cell tower- based domestic microwave "directed energy weapon" attack system -- being used to assault "targeted" U.S. citizens with damaging, debilitating microwaves and other radio frequencies:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener (see "U.S. Silently..." and "Gestapo USA").

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 31, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

rasmussen survey says 54% still want to repeal health care bill. only 42% oppose repeal. hardly call that a bump for democrats. democrats will pay for this in november.

Posted by: doof | March 31, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

My in-laws are from NC and like Elaine Marshall quite a lot. Not sure why the national party is getting behind Cunningham...maybe they feel NC can't handle two female senators?

Posted by: Bondosan | March 31, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"Relying on the chattering class and poll numbers when trying to predict elections is the equivalent of standing one foot away from a wall-sized painting. You just can't get the whole picture."


So who's our (wo)man on the ground in NC?

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 31, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the correction CC

Posted by: AndyR3 | March 31, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Jim Demint said he will only serve two terms in the senate

"I haven't made any public promises about what I'm going to do in the Senate, but my intent is to serve no more than two terms," DeMint told CN2 News in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

From his lips to God's ear. However, I also think this is another indication that Demint is thinking about running for President in 2012 or 2016. He is been the most outspoken conservative in the Senate and has not endorsed Romney, who he supported heavily last election.

Posted by: AndyR3 | March 31, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Mark, that is a great point.

Relying on the chattering class and poll numbers when trying to predict elections is the equivalent of standing one foot away from a wall-sized painting. You just can't get the whole picture.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

#3- "Fisher clearly needs to improve in the general election against former representative Rob Portman (R)"

That same poll that you mention has Fisher beating Potman by four points, so this statement is wrong.

Mark, I don't know about the other two candidates but my mom says that she likes Elaine Marshall and isn't too happy with Burr. He ran as a moderate that was going to Washington to solve problems. However, he has pretty much toed the line and that I think is rubbing some independent minded folks the wrong way now. And your story of Libby Dole is spot on to everything that I heard about her from people in NC.

Also I think CC may be overstating Harvey Gantt's influence in NC these days. It was a long time ago when Gantt was the mayor of the Queen City, and I bet a significant amount on Carolinians didn't even live in the state then.

Posted by: AndyR3 | March 31, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

#5 requires local input. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate without regard to national backing? National backing is often NOT a good predictor of strength in a local election, in my recollection. Which candidate has the best personality? The best sense of humor? The most friends around the state? The best back story? The most energy? The most appeal to moderate voters? Is the quickest on her feet? Is the easiest in a crowd?

My sister tells of meeting Libby Dole at the State Fair. She asked my sister whether my sis was a R. My sis said "no" and Dole turned away from her. My sister recalls that Helms would have engaged under the same circumstances - engaged anyone, cheerfully. Some people, like Rick Perry, God save us, really "get" campaigning. Some do not.

Does anyone here know these salient indicators about the three Ds in the NC race?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 31, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

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