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What David Plouffe can do (and what he can't)

1. The news that 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe would expand his role within the Obama administration's political team created headlines over the weekend with the White House trying to sell it as a long-planned move. In an interview with on ABC's "This Week" David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, called the reaction to the revelation "overblown" and added: "I know that Washington loves the shake-up story. Washington loves the 'When are we going to throw a body out?' story. That's not how we roll." Of course, no White House likes to admit mistakes but it's hard not to see the expansion of Plouffe's role as a direct reaction to the party's stunning setback in Massachusetts six days ago. Plouffe is widely regarded within Obama's inner circle as simply the best-organized, most meticulous planner the party has and the belief is that he is the perfect person to avoid a repeat of Massachusetts, which is rightly blamed not on the candidate, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or the White House, but all three. To lose a race in Massachusetts as a Democrat, it takes a series of blunders at all levels -- and that's what happened. While Plouffe may be the answer to many of the political side's organizational problems, he isn't likely to solve the biggest problem facing Democrats up for re-election in 2010: the flight of independents from their side.

2. With the retirement of Rep. Marion Berry (D) today, Arkansas becomes a major problem for Democrats who must defend two open House seats and Sen. Blanche Lincoln who, aside from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), is the most endangered incumbent in the country this fall. Berry's seat gave Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) 59 percent and he carried retiring Rep. Vic Snyder's (D) Little Rock-area seat by ten points in 2008. Democrats have a deep bench in the state -- thanks, at least in part, to the lingering influence of former president Bill Clinton, but the demographics of the two districts make them instantly competitive. Lincoln's road, already tough, may grow tougher as soon as this week as speculation is running rampant that Rep. John Boozeman (R) is going to get into the Senate race. Boozeman, who won a special election to replace Asa Hutchinson (R) in 2001, spoke with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) late last week about a candidacy and Boozeman has the ability to significantly winnow the large field if he decides to run. Retirement rumors -- and talk of a possible primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter or Rep. Mike Ross -- run rampant around Lincoln who continues to struggle against little-known Republicans in independent polling.

3. Vice President Biden seemed to have made one of his characteristics gaffes over the weekend when a Wilmington News Journal columnist penned an article quoting the former senator as saying that his son -- Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden -- did not want to run for the state's open Senate seat this fall. But, Biden was vindicated when his office provided a transcript of the interview in which it is clear he is referring to interim Sen. Ted Kaufman rather than his own son and the paper issued a correction. "Talk Ted into running, if Beau doesn't," Biden said. "Talk him into running -- he respects you." While that quote is far less agita-inducing for Senate Democratic strategists, it can't be entirely calming either. It's clear that Joe Biden is trying to put a "Plan B" into place in the event his son doesn't run. That effort coupled with Beau Biden's extended delay in announcing his future political plans -- his allies insist the slowdown is due to an ongoing pediatrician pedophilia case -- is sure to stoke talk that Biden the younger is going to take a pass this time. If he does so, Delaware, one of the most Democratic states in the country, will almost certainly be represented by a Republican as Rep. Mike Castle (R), a former governor, is in the race and running strong.

4. It doesn't take a political (rocket) scientist to see that Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's (D) defeat in last Tuesday's special election is very bad news for embattled Gov. Deval Patrick. (In fact, we named him one our "losers" in the wake of the result last week in the Bay State.) A new poll conducted by the Washington Post in Massachusetts reveals just how badly damaged Patrick is in the eyes of the state's voters. (The poll's sample included 880 voters in the special election as well as 242 adults who didn't vote.) Just one in three voters (36 percent) approved of the job Patrick is doing while 60 percent disapproved. Among those who voted for state Sen. Scott Brown (R) in the special election, Patrick's numbers were downright dismal: 15 percent approve/82 percent disapprove. Even among Coakley voters -- the most loyal of the Democratic base, presumably -- Patrick's numbers were not as strong as they should be (60 percent approve/35 percent disapprove). While Patrick and his advisers (among them the aforementioned David Plouffe) continue to put faith in the state's Democratic tendencies and the likelihood of a three-way race -- state Treasurer Tim Cahill has left the Democratic party to run as an independent -- these numbers suggest that voters may well be in an "anyone but Patrick" mood in the fall. And, remember that a strong third party candidate couldn't save former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine (D) last fall.

5. We are already getting ready for President Obama's State of the Union address -- his first -- on Wednesday night. We'll be live twittering the proceedings at "TheHyperFix" -- so you best sign up to follow it immediately! And, while you're at it, sign up for our slightly more leisurely Twitter feed over at "TheFix." (The latter made Twitter's recommended feeds list for politics!)

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 25, 2010; 5:55 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry to retire
Next: Beau Biden will not run for father's former Senate seat


This is what I don't get from the stimulus bill:

787 Billion Dollars - divided by let's just say $30,000 per job


The economy has lost 7 million jobs in the recession - and there are only 15 million people out of work total.

What did Obama and the democrats do with the money ????


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 25, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Well now that the President has formally announced the beginning of his 2012 re-election campaign by bringing Plouffe onboard, I have put a new bumper sticker on my car. "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Hillary!" Now, all I need to worry about is whether or not I will find tires on it in the morning.

Posted by: mpwynn | January 25, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

We'll have to agree to disagree about that.

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse


Im sure they are not listening to me - anyway - they need to be slammed hard all the time -

I'd rather see them govern the country better than get a partisan advantage.

The country is in a crisis now - and the country needs good policies - not policies based on partisanship.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 25, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama may not be, but SOMEONE responsible for the daily White House News Summary is ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse


Point taken - however Obama is not reading this and changing his policies based on the postings here.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 25, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Rep Berry apparently said the Obama has said that he will be the big difference between the elections in '94 and '10

Obama is out of it.

Obama is going to drag the democrats down much more than Clinton did.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 25, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

37thand0street and yesnomaybe213:

Once again, Napoleon's quote leaps to mind: "Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake."

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Many people I speak to are astonished at Obama's and the White House's response to the Massachusetts election.

One commentator on tv said that they are regarding it as a "communications problem."

Well that is simply amazing.

It is a policy problem - the American people do not like Obama's policies.

It may be difficult for Obama to come to the realization that his election was NOT a mandate for a far-left agenda - Obama's commitment to bipartisanship was regarded by the country as a COMMITMENT TO BE CENTRIST.

For some reason, Obama has misread his election, and why he won't see that is a cause for concern.

There appears to be a great deal of democrats who are expressing their belief that the democrats should continue to jam their version of the health care bill down the throats of America -

That would provoke a serious reaction around the country - and it is hard to believe that political people would not instantly realize that a reaction would occur.

Obama appears to have lost his political skills and to have become tone-deaf all of a sudden.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 25, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

hiring plouffe is a very desperate move... and that is putting it mildly. they must be really unhappy with rahm emanuel these days. i imagine they're also feeling pretty unhappy with the ever-disrespectful robert gibbs.

to put plouffe in charge of trying to gin up support in the ever-growing list of less-than-secure 2010 congressional races shows that this white house cares nothing about giving us good government. instead, they're looking for someone who can attempt to sprinkle fairy dust all over the place and make us forget how poorly this administration has served the american people.

this administration is completely clueless. they think they can stay in perpetual campaign mode, fail to give us good government, and talk down to everyone who questions their authority.

i'll tell you one thing david plouffe can't do. he can't make it 2008 again.

even the mainstream media is starting to ask questions.... about 3 years too late.

Posted by: yesnomaybe213 | January 25, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

JoeyJoeyJoe ---

I respectfully disagree with you on your comment about northwest Arkansas -- let's not forget that the Hutchinson clan -- Tim and Asa Hutchinson, who served in Congress, the Senate and Bush cabinet were from Northwest Arkansas ... Asa Hutchinson used to have John Boozeman's seat. Mark Pryor, the current junior Senator, is from Fayetteville and Bill Clinton made his home in Northwest Arkansas in the 1970s prior to becoming the state's attorney general and eventually governor.

So, I don't think NW Arkansas is as electorally -challenging as your post would initially lead one to believe.

Posted by: Jay20 | January 25, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"rolling Blunt's way"

Heh - I'm sure that your choice of words is not a coincidence.

As for Arkansas, Boozman running and clearing the GOP field would be great news for Lambert Lincoln. One of the reasons Democrats do so well in Arkanas is because Republicans nominate candidates from the NW in every election. Dems nominate someone from elsewhere in the state, and the elections turn into NW Arkanasas versus everything else, and everything else almost always wins. If Boozman runs and wins the primary, it'll most likely be the same thing. Gilbert Baker, from the Little Rock area, is the real threat to the Senator.

Posted by: joeyjoejoe | January 25, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

In this case a "shake up" and/or a "body out" move would be not only appropriate but essential.

Fire Rahm Emanuel!

Make amends with Howard Dean!

Posted by: SoCali | January 25, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

omaarsblade...tell that to the 10% un-employed who wont get any tax refund because democrats lied......

Posted by: JWx2 | January 25, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Andy. Gives me 100% more than I knew, previously, even if not in terms of hard facts.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 25, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I bet he coaches them democrats how to jump out of the way of a incoming TRUCK. Liberals need their daddy obama to make decisions for them...hand them cheese and koolaid.

Posted by: JWx2 | January 25, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Just Think: The Republicans Voted [No] To these Tax Incentives, last Year. Once Americans Receive their Income Tax Checks, They'll Say "Hey,The Republicans Voted Against These Tax Incentives ?"

Tax Breaks for Almost Everyone

by Mary Beth Franklin

Monday, January 25, 2010provided

Source: Kiplinger's PersonalFinance

You'll find lots of new deductions, credits and expanded eligibility rules when you prepare your 2009 tax return.

There's no denying that 2009 was a challenging year for millions of Americans. But filling out your 2009 tax return could bring some welcome relief in the form of a big refund. There are a slew of new and expanded tax breaks for home buyers and car buyers, college students and their parents, homeowners who installed energy-efficient improvements, and the unemployed. Together, these tax savings are expected to boost average tax refunds above last year's level of about $2,800, says IRS spokeswoman Nancy Mathis. The sooner you file, the sooner you'll get your money back.

Here are highlights of what's new for 2009 tax returns.

Education Credit

More parents and students can use a federal education credit to offset part of the cost of college under the new American Opportunity Credit. The maximum $2,500 credit is available to eligible taxpayers who paid at least $4,000 in qualified college tuition, fees and required course materials, including books, in 2009. The full credit is available to individuals with incomes up to $80,000, phasing out above that level and disappearing completely at $90,000. (For married couples filing jointly, the full credit is available to those with incomes up to $160,000 and disappears above $180,000.) Those income limits are higher than under the existing Hope and Lifetime Learning credits.

If you claim the credit and owe no tax, you may receive a refund of 40% of the credit, up to a maximum of $1,000 for each eligible student. Other education credits are not refundable. The American Opportunity Credit can be applied only to expenses paid during the first four years of college. Graduate students are not eligible for this new credit, but they still qualify for the Lifetime Learning credit, of up to $2,000 per household, or a tuition-and-fees deduction of up to $4,000. (A credit, which reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar, is more valuable than a deduction, which merely reduces the amount of income that is taxed.)

Parents of some college freshmen and sophomores should bypass the new American Opportunity Credit and opt instead for the supercharged Hope Credit available to students in Midwestern seven states affected by 2008's flooding disaster (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin).

The top credit on 2009 returns for qualified students is $3,600.

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 25, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mark, this is more some things I have heard from friends who are either staffers on Capitol Hill for R and D or folks who work at Policy and/or lobbying firms. Basically, there is a feeling among some of these people that Rahm was a too public of a pick and Obama needs someone who is more of a behind the scenes, deal maker kind of person (ie Andy Card for Bush). I don't know how wipespread this sentament is, but I am predisposed to support it since I thin Rahm Emmanuel is a jacka%# because of the way he treated Dean's 50 state strategy.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 25, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"Instead, President Obama brings a campaigner. The country is entering a dangerous "Desperation Mode".

You might want to direct your concerns to the minority party, whose agenda is now being driven by the frothing anger of a mob of rabid teabaggers.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 25, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Right now, it really looks like Republicans will recapture the US House this year. They also seem poised to make big gains in the US Senate. Democrats only seem to have a shot to actually pick up a seat in Missouri at this point, as they got their best pick up of 2010 with Sec. of State Robin Carnahan vs. US Rep. Roy Blunt. That even is a pure toss up, with a slight edge on political environment rolling Blunt's way. Republicans seem to have sure wins in Nevada, Colorodo, North Dakota, Delaware (with Biden out) & Arkansas. Things look really good for the GOP in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, California & Connecticut. I know that things are looking better for the D's since Dodd retired, but Blumenthal has never faced a real race. I think Linda McMahon will win the R primary, and spend millions to tarnish Blumenthal and we will see how he responds when the heat is on. Also, Republicans have a good shot to win in Wisconsin & Washington if they get their prized candidates there. In the House, Republicans are likely going to take it back with a majority. In the senate, they will likely not win all of those 12 races, but will they win enough to take back the majority? They need 10 of 12, so I'm thinking not. I think they come away with about 8 or so, and that's good enough to even the odds in the senate & bring Obama back to the center.

Beau Biden seems like a smart guy. He who runs away lives to fight again another day. Run Beau, run!

Posted by: reason5 | January 25, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Addendum to earlier "Memo to David:"



See "comments" section, at:
OR (see "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 25, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I was astonished when Obama decided not to campaign in Arkansas in 2008. Arkansas has been a pretty competitive state even before the Clintons landed on the ballot in the early 90s. They have consistently sent Democrats to the governor's chair and the Senate. In fact, the only consistently Republican seat has been John Boozeman's in the Fayetteville/Bentonville northwestern corner.

With all that having been said, Lincoln is going to have reestablish herself as the moderate she was when she entered the Senate. This means talking about ways to trim the deficit and how her cultural beliefs differ from the predominant bent of the Democratic party.

As far as Bill Halter is concerned, he has backed out of a lot of big races in the past -- including a gubernatorial bid a few years ago. He would be better served if he ran for Congress out of Little Rock or bided his time as Lt. Governor.

If former physician Boozeman gets in, he will be tough to beat. When the US Supreme Court voided McCain-Feingold for the purposes of message ads, it potentially gave Boozeman a huge assist. Northwest Arkansas has a two major Fortune 500 retailers, a Fortune 500 meat-producing company and a Fortune 1000 trucking company that are concerned about taxes levied against business. I would bet all would spend a considerable amount to get him elected.

Posted by: Jay20 | January 25, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"that is a fight I'm willing to have!"
barack obama, referring to copenhagen
olympic committee... global warming...
healthcare...bailouts for wall street..
what cereal he wants for breakfast.

Posted by: simonsays1 | January 25, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Plouffe's New Role" Interpreted:

It is "Desperation Mode", and Plouffe will manage it, as if it were a campaign.
the electoral reversals have produced, not a thoughtful and honest reappraisal of the economy, but a "Desperation" facet that portends more danger, not less, to the country; we are entering the "desperation mode" of President Obama.

The President is now switching to Hugo Chavez’s ‘populists methods to stay in power; demonize and punish the most unpopular sectors of the economy, regardless of the damage it may cause the country, its economy, and the American people, who at the end of the sorry tale will pay for it.

This correct and brave analysis is being explained at

The Blogger that published the popular list of "10 Actions President Obama Must Take to Save His Presidency".

Instead, President Obama brings a campaigner. The country is entering a dangerous "Desperation Mode".

Posted by: JohnGalt9 | January 25, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

if the people do not believe your lies
'healthcare reform will lower the deficit
and create jobs!'
you don't admit you are wrong,
you tell your lies Louder and More Often!
obama is a fundraiser for the
democratic machine,
he is NOT a leader.

Posted by: simonsays1 | January 25, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

jakeD said: "I won't be watching the State of the Union, but do let us know if there are any more "You lie!" moments. "

It's Obamarx, so the entire speech will qualify as a "You lie" moment.

Posted by: TruData | January 25, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

If Democrats want to salvage their party, they better hope that people like Ploufe are able to talk people like Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank, etc., into resigning.

Posted by: TruData | January 25, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see if panicky Dems are so floored by the "stay the course" messaging machine from the White House that they essentially force changes to the Obama agenda.

For instance, where the WH sees health care as very much salvageable, the rank and file don't want to touch that subject for years. Where will the compromise fall? Who asserts themselves?

Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 25, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Why do you think boosting Ploufe's role will put Obama "above" party politics? Did you feel the same about Rove? The first (and only) President to ever do that was George Washington. I think my scenario is much more likely.

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

We'll see. I'm anxiously awaiting the ceremonial closing of GTMO today. Although, it may sadly pre-empt all of the C-SPAN coverage of said health care debate ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Fareed Zakaria's column today resonates with an Indie like me. I suggest that Ds, especially, give it a look to understand the perception issue about the health care
debate, without blaming FOX news, or TEA people, or Clear Channel Radio.

If Plouffe has Zakaria's eyes and ears he can help BHO a lot, IMO.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 25, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

If he's lost scrivener50, he's lost America. Seriously, though, Biden Jr. won't run for his dad's Senate seat because (as SuzyCcup pointed out over the weekend) Joe's going to need a job in three years.

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

David Plouffe can't get Obama re-elected,
anymore than Hamilton Jordon could get Carter re-elected in 1980. Mark my words.

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Morning Memo to David Plouffe/Team Obama:


• When Will Team Obama Take Down the Secretive Homeland-led Nationwide Extrajudicial Gestapo Run by Bush-Cheney "Leave-Behinds" -- Committing Atrocities Against U.S. Citizens?

• Now It's Obama's "Gestapo USA." AND IT IS BEING COVERED UP.

• "Program" community watch vigilantes infiltrate health care facilities, compromise care of "targeted" Americans.

• A seditious, covert multi-agency genocidal purge conducted by a federal, local police-protected cult -- extrajudicial targeting of thousands of Americans and entire families.

Does Homeland Secretary Napolitano realize that her agency, in conjunction with military, intel and law enforcement agencies and commands, is using cell tower- based microwaves to torture, impair and subjugate those deemed to be "dissidents" or undesirables...

...and that DHS-administered "fusion centers" appear to be directing community-based citizen vigilante harassment campaigns -- and censorship and tampering of telecommunications, including the internet and email?

See: (Journalism Groups -- Reporting):

• "U.S. Silently Tortures Americans with Cell Tower Microwaves"
• "Gestapo USA: Fed-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America"
• "U.S. Uses CBS News to Cover Up Microwave Cell Tower Torture?" OR: (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 25, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Say, I thought Marion Barry was running for DC mayor! :-)

In any event, a small word mis-use... I think you meant district not seat in this sentence: "Berry's seat gave Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) 59 percent and he carried retiring Rep. Vic Snyder's (D) Little Rock-area seat by ten points in 2008."

Posted by: Astrogal | January 25, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I won't be watching the State of the Union, but do let us know if there are any more "You lie!" moments.

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Andy, does anyone in particular among D insiders want his hide, or is there rumored discontent, or are there events of his poor judgment or faulty recommendations that come to mind? You are near DC, I am in Tx, and I never hear stuff like this about DC other than in the WaPo. And I have not read about anyone [but Rs] complaining of Emanuel, in the WaPo. So I am asking for more info.

#1 is a straightforward point, CC. The electorate is properly fickle. No campaign manager can assume otherwise. Assumptions about permanent majorities or lasting sea changes are not to be relied upon.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 25, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

If Arkansas wants we have our own Marion Barry here in DC we can send to replace theirs.

On the replacement front I frankly would like to see the President replace Rahm Emmanuel in the next few months. He is viewed by most people as a divisive person and that is exactly what the administration doesnt' want right now. I don't know who would be good at taking his place, but Plouffe's hiring may be a signal that he (or one of his confidants) may be getting set up to take over for Rahm.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 25, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

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