Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

National Democrats scramble to save Coakley in Mass. special election

1. President Obama sought to cast tomorrow's special election in Massachusetts as a referendum on the past versus the future in a speech at a campaign rally for state Attorney General Martha Coakley on Sunday. "Understand what is at stake here Massachusetts," said Obama. "Are we going backward or forward?" That remark -- and Obama's very presence in the state just 48 hours before the vote -- is evidence that Democrats believe their only strategy is to nationalize the race around Obama, who remains popular in the strongly Democratic Bay State. Strategists on both sides said data from over the weekend suggested Brown holds a narrow lead but Democrats insisted that the excitement in their base had begun to tick upwards -- likely the result of the last minute visits from Obama and former president Bill Clinton. (A senior level Democrat said that Organizing for America, the grassroots campaign arm of the Democratic National Committee had seen a "15 percent uptick in likely Democratic participation" over the last few days.) Republicans, however, remain confident -- insisting that the race's structure has largely cemented despite the efforts of national Democrats to change it. That sentiment was echoed in an analysis released Sunday afternoon by political handicapper Charlie Cook: "Given the vagaries of voter turnout, particularly in lower participation level special elections, this race could still go either way, but we put a finger on the scale for Brown," wrote Cook.

2. It's hard to overestimate the political impact of tomorrow's race in Massachusetts on this November's midterm election. Democratic strategists have already begun to fret privately that a loss by Coakley could set off a chain reaction that could significantly worsen the party's outlook this fall. Democratic members of the House and, to a lesser extent, the Senate, who are already fretting about the possibility of losing their seats in 2010, would almost certainly take Coakley's defeat as an indication of the toxicity of the national environment and head for the hills. Recruitment efforts would also grow far more complicated as convincing ambitious pols to take the risk of running in such an atmosphere would be tricky at best, impossible at worst. To date, Democrats have done an admirable job of keeping retirements in their ranks from spinning out of control. But a loss in a deep-blue state like Massachusetts -- in a race for the late Ted Kennedy's seat no less -- would set off a panic the likes of which hasn't been seen in Democratic electoral politics in a decade or more.

3. A new Washington Post/ABC News survey suggests that the American people are growing increasingly pessimistic about the direction of the country after experiencing a brief uptick in the early days of Obama's presidency. Just more than one in three (37 percent) said the country was headed in the right direction while 62 percent said it was off on the wrong track. Those numbers represent slippage from a November Post/ABC poll (44 percent right direction/55 percent wrong track) and major erosion from an April 2009 survey (50 percent right direction/48 percent wrong track). Among independents, the numbers are even more grim with just 33 percent saying the country is headed in the right direction and 66 percent saying it is off on the wrong track. The president's health care bill, which has been a major point of contention in the Massachusetts race, is looked at unfavorably by a majority (52 percent) of the sample and, more importantly, there is a major intensity gap between those who strongly disapprove of the legislation (43 percent) and those who strongly approve (24 percent). There are some bright spots for Obama in the data; 53 percent approve of the job he is doing while 44 percent disapprove -- a slight improvement from his 50/46 numbers in mid-December -- and far more voters trust him to handle the issues of the day (47 percent) than trust Republicans in Congress (24 percent). ALSO READ: The Post's Dan Balz analysis of Obama's first year in office -- and what to expect in the next year.

4. Republicans hoping to reverse Democratic gains in the Southwest over the past few elections got a boost over the weekend when Pete Domenici Jr., the son of the longtime New Mexico senator, announced his gubernatorial candidacy in the Land of Enchantment. Domenici's well-known last name -- his father served in the Senate for nearly four decades before retiring in 2008 -- gives Republicans a potentially serious candidate to oppose Lt. Gov. Diane Denish (D) this fall although he must survive a primary fight. Republicans had previously tried to convince former representatives Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce to run for governor; Wilson demurred and Pearce decided to seek the 2nd district seat he held prior to an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2008. Domenici Jr., an attorney, has never sought elected office before and, in Denish, will face a well-funded and popular politician. Denish ended 2009 with $2.5 million in the bank and independent polling showed her as a strong frontrunner against any of the previously announced Republicans.

5. Vincent A. Buddy Cianci Jr., the famous (and infamous) former mayor of Providence, R.I., is weighing a political comeback -- to the joy of political junkies everywhere. Cianci, who is a two-time convicted felon, has acknowledged to the Providence Journal that he is weighing a run against Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D) among other races. "There is plenty of interest in that," said Cianci of a run for Congress. "People have asked me, and I've said I'd have to take a good look at it." Wow. WOW. Kennedy, for what it's worth, has held his 1st district seat since 1994 and has never won with less than 60 percent.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 18, 2010; 5:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Democrats scramble to save Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Senate race
Next: Coleman won't run for governor


It doesn't matter what happens tomorrow - the AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN - THEY DO NOT WANT OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE PLAN.

Even if Coakley won, I seriously doubt that Pelosi could keep her 218 votes together given the scare from the electorate this week.

Every democrat in Congress has to be worried about their political standing - if they are in a district which is less BLUE than Massachusetts, they could be in a worse position than Coakley if they vote for the health care bill.

Obama's health care bill is now RADIOACTIVE !!!!

Who wants the Obama health care bill ??? It will lead to certain defeat in November.



Posted by: 37thand0street | January 18, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

We'll see tomorrow.

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Having "a finger on the scale" traditionally means you are cheating and distorting the results. I have thought many pundits, pollsters, and prognosticators were doing this this week, but I am frankly surprised to see Charlie Cook being so upfront about it.

Posted by: flounder2 | January 18, 2010 2:38 PM

Cosign. This Brown-in-front narrative is totally media/pundit driven, and totally bogus.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 18, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats have caught the disease the Republicans had during the Bush Administration: a reflexive belief that any person of their party is better than any person of the other party.

They could have done a better job picking a meaningful candidate than Coakley.

But if they had any focus other than partisanship and supporting their special interest lobbies, the ascendant Democrats would be doing a better job of doing a meaningful job in Congress and at the Fed.

Posted by: ephemerella | January 18, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse


How about Palin-Brown, instead?

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Scott Brown for President and Palin for vice president. OOPS did I say that too soon. What a great Idea.Two great Americans you cannot counter.

Posted by: annieandpauldonovan | January 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Massachusetts has Barney,Kerry,Coakley,Lets see here Barney is sum what odd to say the least. Kerry filed Bankrupty,Coakley let a child molester go out into the streets. Scott Brown has a great reputation for being lets see OH a Great American willing to support the rights of the people,He beleives in a Free people and Capitalism. He does not belive in Socialism.So you might say he is just the opposite of Obama. HUH GO FIGURE.Know who to vote for yet?

Posted by: annieandpauldonovan | January 18, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Coakley is really a deadpan joke. is that true?

Posted by: annieandpauldonovan | January 18, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Having "a finger on the scale" traditionally means you are cheating and distorting the results. I have thought many pundits, pollsters, and prognosticators were doing this this week, but I am frankly surprised to see Charlie Cook being so upfront about it.

Posted by: flounder2 | January 18, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The one quote I like the best from Thomas Jefferson is this one. I,however, place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.This is wHy Obama is on his way out and NO chance of being reelected. He lied to us all and needs to go ASAP.As far as Coakley goes she is laughable at best.

Posted by: annieandpauldonovan | January 18, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

All I have to say is GSB GSB GSB GSB or GO Scott Brown Go Scott Brown. Vote for Freedom,Liberty,And the American way .Vote Scott Brown

Posted by: annieandpauldonovan | January 18, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are a social cancer that are dead set on destroying this nation. To hell with every single last one of them!

Posted by: DCer1 | January 18, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Being a democrat right now is like having the plague. Obama campaigned as different from the "politics as usual" kind of politician. He was right, except in this case, different is much worse than usual. He managed to fool the independents, but has been exposed as a fraud. The corruption under Obama is open to see with the bribes to Nelson, Landrieu and the unions. Everything is not transparent, and anything bad is George Bush's fault.

Posted by: theillinoisguy | January 18, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Inasmuch as George Bush wrecked the GOP, Obama and his Chicago gangsters are wrecking (thank God) the far-left wing of the Dummycrats. God is good. Now, let MA get rid of Kerry and Ms. Barney and life will be even better. Go Massachusetts!

Posted by: marine2211 | January 18, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

REAL "reform" is when EVERY individual cares for his OWN health, and, that of his kids. WE've never fed OUR kids garbage, they were inculcated with great health habits. Obama, the smoker, the liar, the briber, the race baiter, is not OUR savior. The Mass election is NOT about an nonentity like Coakley, it is about "CHANGE": did voters intend to vote a dictator into the White House? Better T-bag than D-bag.

Posted by: craigslsst | January 18, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse


I doubt that the dems are ready for that yet. If the GOP can take back the House (probably not the Senate this time around), then they will introduce healthcare reform (on portability / recissions / pre-existing conditions) which also includes limits on malpractice suits and applies equally to UNIONS as well. Then, Obama will have to decide if he wants to go up against HIS special interest groups.

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

There has been a little too much straight line thinking on if a Brown victory means the end to health care reform. Clealy the shape of it would change, but it is likely it will still happen, Democrats willing.

Too many GOPs have pronounced a need for such a reform and if they value their seats, they will address the issue even if it means BHO "signing any bill" and getting some credit. The American people can sort out who gets how much credit.

The resulting reform would be more incremental, but still can have an important effect on the problem.

Posted by: mzarowitz | January 18, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"...regarding #4: isn't Pete Domenici Jr the son of the Republican who "retired" when it was discovered he had pressured US Attorneys to prosecute his Dem opponent, and then had the Attorney fired while Gonzales was AG?..."

You got it wrong.

Domenici wanted the U.S. Attorney fired because he wasn't prosecuting the Acorn fraudsters.

Now we know he was right.

Posted by: TrueObserver | January 18, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me?!

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse


American journalism must shed its compliant naivete and once again start asking hard questions. Here is a suggestion for mainstream media editors and correspondents:

Initiate an inquiry to determine if any scientific, military, corporate or intelligence entities capable of generating scalar electromagnetic extreme low frequency pulsed ground waves (such as the HAARP facility in Alaska or similar facilities abroad) were operational in the days and hours leading up to the earthquake -- and whether any experiments or operations could have been capable of triggering this event.

Seismologists have taken note that this earthquake occurred close to the surface.

Here is a link to a point-of-view blog site that contains verifiable information about HAAP, as well as EISCAT and SURA, the European and Russian equivalents, as well as links to patents for related technologies:

For those who insist such things "can't happen here," please see this:

"U.S. Silently Tortures Americans with Cell Tower Microwaves" and "Gestapo USA; Fed-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes Americans" at: (Journalism groups -- Reporting)

OR (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 18, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse


Nothing about the latest COMPLIANT polls showing Brown in the lead? See latest thread ...

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The American people DO NOT want the agenda being advanced by Obama.

It is pretty simple.

This has been clear all year long - Obama and the democrats have ignored the people - they are obsessed with pushing through a far-left wing agenda against the wishes of the American people.

Does any reasonable person see the idea that "they have to push through health care early in the year so that everyone forgets about it by November." as problematic? If a new government program is good, they should be willing to vote for it right before the election - so that the voters will agree and reward them at the election, right?

That is the not the democratic attitude - they want to push through bills way before the election - it is nothing but a red flag.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 18, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The POLITICAL IMPACT of the race in Massachusetts is far-reaching - not matter what the result is on Tuesday.

Democrats in the House are looking at their districts, which may be less blue than Massachusetts, and wonder if a vote for Obama's health care bill will lead to a defeat in November.


Perhaps some of the democrats are in DENIAL - but as we all know DENIAL IS A RIVER IN EQYPT.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 18, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse


The American people are speaking in Massachusetts - we are sorry but people like you and people with your attitude have to go.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 18, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Obama has effectively hammered the last nail in the coffin of liberalism. they were somnewhat tolerable when they were in the minority and all we had to do was listen to their carping and complaining.

but to lead and govern is an entirely different matter, soemthing for which the present class of liberals is utterly incapable of accomplishing. we had forgotten what a bumbling nincompoop Carter was and the damage he had wrought.

Now we have a fresh reminder what unbridled liberalism can do to a great country. I hope we can remember this lesson for the next 40 years at least with Repub executives as far as the horizon.

Posted by: drivl | January 18, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

First of all, Chris (to borrow a phrase from Chuck Shumer), point 1 proves point 2. To say that a Republican is winning a US Senate race in Mass. proves the country really think the nation is heading into a wrong direction. Also, Martha Coakley is stumpling and bumbling her way to give Brown a real chance. I heard the radio interview in which she called Shilling a Red Sock's fan. She wasn't joking. She had no idea who he is. It began with the radio host saying "Rudy Guiliani has been campaigning strong with Scott Brown, how do you respond to that?" Coakley said "Well, Guiliani is a Yankey's fan. I just want everybody to know." The host then said "Well Brown also has Curt Shilling supporting his bid." Coakley said "Well, he's a Yankey fan too?" Coakley stated "yes!" The host said "Curt Shilling, the great Red Socks World Series winning pitcher Curt Shilling is a Yankeys fan?" Then Coakley responded "I apologize, I'm wrong. I'm sorry." It wasn't a joke, Coakley is really that out of touch with the average person of Mass. Scott Brown is going to win tommorrow i believe, and then Obama will have to construct a reasonable healthcare bill if he really wants positive change for the nation.

On point 4, Pete Domenici Jr. is the dream candidate in New Mexico. His dad will campaign for him strong, and in this political environment & the strong positives with the Domenici name, he will likely start the race as the favorite, even against Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. Another strong victory for Haley Barbour.

Posted by: reason5 | January 18, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Disregard for Primary Concerns of Voters – A President has to strike a balance between leading the country and listening to his constituents. It is always difficult, but rarely has a President been so out of touch with the people of this nation. While Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about high unemployment numbers and enormous government deficits, Obama has ignored the basic economic issues, instead choosing to focus upon his own political agenda.

Transparency – The President promised that his Administration would be the most transparent in history. This promise appears to be just as accurate as the Clinton Administration’s commitment to be the most ethical in history. Obama repeatedly stated during the campaign that bills would be posted on the Internet for all of us to review. Well, neither the Americans citizens nor their elected representatives and senators got the opportunity to review the bills – at least before the votes were taken. Congressional meetings were supposed to be held with C-SPAN cameras turned on, but that never occurred. The Health Care Bill was originally discussed in committees, but then completely rewritten in back rooms and now will be finalized in secret conferences between Obama and senior Democrats. On this point, Mr. Obama has seriously misled the American people.

what voter in their right mind would conclude "Yeah, I'll take more of that."

Posted by: drivl | January 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

so that's the liberal strategy - rambling like some crazy cat lady in the corner.

Seems like they have run out of excuses and apologies.

Posted by: drivl | January 18, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Turns out Brown doesn't just oppose health care reform for America, but also health insurance FOR HIS OWN WORKERS. A wee more important than knowing who Curt Schilling is? Sad.

Excerpt from the Boston Globe:

"Democratic US Senate candidate Martha Coakley today highlighted her differences with her opponent, Republican Scott Brown, on health insurance reform by saying that Brown does not pay for health insurance for his campaign workers, while she does.

“We already knew that Scott Brown didn’t want to make health insurance more affordable for Massachusetts families and businesses. Now we learn that he won’t even make health insurance available for his own staff. If he won’t stand up for the people he employs, how could we ever trust him to stand up for us?" Coakley said in a statement."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 18, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"It's hard to overestimate the political impact of tomorrow's race in Massachusetts on this November's midterm election."

Or if Coakley, wins the press will dismiss it as having nothing to do with the midterms. Either way, with the MSM, it's always a win/win for republicans.

Posted by: drindl | January 18, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

If MLK came back today, and you told him that the Washington Post--in the vanguard of the 1960s civil rights movement--would sponsor a blog relentlessly hostile to the Administration of the first black president, and supportive of opponents of the causes MLK believed in (see, e.g., Pawlenty, Palin, Chip Salsman), he'd probably respond "Say what?"

Sorry we couldn't have given you a better birthday, MLK.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 18, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"The KKK burned a cross on our lawn when I was just two years old in 1960. Fifty years later, SO MUCH of what my dad and MLK dreamed about has come true. God has been very good to this country."

Happy King Day to you, my friend. Don't be disheartened by the few who hate, no matter how loudly. The great majority of us are extremely proud of our president and wish him great success in leading us out of the wilderness.

Posted by: drindl | January 18, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"It's hard to overestimate the political impact of tomorrow's race in Massachusetts on this November's midterm election."

That says it all.

Posted by: smithcalvin1 | January 18, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Mrs. Coakley, we apologize that fake media controversies (Curt Schilling), non-compliant, pro-Brown polls (see, e.g., Rasmussen), the involvement of outside fringe racial proxy movements (see Tea Bag Party), and days of free publicity from your opponents' embeds in the MSM have unfairly tilted the political landscape against you. Your country has let you down. We are profoundly sorry.

The American People

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 18, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

As of this morning, Rothenberg is now saying that Brown is not only likely to win, but that he could be headed for a 'comfortable' win.

Posted by: mbcnewspaper | January 18, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

regarding #4: isn't Pete Domenici Jr the son of the Republican who "retired" when it was discovered he had pressured US Attorneys to prosecute his Dem opponent, and then had the Attorney fired while Gonzales was AG? So Chris thinks no one will remember this scandal, and vote for the son? This isn't like Joe Biden being "gaffe" prone, and his son running, this is the son of a man who used political influence to have a US attorney fired for his own personnal gain. Of course Chris doesn't mention this in his cheerleading for the GOP.

Posted by: katem1 | January 18, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

As a Massachusetts political junkie I'm salivating at the thought of a Buddy Cianci-Patrick Kennedy race. Even though Cianci is a convicted felon he is still wildly popular in Rhode Island where he has his own talk radio show. Cianci is also a regular commentator on politics on Rhode Island TV stations.

Posted by: pjsilva | January 18, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Did The kooks get their Talking Points email from nanny peloony yet today. What lame excuses will they throw against the wall today?

Another huge failure chalked up to barrys leadership.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 18, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, I hope the NEW Pete Domenici isn't as nasty as the OLD Pete Domenici. Of course it takes years and years to get that repugnant.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | January 18, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if even a stunning defeat in the heart of communism will open up the eyes and ears if the arrogant libs.

I don't think many people hold personal animosity toward Obama. I do think there is serious dissappointment in the breaking of promises and the extreme leftward veer.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 18, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if even a stunning defeat in the heart of communism will open up the eyes and ears if the arrogant libs.

I don't think many people hold personal animosity toward Obama. I do think there is serious dissappointment in the breaking of promises and the extreme leftward veer.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 18, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Generational issues have always intrigued me. SWSomerville, in 1960 I participated as a [white] college freshman in a lunch counter sit-in in Houston. I was an enthusiastic supporter of civil rights. When I entered law school in Austin in 1964, many of us traded stories of our civil rights activism as undergrads and we worried if there would remain any bridges left to cross when we were finally sworn in as young lawyers. Ha!

Still, I was surprised in 2007 when all four of my adult children favored BHO - although one said, somewhat deflated, that BHO could never win because of his NAME. They actually did not even see the color of his skin. They had grown up in a world that for them was actually integrated, successfully. All four counted black and chicano friends among those they brought home, and in the case of one daughter, a senior prom date.

I am aware that Austin from 1967 to 2007 was not typical of everyone's experience. There has been plenty of police/minority friction here, too. Still, I recall
the day in 1999 when daughter #2, then a high school senior, showed her film/video project to us at home. My cousin, raised in Maryland, but who had lived overseas since 1970, was visiting us. He was astonished by a scene in which a black gay hairdresser gushed over his white blonde customer and gave her enthusiastic kisses. The cousin said "You can do THAT now?" My daughter said, completely misunderstanding,
"Now I can - my videocam corrects for movement. I could circle my subjects without worrying about not having a tripod. It's really cool."
a scene in the video

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 18, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

has polling really gotten that much better since new hampshire 2008? while I don't doubt that brown can win (I mean, ma did give us mitt romney), I'm just wondering what the story will be if it ends up in the d column.

Posted by: plathman | January 18, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

The KKK burned a cross on our lawn when I was just two years old in 1960. Fifty years later, SO MUCH of what my dad and MLK dreamed about has come true. God has been very good to this country.

One thing to note in all the "right track/wrong track" polls. The political dissatisfaction isn't translating into a personal dislike of Barack Obama. There's a great deal of good will for him which shows up in the polls. That's one more huge measure of MLK's legacy--the average American WANTS Obama to do well, even if they don't like all of his agenda.

Posted by: SWSomerville | January 18, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Happy Martin Luther King day, everyone. In two days, we will have had our first year with a black President. For all our problems, it's amazing how far we've come as a nation in the area of civil rights. Yes, we've got a long way to go, but looking back at the road completed makes the road ahead seem a lot less daunting.

And while the day is named for King, it is really a day of recognition for all those who were involved back then and are involved today. We're all better as a nation for these efforts.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 18, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company