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The unknown Elena Kagan

1. When Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her her confirmation hearings Monday, she will be a tabula rasa for large swaths of the American public.

While Kagan has spent the six weeks since she was nominated by President Obama to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the high court meeting with senators and preparing for this week's hearings, the American public's gaze has been elsewhere.

The ongoing oil spill on the Gulf Coast has been the story of the past month and, even last week when the Kagan hearings were rapidly approaching, the resignation/firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal by Obama turned the Supreme Court nominee into a secondary story -- at best.

National polling bears out the fact that Kagan is barely known. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week, nearly six in ten (57 percent) didn't know enough about Kagan to offer an opinion. (Among those who did know enough about her to form an opinion, 11 percent felt positively toward Kagan, 13 percent negatively and 19 percent were neutral.)

Asked what they thought of Kagan joining the court, 47 percent said they didn't know enough to venture an opinion. That's nearly double the percentage of people who said the same of now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor in July 2009 in NBC/WSJ polling.

Under different circumstances, Kagan's relative anonymity would set up the hearings as a genuine jump ball, with both parties trying to win the perception battle over the coming week.

But, with the 2010 midterm election only 127 days off, a fight over Kagan isn't one that Republicans are likely to pick--barring some sort of major revelation about her. (They will, of course, make some show of a fight in order to please their base, which cares deeply about judicial nominations.)

Polling, too, affirms that most Americans believe Kagan should be confirmed -- even though they don't know much about her. Fifty-eight percent of those tested in a June Washington Post/ABC poll said she should be confirmed, including 52 percent of independents.

Republicans know that in an election you have to pick your fights. And, it's hard to imagine they want to fight over Kagan.

2. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is making a round of endorsements in Maine today, upping to 24 the number of states in which the former Massachusetts governor -- and potential 2012 presidential candidate -- has backed candidates in the 2010 cycle.

Romney, through his Free and Strong America PAC, is endorsing Paul LePage in the open-seat Maine gubernatorial race, businessman Jason Levesque in the 2nd district race against Rep. Mike Michaud (D) and businessman Dean Scontras in the 1st district race against freshman Rep. Chellie Pingree (D).

The governor's race -- in which LePage will face off against state Senate Majority President Libby Mitchell (D) -- is the marquee contest in the state this year, with Republicans insisting they can win it after eight years of Gov. John Baldacci (D). The Cook Political Report, however, ranks the race "lean Democratic."

At the House level, Michaud breezed to re-election with 67 percent in 2008, while Pingree won her first term with 55 percent. Romney's PAC is donating the maximum $750 to LePage, and is backing Scontras and Levesque with $2,500 each.

The endorsements are the latest indication that Romney is working to align himself with Republican candidates across the country -- even in states where they may be potential long shots.

Romney has endorsed 100 candidates this cycle, and his PAC has contributed more than $300,000 to those candidates' campaigns. The list of states in which he's endorsed includes California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Connecticut, New York, Arizona and Virginia.

In some of those states, Romney has taken risks in backing candidates whose wins were far from certain. Last week Romney saw one such gamble pay off when his endorsed candidate, state Rep. Nikki Haley, won the gubernatorial nomination in South Carolina -- a state that will be critical to Romney's 2012 hopes. (Since the Palmetto State moved its primary up in the nominating calendar, no candidate has won the nomination without carrying the state first.)

In other cases, Romney has cast his lot with candidates who fell short. In Utah, for example, Romney backed Sen. Bob Bennett (R), who lost his re-election bid at the state convention. Romney waited until the day after last week's primary to endorse the eventual winner in the race to succeed Bennett: businessman Mike Lee.

Win or lose, no potential 2012 candidate has the political operation -- led by Matt Rhoades -- that Romney enjoys. He is methodically building up chits to cash in if (when) he runs for national office again.

3. Illinois Democratic Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias says he has been subpoenaed to testify at the trial of Rod Blagojevich (D) at the request of the disgraced former governor's lawyers.

Blagojevich has been accused of trying to sell an appointment to fill the Senate seat vacated when Obama was elected president, in exchange for personal favors. Giannoulias, the state's treasurer, said he introduced the person who has been identified as Obama's choice for the seat, Valerie Jarrett, to a union official. Blagojevich allegedly sought favors from the White House through that union official.

Giannoulias has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and none of his actions have raised any suggestions of impropriety. At the same time, testifying at a high-profile corruption trial is something a candidate for Senate would rather avoid.

(Democrats recently got some mileage out of New Hampshire GOP Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte's testimony before a panel looking into a Ponzi scheme that occurred during her time as state attorney general.)

Giannoulias's name came up at the Blagojevich trial last week, when in a recording, former Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris mentioned that Giannoulias had called about the Senate nomination -- presumably to pitch Jarrett as a candidate. Giannoulias' campaign said he believed in Jarrett as a candidate and was not acting at the president's behest.

"Despite what the Republicans are trying to say," Giannoulias told the Chicago Sun-Times's Lynn Sweet. "I am really not a part of this circus."

4. Unsuccessful Iowa governor candidate Bob Vander Plaats made a failed attempt at hijacking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor this weekend. But, judging by the result, he could be emboldened to run for governor as an independent.

Vander Plaats, an avowed conservative who placed second behind former Gov. Terry Branstad in the Republican primary earlier this month, challenged Branstad's chosen lieutenant governor candidate -- state Sen. Kim Reynolds -- at the state party convention on Saturday.

Reynolds won -- 56 percent to 44 percent -- but Vander Plaats' strategy created some nervousness within the Branstad ranks before it was all said and done.

Vander Plaats said Friday that he was considering an independent run for governor, confirming a week's worth of rumors. The Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich reported Saturday that Vander Plaats left the convention without taking questions -- a move that will surely fuel rumors of an independent candidacy.

The fact that Vander Plaats took 41 percent of the vote in the primary and 44 percent of delegates at the state convention suggests there is an element of the GOP in Iowa that isn't wedded to supporting Branstad and Reynolds in the general election. And an independent Vander Plaats could put a real kink in the Republicans' efforts to take down Gov. Chet Culver (D).

The strong(ish) showing for Vander Plaats is also a reminder of how much control conservatives retain in the Republican nominating process. And that bodes well for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee if either, or both, choose to run for president in 2012.

5. A new Boston Globe poll shows Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) maintaining a seven-point lead over former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Charlie Baker (R) in his bid for re-election with state Treasurer Tim Cahill (I) falling to the single digits.

Patrick leads Baker 38 percent to 31 percent while Cahill is a distant third at 9 percent. Patrick's margin is unchanged from a January Globe survey but that's about the only thing that's not different in this topsy-turvy race.

In January, Patrick stood at 30 percent to Cahill's 23 percent and Baker's 19 percent. But Cahill has tumbled following a $1 million TV and radio ad blitz by the Republican Governors Association over the past two months casting him as "just another reckless Beacon Hill politician."

Cahill was sitting on $3.4 million cash-on-hand as of the last reporting period compared to $2.3 million for Baker and about $1 million for Patrick, meaning that it's still too early to count Cahill out.

Still, if the new numbers hold, they suggest that the battle for the governor's mansion is now a two-man race -- a development that should cause concern for the governor's camp.

In a head-to-head contest, Baker can more easily cast the election as a referendum on Patrick, whose approval rating is at a less-than-impressive 41 percent among likely voters in the new poll.

Moreover, 42 percent of likely voters surveyed did not know enough about Baker to have an opinion on him, compared to 4 percent for Patrick. That's a sign that Baker has room to grow and makes how he is introduced to voters in the coming months that much more important.

With Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 28, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: "Worst Week in Washington" Winner: Gen. David Petraeus
Next: Byrd's death triggers special election...but when?

Comments

By a narrow margin of 5-4, the Supreme Court upheld the 2nd Ammendment rights which guarantees the rights of all US citizens to bear arms. With the appointment of Kaga, which is merely a formality at this point, we will have an Obama clone sitting on the highest court of this land.

It is only a matter of time before the rights guranteed all US citizens to bear arms will be taken away, for Kagan will vote against this right and the right to freedom of speech. It is only a matter of time!

Obama is orchestrating and implementing his plan to destroy this nation from within. Ignore this afct at your own peril. The apathy and ignorance of the American people will result in the loss of our democracy. Obama is a CURSE upon this nation. Welcome to Obama's National Socialist Republic of the United States.

Say good bye to your rights of freedom of speech, your rights to due process of law, your rights to bear arms in protection of your homes, and prepare to become enslaved and endentured to the Obama dream of oppresive government. The American people either asked for this or through personal apathy allowed it.

Posted by: A_lite_to_the_blind | June 28, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse


TO: Margaretmeyers @ 12 p.m.:

Yes, I most cerrtainly get a "special page." It's called a "spoofed" page, to which my internet connection has been re-directed by a rogue and blatantly unconstitutional fusion center-U.S. government censorship regime that the mainstream media has yet to expose. But I have, here:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-govt-censors-net-political-speech-targeted-americans

The incompetence of the "information systems" contractors who apparently do the day-to-day evisceration of constitutional rights merely underscores this waste of taxpayer money and government resources in the pursuit of a witch hunt against an unjustly targeted American journalist. Each day these rogues give me more material to write about. The question is: Who's actually seeing it? How extensively am I "black holed?"

Also, I encourage the good people on the inside (including repentant blog-spammers) to re-post my links to sites to which I appear to be blocked (such as Politico.com -- read about that here:)

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/does-politico-com-censor-comments-targets-govt-spying

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 28, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

4&5 - Interesting how both third party candidates will help out the Democrat, even though one is from the left one is from the right.

Got that done in 137 characters. 169 now. 177 now. etc.

Posted by: JakeD3 | June 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

scriv. my "characters remaining" box starts at 3000 characters so maybe you do get a special page.

I have no problem with 3000 characters -- I like brief.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 28, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love scriv taking over 600 characters to complain about a 300 character limit.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 28, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

present ident berry chalks up another major failure at the G20. He goes there urging more spending, more spending (did you expect any other line from him?). but the Europeans have begun to see the error of their ways, something Obimbo refuses to recognize.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 28, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The multiple posts below were not intentional. More malicious tampering (like the spelling errors)?

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 28, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Addendum to "scrivener" post:

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF A FUSION CENTER 'MAN IN THE MIDDLE ATTACK?' ARE POLS ''TARGETS' TOO? IS THE MIC ON YOUR BLACKBERRY REMOTELY ACTIVIATED TO SPY ON YOU?

An internet "man in the middle attack" allows the government operative surveillance cenosrs to either censor the comment, maliciously alter the comment, or pass it along to the real website after some delay -- a so-called "catch and release" regimen.

This draconian telecom interception is endemic in America. It is happening to untold THOUSANDS (maybe millions) of people who have been extrajudicially "targeted" by ideologically-driven multi-agency programs of personal destruction -- under the pretext of the "war on terror" and "intelligence-based policing."

Oh, the naivety of the Obama administration and the mainstream media.

See my pages at http://NowPublic.com/scrivener (lede stories and links therein).

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 28, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Addendum to "scrivener" post:

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF A FUSION CENTER 'MAN IN THE MIDDLE ATTACK?' ARE POLS ''TARGETS' TOO? IS THE MIC ON YOUR BLACKBERRY REMOTELY ACTIVIATED TO SPY ON YOU?

An internet "man in the middle attack" allows the government operative surveillance cenosrs to either censor the comment, malicious alter the comment, or passs it along to the real website after some delay -- a so'called "catch and release" regimen.

This draconian telecom interception is endemic in America. It is happening to untold THOUSANDS (maybe millions) of people who have been extrajudicially "targeted" by ideologically-driven multi-agency programs of personal destruction -- under the pretext of the "war on terror" and "intelligence-based policing."

Oh, the naivety of the Obama administration and the mainstream media.

See my pages at http://NowPublic.com/scrivener (lede stories and links therein).

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 28, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Addendum to "scrivener" post:

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF A FUSION CENTER 'MAN IN THE MIDDLE ATTACK?' ARE POLS ''TARGETS' TOO? IS THE MIC ON YOUR BLACKBERRY REMOTELY ACTIVIATED TO SPY ON YOU?

An internet "man in the middle attack" allows the government operative surveillance cenosrs to either censor the comment, malicious alter the comment, or passs it along to the real website after some delay -- a so'called "catch and release" regimen.

This draconian telecom interception is endemic in America. It is happening to untold THOUSANDS (maybe millions) of people who have been extrajudicially "targeted" by ideologically-driven multi-agency programs of personal destruction -- under the pretext of the "war on terror" and "intelligence-based policing."

Oh, the naivety of the Obama administration and the mainstream media.

See my pages at http://NowPublic.com/scrivener (lede stories and links therein).

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 28, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the Reps care deeply about judicial nominations. I suppose the Left cares little. If the Reps care deeply I would say the Left cares with their whole being since judicial activism is one of their main tenets for circumventing the legislative process and the constitution. Kagan’s hero is a judge who philosophy is to basically that judges should do whatever they want according to their own political agenda. I sure they know best (mmm.mmm.mmm).

Posted by: leapin | June 28, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

TO: drindl @ 9:47 a.m.

Thanks for that. The sub-box on my connection reads "300 characters remaining," not 3,000. Perhaps the "information systems" defense contractors who are the covert censors of extrajudicially, unjustly targeted Americans (including this journalist) are just incompetent enough to leave off a "zero."

It's called a "man in the middle attack." And it's a color of law violation, more evidence that the Obama administration tolerates ideological censorship of telecommunications in America...

...more proof that I am looking at a "spoofed" or faked WaPo "Fix" page that has been generated, apparently, by rogue surveillance censors working under the aegis of the MAGLOCLEN-RissNet fusion center in Newtown, Bucks County, PA, the mid-Atlantic states (including D.C) "centcom" of what I have described as an unconstitutional, criminal American Gestapo.

The mainstream media of which I was a member for more than three decades cannot or will not tell Americans what is happening to their civil liberties. I will:

http://nowpublic.com/world/homeland-fusion-center-censors-net-political-comments-yet-again
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR NowPublic.com/scrivener (lede story and linked articles within).

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 28, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

'A planned "unity" convention for tea partiers is being pushed to the fall, with organizers scrapping a major gathering with just 19 days before it was scheduled to go off. They cited heat and not being professional event planners, but the abrupt change in plans without a new date firmed up doesn't bode well for the fledgling group.'


well, if you can't stand the heat...

and apparently, they can't.

Posted by: drindl | June 28, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

It's 3000 characters, scriv.

Posted by: drindl | June 28, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

TO: "margaretmeyers" @ 9:11 a.m.

The "300 characters" remaining shows up on WaPo blog comment boxes even before I enter a SINGLE character. You do realize that 300 characters is barely more than a couple of sentences, don't you? There is NO WAY this message was generated by WaPo, and perhaps internal affairs investigators that input the MAGLOCLEN fusion center know that, too.

Or are we talking now on a "spoofed" page? If so, the IGs and internal affairs people do have access, I am led to believe -- so I will put the question to them. Thanks for asking.

http://nowpublic.com/world/homeland-fusion-center-censors-net-political-comments-yet-again

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 28, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"The strong(ish) showing for Vander Plaats is also a reminder of how much control conservatives retain in the Republican nominating process. And that bodes well for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee if either, or both, choose to run for president in 2012."

... which bodes very well for Obama not even having to break a sweat.

Posted by: drindl | June 28, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Chris, tabula rasa means blank slate, not unknown.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 28, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Scriv, I also have the "characters remaining" box. It appears both on my work computer, my computer and my kids' computer.

I don't think you have anything to fear.
:-)

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 28, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney has endorsed a Republican against a Democrat?

Oh, my word, someone please pass the smelling salts!

Posted by: Bondosan | June 28, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Elena Kagan's views on First Amendment rights, civil and states' rights and her generally corporate statist positions, as reflected in her writings and in her role as solicitor general, paint a troubling picture. The Republicans are trying to portray her as a liberal. It's obvious why they don't like her; but their disapproval does not seem to be based on her record.

***

U.S. CENSORS, ALTERS CONTENT OF 'TARGETED' AMERICANS' INTERNET SERVICE, SAYS VETERAN JOURNALIST

• Are Obama officials naive or complicit regarding wholesale constitutional and human rights violations by Homeland- administered "fusion center" network?

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-govt-censors-net-political-speech-targeted-americans
http://nowpublic.com/world/how-u-s-spy-ops-censor-web-political-speech
OR NowPublic.com/scrivener (lede article, links)

PS -- The comment field on my display contains a "sub-box" that reads "300 characters remaining." WaPo has no such stated limit on comments length. I believe this is prima facia evidence of government interception and tampering with this journalist's internet account.

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 28, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

AggieMike's point about Romney's tough path is well taken.

Mike, I thought the previous thread, suggesting Petraeus would rather be in FL then in Kabul, was ignorant of the difference between a civilian job and a military command opportunity [and unintentionally insulting, to boot]. The factions within on Afg could have been described as "Anti-Insurgent"[A-I] and "Anti-Terrorist"[A-T]. McCh believed that A-T could not work without A-I, and there is a strong likelihood, IMO, that is correct. Eikenberry and JB believed that A-I could not work as long as the bum Karzai was our internal ally, and IMO, unfortunately that seems to hold water, too. I believe that the debate should have remained internal and healthy and that McCh should not have been hammered within earshot of a reporter, but I also think Eikenberry got off light on his leaked memo. When it happened, he got off so light that I thought it was an orchestrated trial balloon, just as I thought McCh's London criticism of JB was a trial balloon.
We see now that there were no trial ballons, I think, but real backstabbing. So now I am inclined to think Eikenberry should be relieved of station.

What do you think?
================
It is no secret that MDH should win IA if he runs - I am not sure SHP would change that dynamic if she ran, too - but I am sure WMR hopes she would.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 28, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Just imagine, the majority of Americans are showing some horse sense! "We don't know that much about her, so we're not willing to offer an opinion."

Why, as Spock would say, that's actually logical!

Anyone who reads these comment boards would most likely be astonished at such a reasonable attitude. It's generally not much in evidence around here.

Posted by: laboo | June 28, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I am amazed that the GOP is allowing Vander Platts and his supporters to hijack a very winnable race. Culver is a good Governor in my opinion, but he is going against a pretty heavy wind. But it Vander Platts splits the GOP vote then he will win in a walk.

In Massachusetts, I am amazed that Patrick seems to be pulling this one out. He was dead in the water a few months ago, but it is looking more and more like Cahill and Baker will beat each other up enough to let Patrick walk in at 42% or something. Also Patrick's money disparity isn't that important either since he has the bully pulpit on his side, which is worth at least a few million in free advertising.

Posted by: AndyR3 | June 28, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

If the Republicans shoot themselves in the foot again, they will nominate Mitt Romney, another "political elite" who knows nothing about what "WE THE PEOPLE" go through each day. LET'S GET REPRESENTATION FOR A CHANGE. LET'S VOTE OUT THE DEMOCRATS THIS NOVEMBER!

WE'LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Posted by: barrysal | June 28, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Kagan will slip in relatively unscathed.

[I agree, CC.]

I'm saddened that more Americans don't understand, much less care about, the significance of SCOTUS nominees.

RE: Romney. Despite his vast political machine, I just can't see how he can make it past a primary fight where his Mass. healthcare program will be used against him. Plus, I'd hate to start the race as the "front-runner" -- Americans just like underdogs, especially right now. I just don't see his path to the nomination.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | June 28, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse


Many tourists who were going to spend their summer vacation on the Gulf Coast have canceled plans and hotels due to the oil spill. This is creating great deals with business and state incentives in Florida. Remember Florida is still open for vacation and support Florida find the special deals at http://bit.ly/dwKcDl

Posted by: graybell28 | June 28, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

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