One of the biggest stories at the North American International Auto Show yesterday was not the cars, but the congressional delegation--led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer--that came to the show.[...]
Read The Full Article:
Obviously, turnout is the single most important factor that will determine whether Martha Coakley actually manages to lose the Massachusetts Senate seat to Republican Scott Brown.
But it's not just about turnout. The Rasmussen poll that just came out -- one which shows Coakley's lead shrinking from 9 to 2 points -- also shows Barack Obama with a 57 percent approval rating (versus 41 percent opposed) among likely voters, and the health care bill favored by 52 percent of likely voters (versus 46 percent opposed).
According to the poll's internals, right now about 8 percent of the electorate both (a) favors health care reform, and (b) has not brought into Coakley's column. This includes 5 percent of the electorate which favors health care but is planning to vote for Scott Brown, 2 percent for the independent candidate, and 1 percent who favor health care who are undecided.
In addition, about 11 percent of the electorate approve of Barack Obama but are not planning to vote for Coakley.
If this were just about turnout, I would feel relatively safe about Coakley's position. The Democratic establishment has, somewhat belatedly, woken up to the closeness of the race, and polls like these will wake voters up too. And the Democrats have an experienced GOTV team on hand, with veterans from both the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns.
But if the Rasmussen numbers are right, there's also a chance that Coakley could lose even with a less-than-worst-case turnout scenario. Although I sometimes have concerns about the tightness of Rasmussen's likely voter screens, the fact is that an electorate which gives a 57 percent approval rating to Barack Obama is one that they ought to be reasonably contented with on election day.
In other words, there are still some swing voters here, and there is still some persuasion to do. And bear in mind that while every new voter that you turn out gets you a +1, every swing voter you persuade is worth a +2, since you're both adding a vote to your own tally and taking one away from your opponent.
Coakley's latest attempt at persuasion -- a commercial tying Scott Brown to the national GOP agenda -- feels like the right tune sung in the wrong key. Voters need to be reminded of just how oppositional the Republicans in Washington have become -- voting with near unanimity against not just the health care reform bill (which the commercial strangely sidesteps) but also the fair pay act for women, the jobs bill, the cap-and-trade bill (which ought to be popular in Massachusetts), the financial regulation bill, and the stimulus package. Then they need to be persuaded that Brown will support that pattern of obstruction and be a pawn in the Republicans' arsenal. Really, then, I'd take this commercial out of rotation and replace it with two separate spots (or one 60-second spot) which tackle the two flavors of the argument in a less compressed way. And Coakley could probably also use a third spot as a closer, which talks more optimistically about the Obama agenda, the Kennedy legacy, and relatively popular upcoming programs like the jobs bill.
Read The Full Article:
Oh gee, what a surprise coming from the likes of Halperin. As The Plum Line notes, there is good reason to question whether Bill Clinton actually made the "getting us some coffee" remark.
To be clear, it?s very possible that Clinton did say something along these lines. It seems very likely that he did belittle Obama. But come on: In cases like these, when people are hinting at racism, the precise wording is everything. And in this case, the whole claim is based on an anonymous source?s recollection that someone who has now passed away told him or her that Clinton said something like this.
This really illustrates the perils of this approach to sourcing, particularly in the current media environment. And at bottom, it?s just absurd that this has provoked so much discussion, with little to no media figures also noting how tenuous and insubstantial the claim itself really is.
As Media Matters also noted this was not a direct quote--Memo to media: Statement attributed to Clinton in Game Change is not a direct quote:
Note the lack of quote marks around the statement attributed to Clinton. That means it's a paraphrase, not a direct quote. That means that Heilemann and Halperin did not or could not verify that Clinton said those exact words -- their source is not Kennedy or Clinton, but someone else who was supposedly aware of a later, alleged conversation between Kennedy and a "friend." As The Plum Line's Greg Sargent points out, the authors do indeed admit in their book: "Where dialog is not in quotes, it is paraphrased, reflecting only a lack of certainly on the part of our sources about precise wording, not about the nature of the statements."
And I'll just leave with Digby's thoughts which I agree with comletely--Make It Stop:
Sweet Jesus, I hate this goddamned Halperin/Heileman tabloid atrocity. It's got the villagers so excited I fear they are going to literally orgasm on camera --- and that's something I just don't want to see. A book based on backstabbing gossip from disgruntled campaign aides and pissed off rivals is about as reliable a six year olds playing a game of telephone. When you combine these nasty little tidbits with the Villager sensibility and biases of the writers, you end up with a docu-drama rather than a work of non-fiction.
I have no idea what Clinton actually said, obviously, but he isn't an idiot and I find it hard to believe that he would try to persuade Teddy Kennedy to endorse Hillary by waxing nostalgic about slavery and Jim Crow. He may very well have demeaned him in some fashion, but it was far more likely about his inexperience than his race. It doesn't make sense.
That doesn't seem to matter all that much to Sean Hannity and Co. They're going to repeat this tabloid crap inside the Beltway gossip whether they know it's true or not. And that honor is not just reserved for ClusterFox.
Chris Matthews: How can Sarah Palin be a pundit? She doesn't know anything!
Transcript (and video) at DKTV.
The fact that the insurance industry and AHIP is behind the health care attack ads from the Chamber of Commerce is something we (and others) have suspected for months now. It's finally been proven by Peter Stone at the National Journal.[...]
Read The Full Article:
Last September, ThinkProgress reported that, despite its public support for health care reform, the insurance industry was engaged in a “duplicitous” campaign to undermine the effort. Now the National Journal has confirmed that from September to December 2009, “six of the nation’s biggest health insurers began quietly pumping big money into third-party television ads aimed at killing or significantly modifying the major health reform bills moving through Congress.” The companies used America’s Health Insurance Plans — the lobbying arm of the insurance industry — “as a conduit to avoid a repeat of the political flack that hit the insurance industry after it famously ran its multi-million dollar ‘Harry and Louise’ ads to help kill health care reforms during the Clinton administration”:
That money, between $10 million and $20 million, came from Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group and Wellpoint, according to two health care lobbyists familiar with the transactions. The companies are all members of the powerful trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans. The funds were solicited by AHIP and funneled to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help underwrite tens of millions of dollars of television ads by two business coalitions set up and subsidized by the chamber. Each insurer kicked in at least $1 million and some gave multi-million dollar donations.
Watch a compilation of some of these ads:
The industry’s covert ad campaign isn’t the industry’s only means of wasting millions of premium dollars on sabotaging reform. As former health insurance executive Wendell Potter told ThinkProgress, insurers are using a variety of front groups to advance a hidden attack campaign. The industry regularly feeds talking points to right-wing media like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, mobilizes anti-reform ?grassroots? groups and coordinates with conservative think-tanks to produce academic-appearing reports to advance their cause.
The insurance industry has also funded state efforts to challenge the constitutionality of health reform. Insurers have “spent heavily on political contributions” in the 14 states seeking to ratify constitutional amendments that would repeal all or parts of the new measure and contributed thousands of dollars to the attorneys generals seeking to disqualify reform. Earlier this month, Lee Fang reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield Association ?played a pivotal role in crafting this anti-health reform states? rights initiative.”
National Journal’s report should be the last nail in the coffin of AHIP’s public charm campaign. Throughout the health care debate, AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni repeatedly reassured the public that insurers were committed to health care reform and even produced a plan for reforming the system. “We understand that we have to earn a seat at the table,” Ignagni told Obama during the White House Health Summit in March 2009. “You have our commitment to play, to contribute, and to help pass health care reform this year,” she promised.
Even after the industry sponsored several reports criticizing reform legislation, AHIP always reiterated the insurance industry’s “commitment” to reforming the health system. ?We don?t want to let Americans down. It?s very important. We promised that we are committed to this. Our industry is for-square behind it, but we have an obligation to explain how to make that happen,? Ignagni told Congress in October, as her industry was donating millions of dollars to defeat reform. In fact, insurers have long been dues-paying members of the Chamber. AETNA has given $100,000 to the Chamber, while Unitedhealth Group payed at least $20,000.
Cross-posted at the Wonk Room.
When I was in high school, we had words for girls like this. For the one on the left: Taken. For the one on the right: Splinters.
Have a good look at these two women, both wearing the same bathing suit. Which one, in your opinion, would you consider as 'sexier'?
Now, which one do you suppose was raved over as being 'sensational' by judges of one of those ubiquitous 'I wanna be a supermodel' type reality shows, and which one was reduced to tears after being harshly criticized for not taking her diet and exercise regime seriously?
Go on... guess...
Yeah, wasn't hard, was it? The girl on the left, British yummy mummy Jen Hunter, was 24, and at 5'11" and 11 stone (that's 154 pounds or just under 70 kilos for the rest of us) was told by a judge who is the managing director of a modeling agency that her legs were 'stocky' and scolded by former supermodel Rachel Hunter (no relation) for being 'fat, lazy and greedy.'
While the judges - professionals from the fashion industry - preferred 'the walking skeleton,' tens of thousands of television viewers quite adamantly voted for the more voluptuous Ms Hunter, far and away enough to win over the judge's favourite...
... just a few hours before model Ana Carolina Reston, a 21-year-old Brazilian model, was reported as having died of starvation, trying to live on a diet of apples and tomatoes to keep her catwalk career. Ms Hunter's Body Mass Index was a healthy 21.5, while the girl on the right, Swedish Marianne Berglund, had a BMI of 16.1, well below the 18.5 considered by health professionals as the minimum weight of a healthy adult woman, and even below the minimum BMI of 18 for models taking part in Madrid Fashion Week, set after catwalk model Luisel Ramos collapsed three months earlier at a fashion show and died from heart failure, having eaten nothing but salads and Diet Coke for three months in her lethal attempt to slim down to the perfect size zero.
Entering the day, 59 Senators were publicly committed to confirming Dawn Johnsen to the Office of[...]
Read The Full Article:
Some anonymous sources outside the administration say that the President may have told the Pentagon what he's "prefer" that they do on DADT. It's a step forward, but it's hardly worthy of a celebration. I have a lengthy analysis of what this all means on AMERICAblog Gay.
Ed. note: You can find today's earlier threads, day one's liveblog, and the rest of FDL's extensive team coverage at our dedicated Prop 8 trial hub.[...]
Read The Full Article: