Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 1, 2015

Posts in "Democrats"

November 30, 2015

Obama Still Channeling George W. Bush

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 25:  U.S. President Barack Obama (L) listens as former President George W. Bush speaks during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. The Bush library, which is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University, with more than 70 million pages of paper records, 43,000 artifacts, 200 million emails and four million digital photographs, will be opened to the public on May 1, 2013. The library is the 13th presidential library in the National Archives and Records Administration system.  (Photo by Tony Gutierrez-Pool/Getty Images)

Both Obama and Bush promised they would bring Americans together but instead contributed to the increased polarization and anger in the country. (Tony Gutierrez/Pool Via Getty Images File Photo)

It has been almost 16 months since I wrote about the comparative positions of President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush as they approached their second midterm elections. Since then, the two presidents, and two administrations, have continued to resemble each other increasingly.

Many Republicans, no doubt, will take issue with the comparison, arguing that the surge in Iraq was working when Bush left office, Obama’s foreign policy has been a mess, and the current incumbent’s reliance on big government is very different from Bush’s approach. (Other Republicans will agree that Bush grew government, arguing that that is exactly the problem they are trying to address in 2016.)

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November 18, 2015

Paris Attacks Will Keep Obama and Democrats Playing Defense

US President Barack Obama gestures during a press conference following the G20 summit in Antalya on November 16, 2015. Obama said on November 16 the United States had no precise intelligence warning of the Paris bombing and shooting attacks that have been claimed by Islamic State group jihadists. The United States has agreed to speed up its sharing of military intelligence with France to try to avert such assaults, the US leader added in a news conference after a summit in Turkey. AFP PHOTO /OZAN KOSE        (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

The is no political upside for Obama and Democrats over the Paris terror attacks. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

I say it repeatedly: Events matter. And for President Barack Obama, the terror attacks in Paris present a no-win political situation, at least until other, compelling news changes the subject.

That is not to say the president, the Democratic Party or the likely Democratic 2016 nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will be fatally damaged by the attacks that killed at least 129 people. The extent of any political damage is yet to be determined and rests, in part, on unforeseen events that will occur in the weeks and months ahead.

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November 16, 2015

Don’t Get Too Caught Up in the Trump and Carson ‘Panic’

Republican presidential hopefuls  Donald Trump and Jeb Bush speak during the Presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on September 16, 2015. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump stepped into a campaign hornet's nest as his rivals collectively turned their sights on the billionaire in the party's second debate of the 2015.  AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite his lead in the polls, Trump hasn’t yet been put to the test on a ballot. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images file photo)

The panic is palpable from the media and too many GOP “insiders.”

The Republican Party is going to nominate Donald Trump or Ben Carson for president, guaranteeing Barry Goldwater-style losses in the 2016 elections and threatening the Republic. Or, as The Washington Post put it on Page 1 of its Nov. 13 issue, “GOP preps panic button,” and “Party elites see doom if Trump or Carson win.”

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November 11, 2015

EMILY’s List Support Isn’t Early Enough for Senate Hopeful

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 21: Democratic candidate Pam Keith, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Florida, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call, September 21, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Keith is running against much better-funded candidates for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pam Keith is a pro-choice Democratic woman running in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, but the first-time candidate is having trouble getting EMILY’s List interested in her candidacy in Florida.

EMILY’s List was founded 30 years ago to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office. EMILY is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast,” because “it makes the dough rise.”

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November 9, 2015

Hillary Clinton and the Two-Term Jinx

It wasn't a jinx that kept McCain from winning the White House in 2008. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It wasn’t a jinx that kept McCain from winning the White House in 2008. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

I hear it all the time: Voters want change after one party has held the White House for eight years, and that’s why only once over the past six decades has a party held the presidency for three consecutive terms. Tough luck, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The observation has merit, but it isn’t nearly as significant a factor as it may initially seem. Full story

October 6, 2015

Early Iowa Presidential Polls a Better Predictor Than National Ones

Democratic presidential hopeful former North Carolina senator John Edwards (R) makes a point as Illinois Senator Barack Obama (C) and New York Senator Hillary Clinton (L) listen during the Democratic Presidential Primary Debate hosted by CNN and the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute 21 January 2008 at the Palace Theater in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  AFP PHOTO/STAN HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

National polls in 2007 showed Clinton with a big lead over Obama and Edwards going into the Iowa caucuses. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images File Photo)

Last month, national polls by CNN/ORC, Fox News and NBC News/Wall Street Journal got plenty of attention, and they certainly helped readers and viewers understand what is going on in the Republican and Democratic presidential contests.

But if history is any guide, early national polls are far less valuable in understanding what is happening in the presidential contest than are reliable surveys of Iowa voters, such as the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.

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September 28, 2015

Does Voter Anger Explain the Success of Presidential Outsiders?

UNITED STATES - September 25: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Values Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington D.C., Friday, September 25, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The past 18 months have radicalized some in the GOP grass roots, which helps explain the rise of candidates such as Trump. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Those of us who report on and analyze politics for a living have been talking ad nauseam about voters’ frustration and anger.

It’s the hot topic that presumably explains Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Bernard Sanders, as well as the problems that political veterans such as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush have encountered.

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September 21, 2015

Young, Ambitious and Wealthy Isn’t Enough in Arkansas

U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge speaks at a Little Rock, Ark., civic club Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Beebe’s wins as a Democrat in Arkansas won’t provide Eldridge with a roadmap to victory in the Senate race. (Danny Johnston/AP File Photo)

Former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge announced on Sept. 9 he will seek the Arkansas Democratic Senate nomination and the right to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman in 2016.

Writing in the Arkansas Times before Eldridge entered the race, veteran political journalist Max Brantley observed the Democrat would be “a sparkling candidate in a long tradition of young, ambitious, smart lawyers — [Dale] Bumpers, [David] Pryor, [Jim Guy] Tucker, [Bill] Clinton, [Vic] Snyder.”

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September 14, 2015

And the News Gets Worse for Clinton

Compared to the Republican race for president, the Democratic contest looks almost normal.

Yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s poll numbers have plummeted so far and so fast that she trails an avowed socialist in Iowa and New Hampshire polls, and she looks so damaged that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has been encouraged to consider whether he should run for his party’s nomination. Full story

August 11, 2015

Stop the Presses: O’Malley Nabs Swalwell Endorsement

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23:  Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during an event at the Truman Center for National Policy July 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. O'Malley discussed the need for additional Wall Street reforms while speaking with former Congressman and House Finance Committee Member Brad Miller (D-NC).  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

O’Malley’s playing up Swalwell’s endorsement says a lot about his campaign. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Who knew the Democratic presidential race would be fundamentally changed in the blink of an eye? But that happened recently when California congressman Eric Swalwell, 34, endorsed former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little.

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August 4, 2015

One Last Hurrah for Joe Biden?

Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leave a meeting with House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center where Biden briefed members on the nuclear deal with Iran, July 15, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Biden has plenty of credentials and credibility but being vice president for eight years has its downside. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The news that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is giving serious consideration to running for president spread like wildfire over the weekend.

That is understandable. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has not exactly performed like a winner, and growing questions about her character, forthrightness and judgment have produced plenty of negative coverage in the media, which feeds on controversy.

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July 21, 2015

The Politics of Identity Politics

identity politics

Perdue and Gardner proved exceptions to a rule in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’m tired of hyphenated Americans,” complains Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in “We’re All Americans,” a television spot aired by Believe Again, the super PAC supporting the presidential hopeful’s bid.

“We’re not Indian-Americans or African-Americans or Asian-Americans. We’re all Americans,” he continues as the audience applauds. Full story

July 8, 2015

Bernie Sanders: The Latest Version of Howard Dean

The Sanders poll numbers are good, but Democrats aren't likely to go against Clinton in the end. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Sanders poll numbers are good, but Democrats aren’t likely to go against Clinton in the end. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders’ poll numbers in New Hampshire have reporters taking notice and progressive Democrats excited: Bernie is surging!

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, if you believe the 73-year-old Vermont independent-turned-Democratic presidential hopeful.

Full story

June 24, 2015

Yarmuth Retirement Rumor Offers Window Into Future

Rep. John Yarmuth

Before Monday’s news conference, there were rumors Yarmuth would announce he was retiring or even resigning. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rumors that Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth was poised to retire or resign were hot and heavy right up until the moment the Democratic congressman announced his re-election bid on Monday. But the public uncertainty provided a brief glimpse into what the race to replace him might look like when he decides to call it quits.

The exit rumors weren’t just wishful thinking by a Republican Party that hasn’t been able to seriously challenge for the Louisville-based 3rd District since Yarmuth knocked off popular GOP Rep. Anne Northup in 2006. Local Democrats were buzzing about the congressman’s plans and some were even preparing bids for an open seat.

Full story

May 8, 2015

Caveat Emptor, in Political Giving Too



Two days before the Tuesday special election in New York’s 11th District, I received one of those hysterical email requests for money.

I’m on many candidate, political action committee and interest group email distribution lists, so I get them from both sides. This one was from something called Patriots for Economic Freedom. Full story

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