Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 29, 2014

Posts in "Presidential"

November 17, 2014

The Stunningly Static White Evangelical Vote

 The Stunningly Static White Evangelical Vote

Reed, right, speaks with Rep. Pete Sessions at the 2010 CPAC Conference held by the American Conservative Union in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There’s plenty of discussion about the difference between midterm and presidential electorates, but there is one emerging constant: the white evangelical vote.

At least one interest group, Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition, claimed that conservative Christians played a “decisive role” in the recent midterm elections. But according to the exit polls, white evangelicals made up the same percentage of the electorate and voted nearly the exact same way this year as they did in the two previous elections. Full story

November 12, 2014

No Guarantee Democrats Rebound in 2016

 No Guarantee Democrats Rebound in 2016

Pelosi and her party may have a difficult time rebounding from this year’s GOP wave. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After suffering heavy losses in the House and the Senate in the recent midterm elections, some congressional Democrats may breathe a sigh of relief now that President Barack Obama is entering his final two years in office.

But the approaching end of the Obama Administration doesn’t mean  Obama won’t be a factor in 2016 and, figuratively, on the ballot, again.

In 2006, Republicans lost 31 House seats and six Senate seats, as well as majorities in both chambers. GOP strategists understood voters were sending their party a message. But they also took some solace that unpopular President George W. Bush was in the twilight of his tenure and wouldn’t be on the ballot again.

They were wrong. Full story

October 30, 2014

Obama’s Midterm Loss Record Could Make History

President Barack Obama is about to do what no president has done in the past 50 years: Have two horrible, terrible, awful midterm elections in a row.

In fact, Obama is likely to have the worst midterm numbers of any two-term president going back to Democrat Harry S. Truman.

Truman lost a total of 83 House seats during his two midterms (55 seats in 1946 and 28 seats in 1950), while Republican Dwight Eisenhower lost a combined 66 House seats in the 1954 and 1958 midterms.

Obama had one midterm where his party lost 63 House seats, and Democrats are expected to lose another 5 to possibly 12 House seats (or more), taking the sitting president’s total midterm House loses to the 68 seat to 75 seat range.

(Join us on Election Night: Live Stream With Analysis, Results and More at RollCall.com)

Most recent presidents have one disastrous midterm and another midterm that was not terrible. Full story

October 22, 2014

Will Obama Leave the Democratic Party Better Than He Found It?

 Will Obama Leave the Democratic Party Better Than He Found It?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Barack Obama was elected on a swell of energy and enthusiasm, but he might leave the Democratic Party worse off than when he took office.

The disconnect between the Obama political operation and Democratic strategists focused on Congress is nothing new. Congressional Democrats have always been a bit skeptical of the Obama White House, which has looked out for No. 1 and no one else. And now that Republicans continue their midterm march into democratic territory, the blame game has begun in earnest.

“The ineptitude of the White House political operation has sunk from annoying to embarrassing,” one senior Senate Democratic aide told Josh Kraushaar in a recent National Journal article, in wake of more seemingly unhelpful comments from the president about the midterms and the handling of Senate campaign appearances for Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley. Full story

June 30, 2014

Why Is the Media Ignoring Hillary Clinton?

clinton 085 012313 1 445x295 Why Is the Media Ignoring Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton is the former secretary of state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I’ve been deeply distressed by the lack of coverage of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s new book and of her potential 2016 presidential bid.

What could possibly be more important and more interesting than her past, present and future?

Forget about the midterm elections, immigration reform, the United States’ standing around the world and developments on Capitol Hill. Let’s be honest: Compared to Hillary, those are questions nobody wants answered or even addressed. Full story

June 12, 2014

Obama’s New Nuance on His Student Loans

sotu tw010 012814 445x292 Obamas New Nuance on His Student Loans

Obama made another push for student loan overhaul this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama made a fresh case for student loan overhaul with an executive order this week, but he also relayed a much more nuanced version of his own college debt experience.

Over the last couple of years, Obama used his college debt as a compelling anecdote to connect with younger voters and to restructure the student loan system.

“Check this out, all right. I’m the president of the United States. We only finished paying off our student loans off about eight years ago,” Obama said on the campaign trail at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in April 2012. “That wasn’t that long ago. And that wasn’t easy — especially because when we had Malia and Sasha, we’re supposed to be saving up for their college educations, and we’re still paying off our college educations.” Full story

February 25, 2014

There’s No Good Time for the GOP on Immigration

boehner 009 020414 445x305 Theres No Good Time for the GOP on Immigration

Boehner has said he’s not inclined to take up immigration in the House this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill apparently have already decided to punt rather than push ahead with their own immigration proposal, but that hasn’t stopped the chatter from the sidelines, especially from those who don’t like the leadership’s decision.

Liberal columnist Greg Sargent and conservative icon George Will both agree that Republicans are crazy to put immigration reform off until after the midterms.

Washington Post political writer Chris Cillizza laid out the political argument for Republicans not kicking the can down the road on immigration in his Feb. 9 article, “Why Republicans Shouldn’t Wait to Pass Immigration Reform.”

It’s a reasonable case, based on the timing of the dynamic of the 2016 presidential contest, the nation’s changing demographics and the GOP’s intense dislike of President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act. Full story

February 3, 2014

For Democrats, It’s All About (Years) After November

Politics is often about keeping one eye on today and another eye on tomorrow. That’s especially true for Democrats, who should not be completely disheartened about their party’s prospects.

November certainly looks like a challenging election for supporters of President Barack Obama — given the president’s anemic job approval numbers, recent generic ballot tests showing a virtual dead heat in congressional vote intention, the public’s deep dissatisfaction with Washington, D.C., and turnout trends in midterm years.

But Democrats should remember that the 2016 election cycle begins Wednesday, Nov. 5, the day after voters go to the polls to cast their votes in the midterms. And 2016 already looks like a much better cycle than 2014 for Democratic partisans.

Full story

January 27, 2014

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up — and It’s Only January

Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell the difference between a real news story and something from The Onion.

Earlier reports that entertainer Clay Aiken was considering a run for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina’s 2nd District have been overtaken by new stories about the singer “putting together a team” and preparing to run — one post in Roll Call, plus stories in several dozen other news outlets that don’t typically cover the tick-tock of recruitment in third-tier House races.

How exciting. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the announcement. Full story

January 15, 2014

The Christie Investigation: From Inquiry to Lynching?

011514christie 426x335 The Christie Investigation: From Inquiry to Lynching?

Christie is the second-term governor of New Jersey. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The two key questions are obvious. What did New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie know, and when did he know it?

When I first heard about the George Washington Bridge scandal, I assumed that the governor knew about the phony “traffic study” and the plan to stick it to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. Like almost every political reporter and analyst in Washington, D.C., I’m incredibly cynical, making it easy for me to believe the worst about any politician.

We still don’t know whether Christie told the entire truth at his news conference last week or whether the many investigations that are now developing — about the bridge scandal but also about other decisions made by the governor during his time in office — will show poor judgment or even malfeasance. Full story

December 24, 2013

Who Won the Democratic and Republican Gift Exchange?

tree 061 121113 445x296 Who Won the Democratic and Republican Gift Exchange?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The two parties aren’t exactly on the best of terms these days, but that didn’t stop Republicans and Democrats from exchanging gifts over the past year — even if they didn’t intend to.

Instead of fruitcake, each party gave the other a sparkling set of potentially potent political opportunities. And regardless of whether it was intended, there is a common theme among the gifts on both sides. Full story

December 18, 2013

What the New Iowa Poll Reveals About 2016 (Hint: Not Much)

GOP Convention 089 082812 445x301 What the New Iowa Poll Reveals About 2016 (Hint: Not Much)

Santorum narrowly won the Iowa caucuses in 2012. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new Des Moines Register poll of Iowans’ attitudes toward potential 2016 presidential hopefuls has already received plenty of attention. That’s not surprising, I suppose, given the unquenchable thirst from some about anything to do with the next presidential race.

The survey’s results give us some information — most of it entirely predictable — but the data doesn’t tell us who will win the 2016 Iowa caucuses or the White House a little less than three years from now. Full story

December 13, 2013

One Reason Donald Trump Should Be President

It’s not very challenging to write about the countless reasons why Donald Trump would not make a good president. But there is one thing the Donald does that might be useful in the Oval Office — he fires people.

As Ezra Klein noted in his recent Bloomberg column, there have been multiple opportunities for President Barack Obama to fire someone (the HealthCare.gov rollout being the most recent, glaring example). Yet the president chose a path of lesser resistance. Full story

November 13, 2013

A Critical Few Weeks for Democrats? It Could Get Worse

Kay Hagan 1 041613 445x277 A Critical Few Weeks for Democrats? It Could Get Worse

A new poll shows Hagan is vulnerable. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

No wonder some Democratic strategists are nervous about the next few weeks.

President Barack Obama’s job approval numbers have taken a dive in two recent polls, and party insiders fear that every other poll released in the foreseeable future will show that the rollout of the president’s health care law has been anything but a success — and has dramatically undermined the public’s confidence in him.

Maybe even more important, they worry that any weakening of the president’s standing will have a significant impact on Democrats’ chances to make House gains and hold the Senate. Full story

September 29, 2013

2012 Election Result Isn’t Quite Vote of Confidence Democrats Say It Is

“Elections matter.”

That’s probably the most common refrain of the health care battle. Democrats consistently point back to President Barack Obama’s convincing 2012 re-election win as evidence that the American people back his agenda, including his signature piece of legislation.

But I was surprised when I looked back at the national exit poll to see what “the people” said about Obamacare while they gave the president a second term.

“Should the 2010 Healthcare law be repealed?” Nearly a majority, 49 percent, said yes, while 44 percent said no.

Another question dug a little deeper. “2010 Healthcare law should be….” 25 percent said repealed completely and 24 percent said repealed in part. Just 18 percent thought it should be “kept as is” while 26 percent said the law should be expanded.

What’s remarkable is how static voter attitudes were toward the law from 2010 to 2012. In the 2010 midterm elections, 48 percent said the new healthcare law should be repealed, 31 percent thought it should be expanded and 16 percent thought it should be left as is.

It’s also a stretch to say that the 2012 election was a referendum on health care. Just 18 percent of last year’s electorate said that health care was the most important issue facing the country. Of course, the last election was about many things, including the economy and Mitt Romney, both his background— which included pushing and signing into law as governor of Massachusetts a law remarkably similar to Obamacare — and his comments on the campaign trail.

There is no denying that Obama won the 2012 presidential election. But that vote shouldn’t be held up as a vote of confidence for Obamacare. And it’s worth mentioning (again) that the Republicans taking a stand against the president were elected, too.

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