Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 19, 2014

Posts by Steven T. Dennis

24 Posts

February 18, 2014

Carney: Democrats Will Not Lose the Senate

Asked Tuesday about the possible Republican takeover of the Senate in the November midterms, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney rejected the premise.

“The Democratic Party is not going to lose the Senate, in our view,” Carney said in response to a question from Ed Henry of Fox News about the potential impact on the president if Democrats lose control.

Carney’s confidence isn’t necessarily all that surprising, but the declaration comes as Senate Republicans have grown increasingly confident about their prospects. Facing a map tilted toward the GOP, Senate Democrats can lose no more than five seats net to retain control.

Henry earlier asked whether the president shared the concerns of other Democrats that some are focused too much on 2016 instead of on the midterm elections.

“This is not a campaign briefing,” Carney said.

February 7, 2014

Biden Boasts Democrats Want Him to Campaign for Them

Biden Boasts Democrats Want Him to Campaign for Them

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. speaks with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Del. Donna Christensen, D-V.I., and Del. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As he discussed his interest in a run for the presidency in 2016, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. noted Friday that he is in demand on the stump in the midterm elections.

In an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan where he said he could not see any reason not to run for president, Biden acknowledged that there are some states where President Barack Obama didn’t win in 2012, and senators from those states may not want the president to come.

But Biden said he personally is in demand.

“I’ve been invited to go into, well over 128 races so far,” he said. “And so there are some places the president is considerably more popular than I am, but there’s some places where I can go in and the president can’t. There are some places where it makes no sense for me to go in or for the president to go in.”

Biden also wouldn’t predict a Democratic takeover in the House.

“I’m not suggesting you won’t have a divided Congress,” Biden said. “But in terms of the prospects of Democrats running for Congress, incumbents in the Senate, I think we are in the best shape we can be, because the American public agrees with us on the issues.” Full story

January 28, 2014

Tom Cole: Outside Groups Will Waste Money in Okla. Special

Tom Cole: Outside Groups Will Waste Money in Okla. Special

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says conservative outside groups that consider getting involved in the race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., will be wasting their money.

The Senate Conservatives Fund and Madison Project have encouraged GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine to enter the special election field as a conservative alternative to Rep. James Lankford, who is so far the only declared candidate in what’s expected to be a competitive race.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call, Cole said he doesn’t believe well-financed outside groups interested in assisting a particular candidate will have a great effect on the outcome of the race — no matter how much they spend.

“Groups coming from outside the state, coming to try and set the agenda, sorry,” Cole said. “You are welcome to come, but you ought to look at your track record.”

Full story

November 6, 2012

President Barack Obama Wins Re-Election

President Barack Obama Wins Re Election

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

11:15 p.m. | President Barack Obama has defeated Mitt Romney and won re-election, capping the most expensive and divisive national campaign in memory, according to network news and Associated Press projections.

The president’s victory — built on key swing states including Ohio, Wisconsin and New Hampshire — will give him a second term in a deeply divided nation, and he will be facing a similar lineup in Congress, which has thwarted the bulk of his agenda for the past two years.

Obama’s victory was sealed by the critical state of Ohio — the focus of both candidates for months — where Romney, his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Vice President Joseph Biden all made appearances on Election Day.

 

Updated 10:57 p.m. | At Republican and Democratic election night events in Washington, D.C., Democrats seemed to be having the better time.

With President Barack Obama racking up wins in battleground states and Mitt Romney yet to put one away, the Republican National Committee party at the Ronald Reagan Building seemed to be thinning out after 10 p.m. At one point, a smattering of applause rang through the hall when Fox News announced Romney won Utah.

Attendees seemed to be clinging to any good news after announcements that Democrats won Senate seats in Massachusetts and Indiana. But they soldiered on, holding out hope despite the fact that it’s a cash bar. Full story

November 2, 2012

Monthly Unemployment Report Beats Expectations

Monthly Unemployment Report Beats Expectations

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned at the Farm Bureau Center in Doswell, Va., on Thursday. Current polls have President Barack Obama and Romney neck-and-neck in the state. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Job growth in October strongly beat expectations Friday, even as the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in the final report before next week’s elections.

The government reported 171,000 net new jobs last month and revised upward the previous two months by 84,000. The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point, as discouraged workers started to return to the labor force.

The report contained ammunition for both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney but mostly comes as a relief for a White House with the rate staying below 8 percent for a second straight month and allowing the president to point to strengthening job creation in the final days of the too-close-to call race. Full story

November 1, 2012

Michael Bloomberg Endorses Barack Obama Despite ‘Disappointing’ Term

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama’s re-election today, highlighting the issue of climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, as well as other issues, including health care, abortion and gay rights.

“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” Bloomberg said in a column on his eponymous news service.

Bloomberg pointed to the hurricane as a sign that the world should act on the climate change issue.

“Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action,” he said.

Full story

October 31, 2012

David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

Top Democratic strategist David Axelrod bet his mustache that President Barack Obama will win Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s campaign claimed today that Mitt Romney’s campaign is “flailing” in the final days, with senior strategist David Axelrod betting his mustache that Obama will win the newly minted battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.

Axelrod and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters dismissed the Romney campaign’s late charge into those states, despite persistent polling leads for Obama, as a sign that it is losing in the existing battlegrounds and is increasingly desperate to expand the map.

“It’s break glass time in Boston,” Axelrod said. “I’ve put my mustache on the line.”

Messina said Democrats are piling up big leads among early voters in key battleground states including Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado and Florida.
Axelrod dismissed a question about Obama consistently trailing significantly among independents in polling. Full story

October 9, 2012

Mitt Romney’s Polling Surge Continues

Mitt Romney’s Polling Surge Continues

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned last month in Virginia. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A cascade of poll numbers confirms Mitt Romney’s big bounce after Wednesday’s debate with President Barack Obama, putting him ahead in several national and state polls and closing the gaps in swing states where he had trailed.

However, there are signs that Friday’s surprising September jobs report may help Obama stanch the bleeding.

Gallup, which unveiled its seven-day likely voter tracker for the first time today, showed Romney with a 49 percent to 47 percent advantage, while Obama led 49 percent to 46 percent among registered voters. This and other recently released polls confirmed an enthusiasm gap that favors the GOP. Gallup did have one bright spot for Obama: Its three-day job approval for the president hit a recent high of 53 percent among “all adults,” possibly aided by Friday’s unexpectedly low 7.8 percent unemployment rate.

Still, polling generally continues to show a strong bounce for Romney, the Republican presidential nominee — most pronounced in Monday’s Pew poll that showed the former Massachusetts governor swinging to a 4-point lead from an 8-point deficit after the debate. Today, Romney led Obama nationally in the RealClearPolitics.com average for the first time in the 2012 campaign.

Full story

September 26, 2012

Amid Surge, Obama Camp Guards Against Overconfidence

Amid Surge, Obama Camp Guards Against Overconfidence

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Polls continued to shift strongly in President Barack Obama’s favor today, with the president opening up a 6-point lead in the Gallup tracking poll. He has even bigger leads in some polls in key swing states, including in Ohio, where both he and GOP challenger Mitt Romney campaigned today.

Obama jumped to a lead of 50 percent to 44 percent in the seven-day Gallup tracking poll, up from 48 percent to 45 percent Tuesday and a 47-percent tie just a few days ago. The results came as the Obama campaign tried to guard against overconfidence, and the Romney campaign has argued in recent days that most public polls are flawed.

The Romney campaign in the past week had taken solace in the relative closeness of the Gallup poll. Full story

September 17, 2012

For Obama, Ohio Is Ground Zero on China Trade Debate

For Obama, Ohio Is Ground Zero on China Trade Debate

(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama delivered a counter punch to GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s attacks on his China policy today, heading to manufacturing-heavy Ohio to tout a new trade action against Chinese auto parts subsidies and to blast Romney’s record on outsourcing.

“Now, I understand my opponent has been running around Ohio claiming he’s going to roll up his sleeves and take the fight to China,” Obama said. “But here’s the thing: His experience has been owning companies that were called ‘pioneers’ in the business of outsourcing jobs to countries like China.”

Obama said his administration has brought and won twice as many trade cases against China as the Bush administration did in two terms, including a case against Chinese tires that Romney criticized at the time.

“I like to walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” he said, accusing Romney of “taking advantage of unfair trade practices” while in business but talking tough with an election around the corner.

Full story

September 6, 2012

Barack Obama Will Ask for More Time, Outline Agenda in Speech

Barack Obama Will Ask for More Time, Outline Agenda in Speech

North Carolina delegates get fired up ahead of President Barack Obama's speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama will ask voters for patience in dealing with the economy and argue that this election will be the “clearest choice of any time in a generation” as he makes his case for a second term in his acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

Obama will point to the difficulty of the task of fixing the economy, according to excerpts released ahead of his prime-time speech.

“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.” Full story

Obama Holds Pep Call for Disappointed Volunteers

Obama Holds Pep Call for Disappointed Volunteers

President Barack Obama's speech tonight has been moved indoors after bad weather threatened Charlotte, N.C. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Barack Obama gave a campaign pep talk today to the tens of thousands of volunteers who were shut out of his nomination acceptance speech after Democratic convention organizers moved the event from Bank of America Stadium to Time Warner Cable Arena.

 

In a conference call, Obama said he couldn’t risk their safety if a severe thunderstorm hit Charlotte in middle of his speech or the others scheduled for this evening, including Vice President Joseph Biden’s nomination acceptance speech. But the president said he understood that many of them had worked hard to get tickets and had traveled to North Carolina at their own expense.

 

“I know it’s disappointing,” he said. “My main message is we can’t let a little thunder and lightning get us down, we’re going to have to roll with it.”

 

Obama told them that he hoped they would still join speech watching parties tonight and said he is eager to share his vision when he takes the stage. So far, Obama said, the convention has been “unbelievable,” highlighting first lady Michelle Obama’s Tuesday speech and President Bill Clinton’s speech on Wednesday night.

 

“Hopefully at the end of this convention, people will say we accomplished what we needed to and offered our vision for the country,” Obama said, “but this is still going to be a really close election.”

 

He said the Republicans would have “massive checks from wealthy donors” on their side. “The good thing is I’ve got you. … Nothing’s more powerful than the work you guys do.”

 

And he said that the campaign will work hard to get volunteers opportunities to see him at campaign events around the country. “Hopefully you’ll have even a closer front row seat,” he said.

August 29, 2012

Ron Paul Supporters Protest Delegate Swap

TAMPA, Fla. — Chanting “as goes Maine, so goes the nation,” scores of supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) marched through the hallway surrounding the Tampa Bay Times Forum, angry that the RNC replaced some delegates supporting Paul with those supporting Romney.

Full story

Paul Ryan Speech Excerpts Released

Rep. Paul Ryan will accept the GOP’s nomination for vice president tonight with a call to deal with the tough problems the country faces, and he will draw a stark contrast with President Barack Obama.

“I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old — and I know that we are ready,” the Wisconsin Republican will say, according to excerpts released by his campaign. “Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment — to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words. After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Gov. Mitt Romney.”

Ryan also will target Obama’s health care law.

“Obamacare comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country. The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare,” Ryan will say.

And Wisconsin lawmaker, who has made his name on his budget acumen and push for spending cuts, will say that he and Romney are going to solve the nation’s economic problems “before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all.”

“And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time. But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this. … We will not duck the tough issues — we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others — we will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles. The work ahead will be hard. These times demand the best of us — all of us, but we can do this. Together, we can do this.”

August 28, 2012

Black Caucus Slams Artur Davis Ahead of Speech

Black Caucus Slams Artur Davis Ahead of Speech

Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis is drawing criticism for his decision to speak at the Republican National Convention. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are accusing former Rep. Artur Davis of “transparent opportunism” ahead of his speech to the Republican National Convention, scheduled for this evening.

Coming four years after the African-American and former Democrat served as a co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s campaign, Davis’ conversion to the GOP has clearly stung his former colleagues, who sounded off in an open letter released to the media this morning. In 2008, Davis seconded Obama’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The letter, signed by 14 CBC members, accuses Davis of distorting Obama’s record and flip-flopping on “core principles you once held dear.”

“We can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation or simmering anguish after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010,” the members wrote.

Full story

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