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

October 4, 2012

TiVo, Twitter Agree: Big Bird Is Fascinating

People seem to really love Big Bird.

That’s one of the top takeaways from TiVo’s analysis of the “Top Moments” of Wednesday night’s presidential debate. Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s comments on eliminating federal funding for public broadcasting was, in essence, the most rewound and replayed moment of the entire debate by users of the digital recording devices, the company said today.

Twitter reported similar interest in Big Bird and PBS on the social media platform.

“The evening’s real breakout star was a certain tall yellow Muppet. There were more than a quarter million Tweets mentioning Big Bird, following Governor Romney’s statement that he wants to cut Federal funding for PBS, the Muppet characters’ TV channel, even despite his stated fondness for the Sesame Street character,” a blog post from Twitter said.

Asked by moderator Jim Lehrer of the “PBS NewsHour” to identify federal programs that he would cut to help reduce the federal budget deficit, Romney first said he would repeal the 2010 health care overhaul but then turned to funding for public broadcasting.

“I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too,” Romney said to Lehrer. “But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

President Barack Obama’s budget request calls for an advance appropriation of $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for fiscal 2015. The corporation is supporting that level of funding. It has been funded through a two-year advance appropriation since 1976, in an effort that the corporation’s leadership says helps ensure editorial independence of Lehrer and others.

The Sesame Workshop, which produces the “Sesame Street” program featuring the lovable giant yellow bird responded with a statement today.

“‘Sesame Street’ has been a proud partner of PBS for 43 years, and is dependent on PBS to distribute our commercial-free educational programming to all children in the United States. Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization,” the group said. “We do not comment on campaigns, but we’re happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird.”

Sesame Workshop, previously called the Children’s Television Workshop, is a charitable nonprofit organized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

TiVo reported the Big Bird moment took the top prize among viewers on CNN, Fox News and NBC.

Other leading moments included Romney’s explanation of his position on Medicare benefits for upper-income beneficiaries and an exchange between Romney and Obama regarding Romney’s tax proposals.


Arizona: NRSC Buys Ad Space in Senate Race

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has purchased one week’s worth of statewide advertising for about $550,000 in Arizona to support the campaign of Rep. Jeff Flake (R). Recent polls have shown a narrowing margin between the Congressman and his Democratic rival, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona.

Full story

Virginia: Tim Kaine Posts $4.5M Third-Quarter Haul

Virginia: Tim Kaine Posts $4.5M Third Quarter Haul

Tim Kaine (left) had his best fundraising quarter yet in the Virginia Senate race. He faces former Sen. George Allen next month. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:35 a.m. | Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) continued his fundraising dominance in the third quarter, raising a personal-best $4.5 million for his Senate bid.

According to a campaign release, Kaine has now raised “nearly $15 million total from more than 40,000 individual donors, including 10,000 new donors in the last six weeks.” His strong fundraising allowed the campaign to but an additional $3 million in television time for the final five weeks of the campaign, increasing his total fall buy to about $7.5 million. He still had $1 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Full story

October 3, 2012

Arizona: NRCC Makes Ad Buy to Target Ron Barber

Arizona: NRCC Makes Ad Buy to Target Ron Barber

National Republicans are buying ad time to boost Martha McSally in an Arizona race that is currently not seen as that competitive. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Campaign is going up on TV in Arizona’s 2nd district, making a play for the seat Rep. Ron Barber (D) won in a special election earlier this year.

The NRCC has placed a six-figure buy in the Tucson media market in support of retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally (R), according to several sources who monitor media buys. The broadcast buy is $255,000 and will last from October 5-18.

This news comes hours after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it was confident enough in the race to pull a week’s worth of advertising in Tucson and a day after House Majority PAC, a super PAC that supports Democratic House candidates, went into the market.

The House Majority PAC spot was a negative spot that links McSally to Wall Street. The NRCC ad is expected to be a negative portrayal of the incumbent. Barber has already been through the ringer with negative ads from the special election race, so it will be interesting to see how, or whether,  these numbers move over the next couple of weeks. Full story

Virginia: Another Poll Finds Tim Kaine in Front

Virginia: Another Poll Finds Tim Kaine in Front

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new independent poll found former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) ahead of former Gov. George Allen (R) by 5 points in the race for the open Senate seat.

Kaine led 49 percent to 44 percent in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday. Seven percent were undecided.

It is the latest in a string of polls that show Kaine pulling out to a significant lead against Allen in what’s been a margin-of-error race for the past year and a half. The poll was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 1 among 969 likely voters. It had a 3.1-point margin of error.

Arizona: Richard Carmona Rakes In $2.2M in Third Quarter

Arizona: Richard Carmona Rakes In $2.2M in Third Quarter

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Senate nominee and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona raised $2.2 million in the third quarter, according to a campaign press release. The campaign of Carmona’s Republican rival, Rep. Jeff Flake, declined to release its numbers on Wednesday.

This new figure doubles Carmona’s second-quarter haul. The campaign was “still calculating” its cash-on-hand total at press time, but Carmona spent heavily on television for the month of September.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican. It is an open-seat race because Sen. Jon Kyl (R) is retiring.

Paul Ryan Fundraises Off of ‘Fast and Furious’

Paul Ryan Fundraises Off of ‘Fast and Furious’

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan sent an email soliciting donations from conservatives as he called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. The message was sent to a listserv titled and sponsored by Romney Victory Inc.

Under the subject line “Fast and Furious,” Ryan wrote that Holder needed “to step aside.” The email then linked to a donation page of

“He’s misled Congress, and entirely botched the investigation of the Operation Fast and Furious debacle — yet he still leads our nation’s Justice Department,” Ryan wrote. “It’s just another example of the Obama Administration’s transparent hypocrisy that despite the tragic and very human toll of this scandal, Attorney General Holder refuses to resign — and President Obama refuses to remove him.”

Minnesota: Barney Frank Becomes an Issue in 6th District

Minnesota: Barney Frank Becomes an Issue in 6th District

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) made retiring Rep. Barney Frank into political fodder in her race for Minnesota’s 6th district, dinging her opponent, businessman Jim Graves, for planning to host the Massachusetts Democrat at a presidential debate-watch fundraiser tonight.

Frank, ranking member on the powerful Financial Services Committee and known for the Wall Street reform law that bears his name, will attend Graves’ debate-watch fundraiser at a hotel that Graves owns in downtown Minneapolis. Democrats say the seat could be in play after a September poll paid for by Graves’ campaign showed the race to be competitive, with Bachmann leading Graves, 48 percent to 46 percent.

Bachmann has capitalized on Frank’s appearance at the fundraiser, releasing a video on her website that highlights Graves’ ties to Frank, a backer of “big government policies like the Wall Street bailout, the failed stimulus package and Obamacare,” according to Bachmann.

Full story

Washington: Suzan DelBene and John Koster Fight Over Women

Washington: Suzan DelBene and John Koster Fight Over Women

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched an ad buy targeting GOP nominee John Koster. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As in many races around the country, female voters are being fought over in Washington state’s 1st district, where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week launched a $250,000 ad buy targeting GOP nominee John Koster’s strong opposition to abortion.

Koster “wanted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood entirely,” warns a lab-coated female doctor identified as “Dr. Susan Harvey” in the DCCC ad, which hit the airwaves Oct. 2. “He’d make all forms of abortion illegal, including cases of incest and rape, even when the mother’s life is in danger.”

The ad, which concludes, “John Koster’s just too extreme for me,” comes on the heels of a similar $380,000 ad run by House Majority PAC, a pro-Democrat super PAC. Launched on Sept. 28, the House Majority PAC ad features wistful images of women and a voice-over that spotlights Koster’s abortion stance and assails him for supporting “an agenda so radical it’s hard to believe.” Full story

Missouri: Voters Want a GOP-Led Senate, but Support Claire McCaskill Over Todd Akin

Missouri: Voters Want a GOP Led Senate, but Support Claire McCaskill Over Todd Akin

New polls measuring the Missouri Senate race show Sen. Claire McCaskill in the lead. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Newly available polls show Republican Rep. Todd Akin still has an uphill battle in the Missouri Senate race, but there may be a window to nationalize the election.

A new poll by Rasmussen Reports, a polling firm that Democrats say often favors the GOP, showed Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) ahead of Akin 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.

The Rasmussen poll question excluded references to any other candidates, although there is young Libertarian candidate, Jonathan Dine, in the race and on the debate stage. The survey had 4.5-point margin of error.

Although the Rasmussen survey showed just 3 percent of voters undecided, swing voters in the contest may be deciding between Akin and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) more than between Akin and McCaskill.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

Live in a competitive district? It is nearly impossible to turn on the television and not see ads with seniors, tying a candidate to President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

But not all ads took the cookie-cutter approach. Here is what cut through the clutter today:

Wisconsin’s 7th

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R) 2010 ad footage against him. Duffy earned attention in 2010 for the ads that showed him hacking away as a lumberjack. The DCCC has a new ad up that uses the old footage metaphorically. Ex-state Senate President Pro Tem Pat Kreitlow has also played on the lumberjack theme in his own campaign ads. The DCCC did not immediately respond to a request for ad buy information.

Full story

By Abby Livingston Posted at 2:15 p.m.
Ads, Mich.-3, N.C.-11

NRCC Cuts $780,000 in Philadelphia Buys Aimed for Jon Runyan

NRCC Cuts $780,000 in Philadelphia Buys Aimed for Jon Runyan

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans cut $780,000 of ad reservations in the Philadelphia broadcast market today intended for Rep. Jon Runyan’s (R-N.J.) re-election, according to a Republican source familiar with the move.

The cancellation for Oct. 5-18 signals the National Republican Congressional Committee is confident Runyan will defeat attorney Shelley Adler (D) and believes that chunk of money is better spent in other races.

Full story

Colorado: Poll Shows Narrow Lead for Scott Tipton

A new poll shows Democratic challenger Sal Pace in a close race with Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in Colorado’s 3rd district, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The poll, conducted by the Democratic firm Grove Insight, showed Tipton leading with 42 percent, while Pace was at 39 percent. Full story

DCCC Cancels Three Weeks of Buys in Seats It Feels Are Safe

House Democrats have canceled advertisement buys in three House races where the party’s nominee is on a clear path to victory.

In Arizona’s 2nd district, New Mexico’s 1st district and Florida’s 26th district, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee cut its weeklong reservation starting Oct. 18, according to a Democratic source with firsthand knowledge of the changes.

Campaign committees continue to shuffle funds among House races, often moving resources away from hopeless campaigns to more competitive ones in the weeks leading up to Election Day. But committee officials argue these cancellations target races where they are sure the Democrat will prevail:

  • In Arizona’s 2nd district, the DCCC canceled $85,000 worth of  Tucson broadcast television. Rep. Ron Barber (D) faces retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally (R) in this district, which Roll Call rates as Likely Democratic.
  • In New Mexico’s 1st district, the DCCC canceled $135,000 worth of Albuquerque broadcast television. Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones (R) are vying for this open seat, which Roll Call rates as Safe Democratic.
  • In Florida’s 26th district, the DCCC canceled $280,000 worth of Miami broadcast television. Rep. David Rivera (R) is reportedly under federal investigation (although the Congressman denies any wrongdoing). Polls show the Republican trailing his opponent, former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chairman Joe Garcia (D). Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

The National Republican Congressional Committee had not reserved any airtime for these three House races.

Earlier this week, the DCCC trimmed $260,000 in ad time in another safe seat: Rep. Tim Walz’s district. Roll Call rates this race as Safe Democratic.

Florida: NRCC Lends a Hand to Steve Southerland

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s independent expenditure arm will soon begin airing ads in Florida’s 2nd district, the Panhandle seat of freshman Republican Rep. Steve Southerland.

The Democratic nominee in the district is former state Sen. Al Lawson, a folksy and  affable candidate who beat the party’s choice in the primary. Lawson was originally written off but appears poised to at least have a shot — if still quite long — at coming to Congress.

The NRCC has bought about $85,000 of airtime on broadcast television in the Panama City media market and about $75,000 on broadcast television in the Tallahassee media market from Oct. 5-18. Full story

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