John King, USA

The latest political news and information on the most important stories affecting you.
September 30th, 2010
12:17 PM ET

Be in the know: Today's political bullet points

Congress ends its work until after the election today, and it's worth taking a little time to explore the record: some significant achievements (of course controversial); some presidential promises kept, some not; and most of all a bipartisan failure to try, even just try, to be a little more bipartisan. In 33 days, you decide how much to shake up the cast for next season, or session as we call it here in Washington. Today's bullet points speak to, among other things, a very familiar theme: internal tensions in both parties. Mario is hoping the door thumps Rahm on the way out, and Erick notes grassroots love for the conservative that has many of his GOP Senate colleagues miffed: Sen. Jim DeMint. Enjoy their observations, and your day.- John King

Everyday we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation in and outside Washington:

RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:

-The healthcare chickens keep coming home to roost.  Now McDonalds is planning to drop insurance on 30,000 employees.  This was not unforeseen.  It was predicted by opponents of Obamacare.

 -There's lots of chatter about Matt Taibbi's piece in Rolling Stone about the Tea Party movement.  In a reflection of the Gallup numbers showing little trust of the media, Taibbi's article is filled with factual errors and abuses of truth just to smear the tea party movement.

 -Republican Senators are on offense against Jim DeMint.  But conservative activists across the country keep siding with DeMint and are sending reinforcements

Talk Show Host and Online Editor of Mario Solis-Marich:

-Money Can’t Buy You Love: Sharon Angle being called out by her Hispanic campaign co-chair for her anti-Latino ad and Whitman being called out by her undocumented maid underline the structural deficits of the GOP’s Latino outreach efforts.

-Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The biggest gain since the passage of health reform for Obama among his once fervent progressive base will occur tomorrow when Rahm Emanuel announces his departure from the White House.

-It Wasn’t Me: Boehner camp collectively sighs relief as their effort to stop a story, they claim was false, about the GOP leaders alleged lobbyist affair proves successful.

Filed under: Bullet Points
September 30th, 2010
09:42 AM ET
September 29th, 2010
03:02 PM ET

Tonight on JKUSA: Walmart Moms

In 2004, George W. Bush relied on the support of soccer moms throughout the country to help secure reelection. In 2008, a new voting bloc of middle-class mothers emerged and again proved crucial in helping propel Barack Obama to victory. Dubbed “Walmart Moms,” these moderate, middle-class women make up more than 15 percent of the electorate and favored Obama over John McCain by five percentage points. Tonight on John King, USA we’ll talk to two pollsters from  firms Public Opinion Strategies and Momentum Analysis, who have important new findings on how these women feel about the direction of the country now, and how congressional candidates can win their vote in November.

For a look at the new research, check out the links below.

Key findings Walmart Moms

Walmart Moms National Data Poll

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Filed under: JKUSA
September 29th, 2010
12:14 PM ET

Be in the know: Today's political bullet points

Noticing more and more focus, in the states and nationally, on the post-Census impact of the midterms: big regional shifts in power as some states gain and others lose House seats. We tend to obsess about congressional balance of power. But who wins in races for governor and state legislatures determines who wins the decennial redistricting war. On to the bullet points: Not the first time Erick and Jane see eye to eye, relatively, in judging the Obama political operation. Speaks volumes about unrest on the left. I lived through a lot of Dick Morris in a decade-plus covering Bill Clinton. His aides used to say one brilliant idea for every couple dozen wacky thoughts. I won't factor his numbers when I crunch the consensus projections from strategists deeply involved in this year's campaigns. Enjoy the day. -John King

Everyday we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation in and outside Washington:

RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:

– Like a desperate nation sending children off to war, the Democrats' fallback strategy is now to motivate students to get out the vote. Just like sending kids to war, this too is a sure sign of collapse for the Democrats.

– Remember all those terror alerts during election years of the Bush administration and how the left always screamed that they were trumped up to gin up Republican voters? Lots of terror alerts going on right now. None of us on the right are thinking anything other than doesn't sound good. The terrorists are up to something.

– Former Clinton strategist and pollster Dick Morris thinks the Democrats will lose more than 72 seats in the House and lose the Senate. He also thought 2008 would be between Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton. Let's not set expectations too high. Blogger/Founder Jane Hamsher:

-Obama beats up base for being sick of getting beaten up. Tea party ideological purity good, progressive ideological purity bad.

This Raid on Peace Activists Brought to You By Elena Kagan

-As political and economic teams abandon ship, where's the plan for jobs and recovery?

Filed under: Bullet Points
September 28th, 2010
05:16 PM ET

Midterms underway in Ohio

(CNN) – Statewide absentee or early voting in the midterm elections kicked off Tuesday in the perennial swing state of Ohio.

Ohio joined Nebraska this week in allowing early voting, which is also underway in Georgia, South Dakota, Iowa, Vermont and Wyoming.

Roughly another two-dozen other states will allow early voting in October.

In Ohio's first year of early voting in 2006, 17 percent of voters took advantage of being able to vote 35 days before the election, according to the secretary of state's office. That number jumped to 30 percent in the 2008 election. Of the nearly 5.8 million votes cast two years ago, over 1.7 million were early votes.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

September 28th, 2010
05:09 PM ET

Democrats highlight outsourcing in ads

(CNN) – With little more than a month to go before Election Day, Democrats in the Rust Belt and elsewhere are latching onto a strategy they believe will help deflect voter criticism over the sluggish economy: accusing opponents of helping to outsource jobs.

At least 26 Democratic candidate or committee-sponsored ads about outsourcing have aired in hotly contested races since the beginning of September, according to a CNN count.

Earlier this month, the ads were focused in Rust Belt states such as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Now, however, they've made their way to the coasts, from California to South Carolina. Phrases such as "ship our jobs overseas," "sent jobs to China," and "outsourcing jobs" are now common refrains in closely contested districts and states nationwide.

"Democrats are still looking for a message," said Evan Tracey, head of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. "Their signature issue has been health care, and the fact is, they have passed a bill and lost the issue."

Anything Democrats "can tie Republicans to, whether it's free trade or tax credits, they're going to," Tracey added. "Trade is part of their core message to labor and outsourcing jobs. They're banking on getting the economically worried independent voters and the base fired up."

Potentially aiding the Democratic effort: Senate Republicans on Tuesday successfully blocked a bill from coming to the Senate floor that Democrats claim would help keep American jobs from going overseas.

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Filed under: JKUSA • John King
September 28th, 2010
04:50 PM ET
September 28th, 2010
01:45 PM ET

Emanuel all but certain to run for Chicago mayor

Three Democratic sources close to Rahm Emanuel tell CNN that the White House chief of staff informed senior colleagues he is all but certain to run for mayor of Chicago, and will leave the White House to take the final exploratory steps.

Close associates are already building a campaign team according to sources.

An announcement by Emanuel is expected to be scheduled for Friday, sources said.

One of the sources, a prominent Democrat close to the White House chief of staff, told CNN, "We see nothing that will stop a run. But you don't announce a campaign for mayor of Chicago in Washington, D.C. You leave and go home and finish your business there."

The second source said Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg's research of a possible mayoral run for Emanuel was "very positive. He has some obvious things to deal with, but it was very encouraging."

Asked what the potential issues were, the source said "nothing you wouldn't expect. Just reminding people Chicago always was before Washington."

Assuming there is no hitch - and none is expected - longtime Obama adviser Pete Rouse is in line to be tapped as interim chief of staff, two of the sources said.

All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the White House personnel turnover and the campaign planning.

September 28th, 2010
12:13 PM ET

Be in the know: Today's political bullet points

UPDATE 5:00pm: Senator Feingold tweets that he is “proud to join President Obama at my alma mater” and catches a flight home to Wisconsin after the Senate wraps up some votes. So don’t count him among the Democrats shying away from POTUS in the final stretch!

Everyday we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation in and outside Washington:

I’m tempted on this day to tell my favorite stories of each chapter of Rahm Emanuel’s life in politics: the onetime ballerina turned fund-raiser for Gov. Bill Clinton, then a hard-nosed White House staffer who helped craft the post 1994 Clinton “relevance” comeback, then off to a rising power in the House, and back to 1600 Pennsylvania as chief of staff. Now, the next chapter awaits ... And his many fans and many critics will be watching, and remarking. But, let’s get to the pressing business at hand. It’s a big back-to-the-future day for President Obama, who could use a little youthful burst of enthusiasm to help the Democratic cause. Most Democratic strategists, however, aren't betting on success as Mr. Obama goes back to campus for a GOTV push. Bullet points: the right and the center – Erick and John, respectively, agree that Alan Grayson has more than crossed a line. Wouldn’t it be nice if the left would join in and for a moment, just a moment, create a shared sense of basic decency in our politics. Like John, I love the Kentucky Senate race as a test of how long the Tea keeps its strength. Happy Tuesday — five weeks to go! -John King

Senior Political Columnist for John Avlon:

– Call it a Horse race: Jack Conway neck and neck with Rand Paul in Kentucky Senate Race – surges 15 points in three weeks, taking a lead among women. The great state that gives us Bluegrass and Bourbon looks like it might give us a photo-finish in this high stakes senate race.

– Rise of Partisan Media and the Road to the White House – smart Politico article lays out an uncomfortable and unprecedented fact: all the GOP presidential hopefuls currently out of office – with the exception of Mitt Romney – are under contact at Fox News. This is uncharted territory for our democracy, but they did stop using the 'fair and balanced' tag-line a while back.

Alan Grayson Hits a New Low – the bomb-throwing liberal freshman congressman from a Florida swing district is catching some well-deserved blowback for an ugly negative ad which refers to his opponent Dan Webster as "Taliban Dan" – this, of course, in the middle of a surge against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Added bonus – it's untrue – the Annenberg Center condemned Grayson for "using edited video to make his rival appear to be saying the opposite of what he really said."

– And in News of the Weird – the new Karzai family lawyer/PR flack is "Miami Babylon" author and ex-columnist Gerald Posner – Seriously. Apparently, the study of South Beach can prepare a person for the palace intrigues of Kabul.

RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:

– Alan Grayson (D-FL) is at it again. His latest campaign ad very selectively edits his opponent, Daniel Webster, to sound like Webster is saying precisely the opposite of what Webster actually said. Next, Grayson will be accusing Webster of having a daughter that's a thespian.

– Democrats may be gaining back some ground in California, Washington, and Delaware, but they are losing ground in Connecticut, West Virginia, and Illinois. Just how bad will November be?

– Russ Feingold is, yet again, skipping an Obama rally in Wisconsin. What's he afraid of?

Filed under: Bullet Points
September 28th, 2010
07:39 AM ET
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