Obama Not Hands-On in Debt Talks? Carney Says ‘That’s Nuts’

Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
June 27, 2011, 11:59 a.m.

While “the fed­er­al health care re­form bill passed in­to law earli­er this year isn’t pop­u­lar” in WY, WY Dem chair Leslie Petersen (D) on 10/7 “urged op­pon­ents to give it a second look.” She said crit­ics of the health care over­haul, “do not un­der­stand all the really good things that are in that act for them.”

Petersen’s sup­port for the health care over­haul “is one of her key policy dif­fer­ences” with ex-U.S. Atty Matt Mead (R).

Want More On This Race? Check out the Hot­line Dash­board for a com­pre­hens­ive run­down of this race, in­clud­ing stor­ies, polls, ads, FEC num­bers, and more!

Petersen “cri­ti­cized those” who have called for WY to join a multistate law­suit chal­len­ging the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the health care bill, par­tic­u­larly one part re­quir­ing most Amer­ic­ans to pur­chase health in­sur­ance. Mead said 10/7 that he dis­agreed that the new law, much of which goes in­to ef­fect in ‘14, will lower health care costs for WY res­id­ents.

Mead also said the cost of join­ing a law­suit would be cheap­er for WY than the cost of the new health care law (Pelzer, Casper Star-Tribune, 10/8).

Every four years, the race for the White House is defined by a turn­ing point, a peri­od when the con­test breaks to­ward one side and the oth­er can nev­er re­cov­er. In the winter and spring of 1996, a re­bound­ing eco­nomy gave Bill Clin­ton a lead over Bob Dole that he nev­er re­lin­quished. In 2008, the grow­ing eco­nom­ic crisis in early Septem­ber shut down any hope that Sen. John Mc­Cain‘s pres­id­en­tial cam­paign had left.

If Re­pub­lic­an Mitt Rom­ney is in­aug­ur­ated as pres­id­ent in Janu­ary, his­tory may look to June as the month in which Pres­id­ent Obama’s fate was sealed.

This may be the month, seen in ret­ro­spect, in which it be­came clear the eco­nom­ic winds that pro­pelled Clin­ton to a second term won’t be at Obama’s back. Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials barely tried to spin last week’s dis­mal jobs re­port, an ac­know­ledg­ment that there was noth­ing to brag about.

The eco­nom­ic tur­moil that ushered Obama in­to of­fice, and dra­mat­ic­ally shaped his first-term agenda, is an ex­ist­en­tial threat to the pro­spect of a second term. Re­pub­lic­ans would love noth­ing more than to con­vince voters that the pres­id­ent is at fault, but the fact is, there’s little the pres­id­ent can do to al­ter the course of the world eco­nomy.

(ON THE EN­VIR­ON­MENT: EPA Of­fi­cials Felled by ‘Cru­ci­fy’ Com­ment, Skips Hear­ing)

And the true threat to the eco­nomy doesn’t even lie in­side our bor­ders. The glob­al re­ces­sion borne of the U.S. hous­ing bubble once spread to Europe; now, like a new strain of patho­gen im­mune to an­ti­bi­ot­ics, the crisis in the euro­zone threatens to leap back across the At­lantic. Greece teeters on the brink of leav­ing the euro­zone, which would mean more eco­nom­ic in­stabil­ity. Greek voters head to the polls on June 17, and most ex­pect an anti-aus­ter­ity left­ist party to make fur­ther gains, put­ting any fu­ture European bail­out money at risk. Spain, mean­while, faces skyrock­et­ing in­terest rates, rais­ing the pro­spect of an­oth­er European eco­nomy headed to­ward a pre­cip­ice.

Back home, the Su­preme Court is put­ting fin­ish­ing touches on a de­cision on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of Obama’s health care over­haul and its in­di­vidu­al man­date. Obama has signaled that he will run against Wash­ing­ton at large, the Re­pub­lic­an House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives in par­tic­u­lar, and maybe even the Court it­self; if the Court strikes down the health care over­haul, Obama will have a new tar­get but at the cost of his sig­na­ture do­mest­ic achieve­ment. The White House has nev­er found a way to ex­plain health care re­form in a suc­cinct man­ner, and rel­it­ig­at­ing the is­sue in the heat of a pres­id­en­tial cam­paign isn’t a po­s­i­tion of strength for the Obama cam­paign.

(POLIT­ICS: Clin­ton to Obama: Sorry I Went Off Mes­sage)

Demo­crats are also wor­ried that in Wis­con­sin, June may have provided just a taste of what’s to come from a con­voy of wealthy Re­pub­lic­ans will­ing to spend hun­dreds of mil­lions on elec­tions. Re­pub­lic­ans vastly out­spent Demo­crats in Gov. Scott Walk­er’s suc­cess­ful bid to turn back a re­call at­tempt. While most strategists on both sides cau­tion against a spe­cial elec­tion’s abil­ity to fore­cast gen­er­al-elec­tion res­ults, some Demo­crats have a nag­ging sus­pi­cion that the flood of money that gave Walk­er the ad­vant­age will be re­peated in races across the coun­try. Demo­crats are us­ing Walk­er’s win to push skep­tic­al donors off the fence, but it’s un­clear wheth­er even ma­jor buy-in from wealthy lib­er­als can match Re­pub­lic­an donor com­mit­ments already on the table.

Walk­er’s win ad­ded to the per­cep­tion that Rom­ney has mo­mentum. Seni­or Re­pub­lic­ans were once quietly resigned to the like­li­hood of an­oth­er four years un­der Obama; that mood has changed. 

Even some po­ten­tial vice pres­id­en­tial short-listers, who had been cool to the idea of serving as the second-in-com­mand on a long-shot tick­et are more in­ter­ested: Former Min­nesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Paul Ry­an of Wis­con­sin and Sen. Rob Port­man of Ohio once ex­pressed  no in­terest in the vice pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion. Their at­ti­tudes, and their travel and speak­ing sched­ules, have changed dra­mat­ic­ally in re­cent weeks. All three seem to be au­di­tion­ing.

There are plenty of reas­ons Demo­crats should re­main op­tim­ist­ic that June will be but a bump. The co­ali­tion that elec­ted Walk­er told exit poll­sters they favored Obama by a sig­ni­fic­ant mar­gin (a sen­ti­ment re­flec­ted in the most ac­cur­ate poll of the race, out of Mar­quette Law School). Across the na­tion, Demo­crats have a much bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture than Re­pub­lic­ans in key battle­ground states. And Obama leads in both na­tion­al and most battle­ground state polls. The Su­preme Court might end up de­clar­ing health care re­form con­sti­tu­tion­al, and the eco­nomy might be­gin to pick up steam and add jobs at a more im­press­ive clip.

But if Rom­ney wins the White House, re­mem­ber June as the month in which Rom­ney’s cam­paign went from re­sem­bling Bob Dole’s ill-fated 1996 ef­fort to rep­res­ent­ing something closer to Bill Clin­ton’s 1992 win. The tip­ping point to­ward a Rom­ney vic­tory may be at hand.

What We're Following See More »
Former Fox Anchor Heather Nauert to Be State Dept. Spokeswoman
8 hours ago
Trump Wants to Slash Corporate Rate to 15%
10 hours ago
Trump Tax Reform Package Coming Next Week
10 hours ago

President Trump today said he'll be releasing his tax reformpacakge next week around the 100-day mark of his presidency. He promised that "businesses and individuals will receive a 'massive tax cut ... bigger I believe than any tax cut ever."

Mulvaney: Tax Reform Details Won’t Be Released This Week
10 hours ago

Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."

Pence Cuts Asia Trip Short For Big Week
14 hours ago

Vice President Mike Pence has cut his Asia trip short "to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday." Pence will return to Washington on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. Trump has a busy week ahead, as he plans to roll out a tax reform on framework, sign a number of executive orders, and works to keep the government open past Friday.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.