TECHNOLOGY

At NASA, Giffords Staff Talks About Her Voice, Understanding Sarcasm

Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
May 16, 2011, 8:04 a.m.

Pres. Obama re­cor­ded a ra­dio ad for Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-17). Full script:

OBAMA: “This is Barack Obama and I want you to know why I strongly sup­port Kendrick Meek for U.S. Sen­ate. Kendrick’s been a power­ful voice for Flor­idi­ans: stand­ing up to spe­cial in­terests, to hold Wall Street ac­count­able, fight­ing the in­sur­ance in­dustry to make sure health care isn’t denied to our chil­dren be­cause of a preex­ist­ing con­di­tion, work­ing to elim­in­ate sub­sidies to banks so young people can af­ford a col­lege edu­ca­tion, and Kendrick strongly op­poses ex­tend­ing tax breaks for the wealthy and has worked tire­lessly to ex­pand the middle class and sup­port small busi­nesses. So please join me in sup­port­ing Kendrick Meek for Sen­ate. Be­cause if we work to­geth­er, he will win.” AN­NCR: “Go to Kendrick­Meek.com to learn more. Or text ‘join’ to 35736. That’s join’ to 35736 to get in­volved today.” MEEK: “I’m Kendrick Meek, can­did­ate for sen­ate, and I ap­prove this mes­sage” (re­lease, 10/11).

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!

Meek is also ap­pear­ing with Obama dur­ing his FL swing this p.m. (re­lease, 10/11). Meek spoke on MS­N­BC on the re­port say­ing he’s could drop out: “Ab­so­lutely not. This Wall Street Journ­al colum­nist wrote an art­icle. I guess he wanted a little at­ten­tion and noth­ing fur­ther from the truth. Today I meet the pres­id­ent land­ing here in Miami. Next week I have Bill Clin­ton in two cit­ies on the i-4 cor­ridor. En­dorsed by the vet­er­ans of for­eign wars. … We’re mov­ing full steam ahead.”

Meek, on if Gov. Charlie Crist (I) should drop out: “That’s up to the gov­ernor. I can live with­in my skin and stay on my two feet say­ing that I’ve done everything that I was sup­posed to do. Qual­i­fy­ing by pe­ti­tion, first can­did­ate in the state to do that through sig­na­ture” (“Daily Run­down,” 10/11).

So Many Pa­pers, So Little Time

Crist­was en­dorsed by the St. Peters­burg Times (10/8) and the Tal­l­a­hasse Demo­crat (10/10). Ex-state House Speak­er Marco Ru­bio (R) was en­dorsed by the Tampa Tribune (10/10).

Crist was in the “Situ­ation Room” on 10/9 p.m.

Crist, on how he’ll “turn this around” in the fi­nal weeks of the race: “I think polls are go­ing to be all over the place. There was a Flor­ida Cham­ber poll that came out last Fri­day had the split between Marco Ru­bio and my­self at 7 points. Then Zo­gby, a very re­spec­ted poll, came out a couple of days ago, had the spread at only 6 points. The real­ity is I think that it is clos­ing. I really do. And you’re go­ing to see these things bounce back and forth.”

Crist, on Ru­bio: “I think when you start to ana­lyze the is­sues here in Flor­ida, is­sues like So­cial Se­cur­ity, where he lit­er­ally talks about rais­ing the age of eli­gib­il­ity, chan­ging the COLA be­ne­fits and cut­ting be­ne­fits for our seni­or cit­izens in Flor­ida. He also talks about, in terms of wo­men’s rights, that he wants to over­turn Roe v Wade, and take away a wo­man’s right to choose as it relates to per­son­al de­cisions about her body.”

Crist, on wheth­er a deal is in the works to get Meek out of the race to boost his chances: “Well, num­ber one, I think we’re go­ing to beat him any­way be­cause of the is­sues I just talked about. … But be­side that point, I think what they really want in Flor­ida, and frankly Amer­ica, is a com­mon sense, you know, per­son, who wants to have con­sensus be able to be made, make pro­gress in Wash­ing­ton, DC …”

Crist, on his open­ing pitch at the Rangers-Rays game: “Well, I’m an old quar­ter­back. I nev­er did play base­ball. But I sort of felt like, what’s that movie, Ma­jor League with Bob Ueck­er and Charlie Sheen? A little out­side to the right. Prob­ably more sym­bol­ic of my Re­pub­lic­an op­pon­ent than go­ing right down the middle which I’m try­ing to do in Flor­ida for my fel­low Flor­idi­ans” (CNN, 10/9).

Mean­while, Crist told the Flor­ida Times-Uni­on ed board that he “can’t de­cide” who to vote for in the GOV race, but he knows CFO Alex Sink (D) bet­ter and thinks she is “hon­est, im­press­ive and straight-for­ward” (10/8).

Mackin’ On It

Ex-Sen. Con­nie Mack (R) re­cor­ded a rob­ocall for Ru­bio hit­ting Crist. Full script:

MACK: “Hello, this is Sen­at­or Con­nie Mack. I used to be Charlie Crist’s cam­paign chair­man, and we’ve been friends a long time. But his at­tacks on Marco Ru­bio crossed the line, and I had to speak out and set the re­cord straight. Charlie’s at­tacks are just plain false. Marco would nev­er cut be­ne­fits for any­one on So­cial Se­cur­ity. Check the facts at Mar­cor­u­bio.com. Charlie’s last minute scare tac­tics are dis­ap­point­ing to me, and a dis­ser­vice to you. Marco will pro­tect So­cial Se­cur­ity. And he’s the only can­did­ate for Sen­ate who will chal­lenge the dir­ec­tion Wash­ing­ton is tak­ing our coun­try. I hope we can count on your vote for Marco Ru­bio for Sen­ate. Thank you for your time. Paid for by Marco Ru­bio for U.S. Sen­ate” (re­lease, 10/8).

Ru­bio stumped in Punta Gorda 10/8 and said he “is not ready to rest easy, even though polls con­sist­ently” show him ahead. Ru­bio: “How do we know we’re far ahead? There are these polls, but we don’t pay at­ten­tion to them. These were the same polls that showed I was so far be­hind” (Wal­lace, Sara­sota Her­ald-Tribune, 10/11).

St. Peters­burg Times’ Leary pro­files “Ru­bio’s met­eor­ic rise,” as “a story of un­re­mit­ting am­bi­tion, nat­ur­al tal­ent and power­ful con­nec­tions.”

“Ru­bio is a polit­ic­al jock: pop­u­lar, good-look­ing, cha­ris­mat­ic. His cam­paign speech about ful­filling the Amer­ic­an dream for his Cuban ex­ile par­ents is so steeped with emo­tion and pride, it brings audi­ences to tears. His story is also one of con­tra­dic­tions and un­even res­ults. As charm­ing as he is cal­cu­lat­ing, Ru­bio pro­jects the fresh­ness of an out­sider but is a ca­reer in­sider. He preaches fisc­al re­straint but as a le­gis­lat­or on the rise, he spent lav­ishly from polit­ic­al funds filled by spe­cial in­terest money and used” a GOP cred­it card for per­son­al ex­penses.

“Against it all, Ru­bio con­tin­ued his tra­ject­ory, de­fy­ing crit­ics who view him as more flash than sub­stance and the doubts of even his most ar­dent sup­port­ers” (10/9).

A Little Bit­ter-Sweeten­er

St. Peters­burg Times’ Smith pro­files Crist’s staffers, who in­clude his “big sis­ter, a long­time Tampa Bay GOP or­gan­izer, a vet­er­an Demo­crat­ic strategist and col­lege buddy and a New York City polit­ic­al hot­shot with no Flor­ida ex­per­i­ence” (10/10).

With apo­lo­gies to T.S. Eli­ot, Feb­ru­ary was the cruelest month for Mitt Rom­ney, Rick San­tor­um, and Re­pub­lic­ans’ hopes of oust­ing Pres­id­ent Obama.

In the tu­mul­tu­ous four weeks since Rom­ney seem­ingly sealed the nom­in­a­tion in Flor­ida, mo­mentum in the GOP race has ca­reened between the buttoned-up former Mas­sachu­setts gov­ernor and the vol­uble former sen­at­or from Pennsylvania, who dis­placed Newt Gin­grich as Rom­ney’s prin­cip­al chal­lenger. But even many Re­pub­lic­ans privately agree that the past month’s one con­sist­ent win­ner was Obama.

Early on, many Re­pub­lic­ans (in­clud­ing Rom­ney) ar­gued that a lengthy primary battle could strengthen the even­tu­al nom­in­ee. Such talk has died down since San­tor­um’s three-state Feb. 7 sweep upen­ded the race.

Since then, the two men’s fierce struggle has widened ideo­lo­gic­al and class di­vi­sions in the GOP co­ali­tion, high­lighted each can­did­ate’s weak­ness as a cam­paign­er, and, above all, sent both hurt­ling away from the polit­ic­al cen­ter as they pur­sue voters in the party’s ideo­lo­gic­al van­guard. “For the past two or three weeks, this has been a very bad peri­od for the Re­pub­lic­an Party and swing voters,” ac­know­ledges Peter Wehner, the former White House dir­ect­or of stra­tegic ini­ti­at­ives for Pres­id­ent George W. Bush.

Rom­ney re­gained the ad­vant­age this week with his twin vic­tor­ies in Ari­zona and Michigan. But he didn’t win de­cis­ively enough to sug­gest that he can close out the con­test any­time soon — or without fur­ther bumps and re­versals.

Even in se­cur­ing these wins, Rom­ney con­tin­ued to struggle with the most con­ser­vat­ive ele­ments of the GOP co­ali­tion. Voters who iden­ti­fied as strong tea party sup­port­ers or evan­gel­ic­al Chris­ti­ans pre­ferred San­tor­um nar­rowly in Ari­zona and by double-di­git mar­gins in Michigan, where he con­tested Rom­ney more vig­or­ously. By them­selves, those deeply con­ser­vat­ive voters are not enough to pro­pel San­tor­um to vic­tory. From Iowa on, Rom­ney has es­tab­lished a sol­id hold on the GOP’s ma­na­geri­al wing — voters who are bet­ter-edu­cated, more af­flu­ent, cent­rist, and sec­u­lar. To over­come Rom­ney’s strength with those voters, San­tor­um must reach more suc­cess­fully than he has so far in­to the party’s pop­u­list wing, the broad­er range of work­ing-class Re­pub­lic­ans who are cool­er to the former gov­ernor.

But for all of San­tor­um’s vis­cer­al cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic pop­u­lism (like call­ing Obama a “snob” for en­cour­aging more col­lege edu­ca­tion), he hasn’t shown that he can con­nect with those voters con­sist­ently. Al­though San­tor­um is Cath­ol­ic, he has run be­hind Rom­ney among Cath­ol­ic voters, for in­stance, in every state where there have been enough of them to meas­ure in exit polls. For now, San­tor­um is at­tract­ing Re­pub­lic­ans from too nar­row a band­width to be­come the nom­in­ee.

But San­tor­um’s co­ali­tion is big enough to al­low him to con­tin­ue win­ning states in which the Re­pub­lic­an elect­or­ate clearly tilts right. And it is clearly large enough to ex­ert a grav­it­a­tion­al pull on the front-run­ner. Rom­ney has re­spon­ded to each chal­lenger who has emerged to his right (Rick Perry, Gin­grich, San­tor­um) by find­ing a hand­ful of is­sues on which that op­pon­ent has de­vi­ated from con­ser­vat­ive or­tho­doxy and then pound­ing those is­sues to drive home the ar­gu­ment that right-lean­ing voters can’t trust him.

It’s a nervy strategy for a can­did­ate whose own greatest vul­ner­ab­il­ity is the sense, es­pe­cially among con­ser­vat­ives, that he has sys­tem­at­ic­ally re­con­sidered his own po­s­i­tions for polit­ic­al ad­vant­age. But Rom­ney’s man­euver has worked well enough to pre­vent any of those rivals from con­sol­id­at­ing most con­ser­vat­ive voters against him for more than a short time.

Out­flank­ing those rivals, though, has re­quired Rom­ney to stake out un­flinch­ingly con­ser­vat­ive po­s­i­tions on an ar­ray of is­sues such as im­mig­ra­tion that could present gen­er­al-elec­tion li­ab­il­it­ies. In just the past 10 days, he has stiffened his op­pos­i­tion to the auto­maker bail­out (in the pro­cess, pos­sibly con­ced­ing Michigan); sharply es­cal­ated his rhet­or­ic against or­gan­ized labor (which could help uni­ons hold mem­bers who are dis­en­chanted with Obama); and moved to pree­mpt con­ser­vat­ive eco­nom­ic cri­ti­cism by un­veil­ing a plan to cut mar­gin­al tax rates for all in­come-earners by 20 per­cent (which could be dif­fi­cult to sell at a time when polls con­sist­ently show that about two-thirds of Amer­ic­ans sup­port rais­ing taxes on the rich to re­duce the de­fi­cit).

Rom­ney should also prob­ably learn how to say “a mod­el” in Span­ish be­cause if he wins the nom­in­a­tion, he’s prob­ably go­ing to hear the phrase (“un mod­e­lo”) in­cess­antly in Demo­crats’ Span­ish-lan­guage ads after he used it last week to de­scribe Ari­zona’s tough anti-im­mig­ra­tion law.

And amid all this, Rom­ney has dis­played a rich guy’s Tour­ette’s syn­drome, fuel­ing Demo­crat­ic hopes of blue-col­lar gains by awk­wardly bab­bling about his wealth. “He is tak­ing al­most all of the swing con­stitu­en­cies where he would need to im­prove on John Mc­Cain’s per­form­ance and mak­ing it much more dif­fi­cult,” says Demo­crat­ic poll­ster Geoff Gar­in.

None of this guar­an­tees that Rom­ney could not be re­hab­il­it­ated for Novem­ber or that Obama’s own vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies will not provide open­ings. (San­tor­um would face a far rock­i­er path after his seri­al erup­tions on so­cial is­sues last month.) But this leap-Feb­ru­ary did not end one day too soon for Re­pub­lic­ans who are nervously watch­ing Rom­ney’s fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ings de­cline with both in­de­pend­ents and the most con­ser­vat­ive voters. “My hope is that when we get to the gen­er­al elec­tion,” sighs one seni­or party strategist back­ing Rom­ney, “there is a re­set but­ton.”

What We're Following See More »
TO VISIT US TROOPS
John McCain Paid Secret Visit To Syria
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.

Source:
‘MORE WITH LESS’
Trump Budget to Call for Major Cuts
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."

Source:
THANKS TO MILITARY ROLE
McMaster Requires Congressional Approval
14 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.

Source:
SENT LETTERS TO A DOZEN ORGANIZATIONS
Senate Intel Looks to Preserve Records of Russian Interference
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."

Source:
WON’T INTERFERE IN STRUCTURING NSC OFFICE
White House to Give McMaster Carte Blanche
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

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.

Login