A new Quinnipiac University poll in New Jersey (Jan. 10-13; 1,207 RVs; +/- 2.8%) finds that 55% of New Jersey voters approve of the way Gov. Chris Christie (R) is handling his job, down from 68% last July. When asked if Christie is honest and trustworthy, 51% said he was while 41% said he was not. Of those who were familiar with the bridge controversy, 41% said they think Christie was aware his aides were orchestrating the traffic jam in Fort Lee last September compared to 50 percent who said they believe his aides acted alone. (release)
CHRISTIE: STATE OF THE (OVERSHADOWED) STATE. “With the cloud of the George Washington Bridge lane-closure controversy still looming over him,” Christie “laid out a series of proposals in his State of the State address Tuesday as he worked to show the voters who overwhelmingly supported him last year that he’s not letting a scandal get in the way of his job.”
Christie only briefly addressed the scandal at the top of his 45-minute speech: “I am the governor, and I am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch - both good and bad… Without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen again.” (Bergen Record)
WALKER: DEFENDS CHRISTIE. Following a meeting at the White House with President Obama and other executive members of the National Governors Association Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) praised the way Christie has dealt with the bridge controversy. Walker: “He was completely transparent and gave the public a chance to hear what he understood and what he knew, took action on it — decisive action in terms of removing the people who had not been forthright with him. … And assuming everything stays as he’s announced, I don’t see that being a problem for him.” (USA Today)
BROWN: RULES OUT 2016 BID. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) “said Tuesday that he will not run for president in 2016, dashing political speculation that he might make a fourth bid for the White House.” (Los Angeles Times)
- 1 Only the Margin Seems in Doubt in the Presidential Race
- 2 Great Democratic Hopes Energize Quiet Faithful in Missouri
- 3 The Late-Breaking Democratic House Targets
- 4 Smart Ideas: Ken Bone Revealed a Serious Policy Divide, and Elizabeth Warren Seeks a Co-Presidency
- 5 Comparing the 2016 House Map to 2008
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The protest over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline turned violent overnight as the police and National Guard sought to remove the protesters, surrounding them with assault vehicles and officers in riot gear. The law enforcement officers used pepper spray and fired bean bags for more than six hours. In response, the protesters "lit debris on fire and threw Molotov cocktails in retreat." One woman pulled out a gun and fired at officers, narrowly missing before being arrested. The protesters claim the pipeline would be constructed on land belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The House has scheduled leadership votes for Nov. 15, the day after members return from their election recess. "Since mid-September, members of the House Freedom Caucus have weighed whether they should ask leadership to push back the elections so they can see how House Speaker Paul Ryan performs at the end of the year," but leaders don't seem inclined to grant their request.
Gross domestic product "expanded at a 2.9% annual clip from July through September. That’s a marked improvement from the first half of the year when the U.S. grew just barely over 1%." The robust numbers make it more likely that the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates at its next meeting.
"A federal jury on Thursday found Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and five co-defendants not guilty of conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs through intimidation, threat or force during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The Bundy brothers and occupiers Jeff Banta and David Fry also were found not guilty of having guns in a federal facility." In a strange "coda" to the decision, Bundy's attorney Marcus Mumford was tackled and tasered by marshals in the courtroom as he argued that Bundy should be free to go.
Hillary Clinton is eyeing Vice President Joe Biden to be her secretary of state, and her campaign is trying to figure out the best way to broach the idea with Biden. Biden has a lifetime of foreign policy experience, serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; he can also put eight years as vice president on his foreign policy resume. Biden has previously stated that he would not work in a Clinton administration, so it might be a tough sell for the Clinton camp.