October 29, 2012

Obama unveils TV ad, calling Romney "dishonest" on auto bailout

President Obama released a TV ad Monday, responding to a new commerical by Republican Mitt Romney about Chrysler possibly building Jeeps in China.

The Romney ad, which has not been publicized by the campaign, has been attacking for alluding that Chrysler is moving jobs from Toledo to China. The company may open a plant in China, but won't take jobs from Ohio.

In the final week of the campaign, Ohio continues to be a top battleground state. Obama has had a slight lead in the Buckeye State, but some polls indicate Romney have be gaining some ground.

Obama supported the auto bailout, while Romney did not. It's a key difference in a state in which one out of every job is tied to the industry. The new Obama ad, airing only in Ohio, ends with these words: “Mitt Romney on Ohio jobs?  Wrong Then....Dishonest Now.”


November 05, 2010

Hoyer, Clyburn likely to battle for Democrats' number 2 House spot

Congressional insiders are bracing for a tough, divisive battle for House Democrats' number two spot between current Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and current whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Because Democrats will be in the minority next year, there's one less top leadership position. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seeking to become minority leader. Elections are expected the week of Nov. 15.

Shortly after Pelosi's announcement Friday she would seek the top spot, Hoyer and Clyburn both issued statements.

Clyburn sent Democratic colleagues a lengthy letter explaining his views, stressing the need to communicate better with the public.

"I know that good policy does not always make for good politics, but I also know that good records and effective messaging do," said the House's highest-ranking African-American lawmaker. "To regain our majority, Democrats must offer a clear and concise narrative that wins back the trust and allegiance of independent, middle class, and moderate voters.  They need to KNOW that we are on their side."

He urged tapping into "the innate optimism of the American people—noting that while the times are challenging, there has never been a better time to be living in America, and that our policies will create greater opportunities for all Americans."

Hoyer was a bit more equivocal:

"In the days since the election," he said, "I have received an outpouring of support from Democratic colleagues who have told me that I should remain in our party’s leadership, so that our Caucus can hit the ground running with a strong, tested leadership team. Over the next several days, I will continue to speak to my colleagues about serving our Caucus as Democratic Whip, and I will announce a decision after I have consulted with them.”

June 23, 2010

House Democrats float idea of cutting $7 billion from budget

After pressure from moderate Democrats to show some progress in curbing spending, House Democrats are seriously considering a budget plan that would cut about $7 billion from President Obama's budget.

The plan, whose details have not been released, was discussed Wednesday at a House caucus meeting, and was said to gain some support from the 54 members of the Blue Dog, or centrist, party coalition.

The cuts would come from $1.1 trillion in domestic agency budgets. House leaders expect to write a one-year plan for fiscal 2011, which begins Oct.1. Moderates have been under increasing political pressure from constituents to show progress on the deficit, expected to reach $1.5 trillion this year.

August 04, 2009

MoveOn.org targets conservative Democrats on health care

Democratic loyalists are fighting with conservative Democrats_over the airwaves.


MoveOn.org, considered sympathetic to liberal Democratic causes, plans to run radio ads beginning Wednesday aimed at pressuring three party House of Representatives members. Reps. John Barrow, D-Ga., Jim Matheson, D-Utah and Charlie Melancon, D-La., were among five Democrast who Friday voted against a health care plan authored by House Democratic leaders.


The plan won House Energy and Commerce Committee approval, as 31 Democrats voted yes. All committee Republicans and the five Democrats voted no. Two other House committees have also passed health care overhaul legislation, and House Democratic leaders will merge the three versions into one bill. They hope for a full House vote by mid-September.


And MoveOn.org wants dissident Democrats to know they should think about their votes.


“Americans cannot afford to wait any longer for health care reform. The Blue Dogs who voted against the health care bill will have to go home and explain why they sided with insurance industry instead of voting to fix our broken health care system,” said Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org. “MoveOn’s 5 million members expect the Democrats in Congress to deliver on the promise of change that got them elected."


The ad starts by saying that in the local congressional district, "a patient lost insurance coverage (today) for medical care she needs," and "hospital bills will eat up another family's savings."


"Instead of helping (local) families get more affordable, quality health care," the ad says, "Congressman (Barrow/Matheson/Melancon) sided with the special interests and insurance companies."


To hear the ads: http://pol.moveon.org/blue_dog_ads/



August 03, 2009

GOP: Obama's not a doctor; he only plays one on TV

Republicans want you to know that, in their view, President Barack Obama's not a doctor, but he plays one on TV.

The House GOP Monday unveiled a new video juxtaposing some recent Obama comments with an old 1980s footage from the ad where an actor explained how he was a doctor on TV only.

House Republican Leader John Boehner drove home the point in a statement:"  This is a lighthearted video, but it underscores a serious point that Congressional Democrats are going to hear throughout August as they travel outside of Washington: Americans want lower health care costs – not a trillion-dollar government takeover of health care that increases costs and lets Washington bureaucrats make decisions that should be made by doctors and patients.”

To see the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egcIKZoNGd8

July 24, 2009

Democratic chairman growing impatient with moderate Democrats

Here's something rarely seen at the Capitol: A committee chairman threatening to bypass his own committee in order to get a health care vote.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has been trying all week to find consensus among Democrats. Moderates have balked at other Democrats' efforts, saying they want more changes that could include more spending cuts.

If some agreement is not reached soon, Waxman told reporters Friday, "We're going to have to look at perhaps bypassing the committee because we've got to get moving on this legislation. I hope we don't come to that conclusion."

One of his fears is that should the seven committee Democratic moderates join Republicans, they would effectively control the committee, and Waxman said, "We're not going to let them empower the Republicans to control the committee."

The House of Representatives is scheduled to leave for its summer recess July 31. Democratic talks were to continue Friday afternoon.

May 06, 2009

Blue Dog? Lap Dog?

It's going to be up to the voters in 2010 to decide how they view Democratic centrist congressmen, and both Democrats and Republicans are pushing hard to make sure that voter understands the nature of the ... ahem ... beast.

Blue Dogs are 51 House of Representatives Democrats, moderates who consider themselves more fiscally conservative than party leaders. But most also have voted for recent Democratic-authored budgets that increase spending well above the rate of inflation.

As a result, Republicans are taking aim, and starting Wednesday plan to run ads against moderates they see as vulnerable. A sample of the one planned against Arkansas' Marion Berry, a congressman since 1997:

"In Arkansas," the announcer says, "Marion Berry calls himself a BLUE DOG. A Blue Dog DEMOCRAT, that is. Berry claims he’s conservative on budgets and spending ... but this year in Washington, Marion Berry’s not voting like a Blue Dog ... He’s voting like a Lap Dog."

It goes on to tie Berry to President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Blue Dogs have countered that they helped get spending levels down from what Obama sought - they did help get some cuts in the budget resolution approved recently - and their numbers alone give them enough clout to make members of both parties think hard before spending excessively.

The Blue Dog coalition has 51 members. Democrats control 256 House seats and 218 constitute a majority.


"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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