The Obama drag: Republicans have a great advantage heading into the 2014 midterm elections, according to another poll. But this poll, conducted by the PEW Research Center and USA Today, suggests their advantage could be starker than it was even in 2010, when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.
In a generic question about whether a voter supports the Democrat or the Republican in their own district, Republicans got 47% and Democrats got 43%. That’s a switch from October, when Democrats held an advantage in a PEW poll.
More troubling, perhaps, for Democrats is that President Obama is not a draw for their voters. Just 31% of Democrats think of their vote as “for” the President. Four years ago, 47% of Democrats felt that way.
Numbers like these could have implications for Democrats in 2014, for sure. But they could also influence how Democrats run for president. Sixty-five percent of the people in the poll said they hope the next president has policies that are not similar to Obama’s.
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House Speaker John Boehner sort of apologized Tuesday for last week mocking his GOP colleagues’ unwillingness to vote on hard issues like immigration.
"Our members know me, all right? And, but you know, sometimes I can rip people just a little too much, sometimes,” he said. “This wouldn't be the first time.”
Boehner said there’s no secret conspiracy to pass a bill, but if Obama works with Congress on other issues, there is the potential for some sort of immigration accord.
Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York told the New York Daily News there would be an immigration bill on President Obama’s desk by June or July.
Schumer said it likely would not be the bipartisan comprehensive plan passed in 2013 by the Senate – but predicting any kind of a reform bill was bold.
It is hard to see how anybody can craft a bill in the next few months that would satisfy Democrats – who insist there should be a pathway to citizenship for otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants – as well as Republicans, who insist the opposite.
Tuesday was originally supposed to be the deadline for U.S.-brokered talks to reach a Mideast peace deal. Instead, talks have broken down and Secretary of State John Kerry has apologized for his comment, recorded surreptitiously, that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state if it does not find a way to achieve peace with Palestinians.
Kerry’s remark drew expected condemnation from the right: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he should resign. But it also was condemned from the left. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, didn’t mention Kerry, but she tweeted that any correlation between Israel and apartheid is ridiculous.
In a written apology, Kerry pointed out that a number of current Israeli officials have used the same term, but he added that it has no place in the discourse.
“I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution,” he said.
A reporter for The Daily Beast first published an article including the apartheid comment Sunday night, after Kerry gave what was supposed to be a private talk as part of the Trilateral Commission. How reporter Josh Rogin got the audio is a mystery. The commission, a group formed to foster cooperation among Japan, Europe and North America, apologized to Kerry for the leak.
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The justice and her plans: She’s 81, has had two bouts with cancer and has been on the Supreme Court for 21 years, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made it clear she won’t be rushed off the bench.
It’s no secret that a lot of Democrats would like to see her step down.
There’s certainly no guarantee a Democrat will win the White House in 2016. And more immediately, there’s no guarantee that Democrats will keep their majority in the Senate in 2014. Both elections could complicate Democrats’ hope to replace Ginsburg with an equally liberal justice.