ABC News

White House monitored loan for parasite company Solyndra

Embattled solar cell company Solyndra is catching hell right about now.  They’ve filed for bankruptcy, but if that’s not enough, they’re finding themselves drawing a lot of attention.  That’s to be expected since President Obama highlighted a government loan to Solyndra as evidence that his green jobs program would jump start an industry that hasn’t been able to create profits for themselves.

So where is the mainstream media on this one?  Well, ABC News has been on it, that’s for sure.  They have obtained emails about how the White House monitored the loan made to Solyndra.

Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

The company’s solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president’s green energy plan — billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. “This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.

Three new national polls in the race for the GOP nomination

As we head into tonight’s debate at the Reagan Library in California, the first since Rick Perry joined the field, we have three polls to go through since so much has come out in the last few days. This is probably too much for one post, but it’s probably best to lay it out all at once instead of three separate posts.

With this also, the only commentary I’ll offer is just to say that the race is now a two-man race between Perry and Romney. That’s not to say that other candidates aren’t deserving of attention or respect, especially since a couple of them will continue to help drive the narrative over the course of the primary. But the numbers don’t lie.

We’ll start with the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which is good news for Perry and bad for Romney; who trials by 15 points:

  • Rick Perry: 38%
  • Mitt Romney: 23%
  • Ron Paul: 9%
  • Michele Bachmann: 8%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Herman Cain: 5%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • None/Not sure: 7%

And while President Barack Obama is taking heat for the economy, he still leads in pospective head-to-head matchups against both Romney and Rick Perry. Here are those numbers:

Barack Obama v. Rick Perry

  • Obama: 47%
  • Perry: 42%
  • Neither/other: 4%
  • Unsure: 5%

Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney

WaPo/ABC poll: Romney still holds advantage in GOP race

While Michele Bachmann has certainly picked up steam in the race for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney is still holds a double-digit lead over her in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Here’s how it shapes up:

  • Mitt Romney: 26%
  • Sarah Palin: 16%
  • Michele Bachmann: 13%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Rick Perry: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 2%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Other: 1%
  • NOTA/Wouldn’t vote/No opinion: 9%

But like many of the polls we’ve seen over the last several weeks, they tested the Republican field with and without Sarah Palin. The first set is without her running and with Rick Perry’s likely candidacy.

  • Mitt Romney: 30%
  • Michele Bachmann: 16%
  • Ron Paul: 11%
  • Rick Perry: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 6%
  • Jon Huntsman:3%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Other: 1%
  • NOTA/Wouldn’t vote/No opinion: 11%

This second set includes Palin, but leaves off Perry:

  • Mitt Romney: 28%
  • Sarah Palin: 19%
  • Michele Bachmann: 13%
  • Ron Paul: 10%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 2%
  • Other: 1%
  • NOTA/Wouldn’t vote/No opinion: 11%

The poll shows strong numbers in terms support for Romney, but it also has points of concern for his campaign as noted in the Washington Post’s report on the poll:

Mitt Romney leads Obama, GOP pack in South Carolina

Despite being ripped yesterday by the Club for Growth - and justifiably so, in my opinion - for his many inconsistencies on economic issues, it’s been a good last week or so for Mitt Romney. It seems that Republicans are beginning to come to his candidacy after other establishment candidacies either never came to be (Barbour, Daniels) haven’t gained traction (Gingrich, Huntsman and Pawlenty) and he is beginning to lineup important donors for his quest to the GOP presidential nomination.

What’s more, Romney is now able to boast that he is the only candidate that can beat Barack Obama; at least according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll (emphasis mine):

Romney appears formidable: In a general-election trial heat in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll he runs evenly with Barack Obama among all Americans, and numerically outpoints him, 49-46 percent, among registered voters — not a statistically significant lead, given sampling error, but a clear reflection of Obama’s vulnerability to a well-positioned challenger.

Romney, though, is the only Republican to run that well; Obama leads all other potential opponents tested in this poll — Palin, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman. Palin fares worst, trailing Obama by 17 points among all adults, 15 points among registered voters.

Generic congressional ballot narrows, GOP remains in the lead

You may have heard about a new poll conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post showing Democrats gaining ground on Republicans in the generic congressional ballot. Is this evidence that Democrats aren’t in as much trouble as we thought? Not necessarily, though things are certainly getting interesting. As Ed Morrissy points out, the poll has a flaw:

[H]ow did the Democrats manage this rather remarkable comeback?  Well, the WaPo/ABC pollster managed to find their usual sample gap.  They went from a 31/25/39 D/R/I split in September in the general sample and 31/26/37 among registered voters, to 33/23/29 in the general sample and 34/25/37 among registered voters.  That nine-point advantage to Democrats among RVs is almost twice what it was in the previous sample.

To believe that this represents the electorate, we would have to believe that (a) Democrats have had a big month in attracting voters to their banner, (b) Republicans somehow lost a bunch of voters in the same period, and (c) Democrats now have an advantage outstripping their 2008 situation when they won the presidency by seven points in the popular vote.  Not even their own poll supports any of those conclusions, and both Gallup and Rasmussen this year put the partisan ID split among the general population at between 1.5 and 3 points.

Gallup isn’t making sense

Earlier today, Zach mentioned the Gallup numbers that came out yesterday. While I agree with him that Republicans need to focus on real issues (jobs should be the theme), the numbers from Gallup are confusing.

Last week, Gallup showed Republicans with a 10 point advantage in the generic ballot and a 25 point advantage in voter enthusiasm. This week Gallup shows both parties tied at 46% in the generic ballot, however, voter enthusiasm is exactly the same as it was the previous poll. It doesn’t pass the smell test.

Over at Outside the Beltway, Doug Mataconis makes a great point:

For some reason Gallup is still measuring Registered rather than Likely Voters. With only eight weeks left to go until election day, the predictive value of a Registered Voter poll is fairly low.

Gallup has tracked registered voters in generic ballots. Other polling firms, such as a Rasmussen (+12 for GOP), Washington Post/ABC (+13 for GOP) and Wall Street Journal/NBC, are using likely voters to measure their numbers, which gives a more accurate picture of what we can expect in November.

WaPo on Citizens United case gives cause for concern

The Washington Post and ABC News released the results of a joint poll on the recent Citizens United decision from the Supreme Court, ith federal limitations on corporate spending during an election. The results are concerning:

Americans of both parties overwhelmingly oppose a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political campaigns, and most favor new limits on such spending, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Eight in 10 poll respondents say they oppose the high court’s Jan. 21 decision to allow unfettered corporate political spending, with 65 percent “strongly” opposed. Nearly as many backed congressional action to curb the ruling, with 72 percent in favor of reinstating limits.

The poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85 percent opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (81 percent).

This poll, however, could be used as an example on how to phrase a question to get a specific result. As NewsBusters notes:

There are economists that believe the stimulus failed, Mr. President

President Barack Obama says that economists from the left and the right agree that the “stimulus” bill has saved jobs. Jake Tapper from ABC News isn’t sure about that:

[C]learly other economists are much more skeptical, including Dan Mitchell at the libertarian Cato Institute, and J.D. Foster at The Heritage Foundation.

Some economists say the whole notion of counting “saved or created” jobs is impossible. Harvard University labor economist Lawrence Katz told ProPublica that trying to count how many jobs have been saved or created is “a silly exercise.”

And in fact, in December the Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag issued a directive scrapping the whole “saved or created” construct.

“Instead, recipients will more easily and objectively report on jobs funded with Recovery Act dollars,” Orszag wrote.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t we told that unemployment would not rise above 8% with the stimulus. Two hundred economists warned the president that he was making a mistake with the stimulus bill and that it would not create new jobs, pointing to lessons from the past. Now we’re over 10% unemployment and things don’t seem to be getting any better.

Huckabee Takes Shots at McCain’s Choice of Palin

During the Republican Primary Debates, Governor Mike Huckabee frequently demonstrated his affable sense of humor and talent of delivering witty one-liners.  Though no longer on the political forefront, that doesn’t mean Huck has given up hopes of a life of fame and influence, but he seems to be seeking it on a different stage.  He made a recent appearance at the DC Improv Theater to participate in the 15th Annual Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest, and ended up stealing the show.  Like most comedy routines, very little is considered off-limits, so Huckabee

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