Pundits and talking heads have been weighing in on the effects of the 16-day quasi-government shutdown on the Republican Party and the 2014 mid-term election. Many are saying that the electoral consequences could be steep, and could even cost the GOP control of the House of Representatives.
It’s hard to counter arguments and polling data that the Republican Party’s standing with Americans has been hurt by the shutdown. Gallup recently found that just 28% of the public has favorable view of the GOP, the lowest of any party on record. The good news is that Republicans are still favored on the economy. They were also given a gift by the endless problems plaguing the federal ObamaCare exchange.
But the shutdown could help Democrats with fundraising and candidate recruitment, Stu Rothenberg recently wrote, at a time when President Barack Obama’s poll numbers with his own party had been softening.
It’s not every day that a CNN anchor agrees with Republicans. But with all of the problems the federal ObamaCare exchange website is experiencing, Wolf Blitzer, host of CNN’s The Situation Room, said that the Obama Administration should listen to Republicans and delay the law for a year.
“I was just with a database company owner…he has tried to enroll in [ObamaCare] since the rollout on October 1,” a CNN reporter told Blitzer. “He’s a database company owner, he knows this stuff. He says it really is just poorly designed. It’s not user-friendly. He’s still not been able to enroll, much less negative and get information.”
“When I was with him, he got an error message on his computer saying that he couldn’t really go any further. He went into a chatroom trying to get information and was told that there are others kind of in line ahead of him,” the CNN reporter noted. “Even just trying to chat with someone there on the website, people are having problems.”
The reporter pointed to the warnings the Obama Administration received months from concerned health insurers in advance of the launch of the federal exchange website. Those warnings of were, however, ignored.
“If they weren’t fully ready, they should accept the advice that a lot of Republicans are giving them — delay it another year, get it ready, and make sure it works,” said Blitzer.
“Look, there are government healthcare-related that work great,” noted Blitzer, reeling off a few examples. “They know how to do it, but if they didn’t get it ready on time, then maybe fix the problem and make sure people don’t have to worry about it.”
The House of Representatives has proposed a measure that would fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which grants money for cancer research, among other things. Senate Democrats, of course, oppose these piecemeal offerings, again demanding that the House pass the so-called “clean” Continuing Resolution demanded by the White House.
But when asked by CNN reporter Dana Bash about his opposition to the funding bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gave a very telling answer, which showed once again that Democrats are using the government shutdown to try to gain a political advantage over Republicans.
“You all talked about children with cancer unable to go to clinical trials. The House is presumably going to pass a bill that funds at least the NIH,” noted Bash during a press conference with Senate Democratic leaders, before the House pass the funding measure. “Given what you’ve said, will you at least pass that? And if not, aren’t you playing the same political games that Republicans are?”
“Listen, Sen. Durbin explained that very well, and he did it here, did it on the floor earlier, as did Sen. Schumer. What right did they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? It’s obvious what’s going on here,” Reid told Bash.
Following in the footsteps of CNN, NBC announced on Monday that it would scrap a planned miniseries on the life of Hillary Clinton, who is thought to be the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination:
NBC has scrapped its controversial Hillary Clinton miniseries project.
“After reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/miniseries development, we’ve decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton miniseries,” the network said in a statement Monday.
NBC announced in July that it was developing a four-hour miniseries based on Clinton starring Diane Lane, with plans to air the effort before Clinton was likely to announce her candidacy for president. The project was due to be written by Frozen River’s Courtney Hunt and would have recounted Clinton’s life as a wife, mother, politician and cabinet member from 1998 to the present. The script would have started with Clinton living in the White House as her husband Bill Clinton is serving the second of his two terms as president and would have included her likely run for president.
Despite pressure from the Republican National Committee (RNC), NBC explained that the decision to end the project was a financial move. CNN canceled its planned documentary because of a lack of cooperation from the Clintons and their associates.
In a post at the Huffington Post on Monday, Charles Ferguson, who was slated to directed a documentary on Hillary Clinton for CNN, announced that he has canceled the project because of lack of cooperation from Clinton and her allies:
The day after the contract was signed, I received a message from Nick Merrill, Hillary Clinton’s press secretary. He already knew about the film, and clearly had a source within CNN. He interrogated me; at first I answered, but eventually I stopped. When I requested an off-the-record, private conversation with Mrs. Clinton, Merrill replied that she was busy writing her book, and not speaking to the media.
Next came Phillipe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s media fixer, who contacted various people at CNN, interrogated them, and expressed concern about alleged conflicts of interest generated because my film was a for-profit endeavor (as nearly all documentaries and news organizations are). When I contacted him, he declined to speak with me. He then repeated his allegations to Politico, which published them.
Next came David Brock, who published an open letter on his highly partisan Democratic website Media Matters, in which he endorsed the Republican National Committee’s position, repeating Reines’ conflict of interest allegations and suggesting that my documentary would revive old, discredited Clinton scandal stories.
Ferguson — who gushed over Clinton-era “reform” proposals, including a carbon tax and government-run healthcare — noted that the answer to his inquires for an interview with Clinton were denied. Since he wouldn’t get the documentary he wanted, he decided to cancel the project:
Opposition to ObamaCare has hit its highest level since March 2011, according to the latest CNN poll, but Americans place the blame for the government shutdown largely on Republicans.
The poll of 803 American adults, conducted between September 27-29, found that 57% oppose ObamaCare, while only 38% support the law. Congressional Republicans have tried to delay the law through the Continuing Resolution (CR), but have been met with resistance from the White House and Senate Democrats.
These policy disagreements have prevented President Obama and House Republicans from coming to an agreement on the CR, resulting in a government shutdown.
But the poll, which was taken before the shutdown and released yesterday, found that 68% of Americans believe that a government shutdown will be a bad thing and 46% blame Republicans in Congress for the impasse. Just 36% blame President Barack Obama.
It’s important to note that the share of blame Republicans received has dropped from a CNN poll earlier this month, from 51% to the current 46%. The blame President Obama received rose by 3 points.
Sixty percent (60%) of Americans said that the most important job Congress has is to approve a budget agreement that would avoid a government shutdown. Just 34% believe that Congress should block funding for ObamaCare.
Take from the poll what you will, but it indicates that Republicans are still winning the messaging war on ObamaCare, despite President Obama and his allies efforts to sell the law to a skeptical American public. It’s too early to guess what the ramifications will be or if Republicans will be able to turn the narrative around. But entering into the shutdown, Republicans have their work cut out for them.
Despite $6.1 trillion being added to the national debt since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says that there are no spending cuts left to make in the $3.8 trillion federal budget.
The comments came in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, in which host Candy Crowley pressed Pelosi, who currently serves as House Minority Leader, on a different issues currently dominating politics in Washington, including the Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling. But Crowley pressed Pelosi on limited government and spending.
“None of us of comes here to have more government than we need. So, we should subject everything we do to real scrutiny to say is this needed because most of it is an expenditure,” Pelosi told Crowley, later knocking what she called the “anti-government ideology” of Republicans in Congress.
Pelosi accused Republicans of purposefully trying to shutdown the federal government over ObamaCare, calling concerns about the law “an excuse.” The conversation shifted to spending and the debt ceiling. Crowley noted that past presidents — including Reagan, Clinton and Bush — had negotiated on the debt ceiling and spending cuts. But Pelosi astonishingly disputed that there is any place to make further cuts.
“[T]he cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make,” declared Pelosi. “It’s really important that people understand that. We all want to reduce the deficit.”
“We’re all committed to that. Put everything on the table. Review it,” she added. “But you cannot have any more cuts just for the sake of cuts. Right now, you’re taking trophies.”
Support for ObamaCare has dropped below 40%, according to a poll conducted by CNN, even as the Obama Administration ramps up its efforts to promote the law before the state insurance exchanges launch at the beginning of October.
The poll, released on Wednesday, shows that only 39% of Americans favor all or most of ObamaCare, while 57% have an unfavorable view of the law. Those numbers have changed in a big way since the beginning of the year, when CNN found that 51% of Americans favored ObamaCare.
Here’s a look at the shift over time, as noted by CNN:
The most recent CNN poll also found a shift on President Obama’s healthcare policy approval rating, with 54% now disapproving of his performance on the issue, up from 49% at the beginning of the year. Only 44% approval of his approach to healthcare, down from 50% in January.
Here’s a look at selected CNN polls on President Obama’s healthcare approval rating. As you can see, he hasn’t done well on the issue, despite his uptick in January 2013, which appears to be an outlier:
President Barack Obama did not make a convincing case for military intervention, according a CNN poll of Americans who watched the speech on Tuesday night.
Under intense criticism from members of Congress and polls showing a lack of support from the American people, President Obama hoped that he would be able to sway public opinion by taking repeating the same talking points that had been in the next for the past few weeks in a televised address.
But the CNN poll shows that 50% of Americans believe that President Obama failed to make a convincing case for military strikes. The poll found that 47% said that he did make the case, putting the results within the margin of error.
Additionally, 58% of Americans who watched the speech say that air strikes against Syria would not achieve significant goals for the United States. There was a slight shift in the numbers on this question from the pre-speech poll of the same respondents when 66% said that air strikes be unsuccessful.
Those who believe that air strikes would accomplish the United States goals’ rose from 30% pre-speech to 36% after.
Americans are, however, more confident in the outcome of a diplomatic solution brokered by Russia, with 65% saying that such an angle is likely to resolve the dispute.
Sixty-nine percent (69%) reacted positively to President Obama’s speech, with 35% describing calling their reaction “very positive” and 34% saying it was “somewhat positive.” Though that’s still a high number, it’s down from CNN’s past post-speech favorables.
The latest revelations concerning the National Security Agency (NSA) could potentially tip the balance in favor of a measure to prevent the intelligence agencies from broadly spying on Americans.
Last week, the Washington Post reported that the NSA had broken privacy rules 2,776 times over a 12-month period dating back to May 2012, pushing key lawmakers to call for increased congressional oversight of the surveillance programs.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced plans for a hearing over the programs after the latest report, according to The Hill, and expressed concerns that Congress is “still not getting straight answers” from the administration and intelligence officials. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the Washington Post’s report “extremely disturbing” and called for more congressional oversight.
But the most interesting comments about the latest revelations came from Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who proposed an amendment last month that would have limited the NSA’s spying programs. The amendment, which was defeated by a very slim margin, would have denied funding to execute any FISA court order that isn’t specific to a person who is the subject of an actual investigation.