March 21, 2012

Final Illinois results show big Romney win as candidates move on

Final Illinois Republican primary results: With 99 percent of precincts reporting, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has 46.7 percent. Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum had 35 percent. Trailing were Texas Rep. Ron Paul, 9.3 percent, and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, 8 percent. Gingrich heads to Louisiana Wednesday for four days of campaigning in that state, which holds its primary Saturday. Romney plans a visit to Arbutus, Md., a blue-collar Baltimore suburb. Santorum plans three days of campaigning in Louisiana, starting Wednesday, while Paul plans two town hall meetings in Louisiana later this week.

June 22, 2009

Obama's poll numbers hit new low

President Barack Obama may be feeling the heat of a summer of challenges, as well as angst about what's happening in Iran. His poll numbers are inching downward and now are hitting new lows.

A three-day average of daily Gallup Poll surveys finds Obama's job approval hitting 57 percent, his lowest since taking office. He'd dipped below 60 percent in Gallup's polling four times before this week, but never hit 57 percent.

The Gallup three-day average also found 35 percent of American adults disapproving of the way Obama's handling his job.

At the same time, a new Rasmussen Poll finds Obama's job approval among likely voters at 54 percent Monday - up a point from a low of 53 percent marked over the weekend.

The average approval rating of six recent public polls, compiled by the website, is now 58.7 percent. The average disapproval is 33.7 percent.

As we noted a few weeks ago, Obama's entering a tough new phase of his presidency, more difficult than his first 100 days. Among the summertime challenges: pushing a health care overhaul that could depend on broad tax increases and now has a sky-high price tag courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office. 

Also, the Iran election and criticisms that Obama didn't do enough to help or encourage protesters,  rising fears that North Korea will become a nuclear power, rising gas prices and a continuing recession, to name a few.

As a snapshot, a nearly 59 percent average approval rating is still pretty good, and suggests Obama still has plenty of political capital to use, at least in the domestic political fights. 

But if there is a downward trend, and he continues to lose support, that could make Democrats facing re-election next year increasingly nervous about following his lead. And that would make his job all the more difficult.

December 09, 2008

Durbin: Special election needed to fill Obama seat

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, said the Illinois General Assembly "should enact a law as quickly as possible calling for a special election" to fill the Senate vacancy of Barack Obama. "No appointment by this governor could produce a credible replacement." Durbin spoke after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested early Tuesday on charges he conspired to sell or trade President-elect Obama's vacant Senate seat. "The options are few and not appealing," Durbin told a Capitol news conference. Without a special election,, "this could drag on for a long period of time." Blagojevich could make an interim appointment, Durbin, but even that person would be "tainted." He was asked about his own relationship with the governor. "I've known him a long time. We certainly didn't enjoy a close relationship." Durbin recalled how "he could be a difficult man to communicate with." When the governor first took office, Durbin recalled calling him and not getting the call returned. Recently, when he called to discuss the Obama vacancy, Durbin said it took 12 days to get the call returned. "We went through 20 different names," Durbin said. He advised the governor "Don't appoint a caretaker and do it as quickly as possible, so we could have a seniority advantage." Anyone sworn in prior to Jan. 3, 2009, would instantly have that advantage over the class of senators elected last month. Durbin said he did not think the controversy would hurt the Obama administration, which badly needs Democratic votes quickly next month. And, he said, "I don't think any association between the president-elect and the governor of Illinois could possible raise that suggestion."

December 04, 2008

Entire National Mall to be open for Obama inaguration

With more than a million people expected to descend upon Washington for President-Elect Barack Obama's Jan. 20, 2009, swearing in, his Presidential Inaugral Committee announced Thursday that the entire length of the National Mall will be open to the public for the first time to accommodate the anticipated overflow crowd.

The Mall, which stretches 2.5 miles from the steps of the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, will be equipped with large viewing screens and speakers so people standing far away from the swearing-in event can see and here.

"We're grateful to local, federal and military officials for their efforts to open the National Mall to Americans who want to participate in this historic occasion," Presidential Inaugural Committee Execuitve Director Emmet S. Beliveau said. "These arrangements represent our committee's continuing commitment to make next year's historic inauguration as accessible as possible to citizens in Washington, DC, and across the country."

In the past, the Mall has been used as a staging area for participants in the inaugural parade. But after members of  the House of Representatives and the Senate were deluged with requests from consitutents for tickets for the 240,000 tickets they had to dole out, some federal lawmakers and Obama's inauguration committee pressed to have the mall open to the public.

"This will be an inauguration for all Americans," Washington Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said. "And we are dedicated to opening it up sothat people from across the country can gather together in America's front yard."

November 13, 2008

Obama will resign Senate seat Sunday

The PEOTUS' transition team said earlier this week he would not be participating in next week's lame-duck session of Congress. Lots of Illinois pols want the Senate seat. Who gets it is up to the Illinois governor, who, like Obama, is a Democrat.

In a statement, Obama said: “It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate. In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who’ve taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children’s future. It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next President.”

November 06, 2008

Signing off

The presidential election is over (finally) and so it's time to say goodbye to our Hot Off The Trail election blog.

McClatchy's political reporting team will continue to blog over at our new home, Planet Washington, which will focus on politics, government and watchdog journalism.

Please update your bookmarks and your RSS feeds. Thanks for reading!

Honeymoon over? GOP rips Obama staff pick

Well, the honeymoon didn't last long.

The Republican National Committee is blasting President-elect Barack Obama;'s choice of Rep. Rahm emanuel as his new White House Chief of Staff.

"OBAMA's BROKEN PROMISE," screams the headline on a statement from the RNC. "After promising change, Obama selects hyper-partisan wedded to special interests as his Whiote House Chief of Staff."

Said RNC spokesman Alex Conant: "Barack Obama's first decision as president-elect undermines his promise to 'heal the divides.' Rahm Emanuel is a partisan leader who played a lead role in breaking Washington. The White House needs a chief of staff, not a chief campaigner like Emanuel. Our nation will be ill-served if Obama runs the White House the way 'Rahmbo' ran the Democratic Congress."

Obama inaugural to honor Lincoln

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, announced Thursday the theme of the 2009 inaugural will be "A New Birth of Freedom."

It's from the Gettysburg Address, and will help commemmorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, which will come just weeks after the Jan. 20 inauguration of Barack Obama. Obama, like Lincoln a transplant to Illinois, launched his presidential campaign on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield where Lincoln gave his famous "House Divided" speech.

Feinstein's release:

“A New Birth of Freedom,” commemorates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The words come from the Gettysburg address, and express Lincoln’s hope that the sacrifice of those who died to preserve the nation shall lead to “a new birth of freedom” for our nation.

"The inaugural theme, which was selected by Senator Feinstein and the members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, will be woven through the inaugural ceremonies. The theme is traditionally linked to a major anniversary, and in her announcement Feinstein spoke of the appropriateness of the chosen theme to our present day circumstances, particularly in light of the historic election of Senator Barack Obama.

"In addition to Senator Feinstein, the members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies include:  Senator Bob Bennett, Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; and House Republican Leader John Boehner.

“At a time when our country faces major challenges at home and abroad, it is appropriate to revisit the words of President Lincoln, who strived to bring the nation together by appealing to ‘the better angels of our nature’,”  Feinstein said.  “It is especially fitting to celebrate the words of Lincoln as we prepare to inaugurate the first African-American president of the United States.”

“On January 20, as President-elect Obama takes the oath of office, he will look across the National Mall toward the Lincoln Memorial, where many of the sixteenth president’s immortal words are inscribed.  Although some inaugural traditions have changed since Lincoln’s time, the swearing-in ceremony continues to symbolize the ideals of renewal, continuity, and unity that he so often expressed.”

November 04, 2008

Bush to McCain: "I'm proud of you"

"John," President Bush told Republican presidential nominee John McCain Tuesday night, "you gave it your all. I'm proud of you and I'm sorry it didn't work out. You didn't leave anything on the playing field."

Bush called McCain, who conceded earlier to President-elect Barack Obama, at 11:38 p.m.

"Your statement was fabulous and very classy. Please give our love to Cindy," Bush said. The president plans to make further comments Wednesday morning from the Rose Garden.

Bush to Obama: "Go enjoy yourself"

President Bush called President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday night at 11:12 P.m. to congratulate him.

Some highlights of Bush's remarks to Obama:

"Mr. President-elect, congratulations to you. What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters. Laura and I called to congratulate you and your good bride."

"I promise to make this a smooth transition. You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself."

Bush offered Obama an invitation to visit the White House soon, at their convenience. Bush plans to talk to Republican nominee John McCain after McCain's concession speech Tuesday night.


This is a group blog by McClatchy journalists who covered the 2007-2008 presidential election campaign.
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