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January 7th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Will health care reform help or hurt Democrats in midterm elections?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Democrats are plowing ahead with health care reform - trying to iron out the differences between the Senate and House bills before the president's state of the union address in a few weeks.

And one of the biggest differences is how to pay for this massive overhaul. President Obama is now telling House Democrats to drop their opposition to taxing so-called Cadillac insurance plans.

The House had wanted to increase income taxes on individuals making more than $500,000 and couples making over 1 million dollars; while the Senate backs taxing insurance companies on the higher end plans. Do you suppose the insurance companies will simply raise their rates to compensate?

And there are other disagreements too - lots of them. Like the fact that House Democrats will likely have to drop the public option - many liberals think it's not even worth passing health care reform without a government plan.

There are questions about funding for abortion - still don't know how that will be addressed - and whether illegal aliens should be allowed to buy insurance coverage with their own money.

Meanwhile Democrats are short-circuiting the legislative process by not having a formal conference committee to meld the two bills together. Instead the entire process is taking place behind closed doors, out of sight of the American public - something President Obama promised would never happen. Remember?

Here’s my question to you: Will health care reform help or hurt the Democrats in the midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Democrats • Health care
January 7th, 2010
04:30 PM ET

Conservatives finished 2009 as #1 ideological group

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out 2009 - the year the Democrats took over the White House and were in control of both houses of Congress - was a banner year for conservatives.

A new Gallup poll shows conservatives finished the year as the number 1 ideological group in the country - at 40-percent.... compared to 36-percent who identify themselves as moderates, and 21-percent who say they're liberals.

This is the first time in five years that conservatives outnumber moderates as a political ideological group. The findings show the increase is due largely to more political independents adopting the conservative label.

Gallup measures ideology by asking people if their political views are "very conservative," "conservative," "moderate," "liberal" or "very liberal."

The poll of some 22,000 people also shows that over the last decade, the percentage of Americans calling themselves either conservative or liberal has increased; while the percentage of moderates has decreased. An indication the country is becoming more polarized.

In the year 2000, 62-percent of Republicans identified as conservatives. That number is now up to 71 percent. As for Democrats, 29-percent called themselves liberal at the start of the decade, now it's 38-percent. Meanwhile fewer Republicans or Democrats call themselves moderates.

It's no wonder it's nearly impossible for politicians in Washington to reach across the aisle. With poll numbers like these, any attempt to include someone from the other end of the spectrum is fraught with political peril.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that conservatives finished 2009 as the number one ideological group?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Republican Party • Republicans
January 7th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

How safe do you feel when flying?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

So let's recap:

A man's father in Nigeria goes to the U.S. embassy warning that his son has "become radicalized," that he went to Yemen to be part of "some kind of jihad" and he's concerned his son might want to do us harm. This is called a clue.

The man's son subsequently buys a ticket to the U.S., pays $3,000 cash... and has no luggage. These are more clues. But he's allowed to board a flight for Detroit and tries to blow it up.

The president now says U.S. intelligence officials had enough information to stop the suspect before he ever got on that plane... and that they knew that al Qaeda in Yemen wanted to attack the U.S. homeland; but once again they didn't connect the dots.

Also, turns out the top official in charge of analyzing terror threats - Michael Leiter - went on a ski vacation only two-days after the Christmas bombing attempt.

Then, a few days later, another man breaches security at Newark Airport - resulting in a version of a Keystone Cops movie. The terminal is locked down, thousands of people are stranded and have to be to be re-screened. But no one could find the guy because, among other things, the security cameras weren't working properly and hadn't been for several days.

The upshot of all this: The transportation security administration has taken full responsibility for the security breach and an officer has been re-assigned to non-screening duties after that fiasco. In other words, the guy who causes all the chaos at Newark Airport still has his job and so do all the officials in charge of protecting the flying public. And we pay their salaries.

Here’s my question to you: How safe do you feel when flying?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Airlines