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Does Rick Santorum have electability issues if he lost his Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat by 18 points?
February 15th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

Does Rick Santorum have electability issues if he lost his Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat by 18 points?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Rick Santorum says he can win swing states, but he lost a third Senate term in his own Pennsylvania by a whopping 18-point margin.

A stunning defeat for a two-term incumbent.

Santorum lost almost every region in Pennsylvania and almost every demographic group - including blue collar workers.

Supporters say Santorum lost the 2006 race due to a tough political climate for Republicans: President George W. Bush was unpopular, as was the Iraq war.

But there was more than that to Santorum's landslide loss - a lot more.

And if Mitt Romney wants to defeat Rick Santorum - who is the current flavor of the month in the polls - all he has to do is read some of this stuff aloud at campaign stops:

In 2006, Santorum faced charges of hypocrisy for living in Virginia with his family while a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and allowing a Pennsylvania school to pay for his children's online education.

He blamed "radical feminists" for forcing women to work and questioned the need for two-working-parent households. Try explaining that to Americans struggling to make ends meet.

Santorum has compared homosexuality to incest and polygamy and suggested that Boston liberals were to blame for the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Can you spell wacko?

Santorum also inserted himself into the Terri Schiavo case - where some members of the government thought it was their job, not the family's, to decide if a brain-damaged woman should have her feeding tube removed. It was a disgrace.

Here’s my question to you: Does Rick Santorum have electability issues if he lost his Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat by 18 points?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Rick Santorum • Senate
Should the U.S. government censor the Internet?
January 18th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Should the U.S. government censor the Internet?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It’s been a Wednesday without Wikipedia and other major websites. As they go dark to protest two anti-piracy bills in Congress, critics say these bills amount to censorship of the Internet.

While Google hasn't shut down, a black rectangle covers its famous logo urging people to "Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!"

The web-wide protest is in response to the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in the U.S. House and the Protect IP Act, or PIPA, now pending before the full Senate.

The battle lines are drawn with Hollywood and major media companies, including CNN's parent company, Time Warner, on one side and Silicon Valley on the other.

If the bill passes, copyright holders could seek a court order to force search engines such as Google to remove links to sites that are offering illegal movies, TV shows, songs, etc. The main targets are foreign websites.

But Internet companies worry they could be punished for users' actions. Google says YouTube would have to go dark immediately if the bill passes, saying "it couldn't function."

On the other side, supporters say that online piracy leads to job losses in the U.S. since content creators lose income. They dismiss accusations of censorship, saying that the bills are meant to fix a broken system that doesn't prevent piracy.

Supporters say this bill won't hurt the average Internet user.

Many in the tech world agree that piracy is a real problem, but they worry about the implications of this legislation, fearing that it's a foot in the door that could lead to further government controls.

Meanwhile the bills that were once expected to sail through Congress have hit rough waters. One Senate aide tells CNN that because of the growing protests, the bill might not even make it to a vote.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. government censor the internet?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Congress • Government • Internet • Senate • Senate and Congress
What does it mean for President Obama that he can't even get the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass his jobs bill?
October 12th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

What does it mean for President Obama that he can't even get the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass his jobs bill?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's just one more sign that President Obama is in deep trouble headed into a re-election year:

The Democrat-controlled senate has failed to pass the president's job bill, his top legislative priority.

The senate voted 50-to-49 against the $447 billion package - falling far short of the 60 votes needed to pass.

President Obama has been barnstorming the country to promote this thing, but it didn't make a difference:

Not a single Republican voted for the jobs bill. And, even worse - two Democrats up for re-election in conservative states also voted against it.

President Obama insists this isn't the end of the road for the jobs bill. He's vowing to break the massive initiative down into several separate bills and have Congress vote on them one at a time. Some of the more popular elements include a payroll tax cut and the extension of unemployment benefits.

But it's far from certain that the bitterly divided congress will pass any of this stuff headed into the 2012 elections. Republicans call the whole thing a political stunt. They say the jobs bill is nothing more than another failed stimulus plan.

Meanwhile, Democrats up for re-election will have to decide whether or not to stand by the president. Experts tell Reuters that at least a few dozen Democrats might duck President Obama in 2012 since unpopular presidents traditionally hurt their party in Congress.

It's early - and that number may go up or down depending on a couple of other numbers: Mr. Obama's approval rating, now in the low 40s, and the nation's unemployment rate - which has been stuck at over 9%.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean for President Obama that he can't even get the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass his jobs bill?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Democrats • President Barack Obama • Senate
April 19th, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Should U.S. be funding Mideast rebel groups?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the abstract, it's a noble calling: Support oppressed people's yearning to breath free. Over the years, the United States has made a general practice of coming down on the side of people who are fighting for their freedom. But now that there are a dozen uprisings in the Middle East, it's probably worth taking a closer look to see if it's really that good of an idea.

Syria, for example, has been the scene of unrest since mid-March. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. State Department has secretly financed several Syrian political opposition groups since 2005. The Post reporting was based on diplomatic cables the folks at Wiki-leaks got a hold of. The State Department refused comment on the authenticity of the cables, but a deputy assistant secretary of state said the State Department does not endorse political parties or movements. Baloney.

If you provide aid - military, financial, humanitarian - you do.

In Libya, nobody knows who we are supporting but by participating in NATO-led air strikes, we're supporting someone. And as tensions continue to rise in Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, and elsewhere, we may want to exercise caution about who we are getting into bed with...

Oh, and the other part is we don't have any money. We really don't have any money. And for people in this country who have been unemployed for years, can't find a job and are faced with the thought of their unemployment benefits running out, telling them we're giving cash to a shadowy poorly organized dysfunctional group of malcontents in some faraway middle eastern country ain't going to go down so well.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. be funding rebel groups in the Middle East?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • Government • Middle East • Senate • Senate and Congress • United States
March 23rd, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Should Senate hold hearings on Muslims' rights in U.S.?

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The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing entitled "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" on Capitol Hill on March 10. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee led by Democratic Dick Durbin of Illinois will hold a hearing next week on Muslim-Americans' civil rights. Aren't they the same as every other Americans' civil rights? And is this what needs our immediate attention at this time? Sometimes the people in Washington can make you want to stick sharp objects in your eyes.

The Durbin circus comes just weeks after the circus led by Rep. Peter King, R-New York. He held congressional hearings on the topic of the radicalization of Muslim Americans. Those hearings sparked protests and demonstrations. Critics called them a witch hunt and said they sent the wrong message to Muslim-Americans.

Durbin is apparently trying to send a different message to Muslim-Americans, as if he doesn't have other, more important things to do. These hearings will be the first held by the new subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights, human rights and the law.

Durbin says he's called for the hearings because there's been an uptick in anti-Muslim sentiment in this country. He says it's important to renew the nation's "commitment to religious diversity and to protect the liberties guaranteed by our Bill of Rights." Right.

However, according to The Washington Times, the latest FBI data show that hate crimes against Muslims account for just 9.3% of religious hate crimes in the United States. More than 70% of religious hate crimes were against Jews.

Meanwhile, we have no federal budget, three wars and we're broke. Lovely.

Here’s my question to you: Should the Senate hold hearings on Muslims’ rights in the United States?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Muslims • Religion • Senate
January 5th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Moderate Senate Democrats already looking ahead to 2012?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the new Congress convenes today, the next election in 2012 already looms as a possible impediment to the Democrats' Senate majority.

Politico reports that several moderate Democratic Senators up for re-election in two years will be more likely to buck their own party in order to save their seats.

And it's already started. During the lame duck session of Congress, when Harry Reid tried to prevent an extension of the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, three moderate Democrats defected. When the Republicans proposed deep spending cuts, two more Democrats joined them. And yet another moderate jumped ship when Reid pushed through President Obama's tax compromise.

In all, 21 Senate Democrats - plus two Independents who caucus with them - will be up for re-election in 2012.

You can bet these Democrats are well aware of the "shellacking" their party took in the midterms; and they don't want to be the next casualty. As Senator Claire McCaskill - who is up for re-election herself - puts it: "If you're in re-elect mode, there's a tendency around here just to hide under a chair instead of making the tough calls."

Meanwhile Republicans are worried that Senate Democrats may try to eliminate the use of the filibuster now that they have a smaller majority of 53 seats. Some Democrats are proposing a rule change that would require only a simple majority of 51 votes - instead of 60 votes - to break a filibuster.

The GOP calls this a "naked partisan power grab."

Here’s my question to you: How effective can Senate Democrats be if some moderate members are already looking ahead to 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Democrats • Senate
November 18th, 2010
03:57 PM ET

Will Pelosi as minority leader help or hurt Dems in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

She's a big part of the reason the Democrats got crushed in the midterm elections.

Nancy Pelosi was seen as arrogant in her determination to help shove health care reform down the country's throat. Remember: "Vote for it so you can find out what's in it?"

She controlled a huge majority in the House of Representatives - that did virtually nothing about creating jobs as the country labored under the weight of a horrible recession and almost 10 percent unemployment.

Now in the wake of the midterm shellacking, Ms. Pelosi - who was targeted by Republicans in races all over the country as the face of the enemy - is insisting on remaining as minority leader in the House.

Some members of her own party wanted her to step aside, but Pelosi seldom has time for consideration of much of anything except Ms. Pelosi.

With some behind-the-scenes arm twisting, she has managed to get herself elected as minority leader in the house. Republicans must be giddy. Maybe they will throw a party for her like the one she threw for herself to celebrate her "accomplishments."

If Pelosi accomplishes as much for her party in the next 2 years as she did in the last 2, the Republicans may have all the seats in the house and senate come January of 2013.

Here’s my question to you: Will Nancy Pelosi remaining as House minority leader help or hurt the Democrats in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • Senate
October 13th, 2010
05:54 PM ET

What would you ask Delaware's Christine O'Donnell?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In a little over an hour, all eyes will be on Christine O'Donnell - the Tea Party-backed, Sarah Palin-backed Senate candidate from Delaware. She scored a major upset last month to win the Republican Party's nomination.

Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell.
Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell.

O'Donnell will face off tonight in a debate for the first time against her opponent, Democrat Chris Coons. Polls show Coons with a 19-point lead over O'Donnell. Only 35 percent of voters say O'Donnell is qualified to be a senator, compared to 64 percent for Coons.

And part of that is due to the fact that there are a lot of questions about O'Donnell's past and her lack of experience.

There are several lingering financial issues, like O'Donnell's former campaign manager accusing her of paying rent with campaign donations. She says there's "no truth to it."

  • O'Donnell has also dealt with the IRS on issues related to unpaid income taxes
  • Democrats and even Republicans, including Karl Rove, have attacked O'Donnell's qualifications.
  • And don't forget O'Donnell's controversial remarks about dabbling in witchcraft, sexuality and masturbation.

This debate has potential.

For the most part, O'Donnell has refused to talk to the national media since her win, thanks to advice from Sarah Palin.

So, it's reasonable to believe that there's a lot people would like to know about O'Donnell… in what has fast become one of the most-watched races in the country.

Here’s my question to you: What question would you ask Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Senate
May 10th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Message to incumbents by Utah Sen. Bennett's loss?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In Boston they threw tea into the harbor. This time around they're throwing incumbents into the street. And it's a wonderful thing.

Bob Bennett (R-UT) was ousted by GOP activists.
Bob Bennett (R-UT) was ousted by GOP activists.

Utah has become the first state to oust an incumbent this year - three-term Republican Senator Bob Bennett lost to more conservative candidates in a second round of balloting at the state party convention.

It's the first time since 1940 that an incumbent senator in Utah has failed to get his party's nomination.

Bennett was a powerful and likable Senator, that just wasn't enough this time around. If anything, Republicans in Utah seemed to be turned off by his seniority.

Bennett himself acknowledged what he called the "toxic'" political atmosphere.

The country is in an anti-incumbent rage, and Bennett's loss may be an ominous warning sign for other incumbents. We can hope. National polls show deep-seated unrest and discontent with Washington. And other incumbents are feeling the heat.

In Iowa, long time Republican senator Charles Grassley is in trouble... he's still barely ahead but has dropped 20 points in a hypothetical match-up against his Democratic opponent.

In Pennsylvania, Republican-turned-Democrat turned turncoat Arlen Specter - the state's longest serving senator - may finally be shown the door. His lead over his primary challenger is evaporating. The Pennsylvania district held by the late Democratic Congressman John Murtha is in Jeopardy of going to a Republican for the first time in 35 years. It's all good.

Ironically, like the first one, this revolution also began in Massachusetts... with the election of a Republican to fill the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy.

Here’s my question to you: What message does Utah Sen. Bob Bennett's loss send to other incumbents?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Senate
April 27th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

2/3 of Americans support financial reform, but Senate GOP blocks it

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here we go again. Yet another example of our representatives in Washington not listening to what the people want.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) talks with reporters after a vote on financial reform. Senate Democrats failed to bring legislation to the floor for debate in a 57-41 vote, unable to gain the 60 votes needed to overcome the threat of a Republican filibuster.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) talks with reporters after a vote on financial reform. Senate Democrats failed to bring legislation to the floor for debate in a 57-41 vote, unable to gain the 60 votes needed to overcome the threat of a Republican filibuster.

Despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans support tougher regulation of banks and Wall Street... Republicans have already voted unanimously to block financial reform from reaching the senate floor - and they might do it again minutes from now when another test vote happens.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows 65 percent of those surveyed want stricter financial reform. 31 percent are opposed.

The poll also shows majorities back two key parts of the senate bill... including greater government oversight of consumer loans... and a fund - paid for by the banks - that would help dismantle failing institutions. According to this poll, the public is split on letting the government regulate complex financial instruments knows as derivatives.

Also - by a double-digit margin, Americans trust Pres. Obama more than the Republicans in Congress to handle financial reform...

Not a huge surprise when you consider how the GOP is handing this. Although Republicans say they want a bill to pass... they say it needs to be "substantive" and they insist they won't be quote "rushed on another massive bill" by the Democrats. Top Republicans remain optimistic they can come to a bipartisan agreement.

Meanwhile, Majority Leader Harry Reid - who called another vote for this afternoon - says the Democrats won't tolerate efforts to water down the reform.

Here’s my question to you: Why are Senate Republicans blocking financial reform legislation when two-thirds of Americans want it done?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: GOP • Republicans • Senate
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