February 1st, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Will Obama help or hurt fellow Dems in midterms?


In a December 2009 photo, Pres. Obama meets with Democratic Senators in Washington, DC. (PHOTO CREDIT: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A year ago, it would have seemed nearly impossible: The popular new Democratic president boosting support for Republicans at the polls.

But, fast forward a year and with a significant drop in Pres. Obama's approval ratings - that's now part of the GOP strategy for the midterm elections. Some Republicans are hoping to tie their Democratic opponents to unpopular policies of the President... including things like spending, bailouts and health care reform.

It's happening in conservative states - like Louisiana and Tennessee... where Republicans are hoping Mr. Obama will come campaign with the Democrats... as well as other states that the president won in 2008 - like Wisconsin. In some cases - they plan to tie Democrats to the Pelosi-Obama agenda - a reference to the hideously unpopular speaker of the house.

Nonetheless - Republicans recognize that they will have to walk a fine line so the strategy doesn't backfire. They can't go after the president personally, because most Americans still like Mr. Obama even if they disagree with his policies.

Following stunning losses in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey - Democrats are prepping for a rough midterm election. And things could get worse. Imagine the symbolism of losing the president's home state, Illinois. There is some concern that Republicans might take over the president's old senate seat along with the Illinois governorship.

Illinois has been Democratic for years - but ongoing ethics scandals and the near insolvency of the state government might just change that.

Here’s my question to you: Will Pres. Obama help or hurt fellow Democrats in the midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • President Barack Obama
February 1st, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How would you cut government spending?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

You gotta love it. President Obama is submitting a $3.8 trillion budget. It contains a deficit of $1.6 trillion just for this year. That's an all-time record.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/01/art.budget.jpg caption="Pres. Obama, flanked by Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner (L) and White House budget director Peter Orszag, speaks about his proposed $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2011."]
It will all be done with much hand-wringing about how important it is to get the deficit under control. And they don't think we know any better.

At his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed freezing discretionary federal spending in an effort to save some money. The projection is that this courageous move will amount to a total savings of about $250 billion dollars… over the next ten years. That's one-sixth of the deficit for next year.

The White House claims that the President's budget will reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. That's making a lot of assumptions about how Congress will vote on the parts of the budget designed to reduce the debt. Don't hold your breath.

And they say these things with a straight face…as though we're morons. Maybe we are. We keep electing the same people to Congress who are bankrupting the country.

Last week there was an estimate that the United States will be bankrupt within seven to 10 years. The mightiest economy the world has ever known is going under because the people in Washington refuse to rein in spending. It's an absolute disgrace.

But maybe we can help them.

Here’s my question to you: How would you cut government spending?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Deficit • President Barack Obama
February 1st, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Should CIA operatives be allowed to moonlight for private companies?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out some CIA operatives are doing double duty - by working for private companies on the side. This while the country is involved in two ongoing wars in the Middle east and continues to face threats to national security at home.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/01/art.cia.jpg caption="CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia"]

It's no wonder they didn't have the time to connect the dots ahead of the botched Christmas Day bombing.

Politico reports that in some cases the CIA moonlighting policy has allowed hedge funds and financial firms to hire active-duty CIA officers to do something called "deception detection"... Teaching companies to figure out when executives my be lying based on their behavior and what they say.

Defenders of the policy say it's a key way to prevent "brain-drain"... in the past, there has been an exodus of highly trained intelligence officers to the private sector - where they make lots more money. This way they can earn more on the side while still working for the government.

One official insists the policy doesn't interfere with the CIA's work on critical national security investigations... the officers who want to moonlight must submit a detailed explanation of what they'll be doing and get permission from their bosses.

But there are a lot of unanswered questions here... including how many officers do this, how long it's been going on and what types of other jobs they're been allowed to take.

Government employees are generally allowed to moonlight in the private sector - as long as there's no conflict of interest and they get written approval.

Here’s my question to you: In light of recent national intelligence failures, should CIA operatives be allowed to moonlight for private companies?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: CIA