April 19th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Message to incumbents if Reid trails by double digits in Nevada?


An opponent of Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) protests outside a campaign event in Fernley, Nevada. Reid is lagging in polls following passage of the controversial health care bill that Pres. Obama signed into law. Reid is bidding for a fifth Senate term. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Incumbents may want to take note:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trailing the Republican front-runner in Nevada by double digits.

The Mason-Dixon poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows Republican Sue Lowden getting 47 percent of the vote... compared to 37 percent for Reid. The poll also includes a slate of third-party and other candidates, who get very little backing.

Reid has been in trouble in his home state for awhile now. His campaign had always argued that the presence of third party candidates distorted the real picture. Reid claimed when the election was held these minor party candidates would split the vote and he would still win.

But this poll suggests adding the minor candidates into the mix doesn't really "bleed support" away from the Republican. Experts suggest voters rarely choose third-party candidates in closer races with high stakes... because they don't want to throw away their vote.

Reid's people still sound confident that the senator can win a fifth term - what else are they gonna say. Another recent poll shows the senate majority leader with an unfavorable rating of 56 percent in Nevada. The people in his own state can't stand him.

And it's not just Reid who might be in trouble. People are increasingly angry about their government and are likely to take it out on incumbents come November. Let's hope they do.

Here’s my question to you: What message does it send to incumbents if Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid is trailing by double digits in his home state?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Harry Reid • Senate
February 24th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

290 bills passed in House are stalled in Senate

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

You don't have to look very far for signs that our government is broken... and here's one more:

The House of Representatives has passed 290 bills that are stalled in the Senate.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/24/art.dc.snow.jpg caption=""]
The Hill newspaper reports that frustrated House Democrats are out with a list of the nearly 300 pieces of legislation they've passed - that the upper chamber has yet to act on.

The stalled bills include both big and small ones - from health care, climate change and Wall Street Reform... to a Civil War battlefield preservation act and naming a federal courthouse in Iowa.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office says this list is put together during each Congress - but that this year's is probably the largest ever. Nonetheless, Pelosi isn't blaming her Democratic counterparts in the Senate. Instead she lays the blame on Republicans who are "abusing" their right to filibuster.

But some Democratic congressmen aren't shy to fault their Senate colleagues for not doing more with their super majority when they had it. House Majority Whip James Clyburn suggests that senators see themselves as a "house of lords" and that they're out of touch with the American people since they're not up for re-election every two years.

Over in the Senate - majority leader Harry Reid also blames Republicans for the back-up of legislation. Isn't he in charge?

The Democrats - starting with Reid and Pelosi - have to figure out how to get all their troops marching in the same direction. The people's business is piling up, and our lawmakers are just watching.

Here’s my question to you: How can Washington accomplish anything if 290 bills passed in the House are stalled in the Senate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: House of Representatives • Senate
January 20th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

How should Democrats proceed on health care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Republicans' victory in Massachusetts could very well be the final nail in the coffin for the Democrats' health care reform.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/24/flushot.jpg caption=""]
Exit poll data from one Republican firm shows the health care bill was the single most important issue to Massachusetts voters. This poll found 52 percent of those surveyed are opposed to health care reform; and 42 percent say they cast their ballot to help stop the overhaul.

Without the 60 vote filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the Democrats are left with a few options - none of them all that good... and most involving complicated legislative procedures.

The house could pass the bill that cleared the Senate as is - but several House Democrats are suggesting they won't go for that.

The House could also pass the current Senate bill and then try to fix it with a procedure that only needs 51 votes to pass the Senate.

Or the Democrats could scrap what they have and just try to pass a bare-bones bill that includes some of the most popular initiatives.

Several senators - including democrat Jim Webb - are calling for health care reform to be suspended until Scott Brown is sworn in.

And it appears President Obama may be getting the message... he says that the Senate shouldn't jam health care through before Brown is seated: "People in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process."

Here's my question to you: How should the Democrats proceed on health care now that they no longer have the votes to pass it in the Senate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • Health care • Senate • Uncategorized
January 19th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How would Dems explain loss of Kennedy's Mass. Senate seat?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

What once seemed unthinkable might just become reality: Democrats are in jeopardy of losing the Massachusetts Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy for almost five decades.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/19/art.t.kennedy.jpg caption="Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) lost his battle with cancer last year."]
It took just about a week for the Democratic candidate and state attorney general, Martha Coakley, to implode... Several polls released in the last few days show Coakley now trailing Republican Scott Brown - by as many as nine points. Coakley led Brown - who was unknown and underfunded - by more than 30 points back in November.

Advisers to President Obama say privately they believe Coakley will lose the special election... they've apparently grown increasingly pessimistic about her chances after a series of missteps.

Some analysts suggest that in some ways the Republicans have already won - by forcing the Democrats to invest the time and money in a race for Kennedy's old seat. The Democrats brought out their big guns in Massachusetts - including President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, but it may not be enough.

This being politics - you can bet the Democrats are already trying to figure out where to lay the blame for a potential loss. Chances are they would paint Coakley as a terrible candidate... who ran a poor campaign.

But it's clear The stakes couldn't be much higher: A defeat for the Democrats could destroy the president's attempts to push through his legislative agenda, especially health care. And - it would send a strong message to Democrats up for re-election around the country in November.

Here’s my question to you: How would Democrats explain a loss of Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Senate • Ted Kennedy
December 8th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Could Reid's support of health care reform cost him Senate seat?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Majority Leader Harry Reid is the top cheerleader for health care reform in the Senate... and this support for the bill might just wind up costing him his Nevada Senate seat.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/08/art.reid.tie.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pauses while speaking after a meeting with Pres. Obama and other Senate Democrats as they consider their version of health care reform legislation."]
That's because a growing number of Nevadans don't support health care reform...

A Las Vegas Review-Journal poll shows 53 percent of registered voters oppose the president's health care plan while only 39 percent approve of it.

Majorities of Nevadans are also opposed to a public option, believe that the reform plan would raise taxes, and that it would lead to the rationing of health care. Worse yet - ahead of his re-election bid next year, only 39 percent approve of Reid's efforts to get a bill though the Senate.

Evidence suggests that although most Democrats support Reid's efforts... that probably won't be enough to outweigh the disapproval of most independents and Republicans. One pollster says Reid is carrying the flag for this reform and "You remember what happened historically to flag bearers in war. The flag bearer gets shot first."

Meanwhile Reid managed to get both feet in his mouth when he compared Republicans' opposition to health care reform... to people who opposed ending slavery. That bit of stupidity was delivered on the floor of the senate. Republicans call Reid's comment "an ignorant moment" and they're demanding an apology.

Here’s my question to you: Could Harry Reid’s support of health care reform cost him his Senate seat?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • Senate
November 19th, 2009
02:16 PM ET

Good thing that senator served for almost 57 years?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/19/byrd.jpg caption="Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia is now officially the longest-serving member of Congress."]
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia is now officially the longest-serving member of Congress –ever!


The Democrat from West Virginia - who turns 92 tomorrow - has served for almost 57 years - including 6 years in the House and 51 in Senate... that translates to a record of 20,774 days.

He's served under 11 presidents - coming to Washington during the Eisenhower administration in 1953.

Byrd tops all other senators in the number of votes cast... that would be more than 18-thousand... and the number of leadership positions held - including two stints as majority leader.

He's never lost an election.

Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 40s... later calling it "the most egregious mistake" he'd ever made... and he voted against the civil rights act in the 60s... but he later followed a more traditional Democratic path, blasting Pres. George W. Bush's policies after 9-11 and during the Iraq war.

Byrd is thanking the people of West Virginia for their ongoing confidence in him... He says it's been the "quality and dedication of service" that has guided him and that he looks forward to serving them for quote "the next 56 years and 320 days."

Fine. But this isn't what our forefathers intended. They didn't envision career politicians - but rather people who would give a few years of their life to public service and then go back to farming or banking or whatever it is they did.

But without term limits - in a lot of cases, we wind up with politicians who spend their entire adult lives in Congress. And in many cases the results aren't good.

SO HERE'S MY QUESTION FOR YOU:Is it a good thing that a senator has set a record for serving nearly 57 years in Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Filed under: Congress • Senate
October 7th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Why hasn't Sen. John Ensign resigned?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada is just another example of what's wrong with Congress. Ensign tells CNN he didn't break Senate ethics rules... when he helped get a lobbying job for the husband of his mistress. Ensign claims he was very careful and merely "recommended" this man for a job like he's recommended a lot of other people.

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) speaks during a mark up hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill.

But the New York Times recently reported that the senator played an active role in getting the lobbying position for Doug Hampton - whose wife he was sleeping with. And - that Hampton went on to lobby Ensign on behalf of his clients - which he's not supposed to do. Ethics rules bar him from lobbying his old boss for a year after leaving his job on Capitol Hill.

But this slime ball senator insists he did nothing wrong here. Senator, it's ALL wrong. When asked if he has any plans to resign - Ensign says: "I am focused on doing my work."

Now the Senate Ethics Committee (which is an oxymoron) has started a preliminary investigation... which, if history is any judge, is meaningless. They won't do anything... they never do when judging one of their own. The whole thing is a joke and shows the impunity with which these arrogant elected scumbags operate.

Meanwhile Republicans in Nevada and Washington say Ensign can survive this thing politically - unless he really gets slammed by the Ethics committee - or if the situation is referred for a criminal investigation. Don't hold your breath.

Here’s my question to you: In light of ethics revelations about Sen. John Ensign, why hasn’t he resigned?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Scandals • Senate
August 28th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Who will assume Sen. Kennedy's leadership role?

The American flag flies at half staff Tuesday following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. (PHOTO CREDIT: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to filling Sen. Ted Kennedy's leadership shoes, it doesn't seem at first glance that there is anyone who can.

As Politico puts it, no other senator possesses the combination of "celebrity, seniority, personal charm, legislative savvy and ideological zeal that made Kennedy the most effective liberal in a generation.”

Those who worked with him call Kennedy "irreplaceable.” Many have said the senator's presence was sorely missed in the health care debate. Because of his failing health, he was unable to spend much time on Capitol Hill the last few months. Although Kennedy was a staunch liberal, he was known for compromising with Republicans – a skill pretty much lacking in both parties these days.

Perhaps the only senator who had similar star power was Hillary Clinton. And, before she became Pres. Obama's secretary of state, some aides had hoped she would assume a Kennedy-like role in the Senate.

That's not to say there aren't plenty of senators who would like to assume Kennedy's role. They include folks like Senators John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Tom Harkin, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold.

In the end though, the party may not be able to find a single figure with the personality, clout and popularity to replace Ted Kennedy. Sad really, that the greatest deliberative body in the world – home to the likes of Hubert Humphrey and Everett Dirksen – has become little more than a partisan snake pit where not a whole lot worthwhile gets done anymore.

Here’s my question to you: Who is likely to assume Ted Kennedy's leadership role in the Senate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Senate • Ted Kennedy
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