The Note: Populism Now

Speaking of which, Politico's Ben Smith is on the trail of a push poll: "The poll asked voters their response to negative statements about Obama, including reported praise for him from a leader of the Palestinian terror group Hamas and a friendship early in his career with a pro-Palestinian university professor. Some Jewish Democrats who received the poll – including a New Republic writer who lives in Michigan – were outraged by the poll, describing it in interviews as "ugly" and disturbing."

In retail politics department: Barack Obama's campaign today is announcing a plan -- with five points and $5 billion to be spent over 10 years -- to clean up the Great Lakes," writes Stephen Koff at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who goes on: "You're forgiven if you think this sounds like a lot of other Great Lakes restoration plans, all announced to fanfare over the years. The difference, say supporters of Obama, including Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, is that this plan would get funded. President Bush has made similar proposals but has never followed up with actual dollars, the lawmakers said. Bush even proposed a budget last year that would have cut Great Lakes funding by 16 percent, Stabenow said in a conference call with reporters this morning.

On Capitol Hill, the minority Republicans succeeded, after months of almost myopic concentration on domestic energy production and "drill drill drill" got a vote in the House on offshore drilling, although they opposed it for not going far enough.

From Zachary Coile at Nancy Pelosi's hometown paper: The energy bill, passed with the support of most Democrats, would let states decide whether to drill between 50 and 100 miles off their coasts while allowing the federal government to open areas beyond 100 miles. Republicans opposed the bill, calling it a sham because it would not give the states any financial rewards for drilling and would ban exploration within 50 miles of shore….The vote marked a tactical retreat by Democrats, who have fought each year since 1982 to renew the ban. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fearing a backlash for her party in November with polls showing growing support for new drilling, agreed to lift the moratorium as part of a broader energy bill."

Its an energy bill that exists in a different form (to the extent that it exists at all yet) in the Senate. And so it stands very little chance of becoming law in the next 50 days. But in the meantime there will be plenty of votes to provide electoral cover to lawmakers from both parties.

Drilling is an issue Republicans have cornered and it will continue to be on the Presidential campaign trail, according to Massimo Calabresi at Time: "But even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi steered the bill through procedural hurdles to passage during the day, Senator John McCain was demonstrating the continued power of the issue on the campaign trail. At a rally in Tampa, Fla., McCain segued away from prepared remarks on the uncomfortable matter of the Wall Street collapse (which he sometimes admits is the result of years of lax Republican oversight in Washington) and added comments on a much more rewarding topic: oil exploration. As he started on the subject, someone in the audience yelled "Drill, baby, drill." To which McCain responded, "Right, drill, baby, drill." To which the crowd responded, chanting: "DRILL, BABY, DRILL!""

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