The Note: Coalition Of The Less Willing

Oct 28, 2010 9:11am


WHERE WE ARE NOW. President Obama’s appearance last night on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart seemed to fit right in with the release of new poll numbers from The New York Times and CBS News that, together, speak volumes about how much trouble the Democrats are in this year. As Stewart grilled the president, saying that his legislative agenda felt “timid” compared to the “audacity” he ran on in 2008, the fresh polling indicated just how severely the coalition that helped Obama win the White House two years ago has splintered. “You ran on very high rhetoric, hope and change and the Democrats this year seem to be running on ‘please baby one more chance,’” Stewart joked. “So you wouldn’t say you would run next time as a pragmatist? You would not, it wouldn’t be ‘yes we can, given certain conditions.’“ Obama responded “No I think what I would say is ‘yes we can’ but it’s not going to happen overnight.”  

Meanwhile, The Times/CBS News poll carried grim news for the Democrats: “Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Roman Catholics, less affluent Americans and independents. All of those groups broke for Mr. Obama in 2008 and for Congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls. … The poll provides a pre-Election Day glimpse of a nation so politically disquieted and disappointed in its current trajectory that 57 percent of the registered voters surveyed said they were more willing to take a chance this year on a candidate with little previous political experience. More than a quarter of them said they were even willing to back a candidate who holds some views that ‘seem extreme.’”

The president acknowledged those political realities last night. "Folks are going to be frustrated and it's going to reflect itself in the political environment," he said. "The fact is that there are a bunch of folks who, during the course of this year, took really tough votes that they knew were bad politics because they thought they were the right things to do.”

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos offered his take on Obama’s appearance on the “Daily Show” on the  “Good Morning America” political pre-game show #GMA645 today.

ON THE TRAIL. Vice President Joe Biden continues his feverish campaign schedule with a visit to Bethesda, Md. today to stump for moderate Democrat Rep. Frank Kratovil. ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf points out: “It’ll be the first time since the passage of health care reform, according to our records, that either Biden or President Obama will have stumped for someone who opposed the law. The streak holds for former House members seeking office outside the House. Perhaps its sour grapes on the part of the White House that they’ve stayed away from Health Reform no votes. Or perhaps people who voted against the Democrats landmark accomplishment and signature issue don’t want a White House presence in their district anyway. Or maybe it says something about how Democrats are trying to score points where they can, even if it means campaigning for those who opposed their big issue.”

EARLY VOTE, EARLY SPIN. More than 10.5 million people have already cast ballots this year — a number that is going up by the minute. "It looks like we're on track to beat 2006," said George Mason University political scientist Michael McDonald, who has been tracking the early vote almost around the clock. "It's not clear if we're going to get up to 2008 levels yet." Republicans and Democrats can point to key states and counties where they are out in front, and neither party has passed up the opportunity to spin the returns in their favor.

On Wednesday the Democratic National Committee released a memo dismissing the notion that Democrats were the ones facing an enthusiasm gap this year, saying that in 11 key states Democrats were doing better than their GOP counterparts in early voting. "The results to date are not only not consistent with the existence of a Republican enthusiasm gap," the DNC memo said, "they show that in key races Democrats are winning." Not so fast, according to the Republican National Committee, citing other states like Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania, where the GOP is leading. "Democrat claims of a stronger ground game are contradicted by the data and appear to be a brazen attempt to motivate a depressed base," an RNC memo said. "Combined with our traditional Election Day turnout advantage, this kind of absentee and early voting performance will drive Republican victories all over the country."

WOMEN ON THE BALLOT. ABC’s Devin Dwyer takes a closer look at why 2010 may not be a banner year for women in politics: “Record numbers of women filed to run for the U.S. House and Senate during the primaries, and a record-tying 10 will appear on ballots for governor in eight states. While it's likely that female candidates will make inroads in some corners this year, the net result for women in national elective office could be a loss, experts say. ‘For the first time in 30 years, we could see a decline in the number of women in Congress,’ said Debbie Walsh, who runs the nonpartisan Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University, which tracks female candidates nationwide.” Dwyer reports that 91 Democratic women and 47 Republican women are running for the U.S. House this year. Meanwhile, 17 women currently hold seats in the U.S. Senate and 11 are not up for re-election this year. “Women need to win six seats to maintain their presence, a number that seems far from guaranteed.”

CLOSING ARGUMENTS. Candidates are making their final pitches to voters on the stump and in television commercials, and we’re taking a look at some of those “closing arguments” this week. Here are today’s picks:

Jerry Brown: The California Democrat who is leading GOP rival Meg Whitman in the state’s gubernatorial race unveiled a closing argument ad on Wednesday that basically produced itself. The ad, titled “Positive Finish,” is simply an extended clip from a forum in Long Beach, Calif. earlier this week in which Whitman declined to join Brown in a pledge to pull all negative ads before Election Day. After brief segment of the exchange the screen cuts to a message: “Tell Meg Whitman: Let’s Go Positive” along with the phone number to her campaign headquarters. The Whitman campaign responded swiftly to the television spot, charging that that “Jerry Brown and the public employee unions are running an around-the-clock character assault against Meg, and we’re supposed to buy this new ‘pledge’? It’s the height of hypocrisy.”

Charlie Crist: Remember me “on line nine.” It might be an awkward message, but independent Florida Senate candidate Charlie Crist is using it in his final-week TV spot called “Crossroads.” In the ad Crist tells voters, “On Tuesday you’re going to choose a path for our state and nation. Down one road is extremism where Roe vs. Wade is overturned and being a moderate is a curse. That’s the road Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Marco Rubio want to take us down. It’s a dangerous road.” As the ad concludes a graphic of a ballot flashes on the screen as the Republican-turned-independent reminds voters: “Don’t forget to find me on line nine on your ballot.”  

Harry Reid: Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, who is fighting for his political future against strong opposition from GOP challenger Sharron Angle, paints a grim picture in his closing ad of the campaign. A pair of narrators say, “In Sharron Angle’s Nevada there are no background checks to catch sex offenders working with kids. There’s no Social Security for seniors. Insurance companies don’t cover cancer tests. Prisoners get massages in a radical scientology program.” The ad even envisions a Las Vegas without a city center and jobs being outsourced to China with Angle in the U.S. Senate.


Don’t miss more exclusive political insights from ABC’s Amy Walter, George Stephanopoulos and John Berman on the “Good Morning America,” pre-game show, #GMA645.


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  ABC’s Rick Klein and Karen Travers sit down with Evan Tracey President of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, which is tracking campaign ads and spending by candidates across the country. Klein and Travers also have a conversation about the state of key races with less than a week to go until Election Day with Bob Cusack Managing Editor of The Hill. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.


Keep your eye on ABC’s updated House, Senate and governor’s race maps right here:


UPDATED ABC iPAD APP IS HERE: Just in time for the elections, introducing the updated ABC News iPad app! It includes some great features including an interactive map that will show real time results on election night and the "What If?" game in which user can select the races they think could tip the balance of power in the House and Senate.  You can start the game with ABC news race ratings and then predict your own winners and losers. On election night continue to play along, and watch the returns come in. How to get it? Download the app free from the iTunes store.



DEMS VS. BOEHNER. Democrats were only too happy last night to point out that Republican leader John Boehner, the man who could potentially become the next House Speaker if the GOP takes control of the House, is planning to campaign with Ohio congressional candidate and occasional Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott. Boehner will campaign at a rally this weekend with Iott. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Ryan Rudominer fired back with this statement: “Not only has John Boehner recruited, embraced, and financed a disgraced Nazi enthusiast running for Congress, but now Boehner is pouring gasoline on the fire by holding a campaign rally with him,” Rudominer said. “Unbelievably, this comes on the heels of John Boehner also embracing an Ohio congressional candidate being sued for attempted rape and sexual assault, and another who has ties to an organized crime syndicate that brands women like cattle. Thumbing his nose at our nation's veterans, women, and people of the Jewish faith, all the while refusing to stand up for basic American values in order to try and win an election, apparently this is what Boehner meant when he said, ‘We're not going to be any different than what we've been.’”

GIVING IT AWAY. Republicans, meanwhile, were trumpeting the news that Ohio Senate candidate Lee Fisher has given $100,000 of his remaining campaign war chest to the Ohio Democratic Party for get-out-the-vote efforts. It is a sign, some political observers said, that Fisher was all but throwing in the towel in his tough race against Republican Rob Portman. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Was Fisher really down to his last $100,000? Holly Shulman, his campaign spokeswoman, laughed when asked, saying only that Fisher will continue to campaign aggressively until the Nov. 2 election. That includes a 27-hour swing to talk with workers from Columbus to Cleveland, and points in between…”

IS IT 2012 YET?. It’s yet another sign that almost as soon as the sun rises on Nov. 3, the 2012 election cycle begins. ABC’s Rick Klein reports that the Democratic National Committee has already requested information about correspondence between nine potential GOP presidential hopefuls and the U.S. military. Klein notes: “Such requests are typical in the world of opposition research, which involves casting a broad net for publicly available material that may at some point prove embarrassing or incriminating to political candidates.” The nine Republicans are Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska; former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass.; Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss.; Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.; former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.; Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; Gov. Mitch Daniels, R-Ind.; Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La.

STEELING FOR A FIGHT. Since mid-Septmeber, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has been on a cross-country bus tour, campaigning for a host of 2010 candidates. But the time on the road has reportedly given him some time to think about his own political future. CNN’s Mark Preston reports that Steele “is taking steps to run for another two-year term and outlined his plan in a conference call last week to a handful of state GOP officials, three Republicans familiar with call tell CNN. … One of the Republicans familiar with the call said Steele mentioned that Neil Alpert, who works in the RNC's finance department, and Christopher Carroll, deputy director of state and local government affairs for the committee, will take roles in the re-election campaign.”



@GStephanopoulos: The single most important political number today – watch:

@donnabrazile: Imagine that? RT @davidfrum 46 Anti-Obama books published in 2 years.

@katiemconnolly: my take on obama's daily show appearance. stewart as proxy for disillusioned dems:

@PoliticalTicker: Carter: Obama's re-election prospects could improve after November vote

@WestWingReport: Before moving on, one for all you fashionistas: Mariska Hargitay's shoes yesterday. (Photo/WWR)



SPEND ELECTION NIGHT WITH US. Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor live coverage of election results from across the country on Tuesday starting with a special edition of “World News with Diane Sawyer” at 6:30pm ET and continuing with full election coverage from 8:00pm ET until at least 4:00 am ET. The network will carry special reports at the top and bottom of each hour from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. followed by a live 90-minute special at 9:30 pm ET. ABC News will live-stream a special pre-game program, anchored by Sawyer and Stephanopoulos, from 8:00–9:30 pm ET on, Facebook, and on the ABC News iPad application. Beginning at 9:30 pm Facebook and will live-stream the network’s election coverage.

Sawyer and Stephanopoulos will be joined by a team of ABC news anchors, correspondents and analysts including: Senior Political Correspondent Jonathan Karl; Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper; “This Week” Anchor Christiane Amanpour reporting from Connecticut; Sharyn Alfonsi, Ron Claiborne, and John Quinones reporting live from states with crucial elections in determining the balance of power; David Muir and Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg moderating an On Campus town hall meeting at Arizona State University; Providing analysis and historical context will be ABC News contributors George Will, Cokie Roberts, Donna Brazile and Matthew Dowd. They will be joined by Ron Brownstein, Editorial Director for the National Journal Group and conservative commentator Dana Loesch.

THE NOTE IS HIRING AN INTERN. Calling on College Students! The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking full-time Winter 2011 interns in Washington, D.C.  The paid internship begins in late December or early January and runs thru May of 2011.  Political Unit interns attend political events and contribute to stories for the politics page of They also help ABC News by conducting research, maintaining our calendar of upcoming political events, and posting stories to  

In order to apply, you MUST be either a graduate student or an undergraduate student who has completed his or her first year of college. The internship is NOT open to recent graduates.  You also must be able to work eight hours per day, Monday through Friday. Interns will be paid $8.50/hour. If you write well, follow politics closely, and have some familiarity with web publishing, send a cover letter and resume to Zach Wolf at, by Monday, November 15, with the subject line: "INTERN" in all caps.  Please indicate in both your cover letter and the body of your email your student status and the specific dates and hours of your availability.


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