The Note: Hope, Change And The Tea Party

Oct 19, 2010 8:57am


TEA TIME. 2010 really is the year of the Tea Party in the view of most Americans, according to a new ABC News/Yahoo! News poll released today. A key finding: Whether or not people support the Tea Party, more than half — 55 percent of Americans — see the movement as uniquely positioned to “bring about major changes in the way the government operates,” according to polling analyst Gary Langer. Of course, that belief varies widely by party affiliation and geography. Drilling deeper into the results, “72 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of independents think the movement can forge major changes; just 36 percent of Democrats agree. And 68 percent of conservatives think the movement's capable of real change, vs. about half of moderates and liberals alike,” Langer writes.

NOTED: The Tea Party is not quite where Barack Obama was with his message of “change” in 2008, but it’s close. More from the poll analysis: “Shortly before the 2008 election, 58 percent thought [Obama] could change Washington's culture. But influencing the government's operating style presumably would be good enough for the Tea Party — and on that score it's yanked away the claim to "change" that Obama used so effectively just two years ago.”

TRAIL MIX. At a private fundraiser in Rockville, Md. last night President Obama told the assembled guests, who paid a maximum of $30,400 to hear the president speak, that the work he started was not finished: "I need partners in Senate who understand what's at stake,” Obama said. “We need people in Congress who understand what's good in long term. We're just in the first quarter.”

The president spends the day in DC before starting a major West Coast campaign swing on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden travels to Vancouver, Washington today to headline a rally for Sen. Patty Murray. Biden then goes on to San Francisco for an event on behalf of Sen. Barbara Boxer before heading to Reno, Nevada. While all eyes are on Washington state today and Thursday with Biden and Obama stumping for Sen. Murray, might California actually be the closer race? Getting involved in the Golden State represents a real game of chicken for both parties. Breaking through the crowded media market is always tough, but the overpowering California governor’s race makes it that much harder. Democrats feel confident they've got the goods on Carly Fiorina, but why didn't Boxer and national Democratic groups spent more time and money attacking Fiorina this summer when the GOP hopeful was still undefined and low on cash?

NOTED: Later this week President Obama will also campaign with Sen. Boxer in her race against Fiorina, but the president has already given Boxer some help in advance. In a radio ad he cut for Boxer, President Obama says "stood shoulder to shoulder with Barbara Boxer through the tough fights. I believe California needs her and I know I need her." ABC’s Jake Tapper notes that the ad is Boxer’s first radio spot and will air in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento media markets.

MILLER TIME. A day after private security guards working for Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller’s campaign handcuffed a reporter who they said was trespassing at an event, the GOP Senate hopeful raised eyebrows when he weighed in on another matter of law and order: border security. At a recent town hall meeting, Miller suggested that the United States might be able to learn some lessons from Cold War-era East German border control agents. From the Anchorage Daily News: “Miller said he got a first-hand look at the barbed wire and concrete divide as a West Point cadet when he was sent to the infamous Fulda Gap near Frankfurt … ‘East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow,’ Miller said. Possibly referring to the machine gun positions maintained by East German border guards under standing orders to shoot to kill its own fleeing citizens, he added: ‘Obviously there were other things that were involved, but we have the capacity as a great nation to obviously secure our border. If East Germany could do it, we could do it,’ Miller said.”

NOTED: The Miller camp is facing a blowback from the incident in which private security guards handcuffed a liberal blogger at a recent campaign event. ABC’s Steve Portnoy spoke with Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press who said: “It strikes me as virtually incomprehensible that anyone would have to rough up and handcuff a reporter who's just trying to do a story,” she said. "It seems to me that they didn't like this guy, so they just decided to take him out," Dalglish said of Tony Hopfinger, editor of the Alaska Dispatch website. More of the backstory from Portnoy’s report: “Hopfinger was detained Sunday by Miller's hired guards — men wearing dark suits and earpieces — after he chased the candidate with a video camera down the hallway of a public school, following an hour-long town hall meeting in the school's gym. … Miller's campaign responded to the incident with a news release headlined, "Liberal Blogger 'Loses It," accusing Hopfinger of "a publicity stunt" and calling him "irrational, angry and potentially violent."

DEBATE NIGHT: ILLINOIS. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos will be in Illinois on Tuesday to moderate a Senate debate between Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk. The debate will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be streamed live on and on our ABC News Facebook page, DON’T FORGET: The debate train heads to Pennsylvania on Wednesday when Stephanopoulos will co-moderate another competitive Senate face off between Republican Pat Toomey and Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak.


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter (wish her a happy birthday today!) will sit down with AFL-CIO Political Director Karen Ackerman to talk about the impact that organized labor is having on 2010 races. Ackerman circulated a memo on Monday noting that the AFL-CIO plans to send out 4.1 million pieces of mail and make 8.2 million phone calls this week alone. The labor group is involved in eight Senate races across the country, including in Connecticut, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, ten governor’s races, including Ohio, Oregon and Florida, and 71 House races. Klein and Walter will also talk to Bloomberg political reporter Lisa Lerer. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.


Check out ABC’s updated House, Senate and governor’s race maps right here:



MCCAIN, PALIN & REAGAN.  In an exclusive interview with Arizona Sen. John McCain, ABC’s Terry Moran got the former Republican presidential nominee’s take on his erstwhile running mate Sarah Palin: “I haven't seen anyone since Ronald Reagan that with certain individuals and large groups of individuals who really have this passionate belief and support for her," McCain said, "It's really a remarkable thing to observe." Once again he defended his decision to put her on the ticket: “I couldn't be more proud of the campaign she waged," he said. "I couldn't be more proud of her or her performance and her continued performance. So, I think, you begin to think about legacy and I think that Sarah Palin will play a very big role in the American political scene for a very long time."

JERRY, MEG & ARNOLD. In California the campaign of gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is going on the offensive with an ad comparing Republican contender Meg Whitman to current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The ad, obtained by CNN, pairs clips of Schwarzenegger and Whitman making similar statements. More from Jessica Yellin’s report: “It begins with video of Schwarzenegger saying ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’ then cuts to Whitman saying the same thing. Next, Schwarzenegger: ‘I've built businesses.’ Whitman: ‘I've built a business.’ Schwarzenegger: ‘I've met a payroll.’ Whitman: ‘I've met a payroll.’ Later it has Schwarzenegger and Whitman both saying ‘I don't owe anyone anything’, and ‘we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.' The spot ends with the two Republicans saying "what's the worst thing that can happen?’ It fades to black and a quote from the San Jose Mercury News appears 'We tried that. It didn't work.’” Schwarzenegger has declined to endorse a candidate in the race and even went so far as to criticize Whitman via Twitter last week.


THE NUMBER: $564 Million

The amount that the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute estimates will be spent by political committees and nonprofit groups this year, — $334 million coming from pro-Republican organizations and $230 million from pro-Democratic groups. That’s 40 percent more that similar groups spent in 2008, ABC’s Jennifer Schlesinger and Devin Dwyer report: “Experts say spending by independent third-parties are driving the surge, infusing 73 percent more cash into the campaign through mid-October than they did two years ago. … The administration has said the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision has played a key role in unleashing the flood of cash, by lifting campaign finance restrictions on direct, independent electioneering by corporations, and unions using their general funds in the weeks before elections. But Campaign Finance Institute executive director Michael Malbin said it's too soon to tell whether the court's decision facilitated an influx of new money or just allowed corporations to spend it differently.”



@HowardKurtz: My first Daily Beast piece: How the Media Blew the Midterns. And continue to struggle to understand what's happening.

@rickklein: McCain @GMA: "with all due respect to my daughter, the primary voters in DE chose Christine O'Donnell, and she's the candidate."

@MPOTheHill: Judd Gregg on CNBC: "Would not surprise me" if GOP picks up 10 Senate seats. 60 seats in the House is on the "low" end.#expectations

@pwire: Kasich maintains ten points lead for OH-Gov…

@NRSC: RT @raeseforsenate Charleston Daily Mail endorses John Raese. #wvsen



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