The Note: Whirlwind Weekend

Oct 30, 2010 9:34am


THE PLACES THEY’LL GO. President Barack Obama opens a non-stop weekend on the campaign trail with a Democratic National Committee event at Temple University in Philadelphia this morning. Later today, he headlines a “Moving America Forward” rally in Bridgeport, Conn. followed by quick hop to Chicago for another rally at Midway Plaisance Park. President Obama will spend the night in Chicago before he flies to Ohio to campaign on Sunday. After a few days off the trail, the president kicked off his final push to Election Day last night in Charlottesville, Va. where he stumped for one of the White House’s most important allies — and one of this year’s most endangered Democrats — Rep. Tom Perriello. Obama called him “one of the best congressmen Virginia has ever had.”

ABC’s Tahman Bradley reports “Obama spoke with added emphasis (at times raising his voice to shout) about his belief Perriello has been a tremendous member of Congress. ‘Go Tom, go! Go Tom, go! Go Tom, go,’ Obama shouted to the crowd after they started the chant. The president said political courage is hard to come by these days and that Perriello has demonstrated tremendous courage in Congress by taking on insurance companies, credit card companies and Wall Street banks. ‘The question I have for you is: When somebody like this has your back, do you have his back?’ the president asked. Obama added, ‘He didn’t go to Washington to do what was easy, what was popular. He went to do what was right.’”

NOTED: Also on the trail today, Vice President Joe Biden travels to Quincy, Mass. for a rally with Congressional candidate Bill Keating. And on the Republican side, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin heads to Charleston, West Virginia to campaign for GOP Senate candidate John Raese. Palin will be joined by rock legend, Ted Nugent.

OBAMA VS. BOEHNER. In dueling weekly addresses this weekend, President Obama and House Republican Leader John Boehner, both take swipes at each other — a preview of things to come if the GOP wrests control of the House from Democratic hands. As ABC’s Sunlen Miller notes: "President Obama targets ‘troubling’ comments made by House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as representative of the direction the Republican Party would take the country. ‘The Republican leader of the House actually said that ‘this is not the time for compromise.’ And the Republican leader of the Senate said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one,’ Obama said.”

In the weekly Republican address, meanwhile, Boehner highlights the ideas laid out in the GOP’s Pledge To America, but not before taking the opportunity to tweak Obama: “In the final days of the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised to ‘change this country and change the world,’ Boehner says. “Well I don’t know about the world, but here at home, Americans haven’t experienced the change President Obama promised.  One in ten of our fellow citizens is out of work. Our national debt has grown by $3 trillion. Trust in government has fallen to an all-time low. These problems didn’t start under President Obama. But instead of fixing them, his policies have made them worse.”

CARGO PLANE EFFECT. Yes, it is an October surprise. But, don't look for yesterday’s terrorist bomb scare to alter the trajectory of this election. Where it could have an impact, however, is on President Obama’s overall ratings. How he and his administration deal with this going forward may be a way for Obama to regain control of the bully pulpit. Moreover, it will be interesting to see how the president addresses this issue at campaign rallies this weekend. But, for candidates on the ballot this year, this is more of a muddling factor than anything else. Moreover, it raises the issue of how, ten years after 9/11, the government still hasn’t figured out how best to seal an obvious gap in airline security. As the New York Times’ Christine Hauser reports, “Despite the increased scrutiny of people and luggage on passenger planes since 9/11, there are far fewer safeguards for packages and bundles, particularly when loaded on cargo-only planes.” For voters who are angry about the failure of major institutions to solve their problems, this episode doesn’t help them feel any better.

ABC’s Jake Tapper provides the tick-tock of what White House officials knew and when they knew it about the suspicious packages from Yemen.

VOTE 2010: ABC VOICES. ABC News has lined up an all-star panel of correspondents and political experts to weigh in on the results during our election night coverage, anchored by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. Between now and Election Day, we’ll be bringing you insights from our panelists, starting today with political strategist and ABC News contributor Matthew Dowd, the National Journal’s Ron Brownstein and ABC regular George Will.

MATTHEW DOWD: “Growing up in Detroit, on the evening before Halloween, October 30th, we would participate in what was called Devil¹s night. We would commit mischief in our neighborhoods by toilet papering trees, or soaping or egging windows of our neighbors, and we would also simultaneously try and protect our own home from the acts of other folks out on Devil¹s night.  In the end, our house and every other house would suffer the consequences of that night no one was spared from the trouble brewing among frustrated youths.  This election and Tuesday night I fear will be a further manifestation of that. Both parties have and will suffer from the frustration of voters ­ young and old. Establishment Republicans have suffered in the primaries and Democrats will suffer in the general election. This has been one of the most interesting and curious I have ever seen.  We simultaneously have two political parties who are disliked and distrusted by the voters. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have huge unfavorable numbers. We have candidates throughout the country who would be unelectable in any normal election environment. And Nevada is a perfect example of this where voters will basically decide whether Harry Reid will continue as majority leader. Both Reid and Republican Sharron Angle are unelectable, but since they are running against each other, someone has to win. And that is true throughout the country where even though Republicans are disliked as much as Democrats, they will win a majority of the contests because they just so happen to be not in charge. And when the election is over, most of these voters will continue to be dissatisfied and will be looking to take their frustration out again sometime soon in another election. So as Halloween approaches and Devil¹s Night is celebrated, whoever wins these elections, be prepared for either Trick or Treat from voters going forward.”

RON BROWNSTEIN: In his latest column for the National Journal, Brownstein asks whether it’s possible for a president to be “too cool and collected in the face of calamity.” Brownstein, who interviewed then-President Bill Clinton shortly before the 1994 midterm elections — a disastrous period for Democrats — and Obama just last week, compared the demeanor of the two presidents: “Where Clinton agonized, Obama analyzed. It was clear that Obama has started to think seriously about how he will navigate a Washington with many more Republicans in it. But nothing about him suggested that he viewed the impending arrival of those Republicans as evidence that he needed to radically rethink his presidency. Obama sounded neither shell-shocked nor defiant. … Relative to Clinton in 1994, Obama will emerge from this midterm setback with both greater strengths (a stronger electoral base, grounded in changing demography) and more acute weaknesses (a more sluggish economy and a greater sense that his agenda has failed, partly because so few Democrats have tried to defend it this fall).”

GEORGE F. WILL:  “When all the froth and nonsense of the campaign has long since dissipated, historians may marvel at this: In the tenth year of the nation's longest war, which is not going well, Afghanistan was a non-issue.”


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

Lee Fisher: The Ohio Senate hopeful is casting himself as the underdog in his closing campaign ad because, well, he is. Fisher has been trailing Republican Rob Portman in the Senate contest. A statement from the Fisher campaign trumpets the ad as “paid for by grassroots supporters, not Portman’s lobbyist and Wall Street Backers. In the ad, Fisher says: “I’m Lee Fisher, pay very close attention to this ad 'cause you’re not going to see it too many times. My campaign just doesn’t have millions of dollars to run lots of ads, no scary black-and-white pictures and creepy music here. The bottom line is: I’m an Ohio guy and Portman’s Mr. Washington … I’m Lee Fisher I approved this message and, yes, we barely paid for it but I’m sure proud that Wall Street and the Washington lobbyists didn’t.”

Rand Paul: The Kentucky GOP Senate candidate running against Democrat Jack Conway chose to let his wife, Kelley Paul, deliver his closing argument. “I’m always amazed at Rand’s boundless energy,” she says in the spot. “We’ve been married for 20 years and he’s always worked hard to make a difference, reshaping the lives of patients he serves, raising our three boys. Rand believes that America’s brightest days are ahead but only if the promise of freedom of opportunity is there for future generations. That’s the promise we trust Rand to keep. There’s no greater gift to leave our children.”


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 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.


SANITY WEEKEND. Thousands are expected to descend on the National Mall in Washington today to take part in "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" — the brain child of Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. But as the AP’s Hope Yen writes, “their fans just aren't certain what to expect.” More from the preview of today’s festivities: “A preliminary list of entertainers included musicians Sheryl Crow and The Roots. Actor Sam Waterston and Don Novello, who years ago played Father Guido Sarducci on "Saturday Night Live," were also expected to appear. The rally has generated extensive buzz on the Internet, with more than 226,000 people on a Facebook page created for the event saying they would attend. The liberal Huffington Post was sending a caravan of 10,000 people on 200 buses from New York, while Oprah Winfrey expressed her support by providing travel expenses to a "Daily Show" studio audience of about 200 members so that they could attend.”

PAC MENTALITY. A group called the Patriot’s Fund, a political committee that recently registered with the Federal Elections Commission and is headed by an official from the Michigan Republican Party, is just the latest in a long line of groups have “sprouted like mushrooms in the final weeks of the 2010 campaign, dumping tens of millions of dollars into House and Senate races and, in many cases, avoiding the need to tell voters who is funding their activities,” the Washington Post’s Dan Eggen reports. More from his story: “More than three dozen super PACs and other political groups began spending money for the first time within the past ten days, according to a Washington Post analysis of FEC records. The surge underscores the outsize role played this year by independent interest groups, which are expected to spend as much $500 million on the midterms. Some political committees are so new they don't have to reveal details about their backing until after the election; others operating as nonprofits will never have to disclose their donors.”

HOYER DEFENDS PELOSI. House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said he was sorry to see Republicans (and even some Democrats) trash talking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi throughout the course of the campaign season. “She’s hard-working, focused, trying to do things that are good for the American public, and for average working people, and she’s being vilified. I think that’s unfortunate,” Hoyer, told The Hill’s Russell Berman while campaigning in his Maryland district. “I’m not happy about them. I wish they wouldn’t be done,” Hoyer said of the ads that feature Pelosi in a negative light.



@ariannahuff: Over 190 buses have left Citi Field for the Rally to Restore Sanity, just boarded my bus and we are hitting the road to DC.

@nytjim: Alexandra Petri of WashPost argues that #rally4sanity IS her generation's Woodstock.

@HariDNC: RT @jeremybird: Just chatting w a line of #OFA canvassers. Chilly day in #Philly. But that won't stop our monster canvass.

@thegarance: "Stuart Rothenberg said Republicans could pick up as many as 70 House seats-something no party has achieved since 1948"

@Berman14: Big rehearsal today for #vote2010. I'll post behind the scenes photos here (@rickklein in tube-top):



The percentage of 2008 voters who say President Obama deserves to be defeated in Nov. 2012, according to an Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll. More from the poll: “Among Democrats, 47 percent say Obama should be challenged for the 2012 nomination and 51 percent say he should not be opposed. Those favoring a contest include most who backed Hillary Rodham Clinton's unsuccessful faceoff against Obama for the 2008 nomination. The poll did not ask if Democrats would support particular challenge.”



SPEND ELECTION NIGHT WITH US. In addition to ABC News’ live coverage of the election results anchored by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos and continuous ABC News NOW programming live-streamed on Yahoo!, Hulu and other mobile and broadband platforms, will be providing up to the minute results and ABC News projections for winners in the Senate, House, and gubernatorial races as the polls close.  ABC’s interactive election map ( provides detailed information about all races for Senate, Congress and Governor.  Earlier in the day, there will be special Election Day editions of ABC News/Washington Post’s “Top Line” and Jake Tapper’s “Political Punch” webcasts.

ABC News Radio will provide extensive coverage of election results as well. Aaron Katersky will anchor live with Sam Donaldson from 7:00 p.m. until at least 1:00 a.m. ET. ABC News Radio’s team of correspondents and analysts — including Vic Ratner and Richard Davies — will contribute reporting on the key races throughout the evening from the ABC News Decision Desk; Torie Clarke and Steve Roberts will provide analysis; Alex Stone will report from Las Vegas, NV; Matt Gutman will be in covering races from Miami, FL; and Brad Wheelis will be covering the races in California from Los Angeles. Steven Portnoy will be with Republican leaders in Washington, DC and Ann Compton will be with Democratic leaders. 

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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