The Note: Mr. Speaker

Nov 4, 2010 9:14am


GETTING THE GAVEL. The ink may not be completely dry on 2010 races, but presumptive House Speaker John Boehner is wasting no time taking up the mantle of leadership. He plans to release a new document today issuing a challenge to President Barack Obama and setting the stage for the new Congressional session. "President Obama must decide whether he will heed the will of the people and work with us to address their concerns, or continue on a path the people have rejected,” Boehner writes. “If he joins us in listening to the people and acknowledges their demand for smaller, more accountable government, much can be achieved.” (Boehner doesn’t say what happens if the president does not “join” in.) The 44-page document, titled “Pillars of New Majority,” is a compilation of speeches the Ohio Republican delivered between June and October 2010 that, in his own words, “detail my vision of a principled new majority and the way in which it should serve our nation.”

In a Time Magazine cover story, Michael Grunwald and Jay Newton-Small write: “For months Democrats lampooned him as a golf-addicted, lobbyist-encircled, chain-smoking Beltway insider with a weird orange tan and a radical right-wing agenda, the physical and political embodiment of everything Americans mistrusted about Republicans during the past two election cycles. … The new Speaker, his allies say, is a levelheaded grownup, a pragmatic conservative with a sensitive side, a power broker but not a power addict, an unabashed institutionalist who has pledged to respect the rights of the minority, reduce the Speaker's authority to micromanage legislation and bring real democracy to the House.”  

MUST WATCH: ABC’s Diane Sawyer sits down with Boehner today in Washington just 48-hours after his party’s sweeping midterm election victory. Sawyer will talk to Boehner about the results of the election, how the party will move to tackle key issues, and how the Tea Party will impact the Republican majority going forward. The interview will air tonight on “World News.” 

COMING TOGETHER. ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that President Obama plans to announce he has invited Republican and Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate to the White House after he returns from his trip to Asia. The meeting will focus on areas where there may be common ground. According to Tapper, “In the short term, President Obama will: push the Senate to ratify the START treaty with Russia for nuclear disarmament; push the House to pass a child nutrition bill to make school food more nutritious and feed more hungry kids, and extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. For the first time, yesterday the president signaled he is will to negotiate on also extending them to the wealthy as Republicans want. Longer term the president wants to work with Republicans on: spurring economic growth through tax credits for businesses; reducing the deficit and the national debt; education reform; and ‘changing the way Washington works,’ including reform of the earmark process.”

The Hill’s Russell Berman takes a closer look at the Boehner-Obama relationship and finds, “Obama and Boehner share a fondness for golf and cigarettes, but beyond frequent verbal broadsides and the occasional lighthearted quip, the two have never really connected, according to allies of the Republican leader.” But, he adds, “While it is unclear whether it will be a productive relationship, it is certain that the men will engage in the kind of detailed policy discussions that didn’t happen in the 111th Congress.”

Yesterday President Obama acknowledged in a nearly hour-long White House news conference that he and his party took a “shellacking” on Tuesday, saying that “some election nights are more fun than others.” Obama said: “Some are exhilarating, some are humbling, but every election, regardless of who wins and who loses, is a reminder that in our democracy power rests not with those of us in elected office, but with the people we have the privilege to serve.” More highlights from Wednesdays’ East Room news conference:

EXIT INTERVIEW. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview yesterday that she has “no regrets” about her tenure as Speaker despite the Democrats’ widespread losses on Tuesday. Speculation has been growing about whether she will remain in the House or resign, and she did not say specifically what was next for her. “I'll have a conversation with my caucus, I'll have a conversation with my family, and pray over it, and decide how to go forward," she told Sawyer. "But today isn't that day.” And she offered only kind words for the man who is likely to succeed her in the Speaker’s chair: “He knows that I wish him well personally,” Pelosi said of Boehner. “And for the American people, I wish him well in his work as well.” More excerpts and video clips from the interview with Pelosi:

2012 LIKE IT’S TODAY. Speculation about the 2012 presidential contest, especially as it relates to Sarah Palin, grew more intense almost as soon as polls closed on Tuesday, even with key midterm election races still to be decided. Besides enjoying better name recognition than any other possible Republican presidential hopeful and a position of power within the newly-emboldened Tea Party movement, Palin now has something else going for her: a cadre of candidates she endorsed who soon will take office in key House, Senate and governor's seats and who are in Palin's debt. But Palin is by no means the only beneficiary of the Republican Party's sweeping electoral successes. Potential 2012 contenders Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and a handful of others also used the election season to travel to key states, supporting candidates and possibly lay the groundwork for their own presidential runs. Many of them have been sending signals, subtle and not-so-subtle, about their presidential ambitions. We’re tracking the clues:  

PALIN GOES REAGAN. In a new web video released today by Sarah Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, the former Alaska governor declares in Reagan-esque fashion “this is our movement, this is our moment, this is our morning in America.” ABC’s Mary Bruce has the details: “The one minute video, entitled ‘Together,’ features Palin-supported candidates who emerged victorious in the midterms, including Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Kelly Ayotte and Marco Rubio. ‘We’re going to stand up and we’re going to speak out. It may take some renegades going rogue to get us there. It may take folks shaking it up to get there. We’ve got to do this together,’ Palin says. Continuing the ‘Mama Grizzly’ theme, the video concludes dramatically with a grizzly bear roaring on its hind legs.”


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  ABC’s Rick Klein and Jonathan Karl talk to New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg about what Tuesday’s results mean for the Republican Party and what the new session of Congress is going to look like. “Top Line” also welcomes newly-minted Managing Editor of politics for the National Journal Kathy Kiely. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.



DECIDED OVERNIGHT. Democrats held onto the governorship in Oregon after a tight race between a Republican former NBA star player and a Democrat running to get his old job back, ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports. Former Portland Trailblazer Chris Dudley, the GOP candidate, conceded to Democrat John Kitzhaber Wednesday night. According to Wolfe: “Dudley had a slight lead Wednesday morning, but uncounted votes Wednesday were from Democrat-rich Multnomah County. This is a hold for Democrats and so Republicans nationally have still netted a total of six seats in this important redistricting year.” When asked what’s next for him, Dudley, who was speaking outside a Mexican restaurant in Lake Oswego, Oregon told reporters: "Right now I'm just going inside to have a margarita" and worry about that later.

UNDECIDED OVERNIGHT. Another race update from our Z. Byron Wolf — this time from Connecticut and this time the news is less good for the Democratic candidate: “It was a goofy day in the Connecticut governors race that started with the AP projecting the Democrat would win and ended with the AP rescinding that projection. Earlier, the ConnecticutSecretary of State said Democrat Dan Malloy would have the votes to win and avoid an automatic recount. But the Republican, Tom Foley, disagreed, saying he would have more votes according to his internal canvass, and would not concede. Both candidates named transition teams this afternoon, each assuming they would ultimately prevail. And it seems that Foley and not the Secretary of State was correct.” The AP's vote count now shows Foley with a slightly more than 8,000 vote lead over Malloy.

BLAME GAME. While things worked out for Republicans in the House of Representatives, not so much in the Senate, and that has led to the inevitable finger pointing, according to Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Manu Raju: “With tea party-backed candidates going down in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, depriving Republicans of what would have been a 50-50 Senate, a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states. Movement conservatives pointed the finger right back at the establishment, accusing the National Republican Senatorial Committee of squandering millions on a California race that wasn’t close at the expense of offering additional aid in places like Colorado, Nevada and Washington state, where Democratic Sen. Patty Murray holds a narrow lead as the votes continue to be counted.”



The percentage of support for President Obama in a theoretical 2012 general election matchup with Sarah Palin, who garners 44 percent support among registered voters, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released today. More from the poll: “21 percent of Republicans say they would most likely support former Arkansas Gov. and 2008 GOP White House candidate Mike Huckabee for their party's 2012 presidential nomination, with 20 percent saying they'd back former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, 14 percent supporting Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, and 12 percent backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia.”



@PhilipRucker: Our WaPo freshman class portrait: 97 M, 12 F, pottery maker, prodigy portrait artist & ex-hockey ref.

@rickklein: @Slurpee summit may not come together, but 7-11 isn't missing a promotional opportunity

@froomkin: So Much For The Prime Minister Routine, It's Time To Act Like The President via @huffingtonpost

@ThePlumLineGS: McConnell's repetition of "one term president" line shows how weakened GOP thinks Obama was by elecion: @chucktodd

@keachhagey: Fox starts GOP 2012 contender series tonight, and Romney is the only one who declined an interview, reports @ErinMcPike

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