The Note: Order And Chaos

Nov 10, 2010 9:13am


PARTY DISUNITY. It may not come to pass, but a push by two House Democrats to put off Congressional leadership elections until after Thanksgiving is yet another symbol of the ongoing feuds within the Democratic Party in the wake of last week’s stinging defeat at the ballot box. Even though there have been some flare-ups on the GOP side over House leadership positions, once again Democrats are looking like the disorganized ones.

In a letter sent yesterday to fellow members, Reps. Marcy Katpur of Ohio and Peter DeFazio of Oregon wrote: “Following the loss of our majority, we should fully understand the causes of our historic losses before we begin the process of rebuilding. If we do not to learn from our losses we will remain in the minority until we do learn." They continued: “We are not endorsing or opposing any leadership candidate with this letter, but we are seeking more time for a more thoughtful discussion with everyone in the same room.” They called on their colleagues to join their cause by close of business Friday. Politico’s Jonathan Allen points out that it’s “a move that could give potential challengers to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants more time to gather their forces.” But aides to Pelosi say they expect leadership elections to take place as scheduled next week.

ENTER PELOSI. Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi, who is running unopposed in her bid for House minority leader appears to be trying to reconcile another Democratic family feud — the battle between Reps. Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn for the position of minority whip. Pelosi has reportedly been in touch with both sides in an attempt to head off a difficult vote.

More from CNN’s Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh: “One idea floating among senior House Democrats is that one of them would take the number two job of House Minority Whip, and the other would take the number three spot of House Caucus Chairman. A source close to Clyburn tells CNN that the South Carolina Democrat doesn't want to do anything that would squeeze out either of the other two men already in leadership: Xavier Becerra and John Larson. And the fact that Clyburn is the highest ranking African American in Congress is increasingly becoming an issue. The Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement Tuesday afternoon formally endorsing Clyburn for House Minority Whip.” Behind the scenes, members of Hoyer’s camp still insist that the Maryland Democrat still has the backing to win the whip job.

NOTED: All the jockeying at the top is leaving younger Democrats on the sidelines, and some are already expressing discontent, The Hill’s Russell Berman reports: “‘It is inescapable that the message that was sent by the American people is they want a change in direction. And a change in direction means a change in leadership,’ Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) said on Fox News last week. Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) and Diana DeGette (Colo.), among others, were all seen as top contenders to move up but have found themselves in limbo as Pelosi locks down the minority-leader post and Hoyer and Clyburn vie for whip. Becerra is trying to hold on to the vice chairmanship of the caucus, while Van Hollen, the campaign chief appointed by Pelosi as assistant to the Speaker, is for now on the outside looking in.”

A TALE OF TWO TRIPS. One personal, and one economic. “Indonesia is a part of me,” President Obama said before he bid farewell to the country where he spent part of his childhood, ABC’s Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller report. “As a young boy, I was coming to a different world. But the people of Indonesia quickly made me feel at home,” Obama said from the University of Indonesia this morning, “The old men and women who welcomed us with smiles; the children who made a foreigner feel like a neighbor; and the teachers who helped me learn about the wider world.” … “So much has changed in the four decades since I boarded a plane to move back to Hawaii. If you asked me – or any of my schoolmates who knew me back then – I don’t think any of us could have anticipated that I would one day come back to Jakarta as President of the United States.”

Watch Jake Tapper’s “Good Morning America” report on the president’s personal reflections on Indonesia.

But by the time President Obama landed in Seoul, South Korea today, the focus was global economics. “A strong recovery that creates jobs, income and spending is the most important contribution the United States can make to the global recovery,” President Obama wrote in a letter to world leaders on the eve of the G-20 summit. “The dollar’s strength ultimately rests on the fundamental strength of the U.S. economy.”


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: ABC News’ Rick Klein and Jonathan Karl interview Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, who was defeated by Republican challenger Daniel Webster in last Tuesday’s election. They’ll ask Grayson about his own race, what the new Republican majority in the House will mean and what his own political future holds. Also on the broadcast today, Patricia Murphy from AOL’s Politics Daily. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.



MILLER: SEE YOU IN COURT. Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller is filing a lawsuit to limit the leeway the state has to count the write-in ballots of his opponent, incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski. More details from the Associated Press: “The lawsuit was filed the day before election officials planned to start counting write-in ballots that could determine the outcome of the race. Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who oversees Alaska elections, said the count will proceed Wednesday morning as planned. Initial returns, including more than 27,000 absentee and early voting ballots tallied Tuesday, showed write-ins maintaining a lead over Miller of 11,333 votes. Miller entered the day's count down by 13,439. Returns that have been tallied so far show write-ins with 92,528 votes, or 40%, and Miller with 81,195 votes, or 35%. However, it's unclear how many of those write-in votes are for Murkowski, or were properly cast for her.”

PALIN: 'IN IT TO WIN IT.' ABC's Rick Klein notes that Sarah Palin channeled her inner Hillary Clinton while musing about the possibility of a 2012 run. Speaking at a fund-raiser in Pennsylvania, she said it would take "prayerful consideration and polling of my family" before she would make up her mind on whether to run in 2012. Later she offered up a variation of the line that Clinton made famous: "I would be in it to win it," Palin said. "I wouldn't do it just to shake things up." She added, "I would certainly have to put a lot more thought into it than what I could give you today."

STAFFING UP. Incoming Florida Congressman Allen West has made his pick for chief of staff, and she’s about as far from a Hill veteran as you can get. West has hired a conservative radio talk show host to run his Washington operation. More form the Miami Herald: “Joyce Kaufman, 56, a radio presence for 20 years in South Florida, acknowledged on her show Tuesday that the appointment has her critics ‘carrying on'’ and saying ‘nasty, terrible things’ about her. … West was a frequent guest on Kaufman's 12 to 3 p.m. shift on WFTL-AM (850) during the election in which the tea party-backed candidate raised millions and tapped voter discontent to oust Democratic Rep. Ron Klein.”



@pwire: Recount war rooms forming in MN-Gov race…

@HariDNC: RT @WestWingReport: Good news on the job front: Sharp drop in new unemployment claims; four-week moving avg. of (cont)

@JillDLawrence: No shortage of job openings upcoming at Pentagon. How will Obama reshape it? Some options from @andreastonez @aolnews

@tpmmedia: Rick Scott Campaign Worker: I Was Paid In Gift Cards (VIDEO) ^@ryanjreilly

@JimCourtovich: Here is some news:Times reports that Obama was "chubby" and that some of the locals referred to him as "the boy who runs like a duck." (WP)


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