The Note: Spotlight On The Governors

Nov 18, 2010 9:16am


LIVE FROM SAN DIEGO. As Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill gathered yesterday to select their leaders for the 112th Congress, the country’s Republican governors opened their convention in San Diego to talk about the challenges that await them at home and to weigh in national political issues, including the election of the next Republican National Committee chairman. In a dispatch from the Republican Governors Association conference, ABC Political Director Amy Walter notes: “Aware of the bleak fiscal situation facing them when they take office in January, the newly elected executives were focused on being honest with voters about the difficult cuts and choices that await them. … What was as notable was what the governors-elect didn't say. There was no talk of social issues, and even health care reform barely was addressed, though it’s clearly unpopular among this crowd. Instead, the focus was almost 100 percent on economic and budgetary issues.  When asked what their first order of business would be when taking office in January, the three new women governors — who were featured on their own panel later in the afternoon — all said the budget.”

Today former House Speaker and potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will address the gathering where he plans to tell the governors to turn a "the rejection of the left" into "the replacement of the left.” According to the AP’s Liz Sidoti: “[Gingrich] will announce that he plans to hold five Internet seminars to flesh out steps governors can take to make what he calls ‘transformational change.’ Among them: requiring the jobless to take training programs in return for unemployment compensation, moving toward replacing President Barack Obama's health care law, and paying good teachers more while cutting loose bad ones.”

Meanwhile, Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports that current RNC Chairman Michael Steele is not getting a vote of confidence from a number of influential governors at the RGA meeting. He writes: “Asked in an interview at the Republican Governors Association (RGA) meeting here if there should be a new chairman of the party, Mississippi Gov. and outgoing RGA Chairman Haley Barbour flatly said: ‘Yes.’ .. In a separate interview, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the incoming RGA chairman and one of the nation’s longest-serving governors, didn’t say directly that Steele should go but made an impassioned case for the members of the RNC to consider Nick Ayers, the executive director of the governors association.” Whether public criticism like that will make a difference in the insular process of selecting a new RNC chair remains to be seen, but those comments represent more bad news for Steele, who has not officially announced whether he is running for his old job.

NOTED: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has an Op-Ed in the San Diego Union Tribune today headlined: “Repealing Obamacare, state by state.” From the piece: “As long as President Barack Obama holds his veto pen, undoing this misguided piece of legislation will not be easy. But we can make progress. While Congress takes important steps toward eventual repeal, governors can use their authority to stop or delay implementation of Obamacare. It must be fought not only in Washington but in state capitols. … Obamacare was a missed opportunity to fix this systemic problem and the new law only made matters worse by taking control away from people.”

WHAT SHE SAID. From ABC News’ Mary Bruce: Sarah Palin says she is seriously considering a run for the White House, and she believes she could beat President Obama in 2012, the former Alaska governor told ABC News' Barbara Walters. "I'm looking at the lay of the land now, and … trying to figure that out, if it's a good thing for the country, for the discourse, for my family, if it's a good thing," Palin said in an interview scheduled to air in full Dec. 9 on ABC as part of Walters' "10 Most Fascinating People" of 2010. Asked Walters: "If you ran for president, could you beat Barack Obama?" "I believe so," Palin said. The full Sarah Palin interview will air on Dec. 9 at 10 p.m. on "Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People.”

NOTED: Palin isn’t the one only “seriously” considering a presidential run these days. Even The Donald is getting into the action. In a “Good Morning America” interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Donald Trump told George he will make a final decision by June. “I am thinking about things.  And I'm looking at this country, George, and what's happened in terms of respect.  And the respect for this country is just not there,” he said. “I have many people from China that I do business with, they laugh at us.  They feel we're fools.  And almost being led by fools.  And they can't believe what they're getting away with.” … If his poll numbers hold up and if “the country continues to be taken advantage of by the world” then he said he would run. “Would I rather be in the race or not be in the race? I can tell you, I love what I'm doing. I'm having a great time what I'm doing.  I'd rather not be in the race.”

THE MURKOWSKI ‘MIRACLE.’ Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski celebrated her write-in campaign victory over GOP challenger Joe Miller late last night. She became the first U.S. Senate candidate to win a write-in bid since 1954, a “feat made possible,” as the Associated Press points out, “by her widespread name recognition, savvy marketing, help from a well-financed PAC formed by Alaska Native corporations, and the missteps of opponent Joe Miller.” Murkowski told supporters on Wednesday: “I promised during this campaign that I would do everything, everything that I could do to best represent you,” she said, adding: “I pledge to you today and from this day forward that I will do everything that I can to keep that commitment to you all." And what does Miller have to say about all of this? He’s not conceding just yet even though the AP has called the race for Murkowski. "It's not that we believe necessarily that we're going to come out on top," Miller said in a phone interview with the Anchorage Daily News. He told the newspaper that he wants to make sure the counting process was fair.


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: ABC’s Rick Klein and Jonathan Karl interview Rep. Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana and the outgoing chairman of the House Republican Conference, about the new Congress and his future political ambitions. Joining Klein and Karl is ABC News’ Political Director Amy Walter who is reporting this week from the RGA Conference in San Diego. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.



BUFFET’S TAKE. ABC’s Christiane Amanpour recently sat down with Warren Buffet, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, for an exclusive interview on “This Week.” Buffet told Amanpour that the U.S. government took the correct actions in September 2008 to avoid a cataclysmic financial collapse. In an interview to air on Sunday, Nov. 28, he said, "you go back to September of 2008, we faced a financial crisis like we've never faced, even including the Great Depression in terms of what was likely to happen within a month if action wasn't taken."… “So that was very, very, very real, and people did the right thing at that time, in my view, to head off something that would have caused us to go off the cliff," he said. The full Buffett interview will air on "This Week" the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

RANGEL’S FATE. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., will find out just how severe a sanction he will get from the House Ethics Committee after the panel found Rangel guilty of 11 ethics charges, from improper fundraising to failing to disclose assets on financial disclosure forms. ABC’s Ariane deVogue reports: “The political fallout may not be as intense as expected, however, since Republicans are preoccupied with taking control of the House in the next Congress, and Democrats are hoping to put the embarrassment behind them. But the sanction, whatever it might be, will be a stain on the record of a man who has served in the House for 40 years. The scandal forced him to relinquish his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in March.”



 @AlexPappasDC: Is Marco Rubio’s post-election Israel trip an indication of higher political ambitions?

@cbellantoni: Charts! Maps! Hotness! RT @rollcall Pick up today's Roll Call for must-save primer on all 33 Senate races on 2012 ballot

@pwire: Reid's strategists explain how he won NV-Sen re-election…

@ThePlumLineGS: Two important developments: Pelosi/Reid demand Obama not cave on tax cuts; and more VERY key movement on DADT:

@markknoller: Not sure why, but they've built an enclosure over the entrance to the WH press room. Probably to piss me off.

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