Obama returns to White House as reminders of his tenure abound: The Note

Memories of 2010 continue to haunt Democrats.

April 05, 2022, 6:00 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Former President Barack Obama will be at the White House on Tuesday for the first time since he left the presidency.

That's a "big f-ing deal," to get the inevitable joke out of the way. So is the 12th anniversary of the signing into law of the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the signature policy accomplishment of the Obama years and the occasion being celebrated by Obama and President Joe Biden.

But memories of Obama don't need all that much of a refresh - and not just because the Kansas Jayhawks cut down the championship nets for the first time since 2008, which Obama on Monday night recalled as a “pretty good year.”

To that last point, memories of 2010 continue to haunt Democrats. Republicans famously netted 63 House seats that November in Obama's first midterms; for comparison's sake, Obama's approval rating was in the high 40s in April of that year, while Biden's is in the low 40s now.

PHOTO: In this Jan. 8, 2022, file photo, former President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the Smith Center in Las Vegas.
In this Jan. 8, 2022, file photo, former President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the Smith Center in Las Vegas.
Susan Walsh/AP, FILE

Conversations now about how to stem losses often turn to discussions of how Democrats failed to sell Obamacare to a skeptical public, as voters' anger grew. For all that, the fact that there's even a 12th anniversary to celebrate -- after all the GOP promises to repeal it -- is an achievement in and of itself.

Tuesday's visit is being cast as a one-off event, rather than the launch of any new initiative involving the former president. But Democrats also know that the push to engage their voters again revolves around the ability to get the Obama-Biden coalition back and ready to cast ballots.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

An almost certain path has been cleared for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation to the Supreme Court, despite every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing her nomination.

When the Senate comes to a full vote on Jackson, three Republicans plan to join Democrats in voting for her confirmation. Sens. Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski announced their intentions Monday. Sen. Susan Collins said last week that Jackson had her support. Democrats didn't need a single Republican vote for a successful confirmation, but now the Biden administration will be able to tout bipartisan support.

Monday's announcements came after the Senate Judiciary Committee came down to a tied party-line vote on advancing Jackson's nomination. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took extra procedural steps Monday to force the nomination's move to the full chamber, and a full Senate vote is expected later this week.

PHOTO: Ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley looks on as he arrives at a Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting to vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Capitol Hill, April 4, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley looks on as he arrives at a Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting to vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Capitol Hill, April 4, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican member, announced his opposition to Jackson, citing what he described as the judge's "reinterpretation" of law. Other GOP lawmakers rehashed the same arguments employed during Jackson's March confirmation hearings. Some pointed to her judicial philosophy, and some enlisted the misleading talking points about her sentencing in child pornography cases to justify their "no" votes.

Predictably, lawmakers who may run for president in 2024 leveled the harshest attacks of the day. Sen. Tom Cotton called Jackson a "far left activist" and a judge who would "coddle criminals and terrorists." Sen. Ted Cruz, who was Jackson's law school classmate, said she would be the "most extreme and the furthest left justice ever to serve on the United States Supreme Court," which contradicts statements from the American Bar Association on Jackson and by conservative jurists who support her.

The latest Quinnipiac poll found that 52% of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans have handled Jackson's confirmation process.

Jackson's confirmation process is still on track for completion before the Senate breaks for Easter recess, which means she could make history as the first Black woman to ascend to the nation's highest court by week's end.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Early voting and mail voting in Ohio begins Tuesday with the aftershocks of this year's redistricting process still playing out in the background. Voters will be able to cast their ballots in primary races for the open U.S. Senate seat and governor's office, as well as the federal congressional races which will be conducted according to a new map that was approved last month.

But three categories of races -- contests for state House and Senate, as well as state central committees -- will not be on the ballot because the boundaries for those districts have not yet been settled. On Friday, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose officially announced the change, which means those elections will now take place later in the year, likely in early August.

PHOTO: In this file photo from March 24, 2022, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose speaks at the Fairfield County Lincoln Republican Club banquet in Pickerington, Ohio.
In this file photo from March 24, 2022, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose speaks at the Fairfield County Lincoln Republican Club banquet in Pickerington, Ohio.
Paul Vernon/AP, FILE

As reported by the Ohio Capital Journal, LaRose said he wouldn't be opposed to the impeachment of Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor by the legislature over her rulings that rejected GOP-backed redistricting maps. O'Connor's current term ends in December.

The fallout is taking place despite the state adopting a new redistricting process that was supposed to do away with partisan gerrymandering. But after the redistricting commission missed two deadlines to pass new maps, the state's Republican-controlled legislature took the reins, which led to legal entanglements. The ongoing situation resulted in Gov. Mike DeWine recently suggesting that "competitiveness" be added as a requirement for future redistricting.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

20. That's the number of state-legislative chambers we expect to be competitive in 2022 out of the nation's 99 chambers. FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich, Aaron Bycoffe and Ryan Best analyzed dozens of new maps following the redistricting process, and they found that there are very few state-legislative chambers that will be competitive this decade. Even many battleground states, like Georgia, Florida and Wisconsin, which are competitive in statewide races, aren't competitive at the state-legislative level. Read more from FiveThirtyEight to know which state-legislative races to watch this year.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Start Here begins Tuesday morning with the parents of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed on their recent meeting with President Biden and their fight to bring their son home from a Russian prison. Then, ABC's Stephanie Ebbs breaks down the U.N.'s latest climate report -- its grim projections of more warming than we thought before, and its calls to transition to full renewable power. And, Elon Musk becomes the largest stakeholder of Twitter, raising questions about what he will do -- if anything -- with this powerful new position. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

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