The Summer Of Our Discontent (The Note)

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone ) and AMY WALTER ( @amyewalter )

It’s not just the Democrats’ stunning loss in the special election for New York’s 9th district last night. Or their expected, but still stinging defeat, in another Congressional contest in Nevada.

It’s also a poll from Bloomberg out today showing that a whopping 72 percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track and just 9 percent who say they’re confident there won’t be another recession.

And as the National Journal reports, “if there was any question about the breadth and magnitude of the plunge in President Obama’s job-approval rating this summer, consider this new data point: For the first time, fewer than half of voters in deep-blue California approve of the job Obama is doing,” according to the results of the state’s respected Field Poll released today.

And even as Democrats tout the candidacy of Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren, who officially jumped into the race for Senate in Massachusetts today, it’s important to remember why Warren is running in the first place. Democrats let the seat, long held by Sen. Ted Kennedy, slip away in another special election — the first of many electoral dominoes to fall during President Obama’s first term.

Two more fell last night.

In New York’s 9th district, Republican Bob Turner, a retired media executive, bested Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin.  With about 80 percent of precincts reporting, Turner had 54 percent of the vote to Weprin’s 46 percent, ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports. (The special election was held to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress after a sexting scandal in June.)

“This message will resound for a full year. It will resound into 2012,” Turner said at his victory party in Howard Beach. “I only hope our voices are heard, and we can start putting things right again.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus chimed in, “Tonight’s election proves yet again that President Obama is failing our country.  Even in the heart of New York City, in a traditionally liberal district, voters have turned on the President and his Congressional allies.”

In Nevada, Republican Mark Amodei won big over Democrat Kate Marshall in a U.S. House special election in Nevada. The final numbers in the Nevada were 58 percent for Amodei compared to 36 percent for Marshall.

BOTTOM LINE: Special elections are snapshots in time. They don’t predict the political future. But they are instructive. What the GOP wins in NV02 and NY09 tell us is that voters’ restiveness, which has been on display since 2006, is showing no signs of abating in 2012.

When more than two-thirds of Americans think the country is headed on the wrong track, it is a lot easier to run as an agent of change than as part of the status quo. And that is the challenge for President Obama. After convincing voters to take a chance on electing a young freshman senator to the White House in 2008, he now has to convince Americans that voting for change in 2012 is just too risky.

@ posglen : I’ve got a new blog post up on Obama’s image tipping point. Read it here:…


WHITE HOUSE WATCH: President Obama will take his jobs pitch to North Carolina today, where he will highlight how the American Jobs Act will benefit small businesses and once again urge Congress to pass the legislation, ABC’s Mary Bruce notes. Obama’s speech this afternoon in Raleigh-Durham will be his fifth address on jobs in just seven days, and his third in a key battleground state. Obama visited Ohio on Tuesday and Virginia last Friday.


WARREN RUNS IN MASSACHUSETTS. Consumer advocate and Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, fresh from her stint helping set up the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, officially announced her campaign for the U.S. Senate against Scott Brown today.

The Boston Globe’s Glen Johnson notes that if Warren is able to capture the Democratic Party’s nomination, voters in the state “could see an election contest that rivals the concurrent presidential campaign. Supporters of the Republican incumbent, Senator Scott Brown, have already branded the Harvard Law School professor a ‘militant liberal.’ They have ridiculed her website image of Boston for being taken from the Cambridge side of the Charles River. And they have even secured the domain name ‘QueenElizabethWarren’ to fuel their caricature, should it become necessary. But with her first campaign stop today — her first day as an official primary candidate — Warren is signaling she, too, is looking ahead. And that she’s also itching for a fight. That first stop is in South Boston, at the Broadway T stop. It’s just down the street from the intersection where Brown helped create his iconic ‘everyman’ image in the 2010 Senate special election campaign, shaking hands and waving at passersby in what could traditionally be considered Democratic territory. In the video announcing her candidacy being released this morning, Warren eschews the ivory tower in favor of a populist pitch. ‘The pressures on middle class families are worse than ever, but it is the big corporations that get their way in Washington,’ she says. ‘I want to change that. I will work my heart out to earn the trust of the people of Massachusetts.’”

Web site and announcement video:


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE. ABC’s Rick Klein and Jonathan Karl interview Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Tex., chairman National Republican Congressional Committee. Also on the program Michael Cohen, Executive Vice President at the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump. Cohen is the founder of the draft-Trump website, Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.


THE KENNEDY TAPES. ABC News’ Diane Sawyer hosted a prime-time, two-hour special last night based on Jacqueline Kennedy’s never-before-heard oral history, recorded by historian and family friend Arthur Schlesinger Jr. The oral history, recorded nearly 50 years ago, will be released this week in a book titled “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.” ABC Special Section: Jacqueline Kennedy, in her own words:



E-MAILS DETAIL WHITE HOUSE INVOLVEMENT WITH BANKRUPT SOLAR FIRM. Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation,” reports ABC’s Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Ronnie Greene. “The company’s solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president’s green energy plan — billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. ‘This deal is NOT ready for prime time,’ one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan. ‘If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY,’ wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009. … Klain declined comment to ABC News. Beginning in March, ABC News, in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News, was first to report on simmering questions about the role political influence may have played in Solyndra’s selection as the Obama administration’s first loan guarantee recipient. Federal auditors had flagged the loan, saying some applicants had benefitted from special treatment.”

PERRY BYPASSES CONGRESSIONAL ENDORSEMENTS. Members of Congress shouldn’t wait by the phone for Texas Gov. Rick Perry to call. The surging GOP presidential contender makes no secret of his disdain for Washington, D.C., and so far, his campaign’s efforts to get chummy with Members are minimal,” Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz reports. “Perry’s nascent Congressional outreach operation is spontaneous and decentralized, according to interviews with Texas operatives, Capitol Hill aides and K Street supporters. They say Congressional endorsements are not Perry’s priority — at least not yet — except for Members from early presidential primary states. Perry’s backers on the Hill have not had a formal meeting or organized their efforts, and one of Perry’s supporters, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), struggled to name which of his colleagues also supported the governor. ‘I don’t really know who else,’ Scalise said. ‘I couldn’t give you a list of them. I imagine there’s one that’s assembled somewhere. I think it’s clear that’s not a main focus of the Perry campaign. They’re focused on getting his grass-roots base built up in the early primary states and raising money to compete.’ The race for Member endorsements is a prickly process for candidates — especially Perry, who’s branded himself as an anti-Washington candidate. Perry unveiled two major gubernatorial endorsements this week, but on Capitol Hill his campaign has been slower to boast about support.”

SECRET SERVICE PREPARES FOR ‘DEMANDING’ 2012. The U.S. Secret Service faces the daunting task of providing security along the presidential campaign trail and for at least six major national security events in the coming year, its director is expected to testify Wednesday,” the Washington Post’s Federal Eye blogger Ed O’Keefe notes. “Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan is slated to tell House members that 2012 will be ‘a very demanding and challenging year’ as it continues providing protection for President Obama, Vice President Biden, their families, former presidents, visiting foreign dignitaries and the Republican Party’s eventual presidential nominee. As a result, the Secret Service is requesting $113.4 million to cover security costs for GOP candidates during the 2012 campaign — a $4 million increase from the 2008 campaign and about two-thirds more than was spent for security during the 2004 election. (Costs for protecting Obama and Biden are separate budget items.) … Calculating campaign security costs “is surrounded by a great deal of unknowns, such as the number of candidates that will run for the presidency, how much they will travel, and how soon the field of candidates is selected,” according to Sullivan.”



@ nytjim : 2 strong stories on  #RickPerry & uproar over HPV vaccinations of girls. NYT: WP:

@ GOP12 : Interestingly, Romney claims that Obama’s international failures exceed his domestic ones

@ EmilyABC : Romney folks got word out about win a day with mitt contest via text message…from smartphones, not pay phones

@HotlineReid : How effective is TPaw’s endorsement of Romney? His old IA campaign chairman just signed on with Perry  #HotlineSort

@j oshtpm : Super Committee Riven By Major Divide Over Basic Facts… via  @tpm



(all times local)

*  Rick Perry speaks at Convocation for Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., at 10 a.m., followed by a fundraiser for the Virginia Republican Party in Richmond, Va.

*  Mitt Romney holds a business roundtable at the Jim Click Ford Lincoln East Dealership in Tucson, Ariz., at 9:30 a.m. At 3 p.m., he holds a town hall Sun Lakes.

*  Newt Gingrich leads a town hall meeting sponsored by the East Side Tea Party and the Central Florida Tea Party Council in Orlando, Fla. at 3 p.m. He addresses the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies of Florida Reagan Day Dinner in Lake Mary at 6 p.m.

*  Jon Huntsman speaks with students at Merrimack High School in Merrimack, N.H., at 10 a.m.

*  Rick Santorum holds a town hall meeting with the Sun City Community in Bluffton, S.C. at 11:30 a.m. At 2 p.m., Santorum tours Palmetto Electric in Hardeeville. At 3:30 p.m., he tours the Clinic of the Low Country in Hilton Head.


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