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Friday Round-Up: “The Post-Election Dust Settling”

Barack Obama and volunteers at the Hyde Park, Chicago Obama campaign office make phone calls on Election Day 2012

Barack Obama and volunteers at the Hyde Park, Chicago Obama campaign office make phone calls on Election Day 2012. Photo by TonytheTiger. CC-SA.

  1. President Obama held his first media Q&A session on Wednesday, during which, he outlined a policy agenda for the beginning of his second term. He said that a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform would be the first item on the table after inauguration day. Obama said he was “very confident” he could pass a bill early in his second term. “We need to seize the moment.” He also took the opportunity to reiterate that he would veto any compromise on the ‘fiscal cliff’ that did not raise taxes on those making $250,000/year or more. Obama hinted at the possibility of compromise, emphasizing that if all the Bush-era tax cuts expired, it would be a “bad thing” that was “not necessary.”
  2. President Obama met with Congressional leaders today for discussions on reaching agreement to avoid the Fiscal Cliff. Following the hour-long meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner appeared together, a rare occurrence, and pledged cooperation. McConnell said Republicans “are willing to put revenue on the table,” while the Democrats said they recognized the need to curb spending. It’s likely that the two sides will forge a temporary agreement before December 31 to avoid fiscal contraction, but the agreement could provide a framework for a longer-term overhaul to major programs such as Medicare, as well as major tax code reform.
  3. Romney Explains Loss to Donors: Romney said Obama used the “old playbook” of directing specific official policies to “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.” Several Republicans, especially those with an eye on 2016 including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, quickly denounced the remarks. “We have got to stop dividing American voters,” Jindal said. “I absolutely reject that notion, that description. … We’re fighting for 100 percent of the vote.”
  4. How did the Obama campaign approach the task of ad-buying in an election season with record spending? In the vein of sabermetricians in Major League Baseball, the Obama campaign bought airtime when they would receive the most ‘bang for their buck.’ That is, when they would reach most of the right kind of voters for the smallest price tag. This meant buying airtime outside of expensive primetime programming, and into daytime TV and stations like the Food Network, Hallmark, and Family channel.
  5. Gay voters appear to have been crucial to President Obama’s reelection. According to analysis of exit polls by Michael Cohen at Five Thirty Eight, five percent of voters claimed to be gay, lesbian or bisexual. Among those voters, 76 percent voted for Obama. Meanwhile, Libertarian candidates appeared to play a spoiler role for Republicans in at least nine close state-level races.
  6. Nancy Pelosi will stay on as House Minority Leader. Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is stepping aside after two terms at National Republican Senatorial Committee and is on track to become Senate GOP whip. It appears that Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will replace Cornyn at the NRSC after Sen. Rob Portman said he wasn’t interested. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will step down from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) has reportedly been offered the job.
  7. The editorial refrain, or as James W. Ceaser has called it, the “explanation industry” continued this week with a familiar question: Is the Republican Party destined to lose? Last week, we pointed out that Hispanic voters are trending toward the Democratic party, a dynamic that has Ryan Lizza entertaining the possibility of Texas turning blue. Chris Cillizza points out that regardless of demographics, the Republican party had to sweep nearly every swing state to win--giving them a kind of ‘electoral handicap.’ Noemie Emery puts a decidedly anti-alarmist spin on the election--saying that it was mostly about timing and the inherent weakness of Mitt Romney.
  8. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) announced he will caucus with the Democrats, giving them a 55-45 majority in the Senate. Meanwhile, former Virginia Republican senator George Allen, who lost the open Senate seat in Virginia to Tim Kaine, said on Monday that he has “no intention of running for office again.”
  9. President Obama continued his role as ‘responder-in-chief’ on Thursday when he visited areas of New York hit-hard by Hurricane Sandy, but the release of federal disaster aid has brought serious questions about the long-term sustainability of FEMA. According to Brian Naylor of NPR, the agency is spending between $200 and $300 million per day (of its $7 billion available aid) in the wake of Sandy.
  10. The resignation of CIA-Director David Patraeus has set off both legitimate questions and conspiracy theories about how it relates to the election and the assassination of the American ambassador to Libya in Benghazi. President Obama asserted that the sex scandal never jeopardized national security. The legitimate unease about the scandal may have more to do with the thought of replacing Patraeus, who has in the past enjoyed bipartisan support.
  11. Texas Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul delivered a 48-minute farewell address on the House floor Wednesday. Paul, a libertarian who served in Congress for 23 years, particularly influenced the Republican Party on fiscal matters. He told the audience:

My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today, promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty. It was my opinion that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security. To achieve these goals, I thought the government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable cost of policing the world and expanding the American empire.

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