March 10, 2011

DEMOCRATS’ TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
Yesterday, Democrats Abandoned By Obama Were Left Rudderless In A Storm Of Defeats
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The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: “Democrats Did Not Have A Good Wednesday.” (Ezra Klein,
“Wonkbook: A Rough Wednesday For Democrats,” The Washington Post’s “Ezra Klein” Blog, 3/10/11)

IN THE SENATE, A “WAVE OF DEFECTIONS” SENT THE DEMOCRATS’ BUDGET PROPOSAL DOWN IN AN EMBARRASSING DEFEAT
“Senate Democrats Suffered A Wave Of Defections.” “Senate Democrats suffered a wave of defections Wednesday as their proposal to cut just over $6 billion from federal spending this year went down to defeat. The Democratic bill attracted two fewer votes than the rival GOP measure that would cut spending by another $57 billion this year.” (Alexander Bolton, “Spending Plan Vote Backfires As Democrats Suffer Defections,” The Hill, 3/9/11)

“A Democratic Budget Alternative Failed 58-42 After A Mix Of Moderates And Liberals Walked Away, Calling The Proposal An Inadequate Response To The Debt Problems Facing The Nation.” (David Rogers, “Senate Dems Push For Spending Deal,” Politico, 3/9/11)

Senator Reid’s Hope For A Game-Changer Vote “Backfired.” “Reid had hoped for a game-changer with votes that showed senators closer to the Democratic plan than the one backed by Speaker John Boehner (ROhio), but the plan backfired.” (Alexander Bolton, “Spending Plan Vote Backfires As Democrats Suffer Defections,” The Hill, 3/9/11) “Democrats Hoped A Pair Of Senate Votes Wednesday On Competing Budget Plans Would Strengthen Their Hand, Yet The Outcome Appeared To Undercut Their Leverage.” (Glenn Thrush and Carrie Budoff Brown, “White
House Struggles To Lead On Spending,” Politico, 3/9/11)

WHILE DEMOCRATS JOINED THEIR GOP COLLEAGUES IN CALLING FOR LEADERSHIP FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) Questioned Obama’s Decision To Defer To Biden On The Budget: “If He’s The Chief Negotiator — At Least That’s What I Thought He Was Gonna Be — And Then He Takes Off In The Middle Of This Debate, Then Where Does That Leave Us?” “Cuellar also questioned the appointment of Vice President Joe Biden to spearhead the bipartisan negotiations in search of a deal. Biden met with party leaders on Thursday, but left the country a few days later to meet with leaders in Russia and Finland. ‘If he’s the chief negotiator — at least that’s what I thought he was gonna be — and then he takes off in the middle of this debate, then where does that leave us?’ Cuellar asked.” (Mike Lillis, “Cuellar Dem Leadership's Lone New
Face,” The Hill, 3/10/11) •

Rep. Cuellar: “[I]t Would Be Nice If We Could Get A Little Bit Of Help From Our President” On The Budget. “On Wednesday, for instance, he went after the White House for taking a backseat throughout most of the budget-cut debate. Democrats, he said, are making progress highlighting the
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distinction in spending priorities between the two parties, ‘but it would be nice if we could get a little bit of help from our president.’” (Mike Lillis, “Cuellar Dem Leadership's Lone New Face,” The Hill, 3/10/11) Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Called On Obama To Be Engaged “More Loudly.” “‘I would very much like to see the President engage a little more loudly,’ Stabenow said.” (Susan Crabtree, “Senior Democratic Senators To Obama: Please
Engage On Budget Talks,” Talking Points Memo DC, 3/9/11)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Says That Obama Needs “To Expend Some Political Capital.” “That answer was not good enough for Feinstein, who said that Obama himself needed to expend some political capital in these budget talks in order to prevent the government from having to continually run this year on a series of stop-gap spending bills known as continuing resolutions.” (Susan Crabtree, “Senior Democratic Senators To Obama:
Please Engage On Budget Talks,” Talking Points Memo DC, 3/9/11)

“‘Government is like any company -- you have to have some certainty to operate,’ Feinstein said. ‘The only solution is for leadership to do what leadership is supposed to do, and that's sit down and figure this out.’" (Susan Crabtree, “Senior Democratic Senators To Obama: Please Engage On Budget Talks,” Talking Points
Memo DC, 3/9/11)

AND FROM MOSCOW TO MADISON, DEMOCRATS STRUGGLED AS THEIR LEADERLESS PARTY FOUGHT TO PRESERVE THE STATUS QUO
Vice President Biden Was Literally “Phoning It In,” Talking To GOP Leaders About The Budget From President Medvedev’s Dacha In Moscow Chief White House Budget Negotiator Vice President “Pursued A Semi-Comical” Effort To Seem Involved, Calling GOP Leaders From Russian President Medvedev’s Dacha To Discuss The Budget. “At the same time, Vice President Joe Biden, delegated as a top budget negotiator by Obama, pursued a semicomical second track: reaching out long distance to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s dacha.” (Glenn Thrush and Carrie
Budoff Brown, “W.H. Struggles To Lead On Spending,” Politico, 3/9/11)

But VP Biden Was Unable To Get In Touch With Sen. Reid To Discuss A Path Forward. “The White House has designated Vice President Biden to lead further talks. Biden, who is out of the country until Friday night, spoke with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) but couldn't reach Reid from Moscow on Wednesday.” (Lori Montgomary
and Paul Kane, “Senate Rehects Spending Bills From Both Republicans And Democrats,” The Washington Post, 3/9/11)

“Aides Said No Further Face-To-Face Meetings Have Been Scheduled.” (Lori Montgomary and Paul Kane,
“Senate Rehects Spending Bills From Both Republicans And Democrats,” The Washington Post, 3/9/11)

Press Flak Jay Carney Struggled To Explain How A $1.65 Trillion Deficit Fits The President’s Message Of Living Within Our Means QUESTION: “Well, what I’m asking is, what does he mean by [“live within our means”]? Does that mean a balanced budget when he says we need a government and a budget that helps us live within our means?” JAY CARNEY: “Well, as a technical matter, beyond the broadly understood sense of the term, which is that you don’t spend more -- that you spend -- that you manage your budget responsibly, your inflow and your outflow, and I think as a specific matter, as we talked about in the early days after our budget release, our budget is designed to get to a point where we are taking in what we are spending. Now, I understand that we have this huge overhang of a national debt that requires substantial interest payments. But you cannot -one step in dealing with our fiscal situation, with our deficits and our long-term debt, is to get to a point
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where we are living within our means, spending only what we’re taking in. That’s what his budget proposal does, and he thinks it’s a very important goal.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, D.C., 3/9/11) Wisconsin Democrats Saw Their Obstructionist Strategy Defeated By Republicans Determined To Move Their State Forward Wisconsin Senate Republicans “Outmaneuvered The Chamber’s Missing Democrats” Wednesday Night. “The Wisconsin Senate succeeded in voting Wednesday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, after Republicans outmaneuvered the chamber's missing Democrats and approved an explosive proposal that has rocked the state and unions nationwide.” (“Wisconsin Senate Advances Bill Opposed By Unions,”
The Associated Press, 3/9/11)

The “Surprisingly Simple” Move Brought An End To The Standoff That Began When The Democrats Fled The State. “The unexpected yet surprisingly simple procedural move ended a stalemate that had threatened to drag on indefinitely. Until Wednesday's stunning vote, it appeared the standoff would persist until Democrats returned to Madison from their self-imposed exile.” (“Wisconsin Senate Advances Bill Opposed By Unions,”
The Associated Press, 3/9/11)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) Was Caught Jetting Around The Country On A Private Jet Using Public Funds While Talking About Increasing Oversight For Congressional Travel, Claire McCaskill Has Been Using Taxpayer Funds To Jet Around The Country On Her Charter Plane. “Sen. Claire McCaskill has been aggressive in promoting oversight and transparency for congressional travel, introducing a reform bill that cracks down on overseas travel for lawmakers. But when it comes to her own domestic flights, the Missouri Democrat has enjoyed friendly skies: She’s spent nearly $76,000 in public funds since 2007 to fly on a charter plane she co-owns with her husband and other investors, a POLITICO analysis of public records show.” (Scott Wong And John Bresnahan, “Claire McCaskill To Return $88K To Treastury For Charter Flights,” Politico, 3/9/11) “All Of Those Flights Were Paid For From McCaskill’s Senate Office Budget, Raising Questions About Whether The First-Term Senator And Her Husband Are Using Public Dollars To Partially Subsidize Their Aircraft.” (Scott Wong And John Bresnahan, “Claire McCaskill To Return $88K To Treastury For Charter Flights,” Politico, 3/9/11) • After The Payments From McCaskill’s Senate Office Were Noticed By The Press, The Senator Said She’ll Send A Check To The Treasury. “After POLITICO contacted McCaskill’s office Tuesday about this issue, a McCaskill aide said Wednesday that the senator — while stating that the all the flights were legal, in accordance with Senate ethics rules and actually cheaper than other travel options — will send a check worth more than $88,000 to the Treasury Department to cover all costs associated with the flights.” (Scott Wong And John Bresnahan, “Claire McCaskill To Return $88K To Treastury For Charter Flights,” Politico,
3/9/11)

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