FROM Joshua Green
Trump hires conservative media figure Steve Bannon Steve Bannon was just named “Chief Executive” of Donald Trump’s campaign. Bannon is best known for running the conservative news site Breitbart, which aggressively goes after Democrats like the Clintons as well as some mainstream Republicans. Bannon has a varied career that’s taken him to the military, Wall Street, Hollywood, partisan media, and now Presidential politics.
Out of Work and Out of Luck: The Politics of Unemployment The Senate returned from recess today to consider Emergency Unemployment Compensation, a three-month extension to long-term unemployment insurance that lapsed over the holidays for 1.3 million Americans out of work for more than six months. Programs like it have been passed in every recession since 1957. This one had been re-authorized 11 times but expired when Congress failed to include an extension in the latest contentious budget battle. As a result only one in four unemployed Americans is estimated to receive jobless benefits, the smallest proportion in half a century. Last weekend President Obama urged Congress to re-instate long-term jobless aid. Does federal aid help job hunters stay in the labor market or discourage them from looking? How does the loss of benefits affect the economy as a whole? Should government put the money towards creating economic and job opportunities rather than providing cash?
GOP Race Now Focuses on Gingrich and Romney It's only one month until real Republican voters go to the Iowa caucuses, but the Des Moines Register's latest Iowa Poll shows the race for the presidential nomination is anything but settled. Newt Gingrich is leading with 25 percent; Ron Paul is second with 18 percent and Mitt Romney has dropped to just 16 percent. Last month, Romney was tied with Herman Cain who's now tied with Michele Bachmann at 8 percent. (The poll was taken before Cain "suspended" his campaign this weekend.) Websites of other Republican presidential candidates: Michele Bachmann Rick Perry Jon Huntsman, Jr Rick Santorum
Another Surprise for Republicans: Newt Gingrich With Herman Cain out and only one month until real Republican voters go to the Iowa caucuses, the Des Moines Register's latest Iowa Poll shows the race for the presidential nomination is anything but settled. Newt Gingrich is leading with 25 percent, Ron Paul is second and Mitt Romney has dropped to third with only a month to go. Has Gingrich peaked like so many others, or is this growing momentum, despite a campaign plagued with debt, staff turnover and a lack of discipline? Democrats say they'd love to run against Gingrich. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has thousands of pages of dirt "when the time is right." Can Christian conservatives handle his married life? Do Tea Partiers want a lobbyist for Fannie and Freddie? What about his record as House Speaker? Websites of other Republican presidential candidates: Michele Bachmann Rick Perry Jon Huntsman, Jr Rick Santorum
Barack Obama, the Democrats and the Middle Class For this November's elections, the Democrats have portrayed themselves as the party of the middle class. With the Bush-era tax cuts scheduled to expire on December 31, the key was to extend them for incomes under $250,000, while allowing taxes to rise for the richest Americans. But last week that strategy came to an end, when Democratic leaders said they'd postpone a Congressional vote until the elections were over.
Barack Obama, the Democrats and the Middle Class The Democrats' top strategy for the November elections was to extend Bush-era tax cuts for incomes under $250,000, allowing increases for the richest Americans. Now, Democratic leaders say Congress won't vote until the elections are over, with taxes for all taxpayers scheduled to rise on December 31. Republicans say Democrats have abandoned the middle class. But what is the middle class? Do voters understand who has the money and who doesn't? Has economic confusion helped the Tea Partiers to seize the initiative from both political parties?
Come for the Clintons, Stay for Obama…Please In the closest primary race in history, Hillary Clinton almost became the first woman presidential nominee of a major American party. She and her supporters have since made it clear they're not going away, and there were signs of possible trouble if her name was not placed in nomination at the Democratic convention . The Obama campaign said today, it will . She already was scheduled to speak on Tuesday—with Bill Clinton on Wednesday—the same night as the vice presidential nominee. Is this evidence that Hillary is the choice for the second spot or is it proof that she's not? In either case, will the Clintons still dominate the show? This comes amid revelations about Clinton's primary strategy against Obama, which appears to have been adopted by John McCain . What are the prospects for party unity?
With California Debates Over, It's Almost Time for Voting Last night in the heart of Hollywood, Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had a kinder, gentler exchange than had been expected. Obama is working hard for Hispanics, who could make a difference in California, New Mexico and Arizona—even in Colorado, New York and New Jersey. It's conventional wisdom that Clinton has the advantage. Was she happy to sit on her lead? Does he figure he has the momentum? On the Republican side, John McCain and Mitt Romney are arguing about whose record is the most conservative. But who's more electable? With just four days left before caucuses and primaries in almost half the country, it's all about strategy. We review the latest debate and talk about the votes of Hispanics, who could make a difference not just in the Far West but in other parts of the country.
Trump's intelligence disclosures cause chaos On the eve of departure for his first trip overseas, President Trump is embroiled in another controversy. It's about reports that he shared highly classified information with two high-ranking Russians.
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.