FROM Steve Kornacki
Barack Obama and Gay Marriage On Tuesday, voters in North Carolina said "no" to legalizing same-sex marriage. On Sunday, Vice President Biden said he was " completely comfortable " with same-sex marriage. Visit msnbc.com for breaking news , world news , and news about the economy The White House said President Obama's views were still "evolving." Last night on ABC News, Barack Obama said, "Yes." video platform video management video solutions video player The American people are divided almost evenly, and Mitt Romney is solidly on the other side . Why did the President choose this moment? What will it mean for his re-election campaign ?
Barack Obama and Gay Marriage On Sunday, Vice President Biden said he was " completely comfortable " with same-sex marriage. The White House said President Obama's views were still "evolving." Visit msnbc.com for breaking news , world news , and news about the economy Last night on ABC News, America's first black president said he'd reached a conclusion , committing himself on what the New York Times calls " the last civil rights movement ." video platform video management video solutions video player Mr. Obama wants it decided state by state, but Mitt Romney wants a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. With public opinion running about 50-50, the President concedes there's political danger. When given a chance, voters have never approved. Why did he come out now, in the midst of his re-election campaign? We talk about religion, politics, money and personal conviction.
Who Is Sheldon Adelson and Is He behind Gingrich's Rise? After Newt Gingrich 's big win in South Carolina , polls showed him neck and neck with Mitt Romney in Florida. Commentators agree that Romney was the aggressor in last night's debate and Gingrich almost passive compared to past performances. If Romney can win Florida, establishment Republicans will be very relieved. But Gingrich supporters will air a blitz of TV-commercials before Tuesday's primary. It's financed by Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson , who's contributed $10 million to Gingrich's Super PAC. Has last night's debate role-reversal made a difference? Who is Sheldon Adelson, and is he making Republicans more hawkish in defense of Israel?
President Obama Urges Compromise…Again In the absence of legislation to hold off a debt-ceiling crisis, President Obama said today the issue's more urgent than ever, and repeated his call for Americans to demand action. He urged them to keep the pressure on Washington by contacting their congressional representative and urging them to find a bipartisan compromise "that can pass both houses of Congress" and that he can sign. As Speaker John Boehner struggled to round up enough House Republicans, Harry Reid, the leader of Democrats in the Senate said he's willing to compromise."
Congressman Weiner Steps Down Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called for New York Congressman Anthony Weiner to step down and avoid further embarrassment to his family, himself and the Democratic Party. She even threatened to strip him of his committee assignments. President Obama went public too, suggesting that Weiner resign. Today, from Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, he did. We hear more from Steve Kornacki, news editor and political columnist for Salon , and Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter for Politico .
Is Obama Winning the Battles but Losing the War? President Obama has astonished Washington veterans by achieving so many of the objectives he promised voters during the campaign of 2008. But, " the mystery remains ." He "is still widely perceived as flirting with a failed presidency." That's according to a much-read article in Politico, authored by Jim VandeHei and John Harris.
Is Obama Winning the Battles but Losing the War? Barack Obama has scored more substantive legislative victories than any Democratic President since Lyndon Johnson back in the 1960's, including healthcare and finance reform. But some Washington pundits say he is "still widely perceived as flirting with a failed presidency ." How can this be? Why have Independents and even prominent Liberals turned against a politician who's delivered on so many promises? Is he better at politics than he is at communication after all? Is it "the economy, stupid," or is the political class drawing too many conclusions too soon?
US Senate Elections and the 'Soul' of the Republican Party As a State Senator, Charlie Crist was so tough on crime he was known as "Chain Gang Charlie." But as the Republican Governor of Florida the one-time "conservative's conservative" won the support of Democrats and Independents. Now, as he runs for the US Senate , he's up against the harsh fact that only Republicans vote in Florida's GOP primary. Crist and Arizona Senator John McCain aren't the only so-called "Moderates" under attack from within the GOP. Establishment candidates, even incumbents, who are anything but liberal face right-wing challenges in primaries all over the country. Total repeal of healthcare reform is a litmus test for campaign contributions -- even if that alienates Independents who are often determine who wins in November. Are true believers trying to "purify" the GOP? Could this be a better year than expected for Democrats?
How Will Healthcare Reform Impact California? As we reported last week on this program, 8 million Californians – 25% of the population -- are without health insurance, which means that California is likely to be impacted more than other states by healthcare reform. Crucial to pushing through a thorough reform package is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. We hear how reform will impact the state and one of its most tenacious representatives.
New York’s Troubled Politics David Paterson became Governor of New York two years ago when Eliot Spitzer resigned because he consorted with prostitutes. Now Paterson has quit his own election campaign because he intervened in an episode of domestic violence involving a chief aide. Steve Kornacki, formerly with the New York Observer, is now political columnist for Salon.com .
Why Does the President Want to Brainwash Our Children? President Obama has a back-to-school message for students, but they might have to stay home on the first day of school if they want to actually hear it. On Tuesday the President will make a live broadcast from Wakefield High School in Arlington Country, Virginia, encouraging school children to work hard at their studies. But conservatives are crying foul, and many school districts around the country have opted not to carry the speech. Steve Kornacki is a political columnist for the New York Observer.
Who's Opposed to Healthcare Reform? Tampa, St. Louis, Houston, Austin, Denver and Milan, Michigan are just some of the cities to see rowdy protests in the past few hours. White House aides told Senators on their way home for the August recess, "If you get hit, punch back twice as hard." But the Democrats are still squabbling over details, so there's no coherent message either for them or a President whose approval ratings are on the decline. The Republican message is "just say ‘No'" to some variation of "socialized medicine." Could the protests backfire? Will the Democrats strike back in kind? When the August recess is over, will it be too late for the President to reset the agenda?
A New Elephant in the Room? Out of favor and out of power, the Republican Party is undertaking an historic self-examination. Former Vice President Dick Cheney made the battle lines crystal clear this week when he said Rush Limbaugh was a better spokesman for Republicans than Colin Powell. It was a one-line summary of the Grand Old Party's current debate over what it stands for, where it's going and who it wants to include. What's at stake for the GOP? Has the party gone too far right or not far enough? Who speaks for Republicans, and who's defining party values? How can the GOP leave the Bush years behind when Cheney keeps stirring things up? What message does the party need to craft to win back young people and minorities?
NY Gov (Finally) Fills Clinton’s Senate Seat Forget Caroline Kennedy and Andrew Cuomo. Hillary Clinton’s replacement in the United States Senate will be Kirsten Gillibrand, Democratic Congresswoman from upstate New York. Introduced today by Governor David Paterson, she took note that she’s hardly a household word
Last Call for Game-Changers In the depths of an economic crisis, recent polls show that attacks are backfiring on John McCain . But the message from his Republican base was to come out swinging. That he did in last night's debate —on taxes, healthcare and Barack Obama 's alleged association with 60's anti-war extremist Bill Ayers. In what's being called the "most intense," "spirited and combative" of their three debates, Obama maintained what one paper labeled "amused detachment." With so little time left, did it make a difference? Did McCain successfully separate himself from President Bush? Did Obama stay ahead by staying cool? What about the economy? We hear from strategists on both sides and get reaction from the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio and Indiana.
Rice and Maliki Meet to Try to Finalize US Troop Agreement US and Iraqi officials have agreed that timetables should be set for American troop withdrawal. On a surprise trip to Baghdad, Secretary of State Rice said there's no final deal yet, but that "negotiators have taken this very, very far." The security deal outlining the withdrawal has been in the works for many months, and there was some indication that Rice might stay in Iraq to finalize it.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
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.