Obama in “60 Minutes” interview admits he didn’t compromise enough with Republicans… Obama talks jobs and Pakistan in India… Back to Bush… What Pelosi DIDN'T say on Friday: How she plans to lead the Dems back to a majority in ’12… Hoyer vs. Clyburn? Or is there a way out?... Decision day for Tom Foley… Minnesota -- Land of 1,000 Recounts... And the uncalled House races.
*** Obama in defeat: To us, the most striking part of President Obama’s “60 Minutes” interview was his admission that that he and his administration didn’t compromise and work with the Republicans. It was an admission of defeat. “In terms of setting the tone and how this town operates, we just didn't pay enough attention to some of the things that we had talked about,” he said. “And, you know I'm paying a political price for that.” Yet while Obama and the Democrats didn’t get results in votes, they did get results in policy. After all, if you’re getting Ben Nelson to support a piece of legislation, that means that 5-10 Senate Republicans -- at least in their gut -- could have accepted it. What happened to the president was that he was out-maneuvered by the Senate GOP, and he did a poor job of trying to find five to 10 Republicans to support his legislation. Maybe that's a White House problem; maybe it was a Senate problem; maybe it was the burden of 59, then 60 seats, then 59 seats. But what is amazing is how so easily the president let narratives -- which the White House press shop fights BEHIND the scenes -- get treated as the story. http://bit.ly/bCBwGL
*** Obama abroad: On “TODAY,” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie wrapped up Obama’s day in India, including a news conference the president conducted with India’s prime minister. “Mindful of the audience watching from home worried about jobs outsourced to India, the president went out of his way to emphasize deals between U.S. and Indian companies are creating American jobs. "I want to be able to say to the American people, 'These aren't just them taking their jobs... I want to be able to say, 'They just created 50,000 jobs." But as much as the U.S. focus of the trip is about jobs, the real purpose has everything to do about Pakistan. And that was summed in an Indian student’s critical question to Obama about the U.S. support of Pakistan. Everything about the president's outreach to India since he took office is about focusing on trying to create some sort of détente (if nothing else) between Pakistan and India.
*** Back to Bush: Republicans won back control of the House, Democrats are licking their wounds, and we’re back … to talking about George W. Bush. In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, a portion of which aired on “TODAY” this morning, Bush talked about his decision not to pardon Scooter Libby and how that affected (and didn’t affect) his relationship with his vice president, Dick Cheney. “Scooter's a loyal American who worked for Vice President Cheney who got caught up in this Valerie Plame case and was indicted and convicted. And I chose to commute his sentence," Bush said. "I felt he had paid enough of a penalty.” More: Cheney “wanted me to pardon him, and this is a decision that was really the last decision of the presidency, really. And I chose to let the jury verdict stand, after some serious deliberation. And the vice president was angry.” Bush later told Lauer that his relationship with Cheney has recovered. The entire Bush-Lauer interview will air on NBC at 8:00 pm ET.
*** Pelosi’s big omission: The most underreported part of Nancy Pelosi decision on Friday to run for minority leader: The fact that her announcement (both her Tweet and her full statement) NEVER once mentioned how she plans to lead the House Democrats back to the majority. It was about protecting what had been created (health care, and Wall Street reform), not about how Democrats regain power. We know that Pelosi racked up a considerable legislative record over the past two years, and we also know that she and her team were able to win control in ’06. But how does she fix her public image? In our NBC/WSJ poll, her fav/unfav rating was 24%-50% (and among indies, it’s 8%-61%). Her decision on Friday was akin to if Newt Gingrich held on to power after ’98. By the way, Gingrich’s fav/unfav in the Oct. 1998 NBC/WSJ poll was 27%-46% (and 17%-52% among indies). Will House Democrats ask for more details from Pelosi on her plan to get the majority back, or her plan to fix her own image?
*** Hoyer vs. Clyburn: Pelosi’s decision also triggered a game of musical chairs inside the Dem leadership, because there’s one less leadership position in the minority. And right now, there’s a battle between current No. 2 Steny Hoyer (the House Dems’ bridge to more conservative Democrats) and the current No. 3 Jim Clyburn (the House Dems’ highest-ranking African American) to be minority whip. On “Morning Joe,” Clyburn called himself the underdog in this race, which will take place next week. But the Washington Post notes that there’s a potential compromise: “One possibility is the everyone-move-down-a-slot compromise. That would mean that Hoyer would become minority whip and Clyburn would become caucus chairman, the No. 3 post in the minority, a job he held in 2006.” Don't be surprised if there's movement on this today; Both Hoyer and Clyburn are good vote-counters.
*** Decision Day for Foley: The Hartford Courant reports that GOP nominee Tom Foley, who trailed Democrat Dan Malloy by 5,637 votes in the final count in Connecticut’s gubernatorial race, will speak at 1:00 pm ET to announce how he’ll proceed. The paper says he has two options: One, "[p]ushing for a statewide recount, if the analysis of the results shows changes large enough to reduce the margin to within the 2,000-or-less-vote difference that triggers an automatic recount. Last week, there was a 2,000-vote swing in his favor because of erroneous recording of Torrington's votes." Two, [i]nitiating a lawsuit to seek a remedy such as a court order for a statewide recount, even if the official margin exceeds the 2,000-or-less vote threshold, if 'irregularities' are found that are serious enough to 'affect the outcome of the election.'"
*** Land of 1,000 10,000 Recounts: But as the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted last week, a candidate who trails by more than 2,000 votes rarely wins in a recount. “Ned Foley, an election law professor at Ohio State University, said his study of recounts found they rarely change the result and then only when the election night loser is fewer than 2,000 votes short of victory.” And that applies to Minnesota’s still-undecided gubernatorial contest, which Mark Dayton (D) leads Tom Emmer (R) by nearly 9,000 votes. While that margin triggers a recount under the state’s law, it’s worth reminding everyone that the initial count two years ago had Norm Coleman (R) leading Al Franken (D) by only 762 votes.
*** The uncalled House races: There are still nine uncalled House races. Republicans now lead in five of those races. The GOP is currently +60 in the House after Tuesday, and could jump to around +65. Here are some updates since Friday: In AZ-8, Gabrielle Giffords (D) was declared the winner over Tea Party-backed Jesse Kelly. And a new race came up for grabs: NY-1 (Suffolk County, Long Island), after a voting-machine recanvass. Randy Altschuler (R) has taken over the lead from incumbent Tim Bishop (D). "Altschuler leads Bishop, a Democrat, by about 400 votes, both campaigns said, citing data from the Suffolk County Board of Elections. That represents a swing of almost 4,000 votes because Bishop was ahead by 3,461 earlier this week," Newsday (Long Island) reports. The other uncalled races: CA-20, NY-25, IL-8, TX-27, CA-11, KY-6, VA-11, WA-2.