Archive for the ‘House of Representatives’ Category

Monday: The Washington Post reveals his congressional office’s Downton Abbey-themed makeover:

The Rayburn House Office Building is a labyrinth of beige offices.

And then, there’s . . . Rep. Aaron Schock’s new digs.

Bright red walls. A gold-colored wall sconce with black candles. A Federal-style bull’s-eye mirror with an eagle perched on top. And this is just the Illinois Republican’s outer office.

“It’s actually based off of the red room in ‘Downton Abbey,’ ” said the woman behind the front desk, comparing it to the luxurious set piece at the heart of the British period drama.

Thursday: Schock communications aide Benjamin Cole resigns after a series of racist Facebook posts he wrote were discovered by Buzzfeed and ThinkProgress:

A top adviser to Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock has resigned after controversial posts were found on his Facebook page.

Benjamin Cole, a senior adviser to Schock, told POLITICO he resigned and that Schock, a Republican, accepted his resignation.

The posts had Cole likening black people to animals and said a mosque should be built on the White House grounds for President Barack Obama.

It caps quite a strange week for Schock’s office. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Schock had decorated his office in the manner of the British show “Downton Abbey.” Cole had interacted with the reporter and tried to tamp down the story. His back and forth with the Post reporter was detailed in the story.

Friday: Blue Nation Review reports Schock sold his Peoria, Illinois home to a wealthy donor for a nearly $797,000 profit:

Now there’s this: the month before the 2012 elections, Congressman Schock sold his house to a major Republican donor who was also one of his campaign supporters for a price that appears to far exceed the market value at the time.

If Schock had some sort of quid pro quo real estate deal with the donor, this is the exact same thing that brought down Duke Cunningham ten years ago.

Unfortunately, Saturday Night Live’s season had already ended before the Anthony Weiner scandal erupted. But that won’t stop Jimmy Fallon

The winner of the Mr. Self-Destruct Award for the last week is a no-brainer.

Crisis averted.

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T-minus 2 hours and 30 minutes to shutdown

Here’s a good guide from CNN on what will/won’t be affected by the government shutdown.

Update: Also see this guide from the Washington Post about how government agencies will be affected. Their shutdown countdown clock at T-minus 4 hours and counting…

Before it gets too late, I want to note my predictions for the downballot races.

Senate:
The Democrats currently hold a 51-49 majority. They need to a net gain of 9 seats tonight to get a 60-seat supermajority. These are the races which will ultimately determine the size of the new Democratic majority in January.

Alaska: Ted Stevens (R) v. Mark Begich (D)
Begich wins by 8-11 points.

Colorado: Bob Schaffer (R) v. Mark Udall (D)
Udall wins by 7-10 points.

Georgia: Saxby Chambliss (R) v. Jim Martin (D)
Chambliss wins by 2-5 points.

Kentucky: Mitch McConnell (R) v. Bruce Lunsford (D)
McConnell wins by 3-6 points.

Louisiana: John Kennedy (R) v. Mary Landrieu (D)
Landrieu wins by 6-9 points.

Maine: Susan Collins (R) v. Tom Allen (D)
Collins wins by 7-10 points.

Minnesota: Norm Coleman (R) v. Al Franken (D)
Franken wins 2-5 points.

Mississippi: Roger Wicker (R) v. Ronnie Musgrove (D)
Wicker wins by 4-7 points.

New Hampshire: John Sununu (R) v. Jeanne Shaheen (D)
Shaheen wins by 8-12 points.

New Mexico: Steve Pearce (R) v. Tom Udall (D)
Udall wins by 10-13 points.

North Carolina: Elizabeth Dole (R) v. Kay Hagan (D)
Hagan wins by 4-7 points.

Oregon: Gordon Smith (R) v. Jeff Merkley (D)
Merkley wins by 4-7 points.

Virginia: Jim Gilmore (R) v. Mark Warner (D)
Warner wins by 24-27 points.

If my predictions are correct the Democrats will pick up 8 seats, leaving them at 59-41 in the Senate, one seat short of the supermajority. The GOP firewall in the South will hold, but if they lose McConnell or Chambliss the Dems hit 60.

House of Representatives:
The Democrats currently hold a 236-199 majority. Expect them to pick up between 25-30 more seats tonight. I also expect the Republicans to claim one significant Democratic scalp: John Murtha, largely due to his self-inflicted wounds when he said western Pennsylvania was racist.

538 The total number of votes in the Electoral College.

270 The number of votes in the Electoral College needed to win the White House.

72 – John McCain’s age. If elected, he would be the oldest first term president in American history.

65 – Joe Biden’s age.

47 – Barack Obama’s age.

44 – Sarah Palin’s age.

9The number of candidates who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination.

11 The number of candidates who ran for the Republican presidential nomination.

43 The number of men who have been President of the United States.

46 The number of men who have been Vice President of the United States.

14 The number of vice presidents who have become president.

0 – The number of women and African Americans who have been President or Vice President of the United States.

41 The number of states that lost jobs during the month of September.

11 The percentage of people who think the country is going in the right direction, according to a recent poll by CBS News and the New York Times.

15The approval rating of Congress in a recent poll by CBS News and the New York Times.

22 President George W. Bush’s approval rating in recent poll by CBS News and the New York Times.

435 The number of members in the House of Representatives. All of them are up for re-election.

34 The number of senators up for re-election.

60 The number of senators necessary to break a filibuster.

9 The number of Senate seats Democrats need to win on Election Day to reach a 60-seat filibuster-proof supermajority.

150,000The amount of money the Republican National Committee spent on shopping for clothes for Sarah Palin and her family after she was chosen to be John McCain’s running mate.

150,000,000The record amount of money the Obama campaign raised during the month of September.

134,000,000The amount of money the Obama campaign had at its disposal to spend during the final month of the election.

640,000,000The amount of money raised by the Obama campaign.

360,000,000The amount of money raised by the McCain campaign.

84,000,000The amount of money from public financing John McCain could spend during the last two months of the campaign after securing his party’s presidential nomination.

4,191The number of U.S. military casualties killed in Iraq since 2003.

554The number of U.S. military casualties killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

537 The number of votes that decided who won Florida and the 2000 presidential election.

123,535,883The number of people who voted in the 2004 presidential election.

19,549,291The number of ballots cast during early voting in the 2008 election.

Note: All statistics are updated as of Friday, October 31.

U.S. News and World Report got a hold of an internal “death list” of House GOP members who are expected to lose re-election. Not a good sign.

Voter displeasure with the war and economy, coupled with Sen. Barack Obama’s popularity, has the House GOP running for cover. Even though polls have shown that Americans don’t like congressional Democrats any more, a new internal GOP tally of House races suggests a Democratic route that could keep the Republicans in the minority for decades. A document provided to Washington Whispers from a House GOP official shows that they could lose a net 34 seats. That means the Democrats would have a 270-165 advantage in the 111th Congress. In the Senate, Republicans expect to lose also but to keep up to 44 seats, ensuring their ability to stage a filibuster.

The document provided to Whispers is no gag: It comes from one of the key House GOP vote counters. The source called it a “death list.” The tally shows several different ratings of 66 House Republicans in difficult races or open seats held by retiring Republicans.

That’s what Sam Stein is hearing.

Five days after Rep. Michele Bachmann went on a McCarthy-esque rant suggesting Barack Obama was unpatriotic and urging the major newspapers of the country to investigate anti-American sentiment in Congress, the national Republican political parties are running for cover.

Two sources aware of ad buys in Minnesota say that the National Republican Congressional Committee is pulling its media purchases from Bachmann’s race. If true, it is a remarkable fall for a congresswoman who, until recently, seemed relatively safe in her predominantly conservative district. The race had become closer in recent days — the NRCC had transferred funds from Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) to Bachmann a little over a week ago.

A few observers are calling it the Macaca Incident of 2008. If Bachmann loses what was previously a safe seat over this, it will be a truly epic meltdown.

Update: TPM Election Central confirms that the NRCC is pulling its funding for Bachmann. She really is that radioactive within the House GOP as a result of this mess.

Update II: The Republican base is not happy with the NRCC’s decision about this.