Some Democrats are calling it the "Obama hangover."
Even with President Obama on the campaign trail, at fund-raising events and taping TV ads for many state and local candidates – it seems like the electricity of the 2008 campaign is a distant memory.
The Los Angeles Times reports how much tougher it is to get people fired up to volunteer and vote Democrat this time around. And, as President Obama tries to address health care, the economy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – some of his decisions may not sit well with voters at the local level.
A lot of eyes are on the races for governor in New Jersey and Virginia; and a congressional race in upstate New York's 23rd district.
With election day a week away – things aren't looking so hot for Democrat Creigh Deeds in Virginia... One new poll shows him trailing Republican Bob McConnell by 11 points. Meanwhile – White House officials have been complaining about the quality of Deeds' campaign... gee, think they're trying to distance themselves from him?
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushes for a health care reform bill that includes a public option, national polling suggests a rise in support among Americans for a government-financed plan that would compete with private insurance.
According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday, 48 percent of those questioned favor a public option, with 42 percent opposed to such a plan. That's a 10-point swing from August when 47 percent were opposed and 43 percent in favor.
The NBC/WSJ survey joins two polls released last week, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation and ABC/Washington Post, that also indicated a jump in public support for a government option.
"The latest CNN poll found that support for the public option grew most among independents, who were essentially split on that proposal in August but supported it by a 61 percent to 38 percent margin in October," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But one group - senior citizens - still oppose a public option proposal, and their opposition has barely budged between the summer and fall."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - First daughters Malia and Sasha Obama were vaccinated last week against the H1N1 flu virus, the White House announced late Tuesday in a post on the official White House blog.
"President and Mrs. Obama have not yet been vaccinated for H1N1," Katie McCormick-Lelyveld, the first lady's press secretary wrote, "and they will wait until the needs of the priority groups identified by the CDC - including young people under the age of 24, pregnant women, and people with underlying conditions - have been met."
McCormick-Lelyveld wrote that the first daughters were vaccinated last week when the H1N1 vaccine became available to Washington, D.C. school children.
"The girls' H1N1 vaccine was administered by a White House physician, who applied for and received the vaccine from the DC Department of Health using the same process as every other vaccination site in the District."
Tuesday's blog post also encouraged the public to check flu.gov in order to learn more about how to protect against the flu.
In an interview on CNN's State of the Union late last month, the president told CNN's John King that the first family would "will stand in line like everybody else," to get the H1N1 vaccine. "And when folks say it's our turn, that's when we'll get it," the president also told King.
(CNN) - A spokesman for Florida Rep. Alan Grayson is defending the outspoken congressman's recent comment calling an aide to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke a "K Street whore."
The comments - directed toward Bernanke aide Linda Robertson - came during a radio interview a month ago but are just now circulating Capitol Hill.
Grayson spokesman Todd Jurkowski said the congressman's comments came in response to an attack from Robertson over the his support of a GOP-backed bill to audit the Federal Reserve.
"She actually questioned his understanding of the difference between fiscal and monetary policy," he said in a statement to CNN. "She had the audacity to attack a congressman who used to be an economist. She's a career lobbyist who used to work for Enron and advocates for whatever she gets paid to promote."
Jurkowski also questioned why the comments are making news a month after the interview aired.
"Why is this coming up now? This interview happened weeks ago. This is just another way for the NRCC to attack their number 1 target," he said.
The comments are the latest in a string of controversial statements from the freshman congressman, who last month angered Republicans but became a hero to the left when he declared on the House floor that the GOP health care plan is to let sick people "die quickly."
(CNN) - Despite pouring millions into his re-election bid from his personal fortune, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine finds himself entering the final stretch before Election Day with significantly less money in his campaign warchest than his publicly financed Republican opponent.
According to documents released Tuesday by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, the Democratic incumbent had only $412,410 in his general election campaign account as of October 20, despite having kicked in $22.6 million from personal funds. Corzine's chief opponent, Republican Chris Christie, had $2.9 million in available cash to spend on the final days of the campaign.
Unlike Corzine, both Christie and independent candidate Chris Daggett participated in the state's public matching funds program, designed in part to reduce a candidate's need to raise campaign funds. Christie received the maximum $7.3 million in public funds and raised an additional $4.4 million from contributors for a total of $11.7 million raised for the general election. Daggett raised a total of $1.3 million for the general election, almost $727,000 of which came from public funding.
Corzine's spending to date has more than doubled that of Christie and Daggett combined. The governor has spent $23.6 million since winning the Democratic nomination for a second term, while Christie has spent $8.8 million in the same period. Daggett has spent $1.2 million.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman told reporters Tuesday that he will support Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a procedural motion in order to start the health care debate - but opposes any kind of public option, including state opt-out and trigger provisions, and will ultimately not vote to approve any health care bill that includes any version of a public option.
The announcement means that even if Reid is able to get a measure introducing a public option that allows states to opt out onto the Senate floor for debate, Lieberman - who caucuses with the Democrats - won't provide a crucial vote needed to get it off the floor and up for a final vote.
"I am strongly inclined, and I have had this conversation with Sen. Reid several times, to vote for the motion to proceed to take up the bill. Why? Because I want to vote for health care reform legislation, so I'd like the debate to begin," said the Connecticut senator. "But I've also made clear to Sen. Reid that if the bill remains as it is now, I will vote against cloture, to finish the bill and pass it affirmatively."
Lieberman said the inclusion of an opt-out provision would not change his position.
"To me, the opt out doesn't change the basic facts. The last thing we want to do now is create another Washington-run health insurance company," he said. "There's enough good things that we're talking about - health care delivery reforms, insurance market reforms, extending coverage to people who don't have it now. I think we're just asking for trouble that the taxpayers don't need. I think the end result of it - I mean we are having enough time sustaining Medicare."
The Democrat-turned-independent said he could not support the creation of a public option because "it still creates a whole new government created entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line."
"I can't see a way in which I can vote for cloture on any bill that contained a creation of a government-operated-and-run insurance company, it's just asking for trouble," he said. He also rejected the idea of a "trigger" option that would allow for the launch of a new public option if the insurance industry failed to meet certain coverage benchmarks. "I feel this way about a national government-run health insurance company whether it's a trigger or not," he said.
(CNN) - In February, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist embraced President Obama when he came to the Sunshine State to campaign for passage of his $787 billion stimulus bill.
This week, the president is back in Florida, speaking to an audience of military personnel in Jacksonville and making a stop in DeSoto County (along with raising money for Democrats in Miami). But Crist - now seeking the Republican Senate nomination in his state - is keeping his distance.
His reason? According to the Palm Beach Post, the governor apparently didn't know Obama was in his state.
Asked by a reporter Tuesday why he didn't join the president in Jacksonville yesterday, Crist responded: "First I've known of it." Crist also said, "I didn't know his itinerary. That's all."
Eric Issac, the governor's spokeswoman, told CNN that Crist knew the president was coming to Florida, but wasn't aware of his specific city-by-city itinerary. "The governor didn't say he didn't know the president was going to be in the state," she said.
The Palm Beach Post pointed out that Crist was eager to appear with Obama earlier this year, when the president's approval ratings in the state were north of 60 percent and before Crist was facing a Republican primary against conservative up-and-comer Marco Rubio. The governor canceled a scheduled Cabinet meeting to join the president on a stage on Fort Myers in February, but he declined to do the same thing on Tuesday as the president makes another Florida stop in DeSoto County.
Isaac said Crist simply has "a full schedule" today.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Supporters of health care reform have entered almost 1,000 videos - from shocking images of people in peril to cartoon shorts - in a Democratic Party contest in which a panel of celebrity judges, party officials and grassroots activists will pick a submission that will be turned into a new television ad.
The list has now been whittled down to 20 ads. A handful of President Obama's Hollywood allies including Will.I.Am, Rosario Dawson and Seth MacFarlane are some of the judges helping to choose the 30-second TV spot that will be paid for by Organizing for America, Obama's political arm at the Democratic National Committee.
Several of the ads promote the inclusion of a public option in the final health care reform bill, while other entries feature children speaking directly to the camera about the issue. The most graphic video, which promotes the public option, shows a highway car crash, a woman drowning and another sitting on a window ledge surrounded by fire.
Organizing for America will send an e-mail out this afternoon naming the 20 videos still in the competition.
Follow Mark Preston on Twitter: @prestoncnn
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top Democrats put the issue of climate change back in the spotlight Tuesday, debating legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions while announcing $3.4 billion in new clean energy funds.
A key congressional committee began hearings on a "cap-and-trade" bill requiring emissions to be cut by more than 80 percent over the next four decades.
Questions relating to global warming have been among the most politically contentious in recent years. Democrats are generally more receptive to proposals designed to curb energy consumption in order to slow climate change; leading Republicans continue to express concern about the necessity and economic impact of such measures.
President Barack Obama has made the push for greater investment in a clean energy agenda one of his top domestic priorities.
Attempting to move that agenda forward, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee kicked off hearings on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Supporters say the bill would reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 through a cap-and-trade program under which companies would buy and sell emissions credits.
ARCADIA, Florida (CNN) - President Barack Obama announced $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant awards Tuesday, part of the administration's ongoing push for clean energy reform.
"We are building a smarter, stronger and more secure electric grid," Obama said at a Florida solar energy center. "Together, we can begin to see what a clean energy future will look like."
The awards, which are being funded through the $787 billion stimulus act, will fund "a broad range of technologies that will spur the nation's transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system," according to a White House statement.
Among other things, the awards will help support the installation of "smart meters" designed to help consumers monitor and control their energy consumption.
The awards, which will go to 100 private companies, utilities and cities, will be divided into grants ranging from $400,000 to $200 million.
The awards will be matched by another $4.7 billion in private sector funds.