Washington (CNN) – In the early days of his campaign for governor in Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell hired veteran GOP pollster Glen Bolger to take the pulse of the state's notoriously independent-minded voters.
Bolger asked voters if they'd rather elect of governor who would work with President Obama to implement his plans for the economy, or a governor who would serve as a check on Democrats in Washington.
Fifty-five percent wanted a governor who planned to stand up the president, Bolger discovered, while just 35 percent desired someone who would help the White House. It wasn't what he'd expected to find.
"I was kind surprised by that result, because I thought people would say that's not really a factor in the governor's race," Bolger said, noting that McDonnell won the race by a similar margin. "But people saw it as almost like Democrats are oversteering too much in one direction, and they wanted correction."
After dismal election cycles in 2006 and 2008, Republicans are hoping that signs of discomfort with President Obama's agenda will translate into big gains in governor's mansions around the country next November. They point to off-year wins this month in Virginia and New Jersey as early proof that a backlash against Democratic overreach in Washington is underway.
Washington (CNN) – Longtime Clinton ally and Democratic strategist James Carville had some rare words of praise for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. But, ever the good husband, Carville made sure to heap equal praise on his wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin.
The two were discussing the recent controversial cover of Newsweek magazine, in which Palin is shown in running shorts. Carville said Palin should not complain about the use of a photo which was not a candid shot but one she had originally posed for, even if it were for a publication other than Newsweek. Echoing recent comments by Palin, Matalin disagreed and said she thought the Newsweek cover was sexist.
“You can agree on this,” Matalin asked her husband, “she looked good in it, right?”
“She does,” Carville said without hesitation, “Ain’t no doubt about that. You and her are the two best-looking women in the Republican Party,” the Democrat told his wife.
Related: Carville, Matalin share rare tender moment
But Carville did not have much more positive to say about Palin.
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CNN: Health care debate headed to Senate floor
Health care reform backers won a key victory Saturday night as the Senate voted to move ahead with a floor debate on a sweeping $848 billion bill.
Los Angeles Times: For a healthcare holdout, it's lonely in the middle
As one of the few senators undecided on healthcare reform, Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln faces a huge headache. Liberals attack her as an obstructionist, even though she cast a key vote keeping the effort alive. Republicans are lining up to run against her - seven, so far, and counting.
Washington Post: Public option at center of debate
Democrats had little time to savor their weekend Senate health-care victory, as two of the lawmakers who voted to move the debate forward Saturday night indicated Sunday that they will not vote to pass the package if it includes a government-run insurance program.
McClatchy: Senate health care bill about to enter a political minefield
The Senate is ready to begin a volatile, high-stakes health care debate that's sure to be punctuated by tense and unpredictable battles over some of the most incendiary issues in American politics today. Debate on the $848 billion bill to overhaul the nation's health care system is expected to start next week, after the Senate returns from its Thanksgiving recess, and many lawmakers already consider it a golden opportunity to win long-sought projects and local aid for their constituents.
USA Today: Health care fight swells lobbying
Companies and groups hiring lobbying firms on health issues nearly doubled this year as special interests rushed to shape the massive revamp of the nation's health care system now in its final stretch before Congress.
CNN: Bishop bars Patrick Kennedy from Communion over abortion
Rhode Island's top Roman Catholic leader has asked Rep. Patrick Kennedy to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights, the diocese said Sunday.
Boston Globe: Coakley leads, but electorate unsettled
Attorney General Martha Coakley has a solid lead in the four-way Democratic race for the open US Senate seat, but with just 16 days until the primary election, nearly three-quarters of likely voters have yet to decide who they will support, according to a Globe poll.