January 24th, 2010
05:28 PM ET
5 years ago

State of the Union: John King's Crib Sheet for January 24

In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week.
In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week.

This week’s Sunday conversation included a feisty debate about the Massachusetts Message and its lasting political power, much of it in the context of just what tone President Obama should take – and what issues he should put front and center – when he delivers his State of the Union Address midweek.

“You will hear in the State of the Union his ideas about additional steps that we can take to help create jobs and stir hiring across the country,” senior presidential adviser David Axelrod told us.

“What happened in Massachusetts is just part of an American awakening,” was conservative Sen. Jim DeMint’s take.

Other pocketbook issues in play:


*Ben Bernanke’s path to Senate confirmation to another term as Fed chairman.
*The president’s endorsement of a powerful deficit-reduction commission that could recommend new tax increases.
*And the post-Massachusetts health care reform debate.

There was also some spirited finger-pointing over the Democrats’ Bay State debacle, and a behind-the-scenes post mortem from the pollsters for the two major candidates.

Not to mention one surprise, and unwelcome, addition to the Sunday issues list: an audio tape, purportedly from Osama bin Laden, claiming responsibility for the Christmas Day attempt to bomb a U.S. airliner.

Straight now to a crowded Sound of Sunday playlist, beginning with the take on the bin Laden tape:

White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on CNN’s “State of the Union
“Assuming that it is him it contains the same hollow justifications for the mass slaughter of innocence that we have heard before. And the irony in the same of Islam, he has killed more Muslims than people from any other religion. He is a murderer. We will be on offense against bin Laden and Al Qaeda to protect the American people.”

White House Press Secretary Gibbs on “Fox News Sunday”
“I think everybody in this world understands that this is somebody that has to pop up in our lives over an audiotape because he’s nothing but a cowardly, murderous thug and terrorist that will some day, hopefully soon, be brought to justice.”

DEFICITS AND DEFICITS AND TAXES
White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on CNN’s “State of the Union, responding to a question about whether President Obama would accept the recommendations of a proposed commission on spending and taxes even if they violated his promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,00 a year.
“Whatever the appropriate approach is, the president will be straight up with the nation about it. But I am not going to – that’s part of the game John that Washington plays, which is would you, might you and so forth. I am not going to do that here. Let’s wait and see, first of all, if there is such a commission because it’s a proposal that hasn’t yet been embraced by the Congress. But let’s see what a bipartisan effort to deal with these deficits will produce. And by the way, if anybody has a plan to do this without raising any taxes on anybody, you know, upper income or lower or below, then they should come forward with it.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I have a rough time supporting it to be honest with you, because I think it would just wind up being another excuse rather than facing the tough problems that we all should be facing right now. That the President should be facing. And he ought to put pressure on Congress to face the problems and we ought to do something about it rather than to push it off again to a commission that never seems to work anyway.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“I think a spending commission is a good idea. I’ve been advocating it all year. We’re going to have votes
on several forms of that next week in the Senate. Spending is the problem. I do worry that if we construct this commission in the wrong way, it will be kind of an indirect way to raise taxes.”

THE FED AND BERNANKE
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) on CNN’s “State of the Union
“I have had some concerns as I expressed to the Banking Committee with Chairman Bernanke about consumer protection, of being ahead of the curb on the economy, and particularly on mortgage foreclosures. I think he’s learned from those lessons and I give him credit for making some significant moves to - along with President Obama - from stopping us going into a deep depression. So yes, I will support Chairman Bernanke and I believe his confirmation will be assured.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I think he [Bernanke] basically has all the ability to do it. I would be terrified of having him replaced by this administration. You never know what you are going to get. This man knows what he is doing. Yes, can he improve? You bet your life. But I’m going to vote for him.”

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett on NBC’s “Meet the Press
“President Obama checked in with the leadership over the weekend and he heard from Sen. Reid, that there is a lot of support for Ben Bernanke, we're confident that the chairman will be confirmed.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“He's going to have bipartisan support and I anticipate that he is going to be confirmed.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I believe if you look at his record objectively, you shouldn’t vote for him. I voted against him in the committee. I believe that the Federal Reserve is part and parcel of the whole problem that helped create the problem of loose money and too little regulation. Now they want to ride to the rescue with the taxpayers’ money. I believe that that’s not a good record for the Fed and that is led by Ben Bernanke. I intend to vote against him.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on “Fox News Sunday”
“I think the Federal Reserve would benefit from a fresh start. I'm not saying that Mr. Bernanke hadn't done a good job, once the crisis was created in trying to deal with financial crisis. I think he probably mitigated a lot of the harm that could have happened. But I think he should have seen it coming- -the bubble in housing, and easy money which led to huge increase of housing crisis over a short period of time and then collapsed - I think has contributed a lot to problems he was then required to help try to clean up.”

MASSACHUSETTS MESSAGE
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) on CNN’s “State of the Union,” brushing aside finger-pointing from the White House that the committee he heads to get Democratic candidates elected to the Senate was late to respond to the rise of GOP candidate Scott Brown.
“We welcome the White House beefing up their political operation and secondly, we did not start under my term with 60 votes. We had 60 votes. We did everything that we could in Massachusetts. I think the big takeaway from Massachusetts, however, is that in fact there is enormous economic angst in the country, family members lost jobs and their houses were worthless than the mortgage. And I expect the President to deal with this in the State of the Union speech.”

White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on CNN’s “State of the Union,” on whether there needs to be a White House shake-up in the aftermath of the Massachusetts senate election
“Washington loves to throw out a body. There is nothing that gets Washington more excited than the prospect of somebody losing their job. The fact is that we’ve got a wonderful group in the White House. They are working really hard.”

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) on ABC’s “This Week”
“I did not want this to be the President's Waterloo, but pushing through a massive government takeover of our health care system was certainly not a good idea. What happened in Massachusetts is just part of an American awakening, We saw it in Virginia, New Jersey, we see it all over the country in tea parties, in town halls, people are alarmed and angry about spending, government debt, the takeovers.”

White House Press Secretary Gibbs on “Fox News Sunday”
“If Republicans want to assume that the outcome of what happened in Massachusetts is a big endorsement of their policies when 40% are enthusiastic about them and 58% are angry about them, I hope they misread that election as badly as anybody could.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“If you look at the first year of this administration we haven't made much progress. We passed a budget
that doubles the national debt in five years and triples it in ten, tried to pass energy tax, tried to pass health care taxes. What I hope we'll hear from the president next Wednesday night is an indication he would like to go in a different direction. As I've said all year if he wants to meet us in the middle of the political spectrum we'll be there to help him.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“I think the American people are never permanently in the camp of either party. Never permanent. They are looking at performance. They want to know what we're going to do for them. And I think the reason that you had the victories in Virginia and New Jersey, and most improbably in Massachusetts of all places, was the American people are saying we want to go in a different direction.”

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“Nothing's changed about the president's approach. I think the question to be asked and what we learned from the Massachusetts victory is that people are sick and tired of Washington not delivering for them. So the question is really will the Republican party be willing to work with us?”

WITHER HEALTH CARE?
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“We tried working with the Republican colleagues. Three of the months that went by was working with a bipartisan group of democrats and republicans that could agree. Three of the months were lost in the effort. At the end of the day, they did not want to achieve such a goal. So I believe that we need to move forward.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I don't know one Republican that does not want health care reform or one Republican that would not try to work with the democrats. It was an arrogance of power. They found out they couldn't. You bet your life, we have to start over.”

White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on ABC’s “This Week”
“The President will not walk away from the American people, will not hand them over to the tender mercies of health care companies who take advantage. He will not walk away from people with pre-existing conditions. He will not walk away from senior citizens in Medicare. He's just not going to do that, and let me tell you as a political matter, the foolish thing to do would be for anybody else who supported this to walk away from it.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“If they get past this arrogant phase they have been stuck in about a year that we know best, we don’t want to listen to public opinion, we want to, quote make history. If they can work past that and concentrate on the real problem which is cost, we are willing to look at it.”

POLLSTER’S CORNER
Neil Newhouse, pollster for Massachusetts Sen.-Elect Scott Brown, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“What happened in Massachusetts was Scott was perceived as the independent candidate, the one that wasn’t pulling any kind of party line. And Martha Coakley was perceived to be in one voter’s words, Obama’s yes person, yes man if she goes to Washington. There were anywhere between 55 and 65 percent of the voters we talked to, and we tracked every single day, believed that Scott was an independent Republican who will vote outside of party pressures in Washington.”

Celinda Lake, pollster for Massachusetts Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I think that Scott Brown, aided with a wonderful pollster, took our message and won with our message of change. And we had better seize it back. But we have to deliver on that change. It has been a year, which
is twice the patience that the American public usually has.”

Neil Newhouse, pollster for Massachusetts Sen.-Elect Scott Brown, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“If the Democrats believe that all they need to do now is do a better job of communicating their plans, they they are really looking at a devastating November election.”

Celinda Lake, pollster for Massachusetts Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“It was really important to try to draw a distinction between the failed policies of the Republicans and the policies that we’re trying to bring about change. But the point is you can’t have that argument articulated from Massachusetts. You have to have that argument articulated from Washington. And the most important thing and the opportunity for Democrats is in the next five months, we have to pass economic policies that deliver more for Main Street than they do for Wall Street.”

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and the week ahead,
John King


Filed under: Ben Bernanke • Massachusetts • Popular Posts • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. independent

    Populist Obama could attack speculation. Attack short term trading. Attack volatility and how it prevents businesses from investing and hiring. Then, put in place a three tier cap gains tax: highest (35%) for short term, next (25%) the more than a year, and lowest (15%) for five years or longer. Incentivize long term investing and reduce market volatility.

    January 24, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. mavcal

    I've heard enough about Obama's ideas since he ran in the primaries. His ideas are grandiose, his ego is even more grandiose. He will just give false hopes in the State of the Union address and it will be more typical Obama rhetoric while the unemployment lines grow longer, the banks take over more homes, & more troops die in a no-win war. I'll not be watching him flap his lips.

    January 24, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. Anne McNeff

    Massachusetts voters are sick and tired as to what is going on at the State House, senators being asked to resign, one of them sent to jail,the last of the 3 Speakers of the House, indicted.for various crimes. Enough is enough. They are slow to do anything about this, afraid of that they may be next. I say vote them all out...Kerry is a do-nothing Senator. The new Senator Elect, Scott Brown, is like a fresh wind ....He refused interviews with Face the Nation, Meet the Press, etc., and chose to spend the weekend with his wife, How novel.....Go Brown...

    January 24, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. Quynh Dang

    John King's is the best political show at CNN. Betty's shows are the best among weekend shows at all cables.

    January 24, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. Texas Jack

    It's not an awakening. It is Americans taking their country back. Goodbye scoundrel incumbents who have been in Goverment way too long.

    January 24, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. unemployed by Obama

    to the Democrates, can you say Crash and Burn. Bye Obama.

    January 24, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Mike

    I know robert gibbs is a fool but I wonder about nobama. Anyone who really thinks the election of Senator Elect Brown was not about rejecting nobamas health care plan and his tax and spend liberal agenda is living in a fantasy world.

    January 24, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  8. Preston k

    Pkm that is the dem they care about people the rups only care for the rich if your poor your on your own

    January 24, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. Judy

    CNN is getting more like Fox news everyday. Between nervous little Wolf Blitzer, who is afraid he isn't going to please the right people and the people from the right and that old sourpuss Jack cafferty you never get anyhthing that is fair and balanced. They stick their finger in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing and then start their words of destruction toward the people who are really trying president Obama and his team, just because they have the platform to do so. President Obamba has had one year to try to undo all the destruction to our country that the last crazy president did and even if he had eveything put back in place, which by the way he is doing, you guys have a way of making it look as if he is a complete failure. You and others like you are the dangerous ones. The republicas are doing everthing in their power to make president Obama fail just so they can get back in power with their wrecking crew, and if that is not dangerous and anti American I don't know what is.

    January 24, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. George Koger

    Too bad. Nothing will change. The dems had a fool proof majority for a year and were afraid to use it. They allowed the Republicans to control Congress in 09 and I expect more of the same in 2010.

    The Dems were a dismal failure in leadership. So sad.

    January 24, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Right Leaning Independent

    Obama will blame Bush in the state of the Union for the failure of health care reform, a climate agreement in copenhagen, the US olympic bid, getting cap and trade passed, a missed Gitmo closure date and the stimulus money not doing much good other than adding debt to the taxpayers. But in the end he will thank Bush for helping him win the Nobel Peace Prize!

    January 24, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. Sue

    Did you all hear Obama's solutions regarding jobs and the economy during his speech in Ohio on Thursday???

    His solutions are green jobs and weather proofing homes-–I kid you not.

    Unemployment is now 10% nationally---and his solutions are green jobs and weather proofing homes???? Is he really this clueless.

    I realize that he has never managed any business--not even a lemonade stand---but can he be this clueless????

    I heard an economist 2 weeks ago say.........In order for unemployment to get back down to 5%---285,000 jobs-–over the next 5 years will need to be created.

    The Democrats won't even have unemployment back down to 8% before the elections---unless the media supports cooked numbers and fuzzy math--–as it is NOT mathematically possible.

    The Democrats are going to get clobbered in the 2010 elections.

    January 24, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |