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National Politics


Is Barack Obama Avoiding the Press?

Obama press conferences front-loaded during 'honeymoon period' of 1st term; President has held fourth fewest solo press conferences during 1st year of office since Herbert Hoover

'Professor' Obama? President's State of the Union Address Notches 4th Lowest Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Score Since FDR

Text of Obama's Address has a readability score for an average 8th grader - two grades lower than George W. Bush's Addresses and the historical average for modern presidents

A Content Analysis of President Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address

Emphasis on domestic policy and insertion of non-policy rhetoric stands in sharp contrast to George W. Bush's final State of the Union Address in 2008

All About the 39 Democrats Voting 'No' to the Affordable Health Care for America Act

Majority of Blue Dogs, Democratic Representatives in '08 pick-up districts, and Democrats in competitive districts all vote in favor of bill

Will Democrats Lose 20+ U.S. House Seats in 2010? A Counterpoint.

Two-thirds of the seats won by Democrats in 2008 (170, 66 percent) were won in landslide fashion, decided by more than 30 points over their Republican challengers

Which States Do Presidents Come From? (Not Minnesota, Yet)

Ohio leads the way with seven presidents; New York has six

Red States Have Higher Crime Rates Than Blue States

Red states across the nation have both higher violent and property crime rates than blue states, across several measures of partisanship

Is Barack Obama the World's President?

With Monday's news conference in Guadalajara, Mexico with Mexican President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Barack Obama continues to build on his record number of press conferences held outside of the United States. Through his first 6 months and 20 days in office,...

Republican Opposition to Sotomayor Marks Largest Supreme Court Confirmation Vote Dissent in GOP History

Last week's vote in the U.S. Senate confirming Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court was noteworthy foremost, of course, for Sotomayor being the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the Court. But the Senate vote was also significant for the Republicans and what emerged...

Republican Senators Ignore 'Hispanic Effect' in Sotomayor Confirmation Vote

In the months after President Barack Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, political analysts and even a few Republicans (e.g. Joe Scarborough) have characterized GOP opposition to and harsh questioning of the new Associate Justice as politically unwise. Such Republican Senators were cautioned and urged to...

How Blue Are the Blue Dog Democrats?

Congressional Quarterly's vote study for the first half of 2009 is in the books, and finds that House Democrats overall supported Barack Obama 91.1 percent of the time in which the President stated his clear policy preference on legislation that received a floor vote. But what about the Blue Dog...

Who Defected on the US House Climate Change Legislation?

The U.S. House of Representative's 219-212 vote last week in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454) passed in part due to the defection of a handful of Republicans, while more than half of the Blue Dog Democratic coalition voted in opposition to the bill. Eight...

U.S. Military Fatalities Continue at Record High Pace in Afghanistan, Record Low Pace in Iraq

As President Barack Obama approaches the 5-month mark of his administration, his political supporters, especially those on the liberal end of the ideological spectrum, are faced with reconciling the President's campaign promises on the military, national security, and the country's conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the policies he has...

Are Supreme Court Justices Living Longer?

Yesterday Smart Politics challenged the popular notion that Presidents have been eying younger Supreme Court nominees in recent years, presumably to deepen their impact and legacy on the Supreme Court as the judicial branch has become seen as more partisan. But an analysis of U.S. Senate confirmation data found the...

Are Supreme Court Nominees Getting Younger?

Many commentators and political analysts have speculated that Barack Obama's nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court was based not only on his agreement with her judicial philosophy, but also her gender, ethnicity (Hispanic), and youth (54 years old). In fact, political observers have...

How Many Senators Will Vote for the Next Supreme Court Nominee?

With the recent announcement by Associate Justice David Souter that he intends to retire from the Supreme Court this year, all eyes are on President Barack Obama to see who he will send up to the U.S. Senate for confirmation hearings in the coming weeks or months. Obama, of course,...

Former Deputy AG James Comey Views Obama as "Credible" Leader in Counterterrorism Fight

James Comey, the 6 foot 8 inch former U.S. Deputy Attorney General who, in March 2004, stood figuratively and literally between President George W. Bush and the recertification of a NSA domestic intelligence program while Attorney General John Ashcroft was gravely ill, offered both criticism of the Bush administration's counterterrrorism...

Upper Midwest House Members Vote 18-5 in Favor of TARP Bailout Bonus Tax

On Thursday, Upper Midwestern U.S. House Democrats unanimously supported a bill that would impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recipients. The measured passed 328 to 93 in the lower chamber. The bill (HR 1586) taxes at 90 percent bonuses given to employees...

Live Blog: Security and Immigration in a Post 9/11 United States

12:05 p.m. Edward Alden, Senior Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, is delivering a talk today at the Humphrey Institute entitled, "Security and Immigration in a post-9/11 United States. Alden is the author of the recent book, The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11....

U.S. Military Fatalities in Afghanistan on Record Pace in 2009

Although Barack Obama only devoted 2 of the 280 sentences in his late February Address before a Joint Session of Congress on the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. attempt to bring greater stability to a historically unstable region of the world is starting to once again take center stage in...



Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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