Friday, August 03, 2007

Daily Headliners--Dem three-way-tie, Bush-Congress fight over FISA bill, RNC feeble attack on YKos, Dow falls 284 points

How about some Daily Headliners for today....

Poll Finds Dems Neck and Neck in Iowa: I found this off Carpetbagger Report and it is especially interesting. An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that in the Iowa caucus race, the top three presidential candidates are split in a three-way tie with Barack Obama at 27 percent, and John Edwards and Hillary Clinton both at 26 percent each. This is fascinating. This poll shows three things. First, there is no clear Democratic front-runner at this time--regardless of what the national polls are saying. It is still way too early in the election, and the candidate who wins Iowa will get a major boost in support and money to carry through to New Hampshire and the rest of the states. Second is that that the Iowa Democrats are content with the top three candidates. According to the ABC News/WaPost poll, "Eighty-nine percent satisfied with their choices in the Democratic race (the same as nationally, and well ahead of satisfaction among Republicans), 53 percent in Iowa are "very" satisfied, compared with 33 percent nationally." What this tells me is that regardless of who wins the nomination, Iowa Democrats will support that candidate. In fact, the Iowa Democrats seem to like characteristics of all three candidates. They like Hillary Clinton's strength and electability, John Edwards' likability, and Obama's youth appeal and new direction in politics. And third is that there is still movement in the support between the candidates. According to the poll, "Around four in 10 of each of the leading candidates' supporters are not "strongly" committed to their choice. At the same time, reallocating to second-choice preferences doesn't meaningfully change the three-way dead heat." It is almost like the Iowa Democrats can't seem to firmly make up their minds on the top three candidates, as they flirt between them. That is especially important since these Iowa Democrats will probably make their final decision when they attend the caucus. So the poll results are meaningless now, since the Iowa Democrats are switching between candidates. In a sense, I can understand this poll, since I can't even make up my mind between the top three candidates. In fact, I can very easily accept all of the Democratic candidates for the office of the president. They are certainly far better than any of the Republican candidates running.

Bush: Congress must stay until it OKs terror bill; This MSNBC News story shows that President Bush and the congressional Democrats are at a standstill at revising the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The real news nugget in this story is that President Bush is demanding that the congressional Democrats rubber-stamp his version of the wiretapping bill, or he will threaten to keep Congress in session. It is another stare-down by President Bush against the Democrats. Even more, this political theater, created by the Bush White House to make President Bush appear to be a strong leader before Congress. Remember the Bush administration has been weakened by the U.S. attorney scandal, Alberto Gonzales' contradictory congressional testimony on the illegal wiretapping program, and even the fight over congressional subpoenas for White House documents, emails, and testimony from top Bush aids. All of these fights make the Bush White House appear besieged. President Bush is trying to turn tables and force the congressional Democrats to feel besieged by forcing Congress to stay in session over modernizing the FISA program. In addition, if the Bush administration forces Congress to stay in session, the Bush White House could use this as PR selling-point in order to shore up President Bush's own dwindling job approval ratings. At the moment, the Bush White House has not ordered Congress to stay in session...yet.

Negotiations on Surveillance End Without Deal: I had to include this Congressional Quarterly story on the latest fight between President Bush and the Democrats over the FISA modernization. I found this through TPM Muckraker. From Congressional Quarterly;

Congressional Democrats and the White House have broken off negotiations over a legislative fix to an intelligence gap without a deal, but Democrats threatened to press forward with a bill regardless.

House Democratic leaders were taking procedural steps at midday Friday to allow them to call up a bill to revise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA — PL 95-511) to address problems that have been identified by intelligence community leaders.

In the Senate, Democrats remained divided over the legislation. Independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont, a liberal who aligns with Democrats, was voicing concerns about privacy implications of the bill. “Everything’s still under discussion,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Bush again urged lawmakers to act.

He said, “When Congress sends me their version, when Congress listens to all the data and facts and they send me a version of how to close those gaps, I’ll ask one question, and I’m going to ask the DNI: Does this legislation give you what you need to prevent an attack on the country? Is this what you need to do your job, Mr. DNI? That’s the question I’m going to ask. And if the answer is yes, I’ll sign the bill. And if the answer is no, I’m going to veto the bill.”

Bush added, “Time is short. I’m going to ask Congress to stay in session until they pass a bill that will give our intelligence community the tools they need to protect the United States.”

Looks like Bush is forced to keep Congress in session. Somehow, I don't think it is going to turn out the president's way.

The Yearly Kos circus: I found this RNC-produced video on Yearly Kos through Talking Points Memo, and I will admit that it is about as ridiculous and sad as it can be. It is suppose to be an RNC-hit piece against DKos and the Yearly Kos convention, but I'm not even sure what the Republican National Committee is trying to hit? Clowns? Their own feet? Josh Marshall called this piece "feeble." Judge for yourself how feeble it is. From YouTube:

It is pretty pathetic.

Stocks free fall at end of trading session: This MSNBC News story is reporting that the Dow Jones Industrial fell 284.27 points to 13, 179.06, with the S&P 500 dropping 39.39 points to 1432.81 and the Nasdaq dropping 64.73 to 2511.25. This latest drop in the stock market took place after "Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its credit outlook on Bear Stearns Cos. to negative from stable because of the investment bank’s exposure to the distressed mortgage and corporate buyout markets." Again, it goes back to the housing crash. We had mortgage companies handing out subprime mortgages to Americans like free candy, which certainly helped fuel the speculation in the housing market, causing increased prices on housing. When Americans discovered they couldn't pay for their mortgages, foreclosures increased, creating an even greater supply of housing on the market as banks, mortgage companies and hedge funds are left with worthless paper and declining sales of houses. This is going to continue to ripple through the U.S. economy, perhaps even setting up for a recession next year.

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