HEAVENLY FATHER, PLEASE BLESS US
AS WE CELEBRATE
By Edward-Isaac Dovere
Democratic campaign operatives have been getting worried that the White House wasn’t doing enough to help them in the midterms, and that President Barack Obama didn’t care enough to change that.
Friday, Obama responded: David Simas, a longtime aide who returned to the White House after running polling and focus groups for the reelection campaign, was named director of a new Office of Political Strategy and Outreach.
The re-establishment of an internal political operation marks a significant shift for the White House, and the latest step in a 2014 West Wing reorientation that’s aimed at quickly making up for years of lost time, both on Capitol Hill and around the country.
By Jake Sherman
The Obama administration wants Congress to raise the debt limit in the next 16 days.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, saying the “best course of action would be for Congress to “raise the nation’s debt limit “before February 7 to ensure orderly financing of the government.” At the latest, Lew writes, Congress must lift the cap by the end of February.
“When I previously wrote to you in December, I estimated that Treasury would exhaust extraordinary measures in late February or early March,” Lew wrote to Boehner. “Based on our best and most recent information, we believe that Treasury is more likely to exhaust those measures in late February. While this forecast is subject to inherent variability, we do not foresee any reasonable scenario in which the extraordinary measures would last for an extended period of time.”
There’s not a ton of time. The House is out of session this week and in session for only two-and-a-half days next week. As of right now, there doesn’t appear to be a plan to lift the debt limit. Asked last week whether Congress would have to deal with the debt limit by late February, Boehner demurred.
By Lucy McCalmont
The toll “Bridgegate” might be having on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie emerges in a new poll that shows Americans’ unfavorable opinion of the Republican governor has doubled.
The share of Americans who view Christie unfavorably has jumped from 17 percent in January 2013 to 34 percent, according to a poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center and USA Today. However, his favorability ratings dropped only slightly during the same time period from 40 to 38 percent.
The source of the shift comes from those who previously said they had no opinion of Christie, whose share dropped from 42 percent in 2013 to 28 percent.
By Sarah Muller
Another controversy threatens to overshadow Gov. Chris Christie’s second inauguration celebration on Tuesday.
Already embroiled in a scandal over George Washington Bridge lane closures, the Republican returned from a fundraising trip in Florida over the weekend to a new storm brewing back home in New Jersey over Hurricane Sandy aid.
As first reported on msnbc’s UP with Steve Kornacki, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer accused the Christie administration of using state-controlled relief funds as leverage to push forward a redevelopment plan in her city, which was ravaged from the storm in 2012.
Christie’s camp firmly denied those allegations, which sparked a fierce back-and-forth between the key players.