Archive for November, 2012

The FIGHT CLUB!

Posted on November 5, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

Hurricane Sandy, come join the club! Oh lucky us. We are seeing fighting everywhere! Scarcity of resources including food, candles, heat, gasoline, as a result of Sandy, has brought out our most base actions. Women are fighting over a can of cream of mushroom soup. Guys have yanked each other from cars if they try to cut a gas line. On the political front the fighting is also base.

Nationwide we see an array of “fight speeches”. I’m going to fight to preserve Medicare, I’m going to fight to create more jobs in the US, I’m going to fight, fight, fight!” Fight to take back the Senate! Fight to take back the House! Fight for America’s middle class! Two billion dollars spent on advertising and fight promotion for the presidential race alone!

With all this fighting, it was rather stunning for both Chris Christie and Mayor Bloomberg to sing the praises of President Obama. Was it conspiracy that prompted the words of support?  (e.g. no FEMA money unless?) We wonder whether the Bloomberg endorsement and the Christie appreciation tour will tip the scales in favor of the President. In either event, I just want to thank Beijing for lending the USA the FEMA money so that I can get a new roof.

What do you think?

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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This Week in Washington…

Posted on November 2, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

  • Hurricane Sandy injected a storm-sized dose of volatility into an already unpredictable—and very tight—presidential race. Read  more
    Look Ahead: The storm’s aftermath could crimp Mitt Romney’s  postdebate momentum and President Obama’s early-voting operation, but its  full impact is unlikely to reveal itself before Election Day.
  • Obama approved fast-track funds for emergency relief in the areas most devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has enough cash on hand for now to adequately respond, Reuters reported.
    Look Ahead: Obama’s management of the crisis gave him the opportunity to appear presidential—one of the many benefits of incumbency. But it deprived him of valuable time on the campaign trail.
  • Gallup is predicting voter turnout this year will likely be lower than in 2004 and 2008.
    Look Ahead: Gallup’s polling was conducted before Hurricane Sandy hit, meaning the figures could be even lower than forecast.
  • It looks increasingly probable that control of Congress will be split for another two years, with Democrats poised to make some—but not nearly enough—gains in the House while clinging to control of the Senate, Roll Call reports.
    Look Ahead: The immediate fallout of continued divided control cuts directly to the lame-duck session, and how the prospect of another two years of gridlock could influence congressional treatment of the fiscal cliff.
  • While Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy garnered high marks—a Washington Post poll gave him 78 percent approval—perhaps most notable were comments by Romney surrogate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who called Obama’s efforts “outstanding.” Read more
    Look Ahead: Christie’s praise—and subsequent tour of the damage with Obama—turned more than a few heads and put the balance between politics and governance in stark relief.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Obama approved fast-track funds for emergency relief in the areas most devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and FEMA says it has enough cash on hand for now to adequately respond, Reuters reported. Read more
  • The White House is considering new middle-class tax cuts to replace expiring payroll-tax cuts, according to The Washington Post, though officials deny they are weighing the specific cuts described by The Post. Read more
  • E-mails released by the House Oversight Committee show that the White House was involved in discussions on a $400 million federal loan guarantee for the now-bankrupt Abound Solar, though the administration denies politics played a role. Read more
  • The administration’s $500 million green-jobs program is falling 84 percent short of its employment goal, according to a report by the Labor Department’s inspector general. Read more
  • The Keystone XL pipeline project advanced when the Nebraska agency vetting the proposed plan took a key step toward sending it to the State Department. Read more

CONGRESS

  • It looks increasingly probable that control of Congress will be split for another two years, with Democrats poised to make some—but not nearly enough—gains in the House while clinging to control of the Senate, Roll Call reports. Read more
  • Republicans will likely maintain control of the House due to a number of factors, including redistricting, Democratic retirements, and ethics problems. Read more
  • Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar’s departure marks the end of a three-decade era for the Foreign Relations Committee. All eyes are now on Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., next in line to replace Lugar as the panel’s ranking member. Read more
  • Thanks to the Budget Control Act and a relatively light disaster year in 2012, Congress may not have to provide fresh funding for FEMA to pay for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. Read more
  • A bipartisan  group of lawmakers from hard-hit Long Island, including Republican Peter  King and Democrat Steve Israel, urged House leaders to make Hurricane  relief a top priority when Congress returns. Read more
  • Graphic: The Hotline’s  latest Senate-race rankings. See them here.

POLITICS

  • Hurricane Sandy injected a storm-sized dose of volatility into an already unpredictable—and very tight—presidential race. Read more
  • Gallup is predicting that voter turnout this year will likely be lower than in 2004 and 2008. Read more
  • While Obama’s response to Sandy garnered high marks—a Washington Post poll gave him 78 percent approval—perhaps most notable were comments by Romney surrogate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who called Obama’s efforts “outstanding.” Read more
  • A recent Romney ad suggesting Jeep is moving production to China has been heavily criticized by not only the Obama campaign, but by General Motors and Chrysler. Read more
  • Politicians decry the Federal Emergency Management Agency at their peril. Read more
  • A federal commission created to restore confidence in elections after the disputed 2000 race has no commissioners, no director and has lacked a quorum to conduct business for nearly two years, Roll Call reports. Read more

 BUDGET & ECONOMY

  • Economists downplayed the long-term effects of Hurricane Sandy, The New York Times reported, saying the cleanup after the storm could actually pump up growth temporarily. Read more
  • Disaster modeling company Eqecat estimates that the storm overall may have caused up to $20 billion in insured losses and $50 billion in economic losses. Read more
  • Rumors that Hurricane Sandy would delay the Labor Department’s release of monthly employment numbers on Friday were unfounded and the report should be delivered on schedule. Read more
  • Payroll processor ADP reported on Thursday that businesses added 158,000 jobs in October, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company recently revised its methodology. Read more
  • The Treasury Department said on Wednesday that it expects the U.S. government to reach the debt limit by the end of 2012, but that it can use “extraordinary measures” to push the actual date of potential default to early next year. Read more

ENERGY

  • Nine oil refineries in the northeast make up 8 percent of U.S. refining capacities in the U.S., and while nearly all were      impacted in some way by this week’s super-storm, only two remained closed as of Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Read more
  • British oil firm BP said this week that it may not reach a settlement with the U.S. over the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Read more
  • There is a growing consensus among government types on the frequency of extreme weather, and that Congress should put into motion new federal measures to help gird for such events. Read more
  • The two senators who will head the Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year—Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska—are forging a friendly, Pacific Northwest-style alliance. Read more
  • Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest traders of agricultural commodities, reported annual earnings are down 60 percent, due in part to the summer’s drought. Read more

 FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  • Fighting continued in Syria on the final day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, despite a United Nations-backed truce   that never seemed to take shape. Read  more
  • In a letter to President Obama, House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said he wants more answers on the  administration’s response to the terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans.
  • McKeon’s request comes on the heels of a  Republican assault on the Obama administration on Sunday over the handling of the attacks in Libya, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., comparing the incident to Watergate. Read more
  • Afghanistan is set to hold its next presidential  election in April 2014, as the U.S. plans to withdraw its forces from the      country. Read more
  • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Algeria on Monday to coordinate support to address the growing   number of Islamic militants, including branches of al-Qaida, in northern  Mali, The New York Times reports. Read  more

HEALTH CARE

  • Romney has narrowed Obama’s lead on many health care issues, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, particularly on whom voters trust to better handle Medicare. Read more
  • Massachusetts shut down another compounding pharmacy on Sunday in connection with the national meningitis outbreak that has killed 29 people. Read more
  • The FDA announced that Ameridose, sister company to the New England Compounding Pharmacy implicated in the meningitis outbreak, will recall all of its sterile injectable products after a preliminary investigation raised questions. Read more
  • The Medicare Part D drug discounts that were part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act are working as intended to help seniors address the gap in benefits known as the “doughnut hole,” and have not increased the price of prescription drugs, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. Read more
  • Blue Shield of California, a nonprofit health insurer, announced it will credit $50 million toward customers’ December premiums as part of a pledge to limit the company’s net income to 2 percent of revenue. Read more

FUTURE EVENTS

Friday, Nov. 2 — The Institute of Medicine will hold a workshop to gather feedback from stakeholders and the public on the development of SMART Vaccines decision-support software at 9:30 a.m. at the National Academy of Sciences Building, 2101 Constitution Ave. NW.

Friday, Nov. 2 — The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a discussion on its new report, “Global Health as a Bridge to Security,” at noon at 1800 K St. NW.

Friday, Nov. 2 — Obama will speak at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ohio, at 10:15 a.m. local time. Later, he will speak at Lima Senior High School in Lima, Ohio.

Friday, Nov. 2 — Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy Jan Eberly will hold a pen and pad briefing on October 2012 Employment Data and Economic Recovery at 10:30 a.m. at the Treasury Department, 1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

Friday, Nov. 2 — The Institute for Policy Studies will hold a debrief and discussion with observers about what Venezuela’s October presidential elections mean for Venezuela, and for the United States, at 12:30 p.m. at 1112 16th St. NW.

Tuesday, Nov. 6 — Election Day. In Maryland and Washington, D.C., polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. In Virginia, polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

 

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.
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Voter Irregularities and Dirty Tricks, 2012

Posted on November 1, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

It’s been 12 years, but can anyone forget the election of 2000 and its weeks-long bout of excruciating uncertainty, recounts, partisan odium and hanging chads?

Not that we’re predicting a replay of that magnitude, but there certainly have been plenty of incidents of irregularities heading into Election Day.

And with an election as tight as any in recent memory, voter fraud, intimidation, the distribution of bogus information to voters, could well tilt the election one way or another.

We can start in Palm Beach County, the home of the 2000 hanging chad. This time, the problem centers on 27,000 filled-out absentee ballots that were misprinted and cannot be read by tabulation machines. County officials say they are copying information from those ballots onto new ones with representatives from both the Obama and Romney campaigns present, but 27,000 in a key swing state could be enough to sway the election.

But it’s not just slip-ups like this; there also is ample evidence of electoral dirty tricks. In Florida, some voters received apparently bogus letters informing them that they have been identified as noncitizens and may not be eligible to vote. Some voters in swing states have received phone calls saying they can vote by phone.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, voters received materials reminding them to vote. The problem, it instructs Spanish-language speakers to report to the polls on Nov. 8, two days late.

In Virginia, another critical swing state, officials are investigating an alleged plan to cast false ballots by the son of Democratic Rep. Jim Moran. Patrick Moran has since quit his dad’s reelection campaign.

Also in Virginia, Democrats are calling for an investigation of a Pennsylvania man arrested on voter registration fraud charges.

In Ohio and Wisconsin, civil rights groups have complained about billboards posted in African-American neighborhoods warning that voter fraud is a felony.

Billboards also have brought complaints in Pennsylvania, where signs advertising a new voter id law were erected even though a court shelved the law until next year.

These are few of the known irregularities. There undoubtedly are more. With an election this tight, authorities can afford no tolerance for dirty tricks.

Let’s hope the message is heard.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Predicting the Outcome of Election 2012

Posted on November 1, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

With polls set to open in just hours, the only thing on the election landscape that is certain is that nothing is certain.

Add to this uncertainty is the impact of Superstorm Sandy, which gave Obama a stage to display his ability to manage in a crisis and a boost from the rave reviews he got from Republican darling New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

As Larry Sabato, the University of Virginia expert on political America, noted this week, many of the usual predictors of election outcomes seem out of whack.

Normally, an incumbent president’s approval rating is one of the best predictors of electoral success. According to the RealClearPolitics average from last week, Obama’s approval rating was a solid 49.8 percent. Yet, he was running slightly behind Romney in the average of national horse race polls and Romney’s own favorability was slightly higher than the president’s.

Of course, national polls mean little when it comes down to the electoral calculus. Much more important in predicting the outcome of the election are polls in those critical swing states. With Florida leaning toward Romney and Ohio toward Obama, the ever-shifting focus now rests on Virginia, Wisconsin and Colorado.

If the election were held today and all the states that are safe or leaning one way or the other came through as predicted, Obama would have 267 electoral votes, to Romney’s 235, with 36 toss ups. It takes 270 electoral votes to win.

The races in Virginia, Wisconsin and Colorado are so close that polls show them not only within the margin of error, but within less than one percentage point. Even a win in tiny New Hampshire, with just four electoral votes, would put Obama over the top.

This all hinges, though, on the accuracy of the various polls.

Further clouding things is the question of what impact Hurricane Sandy will have on voter turnout.

So, let’s take a look at what people who are willing to back up their predictions with cash are saying. Intrade is an online commodities market where people can buy and sell shares in the outcome of various non-sports events.

Over the years, Intrade has been extremely accurate in predicting the outcome of political races. It places Obama’s chances of reelection at 63 percent, Romney’s chances of winning at 37 percent.

If we were forced to make a prediction, we’d have to say the electoral calculus favors Obama. But we’re not putting any money on it.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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