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Friday, February 22, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Hagel Confirmation Expected Next Week - A week has passed since a Republican filibuster stalled Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary, and yesterday we received even more evidence that Hagel will win confirmation on Tuesday. Let us count the ways: First, yet another GOP senator -- Richard Shelby, who backed the filibuster -- is now expected to vote for Hagel's confirmation, becoming the third Republican “yes” vote (Thad Cochran and Mike Johanns are the others). Assuming every Senate Democrat votes for Hagel, that’s at least 58 votes for simple passage. But more importantly, the Shelby news means that there are now at least 60 votes to beat any additional filibusters, because the Obama White House was just one vote away from reaching that threshold. has more here.


Republican Governors Change Course, Now Support Obamacare - Under pressure from the health care industry and consumer advocates, seven Republican governors are cautiously moving to expand  Medicaid, giving an unexpected boost to President Obama’s plan to insure some 30 million more Americans.

In Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott reversed his position and on Wednesday announced his support for expanding Medicaid, proponents say that doing so will not only save lives, but also create jobs and stimulate the economy. Similar arguments have swayed the Republican governors of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota and Ohio, who in recent months have announced their intention to expand Medicaid.

The shift has delighted supporters of the law. The NY Times has more here.


Republicans Losing Because They are Stuck in the Past - a good read by Michael Gerson in the Washington Post today.

An excerpt: Out of the past six presidential elections, four have gone to the Democratic nominee, at an average yield of 327 electoral votes to 211 for the Republican. During the preceding two decades, from 1968 to 1988, Republicans won five out of six elections, averaging 417 electoral votes to Democrats’ 113.

This stunning reversal of electoral fortunes has taken place for a variety of reasons: changing demographics; the end of a GOP foreign policy advantage during the Cold War; a serious gap in candidate quality; the declining relevance of economic policies that seem better suited to the 1980s; and an occasionally deserved reputation for being judgmental and censorious.


Obama Deploys 100 U.S. Troops To Niger - President Obama said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) Friday that 100 U.S. troops have been deployed to Niger to assist the French operation in Mali.

"The total number of U.S. military personnel deployed to Niger is approximately 100. The recently deployed forces have deployed with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security," Obama said in the letter.

Obama added that the troops were deployed "in furtherance of U.S. national security interests." has more here.


DSCC Outraises NRSC By $2.7 Million in January - The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $1.5 million in the first month of the 2014 cycle, bringing in $2.7 million less than the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in January. has more here.


Obama Holds Off-Record Meeting with White House Reporters - President Barack Obama held an off-the-record meeting with top White House reporters on Thursday afternoon, has learned.

The meeting, with reporters from major print and television outlets, comes days after the White House Correspondents Association complained publicly about their lack of access to the president during a golf outing in Palm Beach, Fla., and one day after Obama met with local television reporters.


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