Jason Zengerle

Senior Editor

A lot of the handwringing over Obama's bungling of health care reminds me of all the handwringing a year ago this time over his bungling of the campaign. In other words, I think it's overwrought if not completely wrong.

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The Game

From the NY Observer Jason Horowitz's profile of a trio of New York Democratic consultants, one of whom is Josh Isay: Mr. Isay, a former chief of staff to Mr. Schumer, runs Knickerbocker SKD, which he founded in 2002 and made a fortune from after scoring Mr. Bloomberg as a client. They also have counted among their clients Mr. Stringer; District Attorney Robert Morgenthau; a handful of City Council candidates; and unions, including the powerful 1199 SEIU. Mr. Isay did campaign mail for Barack Obama in New Hampshire and North Carolina during the general election.

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Our Dumb Country

Via Ben Smith, Public Policy Polling has a new poll out about Americans' opinions about whether or not Obama was born in the U.S. and discovers that it's actually a very difficult to get an accurate measure, since, as the pollsters write, there are at least some people who correctly believe that Obama was born in Hawaii, but who don't consider Hawaii to be part of the United States. You read that right- 6% of poll respondents think that Hawaii is not part of the country and 4% are unsure. --Jason Zengerle

Tweets from a 28-year-old guy who lives with his 73-year-old dad and "just write[s] down shit that he says." Brilliant! (H/t E.H.)

This time as defined by Jon Kyl, who told reporters today that the co-op plan (which Kent Conrad came up with as a compromise to the public plan) is also a non-starter for Republicans: "On the co-op... as Democrats have said, it doesn't matter what you call it, they want it to accomplish something that Republicans are opposed to," Kyl told reporters. "That is the step towards government-run health care in the country. The president himself said you can imagine a cooperative meeting that definition of a public option." "It is [a public plan] by another name. It is a Trojan horse.

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At least as Chuck Grassley defines it. From MSNBC's "First Read": Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley admitt[ed] that he probably wouldn’t vote for any type of bill -- even if he got everything he wanted in it. “I am negotiating for Republicans, and if I can’t get something that gets more than four Republicans, I am not a very good representative of my party,” he told one of us on MSNBC yesterday morning.

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Check out James Parker's ode to the Orange Line which ran in yesterday's Globe. I agree with all of it. My only quibble: Why no mention of Ruggles? Is there any other subway stop in the U.S. with a name that rolls off the tongue with as much zest as Ruggles? --Jason Zengerle

Matt Yglesias is right that it would be absurd for the District of Columbia to build a new a stadium for the Redskins on the site where their old stadium, RFK, now sits. Since pro football stadiums go unused for most of the year, owing to the NFL's 16-game schedule, they don't help their surrounding neighborhoods in the same way baseball and basketball/hockey stadiums do. Better to do something else with the RFK site; Yglesias's sensible alternative plan for the site unexpectedly even includes a park! That said, I do think something was lost when the Redskins abandoned D.C.

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The WaPo's Rajiv Chandrasekaran has a long article on the sacking of David McKiernan, formerly the top U.S. commander in Kabul. The main reason for McKiernan's removal, according to Chandrasekaran: The decision was not discussed at length within the White House but was endorsed by Obama.

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Ten-year-old student reporter Damon Weaver asks it in his interview with Obama: Can you dunk? Obama's answer: Not anymore. I used to when I was young, but I'm almost 50 now, so, your legs are the first thing to go. It definitely beats the question about whether he smokes. P.S. Weaver's follow-up is also good: Would Obama be willing to play Dwyane Wade one-on-one? Obama kind of ducked that one. --Jason Zengerle

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