Today I’m offering my first crack at a new feature on Electionate, where I offer a daily polling round-up and quick takes on matters that I wouldn’t write about otherwise. So what happened today? While two polls showed Obama ahead and above 48 percent of the vote in critical Virginia, the day’s big newsmaker is Romney’s 5-point advantage in Colorado.
Chuck Todd reports that President Obama still wants to make the Grand Bargain: Boehner and Obama are, essentially, the lone voices in the room still advocating for the “grand bargain” (both believe it’ll be easier to pass, and they may have a point)... The president desperately wants the big deal. How much so? When Boehner informed the president last Saturday night that he had to publicly pull out of the “grand bargain” talks, the conversation took more than 30 minutes to wrap up.
[Guest post by Matthew Zeitlin] During President Obama’s Twitter Town Hall event this afternoon, he was asked by Twitter user _RenegadeNerd_ “Mr. President, will you issue an executive order to raise the debt ceiling pursuant to section 4 of the 14th amendment?” In response, Obama said “I don't think we should even get to the constitutional issue.” What’s important here is that this is the second time that Obama has been asked about the constitutionality of the debt ceiling and refused to give answer one way or another.
Chuck Todd notes that Jon Huntsman's campaign essentially plans to follow Mitt Romney everywhere and compete for the same voters. That sounds like a strange way to win the 2012 nomination, given that he and Romney have such a similar profile and both appeal to a limited slice of the party base. But it's perfectly consistent with my view that Huntsman is playing for 2016. He needs to use this campaign to raise his name recognition and make himself acceptable to the party base without acquiring a reputation as a flip-flopper.
WASHINGTON—There is one commentator whose words should enlighten us on the meaning of Saturday's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the savage murders that took the lives of, among others, a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.
For a late Friday afternoon on the cusp of Labor Day, there's actually a lot of meaty health care reform news today. Item #1: Chuck Todd reports that President Obama is likely to embrace a compromise on the public option: a trigger, under which it would go into effect "in any state where fewer than 95 percent of people have access to affordable coverage." My reaction: I'm okay with the policy, love the politics. This is Olympia Snowe's idea, and politically speaking, any Olympia Snowe idea is a good idea. Item #2: Max Baucus -- again!
In Chuck Todd we trust; all others must bring data. And right now, we're in something of a holding pattern waiting to see the next turn in the race. Obama's momentum has possibly stalled out, but probably has not yet begun to reverse itself. It's also possible that Obama's momentum was on the verge of reversing itself before Wednesday night's debate, but that the debate was enough to hold McCain off or perhaps even shift things further in Obama's direction.
Chuck Todd of MSNBC is my hero. As I wrote after last week's contests, at this point the nomination race is all about delegates. States matter a lot less -- even though states are inevitably soaking up most of the media attention. (A lot of that is a function of timing, of course.
Chuck Todd just broke it down on MSNBC in an extremely helpful way. He had Obama winning four more delegates than Hillary (out of 1700!). Wow. A real split decision. P.S. One thing to keep in mind, now that this thing has a real chance of going all the way to the convention: watch those head-to-head polls. If either Hillary or Obama looks a lot stronger against McCain as the year progresses (right now Obama looks about 4 points better, on average), those superdelegates might feel moved to follow the numbers. --Isaac Chotiner