Stanley Greenberg

A Veteran Democratic Speechwriter Says These are the Themes Obama Needs to Hit at His Convention Speech:

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Are Senate Democrats really foolish enough not to line up behind President Obama's jobs bill?  Quite possibly. On Tuesday night, Majority Leader Harry Reid will try to bring the newly revised package to a vote. He won't succeed, because the chamber's 47 Republicans will vote unanimously to filibuster it. And it takes only 40 to succeed. But if Reid can get just 50 Democrats to signal their support by voting to break that filibuster, then the Democrats will have a powerful rhetorical weapon.

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Did Obama say enough about health care reform last night? I suppose I'm one of the very few people who would even ask that question. Most Americans would probably think, "More health care? Lord no." And I think Obama and his speechwriters sensed as much. Although his defense of the Affordable Care Act was clear--he's not going to sign a bill repealing the law--it was also short. That portion of the speech was just two brief paragraphs, by my count.  But short isn't the same as weak. Yes, Obama offered to "fix" the bill's flaws.

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Blast from the Past

Presidents frequently use the State of the Union address to introduce new ideas or try out new political themes. Not tonight. The Barack Obama you heard speaking to Congress was the Barack Obama who ran for president in 2008. And I think he's here to stay this time. Remember, Obama spent most of his candidacy sounding calls for long-term change--about appealing to the better instincts of both parties and finding bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems, about making the “hard choices” necessary to save the economy and, eventually, the planet.

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&c

--Karl Rove's list of Republican health care cost controls debunked --Stanley Greenberg on how to avoid another 1994 --An argument against torture published at National Review  

Bibi's Blunders

In October, when Tzipi Livni, who had won the race to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of Israel's ruling Kadima Party, announced that she was unable to form a governing coalition, you could almost hear the groans coming from across the Atlantic and from European capitals. The reason? Livni's failure to assemble a government means new elections will take place in February.

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Panetta's Moment

Bill Clinton was being treated to the good side of Newt Gingrich. When congressional leaders gathered at the White House in July for a dinner devoted to foreign affairs, the Speaker was, recalls a top Clinton official, like Wellington opining on world affairs. Gingrich lamented those Republicans who would slash contributions to the U.N.

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