barack obama

Why Jack Reed doesn’t want to be defense secretary

November 24th, 2014 at 12:23 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It’s becoming a familiar cycle in Rhode Island: President Obama needs a defense secretary, and national reporters start speculating that U.S. Sen. Jack Reed could get the job. Yet Reed never actually winds up at the Pentagon.

But why wouldn’t Jack Reed – a proud West Point alum and veteran of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division – want to be in charge of the most powerful military force the world has ever known? There are quite a few reasons.

Read the rest of this analysis »

President Obama endorses Elorza over Cianci in race for mayor

October 27th, 2014 at 10:38 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Even President Obama wants Buddy Cianci to lose the race for mayor.

The president on Monday endorsed Democrat Jorge Elorza for Providence mayor, calling the 37-year-old former Housing Court judge the candidate who will bring “honest leadership” to city government.

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Jack Reed, other RI Democrats still undecided on Syria vote

September 9th, 2013 at 4:54 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Monday he still hasn’t decided whether to support a request for authorization to attack Syria, a sign President Obama has yet to win over one of his own party’s most senior military experts. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has stayed silent about Syria since Aug. 31.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Sen. Whitehouse: US must help Syria as France helped US in 1700s (Jan. 22)

Watch: US Sen Jack Reed on the latest Syria developments

August 30th, 2013 at 2:37 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Senate confims Jack Reed aide Kara Stein to SEC for Obama

August 2nd, 2013 at 2:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

One of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed’s top staff members has a big new job.

The U.S. Senate gave unanimous consent Thursday to confirm Kara M. Stein, Reed’s longtime aide on banking issues, to become one of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s five commissioners. President Obama nominated Stein to succeed Elisse Walter as one of the SEC’s Democratic commissioners.

Stein played a crucial role in Reed’s work on the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.

“Kara is a real expert on securities law and a dedicated public servant. She has earned bipartisan trust and respect,” Reed, the No. 2 Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, told in May. “Her departure will be a loss for my office and a real gain for the SEC and those it protects.”

SEC commissioners earn $156,000, according to a 2012 BusinessWeek story.

• Related: Jack Reed gets glowing portrait in behind-the-scenes DC book (July 9)

Study: Obamacare to subsidize insurance for 83,000 in RI

June 10th, 2013 at 2:57 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Nearly 83,000 Rhode Islanders will be eligible starting next year to get federal tax credits for health coverage to use in the new insurance marketplace being created under President Obama’s health care law, a recent study shows.

The vast majority of those eligible for subsidies are working families and Rhode Islanders ages 34 and under, the study found. Based on federal income guidelines for 2013, the law will subsidize individuals who make up to about $46,000 and families of four who make up to around $94,000.

Read the rest of this story »

More coverage of the Affordable Care Act on Nesi’s Notes:

Obama’s education secretary Duncan urges RI to keep Gist

June 4th, 2013 at 4:09 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With the state Board of Education set to consider a new contract for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist this week, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday praised the reform efforts of the state’s top educator.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Contract length, politics key issues in Gist renewal (May 23)

Minority turnout surged in RI in 2012; white vote slumped

May 9th, 2013 at 12:49 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – President Obama, Congressman David Cicilline and other Democrats were propelled to victory last November by a surge in voting by Hispanic and black Rhode Islanders as well as a sharp drop in participation among white citizens, a analysis of new Census data shows.

The Census data reveals 32,000 Hispanic Rhode Islanders voted in last fall’s presidential election, up from 20,000 in 2008 and just 13,000 in 2004. It also shows 30,000 black Rhode Islanders went to the polls on Nov. 6, up from 27,000 in 2008 and 17,000 in 2004. Both groups’ vote totals more than doubled in eight years.

Yet even as Hispanic and black turnout soared to new highs, voter participation among white non-Hispanic Rhode Islanders dropped precipitously. The report shows only 400,000 whites voted in Rhode Island in 2012 – the fewest since tracking began in 1996, down from 451,000 in 2008 and 431,000 in 2004.


RI delegation uniting on Wednesday – to fight Obama

May 8th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Three of the four members of Rhode Island’s all-Democratic congressional delegation will take aim Wednesday at someone who’s an unusual target for them: President Obama.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline are among the eight members of Congress co-hosting a summit on Capitol Hill to criticize a proposal in Obama’s latest budget that would trim Social Security benefits by switching to a measure of inflation known as “chained CPI.”

Rhode Island’s entire delegation slammed the policy when it emerged, and Cicilline has garnered national attention for introducing a resolution that would have Congress express formal disapproval of chained CPI. U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are also among the summit’s hosts, giving it a decidedly New England flavor.

There were 207,122 Rhode Island residents receiving Social Security benefits in December 2011, the most recent month for which figures are available – meaning nearly 20% of state residents are on Social Security. Two-thirds of Rhode Island’s beneficiaries were 65 or older, while 35,905 were disabled and 15,704 were children. The Rhode Islanders’ combined Social Security benefits totaled $236 million that month.

The congressional event at 12:30 p.m. will be streamed live online by Strengthen Social Security, a coalition of unions and progressive groups that supports increasing benefits.

• Related: RI congressional delegation slams Obama over Social Security (April 10)

RI congressional delegation slams Obama over Social Security

April 10th, 2013 at 5:21 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

RI_delegation_bride_4-10-12_Lewis_SchulerPresident Obama isn’t getting any support from Rhode Island’s congressional delegation for his controversial proposal to trim future Social Security benefits.

All four Democrats – usually loyal defenders of the president – issued statements Wednesday criticizing Obama for his proposal to use a different measure of inflation, known as “chained CPI,” to calculate Social Security benefit increases, which would reduce payments over time compared with current law.

The harshest critique came from U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a leading liberal in the chamber. “The so-called ‘chained CPI’ proposal included in President Obama’s budget is nothing more than a benefit cut disguised behind technical jargon,” he declared.

Whitehouse said he thinks the way Social Security currently calculates inflation already “shortchanges” senior citizens and should be changed to increase benefits – the exact opposite of Obama’s proposal. “I made a promise to the people of Rhode Island that I would always oppose cuts to Social Security, and I’m going to keep that promise,” Whitehouse said.


Chafee’s wife scores seat next to Obama at White House dinner

February 25th, 2013 at 3:58 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Obama and Mrs. Chafee at Sunday’s dinner

It appears that Barack Obama’s affection for Lincoln Chafee hasn’t dimmed.

The governor and his wife, Stephanie, once again were seated with Obama at the head table during Sunday’s black-tie White House dinner for the nation’s governors – with Mrs. Chafee sitting next to the president, has confirmed.

The pair’s presidential proximity will fuel more speculation about whether leading Democrats might lend tacit support to Chafee’s expected bid for re-election as an independent candidate next year.

Rhode Island’s all-Democratic congressional delegation hosted a fundraiser for Chafee in Washington on Monday morning, and Chafee and his wife served on the host committee for U.S. Sen. Jack Reed’s big fundraiser Sunday at the Biltmore hotel.

In 2010, Obama famously snubbed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Frank Caprio and stayed neutral in the race out of respect for Chafee, his former colleague in the U.S. Senate. Two years later, Chafee returned the favor by serving as a co-chair of the president’s re-election campaign, playing up his credentials as an ex-Republican.

Chafee is in Washington until Monday night for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. Democrats including Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, as well as former Auditor General Ernie Almonte, are considering whether to challenge him next year.

​(photo: governor’s office)

Whitehouse: US must help Syria as France helped US in 1700s

January 22nd, 2013 at 5:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said Tuesday the United States needs to step up its support for opposition rebels in war-torn Syria, arguing they need America’s help just as the U.S. needed France to win independence from Britain.

“We were a country that started as freedom fighters, working against a regime that we overthrew in order to establish our freedoms and liberty,” Whitehouse told after returning from the region. “And when we did that one of the great powers of the world then came to our aid, and we never forgot it.”

“Years later, when we were called to arms in Europe, we answered the call saying, ‘Lafayette, we are here’ – over a century later we had remembered,” he said, referring to an American battle cry during World War I. “Syria’s in a place like that now. There are freedom fighters fighting for their freedom against a brutal and murderous tyrant.”

Whitehouse’s comments came after he and U.S. Sen. John McCain led a bipartisan delegation of senators on a trip through the Middle East last week that included stops in Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

The conflict in Syria began in the spring of 2011, at a time when protests against autocratic governments erupted across the region with the Arab Spring movement. Whitehouse accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of “indiscriminately” massacring and torturing civilians who oppose him, and said the regime could use chemical weapons.

“That can’t last,” he said. “Syria’s coming apart, and risks becoming a real power vacuum into which extremist and jihadi sentiment will pour if we don’t take action.”

While Whitehouse said he isn’t urging an invasion of Syria by American soldiers, he urged the Obama administration to do more to support the rebels there by providing small arms, ammunition, humanitarian aid and support for neighboring Jordan and Turkey. He also suggested the possibility of a no-fly zone policed by international allies.

Whitehouse isn’t known as a hawk on foreign policy; he was a vocal opponent of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war during his successful 2006 Senate campaign. But he said the Syria situation requires America involvement.

“We have really critical interests there,” Whitehouse said. “The Middle East is potentially a tinderbox, and Syria is potentially a spark that lights it off. Syria is a country with a lot of good traditions; it’s never been extremist ideologically, and I think it’s an important place to step back the ambitions of Iran in the region.”

“This is a chance for us to be the great power that comes to the relief of Syria so that 100 years from now we’re still remembered as the country that helped them get their freedom,” he added.

Whitehouse also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who looked set to win re-election when voters in his country went to the polls on Tuesday. Israeli leaders are “very concerned” about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Whitehouse said, but they’re more concerned at the moment with the turmoil in Syria than with launching an attack on Iran.

“I think they’ve got a time window before the Iranian government could actually construct a nuclear weapon,” he said. “I don’t see [an Iran attack] as imminent, but I think they certainly want to leave it visibly on the table.”

Whitehouse said his visit to Afghanistan left him confident that the United States is on track to withdraw most of its troops by the end of 2014, as President Obama has promised, and impressed with the commitment of local forces there.

Whitehouse returned from his overseas trip in time to take his seat among the dignitaries for President Obama’s inauguration on Monday at the Capitol. He said the ceremony was surprisingly exciting for a re-election and had high praise for Obama. “I think the president gave one of his best speeches ever,” he said.

Whitehouse was particularly pleased that Obama spoke at length about tackling climate change, one of the senator’s major policy priorities and an issue on which he’s been critical of the president for acting too cautiously.

“As the Ocean State, Rhode Island has a lot at stake in the climate change discussion – Sandy was a forewarning of what we have at risk if we don’t get ahead of this climate problem,” he said.

Reed frustrated with Obama on taxes, worried about debt limit

January 2nd, 2013 at 10:55 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By ​Ted Nesi

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Jack Reed is still frustrated that President Obama didn’t push harder to include in this week’s fiscal cliff deal the entire tax increase he backed on the campaign trail, and is already ringing alarm bells another potential fiscal crisis later this winter.

Read the rest of this story »

RI Dems back Obama on fiscal cliff deal despite concerns

January 2nd, 2013 at 10:58 am by under Nesi's Notes

​By Ted Nesi​

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) – They didn’t love it, but in the end all four Democrats in Rhode Island’s congressional delegation stood by President Obama and voted for this week’s “fiscal cliff” compromise, once again standing with their party’s leadership during a major confrontation.

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Reed backs Obama push for more gun control after Newtown

December 20th, 2012 at 4:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – In his first interview since last week’s tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn., U.S. Sen. Jack Reed joined President Obama and other Democrats in calling for a new look at the nation’s gun laws.

Read the rest of this story »

Whitehouse pushes Obama to set health-care savings target

December 5th, 2012 at 1:30 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse thinks he knows how President Obama can reach a budget deal without reducing Medicare benefits outright: declare exactly how much money the federal government will save by changing how health care is delivered, and then make it happen.

“A clear and specific presidential target will focus federal efforts in an accountable manner, that calls to ‘bend the health care cost curve’ will not,” the senator said in a statement. Whitehouse is a leading congressional champion of what’s known as health care delivery system reform.

The problem, as Whitehouse sees it, is that the Congressional Budget Office won’t “score” savings from changing how health care is delivered because the CBO sees them as uncertain. But if the president puts a dollar amount on the savings, a budget deal can bank the amount.

Whitehouse put forward his idea in a letter to Obama and a Politico op-ed on Wednesday. “Let’s put the full force of American innovation and ingenuity into achieving a serious cost-savings goal for our nation’s health care finances,” the senator wrote in the op-ed. “And in the meantime, let’s resist the urge to cut Medicare benefits and put additional strain on middle-class Americans.”

Meanwhile, Whitehouse is also trying to refocus Washington on climate change as international talks take place in Qatar. “It’s impossible to deny that it really hasn’t been a priority, and now with the fiscal issues all pending and a fairly immediate horizon for solving that, either now or in the first quarter of the year, I think that displaces these other issues,” he told Politico.

• Related: Whitehouse optimistic on filibuster, wary about ‘fiscal cliff’ deal (Nov. 14)

How the pension law’s automatic provisions mirror Obamacare

December 4th, 2012 at 1:25 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A little-discussed part of last year’s landmark pension law was a section called the Rhode Island Pension Protection Act, which aimed to tackle the concerns highlighted by defined-benefit critics such as Josh Barro, and which won praise from Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee.

The Pension Protection Act says the state Retirement Board or its actuary cannot “change actuarial methods for the sole purpose of achieving a more favorable funding or fiscal result” – as happened in 1990, when former House Speaker Joseph DeAngelis pressured the Retirement Board into raising its investment return forecast so lawmakers could balance the budget with a smaller pension contribution.

“Politics hasn’t been good for the pension fund,” Treasurer Raimondo said at a RIPEC forum in October 2011. “I can’t redo the past. I can make it better going forward. The bill we provide fundamentally restructures it. It puts self-correcting mechanisms into the plan.”

In an effort to prevent future lawmakers from allowing a funding gap to grow, the act says that if a pension plan’s funding level falls below 50.1% or declines for five years in a row the actuary must provide the Retirement Board with five to 10 options for getting it back on track. The General Assembly must choose one of them by June 30; if lawmakers don’t act, the default option will take effect automatically.


Taveras pushes Congress to back Obama on ‘fiscal cliff’ fix

November 26th, 2012 at 10:43 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Even Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is raising alarm bells about the fiscal cliff.

Taveras and other Democratic mayors from around the country are putting pressure on Congress to avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts currently set to take effect on Jan. 1. Providence got $305 million of its $700 million in revenue from federal and state sources in 2010-11.

“President Obama has put forth a detailed fiscal plan that creates jobs, invests in competitiveness and strengthens the middle class,” Taveras said in his statement. “I join mayors from across the country, as well as a majority of American citizens, urging Congress to compromise and tackle the challenges that are threatening cities like Providence.”

“Small and innovative businesses are the emerging businesses in Providence,” the mayor said. “Our middle class residents and small businesses cannot afford to go over the fiscal cliff to protect the wealthiest from paying a little bit more. I support President Obama’s efforts to work with Congress to get this done and move our cities and our country forward.”

• Related: Mayor Taveras spends Cinco de Mayo … at the White House (May 5, 2011)

Will Obama punish Erskine Bowles for backing Doherty in RI?

November 20th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Brendan Doherty wielded Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles like a shield during his failed bid for Congress: the Republican highlighted his support for the ideas of the beloved-in-the-Beltway budget-cutters to signal he wouldn’t march in lockstep with the national GOP.

Doherty’s embrace of Simpson-Bowles reached its apex in mid-October when he traveled to New York to receive their blessing in the flesh. Doherty’s campaign trumpeted an endorsement, though in the end it was unclear that Simpson and Bowles had actually endorsed him.

Whatever the case, embracing Simpson-Bowles didn’t save Doherty from a 12-point loss – and apparently Bowles’ decision is now coming back to haunt him, too.

The former North Carolina U.S. senator was seen as a leading candidate to replace Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary for Obama’s second term, but Mother Jones’ David Korn reports Democrats haven’t forgotten that Bowles backed Cicilline’s opponent (sort of):

[Jacob] Lew, who as White House chief of staff has won much praise from colleagues, has another advantage over Bowles: better standing within his own party. … This past campaign, Bowles joined with former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson (who co-chaired their deficit reduction commission) to endorse two House Republican candidates over Democrats in tight races. … Both [New Hampshire's Charlie] Bass and Doherty lost, but congressional Democrats are not eager to forgive Bowles his apostasy. A Bowles nomination, a senior House Democratic staffer says, “would cause an uproar among congressional Democrats, and the White House is aware. He endorsed Republican candidates against some of our vulnerable people … [and this has caused] extremely bad feelings over here.”

(photo: Doherty for Congress)

Whitehouse makes WSJ short list to become Obama’s next AG

November 7th, 2012 at 11:43 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island’s senior U.S. senator, Jack Reed, is the one who usually gets mentioned as a future presidential cabinet member. But his junior colleague Sheldon Whitehouse is now getting some attention, too.

Whitehouse, who won a resounding re-election victory Tuesday, is the first name on The Wall Street Journal’s list of potential successors to Attorney General Eric Holder now that President Obama has won a second term, based on “names people involved with both campaigns have been kicking around.”

However, the WSJ’s Joe Palazzolo also warned there may be no need for a new AG anytime soon: “Folks we spoke with cautioned against assuming that Mr. Holder is ready to step aside. While he isn’t expected to have a Janet Reno-like run, he may be keen for a bit more time to leave his mark.”

There’s no reason to think Whitehouse wants the job, either, considering how much he seems to enjoy being a senator. Perhaps a different high-profile job is in Whitehouse’s future, though: chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

• Related: Whitehouse dismisses more talk of getting Supreme Court seat (April 9)

Caprio leaves Dems, tweaks Obama two years after ‘shove it’

November 5th, 2012 at 10:52 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

It sounds like Frank Caprio may not vote for Barack Obama in this week’s election.

Caprio, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, tweeted on Saturday: “This election has come down to who shows up-JFK’s ‘silent majority’ for @MittRomney- or women & the celebrity culture for @BarackObama.” The former treasurer, who now works as a managing director for the private-equity firm Chatham Capital, didn’t elaborate.

Caprio has also left the Democratic Party, at least as far as the voting rolls are concerned.

Records at the secretary of state’s office show Caprio is now registered as an unaffiliated voter, meaning he is an independent and not formally a member of any political party. The change takes effect Dec. 10. Lincoln Chafee, who defeated Caprio for governor, made the same move in 2007 when he left the Republican Party and registered as unaffiliated.


New WPRI 12 Poll: Obama 54%, Romney 33% in Rhode Island

October 31st, 2012 at 9:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – President Obama continues to hold a commanding lead over Mitt Romney in Rhode Island with six days to go before voters head to the polls, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Wednesday night.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Check out the complete WPRI 12 poll results breakdown

Chart: Rhode Islanders donate $1.3M to presidential candidates

October 25th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island is among President Obama’s safest states as he looks ahead to the election on Nov. 6 – and it’s also an Obama stronghold in the race for campaign cash.

Rhode Islanders have donated $1.3 million to 12 presidential candidates during the 2012 election cycle, and 59% of the money – $769,922 – has gone to the Democratic incumbent, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Republican Mitt Romney has raised $447,199 in Rhode Island, taking 34% of the state’s total donations.

The third- and fourth-biggest recipients were Republicans Ron Paul ($38,350) and – somewhat surprisingly – Rick Santorum ($16,589). Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry each got less than $10,000 from Rhode Islanders.


Obama’s attack dog Cutter is a Southern New England native

October 17th, 2012 at 3:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

You know never know when someone from this corner of the country will make it big. Here’s the latest example of a prominent local, via Amy Chozick of The New York Times (emphasis mine):

TWO days after President Obama’s first debate against Mitt Romney, Stephanie Cutter, a deputy campaign manager for the Obama re-election effort, decided to tweak Mr. Romney for his attack on federal funding for PBS. …

Ms. Cutter, who turns 44 on Oct. 22, has emerged as Mr. Obama’s one-woman attack squad. In the process, she has become a popular but polarizing face of a campaign that until recently had been largely dominated by middle-aged white men. …

A native of Raynham, Mass., Ms. Cutter is the only daughter of a single schoolteacher mother, Grace, whom she talks to daily. One of her brothers served in the military in Afghanistan, and she often entertains her nieces and nephews by taking them on tours of the White House briefing room and the National Zoo.

Brockton Enterprise reporter Amy Carboneau caught up with Cutter and her mom earlier this month. Between Scott Brown, Joe Kennedy and Cutter, it’s impressive how much national political attention Southeastern Massachusetts is attracting these days.

(photo: Wikipedia)

Watch a Newsmakers political roundtable on the poll, debates

October 7th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

New WPRI 12 Poll: Chafee rating 29%; Raimondo, Taveras 58%

October 2nd, 2012 at 5:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s approval rating remains dismal nearly halfway through his first term, while his potential 2014 rivals Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras are widely popular, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Tuesday evening.

The survey also shows Barack Obama with a 24-point lead over Mitt Romney in Rhode Island.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Check out the complete WPRI 12 poll results

Coming up at 11 p.m.: Chafee’s handling of 38 Studios; casino gambling.

Tad Devine says Obama could ‘get close to 350 electoral votes’

September 29th, 2012 at 2:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Speaking of Tad Devine, the prominent Democratic operative from Providence I mentioned in today’s Saturday Morning Post, he’s quoted in a new Politico story on how the Electoral College map is looking for Obama:

Democratic strategist Tad Devine thinks Obama could win an Electoral College blowout if Romney doesn’t turn his campaign around in the first debate this Wednesday in Denver.

“He’s in a position to get close to 350 electoral votes, without a doubt,” said Devine, who played key roles for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. “The president and his campaign successfully identified states where they could beat Romney, set out to define Romney in those places and did so well through the course of the spring and summer.”

“It ain’t pretty for Romney right now,” Devine added. “He’s in a precarious position.”

Though I suppose Tad would say that, wouldn’t he?

• Related: What a President Romney would do first if he wins office (Sept. 28)

(photo: Bipartisan Policy Center)

Silver: Obama on track to beat his RI blowout margin of 2008

September 27th, 2012 at 2:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

It’s hard to imagine Barack Obama doing better in Rhode Island this year than he did back in 2008, when the future president won 63% of the vote locally. Only his home state of Hawaii and nearby Vermont gave him a larger landslide four years ago.

Yet New York Times numbers guru Nate Silver says the president is on track to do just that.

Silver’s “now-cast” forecast model projects that if the election were held today Obama would beat Romney in Rhode Island by 29.7 percentage points, improving on his 27.8-point margin of victory over John McCain here in 2008. Only three states – Alaska, Arizona and Tennessee – are projected to shift in the president’s favor more than Rhode Island; they are among 14 states where Obama’s margin is currently projected to grow.

“There is an interesting split this year among the six New England states, with Mr. Obama running very well in [Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island], which are poorer, but not as well in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where voters are better off,” Silver noted in his analysis.

Right now Silver’s Electoral College model gives Obama an 81.9% chance of winning on Nov. 6. He also sees “about a 20% chance that Mr. Romney will win, but also about a 20% chance that Mr. Obama will actually beat his 2008 margin in the popular vote.”

• Related: Silver: GOP may refocus on Whitehouse in push to win Senate (Sept. 18)

(photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Cicilline, Newport palace make cameos in other campaign ads

September 21st, 2012 at 9:42 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

There are an estimated 2 zillion campaign commercials on the airwaves in Rhode Island right now – and yet you’re still not seeing all the ones that are featuring Rhode Island this election season.

First we have Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown discussing how he helped pass a law to curb insider trading by members of Congress, earning a “Good job!” from President Obama at the signing ceremony. Congressman Cicilline was at that ceremony, too – you can see him near Obama and Brown around 0:19:

And here’s a new Obama ad that uses Newport’s historic mansion The Waves as a stand-in for the millionaires whose taxes he wants to raise (at 0:30 or so). One sharp viewer told me the late Sen. Claiborne Pell’s home can be seen to the left of The Waves (the little shingled cottage) – Pell was a millionaire, too:

Missed Lincoln Chafee’s DNC speech in Charlotte? Watch here

September 4th, 2012 at 10:21 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Click the picture to watch a video of Chafee’s speech on CSPAN’s website:

Other New Englanders who spoke on Tuesday evening: Joe Kennedy III (followed by a Ted Kennedy tribute video) and Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, who was a big hit (immediately kicking off new speculation he could be a candidate to succeed Obama in 2016).