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Jonathan Martin's Blog

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Last Build Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 10:45:01 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2009 POLITICO


Fri, 21 Nov 2008 16:42:00 EST

I won't bury the lede: After nearly two years, the curtain is coming down on this blog.

It was a fantastic ride, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed covering the primary and general election. I'm indebted to my editors for providing me this space and offering only their encouragement and constructive guidance. Thanks also to you, dear reader, for coming back each day and sending along your many ideas, tips, insights, restaurant recommendations and the occasional personal attack.

It was an historic race, and a true privilege to watch up close.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'm now shifting over to cover the transition and eventually President Obama's administration. You can find me at our nifty new page, Politico44. When I get the blog jones, I'll make a cameo over in Ben Smith country.

Also, keep a close eye on our homepage as we continue to aggressively cover the story of Republican rebuilding.

Thanks again for reading and stay in touch.

— Jonathan

Get your Friday afternoon political fix NOW

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 13:54:00 EST

The Politico-USC election conference is streaming LIVE here in the Land of Troy.

If you can't get enough analysis of the '08 race, check it out.

Aides to both Obama and McCain are offering some candid insights on the historic election.

Such as ...

"We could never be more unlike Bush than Sen. Obama."

So said former McCain political director Mike DuHaime just moments ago.

For more, tune in here.

Washington going green

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 12:26:00 EST

My colleagues Patrick O'Connor and Ryan Grim have been all over the changes on the Hill, and have a smart look today at what may be the most significant shift of them all:

Henry Waxman's bloodless coup to oust John Dingell from the top spot on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee upsets a balance that has been in place for almost three decades and may set in motion more bloodletting within that committee.

The era has ended where Dingell and his centrist allies dominated a panel with primary jurisdiction over just about every industry in this country, from utilities to pharmaceuticals, telecommunications to the Michigan Democrat’s beloved auto industry.

The fallout from this fight with Waxman will ripple through Washington for years. But some lawmakers are worried about more immediate aftershocks — Dingell’s subcommittee chairmen are already sending letters hoping to keep their jobs so they can have a hand in an aggressive environmental, energy and health care agenda Waxman is sure to pursue in coordination with the incoming Obama administration.

Following the vote Thursday, environmental groups applauded Waxman's elevation. Republicans
criticized Democrats for supplanting the more moderate Dingell. And the outgoing chairman's top allies scrambled to save their own posts atop coveted subcommittees.

Two top Dingell backers — Reps. Gene Green of Texas and Bart Stupak of Michigan — drafted letters shortly after the vote in an early bid to keep their subcommittee chairmanships on the Energy and Commerce panel.

Stupak released an official statement congratulating Waxman that included an explicit appeal to keep his chairmanship on the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.

And Green, a so-called "Oil Patch Democrat" for his support of the oil and natural gas industry, cautioned any of his colleagues from making any rash judgments in the wake of the election Thursday.

“When you’re married to someone and you have an argument, you need some quiet time,” Green said. “So hopefully we’ll have that over Thanksgiving, and we can come back and [be] willing to work with each other.”


Palin talks turkey

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 11:55:00 EST

This is either brilliant advance work or, well, something else.

(Start at about the 1:05 mark)

Obama asks potential nominees about guns

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 11:23:00 EST

I have a story up on an eyebrow-raising question on the Obama appointee questionnaire:

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is asking potential appointees detailed questions about gun ownership, and firearms advocates aren’t happy about it.

The National Rifle Association has denounced the move, which has already led one Republican senator to consider legislation aimed at ensuring a president can’t use an applicant’s gun ownership status to deny employment.

It’s just one question on a lengthy personnel form — No. 59 on a 63-question list — but the furor over the query is a vivid reminder of the intensity of support for Second Amendment rights and signals the scrutiny Obama is likely to receive from the ever-vigilant gun lobby.

Obama’s transition team declined to go into detail on why they included the question, suggesting only that it was done to ensure potential appointees were in line with gun laws.

“The intent of the gun question is to determine legal permitting,” said one transition aide.

But even some Democrats and transition experts are baffled by the inclusion of the question.

Tucked in at the end of the questionnaire and listed under “Miscellaneous,” it reads: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”

Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University, said there was no such question for potential appointees when President George W. Bush took office in 2000.

“It kind of sticks out there like a sore thumb,” Light said.


Politico-USC panel

Thu, 20 Nov 2008 14:27:00 EST

If you're in SoCal this weekend, please come to our post-election panel.

Sponsored by Politico and USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, it will include sessions Friday and Saturday featuring top officials from both campaigns as well as editors and reporters from Politico and other fine publications.

And if you wanted to pick up some In-N-Out on the way, that would be cool, too.

McCain lauds nomination of Napolitano

Thu, 20 Nov 2008 11:51:00 EST

It's not official yet, but John McCain is only too happy to see his governor, Janet Napolitano, in the Obama Cabinet and out of contention for his Senate seat, which is up in 2010.

The statement from his Senate office today:

Today, Senator McCain called and congratulated Governor Janet Napolitano on her emergence as top contender for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Senator McCain said “Governor Napolitano’s experience as the former U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Arizona’s Attorney General, and as Governor warrants her rapid confirmation by the Senate and I hope she is quickly confirmed.” Senator McCain looks forward to working with her throughout the nomination process.


Change comes to Washington

Thu, 20 Nov 2008 11:04:00 EST

This time at the other end of Pennsylvania Ave.

At a substantive level, this news will have just as much impact than the assorted Cabinet appointments leaking out.

Patrick O'Connor:

California Rep. Henry A. Waxman on Thursday officially dethroned long-time Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell, upending a seniority system that has governed Democratic politics in the House for decades.

In a secret-ballot vote in the Cannon Caucus Room, House Democrats ratified an earlier decision by the Steering and Policy Committee to replace the 82-year-old Dingell with his 69-year-old rival. The vote was 137-122 in favor of Waxman.

The ascension of Waxman, a wily environmentalist, recasts a committee that Dingell has chaired since 1981 with an eye toward protecting the domestic auto industry in his native Michigan. The Energy and Commerce Committee has principle jurisdiction over many of President-elect Barack Obama's top legislative priorities, including energy, the environment and health care.

The vote Thursday allows Waxman to unseat the Dean of the House just three short months before he was set to become the longest-serving chairman in the history of the institution.


The final McCain gripes (for now)

Thu, 20 Nov 2008 10:34:00 EST

In his always must-read Granite Status column, John DiStaso today publishes some choice excerpts from e-mails sent by McCain New Hampshire chairman Peter Spaulding to the campaign's top national staffers complaining about the direction of the local campaign.  

As these things always are, the complaint can be boiled down to: Us local guys know what we're talking about, and the national guys are mucking things up.

But Spaulding uses some pretty sharp language to convey his displeasure at the campaign not doing things the preferred local way.

"What idiot in Washington thought it would be a great idea in the last week of the campaign to flood New Hampshire with robo calls concerning Tony Rezko?" Spaulding wrote on Oct. 28.  "Didn't the William Ayers robo calls insult enough voters?" 

And then there was a reference to a still-festering local political wound:

"Last June, we were promised by the Republican National Committee and McCain HQ's that we would be consulted on campaign strategy in New Hampshire. I guess that promise was as empty as the head of the person responsible for creating political strategy in New Hampshire. What can we expect next — phone jamming calls on election day? Thanks guys."

Lieberman likes HRC at Foggy Bottom

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 19:34:00 EST

Count Joe Lieberman as on board for the HRC as SecState.

From an interview tonight with Katie Couric:

Well, I'm a big Hillary Clinton fan. I think if he decided he wanted her and she decided she wanted to do it, she would be a great secretary of state.