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The Takeaway

On Message: Linda Douglass on Health Care Reform

Friday, August 07, 2009

The health care reform battle has left the Beltway and has headed home with the members of Congress. The debate has gotten increasingly vitriolic as town halls have been swarmed with organized angry protesters trying to shout down Democratic Congressmen. Today The Takeaway talks to the person in charge of fighting back. Linda Douglass is director of communications for the White House Office on Health care Reform.

Here's a video of Linda Douglass addressing a story that makes it look like the President intends to eliminate private health care coverage:

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The Takeaway

Health Care Reform: Protests and Pushback

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

As the debate over health care reform has followed Congresspeople to their home districts, some of the conversations have gotten ugly. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democratic congressman from Texas, held a town hall where constituents became unruly. He joins The Takeaway with his thoughts on why this issue is becoming ever-more-contentious. One factor: Max Pappas. Mr. Pappas is the vice president for public policy at FreedomWorks, a conservative organization that is encouraging its members to challenge Democrats on health care reform. Some members of FreedomWorks were part of the crowd that shouted down Senator Arlen Specter at a health care meeting in Philadelphia last weekend. Mr. Pappas helps us understand his motivation.

To see how ugly a town meeting can get, especially in Texas, watch the video of Rep. Doggett's health care town hall:

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The Takeaway

How President Obama Should Handle the Iranian Crisis

Thursday, June 18, 2009

President Obama has said "it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran's leaders will be." This stance has riled some Republicans who are urging the president to show solidarity with Moussavi supporters. To explain his view, The Takeaway is joined by Congressman Mike Pence, Republican from Indiana and Chairman of the House Republican Conference. He has introduced a resolution in Congress to express support for the protesters. We also have Professor Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University and author of Iran: A People Interrupted, for his take.

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The Takeaway

Political Geometry: Obama's Art of Triangulation

Friday, May 22, 2009

President Obama delivered a strong speech on national security yesterday. And then, so did former Vice President Dick Cheney, who harshly critcized the current commander in chief. Meanwhile the liberal wing of the Democratic party is lambasting Obama as well. Pitting the extremes against each other while sliding through the middle -- "triangulation" -- is a political strategy that former President Bill Clinton came to rely on. Peter Baker, White House correspondent for The New York Times, joins The Takeaway to discuss how Obama seems to be developing a triangulation strategy of his own.

For more, read Peter Baker's article, Obama Faces Pitfalls With ‘Surgical’ Tack on Detainees, in the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Environment: 'Cap and Trade' and Climate Change

Friday, May 15, 2009

Regulating greenhouse gases has been one of the most contentious issues for the EPA. In 2003, the agency ruled that carbon dioxide could not be regulated as a pollutant. A 2007 Supreme Court decision ordered the EPA to review the scientific case for that decision, but the Bush administration ignored that ruling. With the new administration in place, things are expected to change. Lisa Jackson, the new Administrator of the EPA, joins The Takeaway to explain the Agency's plans. Also joining the conversation is Congressman Fred Upton, a Republican Congressman from Michigan, who is the Ranking member of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee. He's one of the leading opponents of cap-and-trade and the Waxman-Markey climate bill working its way through Congress. He joins The Takeaway with his opposition to the bill and why he thinks it would mortgage our future.
"The biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are in our transportation sector, the cars and trucks on the road, and then utilities, the way we generate power."
—EPA administrator Lisa Jackson

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The Takeaway

The Maine Event: Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Monday, May 11, 2009

Last week Maine became the fifth state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. Maine's Democratic-controlled Senate voted 21-13 in support of the bill, which redefines marriage as the legal union of two people rather than between a man and a woman. Maine's Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted 89-57. The House spent nearly three hours in what has been described as an emotionally-charged debate. One of the seven Republicans Representatives to vote in favor of the bill is Representative Pat Flood. He talk sabout how he wrestled with the issue and reached his decision.

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The Takeaway

Who Will Reign Supreme?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Justice David Souter's retirement gives President Obama the chance to start reshaping the Supreme Court. Who's on Obama's short list? And what are the quialities that make someone a high-impact justice? Joining the Takeaway are Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times and Dahlia Lithwick, senior legal correspondent for Slate . They discuss what role the new justice could play.
"The ability to persuade, to slightly modify your view in order to get a fifth vote, that's a critical quality, almost more important than your own jurisprudential view."
—Dahlia Lithwick of Slate Magazine on nominees for the Supreme Court

For more, read Dahlia Lithwick's and Hanna Rosin's article, An Unnatural Woman: The secret life of a Supreme Court short-lister and Adam Liptak's article, Souter’s Exit Opens Door for a More Influential Justice in the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

The Republicans' Secret Weapon

Friday, May 08, 2009

Get ready to start hearing about Rule IV. An arcane regulation among the rules of the Senate Judiciary Committee has emerged as the best, and probably only, hope for the GOP to block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee if they choose to try. How will they use their leverage? Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich explains Rule IV and why it could be even more powerful than the “nuclear option” of a filibuster.

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The Takeaway

The GOP in the wake of Arlen Specter's big move

Monday, May 04, 2009

When Senator Arlen Specter switched political parties last week, some Republicans saw his move as a huge blow to the party, while others simply said good riddance. The Senator's switch was the latest in a series of challenges for the Republican party. So what is a Republican loyalist to do? New Hampshire Republican Charlie Bass spent 12 years in Congress before losing his seat in 2006. He joins The Takeaway to talk about what Republicans need to do to re-build their party, their national support, and to maintain a broad appeal to the American public.

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The Takeaway

Update on Arlen Specter's press conference

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Senator Arlen Specter shocked the political scene yesterday when he announced that after 29 years as a Republican, he was switching teams. His move puts the Democrats in position to have an almost filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Today Arlen Specter was greeted with open arms by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich joins us with an update from the press conference.

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The Takeaway

Arlen Specter's switcheroo

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shell-shocked Republicans are still reeling after losing one of their own to the Democratic party. After years of being wooed, Sen. Arlen Specter decided it was time to cross the aisle. Senator Specter will be appearing at a press conference with President Obama and Vice President Biden in less than two hours. For more The Takeaway talks with our Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich, and Laura Vecsey, Political Reporter for The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Watch Senator Specter discuss his party switch in the video below.

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The Takeaway

D.C. eyes a New York State election

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's special election day in New York State and some see this race as a barometer of how Americans regard President Obama's first few months in office. The special election is set to fill the seat left by Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand when she was nominated by Governor Paterson to fill Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. While the 20th district in upstate New York is traditionally conservative, the race is tight enough to allow Congress watchers to speculate about what the outcome could mean for the President. Emily Cadei, political reporter for Congressional Quarterly, explains the significance of the race.

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The Takeaway

Stimulus on the state level with Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Friday, February 20, 2009

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been a united party over the past few weeks, as they refused to help pass President Obama’s plan to stimulate the economy. Now that the stimulus bill has become law, despite the lack of Republican support, how are Republicans on the state level handling the stimulus money heading to their states? Joining us to talk about where he comes down on the plan is Minnesota's Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. He joins us this morning from Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Click through for the transcript!

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The Takeaway

Washington eyes Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for head of HHS

Friday, February 20, 2009

There are reports that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is about to be selected as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services in President Obama’s cabinet. She has a history of involvement in health care reform in Kansas. And, as a Democrat in a largely Republican state, she’s developed a reputation for bipartisanship. We’re joined by Steve Kraske at KCUR in Kansas City, a political columnist for the Kansas City Star and public affairs talk show host in KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, who has followed Ms. Sebelius' political career. We are also joined by Time Magazine's Jay Newton-Small for some Washington perspective.

Who else is in President Obama's cabinet? Check out our handy guide!

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The Takeaway

Gone so soon, bipartisanship?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Obama administration is finding few Republican allies in Washington these days, despite having high hopes of reaching across the aisle to enlist Republican support for some early initiatives. Only three Republicans in the Senate voted for the passage of the economic stimulus bill last Friday and not one Republican in the House supported the bill. To make matters worse, Republican Senator Judd Gregg withdrew his nomination as Commerce Secretary because of disagreements with the new administration. Is this the end of the effort at bipartisanship? Julie Mason, White House correspondent for the Washington Examiner joins the Takeaway for a rundown of the issues.

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The Takeaway

It's not you, it's me: Judd Gregg withdraws nomination

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sen. Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican who was asked to join President Obama's Cabinet as Commerce secretary, has declined the invitation. He announced his decision at a press conference yesterday, claiming it would be "difficult day in and day out to serve in this cabinet." We are joined by Charles Mahtesian, national political editor for Politico.com for more details on Gregg's decision.

For a look at who is in the president's Cabinet, check out our handy guide.

Judd Gregg's press conference on his decision to withdraw:

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The Takeaway

Sen. Ben Nelson works hard for peace in the Senate

Monday, February 09, 2009

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb) has a long history of reaching across party lines to reach consensus on pressing issues in the Senate. His ability to bring together Republicans and Democrats to compromise on key policy has been instrumental to passing important legislation in the past. In the face of the partisan bickering over the stimulus, and the President's statement that he wants a bipartisan solution to the economic crisis, Senator Nelson finds himself in the center of the debate.

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The Takeaway

Senator Charles Grassley takes on the stimulus bill

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Despite President Obama's confidence that the stimulus bill will pass the Senate with bipartisan support, Senate Republicans aren't quite as confident. There are some provisions in the bill that they just aren't comfortable with and won't sign off on. Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa joins us to talk about the GOP's take on the stimulus package.

For more on the partisan political debates over the stimulus package, watch the AP's report courtesy of Youtube:

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The Takeaway

New Hampshire enters Senate appointment drama

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

After the dramatic appointments of replacement Senators in New York and Illinois, is the nation ready for another one? President Obama would like to nominate New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, a Republican, as Secretary of Commerce. But, Sen. Gregg will only accept the nomination if the New Hampshire governor, a Democrat, will replace him with another Republican. It's party politics at its finest and Josh Rogers, a reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, is here with all the details.

Click here for more on Obama's cabinet picks.

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The Takeaway

Roundtable discussion on the stimulus vote

Thursday, January 29, 2009

President Obama's $819 billion stimulus plan passed the House last night. Despite the new president’s calls for bipartisanship, all House Republicans and eleven Democrats opposed the bill. What does this mean for the future of bipartisanship and the bailout? We are joined by Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight.com, a blog that analyzes political data, who has been looking at which Congress members support the president’s bill and why. Greg Ip, U.S. Economics Editor at The Economist, also joins The Takeaway with an analysis of which parts of the bill are likely to have the most effect. Finally we speak with Republican Congressman Vernon Ehlers of Michigan’s 3rd District. Ehlers didn't vote for the bill because he didn't think it had projects to create the kind of jobs that would stimulate Michigan’s ailing economy.

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