News November 8

Senator Sanders

Sanders: Put Right Wing on Defensive Sen. Bernie Sanders wants President Barack Obama to stay in campaign mode and use the momentum of his big re-election win to rally support for plans to preserve programs such as Social Security and require the wealthy pay more in taxes. "The president said last night that maybe he's going to spend a little more time out of the Oval Office and go around the country, and I think that's an excellent idea," Sanders told the Burlington Free Press in an interview the day after the votes were tallied. "We have got to put the right-wingers on the defense right now." Sanders said he hoped Republicans heard the message that Americans aren't interested in a government pushing extremist policies, according to a Brattleboro Reformer editorial. LINK, LINK                                                                                                                 

A Mandate "What I believe the president of the United States has got to do is ... get up there and say, ‘Do you,' folks in Oklahoma, folks in Mississippi, or wherever, do you really want to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires?'" Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday on The Ed Schultz Radio Show. "Instead of sitting in the Oval Office and moving to the right, the president's got to go around the country and talk about the issues that, in fact, the overwhelming majority of the American people support; and demand that these people in the conservative states start putting pressure on their elected officials."

Grand Bargain President Obama will face challenges reaching a "grand bargain" on the deficit not only from the House where Republicans kept a majority but also from his own party in the Senate, where very few of the Democratic winners will feel like they owe their victory to Obama's coattails. Progressives already were disturbed before the election by rumors of back-room negotiations to offer concessions on Social Security or Medicare in exchange for Republicans yielding on tax rates for the high-income earners. Obama's remark in the first presidential debate that he and Republican challenger Mitt Romney had "a somewhat similar position" on Social Security sounded the alarm bell for Sen. Sanders, Marketwatch reported. "For the president to say [his]... position is somewhat similar to Gov. Romney is very distressing," Sanders said. LINK

Citizens United Sen. Sanders is pushing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would reverse the Citizens United decision that let corporations and wealthy individuals spend unlimited sums on campaigns. He noted that Sen. Sherrod Brown beat back millions in spending by the super PAC American Crossroads in an effort to unseat him in Ohio. ‘‘But he had to spend much more time raising money than he wanted to,'' Sanders told AP. ‘‘Even the good guys have to raise huge amounts of money to fight back.'' And some members of Congress allow their votes to be influenced by a fear of attack by super PACs the next time they're up for election, Sanders said in the article published by the Rutland Herald, Times Argus and Brattleboro Reformer. LINK

Senate '12 U.S. Democrats will hold 53 seats to 45 for the Republicans, with the certainty that Vermont independent Sanders will align with the Democrats and the expectation that Maine independent Angus King will do the same to give Democrats an effective 55-45 majority, AP, CBS Radio News, CNN, The Guardian, Agence France-Presse and the Kuwait News Agency reported. LINK, VIDEO, AUDIO

Senate '12 U.S. "When Harry [Reid] asked me to take this on, there was not one -- and I mean, no one who gave us a chance of keeping the majority," Sen. Patty Murray, the Senate Democratic campaign chief, said in a speech broadcast on MSNBC. "We played offense every day and we never let up and now Joe Donnelly and Tammy Baldwin and Tim Kaine, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, Mazie Hirono, they`re all coming to join us in the Senate. And along, of course, Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey and Bill Nelson, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe Manchin, Debbie Stabenow, Bob Menendez, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernie Sanders, Maria Cantwell, Dianne Feinstein -- we have delivered to you a great caucus, Mr. Leader." VIDEO

Senate '12 Vt. Sen. Sanders cruised to re-election on Tuesday with more than 70 percent of the vote. He was declared the winner only four minutes after Vermont polls closed, according to The Associated Press. Sanders won by almost three to one over the Republican candidate, The New York Times reported. In a victory speech, Sanders took aim at corporate influence in politics, Vermont Public Radio reported. In Seven Days, Paul Heintz described Sanders as invincible. "Who would've guessed the 1972 Liberty Union candidate for U.S. Senate, who won just 2 percent of the vote, would barely face a re-election challenge to hold on to that seat 40 years later?" LINK, LINK, LINK

Senate '12 Vt. "I'm going to take the message back to Washington that we're going to end the war against working families, we're going to end the war against women, we're going to stand up for social justice ... for environmental sanity and we in Vermont are going to lead this nation in making sure that health care is a right," Sen Sanders said on WCAX-TV in an excerpt from his victory speech. "At time when the top 2 percent are doing phenomenally well, they're going to pay more in taxes. When one out of four corporations in America is not paying anything in taxes, you know what? They're going to have to pay taxes. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure we do not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick or low-income people," Sanders said in an interview with WPTZ-TV. VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO

Landslides Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand won her first full term with 72 percent of the vote, the second largest out of 33 Senate races. She trailed only Sen. John Barrasso's mark of 76 percent. Her 45 percent victory margin was the third highest overall, trailing Barrasso's 54 percent spread and Sen. Sanders' 46 percent spread, according to National Journal's Hotline.

Vt. Exit Poll Nearly 7 in 10 voters chose Obama over Republican Mitt Romney. Obama was the winner among both men and women and among all age groups and income levels. About half of Vermont's voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the country. Nationally, about three-fifths of voters named the economy as the most important issue. About one in five Vermonters said health care was the most important issue, a slightly higher percentage than in the nation at large. A solid majority of Vermont voters said they favor a plan for all Vermonters to get their health insurance through the state government. A majority of Vermonters said they agree more with the statement "Government should do more to solve problems" than with the statement "Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals." Vermonters who believe government should do more helped Sen. Sanders, AP reported. LINK

A New Day for Progressives "Today is a new day," for progressives in U.S. politics, Sen. Sanders said on The Ed Schultz Radio Show. With Sens. Sanders, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse along with newcomers Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren all winning their Senate races, there is a bloc of senators who are "going to demand that the Senate and the Congress start fighting for the needs of working people," Sanders said.

Senate '12 Maine The new independent senator from Maine is independent Angus King, the Los Angeles Times reported. King told the Portland Press Herald, AP and CNN that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had urged him to get in touch with Sanders and Joe Lieberman, the two sitting independents in the Senate. "Harry Reid didn't put any pressure on me. He just said if you want to know how we work with independents talk with Bernie Sanders or Joe Lieberman. He basically was saying ... talk to these two guys who have lived it. I'll certainly be doing that," King told National Public Radio. "Maybe we ought to have our own independent caucus," King joked on Bloomberg TVLINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO, AUDIO


China Communist Party leader Hu Jintao defended his decade in power on Thursday and warned that the country faced stark challenges at home and abroad. He spoke at the start of a congress that will culminate in his retirement and the appointment of a new generation of leaders after a transition marked by scandal and anxiety about the party's future, The New York Times reported. LINK


Election '12 The balance of power in Washington remains largely unchanged, even after $4 billion of campaign spending, as Democrats lack the necessary votes to overcome filibusters in the Senate and Republicans maintain their majority in the House, The New York Times reported. LINK

Dow Down The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 312.95 points, the biggest one-day loss in a year, amid concerns and worries about the upcoming fiscal debates in Congress, The Wall Street Journal reported. Large and abrupt swings in the stock market are not uncommon after presidential elections, The Associated Press reported. LINK, LINK

Senate Races Expose Extent of Republicans' Gender Gap Republicans, hoping to gain seats in the Senate, knew that their limited appeal among minorities would be a problem, as would party infighting. But they did not expect to be derailed by the definition of rape. Comments by two Republican Senate candidates concerning pregnancies that result from rape - which came after months of battles in Congress over abortion, financing for contraception and a once-innocuous piece of legislation to protect victims of domestic violence - turned contagious as one Senate candidate after another fell short of victory, The New York Times reported. LINK

Vote Data Show Changing Nation The 2012 presidential election likely will be remembered as marking the end of long-standing coalitions. Older voters and white working-class voters, once core elements of the Democratic Party, have drifted into the Republican column. Rural and small-town voters, whose grandparents backed the New Deal, now fill the swath of the U.S. that leans reliably GOP. But in cities and dynamic suburbs, a rapidly growing force of Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and higher-income whites emerged this week as the strength of Obama's winning Democratic coalition, according to The Wall Street Journal. LINK

Focus Shifts to 'Fiscal Cliff' The day after a hard-fought election that left Barack Obama in the White House and control of Congress divided between the two parties, the nation's political leaders promised to try to avoid year-end spending cuts and tax increases that threaten to push the U.S. back into recession. In carefully worded comments Wednesday, major actors in the fiscal drama were both conciliatory to their adversaries and resolute in sticking to their principles, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK


Election '12 Unsuccessful Republican candidate for state auditor Vince Illuzi attributed his party's weak showing to the strength of Democratic and progressive candidates at the top of the ballot, VPR reported. Paul Heintz of Seven Days, meanwhile, wrote that Cassandra Gekas, who lost to Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, failed in her race because the Vermont "Democratic machine" did not lend her its full support. LINK, LINK

Burlington Bond Approved Voters in Burlington have approved a $9 million fiscal stability bond as the city faces rising costs. Mayor Miro Weinberger told Vermont Public Radio he and his staff worked hard to convince voters that supporting the bond was the right move for the city.