Health Care Reform By the Numbers
Because when you think ‘party,’ you immediately think ‘PBS NewsHour.’
But really, come hang out with us tonight as we watch the State of the Union and GOP response and provide context and analysis in our watch party.
Then, go translate it if you have the language chops.
(President Obama is applauded by VP Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH, while delivering his 2011 State of the Union address, Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais-Pool/Getty Images)

Because when you think ‘party,’ you immediately think ‘PBS NewsHour.’

But really, come hang out with us tonight as we watch the State of the Union and GOP response and provide context and analysis in our watch party.

Then, go translate it if you have the language chops.

(President Obama is applauded by VP Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH, while delivering his 2011 State of the Union address, Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais-Pool/Getty Images)

Super PACs have already spent $26 million this election cycle, half of it in the last 2 weeks, according to totals compiled by the Center for Public Integrity.

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What issues are most important to you this election season?
If you’re a New Hampshire voter that is going to participate in the Republican primary, please fill out this survey. (You’ll be considered to be included in a roundtable discussion with Gwen Ifill)
If not we still want to know- what issues are most important to you this election season?

What issues are most important to you this election season?

If you’re a New Hampshire voter that is going to participate in the Republican primary, please fill out this survey. (You’ll be considered to be included in a roundtable discussion with Gwen Ifill)

If not we still want to know- what issues are most important to you this election season?

Mitt Romney to Rick Perry: Show Us Your Economic Plan

There’s one candidate, Gov. Perry, who still hasn’t put out an economic plan, no tax proposals, no regulatory proposals, no economic plan to get America working again. He’s been in the race for several weeks, so he’s following his own calendar. I think [it] may be time to hear from him on an important issue like that.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney sat down with Judy Woodruff and discussed the war in Afghanistan, his GOP rivals and how he would get more Americans back to work.

More here

At 50 Abraham Lincoln defended alleged murderers in Illinois, Grover Cleveland faced the issue of a surplus in the government and Ronald Reagan was a Democrat.

President Obama celebrates his 50th birthday Thursday, so we looked back at some past presidents to see what they were up to at that milestone age.

At 50 Abraham Lincoln defended alleged murderers in Illinois, Grover Cleveland faced the issue of a surplus in the government and Ronald Reagan was a Democrat.

President Obama celebrates his 50th birthday Thursday, so we looked back at some past presidents to see what they were up to at that milestone age.

The Clock Is Ticking on a Debt Ceiling Agreement
As the leaders prepare for their fourth negotiating session in six days, here are your Tuesday morning must-reads:
The New York Times: "Obama Grasping Centrist Banner in Debt Impasse"
POLITICO: “White House thinks it has debt debate high ground”
The Washington Post: "Shifting public concerns in debt limit debate"
The Los Angeles Times: "Boehner-Cantor rivalry affecting debt talks"
The Wall Street Journal: "Romney Silent Over Debt Talks"
Tim Pawlenty’s op-ed in Des Moines Register: “The answer is not more government spending”
The Los Angeles Times: “‘Eat our peas’: Pea growers react to Obama remark” (OK, that’s not a must-read, but it’s a fun one.)

Excerpted from the Morning Line politics dispatch by David Chalian and the politics team- even more here. Subscribe here
(PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff William Daley, Press Secretary Jay Carney, adviser David Plouffe and Communications Director Daniel Pfeiffer listen to President Obama during Monday’s news conference at the White House. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Clock Is Ticking on a Debt Ceiling Agreement

As the leaders prepare for their fourth negotiating session in six days, here are your Tuesday morning must-reads:

The New York Times: "Obama Grasping Centrist Banner in Debt Impasse"

POLITICO: “White House thinks it has debt debate high ground”

The Washington Post: "Shifting public concerns in debt limit debate"

The Los Angeles Times: "Boehner-Cantor rivalry affecting debt talks"

The Wall Street Journal: "Romney Silent Over Debt Talks"

Tim Pawlenty’s op-ed in Des Moines Register: “The answer is not more government spending”

The Los Angeles Times: “‘Eat our peas’: Pea growers react to Obama remark” (OK, that’s not a must-read, but it’s a fun one.)

Excerpted from the Morning Line politics dispatch by David Chalian and the politics team- even more here. Subscribe here

(PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff William Daley, Press Secretary Jay Carney, adviser David Plouffe and Communications Director Daniel Pfeiffer listen to President Obama during Monday’s news conference at the White House. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Understanding the Palin Equation for 2012

 Sarah Palin speaks with the press outside the Liberty Bell Center as daughter Piper looks on in Philadelphia; Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

By Dante Chinni

Sarah Palin confirmed this week that her One Nation Tour would go national. “That is our plan, our tentative plan, anyway,” she told ABC News as her tour hit Liberty Island in New York.

The media have gotten use to “tentative” plans from the former Alaska governor as her tour — seemingly part American family field trip, part media sideshow — winds its way around the country. There is no announced schedule for “One Nation” and most reporters are unsure what to make of the event.

But for moment, let’s consider what might happen if Palin does announce her candidacy in the next few weeks. Many point to her polling negatives and quickly discount Palin a serious player. But Patchwork Nation is not so sure.

As we wrote a few weeks ago, the GOP electorate is very unsettled for the time being with no one candidate rising to the top. The Republican base, always somewhat split along Wall Street/Main Street/Church Street looks as though it may have especially deep divides this year. And that may serve Palin well.

Herewith, a look at what Patchwork Nation and its 12 county types can tell us about Palin’s chances and challenges in the first four big nominating contests.

Eyeing the Hawkeye State

The big kickoff to the season, the Iowa caucuses, theoretically could work out fairly well for Palin. More than a third of the state’s population lives in agricultural Tractor Country counties or aging Emptying Nests (many of which also those have strong Tractor Country components). The Pew poll we looked at in mid-May show Palin did well in the Nests – trailing only former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has announced he is not running.

More important, both the Nests and Tractor Country have strong streaks of social conservatism, as we have noted in more in-depth reporting, that could aid her campaign. And Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of nearby Minnesota, has not caught fire in Iowa. The big challenge, of course, would be organization. It is critical in the caucuses and Palin has not been visiting Iowa, though her tour is rumored to be heading there at some point.

In other words, even with what may be a favorable electorate, there is a lot of work to be done.

Handling New Hampshire

Arguably, of all the early primary caucus states, New Hampshire presents Palin with the biggest set of challenges. Social conservatives are not a big part of the electorate in the state. The Patchwork Nation types on the New Hampshire map – the wealthy Monied Burbs, collegiate Campus and Careers, small-town Service Worker Centers and formerly growing Boom Towns – either lean left or are predominantly moderate in their politics.

Palin’s hopes here for a good showing would likely hinge with those Service Worker counties – there are three in the small state: Merrimack, Sullivan and Coos. Nationally, Palin is doing pretty well in those counties and many of them hold a kind of small-town anti-cosmopolitan cultural conservatism.

The goal for her in the Granite State would likely be doing well enough in those counties for a respectable showing.

Nevada’s Promise

If Palin is to be the outsider candidate of Republican ire at Washington, then Nevada might be circled on her calendar. The Silver State is big geographically, but most of its population resides in two Boom Town counties that have been hammered by the recession – Clark, home of Las Vegas, and Washoe, home of Reno.

Why would those places lead the Washington outrage parade? One word: housing. The housing market, recent numbers suggest, will likely still be slumping next year and beyond, and that has a special meaning in Nevada where construction is a huge part of the local economy. The state has been slammed in the foreclosure crunch.

In short, the government’s failed efforts to stabilize the housing market sting sharpest here, and that could be a big plus for an outsider candidacy like Palin’s surely would be.

South Carolina as Opportunity

Of all the early primary and caucus states though, South Carolina could be the biggest measure of Palin’s strength. The state, on paper at least, looks like the prime target for her: a mix of staunchly conservative Evangelical Epicenters and Minority Central counties. Those Minority Central communities are divided between black and white voters, but the white voters tend to be socially conservative.

And absent another big social conservative voice, Palin would be well-positioned to possibly make a statement here.

A Very Long Road

Of course, soon there very well may be another strong social conservative in the GOP field: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. And it’s still very early in the process. The GOP field will likely feel very different by the time the festivities begin in and the nominating contests get underway. Someone will likely emerge as the leader, and who knows what kinds of missteps the candidates could make and how the issues will change?

But looking at just this early part of the calendar, if Sarah Palin chooses to get off her tour and get on the trail, there is reason to believe she could be a serious player in the early stages of the GOP primary campaign.

The Morning Line (Back at home on http://newshour.pbs.org)

Social Security Administration Stops Sending Earnings Statements

By Rebecca Jacobson

Those with summer birthdays will find an important piece of mail missing from their mailboxes. On March 31, the Social Security Administration abruptly decided to stop sending its yearly earnings statements.

Apart from a post on its website, and Commissioner Michael Astrue’s testimony before the Senate on March 9, the organization made no other announcement that it would be discontinuing the statements.

Kia Price, public relations office for the SSA, said the decision was made due to budget concerns. The SSA will save $30 million this year by discontinuing the statements, and estimates it will save $60 million in fiscal year 2012.

Read More

(Source: newshour.pbs.org)