Countdown guest host Lawrence O'Donnell asks if South Carolina could do any worse than to keep their current Republican Senator Jim DeMint in office.
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The head of a watchdog group says the White House did nothing wrong by discussing possible jobs with several Democrats if they would refrain from challenging incumbents. Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the job discussions are just politics as usual.
In June and July of 2009, former President Bill Clinton asked Joe Sestak if he would be willing to take a White House appointment instead of challenging Arlen Specter's Senate seat. Republicans like Rep. Darrell Issa have demanded the Justice Department investigate.
White House counsel Robert Bauer argued in a memo Friday that the offer was just politics.
Less than a week later, it was revealed that White House chief of staff Jim Messina presented possible jobs to Colorado State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff if he didn't run against Sen. Michael Bennet.
Sloan told CNN's John Roberts that these types of offers happen all of the time.
SLOAN: There is really nothing improper in that. One of the things that is so odd about this story and the Sestak story is that people are surprised that the political appointments are given out for political reasons. Well that's how these jobs are given out in any administration going back to the beginning of administrations. Politicians get political appointments. Romanoff had apparently applied for a job through the transition office and Messina then called him to check in and see if he wanted those jobs. Obviously, Messina was doing it to try and keep Romanoff out of the primary. Although it was before he had announced that he was definitely running. But Romanoff declined and said he wasn't interested and wanted the Senate seat.
Republicans are just using the job discussions to attack the administration for political gain, according to Sloan.
ROBERTS: You are suggesting that there is nothing illegal about this. Republicans are taking a bit of a different attitude toward it. They have asked the Department of Justice to investigate the Sestak case. Now that this has Romanoff case has come out, do you think they are going to call for a full-blown investigation, maybe not just the DOJ but congressionally as well?
SLOAN: Absolutely. That's 100 percent certainly. This is a great issue for them to jump on, part of the reason is the Obama White House has said it was going to behave differently than other White Houses, more transparent, more ethical than everyone else. And this shows they were horse trading, just like everyone else. It is a great issue for the Republicans that want to dirty up the administration.
Harold E. Ford Jr., the former Tennessee congressman who has sought to parlay his star power and Wall Street connections into a political career in New York, has decided not to challenge Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in the Democratic primary this September, according to friends and advisers. Read on...
From Laffy at The Political Carnival:
Shorter harold ford: maybe running as a rich, out of touch banker is not the best thing to do in 2010.
Uuggghhh yep. Good riddance Harold. Chris Hayes talked to Lawrence O'Donnell on Countdown about Ford's decision not to run and Blanche Lincoln's primary challenge in Arkansas. Hayes on Ford not running:
In the case of Harold Ford it was one of the most laughably inept candidate roll outs in recent memory and I think finally at some point he got the message this was not going anywhere.
That's putting it kindly.
From The Cafferty File:
President Obama has the chance to use tomorrow's State of the Union address to reset his agenda and refocus the attention of the American people.
It's been a rough week for the president and his party - since the Democrats lost control of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts. Without their filibuster-proof majority, the president's signature issue of health care reform is on life support.
And the public doesn't appear too disappointed about that. A new poll shows 70 percent of Americans think the Democrats' loss of their super-majority is a good thing.
Meanwhile the president is expected to announce a three-year freeze on all non-security federal discretionary spending. He claims this could save $250 billion over 10 years - which is a start, but still just a drop in the bucket considering the country's $12.5 trillion debt.
And, expect some liberals - you know, the president's base - to push back hard. Already critics on the left are calling the proposed spending freeze a mistake of historic proportions. Some compare Mr. Obama to Republican Herbert Hoover, who failed to pull the U.S. out of the great depression.
Others liken this to Democrat FDR's move to cut back on government spending in 1937 - the economy tanked and so did the Democrats in the following midterm election.
There's lots more on the president's plate too, like the jobs situation - which doesn't show many signs of turning around. Unemployment is at 10 percent… up from seven percent when Mr. Obama took office.
Here’s my question to you: What should Pres. Obama emphasize in his State of the Union address tomorrow?
Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. John Ensign appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the party makeup of the Senate. Sen. Durbin thinks it's too soon for count on having 60 Democratic Senators. "Sen. Cornyn has announced that he wants to see this appealed to the federal courts and beyond if necessary and in his own words, even if it takes years. To think the people of Minnesota would be denied a Senate seat would be unfortunate," Durbin told Fox's Chris Wallace Sunday.
Wallace asked Sen. John Ensign if he could explain why the Republican Party seems to be getting smaller. "Sen. Ensign, it sounds like a Disney movie, 'Honey, I Shrunk the Party," said Wallace.
"The Democrats have done a much better job of identifying people who they think could win in particular states, and I don't think that we've done a really good job of that, and we need to get back to that," explained Ensign "Unfortunately, you know, in the Republican Party, some people have wanted to get almost -- to have too pure of a party."