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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Mitch McConnell

Oops, Obama touts his jobs plan today at an Ohio bridge that won't qualify

Brent Spence Bridge across the Ohio River at Covington and Cincinnati

You know all those rusting bridges that President Obama wants to spend billions more dollars repairing to allegedly stimulate the economy?

He's headed out to one today which he's described as a "bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that's on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America." It is on a busy trucking route, spanning the Ohio River between Covington, Ky., and Cincinnati.

It's the Brent Spence Bridge. It doesn't really need repairs. It's got decades of good life left in its steel spans. It's just overloaded. The bridge was built to handle 85,000 cars and trucks a day, which seemed like a lot back during construction in the Nixon era.

Today, the bridge sort of handles more than 150,000 vehicles a day with frequent jam-ups.Obama speaks to the American Legion 8-30-11

So, plans are not to repair or replace the Brent Spence Bridge. But to build another bridge nearby to ease the loads.

But here's the problem, as John Merline graphically notes here, that could screw up all those envisioned photo op shots of the Democrat and the traffic:

The president's jobs bill is designed for "immediate" highway spending.

And the new $2.3 billion Cincy bridge is not scheduled to even start construction for probably four years, long after Republicans have scheduled the Obama presidency for completion.

And without delays, it wouldn't be finished until 2022, when no one will be counting Obama's rounds of golf.

Politicians hate these kinds of messy distractions when they pick a place to make a symbolic statement. But Brent Spence was so tempting linking, as it does, the home states of GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But there is some possible good news for President Obama: The $447-billion jobs bill that he wanted passed "right now" back in early September is stuck in a legislative traffic jam in the Senate.

Fellow Democrat Harry Reid, the majority leader who can run that place like a school principal whenever he wants, is aware of opposition to the measure among some of his own caucus members.

And, well, darn it, wouldn't you know, Reid just can't seem to find a place for Obama's jobs bill in the chamber's overloaded schedule. As a result, as of right now Obama's "right now" jobs bill won't come up until later in the fall, possibly much later.

In a way the scheduling doesn't matter. Since the Democrat in the White House would rather have Republican opposition to it than any of its job-creating provisions, so he can have obstructionist charges for next year's campaign.

But if Congress works the way it usually does, maybe the bridge-repair money will be delayed a few years until the president's photo op Brent Spence Bridge enhancement bridge project is actually shovel-ready.

RELATED:

Obama's jobs speech: The complete text

Obama's jobs speech: Right now actually means much later

961 days in, Obama sick and tired of his own delays on new jobs

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Al Behrman / Associated Press (Brent Spence Bridge across the Ohio River at Covington and Cincinnati); Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press (Obama during a recent speech).

More bad poll news for Obama as debt deal brings smiles to Capitol Hill

a happy Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell signals a debt deal 7-31-11

Lots of smiles and happy news from Capitol Hill late Sunday as legislators on both sides optimistically announced a debt limit-spending deal to avert a threatened government shutdown Tuesday.

Even Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who loves making deals, was glowering a little less.Democrat senate leader harry Reid almost smiles 7-31-11

The initial details of the bipartisan deal leaking out indicate that in return for driving his own job approval rating down to its lowest point ever, President Obama didn't get much out of the professed compromise.

He wanted new taxes; sorry, enhanced revenues. You know, those rich corporate jet owners, et al.

All he got basically, it seems, was an agreement to put off the next spending fight until after the 2012 presidential election. Republican legislators, who said they wanted to debate the debt limit again next winter, gave that up. Which helps them as much as the former legislator now in the White House.

Obama will, no doubt, have more to say about the deal today. See if he throws in more sour grapes as he did after the GOP won its Bush tax cut extensions in last December's talks. Back then, Obama, who promised to bring both sides together if elected in 2008, called his fellow deal-makers "hostage-takers."

We'll hear more too today from legislators on both sides; each caucus will be....

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Sunday shows: Pawlenty, Cantor, Nixon, Chiarelli to appear as guests

Republican Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), Mort Zuckerman and Doug Imbruce, with George Will, Ed Gillespie, Jonathan Karl and Donna Brazile

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt": Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.)

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.)

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Thomas Hoenig and Prince al-Waleed bin Talal

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Tim Tetz, Paul Rieckhoff, Dale Beatty, Nixon and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Reps. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with Bill Kristol, Byron York, Nina Easton, and Juan Williams

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), with Alex Castellanos, Ruth Marcus and Harold Ford Jr.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Photo: Minnesota's Republican former governor, Tim Pawlenty. Credit: Olivier Douliery / MCT

Sunday shows: Mitch Daniels, Mitch McConnell, Mary Landrieu, Jon Kyl

ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour": She reports from Japan.

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt": Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala).

CBS' "FacIndiana Republican governor mitch Daniels 1-11e the Nation with Bob Schieffer": Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS": Rashid Khalidi, Ashraf Khalil, Rami Khouri, Ahmed Rashid, Abderrahim Foukara and Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia.

CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley": Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).

"Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace": Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), with Bill Kristol, Dana Perino and Kirsten Powers.

NBC's "Meet the Press with David Gregory": Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), with Ed Gillespie, Anita Dunn, Dan Balz and Michele Norris.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Photo: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Credit: Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

Ronald Reagan centennial: Today's the day; Sen. Mitch McConnell tells a brief story

On Friday we published a guest-written package noting the centennial of Ronald Reagan's birth in the land of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln.

Part I of that video-laden package is here.

Part II of Ronald Reagan's political legacy is right here.

No official notice of the day from the Democratic White House yet, although Barack Obama did mention Reagan's style and achievements favorably during the 2008 presidential primary campaign in some editorial board meetings that he thought would remain closed. But the White House did re-release a tribute op-ed printed under his byline in USA Today and there was the commemorative congressional legislation in 2009.

Today is the actual day of Reagan's birth. To mark that occasion we'll simply let another Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of next-door Kentucky, recount the Reagan story in this brief video below.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of anniversaries, The Ticket will celebrate its centennial in just 96 years. Don't waste any time. Click here now to follow us via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Sunday shows: Boehner, W. Daley, Cameron, Clinton

New House Speaker Republican John Boehner of Ohio

(UPDATE: Due to the unfolding events in Egypt, a number of the Sunday programs have changed their lineup. Those changes are reflected below:

ABC "This Week with Christiane Amanpour": Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Egyptian Amb. Sameh Shoukry and Zbigniew Brzezinski with George Will, Martha Raddatz, Abderrahim Foukhara and Sam Donaldson.

Bloomberg "Political Capital with Al Hunt": Obama advisor David Axelrod.

CBS "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: William Daley, Obama chief of staff, and Clinton.

CNN's "GPS" with Fareed Zakaria: British Prime Minister David Cameron.

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Clinton, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), John Negroponte, Edward Walker and Alan Simpson.

"Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) with Brit Hume, Kirsten Powers, Bill Kristol and Nina Easton.

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Clinton with Martin Indyk and Mike Murphy, Chuck Todd, Harold Ford Jr. and Katty Kay.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? And for the East Coast to tell you what to think? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons below to share this item with friends.

Sunday shows: McCain, Schumer, Cantor, McConnell

Chicago Bears quarterback Jake Cutler

ABC This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), with George Will, Matthew Dowd and Donna Brazile.

Bloomberg Politcal Capital with Al Hunt: Tim Kaine, chairman of Democratic National Committee.

CBS Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

CNN GPS with Fareed Zakaria: Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Zanny Minton Beddoes and Hendrik Hertzberg.

CNN State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Colin Powell, Michael Gerson, Paul Begala and Richard Norton Smith.

Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Juan Williams and Mara Liasson.

NBC Meet the Press with David Gregory: Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) with James Clyburn (D-S.C.), John Podesta and Ron Brownstein.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons below to share this item with friends.

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press (After all the political talk, the Chicago Bears are scheduled to defeat a Wisconsin team again. UPDATE: Oh, well.)

Sunday shows: Kyl, Ryan, Durbin, Alexander, Clooney

ABC This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) with George Will, Dick Armey, Arianna Huffington and Howard Dean. (UPDATED: The program will instead broadcast from ArizonaWisconsin Republican Representative and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan on the deadly shootings there.)

Bloomberg Political Capital with Al Hunt: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

CBS Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Kyl, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

CNN GPS with Fareed Zakaria: John Prendergast, George Clooney, Chrystia Freeland, David Remnick, Bret Stephens and Eliot Spitzer.

CNN State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Reps. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ed Gillespie and John Podesta.

Fox News Sunday with Bret Baier: Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Juan Williams and Mara Liasson.

NBC Meet the Press with David Gregory: Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) with Erin Burnett, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Raul Labrador (R-Idaho).  

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons below to share this item with friends.

Photo: Rep. Paul Ryan's office

Obama hails extending (Bush) tax cuts as middle-class victory; is compromise erupting?

Obama's Signing Hand

Remarks by Vice President Biden and President Obama, as provided by the White House

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all very, very much. Please be seated. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a -- I wasn’t going say, a big deal, but an important deal. (Laughter.) I can no longer say “big deal.”  (Laughter.) Thank God, my mother wasn’t around.

The famed 18th century British statesman, Edmund Burke, once said, “All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.” Today, we have a crystal clear example of what he meant. 

This package -- this package is a result of leaders from both sides coming together to act on behalf of the American people at a time they need it most. I want to begin by applauding Senator Mitch McConnell, and the other Republican leaders, who like their Democratic counterparts who are here today, were willing to take issue with some of their own party and to do what was, in their view, necessary in order to move the country forward.

That’s what the American people expect of all of us, especially in these times. And that’s what we’ve done here. It means accepting some things we don’t like in order to get the job done for Americans as needs to be done.

We were put in office amid the deepest recession this country has seen since....

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Weekly remarks: Mitch McConnell on jobs, tax cuts, debt; Obama wants start to START treaty vote

>Capitol Dome

Weekly remarks by Sen. Mitch McConnell, as provided by Republican Party leadership 

Good Morning. I’m Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky.

As Americans across the country prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this coming week, we’re reminded of the many blessings we enjoy as a nation.

We’re grateful for the sacrifices of the brave men and women in our armed forces who will not be home with their families next week, and who make these blessings possible. 

And we’re also conscious this Thanksgiving of the many Americans who are struggling with serious hardships, including the many millions of Americans who are struggling to find work.

At the moment, about 15 million of our fellow citizens are looking for jobs and can’t find one. The unemployment rate has remained stubbornly close to ten percent for a year and a half. We are experiencing what can only....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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