News and Notes: National Scene
What's going on?
A Washington Post-ABC poll shows that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) leads other Democratic presidential hopefuls by 2-1 among women, even more among lower-income and lesser-educated women, and this factor accounts for her large lead over the others. Overall, Clinton garnered 51% support from women, compared to 24% for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and 11% for former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC).
A new Gallup poll shows that Republicans reject evolution by a better than 2-to-1 margin, 68% to 30%. Overall the nation is about evenly split on evolution. Independents are more likely to believe in evolution (61% to 37%) than Democrats (57% to 40%).
A study shows that political considerations have played a major role in the selection of immigration judges by the Bush administration, although that is specifically forbidden by law.
New polls show Hillary Clinton pulling away in New Hampshire and also show John McCain continuing to fade nationally (he is now battling with "Don't Know" for third place behind Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney). However, social conservatives are showing signs of ganging up on front-runner Giuliani over his pro-choice and pro-gay positions.
President Bush is meeting GOP lawmakers at lunch today to urge them to support the immigration reform legislation that stalled in the U.S. Senate last week, and business lobbyists, labor unions, religious organizations and Hispanic advocacy groups plan to flood Capitol Hill this week in support of the troubled bill.
The 53-38-1 vote that killed the no-confidence resolution against Albert Gonzales yesterday could have been a little closer to the winning margin of 60. Presidential candidates Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Barack Obama all missed the vote because they were on the campaign trail, costing at least three votes. The lone "present" vote was cast by Alaska's Sen. Ted Stevens, who faces a corruption investigation by the Department of Justice and thus perhaps didn't want to take a position as to the future of its chief official. Five of the seven Republican senators who voted for the no-confidence resolution are up for re-election in 2008: Gordon Smith (OR), Chuck Hagel (NE), Norm Coleman (MN), John Sununu (NH), and Susan Collins (ME).
Does anyone else find it disturbing that Democratic legislators negotiated directly with a lobbying group, the powerful National Rifle Association, to craft new federal gun control legislation in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre? The sway of the NRA over GOP lawmakers is apparently so utterly complete that the Republicans who actually fill the legislative seats are not a necessary part of the negotiations or the agreement. Don't get me wrong, I applaud better background checks for gun buyers and improving the databases of people who should not get guns due to criminal records and/or mental health problems, I just find it extraordinary and unsettling that the NRA has virtually stepped into the shoes of the Republicans who fill the legislative seats when it comes to this issue.