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John Podesta: Martha Coakley will win in Massachusetts despite ‘lackluster’ campaign

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Jon Ward
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      Jon Ward

      Jon Ward covers the White House and national politics for The Daily Caller. He covered the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency and the first year of Barack Obama's presidency for The Washington Times. Prior to moving to national politics, Jon worked for the Times' city desk and bureaus in Virginia and Maryland, covering local news and politics, including the D.C. sniper shootings and subsequent trial, before moving to state politics in Maryland. He and his wife have two children and live on Capitol Hill. || <a href="mailto:jw@dailycaller.com">Email Jon</a>

Top Democratic operative John Podesta expressed cautious optimism on Saturday that the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, would defeat Republican Scott Brown in Tuesday’s special election, despite running what he called a “lackluster campaign.”

“I’m glad the election is this Tuesday instead of last Tuesday,” Podesta told The Daily Caller. “Had the election been last Tuesday there would have been a lot higher chance she would have lost.”

Podesta served as White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton and now runs the Center for American Progress, which has become a powerhouse liberal Democratic think tank over the last few years.

He said that the flood of national Democratic resources into the state, to run television ads and organize get out the vote efforts, would likely combine with President Obama’s visit to the state Sunday afternoon to give Coakley the edge.

“It’s highly likely the president’s visit will push her over the finish line,” Podesta said.

Podesta also said there are “a number of paths,” including reconciliation, to getting the president’s health-care reform bill through the Congress even if Democrats lose their Senate seat in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about that,” he said.

Podesta expressed confidence that health-care reform will pass, no matter what the outcome is in Tuesday’s special election to fill Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat. He declined to elaborate on how else, besides reconciliation, Democrats could get the bill to the president’s desk.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that reconciliation “is an option,” in an interview with Bloomberg Television that aired on Saturday.

The reconciliation process requires only 51 votes in the Senate versus the 60 that the Democrats would have if they retained Kennedy’s seat. However, there are serious questions about whether Democrats would be able to successfully use the process.

“What everybody’s forgetting is that a lot of the provisions that people in the House required to have in the bill will fall, and therefore their support would fall,” said a senior Republican Senate aide.

Reconciliation was created to allow the Senate to pass measures related to federal spending or savings without a 60-vote majority. But the process is only supposed to be used for changes strictly pertaining to budgetary measures.

Democrats could try to start over with a new bill through reconciliation, going back and beginning again with a new bill in the Senate Finance Committee. But they would likely be unable to mandate coverage or forbid insurance companies from rejecting customers with preexisting conditions, the GOP aide said.

Alternatively, if Democrats tried to pass the Senate version of the bill as it stands, in the hopes of making changes later through reconciliation, they would again face major hurdles in getting enough votes. And reconciliation, since it is limited to matters dealing with spending and savings in the budget, is unlikely to enable them to make significant policy changes.

  • moira1987

    Apparently you haven’t been paying attention. Go back to sleep!

  • Pingback: Massachusetts voters rank economy, jobs and spending as important as health care | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

  • packeryman

    It would be a sad day to see the educated voters of the state of Massachusetts elect a member of the obstructionist party of NO to the US senate. The Republican party’s failed reactionary political ideology went down with Bush. How many congressmen in the Republican party are from the Northeast? The GOP have been hijacked by ultra right wingers and religious fanatics. Why would the good people of Massachusetts fall for Bible Belt B.S.? Lets get real, an turn out the vote Dem’s. Send the phony “teaBaggers” a packing.[Go back and look at the signs, they were Obama haters and the flops were organized by right wing radio shock jocks and Republican operatives(the likes of Dick Armey). They were not representative of the American people. A few right wingers won’t get it.

  • Pingback: Obama visit fails to slow Scott Brown’s momentum in Massachusetts | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

  • drbotkin

    More on JOHN PODESTA frolm David Horowitz:

    President and CEO of the Center for American Progress
    Former Clinton Chief of Staff
    Former antiwar activist of the New Left
    Worked on the Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern presidential campaigns.
    Met Bill Clinton in 1970 through the antiwar movement

    John David Podesta was born to an Italian-American father and a Greek-American mother on January 15, 1949 in Chicago. Podesta rose from a solidly blue-collar background; his father worked in a factory for 50 years.

    In the 1960s John was introduced to the antiwar Left by his older brother Anthony. The two brothers worked on the Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern presidential campaigns in 1968 and 1972, respectively.

    John Podesta first met Bill Clinton in 1970, when he and Clinton worked together on anti-war candidate Joseph Duffy’s unsuccessful Senate campaign in Connecticut. Podesta and Clinton subsequently worked for the McGovern campaign in 1972.

    Podesta graduated from Knox College in Illinois in 1971 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. He landed a job with the federal government right out of law school, working as a litigator for the Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice from 1976 to 1977.

    Podesta served on the staff of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) from 1981 to 1988. Leahy was an early advocate of circumventing the U.S. Constitution by gaining control over federal courts. Podesta assisted Leahy in pioneering the indiscriminate smearing and filibustering of any and all Republican judicial nominees — a practice previously unknown in Washington.

    In 1988 Podesta teamed up with his brother Anthony to form the Washington lobbying firm Podesta Associates. One of their first clients was Michael Dukakis. John Podesta served as opposition research director — commonly dubbed a “dirt digger” — for Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign.

    From January 1993 to 1995, Podesta worked as a White House staff secretary and Assistant to President Clinton.

    He served as Counselor to Democratic Senate Leader Thomas Daschle from 1995 to 1996 and then returned to the White House, where he finished out the last years of the Clinton administration — first as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff (1997-98) and then as Chief of Staff (October 1998 to January 2001).

    During his years in the Clinton White House, Podesta helped suppress numerous federal investigations into Clinton wrongdoing, and helped short-circuit the Clinton impeachment proceedings through backroom deals.

    The Clintons recognized Podesta’s talent for scandal-suppression early. While still a mere staff secretary at the White House in 1993, Podesta found himself swamped with so many scandal clean-up assignments that he nicknamed himself, “Secretary of [Expletive].” “He’s good at it,” James Carville remarked to the Washington Post.

    Podesta’s most lasting contribution to the leftist cause came through his promotion of a strategy that White House aides dubbed “Project Podesta.” This was a system that enabled the Clintons to push through unpopular policies that neither Congress nor the American people wanted. Its implementation marked a dramatic tilt in the balance of power, giving the executive branch an unprecedented ability to force its will on the legislative branch.

    Project Podesta enabled the President to bypass Congress through the use of executive orders, presidential decision directives, White-House-sponsored lawsuits, vacancy appointments to high federal office, selective regulatory actions against targeted corporations, and a host of other extra-constitutional tactics.

    In short, Podesta showed the Clintons that they could gain by force what they might fail to achieve through legislation. “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kind of cool,” quipped White House aide Paul Begala to The New York Times on July 5, 1998, in response to questions about the Clintons’ growing disdain for the will of Congress.

    Project Podesta’s most ambitious exercise was the war on Yugoslavia which Clinton launched by executive order on April 13, 1999, in defiance of the U.S. Congress and the United Nations.

    When US News and World Report first revealed the existence of Project Podesta on November 1, 1999, two Congressional hearings convened to investigate the Clintons’ abuse of executive power. But the investigators issued no reports and took no action.

    Regarding Podesta’s war of attrition against tobacco firms and gun manufacturers, even Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich warned fellow leftists in the January 17, 2000 issue of The American Prospect, “You might approve the outcomes in these two cases, but they establish a precedent for other cases you might find wildly unjust.… [T]hese lawsuits are blatant end-runs around the democratic process.”

    Project Podesta reached its logical conclusion in Al Gore’s effort to litigate his way into the White House in 2000. During the infamous 36-day, post-election stand-off, Podesta worked behind the scenes with Gore’s legal team even as the Clinton White House publicly declared its neutrality. Podesta bears personal responsibility for forcing the election into the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Most of official Washington assumed that the election crisis would end on November 14, when Gore’s recount deadline expired and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris would certify the winner. In order to reassure Americans that this would be the case, General Services Administration head David J. Barram held a press conference on November 8, 2000, at which he announced that he was ready to release the $5.8 million in presidential transition funds and to open the transition offices to whichever candidate was certified the winner on November 14. Barram repeated this promise several times via radio and television interviews.

    However, on November 13 — the day before the recount deadline — John Podesta sent a memo to Barram ordering him to keep the transition offices locked and to withhold the presidential transition funds, thus giving Gore extra time to litigate.

    Bush won the Florida recount, as expected. But the transition offices remained locked. Podesta’s unprecedented act stunned official Washington and plunged America into a constitutional crisis.

    Four years later, when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry announced his plan to mobilize a legal team of more than 6,000 attorneys for the 2004 election, it was evident that Project Podesta had changed U.S. politics forever.

    Podesta was appointed President and CEO of the Center for American Progress (CAP) at its founding on July 7, 2003. He was hand-picked for the job by CAP founders George Soros and Morton H. Halperin, according to a March 1, 2004 report in The Nation by Robert Dreyfuss. Inside sources have described CAP as “the official Hillary Clinton think tank” — a media spin machine and policy generator designed to serve as a springboard for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential ambitions.

    Podesta was a featured speaker at the March 2008 “Take Back America” conference of Campaign for America’s Future, where he declared that global warming was a “severe national security problem” that President Bush had failed to address in any meaningful way.

    After Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, Podesta and at least ten additional CAP experts served as some of his most influential advisers.

    Over the years, Podesta has made campaign contributions to numerous Democratic candidates, including Al Franken, Edward Kennedy, Richard Gephardt, Tom Daschle, Hillary Clinton, Richard Durbin, Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, Tammy Duckworth, Rosa DeLauro, Paul Wellstone, Maurice Hinchey, Harry Reid, Patrick Leahy, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Charles Rangel, and Al Gore. In 2002 Podesta also made a $1,000 contribution to the League of Conservation Voters.

  • drbotkin

    Nore on “top Democratic operative” and revolutionary:

    John Podesta, the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, released this statement following the resignation of Van Jones:

    Van Jones is an exceptional and inspired leader who has fought to bring economic and environmental justice to communities across our country.
    He has chosen to resign because he believed he was serving as a distraction to the president’s agenda. I respect that decision.
    Van was working to build a common ground agenda for all Americans, and I am confident he will continue that work. Unfortunately, his critics on the right could find no common ground with him.