David Corn

David Corn

Washington Bureau Chief

Corn has broken stories on presidents, politicians, and other Washington players. He's written for numerous publications and is a talk show regular. His best-selling books include Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War.

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Pelosi's Challenger Asks Me for Money

| Mon Aug. 30, 2010 12:07 PM EDT

This past weekend I received on my home line a call from John Dennis, the Republican long-shot candidate challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It was a recorded message in which he blamed her for "no jobs" and out-of-control debt. He warned that she "wants to raise your taxes." But after the rant, a live voice came on, a woman named Susan, who asked if I would now participate in a survey. There was but one question: "Would America be better off without Nancy Pelosi?"

Sure, I said to Susan. But first I had a question for her: who did she work for? Her first response: John Dennis for Congress. Nah, I said. You're not in his campaign office, you're obviously working for a firm he's hired. Which one? Infocision Management Corporation, she said. (The firms's website boasts it is "THE highest quality call center company in the world.") And what list are you using? I asked Susan. A series of lists, she said. Which one had my name and number, I enquired politely. "We have your name because you've supported conservative causes and campaigns," she said.

"I don't think so," I replied. Without missing a beat, she said, "You may have done more than you realize."

Perhaps. But probably not.

In any event, this call from the Dennis campaign caused me to wonder if he's wasting lots of money using lousy lists with names of unlikely potential donors across the country.

After courteously answering my questions, Susan asked if we could return to the survey question. Sure, I said. She put it to me again, and I said that I doubted America would be better off without Pelosi. In a flash, she thanked me and hung up.

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Dems Will Lose House—Unless They Don't

| Thu Aug. 26, 2010 10:39 AM EDT

Today's top headline at Politico: "Democrats privately fear House prospects worsening." An excerpt:

Top Democrats are growing markedly more pessimistic about holding the House, privately conceding that the summertime economic and political recovery they were banking on will not likely materialize by Election Day.

In conversations with more than two dozen party insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play, Democrats in and out of Washington say they are increasingly alarmed about the economic and polling data they have seen in recent weeks.

They no longer believe the jobs and housing markets will recover — or that anything resembling the White House’s promise of a “recovery summer” is under way. They are even more concerned by indications that House Democrats once considered safe — such as Rep. Betty Sutton, who occupies an Ohio seat that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent of the vote in 2008 — are in real trouble.

In two close races, endangered Democrats are even running ads touting how they oppose their leadership.

Sounds damn grim for the Ds. But--wait!--here's the headline from the National Journal's "Hotline": "Why Democrats Will Keep the House." An excerpt:

House Republicans are measuring the drapes in preparation for big gains in the lower chamber, convinced that Minority Leader John Boehner is going to become the next Speaker of the House. On a macro level, that wouldn't be a bad guess -- Democrats are saddled with bad polls and unpopular leaders, and the national mood wants a change from the status quo.

But the Democratic apocalypse isn't guaranteed just yet. In fact, senior Democratic strategists say they're not only likely to keep the House, but they believe the GOP won't come close to gaining the 39 seats they need to take over.

That's not to say Republicans have no chance of taking back the House. Indeed, for every argument Democrats make about their strengths, Republicans have a counterargument. But Democrats have a compelling case.

The piece goes on to detail "four reasons Democrats shouldn't be counted out of the majority, and republicans shouldn't start counting their chickens, quite yet."

What does this show you? That sometimes it's hard in Washington to concoct conventional wisdom.

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