The Monday Fix: Last week's political highlights

Monday, January 31, 2011; 12:08 AM


"Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism."

- Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), bringing an abrupt end to the bipartisan peace treaty surrounding President Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday.


1.6 millionDollars that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) raised in 2010 through his five state-level PACs in Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Romney, who also raised $4.5 million through his national PAC, topped the field of potential GOP presidential contenders with a total of $6.1 million raised last year. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) raised a total of $3.5 million, followed by former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) with $2.4 million and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) with $1.4 million.

4 Days until Palin delivers the keynote speech at the "Reagan 100 Opening Banquet," an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan. The gathering, which is being hosted by the Young America's Foundation, will be held at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, Calif. Palin is to address the group Feb. 4; former vice president Dick Cheney is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the event's closing dinner on Feb. 5.

6Republican freshmen who have won seats on the Senate Appropriations Committee. The half-dozen GOP freshmen tapped are Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Jerry Moran (Kansas), John Hoeven (N.D.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.). By naming so many new lawmakers to serve on the committee, GOP leaders are signaling that they want to bring fresh voices to the spending panel as part of their push for greater fiscal responsibility; traditionally, lawmakers spend years working their way toward winning a plum spot on the panel, which oversees the doling out of federal dollars.


They got their mojo working again. A new Gallup poll showed, for the first time in five years, Republicans are now viewed favorably by more voters than view them unfavorably. The improving GOP image coincides with a bump in President Obama's approval rating, as voters are more optimistic about the country generally. There are plenty of battles ahead, though, beginning with the GOP's aims to cut spending before they agree to raise the debt ceiling. Can the GOP prolong its honeymoon by staking out some stubborn fiscal ground?


President Obama delivered an effective State of the Union address. The president's point about this being the United States' "Sputnik moment" fell a little flat, but overall the speech laid out an ambitious and wide-ranging agenda for the country. Obama also didn't have to deal with the partisan applause that often colors a State of the Union speech, because members of different parties sat next to each other. That gave him more of an opportunity to focus on his message and not worry about another "You lie!" moment.

- Aaron Blake and Felicia Sonmez

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