Gulf oil, Correspondents' Dinner, more -- Post Politics Hour

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President Obama visited the Gulf coastline on Sunday, emphasizing that BP was responsible for the massive oil spill but that his administration would do everything possible to respond.

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Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 3, 2010; 11:00 AM

The Post's Perry Bacon Jr. was online May 3 at 11 a.m. ET to take your questions about the latest political news and to preview the week ahead.

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Seattle: Good Morning Perry. What is the Current Status of the Finance Reform Bill? Will it get voted on this week?

Perry Bacon Jr: Amendments will start this week for votes. Not likely to pass until next week at earliest.

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Oil Spill: With media budgets so tight; how long will TV stations have people on the ground there and how long do you expect this story to stay on "page 1?"

Perry Bacon Jr: This is a very big and important story. I think it will be covered very closely for weeks.

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Washington, DC: Are the whispers of Rahm Emanuel's departure getting louder and do you expect that he will run for office in Illinois?

Perry Bacon Jr: Rahm declared on Charlie Rose he wanted to run for mayor at some point, so it's not a secret. I don't know if he departs at the end of this year or after 2012 though.

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Woodbridge, VA: Why has the Correspondence Dinner gotten so much more attention this year? The self-indulgent meme that it is the "Washington prom" seems to have come out of nowhere.

Perry Bacon Jr: It has been for years very well-covered and remarked upon. I think there has been more interest in Washington overall because of Obama, so there may be more stories on the dinner than in the Bush years.

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Baltimore: I was amused by yesterday's article about how conservatives are angry at Virginia Gov. McDonnell. Governors actually have to govern - they can't spend all their time posturing and marching to the party line (like many congressmen and senators) because they have to face actual consequences.

washingtonpost.com: McDonnell strikes a balance, conservatives rethink support

Perry Bacon Jr: I disagree with your premise in some ways. You can be a governor (Rick Perry) and keep your base happy. That said, McDonnell problem sound a bit like Obama's; people back a politician and get excited about him and assume he shares all of their ideas, passions and priorities, which is usually not the case.

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And up through the sea came a bubblin crude: Many politicians have been quite vocal in calling for increased drilling, including offshore, but they don't seem to be talking much about the Gulf spill. I can understand some of them wishing to remain quiet for now, and let Obama take the heat, but wouldn't you think they'd be the first ones to want to calm the waters, so to speak, and tone down calls for reduced drilling?

Perry Bacon Jr: I would imagine that more conservative lawmakers who have long advocated drilling will have to take lots of questions on this issue in the next week.

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Pittsburgh: Any polling yet on Sarah Palin's continued "drill baby drill" position in the wake of the BP oil leak in the Gulf?

Perry Bacon Jr: Not much polling yet on this issue, I would be curious to see if support for drilling falls now.

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St. Paul, Minn.: Hi Perry -- Thanks for taking questions this morning. Unless I just missed it, reaction to the Times Square bombing attempt seems to be fairly non-partisan...so far. In your view, is that likely to change? Or in other words, how long before we hear from the Cheney "Obama is making us less safe" machine?

Perry Bacon Jr: I don't see any reason that will become partisan.

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Toronto: I find the arguments for or against illegal immigration to the US fundamentally incoherent. You have a Republican governor signing a strict law against illegal immigration while Republican-leaning businesses love the opportunity to exploit the cheap labour these people provide. Then you have Democrats railing against this law when in fact illegal immigrants cause downward pressure on wages and weaken your already pathetic labour movement, a major supporter of the Democratic Party.

Perry Bacon Jr: I think you are right that the issues are complicated in both parties. I think you would find some Republican-leaning business groups generally in favor of more illegal immigrants, while some lower--income Democrats might feel the immigrants drive down wages. But this has become a partisan issue; no Republican will endorse the Democrats immigration bill.

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Wokingham UK: Does the oil spill give Obama a great opportunity to show that social democratic government can, in stark contrast to the days of Bush and Katrina, be part of the solution and not of the problem? Does he face a serious danger of looking no better than Bush in the end?

Perry Bacon Jr: I hate to say it this way, but my sense is, if the effort goes badly, he gets compared to Bush. If it goes well, people will forget his role.

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Poplar Bluff, MO: Perry, thanks for the questions. In your opinion, how does Arizona's immigration law going to affect their economy? I have heard quotes about some MLB players boycotting this year's All-Star game.

Perry Bacon Jr: I suspect it will not have a big economic impact, at least in terms of boycotts. I heard Dianne Feinstein kind of mock the idea of the city of San Francisco having such a boycott.

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Baltimore MD: I think a big problem (or virtue) McDonnell and all Virginia governors face is the "no two consecutive terms" limits. If you really want to get something done in the state, it means you must be willing to compromise, or you will blow your entire four years fighting symbolic issues that don't do anything but play to your base.

Perry Bacon Jr: I think that's about right.

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Polling on the Oil Spill: Here's my prediction:

Before the spill - We're for it! After the spill - We're for it! As long as its no where near us!

Perry Bacon Jr: My sense is that more voters may actually see the environmentalist call against drilling now, so I think support for it will actually fall.

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"I don't see any reason that will become partisan. ": Perry

Have you watched any cable news networks in the past 5 years?

At some point everything becomes partisan - and its real sad.

Perry Bacon Jr: I think the BP spill is different between both parties's leaders have come out for drillling and the Times Square incident, nothing actually happened, so I think people in both parties will be relieved.

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Perry Bacon Jr: Thanks for the questions folks.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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