Welcome back to Battleground New Hampshire, Mr. President. You want to talk about jobs when you visit Nashua on Thursday, so we hear. It might be a nice change from the birth control vs. faith debate local lawmakers have waged lately–battling as they are over your signature health care law. But first things first: Mr. President, won't you sing for us?
This is the Cap Report for Monday, Feb. 27, Swing State edition. The New Hampshire Legislature is on winter vacation, so in this intermission here is a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Hail to the Chief: When President Obama jets into New Hampshire on Thursday to talk economy, it’s an official White House visit. It’s good to be the incumbent. The Commander-in-Chief visits as his approval rating is rebounding. The latest Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center for WMUR, found 51 percent of Granite Staters approve of his job performance, while 43 percent disapprove. It’s interesting to note where President George W. Bush stood in the Granite State Poll in February 2004. Bush’s approval rating was 47 percent, according to UNH pollster Andrew Smith.
ObamaShouldCare: The Granite State Poll found 39 percent support the president’s signature health care law, while 46 oppose it. Another 15 percent were neutral or did not know. The White House is showing New Hampshire some real love of late. Vice President Biden was in Manchester last week, where he blasted GOP presidential hopefuls, and tested out a new bumper sticker slogan. Will President Obama float some similar balloons?
Call Him Ishmael? One of the more curious tales of the past week involved House Speaker William O’Brien employing some classic literature to castigate a Democratic gubernatorial candidate. He accused Jackie Cilley of waging a “misguided, Ahab-like quest” in defense of "Obamacare." So why didn’t O’Brien exchange verbal fire with other Democrats who lined up to denounce him over a resolution urging repeal of contraception provisions in the law? One short answer: Cilley didn’t just go after the Speaker, she took swipes at Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker. Subtext: you go after one of the Speaker’s friends, no quarter will be given. Cilley welcomed the retort, and fired back with a statement titled, “When Bullies Attack.”
Giving Them The Biz: #WiseWordsToLiveBy was just trending on Twitter. Over at the Statehouse, they’re hoping the pace of January’s tax collections continue trending in February. Business tax collections for January totaled $25.9 million, “which was ahead of plan by $11.3 million and above prior year by $14.9 million, according to the January revenue focus report.
Over At Charles Doe Drive: The New Hampshire Supreme Court on March 13 will hear arguments in Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire vs. the New Hampshire Local Government Center. This case keeps smoldering.
God Made the Irish No. 1, And Gave Jim Demers a Pretty Decent Seat: All legislators and staff are invited to the 10th annual NH Capital St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage lunch on March 15 at high noon at the Courtyard Marriott-Grappone Center in Concord. There’s always fun on tap, but this year there’s a special comedy performance by Juston McKinney. This is a benefit for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. And it’s one of the biggest bipartisan parties in town.
Have a news tip or an idea for a great story? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @tuohy