The Night Beat: The Next Chief of Staff

The Queen of England wants to sleep late. She won't see anyone with a plan for government until 1:00 pm GMT tomorrow. As in the day after tomorrow, in the states. Majority for Tories is TBD; as you know, the current PM's government gets the first chance to form a new government even if his party comes in second, provided there is no majority. QOTN from Neil Kinnock: "It's not good, it's not good."  Wouldn't it have been interesting if he'd said the elections were a "BFD...?"  (I'm kidding. I've read What It Takes.)  Seen at the British Embassy Party:  Sec. Steven Chu, Dennis Kucinich, Sandy Berger, WashPost's Marcus Brauchli, CNN's Ed Henry, the NSC's Doug Lute, lots of congressional staff types. ... Three cocktails named after the three candidates: Brown Bracer ... Cameron Calypso ... and a Clegg Clipper.  American embassies host parties like this, too, and before you question the expense, note that they use the occasions to reach out to expatriates and promote the wonder of American democracy abroad.

The White House, which usually gives guidance on these types of things, will NOT rule out a presidential announcement of a Supreme Court nominee tomorrow ... is it a good time or bad time to do it the day after the Dow drops 1000 points, the week after an SUV almost explodes in Times Square, with oil still leaking, Europe collapsing into riots?... still, you can take this to the bank: POTUS will not unveil his nominee tomorrow.

Here is an enormously cool and sad widget showing how much oil has leaked so far. You can thank the innovators at PBS's Newshour.

Might Robert Bennett be asked to join the Obama Administration after the November elections? 

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has said publicly he probably won't stay in his position for much longer than two years. Who might replace him? It's irresponsible to speculate, perhaps, but it's fun. It's not irresponsible to print the results of an off-the-record canvass of senior White House officials and Democrats close to the White House. President Obama may not have begun to think about this, so even this canvass ought not be taken with anything other than a grain of salt.  Here are two potential candidates: Former Sen. Tom Daschle -- he remains in solid standing with the president, who believes that Daschle was treated unfairly when his nomination to the cabinet was nixed. Still, current and former "advisor" clients could be trouble. Ron Klain -- Vice President Biden's chief of staff has a much larger portfolio than his title would indicate, and has managed to restore honor to a position sullied by previous occupants. Still, no VP CoS has ever ascended to the POTUS position, and two years in the job have marked Klain as Biden's Guy.  Sen. Dick Durbin, if he wants the job, would probably get it.


Tom Donilon, the troubleshooter and daily manager of events on the National Security Staff. He's widely liked, inside and outside the 18 Acres. Then Phil Schiliro, the current chief liaison to Congress. A former congressional chief of staff, he knows how to work with House and Senate Democrats -- and maybe Republicans.  The president really trusts both of these men. ... Who else: Chris Dodd, Janet Napolitano and Tom Vilsack.

Here's a sneak peek at Ron Brownstein's write-up of the new Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, which probes attitudes about President Obama in fine detail: 

In the new poll, Obama's support remains strongest among minority voters (with 72 percent approval). He also continues to post relatively high numbers among two other pillars of his 2008 coalition: young people (55 percent approval) and college-educated white women (45 percent), although he has lost ground with each of these groups since last year. Obama's weakest approval numbers are among white women with less than a college education (37 percent); college-educated white men (36 percent); and white men without college degrees (35 percent). Except for some slippage among young people, Obama's ratings haven't changed much among any of >these groups since January. On the other hand, his standing with each of these key segments lags his performance in the 2008 exit polls. The obesity / public health community is eagerly awaiting May 9, when agencies are supposed to present the first of their obesity policy reviews to the First Lady's Let's Move task force on childhood obesity.

House Democrats are circulating a statistic that will perhaps make Rep. David Obey's retirement announcement in Congress: of the 17 Dems targeted for retirement by the NRCC, 3 have actually retired. Indeed, there are far fewer retirements than at this point in 1994, and the window for such things is closing quickly.

The KCCI poll in Iowa will make news: Chuck Grassley's below 50 percent -- at 49%. (Democrat Roxanne Conlin gets 40%). That's a 12 point swing from last month's poll.
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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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