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.
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.
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