U.S. lawmakers, campaign officials, political operators and budget analysts discuss their strategies in the run-up to the November 6 presidential election and beyond, at the Reuters Washington Summit June 25 to 27.
Here are some quotes from the summit:
DEMOCRATIC LEADER NANCY PELOSI
"I believe that the legislation is ironclad. On the merits, on the order of things it delivers, on the promise of what it is ... on the constitutionality - ironclad."
Predicting the Supreme Court will uphold the law:
"I believe 6-3. If you get Kennedy I don't think Roberts would want it to look political. He himself is on record as saying this would go too far. Not in this particular case."
On the contempt vote for Holder:
"The whole reason they want him to resign is because he's looking into voter suppression ... It's all connected, the Supreme Court decision, suffocate the system with money, suppress the vote, poison the debate."
On winning back the House:
"Right now, I would say it was about a 50/50 chance, and the momentum is good for us. Our candidates are great."
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIR DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ
On Democrats plan if Supreme Court overturns healthcare:
"We've already made our proposal. In my mind the ball will be in their court. They're the ones that opposed this from the beginning, they're the ones that never proposed anything to ensure that you can cover every American. Never proposed anything to ensure that healthcare coverage would be affordable and accessible ... They're the ones who are going to have to step up and say, ‘What are we going to do now?' We're not the majority in the Congress."
On Romney and Hispanics:
"Romney is the most extreme candidate in certainly recent history, but probably ever, in immigration policy. He has given Hispanics absolutely no reason to vote for him. And I don't expect him to be able to - he doesn't even appear to be trying to change that perception."
AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM PRESIDENT GROVER NORQUIST
"Unless you take a line in the sand position, there is no defense against endless tax increases."
On the no-new-taxes pledge he has lawmakers sign:
"The reason why the pledge has been effective is that it's not some 20-point questionnaire. You either broke the pledge or you didn't. There's no judgment call from me on this."
PRIORITIES ACTION USA SENIOR STRATEGIST BILL BURTON
On the pace of pro-Obama fundraising:
"It's picking up quite a bit. Last month was our best month so far. This month is already better than we did last month. We're confident that as things get even closer to the election that things will pick up."
"The thing that concerns me is that oil executives and Romney's friends on Wall Street are all giving millions and millions of dollars. Because they know if Mitt Romney is elected he's going to deregulate the energy industry; he's going to deregulate Wall Street. They have a lot at stake in electing Mitt Romney and they're making an investment that they hope to get a return on if he's elected president."
GREG VALLIERE, CHIEF STRATEGIST, POTOMAC RESEARCH GROUP
On what institutional investors think about the election:
"I think there's a real confidence problem, a psychological problem that a Romney presidency could address and improve. Of our clients, it's probably 80/20 in favor of Romney. I've never seen a split in my career that so favors one candidate over another. Since Romney allegedly understands the economy better than Obama ... it would be well received if he won. The feeling is he would do better on the economy than Obama has done."
REPUBLICAN SENATOR ROB PORTMAN
On Romney as president:
"This is something I have never said publicly, I've told my wife this, but I think he'd be willing to risk being a one-term president in order to make the tough decisions that are going to be required."
On the economy:
"We have the most predictable economic crisis in our history coming, in my view. It has to do with what happens at year's end. It has to do with a fundamentally weak economy.
"Right now, we're the cleanest dirty shirt in the closet. Let's face it. The euro zone is in trouble. China's slowing ... Even though we appear to be in better shape than the euro zone right now, our debt to GDP ratio is higher than theirs."
DEMOCRATIC SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN
On what's been disappointing about Obama's first term:
"I would like to have seen us do better at talking about healthcare and why it was important for us and what was in the healthcare law. I think we all should have done better than that and I think the president has the biggest megaphone so he has an opportunity to do that and be heard better than anybody else."
"I think a lot of the focus on the healthcare law was on access and that was certainly an important piece but I think the delivery system reforms, the quality pieces are long-term the most important things for us to do if we're going to get the cost of healthcare lowered. And those really didn't get talked about much as we talked about the plan."
DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS VAN HOLLAND
On the need to disclose names of all donors:
"The secret money piece is becoming a bigger part of the whole. What I think will happen at the end of the day in 2012, you're going to see an increased reliance on secret money flowing into the campaign.
"Voters have the right to know who's bankrolling the advertisements they're watching ... It doesn't prevent one penny from being spent but it does require those moneys to be disclosed."
STEVE ISRAEL, CHAIR OF DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
"If the Supreme Court strikes down those consumer protections or reaches any decision that undermines those consumer protections, I believe the Republicans are going to be on defense every day for the next 133 days until the election."
On the election:
"I agree with John Boehner - and that's news. He said that he thinks they have 50 seats in trouble. He said that a month ago. He said there's a one third chance Republicans are going to lose control ... I do agree with them that baseline, they've got 50 incumbents in deep trouble. We actually think, by our own estimation, we think it's 65."
GUY CECIL, DIRECTOR DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
"A handful of billionaires are trying to buy the election ... driven by their disdain, sometimes their hatred for this president."
"We will not unilaterally disarm and allow the other party to buy this election."
REPUBLICAN SENATOR ROY BLUNT
On the need for compromise:
"I could get in lots of trouble in the current environment saying I think we should have more compromise. But I think what I've said about that is what I believe - compromise is the price for living in a democracy.
"Only in the recent politics in the country has compromise been seen as an evil as opposed to a positive.
"If you get 85 percent of what you want, that's a victory and not a defeat. Governing is never the choice between the perfect and the possible - it's always the choice between the possible and deciding you'd rather not get anything done."
FORMER REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE TOM DAVIS
On the role the European crisis might play in the election:
"Economically, all the difference in the world. The problem for the president is, he could make every right decision over the next ... 4-1/2 months and it could be just wiped out in a single day by something going on in Europe. "
JONATHAN COLLEGIO, AMERICAN CROSSROADS SUPER PAC
"It's difficult for any outside organization to run effective positive ads, and the reason for that is the most effective positive ads use the candidate as a messenger. So if you really wanted to have a positive message on taxes for a certain candidate, the best way to do that is to put the candidate on camera and have him talk to the camera."
ETHAN SIEGAL, ANALYST AT THE WASHINGTON EXCHANGE
I think there'll be a sentiment boost in this country with a change in administration. I think there'll be a boost just because cyclically the economy is going to get better. But exactly how much better is unclear unless you solve the problems of demand, credit and money.
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(Reporting by Deborah Charles, Gabriel Debenedetti and Patricia Zengerle)