Monday, July 20, 2009 | 10:56 a.m.
WASHINGTON -- The Republican attack on health care reform comes to Nevada today with a new TV ad that calls the Democratic plan a “risky experiment,” even as polls show a majority of Americans back the effort.
Republicans hope to not only chip away at President Barack Obama’s support in Nevada, but also that of Democratic Rep. Dina Titus in her politically split Southern Nevada district.
Titus is among freshmen Democrats who have raised concerns about government spending as she works to retain independent voters who polls show are most restive over the rising national debt. She voted against the bill last week in committee.
This is crunch week for health care reform. The House committees are almost done with their work, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to get a bill on the floor next week.
A poll released today by the Washington Post shows 54 percent of Americans support the outlines of health care reform legislation, even as the president’s handling of the issue has slipped to 49 percent.
Speaking of poll numbers, Republican John Ensign’s popularity has taken a beating as details continue to become known about his affair with a former staffer and his parents’ $96,000 payment to the woman and her family.
Ensign’s favorable ratings have plummeted from 53 percent in May, before the affair was announced, to 31 percent now, according to a poll conducted last week for the LVRJ by Mason-Dixon Polling Research.
A majority of Nevadans, 54 percent, don’t want the senator to resign, but his re-election isn’t as promising – respondents were nearly split 45-43 percent on whether he should run again when his term ends in 2012.
Ensign’s home in Washington, the Christian C Street house linked to two other Republican extramarital affairs, was featured in several weekend stories, including the Las Vegas Sun, Politico and Roll Call.
In other news, it’s National Poker Week, kicked off with the announcement that radio host Howard Stern is now a member of the Poker Players Alliance, the main lobby group trying to repeal the ban on Internet poker. Expect to see many games of cards being played this week in the nation’s capital.
Reid will be at the White House today for a meeting with Obama and the president of the Latter-day Saints Church.
Lastly, for anyone hoping to park their car at the Las Vegas Speedway, thank Republican Rep. Dean Heller. He got a resolution passed in the House last week that would allow the federal land next to the speedway to be sold for a parking lot.
Many other good stories in the weekend papers.
Be sure to read the assessment of the party warfare in Republican ranks in Nevada as conservatives are considering challenging more moderate colleagues heading into next year’s primary races, by the Sun’s J. Patrick Coolican and David McGrath Schwartz.
Schwartz also takes a look at the governor’s re-election effort.
That’s it for now. Check back later for all the political news in Nevada.