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« Obama Praises Senate Health Care Vote | Blog Home Page | AL-05: Sparks Staying In Gubernatorial Race »

The Week Ahead: Working Vacation

Are you ready for the Eagle Bank Bowl? UCLA vs. Temple is about all that you can count on this week in the nation's capital. Here's the RCP Week Ahead.

The White House: Mahalo! President Obama is enjoying a "working vacation" in the nation's 50th state this week. It's a week away that became less of an escape when a Delta flight was subject to an attempted terrorist attack. While the Obama family hit the beach on Sunday, Obama himself is on guard monitoring the new situation in airline travel. He'll make a statement to the press on camera this morning.

Members of Congress are already talking about hearings to look into the new potential threat. From the administration, an unfortunate gaffe by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "The system worked as it should," she said on CNN this Sunday, responding to the incident on a Detroit-bound flight.

The Capitol: Members of Congress are at home this week, but the leadership of both chambers is hard at work negotiating differences in the House and Senate versions of health care legislation this week. Senators claimed Sunday that the final draft will more closely resemble the Senate's version of the complicated legislation.

"If we are going to have a final law, it will look a lot more like the Senate version than the House version," Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said on "Fox News Sunday." "I'm sure there'll be some compromises, but at the end of the day, I would expect that it will look very much like the Senate version."

Politics: As we mentioned last week, the pressure is on vulnerable incumbents and top GOP recruits to make a show of strength in their campaign fundraising for the period that ends this Thursday night. Don't be surprised to see a retirement or party switch this week, Rep. Parker Griffith's decision to become a Republican is likely the biggest blow for Democrats this month.

On "Fox News Sunday," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Chris Van Hollen said Democrats are "not going to be surprised like in 1994." "We've been preparing from day one," he said. "Is this going to be a tough year? Yeah, and we're ready to fight. Is it going to be another 1994? No."

** Poll Watch
Obama Job Performance: Approve 49.5 / Disapprove 45.1
Congress Job Performance: Approve 27.4 / Disapprove 65.8
Generic Ballot Test: Republicans +2.5

** In Case You Missed It: For this final week of the decade (the '00s? the oughts?), our friends at "First Read" have a good round-up of "Best of" lists, including Best Speech, Biggest Risers, Biggest Downfalls, and Statewide Races.

--Mike Memoli and Kyle Trygstad