The Buzz

BuzzChatter Thursday: White House refuses to stand by Durbin comment

• “I cannot even stand to look at you.” — Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, on Facebook indicating what one unnamed House GOP leader told President Barack Obama in a meeting during the recent government shutdown.

The White House is denying that such a thing was said. And Missouri Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner from St. Louis County called it “outrageous” and a “blatant falsehood.” Durbin, though, can hardly be called a flamethrower.

• “It was a defining moment for our state and a victory that sent a clear message: here in Missouri, public education is a value. And when the ideologues and extremists who don’t share that value try to defund our schools, we fight back. And we win.” — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday touting his successful veto of a major tax-cut bill this fall to a group of K-12 educators.

Nixon has made it a goal to fully fund public schools before he leaves office in early 2017. But he knows that some Republican lawmakers want the focus to be on tax cuts in a dynamic that’s similar to Kansas. So by citing his victory over the tax cutters this year, the governor essentially is reminding Republicans that he has the wind at this back heading into 2014.

• “Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. the President will deliver a statement in the East Room calling on Congress to pass common-sense immigration reform. The President will be joined on stage and in the audience by a broad range of supporters of immigration reform. Common-sense immigration is good for the country, and it’s the right thing to do.” — a White House official speaking on background Wednesday night.

Prospects for immigration reform remain murky at best. This session may be as much about shifting the spotlight off the Affordable Care Act and onto another priority of the president’s. At this point for Obama, any priority will do.

• “This state is not being represented accurately by the state Legislature.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, in the St. Louis Beacon on the rock-solid GOP majorities in the General Assembly.

McCaskill is promising to get more engaged in Statehouse races. The senator has said she believes that state politics are off-kilter. That is, Democrats control most of the statewide offices while Republicans dominate the state House and Senate. McCaskill thinks that doesn’t make sense. She wants to reset that balance in the Statehouse one year from now and will work to ensure that Democrats have more seats.