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Republicans push for political showdown on Obamacare

With the Obama administration poised for a huge public education campaign on healthcare reform, Republicans and their allies are mobilizing a counter-offensive including town hall meetings, protests and media promotions to dissuade uninsured Americans from obtaining health coverage. Party officials, political analysts and lobbyists say the coming showdown will mark a new phase in the years-old battle over healthcare reform by shifting the focus from political ideology to specific examples of how “Obamacare” allegedly falls short, just as the administration presses the public on its benefits. President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy is the first major social program to face
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Defeated foes of NSA spying program vow to continue fight

Opponents of the National Security Agency’s collection of hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone records insist they will press ahead with their challenge to the massive surveillance program after a narrow defeat in the House. Furious lobbying and last-minute pleas to lawmakers ensured victory for the Obama administration as the House voted 217-205 Wednesday to spare the NSA program. Unbowed, the libertarian-leaning conservatives, tea partyers and liberal Democrats who led the fight said they will try to undo a program they called an unconstitutional intrusion on civil liberties. Rep. Justin Amash, a 33-year-old Michigan Republican, made his intentions clear through
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Lots of discord, dysfunction in state GOP parties

Plagued by infighting and deep ideological divisions, state Republican parties from Alaska to Maine are mired in dysfunction. Several state Republican leaders have been forced out or resigned in recent months, and many state GOP parties face financial problems and skeptical national leaders. Democrats are not immune to such problems, but the conflicts on the Republican side highlight the tug of war over the GOP’s future as national leaders work to improve the party’s brand. At the same time, the Republican dysfunction raises questions about the GOP’s ability to coordinate political activities in key battleground states ahead of next year’s
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Don’t expect much from Obama’s economic tour

It’s hard to find anyone who thinks President Barack Obama’s series of heavily promoted economic speeches will be the flash point that unclogs the system in Washington — including the president. A day after he kicked off the tour in Illinois and Missouri, Obama was traveling Thursday to a seaport in Jacksonville, Fla., to yet again deride the wide gulf between his vision for a new American prosperity driven by a burgeoning middle class and the intense gridlock snarling up Congress. “With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball,”
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More trouble for America’s latest political Weiner

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner on Tuesday vowed to stay in the race despite admitting sending sexually explicit messages and photos to women even after the online sex chat scandal that cost him his congressional seat. With his wife standing by his side, Weiner told a news conference he had sent some of the newly revealed lewd chats and pictures, published this week by a gossip website, but appeared determined to disappoint opponents asking him to bow out. “I want to bring my vision to the people of the city of New York. I hope they are willing
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Supporters of spying on Americans claim disaster if program is halted

The White House and congressional backers of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program warn that ending the massive collection of phone records from millions of Americans would put the nation at risk from another terrorist attack. With a high-stakes showdown vote looming in the House, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued an unusual, nighttime statement on the eve of Wednesday’s vote. The measure by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., would cancel statutory authority for the secret program, a move that Carney contended would “hastily dismantle one of our intelligence community’s counterterrorism tools.” Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, made
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New probe means trouble for Hillary Clinton and others

An internal investigation of President Barack Obama’s choice to be the No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department has the potential to become a political headache for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia. The director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas, has been named a target in an investigation for his role in helping a company run by Clinton’s brother to secure an international investor visa. Congressional officials briefed on the investigation said the visa was for a Chinese executive. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity
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Boehner’s erratic behavior worries House Republicans

House Republicans, especially the hard-core right wingers who march to a tea party beat, privately express concern over what they see as erratic behavior by House Speaker John Boehner. Some say the Speaker is wandering on and off topic in meetings, sometimes speaking incoherently and failing to stick to an agreed-upon agenda that hopes to derail immigration reform, Obamacare and other programs from the White House and Democrats. “He’s off message and wandering all over the place,” complains a staff member of one House Republican. Some wander if the Speaker, who has an acknowledged fondness for cocktails, is drinking too
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Obama tells supporters it is time to motivate citizen anger

Embattled President Barack Obama, knowing his second-term agenda is in trouble, is trying to rally his supporters into a summertime show of support that he says he needs. “We’ve got to get folks activated and involved,” Obama said Monday at a White House rally of a non-profit group created to do nothing more than support his political agenda. “Things still get stuck here in Washington,” Obama said, noting that while he still managed to get elected to a second term last year, his agenda has been stalled by serious partisan opposition by roadblock-savvy Republicans. Created from those left over from
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Republican immigration plan: Citizenship only for children

House Republicans who want to close the door to most immigrants who cross America’s borders, think children should have a path to citizenship while sending adults home with a message to “don’t look back.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, both Virginia Republicans who answer first to the tea party and not necessarily the wishes of their constituents, are working on a bill that that allows citizenship for immigrants brought to this country as children while denying the same rights to most adults, including their parents. Their plan flies in the face of a comprehensive
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