Archives for News

McConnell forms uneasy but necessary alliance with Paul

To cover his political flank, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has forged an alliance with tea party darling Rand Paul, picked up support from other national tea party leaders and brought in a campaign manager from the upper echelons of the tea party movement. The GOP’s fiscally conservative wing has proven particularly powerful in Kentucky, and elsewhere it has felled incumbents including McConnell’s longtime Republican colleague U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana. But McConnell’s efforts to make inroads with the tea party movement have clearly paid off, virtually ensuring that no would-be challenger can get the kind of infusion of
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Hillary Clinton’s delecate balancing act

Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to strike the right balance between staying out of the daily political maelstrom and setting herself up for a possible second presidential run. But her fans and foes are making that difficult. Nearly six months after departing the State Department, Clinton finds herself in the middle of an early effort by both parties to prepare for her return to politics even as she keeps to a schedule of highly paid private speeches, work on her book and her family’s global foundation. Clinton has not said whether she’ll seek the White House in 2016 but grassroots
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New York’s former prostitute-loving governor wants another political job

A person close to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer says he is planning a return to political life with a run for New York City comptroller. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Spitzer was only speaking to The New York Times. Spitzer, a Democrat, stepped down from the governor’s office in 2008 over a prostitution scandal. Spitzer has spoken in the past about the potential for the comptroller’s job to look into corporate misdeeds. That would be similar to what he did as the state’s attorney general. Candidates for citywide offices like comptroller have to have 3,750 signatures from
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Can Congress overcome its petty differences and actually do something?

Republicans and Democrats put goodwill to the test as Congress returns this week to potentially incendiary fights over nominations, unresolved disputes over student loans and the farm bill, and the uncertainty of whether lawmakers have the political will to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws. The rare cooperation on display in the Senate last month with passage of a bipartisan immigration bill could be wiped out immediately if Majority Leader Harry Reid, frustrated with minority Republicans’ delaying tactics on judges and nominations, tries to change the Senate rules by scrapping the three-fifths majority for a simple majority. Republican leader Mitch McConnell
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Gay marriage ruling affecting other cases

When the Supreme Court struck down part of an anti-gay marriage law, Justice Anthony Kennedy took pains in his majority opinion to say the ruling applied only to legally married same-sex couples seeking benefits from the federal government. But judges and lawyers representing same-sex couples are already using Kennedy’s language and reasoning in other cases about the right to marry. It’s a predictable next step in a long-term, incremental legal strategy that is being used at both the state and federal levels, and in state legislatures and executive mansions as well as the courts, to build public and official acceptance
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Gabrielle Giffords: A powerful voice for gun congrol

Thirty months after she was shot through the head, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords sits in a New Hampshire restaurant facing parents of children killed in the nation’s latest school shooting. They are here to talk political strategy, but Giffords doesn’t say much. She doesn’t have to. The 43-year-old Democrat has become the face of the fight for gun control — a woman now known as much for her actions as her words as she recovers from a 2011 attack that forever changed her life and ended six others. Giffords has already traveled more than 8,000 miles this week, her
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Obama fights to keep U.S. surveillance court secret

The Obama administration on Friday urged a secret U.S. court that oversees surveillance programs to reject a request by a civil liberties group to see court opinions used to underpin a massive phone records database. Justice Department lawyers said in papers filed in the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the court’s opinions are a unique exception to the wide access the public typically has to court records in the United States. If the public had a right to any opinion from the surveillance court, the possible harms would be “real and significant, and, quite frankly, beyond debate,” the lawyers
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Right-wing Wisconsin governor signs new abortion restrictions into law

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law on Friday new abortion restrictions that opponents said could lead to the closing of two of the state’s four abortion clinics. Opponents of the law, which goes into effect Monday, July 8, filed a federal lawsuit challenging it. The law requires women to undergo an ultrasound before they get an abortion and doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. “This bill improves a woman’s ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future,”
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Differences over abortion highlight Georgia Senate race

The four Georgia Republicans who want to succeed retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss all call themselves conservatives who oppose abortion. Two are congressmen who recently voted in favor of a House bill to outlaw nearly all abortions beyond the 20th week after conception. Another candidate, a former secretary of state with her own national profile in the abortion debate, expressed support for the measure. Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Broun, an obstetrician, voted against it, saying it didn’t go far enough. That vote put him alongside abortion-rights advocates yet it garnered a de facto endorsement from a leading anti-abortion group in Georgia. The
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Obama faces fight with fellow Dems over closing Gitmo

President Barack Obama’s hardest sell in his renewed push to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be members of his own party — moderate Senate Democrats facing tough re-election bids next year in the strongly Republican South. Obama has stepped up the pressure to shutter the naval facility, driven in part by his revised counterterrorism strategy and the 4-month-old stain of the government force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strikes to prevent them from starving to death. Civil liberties groups and liberals have slammed Obama for failing to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to close the installation
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