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Obama caves in to Republicans on clean air regs

In a dramatic reversal, President Barack Obama on Friday scrubbed a clean-air regulation that aimed to reduce health-threatening smog, yielding to bitterly protesting businesses and congressional Republicans who complained the rule would kill jobs in America’s ailing economy. Withdrawal of the proposed regulation marked the latest in a string of retreats by the president in the face of GOP opposition, and it drew quick criticism from liberals. Environmentalists, a key Obama constituency, accused him of caving to corporate polluters, and the American Lung Association threatened to restart the legal action it had begun against rules proposed by President George W.
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Did NASCAR drivers diss President Obama?

Four NASCAR stars will take a pass on meeting President Obama at the White House. It doesn’t have anything to do with politics. When word got out that Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards wouldn’t be going to the White House next Wednesday, it sparked plenty of chatter on talk shows and social media networks. There was speculation the four were making some sort of protest about Obama’s policies on behalf of a generally conservative sport. Nonsense, insisted Biffle, who said he has to go to a two-day retreat in Minnesota for 3M, the major sponsor of
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GOP leaders oust tea party-backed New Hampshire chairman

A tea party-backed chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party — under fire for lackluster fundraising, election losses and inexperience on the job — resigned just minutes before fed-up GOP leaders could remove him. Jack Kimball — who became chairman just seven months ago as part of the much-heralded “tea party revolution” in New Hampshire — stepped down, telling supporters “I am not going to become an obstacle for this party.” His forced resignation is widely viewed as another sign of the tea party’s declining fortunes and a move by Republican leaders who are trying to take back control of
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Earthquake risk to U.S. nuke plants higher than thought

The risk that an earthquake would cause a severe accident at a U.S. nuclear plant is greater than previously thought, 24 times as high in one case, according to an AP analysis of preliminary government data. The nation’s nuclear regulator believes a quarter of America’s reactors may need modifications to make them safer. The threat came into sharp focus last week, when shaking from the largest earthquake to hit Virginia in 117 years appeared to exceed what the North Anna nuclear power plant northwest of Richmond was built to sustain. The two North Anna reactors are among 27 in the
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Condoleeza Rice unhappy with Cheney’s attacks

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday she resented what she viewed as an attack on her integrity by former Vice President Dick Cheney in his just-published memoir. Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Rice rejected Cheney’s contention that she misled President George W. Bush about nuclear diplomacy with North Korea. “I kept the president fully and completely informed about every in and out of the negotiations with the North Koreans,” Rice said in her first public comments on the matter. “You can talk about policy differences without suggesting that your colleague somehow misled the president. You know,
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Republicans play politics with Obama speech scheduling

President Barack Obama on Wednesday agreed to unveil new jobs proposals in an address to Congress on September 8, bowing to pressure from Republicans, who objected to the original date set for his high-profile speech. Obama’s long-awaited proposals could set the agenda in Washington for the coming months, but his preferred date of September 7 had an unpalatable political edge for the opposition party: Republican presidential candidates were scheduled to hold a televised debate on the same evening, at the same time. Thus began a new round of conflict between the Democratic president and Republicans in Congress. The White House
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Transportation deadlock threatens programs, jobs

Bills necessary to avoid shutdowns of federal transportation and aviation programs are high on Congress‘ to-do list when it returns to work next week. President Barack Obama says as many as 1 million jobs are at risk without action. Both the White House and House Republicans signaled Wednesday that they want to avoid such a scenario, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Federal highway programs, and the fuel taxes that pay for them, will expire Sept. 30 unless Congress passes short-term extension legislation. It would be the eighth such stopgap effort in the past two years. Funds for
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Palin’s presidential melodrama: What’s the cost?

Sarah Palin soon will end the will-she-or-won’t-she presidential speculation that has trailed her for two years — and that she has fueled with abandon, perhaps to the detriment of her potential candidacy. “America is waiting for the president to make good on this promise,” the former Alaska governor recently posted on Twitter, linking to a video of President Barack Obama pledging to run a transparent government. She set up Saturday’s scheduled visit to Iowa with, “I’ll be talking about this and more.” It was the “and more” part that got many supporters all atwitter. And it’s what prompted another round
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Obama readies another mortgage bailout

The Obama administration is considering unveiling new plans next week to revive the ailing housing market and reduce foreclosures, including an effort to help troubled borrowers refinance their mortgages. The administration has been working for weeks on how to implement a mortgage relief program. President Barack Obama could include a nod to the plan in a speech on job creation next week, sources familiar with the administration’s plans said. The refinancing initiative would allow certain borrowers to refinance loans that are backed by government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the Federal Housing Administration, the sources said. A broad-based effort
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FEMA boss: Money won’t be a problem for hurricane relief

The head of the federal disaster assistance agency says recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irene will proceed regardless of a dwindling emergency fund. Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate tells CBS’s “The Early Show” a drawdown in assistance funds will have no negative impact on the agency’s efforts to help stricken Eastern Seaboard states. Fugate says “we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do.” He says FEMA “will work with the White House on funds needed to recover from this and other disasters.” The agency has less than $800 million left in its disaster coffers. Fugate
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