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Tuesday
Oct262010

Vulnerable Virginia Democrat Tom Perriello To Get A Boost From Obama

Photo Courtesy - Perriello dot House dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello, one of the year’s most endangered House Democrats, is getting something that no other Congressional candidate has received this year: an exclusive, public visit from President Barack Obama.

The president will travel to Charlottesville, Va. on Oct. 29 to campaign for the freshman Democrat, who has been a key White House ally in Congress.

Perriello is battling Republican state Sen. Robert Hurt to hold onto his seat in the state’s fifth district, which Sen. John McCain carried in 2008 even though Obama won Virginia.

President Obama has held fundraisers for other House Democrats this election season, but his trip to central Virginia will be the first time he will stump for a single member of Congress. Perriello is one of the few congressional Democrats who might actually want Obama by his side during a year when so many lawmakers are running away from the president and his agenda.

The Virginia Democrat has backed the Obama administration on many of its most important priorities, including the stimulus, health care reform and climate change bills -- three votes that Hurt has been highlighting in his bid for the seat.

Earlier this month, Obama called Perriello and several other House Democrats "courageous" for casting difficult votes. "There have been a surprising number of folks who have been willing to stand up,” Obama said at George Washington University on Oct. 12. “There have just been some folks who really stood up knowing that they might be putting their congressional careers at risk. And that’s been a pleasant surprise.”

Perriello won his seat in 2008 by just over 700 votes out of more than 300,000 ballots cast. Recent polls show Hurt in the lead, although the race remains tight. Obama's visit was first reported by the Charlottesville Daily Progress.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

Vice President Biden: 2010 Midterms 'More Important' than 2008 Presidential Election

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- At a fundraiser in New York City Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden said the upcoming midterm election is “more important” than the presidential election in 2008 because if the Democrats lose the majority in Congress, the progress they made will be reversed by the Republicans.

“This is a real important election,” he said, according to a reporter who was allowed into the event.  “It’s more important than the one that got Barack and me elected, it literally is.”

Biden said it's because after two years of a Democratic White House and Congress, the country is “starting to head in the right direction,” and a change in power will stop that progress.

If Obama had lost in 2008, “there at least we would have continued to drift another four years, which would be bad. Now at least we’ve stopped the drift and are starting to head in the right direction,” the vice president said.

“If we lose in the House or the Senate, we’re now in a position where we are in a stalemate and this thing is just going to go in reverse and our most powerful weapon will be a veto pen, and that’s bad.”

Biden’s remarks came at a fundraiser for Rep. Tim Bishop. The event was the vice president’s 101st campaign event of this election cycle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

Dems, Republicans Set Election Night Plans

Photos Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republicans and Democrats both hope to have reason to celebrate as they gather in Washington, D.C. with their respective staff, volunteers and supporters next Tuesday to await the results of the congressional midterm elections.

According to a copy of an invitation obtained by ABC News, House Minority Leader John Boehner, who stands in line to become House Speaker if Republicans win control Nov. 2, is expected to attend a gathering at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C. on election night. Boehner will begin his day in his Ohio district before jetting down to Washington to join GOP staff and volunteers.

Republicans are careful not to dub it a “party.” The invitation calls for a dress code of “campaign casual.”

Minority Whip Eric Cantor, who is expected to ascend to majority leader if Republicans are able to gain 40 seats in the election next Tuesday, will begin his election day in Richmond before traveling late in the evening to Washington. Cantor, however, is not expected to attend the event at the Grand Hyatt.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen are expected to attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee election night party dubbed the “Speaker’s Cabinet Election Watch Reception” at the Liaison Hotel on Capitol Hill, according to a Democratic aide.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

Colorado Sen. Candidate: ‘Disagree with Separation of Church and State’

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For at least the third time during the 2010 campaign, a Tea Party-backed U.S. Senate candidate is drawing fire from his Democratic opponents for publicly opposing a rigid separation of church and state.

“I disagree strongly with the concept of a separation of church and state,” Colorado Republican Ken Buck said at a senatorial candidate forum last year.  The comments resurfaced recently after liberal blog Think Progress posted them.

“It was not written into the Constitution,” Buck says of separation. “While we have a Constitution that is very strong in the sense that we are not going to have a religion that's sanctioned by the government, it doesn't mean that we need to have a separation between government and religion. And so that, that concerns me a great deal.”

Buck has advocated for a closer relationship between faith-based groups and government, telling a group of Tea Party members in July that secularism in the U.S. is a “very scary concept” and that “the key to a democracy is that we have a public ethic, that we have a public morality.”

Buck’s view of the constitutionally-permissible relationship between religion and government is shared by many conservative Constitutional scholars and other Tea Party candidates, including Sharron Angle of Nevada and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." But it does not specifically state that there should be a "separation of church and state" as has been popularly construed.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

Ari Fleischer Hammers President Obama Over Israel

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SKOKIE, Ill.) -- At a campaign event Monday in Skokie, Ill., former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer launched a blistering attack on President Obama's Middle East policy, accusing him of treating Israel like "an annoyance" and "the real threat to peace on the Middle East."

Fleischer, who served under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, told the crowd of Jewish Republicans it is time for the president to "be silent" when it comes to criticism of Israel.

"You get the sense that when Nobel Peace Prize-winning Barack Obama looks at the Middle East, he sees Israel -- small, free, and democratic -- as the true threat to peace," Fleischer told the Republican Jewish Coalition of Illinois at an event with Republican candidates, including GOP Senate nominee Mark Kirk.

"You get the sense that when he looks at Israel," Fleischer continued, “he sees Israel as somewhat of a bother, somewhat of an annoyance, that is getting in the way of his views of what the Middle East ought to look like.  And perhaps that is why so many in the Jewish community, particularly so many Jewish Democrats like former Mayor of New York City Ed Koch, have now gotten a case of buyer’s remorse."

Fleischer hammered the president for criticizing Israeli developments in the West Bank and failing to speak out against anti-Israeli actions by Iranian President  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas.

"We have a President who speaks when he should be silent and is silent when we need him to speak," Fleischer said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

California Senate Candidate Carly Fiorina Hospitalized

Photo Courtesy - Carly for California(LOS ANGELES) -- California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina was taken to the hospital Tuesday for an infection associated with the reconstructive surgery she had after breast cancer.

Fiorina’s chief of staff Deborah Bowker said in a statement that Fiorina was hospitalized and is receiving antibiotics.

“While this will impact her campaign schedule today, Carly is upbeat and her doctors expect her to make a quick and full recovery and be back out on the campaign trail soon,” Bowker said. “Carly is looking forward to getting back to her full campaign schedule and to defeating Barbara Boxer on November 2."

Fiorina, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and underwent reconstructive surgery this summer. The former Hewlett Packard chief executive faces a tough race against incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is currently leading by a narrow margin in the polls.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

Okla. Gov's Race Debate: Unmarried Women Fit for Office?

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins (L) and U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin. Photos Courtesy - Office of Lt. Gov. Jari Askins / Fallin for Governor 2010(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Women are poised to make history in Oklahoma next week, when the state will elect its first female governor. And in the final stretch of the campaign between Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, the experience of motherhood has emerged as a contentious debating point.

"I think my experience is one of the things that sets me apart as a candidate for governor. First of all, being a mother, having children, raising a family," Fallin, 55, said at a debate last week.

Askins, 57, a former judge who has never been married or had children, says neither marriage nor parenting experience should matter.

"You know, in Oklahoma, all of our governors have been men. So none of them have been mothers," she told ABC News on Tuesday. "I think most of them have done a pretty good job so I don't think that's a criteria."

Fallin and Askins are vying to succeed outgoing Democratic Gov. Brad Henry, who is term-limited. Their race is only the third time in U.S. history two women have gone head-to-head for a state's top job. The New Mexico gubernatorial race this year is the fourth.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

Have Political Parties Lost Their Campaign Mojo?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Non-party groups that have dominated the midterm campaign are about to eclipse national political parties in total reportable spending this election cycle, a review of Federal Election Commission data finds.

The milestone would mark an end to the supremacy of political parties in campaign spending compared to outside groups, possibly for the first time in history.

Non-party groups, such as the nonprofit U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the labor union American Federation of State and Municipal Employees, have spent roughly $205 million through Oct. 22, nearly surpassing the total spending by parties in 2008, according to the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute.

Political parties have only spent $115 million in this election cycle, down 34 percent from what they spent in each of the past two election cycles. In 2008, parties spent double their non-party counterparts, and in 2006, they spent more than quadruple.

Brendan Glavin of the Campaign Finance Institute cautioned that the sizable disparity in spending between non-party and party groups this year could be misleading.

"It's not as if it's all new money in the campaign," said Glavin. "In the past, some of this money was already in the system, but it wasn't reported." He noted that disclosure requirements make it difficult to track the change.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

McCain: Too Early To Endorse Palin For 2012

Photo Courtesy - ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that Sarah Palin would be an outstanding candidate for president in 2012, but added it was too early for him to offer an endorsement.

“I'd certainly know that Sarah would be an outstanding candidate. But neither she nor I would want to say I would endorse her at this time,” McCain said of his 2008 running mate on CBS’ The Early Show. “I'm proud of her. I'm very grateful for all the things she's done to invigorate our party. But I think it's very early to start picking winners and losers.”

McCain said he still holds the former Alaska governor in “the highest regard” and is “entertained by the attacks of the liberal media against her.”

“It’s very entertaining to watch,” McCain said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

Americans Express Lack of Choices in Midterm Elections

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If you’re feeling starved for choice in the midterm elections, you're not alone.

The latest ABC News/Yahoo! News poll finds that just 19 percent of Americans feel there are at least a “good amount” of candidates available to them who share their view of what the country needs, while 46 percent see few or even no such choices.  That leaves 35 percent of Americans who don’t know if there are any candidates with whom they agree, a number that’s about as high among registered voters.

Ten percent of Americans surveyed in the poll say there are flatly no candidates available to them who share their view of what needs to be done to improve things in this country.  An additional 36 percent say there are some, but “just a few.”

Satisfaction with candidates is lowest among independents, with only 14 percent saying there are a lot or a good amount of candidates with whom they agree.  Among Democrats and Republicans, it's 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

Democrats, for their part, are more apt than Republicans to be tuned out.  In comparison to 40 percent of Democrats, only 29 percent of Republicans say they don’t know if there are candidates out there who share their view of what’s needed.  This difference reflects the greater GOP engagement that’s energizing the party this cycle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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