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Wednesday
Nov172010

Sarah Palin Says She Could Beat Obama in Presidential Race

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (NEW YORK) -- Sarah Palin says she is seriously considering a run for the White House, and she believes she could beat President Obama in 2012, the former Alaska governor told ABC News' Barbara Walters.

"I'm looking at the lay of the land now, and...trying to figure that out, if it's a good thing for the country, for the discourse, for my family, if it's a good thing," Palin said in an interview scheduled to air in its entirety Dec. 9 on ABC as part of Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010.

Although Palin remains undecided about whether to run, the 2008 vice presidential nominee has now made clear in two interviews this week that she is seriously considering it.

In a profile to be published in the upcoming New York Times Magazine, Palin told reporter Robert Draper "I am," when asked if she was weighing a 2012 run. "I'm engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here."

Palin said her decision would involve "evaluating whether she could bring unique qualities to the table," admitting the biggest challenge would be proving her record.

"I know that a hurdle I would have to cross, that some other potential candidates wouldn't have to cross right out of the chute, is proving my record," the former Alaska governor told Draper. "That's the most frustrating thing for me -- the warped and perverted description of my record and what I've accomplished over the last two decades."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

Senate to Take Another Shot at 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Photo Courtesy - Reid dot Senate dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday night that he will take another stab at passing a repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy during the lame-duck session of Congress.

"Our Defense Department supports repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ as a way to build our all-volunteer armed forces. We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so,” Reid said Wednesday in a statement.

GOP lawmakers might be willing to support the repeal if Reid were to allow a lengthy floor debate on it that includes amendments, even if that throws a wrench into an already-packed Senate agenda that includes extending the Bush tax cuts and keeping the government funded after Dec. 3. Another group of Republicans has said they would not support a repeal until they have received a Pentagon report on the policy due on Defense Secretary Gates' desk on Dec. 1.

Thursday morning on Capitol Hill, a group of senators led by Joe Lieberman are set to hold a press conference to push the repeal.

Additionally, Reid said that he will set a stand-alone vote on the DREAM Act, a scaled-back immigration bill that would enable undocumented students who arrive in the U.S. before age 16 to become legal residents after five years by completing higher education or military service.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

Lawmakers Voice Outrage at New Medicare Head

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republicans unloaded their pent-up frustrations on Dr. Don Berwick Wednesday in his first appearance before Congress since taking charge of Medicare and Medicaid.

“This is pathetic,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, groused at Wednesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing.

Hatch expressed the recurring complaints of Republicans that President Obama never should have put Berwick in charge of an agency that gets more money than the Pentagon without first sending him to Capitol Hill for even a confirmation hearing before this “doggone important committee.”

Just three months after nominating him, President Obama used a recess appointment this summer to put Berwick in his post while the Senate was on break.

Hatch said his constituents were “outraged” by Berwick’s recess appointment and he complained Wednesday’s hearing was too brief to cover the vastness of Republican health care concerns.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning scolded Berwick. “Your recess appointment was an end-run around Congress,” Bunning said. “I can assure you you won’t receive special treatment next year...I expect you’ll be spending a lot of time before the House of Representatives.”

Republicans take control of the House in January. At a minimum, they promise to run Berwick and other Obama administration officials through a series of tough hearings. There’s also a move afoot to repeal the new health care law.

Berwick said that would be a “terrible” outcome. “I can’t think of a worse plan than repealing this law,” he said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

More Harm than Good: Republican Leaders Voice Fears Over Fed Plan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican leaders in the House and Senate Wednesday voiced concerns about the Federal Reserve’s new $600-billion monetary stimulus plan, known as “QE2”, short for “quantitative easing.”

In a letter to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, top Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl and top House Republicans John Boehner and Eric Cantor said the plan creates “significant uncertainty” about the strength of the dollar, “impairs U.S. trade relations,” and “erodes confidence in the economic outlook.”

“While intended to improve the short-term growth of the U.S. economy and help maintain a stable price level, such a measure introduces significant uncertainty regarding the future strength of the dollar and could result both in hard-to-control, long-term inflation and potentially generate artificial asset bubbles that could cause further economic disruptions,” the GOP lawmakers wrote to Bernanke.

Noting that the plan has already “generated increased criticism and action from other central banks and governments,” the lawmakers warned, “any action taken by our nation or foreign nations that impairs U.S. trade relations at a time when we should be fighting global trade protection measures will only further harm the global economy and could delay recovery in the United States.”

The GOP lawmakers are only the latest in a growing chorus of criticism against the central bank’s program. Countries such as China and Russia initially voiced concerns about the plan, followed swiftly by a wide range of Republicans.

Bernanke recently made the case for the program in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, explaining that the new money -- injected into the economy through a program which will buy up Treasury bonds during the next eight months -- can reduce borrowing costs for American consumers and businesses, while also lowering interest payments for people and businesses with lots of money in savings. The Fed boss deflected fears that the plan would result in higher inflation as “overstated.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

John Boehner Elected Next Speaker, Nancy Pelosi Will Lead Democrats

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite an election that saw a wave of Republicans sweep the GOP into the House majority, when Congress convenes early next January both party's teams will closely resemble the current House leadership of the 111th Congress.

Republicans unanimously picked Minority Leader John Boehner, who ran unopposed, as the next Speaker of the House, while Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., was selected as Majority Leader.

"The job of the next Speaker is to work to restore the institution...restore it to being the People's House," Boehner told the Republican Caucus. "It's not about us; it's about them. And what they want is a smaller, less costly, more accountable government. More jobs, less spending. It's that simple," he said.

The House Democratic Caucus elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as Democratic Leader for the next session of Congress.

Pelosi, D-Calif., was challenged by moderate Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and won by a vote of 150-43.

Pelosi defended the caucus's decision to keep its current leadership team in place despite a landslide election earlier this month that saw more than 60 House Democrats suffer defeat at the hands of the GOP.

"I am proud to be part of this leadership team. Our consensus is that we go out there, listening to the American people," Pelosi said. "It's about jobs, it's about reducing the deficit, and it's about fighting for the middle class. So I look forward to doing that in this great leadership team."

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was elected the Minority Whip, the Democrats' second-ranking post in the House. Hoyer was unopposed, while Rep. James Clyburn, the current House Majority Whip, was nominated by Pelosi to serve as the Democrats' first Assistant Leader. Clyburn had initially expressed his intent to run for minority whip, but seems to have backed off after Pelosi brokered a deal with the South Carolina Democrat to retain his rank in the party and stay on as "assistant leader."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Wednesday
Nov172010

Lisa Murkowski Makes History as Write-In Candidate, Wins Alaska Senate Race

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has become the first incumbent senator and only the second person in U.S. history to wage a successful write-in campaign.

"We made history," Murkowski told supporters gathered in Alaska Wednesday evening. "Alaskans made history. And doesn't it just feel -- wow! -- still a little bit mind-boggling? And that's why it's important to be surrounded by friends, supporters."

In a historic election that pitted Republicans against Republicans, Murkowski emerged victorious by a narrow margin. As of Tuesday evening, Murkowski had won more than 90 percent of the write-in votes and had a lead of more than 10,000 votes over Miller.

Miller defeated Murkowski in a rancorous Republican primary, prompting Murkowski's decision to mount a write-in campaign. Murkowski toned down the rancor Wednesday evening, however, thanking Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams, who finished third.

"Both of these men put their heart and soul...into this campaign," she said. "What a wild, wild two months that has been."

She called upon her opponents to unite with her in the interest of Alaska.

"This is now the unifying time," she said. "This is now when we as Alaskans say, 'OK, the campaign is over. Let's go to work.'"

Despite Murkowski's lead, Miller on Wednesday refused to concede, saying he was "less cautiously optimistic" but would wait until military ballots from overseas were counted to make a final decision.

The only other person to win a U.S. Senate seat in a write-in campaign was Strom Thurmond, who ran in South Carolina in 1954. No write-in candidate had ever been successful in Alaska.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

 

Wednesday
Nov172010

Dems/GOP Elect Party Leaders

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been elected Democratic leader in the upcoming congress by a vote of 150-43. Pelosi defeated Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), a so-called "blue dog" Democrat, who said he expected to lose, but needed to ensure that moderate Democrats have a voice. "It wasn't about winning or losing this race, but truly making a difference within our caucus, to ensure that the moderates are heard within the caucus and that we have a seat at the table," Shuler said.

On the GOP side, John Boehner was elected Speaker-designate by unanimous voice vote. Boehner was nominated for Speaker by Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, who delivered a speech in support of Boehner. The nomination was seconded by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia and Congressman-elect Steve Stivers of Ohio.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

More Harm Than Good: Republican Leaders Voice Fears Over Fed Plan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican leaders in the House and Senate Wednesday voiced concerns about the Federal Reserve’s new $600 billion monetary stimulus plan, known as “QE2,” short for “quantitative easing.”

In a letter to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, top Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl and top House Republicans John Boehner and Eric Cantor said the plan creates “significant uncertainty” about the strength of the dollar, “impairs U.S. trade relations,” and “erodes confidence in the economic outlook.”

“While intended to improve the short-term growth of the U.S. economy and help maintain a stable price level, such a measure introduces significant uncertainty regarding the future strength of the dollar and could result both in hard-to-control, long-term inflation and potentially generate artificial asset bubbles that could cause further economic disruptions,” the GOP lawmakers wrote to Bernanke.

Noting that the plan has already “generated increased criticism and action from other central banks and governments,” the lawmakers warned that “any action taken by our nation or foreign nations that impairs US trade relations at a time when we should be fighting global trade protection measures will only further harm the global economy and could delay recovery in the United States.”

“Perhaps most damaging, we believe that QE2 is giving the impression that the Federal Reserve will keep making new and different attempts to boost the short-term prospects for the economy,” they concluded. “Our long-term growth depends on restoring confidence and certainty in our fiscal, regulatory, and trade policies -- and not on government’s willingness to engage in additional stimulative measures. When asset prices increase due to anticipated Federal Reserve policy rather than economic fundamentals, it increases the potential for speculative action and erodes confidence in the economic outlook, making it more difficult to generate sustainable growth.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

Sarah Palin Is 'Engaged in the Internal Deliberations' About A Presidential Run

(Photo Courtesy - Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesNEW YORK) -- Sarah Palin has clarified for the first time in a newly-published interview that she is seriously considering a presidential run.

"I am," Palin told New York Times writer Robert Draper when asked if she was weighing a run in 2012. "I'm engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here."

In a personal profile to be published in the upcoming New York Times Magazine, Palin said her decision would involve "evaluating whether she could bring unique qualities to the table," admitting the biggest challenge would be proving her record.

"I know that a hurdle I would have to cross, that some other potential candidates wouldn't have to cross right out of the chute, is proving my record," the former Alaska governor told Draper. "That's the most frustrating thing for me -- the warped and perverted description of my record and what I've accomplished over the last two decades.

"It's been much more perplexing to me than where the lamestream media has wanted to go about my personal life. And other candidates haven't faced these criticisms the way I have."

Palin also addressed criticisms that, by avoiding the media, she is partially responsible for the public's perception of her. "I'm on television nearly every single day with reporters. ... Now granted, that's mainly through my job at Fox News, and I'm very proud to be associated with them, but I'm not avoiding anything or anybody.

"I'm on Facebook and Twitter. I'm out there. I want to talk about my record, though."

The 2008 vice presidential nominee also recognized that, "yes, the organization would have to change.…I'd have to bring in more people -- more people who are trustworthy."

Draper's story, The Palin Network, details the inner workings of the Palin political machine, which Draper described as a "guerrilla organization."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

New Congress Expected to Retain Old Leadership

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite an election that saw a wave of Republicans sweep the GOP into the House majority, when Congress convenes early next January both parties figure to closely resemble the current House leadership of the 111th Congress.

House Democrats and Republicans are meeting separately in private sessions Wednesday to elect their leaders for the 112th session of Congress.  The Democratic Caucus will meet at 10 a.m. while the House Republicans will meet at 1 p.m. to choose their leadership team.

Republicans are almost certain to elect their current top-two leaders to lead the GOP in the next session.  House Minority Leader John Boehner is expected to run unopposed as the next Speaker of the House while Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia is expected to be selected as Majority Leader.

The current Deputy Whip, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, stands to move up the GOP ranks to the third-ranking post in the Republican majority as House Majority Whip.  Republicans are also expected to choose Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling as the GOP Conference chairman, the party's fourth-ranking post being vacated by Rep. Mike Pence, who is not seeking reelection to the House Republican leadership.

Democrats will first elect the Democratic Caucus Chairman, who will then preside over the remainder of the caucus.  The current chairman is Connecticut Rep. John Larson who is expected to be re-elected to the post unopposed.

Next, House Democrats will elect the Democratic Leader, also known as minority leader.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi surprised many in the caucus by announcing early this month that she was running to remain the House's top Democrat.  Although Pelosi is expected to win that election easily, the minority leader post is expected to be the only contended post in the House Democratic leadership election.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio