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Wednesday
Sep292010

Texas Governors' Race Goes National as Parties Eye Long-Term Gains

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- It’s not a state where national Democrats tend to spend heavily, but that is changing in this election cycle. Democrats are eyeing the opportunity to recapture the Texas governor's seat for the first time in 15 years, in a race that could have an impact on national elections for years to come.

Texas, the second largest state in the country, is expected to gain four House seats -- the most of any state -- according to private firm Election Data Services, which analyzed Census Bureau population estimates. The national interest in Democratic candidate Bill White's campaign makes the race unlike any other in recent Texas history. White is the top recipient of in-state and out-of-state donations among all Texas candidates, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. The Democratic Governors Association considers this to be a “top tier” pick-up opportunity and the group has poured in $2 million into White's campaign.

The Texas election also gives a good insight into the Hispanic vote. The group voted overwhelmingly for George W. Bush but the immigration debate and the hoopla over the social sciences curriculum earlier this year could shift the tide in favor of Democrats.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

President Obama: "Christian By Choice...Jesus Spoke To Me"

Photo Courtesy - The White House(ALBUQUERQUE, NM) -- At a backyard town hall in Albuquerque on Tuesday, President Obama was asked why he is a Christian.

“I’m a Christian by choice,” the president said. “My family didn’t -- frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week.  And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church.”

Obama said he came to his Christian faith later in life "because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead."

"I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes," the president said. "What we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.”

“That’s what I strive to do," Obama said. "I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith.”

Because of his Muslim roots – his father was born Muslim, though was not observant – the president’s religion has long been a topic of conversation and smears. Last month a poll indicated that a growing number of Americans mistakenly believe that he is a Muslim.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

The Presidential Planner: Wednesday, Sept. 29th

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama wakes up in Des Moines, Iowa Wednesday where he will hold a backyard discussion on the challenges facing the middle class. Governor Chet Culver and Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines will also join the event. The president will then travel to Richmond, Virginia, for the last stop of his "Moving America Forward" tour, where he will meet with a local Richmond family at the Southampton Recreation Association before hosting a discussion on the economy with families from the area. In the evening, the President will return to Washington, D.C. after his four-state three-day tour.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

Congress Struggles to Pass Government Funding Bill

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Only days remain before lawmakers leave Capitol Hill to focus on campaigning for their jobs in Congress.  Yet, on the eve of their departure, they have not fulfilled their most basic duty of funding the government.  Not a single appropriations bill has passed Congress this year, leaving the government at risk of shutting down later this week. It won't happen, but it's another telling sign of the bipartisan stalemate in the nation's capital.  Democrats blame Republicans for obstructing their plans and blindly blocking every proposal.  Republicans, in turn, blame Democrats for ignoring their suggestions and stubbornly trying to jam every proposal down their throats.

The only solution to keep the government running once the fiscal year ends on Thursday is to pass a stop-gap funding bill. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to proceed to debate on the bill, which would keep the government funded at 2010 levels through early December.  The bill seems likely to pass the Senate sometime Wednesday, paving the way for Congress to adjourn until after the November election.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

Who will Replace Rahm Emanuel?

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has not yet confirmed that he will leave Washington in the near future to run for mayor of Chicago, but the writing is on the wall.  As previously reported, an announcement is expected on Friday.  In the meantime, a host of names are being mentioned as possible successors, should Emanuel confirm his departure.  The person most often discussed, at least as the likely interim chief of staff, is White House Senior Adviser Pete Rouse.  He was chief of staff to Sen. Tom Daschle, when Daschle was Senate majority leader.  In that role, Rouse was so effective, he was often referred to as the 101st senator.  He and Daschle were so enamored with Barack Obama, that when Daschle lost his reelection bid, Rouse went directly from the majority leader's office, to become chief of staff to the newly elected Sen. Obama.  When Obama won the presidency in 2008, Rouse followed him to the White House and has helped the president navigate Washington and deal with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Others listed as viable contenders include Vice President Biden's Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, Senior Policy Adviser Tom Daschle, and Outside Adviser to the White House David Plouffe.  Several former Clinton chiefs of staff are also mentioned as possible replacements for Emanuel.  John Podesta is an Obama adviser and currently CEO of the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.  Leon Panetta is the CIA Director.  Both are dark horse possibilities for President Obama, although neither is thought to have expressed interest in the job. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep282010

Obama Likely To Select Emanuel Replacement From Within His Administration

Photo Courtesy -- The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In light of what could be a difficult mid-term election time for Democrats, the White House and President Obama will have to retool and reorganize upon the likely departure of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.  As previously reported, Emanuel is expected to announce Friday whether he will leave his post at the White House and pursue the position of mayor of Chicago.  Concurrently, Obama will be expected to name an interim chief of staff and eventually a definite replacement for Emanuel.  Known for maintaining a tight inner circle, the president in likely to choose an experienced replacement from within his administration.   Vice President Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain, Deputy National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina are all said to be on the list of candidates.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tuesday
Sep282010

Obama to 'Glass Is Half Empty' Democrats: "Guys, Wake Up Here"

Photo Courtesy -- The White House(NEW YORK) -- Continuing to battle a lack of liberal enthusiasm, President Obama told Rolling Stone magazine Democrats need to realize all of his administration’s achievements.  “One of the healthy things about the Democratic Party is that it is diverse and opinionated,” the president said before adding,  "...making everybody happy within the Democratic Party is always going to be tough.”  Continued the president: “Some of it, also, has to do with — and I joke about it — that there's a turn of mind among Democrats and progressives where a lot of times we see the glass as half-empty.  That self-critical element of the progressive mind is probably a healthy thing, but it can also be debilitating.”  On Monday night, Vice President Biden told MSNBC those Democrats who “didn't get everything they wanted, it's time to just buck up here, understand that we can make things better, continue to move forward, but not yield the playing field to those folks who are against everything that we stand for in terms of the initiatives we put forward.”  Earlier on Monday, the vice president told Democrats to "remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives.”  Last week President Obama said he had a message for “griping and groaning Democrats…Folks: wake up. This is not some academic exercise. As Joe Biden put it, Don’t compare us to the Almighty, compare us to the alternative.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tuesday
Sep282010

Boehner Presses Pelosi for Vote on Full Extension of Bush-Era Tax Cuts

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, appealed once again Monday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to hold a vote on a Republican-led proposal to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts before the House adjourns and members return to their districts to campaign for re-election.  "Adjourning the Congress at the end of this week without a vote to stop all the tax hikes will be a vote to raise taxes on the American people and destroy jobs,” Boehner said Monday in a paper statement.  Boehner wrote a letter to the speaker on Sept. 14 asking Pelosi to allow the GOP proposal to be considered on the House floor under the rules of suspension, which require a two-thirds majority to pass legislation, rather than a simple majority vote.  Pelosi has signaled the House could adjourn as early as the end of this week, timed with the end of the fiscal year Thursday, Sept. 30.  The House is not expected to take up the tax cuts issue before adjournment, which is officially still scheduled for Oct. 8th. The Senate announced last Thursday it will wait until the lame duck session after the Nov. 2 election to consider what to do about the tax cuts, which are set to expire Jan. 1, 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tuesday
Sep282010

Rahm Emanuel Likely to Leave White House This Week

Photo Courtesy -- The White House(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News has learned that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is planning to make an announcement on Friday as to whether or not he is leaving his post within the Obama administration to explore a run for mayor of Chicago.  Although his decision has not been finalized, Emanuel's likely departure is not a surprise, as his mayoral aspirations have been well known.  White House officials expect that President Obama will also name an interim chief of staff, perhaps senior adviser Pete Rouse, at the announcement.   The president has been clear that Emanuel had his blessing when the job opened, aides calling it an “unbelievably attractive opportunity” for anyone that the president would support.  Emanuel has to declare his intent to enter the race by the Nov. 22nd filing deadline in Chicago. Candidates need to collect 12,500 signatures by that day to qualify for a February 22, 2011 Democratic primary.  Emanuel began to seriously consider his run for Chicago mayor when longtime Chicago mayor Richard M. Daly announced earlier this month that he would not seek reelection.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio



Monday
Sep272010

Rep. Van Hollen: 'Energy Gap is Closing'; Dems Will Hold House

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The man charged with leading Democratic campaign efforts in the House of Representatives said Monday that the Democratic base is stirring to action in advance of the midterm elections, arguing that Democrats “will retain the majority in the House” because voters won’t choose to pursue Republican policies.  “The momentum is picking up, the energy gap is closing, and the Democrats will retain the majority in the House because the American people do not want to go to the failed policies of the past,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told ABC News.”  Asked to predict how many seats Democrats would lose, he responded: “I'm not making any predictions. I know people who’ve been in the predictions business in the past and they’re often wrong -- including Karl Rove, who predicted a permanent Republican majority. Remember that one?”  Concerning Democrats choosing to distance themselves from President Obama, Van Hollen, D-Md., emphasized the ideological diversity of the Democratic caucus as opposed to the "ideological purity test" he says Republicans have.  As previously reported, Democratic party members admitted to being a party divided after a caucus meeting last Thursday which included discussion about whether or not to hold a vote on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts.  Van Hollen defended Democrats’ decision not to hold a vote on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, saying the delay is the fault of Republicans who’ve made clear they would filibuster any bill that doesn’t extend all of the tax cuts.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio










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