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Sunday
Oct032010

Damage Control: Meg Whitman and the Latino Vote

Photo Courtesy - Eric Draper/Meg Whitman for Governor 2010(FRESNO, Calif.) -- Republican candidate Meg Whitman and her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown made two things Saturday in the first ever Spanish-language debate in the race for governor of California: history and good television.

History was made because the 60-minute event -- held midday on the campus of Cal State Fresno and translated accordingly for both the audience and the candidates -- marked a political acknowledgment of the increasingly important Latino vote in the Golden State.

It is largely undisputed in the political world that the Latino vote is an essential one. Latinos compose approximately 21 percent of the electorate and roughly a third of California's population as a whole.

In fact, Whitman herself even admitted at the start of the debate, "I cannot win the governor's race without the Latino vote." And that's exactly why her campaign has so aggressively targeted California's Latino community.

Up until this week, Whitman’s focused campaign efforts had been working. That is until her former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, came forward -- flanked by powerhouse Democratic attorney Gloria Allred -- to announce that she is an illegal immigrant and she had been employed by Whitman for nine years.

When the candidates were asked about their platforms on immigration, Brown slyly said, "These people are working for Miss Whitman."

Brown argued that Whitman's personal history with Nicky Diaz makes her a hypocrite. And Whitman argued that Brown was behind Nicky Diaz's untimely emergence, which makes him both selfish and heartless.

The jury is still out on which side Latino voters will choose to believe. One thing is for sure, at least. As the moderator informed both gubernatorial candidates before their closing statements Saturday, "Hispanic voters are listening."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct022010

Christine O'Donnell Opted Out of Being Hare Krishna

Image Courtesy - ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell admitted in a 1999 television appearance to dabbling in several religions -- including witchcraft and Buddhism -- but said she skipped being a Hare Krishna because she couldn't give up meat.

On Friday Bill Maher aired on his HBO show, "Real Time," the clip from his previous show, "Politically Incorrect."

"I would have become a Hare Krishna, but I didn't want to become a vegetarian," she said. "And that is honestly the reason why, because I'm Italian and I love meatballs."

O'Donnell appeared on the political talk show on 22 different episodes, and Maher has said he will air an embarrassing clip of O'Donnell every week until she agrees to appear on his show. This latest video is the third in his series of unflattering clips.

Maher and O'Donnell made headlines when the talk show host released a clip of O'Donnell claiming that evolution is a myth. That video came a week after another "Politically Incorrect" clip, the now infamous footage of O'Donnell admitting to experimenting with witchcraft.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct022010

Report: Gibbs May Leave White House to Chair DNC

Photo Courtesy - Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs denies that he has had “any conversations about the future” after a report that Democratic insiders are weighing the possibility of naming him to Chair the Democratic National Committee ahead of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Current DNC Chair Tim Kaine would be appointed to a cabinet or other high-ranking position in the Obama Administration, according to Politico, which cited Democratic insiders.

“It is a great honor to have the job I have right now and I am very happy doing it,” Gibbs said in a tweet.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct022010

Obama: GOP 'Pledge' to Scrap Clean Energy Projects 'Doesn't Make Sense'

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama blasted the Republicans’ “Pledge to America” for proposing to scrap incentives for clean energy projects.

“In the pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway -- even with all the jobs and potential that they hold,” Obama said. “To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations," he said. "It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil.  And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need.”

Republicans countered that their "pledge" only calls to cancel unspent stimulus funds, not all incentives for clean energy projects.

“House Republicans’ ‘all of the above’ energy plan would actually put more money into renewable technologies, paid for by the oil industry," said Michael Steel, spokesman to House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, in a statement. "Everyone knows that the president’s trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ didn’t work, by the standards his own administration set.  False attacks won’t distract the American people asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ when it is clear the president has no new answers.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct022010

McConnell Criticizes Dems Inaction on Tax Cuts

Photo Courtesy - Office of Sen. Mitch McConnell(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, used this week’s GOP address to attack what he calls wasteful spending by the democratic leadership.

“Virtually every single piece of major legislation Democrat leaders in Washington have proposed over the past 19 months has made it either harder for businesses to hire new workers, or retain the workers they already have,” he said, “and now they want to make it even worse.”

McConnell criticized the opposition for not yet scheduling a vote to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of the year.

“At the stroke of midnight on December the 31st, every American who pays income taxes is set to get a tax hike that Democrats have had two years to prevent.”

Congress voted by a narrow margin to adjourn Thursday, delaying a vote until after November’s midterm elections.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct022010

GOP Leads in Florida Governor Race

Photo Courtesy - Rick Scott for Governor(HAMDEN, Conn.) -- Republican Rick Scott holds a 49-43 percent lead over Democrat Alex Sink in the race to become Florida’s next governor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters.  The poll finds that Florida voters' overall low opinion of President Barack Obama appears to be dragging Sink down.

Quinnipiac says its poll, released Friday, is the first "likely" voter general election survey in Florida in this election cycle and "can not be compared with prior surveys of registered voters."

The poll finds that although Scott holds a 6-point lead in the horse race, the candidates have almost identical favorability ratings from Florida likely voters: 39–39 percent for Sink and 41–40 percent for Scott.

Florida "likely" voters disapprove 56–40 percent of the job President Obama is doing.  Democrats approve 83–15 percent, while disapproval is 92–6 percent among Republicans and 56–38 percent among independent voters, according to the poll.

“It’s no surprise that Scott’s campaigning and advertising has been trying to tie State Chief Financial Office Alex Sink to President Barack Obama.  The president’s low ratings, especially among independents who are likely to decide the governor’s race, are a problem for Ms. Sink’s campaign,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from September 23–28.  It surveyed 1,151 Florida likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

White House Transition: Rahm Emanuel Out, Pete Rouse In

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama announced Friday that his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, will leave Washington to run for mayor of Chicago. The president named senior advisor Pete Rouse as his interim chief of staff.

"This is a bittersweet moment," the president said, as he praised Emanuel, adding that "we could not have accomplished what we accomplished without Rahm's leadership."

Rouse brings to the job over 30 years serving as a chief of staff to various members of Congress, including former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Rouse's influence and experience earned him the nickname The 101st Senator.

Rouse brings a low-key temperament, in contrast to Emanuel's hard-charging style, which administration officials say will suit the White House well at this point in time.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

Obama at Fundraiser: 'People...Can Make a Difference'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In twin Democratic fundraisers in Washington, President Obama helped the party raise an estimated $1.75 million as he urged the party's faithful to get energized for the congressional elections in which Democrats could lose significant majorities.

“This was never going to be easy,” the president told 50 donors at a candlelit dinner in the home of his former aide, Linda Douglass. “When people come together, they can make a difference. You can see them get a little more pep in their step."

He scoffed at critics who claim his recent rally in Wisconsin didn’t show the same degree of enthusiasm he drew in his campaign.

The president urged the donors who contributed as much as $34,000 each to the Democratic Party not to rest between now and Election Day, Nov. 2.

“You can rest Nov. 3,” he said.

At the night's second event, 3,000 young people crowded into DAR Constitution Hall for what the party called a Gen44 Summit concert, with tickets as low as $44.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

Supreme Court Begins New Term Monday; Cases Scheduled on Death Penalty, First Amendment

Photo Courtesy - Kathleen Dooher(WASHINGTON) -- Justice Elena Kagan will take the bench of the Supreme Court on Monday, joining her eight colleagues for the first day of arguments of the 2010 term.

The term's docket features a variety of issues related to the First Amendment, the death penalty, states' rights and prosecutorial misconduct, but the docket is overshadowed by what looms in the future: potential challenges to health care legislation, same-sex marriage and immigration reform. Those issues are currently working their way through the lower courts and could reach the Supreme Court next year or beyond.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

Liberal Groups Come Together for Washington March

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A coalition of labor unions, civil rights and progressive groups is banding together for a rally in Washington, D.C. this weekend, aiming to put job creation on the top of the congressional agenda.

Organizers of "One Nation Working Together," organized by some 400 groups, say the goal is to tell lawmakers they need to find common ground on the issue of jobs and get people to vote come November.

"We're not a response to the Tea Party. If anything, we're the antidote. We are a different response to the same moment," NAACP president Benjamin Jealous told ABC News. "They have sought to attack diversity. They have attacked the 14th amendment. They made racial profiling the law of the land in Arizona and have ambitions to do it elsewhere. We say, 'Don't push down on diversity, push up on prosperity.'"

The rally, expected to draw thousands of people, is a chance for Democratic groups to reenergize the base. The surge of the Tea Party movement and conservative groups has rallied Republicans in much the same fashion as Democrats in 2008.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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