President Obama to Pocket-Veto Bill That Might Make It Easier to Foreclose on Homes

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News has learned that President Obama will not sign -– or “pocket veto” -- a bill that breezed through Congress that consumer groups warn would make it easier for banks to foreclose on homeowners.

The purpose of the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations (IRON) Act, written by Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Al., is to streamline the recognition of notarizations across state lines.  Aderholt said in a statement that the legislation “will help businesses around the nation by eliminating the confusion which arises when states refuse to acknowledge the integrity of documents notarized out-of-state. This issue continues to be a problem for businesses and individuals who engage in business across state lines.”

 The bill passed the House in April and sailed through the Senate without debate at the end of September, as Congress adjourned for the fall recess.

But consumer groups and some state officials noted the legislation could have the unintended consequence of exacerbating an ugly trend of unfair home foreclosures. By requiring the acceptance of out-of-state notarizations, the bill could make it more difficult for homeowners to challenge improper foreclosure attempts.

On Thursday morning, White House officials held meetings to review the legislation, with the president ultimately deciding that however well-intentioned the bill may have been, it would create too much potential for harm to homeowners at a time of economic tough times, and in the wake of a major controversy over waves of questionable foreclosures by Bank of America, JPMorgan and other big lenders.

In December 2009, President Obama issued a “pocket veto” of a “stop gap” appropriations bill that ultimately proved unnecessary since defense funding passed in time.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Republican Senatorial Committee Pulls Ad as Democrats Demand Apology 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is pulling its "Stop Obama" ad in West Virginia amid complaints from Democrats that it insults the state's residents. GOP Senate candidate John Raese also called the ad "ridiculous" in an attempt to distance himself from the controversy. Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The National Republican Senatorial Committee is pulling its "Stop Obama" ad off the air in West Virginia  amid a controversy over the casting call which reportedly asked for actors with a "'hicky' blue collar look." GOP Senate candidate John Raese called the ad "ridiculous," in an attempt to distance himself from the hullabaloo.

"The ad is ridiculous and I am happy to say that no one with the Raese campaign had anything to do with it. As a matter of fact, we asked that it be taken down long before it went public," said Raese's spokesman, Kevin McLaughlin. "But this campaign isn't about TV ads, it's about the 7,169 West Virginia seniors who are being told they are losing their health coverage because of Obamacare that Joe Manchin rubber stamped."

The ad's existence was first reported by Politico's Mike Allen. According to his report, the casting call for the ad asked for actors with a "'hicky' blue collar look...think coal miner/trucker looks."

The "Stop Obama" ad included professional actors and was made in Philadelphia. But it was word of the casting call's language that particularly fired up Democrats.

Gov. Manchin, whose standing in the polls has plummeted amid an anti-Washington wave, called the ad insulting to West Virginians and demanded an apology. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tea Party Candidates Campaigning Like It's 2012

Photo Courtesy - -- The Tea Party, which has scored upset victories against establishment candidates across the country this election season and is poised to send a number of the movement’s favorite candidates to Washington in November, has set its sight’s on an even bigger goal: 2012.

Tea Party supporters are already putting more incumbent Republican lawmakers in their cross-hairs.  The Wall Street Journal’s Janet Hook reports, “Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress, already has a conservative GOP primary opponent. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Indiana) have all drawn fire from the right wing of their party. The threat of a primary challenge may put more pressure on Republicans to steer clear of compromise with Democrats when Congress reconvenes."

When the Senate recently voted on small-business tax breaks, the bill drew support from only two Republicans -- both of whom are leaving office at the end of this term. Centrist efforts to compromise on an extension of expiring Bush-era tax cuts fizzled. Even Ms. Snowe, a perennial swing vote on taxes, resisted agreement with Democrats on the issue.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Surrogate-in-Chief Hits The Campaign Trail

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama takes to the campaign trail once again Thursday, making stops in Maryland to campaign for Gov. Martin O’Malley, followed by a trip to Chicago to lend his support to Senate contender Alexi Giannoulias.

Why the Chicago trip? It’s Obama’s second in two months to campaign for Giannoulias, who is vying for Obama’s old Senate seat, and first lady Michelle Obama plans to give the Democrat a boost when she visits next week.

Months ago it looked like Republican Rep. Mark Kirk was in a comfortable spot, particularly after the bank Giannoulias’ family owned was shut down this spring. But Kirk had his own stumbles and failed to take full advantage of the summer months to campaign. Recent polls show the race to be a virtual dead heat. As Bloomberg’s John McCormick and Roger Runningen report: “The first family’s efforts illustrate the struggle polls show Democrats face in keeping control of all statewide offices in Illinois. Their visits could rekindle local interest in the Senate race that has faded amid an unexpected mayoral race that may feature Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.…Mark Kirk, the Republican nominee, and Giannoulias have spent much of their campaign debating who is the more scandalized.”

Why Maryland? To begin with, the state is still Obama territory, at least much more so than much of the rest of the country. "The president is going there because Maryland is one place where he should be able to fire up the base and get them engaged," said Jennifer Duffy, senior analyst with the Cook Political Report. Recent polls give O’Malley an edge over Ehrlich. Senator Barbara Mikulski, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Congressman Chris Van Hollen are also expected to attend the rally.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Two Republican Candidates Won't Join Palin in California Rally

Photo Courtesy - SarahPAC/Facebook(CALIFORNIA) -- Though Sarah Palin might be heading to Delaware to show support for Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, some Republicans are wary of appearing with her.

Two of California’s marquee Republican candidates, Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina and gubernatorial contender Meg Whitman, will not be sharing a stage with Palin when she rallies voters in Anaheim, California later this month. The event is also expected to include Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

In response to their absence, The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney says, “The fact that these two Republican candidates would find someplace else to be on a Saturday afternoon less than a month before Election Day is not exactly a surprise, considering the political dynamics of this state. There are not enough Republican base voters out there to carry anyone to victory anymore in California. And independent voters -- who have been the main target of Ms. Whitman in recent days -- have a decidedly unfriendly view of Ms. Palin, here and across the country.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Says She’ll Campaign for Christine O’Donnell

Photo Courtesy - SarahPAC/Facebook(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Palin, who gave Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell a boost in the GOP primary with a last-minute endorsement, indicated on Wednesday that she's planning to campaign for O’Donnell before Election Day.

Palin told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that she would “absolutely” go to Delaware on O’Donnell’s behalf.

“You’re going to go campaign for her, I recently heard,” Hannity said in the interview.  “Yeah, absolutely,” Palin replied. “I’m honored to, I’m excited about it.”

Palin offered no specifics about the timing of the potential visit or what form it would take. But a poll out on Wednesday indicated that O’Donnell could use the help. A Fairleigh Dickinson University survey showed O’Donnell trailing her Democratic opponent Chris Coons by 17 points, 53 percent to 36 percent.

At an event in Iowa in September, Palin offered hints that she was considering a visit to Delaware, telling reporters after a state party fundraiser that she would like to “get to Delaware very soon to knock on doors.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Florida Senate Debate Gets Tough

Photo Courtesy - WFTS-TV | ABC Action News(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- An aggressive debate took place Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. between the three candidates running for Senate in Florida.  While the debate produced fireworks and some great one-liners, in the end, neither Gov. Charlie Crist (I) nor Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) was able to knock frontrunner Marco Rubio (R) off his game.

Rubio’s message – which he diligently stuck to throughout the one-hour debate – was pretty simple: I’m the anti-Washington, D.C. candidate.  Calling the health care bill and the stimulus “disaster[s]”, Rubio said, “If you like Obama care, if you like the stimulus” then vote for Crist or Meek. Rubio also fought back charges by Crist that he was supportive of privatizing Social Security, saying that it was “off the table.”

Meek, who represents a heavily Democratic district in South Florida, embraced his support of the Obama agenda, including his votes for the stimulus and health care reform.  He also worked to lump Crist and Rubio together as conservative Republicans, saying that both support “trickle-down economics” and would take the country back to Bush-era politics.  In response to Crist’s explanation for his change of position on gay adoption, Meek called Crist the “Governor Wallace of gay adoption,” arguing that he stood in the way of the issue for years.  The most recent polls show Meek essentially splitting the Democratic vote with Crist. The best way for him to consolidate that base is to call Crist out as a Republican. 

Crist, meanwhile, tried to thread the needle.  Calling himself a “live and let live kind of guy,” Crist labeled himself a “fiscal conservative and a social moderate,” while tagging Rubio as “far right” and Meek as “far left.”  Even so, he saved his strongest attacks for Rubio, calling him out as captive of the Tea Party.  “You haven’t been drinking Kool-Aid,” said Crist, “you’ve been drinking too much tea.”  He also tried to label the former Speaker of the Florida House as a serial earmarker. “I understand what it means to veto earmarks,” said Crist, “I had to do it to Rubio all the time.” With the most recent polling showing Rubio ahead among Republicans and independents, Crist needs to find a way to appeal to both, without alienating either – or losing support among Democrats. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


An Obama-Clinton Ticket in 2012? White House Says Not So Fast

Photo Courtesy -- Pete Souza | The White House(WASHINGTON) -- The White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both denied Wednesday that discussions are underway for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden to exchange roles in 2012.

“It’s just absolutely not true,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters concerning rumors of discussion of such a swap.  “It’s not a discussion that’s happening.”

On Tuesday Bob Woodward raised the possibility that Clinton would step in as Obama’s running mate and Biden would become Secretary of State.  In an interview on CNN’s John King USA, Woodward said the switch was “on the table” in White House circles.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday equally pushed back on the rumors at an appearance before the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C.

“I have absolutely no interest and no reason for doing anything other than just dismissing these stories and moving on, because there's just no -- we have no time,” Clinton said. “We have so much to do. And I think both of us are very happy doing what we're doing.“

Clinton praised Joe Biden, saying he has been doing a “wonderful job,” as vice president, adding that they have a “great relationship.”

“I love what I'm doing. I feel so privileged to serve at this time in American history,” Clinton said. “But it is mostly that I get up every day and I'm totally captivated by what the day holds, which -- I often have no idea what it's going to be. And I very much enjoy the work."

Gibbs added Wednesday that the president appreciates both Biden and Clinton in the roles they have right now.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Arlen Specter To Campaign For Former Rival Joe Sestak

Photo Courtesy - Specter Senate dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time, Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., will campaign for Joe Sestak, the congressman who ended his hopes for a sixth term in the U.S. Senate after a hard-fought primary campaign.

Specter will appear with Sestak at an event in Philadelphia on Monday that will also feature Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Just a few weeks ago, the most that Specter would say about his former rival’s campaign when asked by a reporter was, “I’m late for the squash court." (Presumably Sestak will receive a more forceful endorsement from his erstwhile opponent on Monday.)

But with less than a month to go until Election Day, Specter -- an influential voice in Pennsylvania politics -- is closing ranks behind Sestak, who is trailing his Republican opponent, former Rep. Pat Toomey, according to recent polls.

Specter switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party in 2009, avoiding what would have been an uphill battle against Toomey in the GOP primary. But the Senate veteran went on to lose in the Democratic primary to Sestak in May.

News of Monday’s event -- a private fundraiser -- was first reported by the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


A Referendum on Obama? Dems in Danger of Losing W. Va. Senate Seat

Photo Courtesy - Mark Wilson | Getty Images(W.Va.) -- The West Virginia Senate race to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd has increasingly become a referendum on President Obama's agenda. In what could be one of their biggest upset defeats this election cycle, Democrats are fearful of losing the seat they have occupied for half a century.

When Gov. Joe Manchin won the Democratic primary in August, he was considered a shoe-in for Byrd's seat. A popular governor with approval ratings to match, Manchin, 63, won high praise for his work in the aftermath of the Upper Big Branch explosion, the biggest mine disaster in decades.

The Republican nominee, businessman John Raese, had run several times before unsuccessfully. He lost his bid against Sen. Jay Rockefeller in 1984 and couldn't defeat Byrd in 2006. Raese, 60, also ran for governor in 1988, only to lose to his Democratic challenger.

Virtually all polls had Manchin with a commanding lead two months ago. But the tide has since shifted quickly. Running on an anti-Washington agenda, Raese has attracted millions of dollars from national groups hoping to unseat Democrats in what they can then paint as a symbolic election.

The anti-Obama wave is so strong that even Manchin himself has distanced himself as much from the president as possible and as vocally as he can.

Wednesday, for instance, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for holding up mine permits, in an effort spearheaded by Manchin himself.

"I've asked our stakeholders to come together today because over the past year and a half, we have been fighting the President Obama's administration's attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia," Manchin said at a news conference.

Manchin is also the first, and so far only, Democratic governor to demand a partial repeal of the health care law, even though he supported it earlier this year. He has also sought to highlight his other conservative credentials; opposing abortion and reigning in spending.

In a national political climate fraught with anti-Washington sentiment, Manchin's opponents have sought to portray the Democratic candidate as a governor who may be popular in his home state, but who will likely turn into an Obama clone once he gets to Washington.

"Joe's not bad as governor but when he's with Obama, he turns into 'Washington Joe,'" goes an ad by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, showing two men at a coffee shop talking about the differences between Gov. Manchin and "Washington Joe."

"We better keep Joe Manchin right here in West Virginia," one man says. "It's the only way we're going to stop Obama."

The West Virginia Republican party debuted campaign signs saying, "Obama Says 'Vote Democrat,'" clearly taking advantage of the anti-Washington sentiment in the state.

With Republicans viewing this race as a potential symbolic victory, money from across the country is pouring into the GOP candidate's coffers.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee reportedly plans to contribute a total of $1.3 million into Raese's campaign.

Conservative PAC American Crossroads, which was formed with the help of former Bush administration adviser Karl Rove, is planning a massive campaign to target voters that includes a "72-hour mail and phone call blitz prior to Election Day."

"West Virginia has emerged as a key state in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate and we are expanding our plans accordingly," Steven Law, president and chief executive of American Crossroads, said in a statement last week.

Democrats have launched their own attack, painting Raese as a candidate who favors corporations that send job overseas, and Manchin as a candidate who will lobby for the working class.

West Virginia has historically been a blue state; Jimmy Carter won the state both times he ran for president, as did Bill Clinton.

But the trend has shifted slowly to the right. Al Gore and John Kerry both lost the state narrowly. Obama lost by a much wider, 13 percentage point margin in the 2008 presidential election. Today, the president remains unpopular in a state where the coal and mining industry dominate and often clash with Democrats' agenda.

When Byrd died in June, he was the longest serving U.S. senator in the country's history, having been elected for nine terms.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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