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October 27, 2011

Obama does not support Ohio refendum

President Barack Obama does not support the ballot initiative in Ohio that would affirm the new state law curtailing the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions.

Asked if he would oppose the measure – up for a statewide vote Nov. 8 – White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said, “The President doesn't support the ballot initiative in Ohio that would strip away fundamental collective bargaining rights."

House, in overwhelming vote, agrees to repeal of business withholding provison

The House of Representatives Thursday passed overwhelmingly a masure to repeal a planned government withholding on contractor payments, a bill considered particularly important to the small business community.

And it was a piece of President Barack Obama's job package, albeit a small one.

Under current law, federal, state and local governments are to withhold 3 percent of funds going to its contractors. Critics argued the provision, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2013, would yield little revenue, but become a burden on business.

Lawmakers from both parties agreed, as the House voted 405 to 16 to back the provision.

There was less enthusiasm, though, for the legislation that would pay for the repeal. The House passed, 262 to 157, curbing eligibility for some government health programs.

The measures now go to the Senate.

 

October 26, 2011

Report: Obama administration has enacted fewer regulations than George W. Bush

Bloomberg News takes a look at the Republican claims that President Barack Obama's passion for new regulations is stifling business and finds that the administration has actually enacted fewer regulations than George W. Bush had by the same point in his tenure.

That comes on the heels of a McClatchy survey last month that found few small businesses pointing to regulations as a cause of pain.

Romney doing well in four key early voting states

Mitt Romney is ahead, or in a statistical tie, for the lead over his Republican rivals in the four key early voting states.

A new CNN/Time/ORC International poll shows Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, in a commanding position in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.

Some details:

--Iowa, the nation's first caucus state. Romney has 24 percent, followed by businessman Herman Cain at 21 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul is next at 12 percent.

--New Hampshire, the nation's first primary state. Romney has long led in polls, and has 40 percent. Next is Cain, at 13 percent.

--South Carolina, the nation's first Southern primary. Romney has 25 percent, Cain has 23 percent, and Paul is at 12 percent.

--Florida, the first big state primary. Romney leads with 30 percent, trailed by Cain at 18 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are tied at 9 percent each.

The polls were taken Oct. 20-25. The methodology:

In Florida, a total of 1,184 adults were interviewed by telephone.  All respondents were asked questions concerning their registration status and basic demographics, and the entire sample was weighted to reflect statewide Census figures for gender, race, age, education and region of the state.  401 respondents reported that they were registered voters who were registered with the Republican party; results for Questions 1 and 2 were based on answers provided by those 401 Republican voters.  Only registered Republicans can participate in the Florida presidential primary.

 

In Iowa, a total of 1,294 adults were interviewed by telephone.  All respondents were asked questions concerning their registration status and basic demographics, and the entire sample was weighted to reflect statewide Census figures for gender, race, age, education and region of the state.  405 respondents reported that they were registered voters who were registered with the Republican party; results for Questions 1 and 2 were based on answers provided by those 405 Republican voters.  Only registered Republicans can participate in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

 

In New Hampshire, a total of 881 adults were interviewed by telephone.  All respondents were asked questions concerning their registration status and basic demographics, and the entire sample was weighted to reflect statewide Census figures for gender, race, age, education and region of the state.  211 respondents reported that they were registered voters who were registered with the Republican party; another 189 reported that they were registered as "Undeclared" and also reported that they had voted in the New Hampshire presidential primary in 2008, for a total of 400 potential Republican primary voters.  Results for Questions 1 and 2 were based on answers provided by those 400 respondents.  Registered Republicans and registered independents (undeclared) can participate in the New Hampshire presidential primary.

 

In South Carolina, a total of 861 adults were interviewed by telephone.  All respondents were asked questions concerning their registration status and basic demographics, and the entire sample was weighted to reflect statewide Census figures for gender, race, age, education and region of the state.  287 respondents reported that they were registered to vote and described themselves as Republicans; another 113 respondents reported that they were registered to vote and described themselves as Independents who lean Republican, for a total of 400 Republican voters.  Results for Questions 1 and 2 were based on answers provided by those 400 Republican voters.  South Carolina has no party registration.

To read more about the poll:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/26/poll-romney-at-or-tied-for-top-spot-in-first-4-states-to-vote/


 

Bachmann files New Hampshire primary papers

Her New Hampshire campaign staff walked out en masse last week. But that hasn't gotten in the way of Rep. Michele Bachmann's plan to run in the Granite State's Republican presidential primary.

The three-term GOP congresswoman from Minnesota filed papers today to appear on the New Hampshire ballot in January.

"I'm thrilled to take this important step on the road to securing the Republican nomination for president," Bachmann said in a statement. "The people of New Hampshire are a vital part of the process."

Her staff in the state quit in a dispute with Bachmann's national campaign.

Democrats call for State Department investigation on Keystone pipeline as protestors confront President Obama over the project

A group protesting a planned oil pipeline across the U.S. got the president's attention today, interupting a speech he was giving on making college more affordable. Obama acknowledged the protest and said their concerns would be addressed.

Obama was addressing the students at the University of Colorado when shouting was heard. The official White House transcript has Obama speaking and an unidentified "audience member" shouting "...Mother Earth -- backs of our children and our future.."

"All right, thank you, guys,"Obama said, acknowledging the dispruption. "We’re looking at it right now, all right? No decision has been made. And I know your deep concern about it. So we will address it."

The protestors held aloft a 5-ft banner reading: "Stop the Keystone Pipeline Project." They were asked to leave the event and did so without objection.

A dozen congressional Democrats today asked the State Department's Office of Inspector General to investigate what it says is "possible illegality and abuse of authority" by the agency in its review of the proposal.

October 25, 2011

Ohio voters solid against Kasich, budget law

Ohio voters strongly support repeal of the Ohio law that curtailed public employees’ right to collective bargaining, according to a new poll.
Voters by a margin of 57-32 say they favor repeal on election day of the law that was a centerpiece of Republican Gov. John Kasich’s agenda. That 25-point margin is almost double the 13-point margin measured against the law last month.
At the same time, Ohio voters are turning thumbs down on Kasich, sometimes mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Voters disapprove of his work by a margin of 52-36, according to the Quinnipiac University survey.
“With two weeks until Election Day, the opponents of SB 5 have strong reason to be optimistic,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“The opponents had seen their 24-point margin in July close over the summer and early autumn. As we enter the home stretch, however, they have once again taken a commanding lead. Except for Republicans, just about every demographic group favors repealing the law.”

 

Biden to lead delegation to Saudi Arabia

Vice President Joe Biden will lead a high-profile U.S. delegation to Saudi Arabia to mark the death of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, the White House announced Tuesday.
The delegation, which will head to the kingdom on Thursday, will also include:
--James B. Smith, United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia;
--Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.;
--Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen;
--Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus;
--CIA Director David Petraeus;
--Gen. James N. Mattis, Commander of the U.S. Central Command

 

Hope, but not necessarily confidence. Or optimism.

So just does Steny Hoyer, the House of Representatives second-ranking Democrat, feel about the prospects of success for the deficit supercommittee?

A reporter asked him Tuesday why he was confident.

"Did I say I was confident?" Hoyer, D-Md., asked.

"You said you were hopeful," the reporter said.

"Hopeful is not confident," Hoyer replied. "People ask me if you're optimistic, I said, look, I'm not optimstic, I am hopeful."

So is he confident, too?

"Time is short," Hoyer explainied, since the committee has a Nov. 23 deadline to product an agreement. "That doesn't give you a lot of confidence, but the reports I have received from our three (House Democrats) are that there is an honest working effort.

"That makes one hopeful."

2012: A good year for women to run for office, boosters say

Next year is an especially auspicious year for female political candidates to run -- and win -- seats, says the Center for American Women and Politics. Whenever presidential elections overlap with redistricting. women candidates see their chances dramatically improve, according to analysis by The 2012 Project, a non-partisan campaign to elect more women to office with the catchphrase "Don't get mad. Get elected."

"The election of 1992 – known as 'The Year of the Woman' – was not an accident," said Mary Hughes, founder and director of The 2012 Project, which is affiliated with the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. "Voting patterns unique to presidential elections, combined with new and open seats resulting from redistricting, created a perfect storm for women candidates. It’s about to happen again, and we need to make the most of it."

They’ve found that new candidates, including women, are historically more likely to win newly drawn seats and open seats created by term limits or retirements. In 1992, 22 of the 24 new women elected to Congress won open seats, according to The 2012 Project. Also, in presidential election years, more people vote.

The 2012 Project, a campaign of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, says it will take advantage of these opportunities by "educating and inspiring women to run for Congress and state legislatures." It has launched a statewide initiative in Florida along with Illinois, Alabama, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Iowa, Nevada, Missouri, South Carolina, Washington, Georgia and Arizona.

"We’re helping to set off an unprecedented level of collaboration around the country," said Debbie Walsh, director of CAWP. "Our campaign is marking the one-year countdown to Election Day with this urgent message: State candidate filing deadlines begin in December and go through next summer. Women considering a run for office should do it now."

Women now make up 17 percent of Congress and 24 percent of state legislatures. But the 2010 elections saw the first significant decline in women state legislators in decades, and the first drop in the number of women in Congress in more than 30 years.

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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