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September 28, 2012

Democrats kick off get-out-the-vote efforts Saturday

With less than 40 days to go until Election Day, Democrats are kicking off a Gotta Vote bus tour in Iowa Saturday.

The bus will roll through half a dozen states in the coming weeks to remind people to register or vote early. Early voting started Thursday in Iowa. It begins in Ohio Tuesday.

The tour begins in Sioux City and Council Bluffs Saturday. The bus will remain in Iowa through next week with stops across the state. 

Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, governors and congressmen will join the tour to mobilize, register and turn out voters.

Obama + Netanyahu talk as GOP slams Obama for not meeting face to face

President Obama talked with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today as part of what the White House says are "regular consultations."

The talk comes a day after Netanyahu appeared at the United Nations and called for action to block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and as Republicans blast Obama for not meeting with Netanyahu at the United Nations.

The White House, which noted that Netanyahu had met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said Obama and Netanyahu "discussed a range of security issues" and that Obama "reaffirmed his and our country’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.

"The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," the White House said, adding that Netanyahu "welcomed President Obama's commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must to achieve that goal."

The call comes as the Republican Jewish Coalition today released the latest in what it says is a series of print ads that criticize Obama. This one, "The View," dings Obama for his decision to appear on the talk show while "refusing" to meet with Netanyahu. The RJC ad calls this decision and other foreign policy "missteps part of a pattern of 'Jimmy Carter-style foreign policy.' "

The ad will run next week in 11 Jewish newspapers as full-page ads in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nevada.

GOP insiders now see chances for Senate takeover fading

Republican insiders have soured on the party's chances of winning a Senate majority this year, a new National Journal Political Insiders Poll reported Friday.

A poll analysis called the outlook "a stunning drop in optimism for a party that began 2012 confident it would regain control of the chamber."

Democrats now control 53 of the Senate's 100 seats but 23 of those Democratic seats are up for re-election this year. Only 10 Republican seats are up.

But prospects for a GOP takeover appear to be fading. Missouri, once thought to be a close contest, appears to have swung Democratic. And North Dakota, considered a Republican stronghold, is now too close to call.

The poll found 4 percent of Republican insiders saw the party's chances of winning back the Senate as high. The Journal called this finding "a free-fall in confidence from when National Journal Insiders were asked about Senate races in February."

At that time, 66 percent of Republicans were confident they'd win the seats needed for a majority. Last year at this time, the figure was 79 percent.

Democrats went the other direction. 59 percent of the party's insiders say odds are low they'll lose the majority. Seven months ago, 16 percent felt that way.

To read more: http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2012/09/-fineprint-font.php


September 27, 2012

Obama up 65-24 over Romney among Jewish voters

Sixty-five percent of American Jewish voters back President Barack Obama, while 24 percent support Republican Mitt Romney, according to a new American Jewish Committee national survey. The think tank and advocacy organization also found about 10 percent undecided.

Romney has made a strong effort to attract Jewish voters, visiting Israel this summer and maintaining he'd be a strong ally of Israel than Obama.

But he hasn't picked up Jewish support. A March survey found 61 percent chose Obama and 28 percent for Romney.

The trend follows a historic pattern. In 2008, according to exit polls, Obama got more than three-fourths of the Jewish vote.

Among the new survey's findings:

Orthodox Jews support Romney over Obama by 54 to 40 percent. Conservative Jews are 64 to 23 percent for Obama. Reform Jews are 68 to 23 percent for Obama.

Among 18-29 year olds, 65 percent support Obama and 26 percent are for Romney. Those 30-44 years old are  57 to 24 percent for Obama; among 45-59 year olds, 65 to 27 percent for Obama; and among those 60-plus, 68 to 22 percent for Obama.

Obama has more support among Jewish women, 69 to 19 percent, than men, 61 to 29 percent, against Romney.

To read more: http://news.yahoo.com/ajc-national-survey-american-jewish-opinion-shows-obama-212400189.html

Press group to honor Politico reporter

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Thursday will give its First Amendment Award to Politico White House Reporter Josh Gerstein for his work pushing for greater access to government information.

Gerstein, a veteran of ABC News, CNN and the New York Sun, has been part of Politico's White House team since 2009.

From Politico:

"While he does not hold a law degree, Gerstein is the author of a 1991 Massachusetts law requiring college and university police departments to keep a public log of arrests and reported crimes. He is also an expert on the Freedom of Information Act and has pursued several lawsuits seeking records on federal contracting, abuse allegations of Guantanamo detainees, use of the Patriot Act’s sneak-and-peek provisions and the government’s handling of classified information leaks.

"Josh is more than deserving of this award. His keen eye, excellent writing and veteran experience are only a few of the reasons we’re so proud to have him work at POLITICO,” said Editor-in-Chief John Harris.


Survey: The tiny percentage of remaining undecided voters care about air quality, energy issues

Undecided voters in eight battleground states have distinctive views about clean air and clean energy, according to a poll released Thursday.

Those voters are strongly supportive of air pollution standards for mercury and higher mileage standards for vehicles, said Tom Jensen, director of North Carolina's Public Policy Polling. As a result, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney could have serious trouble appealing to the small sliver of or undecided voters who care about environmental issues, he said.

"Romney's views are at odds with the very centrist voters he needs," Jensen said.

He points to results of the poll showing 60 percent of likely voters say they'd be likely to support a candidate who wants to reduce mercury emissions from power plants. Of those, 28 percent they would not. Thirteen percent are undecided.

Among undecided voters, the numbers are similar: 59 percent say they'd support a candidate who wants to cut emissions; 31 would not. Nine percent are undecided.

The poll was conducted in Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin between Sept. 14 and 20. It surveyed 22,412 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/-0.7 percent,

It was conducted for the NRDC Action Fund, the political affiliate of the National Resources Defense Council that supports environmentally friendly candidates. Full poll results.

Continue reading "Survey: The tiny percentage of remaining undecided voters care about air quality, energy issues" »

White House accuses Republicans of looking to politicize attacks in Libya

White House press secretary Jay Carney today accused Republicans of looking to turn the attack in Libya that killed four Americans into a partisan issue.

Republicans have raised questions about the security levels at the consulate and Obama's refusal to label them a "terrorist attack." The White House has offered various triggers for the attack and Carney on Air Force One today referred questions to the FBI, adding that the "perpetrators of the attack must be brought to justice." 

He said that "every step of the way, the information that we have provided to you and the general public about the attack in Benghazi has based on the best intelligence we have and the assessments of our intelligence community."

Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the campaign wasn't worried about the Romney attacks, adding, "every time Gov. Romney has attempted to dip his toe in the foreign policy waters, it's been an unmitigated disaster."

She cited criticism of Romney's Europe trip and said he made the wrong move by immediately criticizing the administration's response to the Benghazi attacks.

White House weighs in on resolution of NFL ref impasse: It's a great day for America

President Obama is "very pleased" that the NFL owners and refs have settled the great contract dispute of 2012, press secretary Jay Carney says.

The agreement will "ensure that going forward, when we watch our favorite teams play in the NFL, we can focus on the players and the game rather than on the officiating," Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. "It's a great day for America."

September 26, 2012

Obama still feeling the heat on foreign affairs as he turns to domestic politics

President Obama is off to campaign in Ohio -- where polls show him opening up a double digit lead over challenger Mitt Romney.

But the Romney campaign is still hitting him on foreign affairs, asking why Obama hasn't called the deadly attacks in Libya a "terrorist attack." The Republican National Committee is out with a new video that shows other administration officials calling the attack a terrorist attack.

"President Obama has failed to acknowledge what his own administration and the American people already know to be true – the horrendous attacks in Benghazi were acts of terrorism against the United States of America," said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams. "Mitt Romney believes these terrible acts were terrorism and should be condemned as such."

And on TV today, NBC's Chuck Todd told Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter that the fact that Obama held no meetings with world leaders at the United Nations this week "doesn't seem like a very defensible position."

Cutter called it a "question for my colleagues at the White House," but repeated the White House's line that as "president, you're always talking to world leaders, it's just not one event it's every day."

Thousands demand factcheckers at presidential debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates is being urged to provide "non-partisan factcheckers" at the debates that start next week.

Vicki Meyer, a retired Florida college instructor, will deliver a petition with over 215,000 signatures  using SignOn.org, an online platform from MoveOn.org.

“People are disillusioned, I’m disillusioned; lying is destroying our democracy,” Meyers said. “We need to have fact checkers at the debate, so that we can restore confidence in our political process.  I have met too many people while registering people to vote, who are dropping out of the process because they feel like they are being lied to by both sides. A democracy cannot work properly if political leaders can lie to the public without fear of being challenged.”

Obama and Romney will participate in three debates: Oct. 3 in Denver,  Oct. 16 in Hempstead, New York and Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Florida.

Read more here: http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/washington/2012/09/obama-lowers-expectations-for-debate-performance.html#storylink=cpy


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

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