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Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

White House Relaeses Details of How Looming Sequester Cuts Impact States - By releasing sequestration reports on 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, the Obama administration is hoping that local media outlets will spotlight the jobs and services that are threatened in their areas.

The reports list numerous cutbacks in federal programs that have big constituencies or political popularity, including Head Start, military readiness, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and Clean Air and Clean Water programs.  USA Today has more here.


GOP Governors To Republicans in Congress: Do Something! - Ask Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert what they think of Hill Republicans’ strategy on the sequester, and you get the exact same response: “What strategy?”

Their message for House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders: It’s not OK to just sit on the sidelines. It’s time to do something to stop the automatic cuts, and fast. has more here.


Voters Favor Cutting Military Spending - In order to reduce America’s debts and deficits, more than twice as many voters said they would support defense cuts as said they would support cuts to social programs.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they would support cutting military spending, while just 23 percent said they would support slashing Social Security and Medicare. An overwhelming majority, 69 percent, said they would oppose cuts to social programs. has more here.


Supreme Court to Hear Voting Rights Case on Wednesday - The case will focus on a provision of the Voting Rights Act that requires areas with a history of discrimination to “preclear” any changes to their voting procedures with the Justice Department. The legal team representing Shelby County, Ala., will argue that the requirement is outdated and unnecessarily burdensome. The Justice Department and civil rights attorneys will say it is still a powerful, and needed, tool to address entrenched voting discrimination.

The outcome will be influenced by the steps Congress took when it last reauthorized the provision in 2006 for another 25 years. The renewal passed the House 390-33 and the Senate 98-0. Some of the justices have indicated in previous rulings that Congress should examine adjusting the methodology that is used to determine which geographic areas are covered by the statute. The current formula uses decades-old election data. has more here.


Gibbs Told Not To Acknowledge Drone Program - "When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, you're not even to acknowledge the drone program. You're not even to discuss that it exists," Gibbs said on MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes." Gibbs, who also served as an adviser to President Obama's re-election campaign, is now a paid contributor at NBC News and MSNBC.


Talks Tomorrow on Iran Nuclear Program Unlikely to Produce Results - When Iran's nuclear negotiating team sits down with its Western counterparts in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Tuesday, it will offer no new plans or suggestions, people familiar with the views of the Iranian leadership say. More likely, they say, the Iranian negotiators will sit with arms crossed, demanding a Western change of heart.

Iran’s leaders believe that the effects of Western sanctions have been manageable, and Iran continues to make progress on what it says is a peaceful nuclear energy program. And Iran’s leaders see that North Korea, which openly admits that it wants nuclear weapons, has performed three nuclear tests without suffering any real penalties.  The NY Times has more here.


Kerry Begins First Trip as Secretary of State - Secretary of State John Kerry landed in London, England on Sunday, using his first overseas trip as America's chief diplomat to introduce himself to some of the United States' top allies.

Kerry will visit nine countries over the course of his ten-day trip, meant to be an introductory tour but also with a focus on ending the violence in Syria.

Along with the United Kingdom, Kerry will visit Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. has more here.


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