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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Biden Urges Democrats To Support Gun Violence Legislation - Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered an emotional push for gun control measures that the administration is proposing at a House Democratic retreat here, saying recent tragedies leave lawmakers no choice but to act to mitigate the damage of future incidents.
The pep talk amounted to preaching to the choir. Most Democrats are supportive of some, if not all, of the measures.

“Enough is enough is enough,” Biden said. “Don’t tell me because we can’t solve it all we can’t act at all.”

Biden said the political landscape is far different today than in 1994, when Congress passed a ban on assault weapons, which some analysts said then contributed to significant losses in the midterm elections that year.

“The world has changed,” Biden said. “The American public has changed.” has more here.


Braley To Run For Harken Iowa Senate Seat - Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, told supporters Thursday he is running for Senate.

The four-term congressman’s entrance into the race gives Democrats a top-tier candidate to hold the seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who announced last month he will not seek a sixth term.

“It’s a big responsibility to represent the people of Iowa in the United States Senate, especially after Tom Harkin has shown us how for the last 30 years,” Braley said in the email. “But, if you are willing to help me, I’m ready to go.”  You can read more here.


Public Says It's Illegal To Target Americans Living Abroad with Drones - By a two-to-one margin (48%-24%) American voters say they think it is illegal for the U.S. government to target its own citizens living abroad with drone attacks, according to a recent national survey of registered voters by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind. Just 24 percent say it is legal, agreeing with the position taken by the US Attorney and the Obama administration.

"The public clearly makes an assumption very different from that of the Obama administration or Mr. Brennan: the public thinks targeting American citizens abroad is out of bounds," said Peter Woolley, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and analyst for PublicMind. You can read more here.


Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Plea Deal Will Include Jail -  A plea deal now on the table between former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) and federal authorities includes “significant jail time,” a  source told The Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday.

“Significant jail time is now definitely a part of the deal,” the source said.

Jackson has been the target of a federal criminal probe since last year, which has been reportedly looking into his alleged misuse of campaign funds. The longtime Illinois lawmaker referenced both the probe and his ongoing health issues in his letter of resignation from Congress, which he tendered in November, despite having won re-election just days before.  The Chicago Sun-Times has more here.


More Details Emerge on Menendez Ethics - Sen. Robert Menendez raised concerns with top federal health-care officials twice in recent years about their finding that a Florida eye doctor — a close friend and major campaign donor — had overbilled the government by $8.9 million for care at his clinic, Menendez aides said Wednesday.

Menendez is facing a Senate ethics inquiry about two free trips he took in 2010 on Melgen’s private plane to the doctor’s seaside mansion in the Dominican Republic. Menendez acknowledged this month that he had not properly disclosed the trips. He wrote a personal check for $58,500 to reimburse Melgen. The Washington Post has more here.


Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) Delays Vote on Hagel - The Senate Armed Services Committee will not vote this week on whether to confirm Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of Defense amid unrelenting pressure from Republicans over his financial disclosures.

“I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete,” Levin said. “I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible.” has more here.


Obama Will Help Democrats Raise Funds - The president, who has a vested interest in Democrats retaining their Senate majority and trying to narrow Republican control of the House, is already making plans to return to the campaign trail. He has agreed to hold at least 14 separate fund-raising events this year, a Democratic official familiar with the plans told The New York Times, characterizing it as an "aggressive schedule."

Mr. Obama will appear at 10 events outside Washington: five for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and five for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He will also host one event for each committee in Washington as well as appearing at two joint fund-raising galas for House and Senate candidates.  The NY Times has more here.


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