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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama in Israel - Obama arrived Wednesday in Israel for his first visit to the country — and only his second to the Middle East, outside of a quick jaunt to Iraq — since taking office. He will also be making his first trips as president to the Palestinian Authority and Jordan this week. But on an itinerary laden more with symbolism than substance, an Israel that is increasingly wary of developments in Syria and Iran is Obama’s main focus.
Air Force One touched down in Tel Aviv early Wednesday afternoon after an overnight flight from Washington. Among those there to greet him were President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. has more here.

Reid Drops "Assault Weapons Ban" from Senate Gun Legislation -  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided not to include an assault-weapons ban in the gun legislation he’ll bring to the Senate floor next month.

“Obviously I'm disappointed," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who authored the assault-weapons ban, said yesterday. NBC News has more here.


House Bipartisan Group Close To Immigration Reform Proposal - A group of eight lawmakers — four Republicans and four Democrats — has been meeting privately to craft a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and they told Boehner and other Republican leaders last week that they were close to a deal.

The House group has kept a tight lid on details of the legislation they are drafting, but Hoyer said it would include a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., which is perhaps the most contentious issue in the immigration debate.

“I do not anticipate the announcement of a bill or bipartisan principles in the next week,” Gutierrez said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, “but I am hopeful that after recess, after Easter, the process will move forward quickly in both the House and the Senate.” has more here.


Sanford Moves on To Runoff Election - The first chapter in a wild race to fill a Congressional seat in South Carolina was written Tuesday when former Gov. Mark Sanford staged something of a comeback in a Republican field crowded with 16 candidates, and Democrats overwhelmingly picked Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a businesswoman on leave from Clemson University.

By the time the polls closed in the district, which stretches along the coastal Low Country and includes Charleston, it was clear Mr. Sanford had at least some political redemption. With 99 percent of the votes counted, he got 37 percent of them.       

But because he did not get more than 50 percent, he will have to stand in a runoff before he can hope to face the Democrat on May 7.
In a close race for second among the Republicans that will prompt a recount, Curtis Bostic, a former member of the Charleston County Council, had 13 percent of the vote, while Larry Grooms, a state senator, had 12 percent.  The NY Times has more here.

Crist as Democrat, is Favored in Florida Governor Race - According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 50% of Florida registered voters say they would back Crist, running as a Democrat, with 34% supporting Gov. Rick Scott, if next year's gubernatorial contest was held today.

And the survey indicates that half of Florida voters say Crist's switch from Republican to independent and now to Democrat is a positive thing that shows he's a pragmatist, with four in ten saying it's a negative move which shows he lacks core beliefs. has more here.

Obama Picks Indiana in NCAA Tournament
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