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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama in Boston Today - President Barack Obama is seeking to refocus a nervous nation’s attention on those killed and gravely wounded in what he called an “act of terror” at the Boston Marathon.
Americans also will be looking to the president to offer reassurances about the nation’s safety as investigators scramble to answer key questions about an attack with origins that are yet unknown.

The president was to speak Thursday at an interfaith service in Boston honoring the three people killed and 170 injured when a pair of bombs ripped through the crowd gathered Monday afternoon near the finish line of the famous race. Investigators have an image of a potential suspect, though much about what happened remains a mystery, keeping tensions high in Boston and elsewhere around the country.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, are heading to Boston for the “Healing Our City” service. He may also meet with some of those injured, as well as the first responders who rushed toward the blast to help the scores of runners and spectators.

“We send our support and encouragement to people who never expected that they’d need it — the wounded civilians who are just beginning what will be, I’m sure for some of them, a long road to recovery,” Obama said Wednesday.  You can read more here.


Obama Blasts Republicans for Blocking Background Checks - A visibly angry President Obama tore into Senate Republicans on Wednesday for voting down legislation to expand background checks on gun sales, accusing opponents of the measure of deliberately lying to derail its passage.

“Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders not just to honor the memory of their children but to protect the lives of all of our children,” Obama said, standing alongside Vice President Biden and a handful of people whose lives had been affected by gun violence. “A few minutes ago a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn’t worth it.”

The bill garnered a 54-vote majority versus 46 opposed, but fell short of the 60 needed to overcome the minority’s filibuster. has more here.

President Obama’s ambitious effort to overhaul the nation’s gun laws in response to December’s school massacre in Connecticut suffered a resounding defeat Wednesday, when every major proposal he championed fell apart on the Senate floor.


Gabrielle Giffords NY Times Op-Ed "A Senate in The Gun Lobby's Grip" - SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.

On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count. Read the entire op-ed here.


Arrest Made in Ricin Case - By Wednesday night, authorities had arrested Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth, Miss., as a suspect in the ricin mailings, the FBI said in a statement. Curtis also sent a third letter to a Mississippi justice official, the FBI said. He is well known to law enforcement as a frequent letter-writer to lawmakers, two officials said.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), in a statement late Wednesday, thanked law enforcement officials “for their professionalism and decisive action in keeping our family and staff safe from harm.”  The Washington Post has more here.


Majority in U.S. Want Wealth More Evenly Distributed - About six in 10 Americans believe that money and wealth should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people in the U.S., while one-third think the current distribution is fair. Although Americans' attitudes on this topic have fluctuated somewhat over time, the current sentiment is virtually the same as when Gallup first asked this question in 1984. Slightly fewer have favored a more even distribution since October 2008.

Wealth distribution is a key polarizing issue in contemporary U.S. politics. Partisan reactions to this question reflect that polarization, with more than eight in 10 Democrats saying money and wealth need to be more evenly distributed, compared with 28% of Republicans. There is a similar, although less extreme, divide between the views of liberals -- 79% of whom say money and wealth should be more evenly distributed -- and those of conservatives (41%). has more here.


National GOP Will Not Help Sanford Campaign - National Republicans on Wednesday abandoned former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) amid his ex-wife’s allegations that he trespassed in her home.

As damaging new details of Sanford’s family dispute emerged, the National Republican
Congressional Committee said it would not support his political comeback bid in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district.

The former governor is facing Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, in his comeback attempt.

Strategists in both parties have been predicting a tight race. But the most recent allegations against Sanford — and the NRCC’s decision to stay on the sidelines —represent a dire threat to the Republican candidate’s chances.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had previously endorsed Sanford. His office did not respond to questions about whether he still supported the former governor. has more here.


House Democratic Campaign Committee Raises $22.6 Million in 1st Quarter - House Democrats’ campaign arm raised an unprecedented $22.6 million in the first quarter of this year, thanks in large part to member contributions, committee officials say.

According to fundraising figures provided to CQ Roll Call, $4.3 million, or 19 percent, of what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised so far this year came directly from caucus dues. has more here.


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