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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof 

President Obama’s approval ratings have increased since a trio of controversies involving his administration began dominating the news cycle - Fifty percent of those surveyed in Gallup’s three-day tracking poll released Wednesday say they approve of the job the president is doing, compared to 43 percent who said they disapprove.

The 7 percentage-point positive margin is better than where the president stood in the poll over the two weeks before the IRS and Department of Justice scandals broke, and is near Obama’s rating over the waning days of the 2012 campaign when voters convincingly elected him to a second term in office. has more here.


73% Believe Congress should focus on economy and unemployment, not investigations - An overwhelming majority of Americans said that the economy and unemployment should take precedence over the Congressional investigations into the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups, the Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records and last year's deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University released Thursday.
The poll found that 73 percent of American voters nationwide believe that dealing with the economy and unemployment should be a higher priority than the investigations. Fewer than a quarter of Americans — 22 percent — believe that the investigations should be the higher priority. has more here.


McAuliffe Leads Cuccinelli in Virginia Governors Race - Although both candidates are unpopular among Virginia voters, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe holds a 5-point edge over Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the Commonwealth's 2013 gubernatorial race, according to the latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling released Wednesday.

The poll showed McAuliffe picking up the support of 42 percent of Virginia voters, while Cuccinelli trailed with 37 percent support. Those findings are virtually identical to a poll earlier this month from Quinnipiac University, which also showed McAuliffe leading by five. Both PPP and Quinnipiac surveyed a sample of registered voters.

Polls conducted in late-April and early-May by the Washington Post and NBC News/Marist used samples of likely voters, showing Cuccinelli leading by 10 points and three points respectively.

PPP's latest release painted a picture of a race that may ultimately be won by the candidate who voters dislike less. Thirty-three percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of McAuliffe, the longtime Clinton loyalist, while 29 percent have a favorable opinion of him. But Democrats may take solace in the knowledge that Cuccinelli, a vocal social conservative, is even more unpopular: 44 percent have an unfavorable view of him compared with 32 percent who said they have a favorable view. You can read more here.


Obama to Nominate Comey as F.B.I. Director - President Obama plans to nominate James B. Comey, a former senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as FBI director, according to two people with knowledge of the selection process.

Comey, 52, was at the center of some of the most bruising debates over counterterrorism during the Bush administration and established a reputation as a fierce defender of the law and the integrity of the Justice Department regardless of the political pressures of the moment.

The expected nomination of Comey, a Republican, was seen in some quarters as a bipartisan move by a president besieged by Republicans in Congress. But Chuck Hagel’s prior service as a Republican senator from Nebraska did not spare him from a bruising nomination battle for secretary of defense.  The Washington Post has more here.


"Nuclear Action" in Senate Resurfaces as Republicans Stall Nominees - Members of a liberal coalition pushing for filibuster reform believe Reid could garner the 51 votes needed to change the Senate rules on a party-line vote.

“Reid has 51 votes,” said a liberal advocate for filibuster reform who has met with Democratic senate offices to push for reform.
Dalal Aboulhosn, an advocate at the Sierra Club, said it will be easier to round up votes for changing the filibuster rule for stalled nominees than for reworking the filibuster rule for controversial legislation.

“I think if we narrow it down, we would be able to see more progress than we have on the larger reform even though the larger reform is just as important,” she said. “Going back to the mounting frustration that senators are voicing very publicly, I think they are willing to come to the table and at least discuss the options.”  You can read more here.


Chaffe Switches Affiliation To Democrat - Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee will formally switch his party registration Thursday, abandoning his status as an independent and joining the Democratic Party, the governor’s office told POLITICO.

Chafee quietly informed President Barack Obama of his intention to affiliate as a Democrat after reaching that decision in private, Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said. The governor’s office confirmed Chafee’s plans after POLITICO reported that the governor had notified national Democrats that he’d be joining the party. has more here.


Threatening Letters to Bloomberg Test Positive for Ricin - Preliminary tests indicate ricin was found in letters sent this past weekend to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York deputy police commissioner Paul Browne said Wednesday.

Browne said the letters to Bloomberg contained a threat to the mayor and mentioned the debate on gun laws.
"The letter obviously, referred to our anti-gun efforts but there's 12,000 people (who) are going to get killed this year with guns and 19,000 that are going to commit suicide with guns, and we're not going to walk away from those efforts," Bloomberg said. has more here.
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