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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Eyes on Obama, Rouhani at U.N. Meeting - It would be the handshake watched around the world.
President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, will be at the United Nations together on Tuesday — their speeches to the General Assembly book-ending a luncheon for heads of state.

If both attend the luncheon — reports that Rouhani may skip circulated Monday night — they may break bread in the same room. But any gesture beyond that would be historic for two countries whose leaders have not met in three decades.

"It would be unprecedented for the Iranian president to even shake hands with the U.S. president and vice versa," said Hooman Majd, an Iranian-American author and commentator.  NBC News has more here.


Reid Moves To Remove House Language to Defund Obamacare - The Senate’s Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, delivered a broadside this week to advocates of the House plan to tie future government financing to the gutting of President Obama’s health care law, starting the clock on a showdown that could be decided on the eve of the potential government shutdown next Tuesday.

Facing opposition from the Senate’s most conservative hard-liners, Mr. Reid has set up a series of procedural tallies, starting on Wednesday, that should culminate on Sunday in votes to remove language from the House spending bill that would strip funding from the Affordable Care Act and then to pass a spending measure to keep the government operating through mid-December. It would be up to House Republican leaders to accept that Senate bill or precipitate a shutdown. The NY Times has more here.


McAuliffe Leads in Virginia Governor's Race - Democrat Terry McAuliffe has vaulted into the lead over Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II in a Virginia governor’s race that has left many voters sour on both candidates, according to a new Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll.
McAuliffe leads 47 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis’s 10 percent suggesting an unrest among voters not satisfied with either major-party contender. In a one-on-one matchup without Sarvis in the mix, the poll shows a narrower, 49-to-44-percent race between McAuliffe and Cuccinelli among likely voters — but still flips Cuccinelli’s 10-point lead from this spring.  The Washington Post has more here.


Militants Remain in Kenyan Mall - Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group said on Tuesday its militants were still holed up in a Kenyan shopping mall they attacked at the weekend and there were "countless dead bodies", raising fears the death toll could be higher than 62.

Kenyan security forces were searching for the al Qaeda-linked attackers who are believed by Western sources to include Americans and possibly a British woman who may be the widow of a suicide bomber who took part in an attack in London in 2005. Al Shabaab rejected suggestions that foreigners were involved.

Sporadic bursts of gunfire and an explosion marked the fourth day since the militants stormed into the Westgate center in Nairobi during a busy Saturday lunchtime, spraying bullets and lobbing grenades. has more here.


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