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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama pushes back on Benghazi and IRS targeting of conservative groups - President Barack Obama on Monday derided the controversy over inter-agency talking points drafted in the wake of last year’s Benghazi attack, saying that charges of a politically motivated cover-up are a “sideshow” and little more than a “political circus.”

“The whole thing defies logic,” Obama said at a White House event with British Prime Minister David Cameron. “And the fact that this whole thing keeps getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations.”

Amid outcry over revelations that Internal Revenue Service specialists specifically targeted conservative groups for scrutiny before the 2012 elections, President Barack Obama said Monday that the tax agency employees' reported conduct was "outrageous" and "contrary to our traditions."  NBC News has more here.


Justice Department secretly obtained AP phone records - The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.  You can read more here.


53% of Americans support same-sex marriages - Fifty-three percent of Americans say the law should recognize same-sex marriages, the third consecutive reading of 50% or above in Gallup polling over the past year. The 53% in favor ties the high to this point, also measured last November and in May 2011. has more here.


RNC Hispanic Outreach Director Becomes a Democrat - Pablo Pantoja, who previously served as the State Director of Florida Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, has defected to the Democratic Party.
Citing the GOP's "culture of intolerance," Pantoja confirmed his party change in an email sent Monday to Florida Nation. Pantoja also drew reference to a much-maligned dissertation from the Heritage Foundation's Jason Richwine that sought to discourage non-whites from immigrating to the United States on the basis that those groups have lower IQs. Richwine resigned from his post at Heritage last week.

"I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others," Pantoja wrote. "Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them." has more here.


SEC may require businesses to disclose political contributions - The Securities and Exchange Commission under new chief Mary Jo White is approaching a crucial decision on whether to require publicly traded corporations to disclose their campaign spending to shareholders.

If pursued, new disclosure rules could have major ramifications for both political spending on elections and the increasingly influential regulator.

Roughly half a million public comments about the proposal have poured into the agency, the overwhelming majority of which argue that shareholders have a right to know how companies involve themselves in politics. has more here.


Russia detains U.S. Embassy worker for spy recruitment -  Russia has detained an American citizen accused of trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer to work for the CIA, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Tuesday.

It said the man was an employee at the U.S. embassy in Moscow but also worked for the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The embassy declined immediate comment.

A spokesman for the FSB identified the man as Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the embassy, and said he was carrying a large amount of money and instructions for the Russian he was trying to recruit.

He said Fogle, who was also carrying "special technical equipment" and the "means for changing one's appearance", was detained overnight and then handed over to U.S. officials. has more here.


Viability of Euro Questionable - Europeans have never been wild about the European Union. With the region sapped by the euro crisis, confidence in the institution and the benefits it was supposed to provide is flagging faster and further than ever before, according to an influential opinion survey released Monday.

The results of an annual survey by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington, show a deepening disillusionment with the union in major member countries.

The results of the survey suggest that more citizens than ever could end up opposing the transfer of more power to European Union institutions that may be vital for transforming the euro into a viable currency over the long term. The NY Times has more here.


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