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Monday, July 1, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof 

Obama Sends Thoughts to Families of Firefighters Killed in Arizona - President Barack Obama said Monday that his thoughts are with the families of 19 firefighters who were killed battling a blaze in Arizona.
"Yesterday, nineteen firefighters were killed in the line of duty while fighting a wildfire outside Yarnell, Arizona," he said in a statement. "They were heroes -- highly-skilled professionals who, like so many across our country do every day, selflessly put themselves in harm's way to protect the lives and property of fellow citizens they would never meet. In recent days, hundreds of firefighters have battled extremely dangerous blazes across Arizona and the Southwest. The federal government is already assisting, and we will remain in close contact with state and local officials to provide the support they need. But today, Michelle and I join all Americans in sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of these brave firefighters and all whose lives have been upended by this terrible tragedy." has more here.


Snowden Stuck in Russia - Three weeks after Snowden revealed himself as the source of leaked top-secret documents on U.S. intelligence gathering, the former intelligence contractor is stuck in legal limbo in Russia. Although he has not been seen publicly in days, he is thought to be inside a transit area of a Moscow airport.

On Sunday, two of his strongest supporters — Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and President Rafael Correa of Ecuador — said it was unlikely that Snowden would leave there anytime soon.

“The United States, by canceling his passport, has left him for the moment marooned in Russia,” said Assange, whose anti-secrecy organization has aided Snowden in his flight.  The Washington Post has more here.


Strong Democratic Support for Hillary Clinton in 2016 - Early supporters of Barack Obama in 2008 are embracing the prospects of a Hillary Clinton run in 2016.

Several House Democrats who endorsed Obama over Clinton in the 2008 primary said that all signs point to widespread Democratic support for a second presidential bid for the former secretary of State.

One of Obama’s earliest supporters, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), said that if Clinton chooses to run, she will be the favorite.

Fattah’s sentiments come on the heels of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) contention that Democrats are coalescing behind a Clinton candidacy.

Pelosi recently told USA Today, "There's a great deal of excitement about the prospect that she would run. I don't know why she wouldn't run. She's prepared. She's well-known. She's highly respected. She knows she could do the job very, very well.” has more here.


Unemployment Hits Record high in Eurozone - Euro zone unemployment was at a record high in May, but consumer prices rose in June for a second month in a row and staved off the threat of deflation in the bloc's sickly economy.

The ECB holds a monetary policy meeting on Thursday, though it is expected to hold interest rates at the current record lows for the foreseeable future.

In a sign of the weak economy, unemployment in the bloc stood at a record 12.1 percent, a touch above the revised figure of 12.0 percent in April, but below Eurostat's earlier reading of 12.2 percent. It was lower than a forecast by economists polled by Reuters, who saw a reading of 12.3 percent in May. has more here.


Justice Kennedy Denies Motion to Halt Gay Marriage - Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has denied a request from Proposition 8 supporters in California to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the nation's most populous state.

Kennedy turned away the request on Sunday with no additional comment.

Same-sex marriage opponents asked him to step in on Saturday, a day after the federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed same-sex marriages to go forward. Numerous weddings were performed at San Francisco City Hall following the court decisions.

The opponents said the appeals court had acted about three weeks too soon. Proposition 8 supporters could continue their efforts to halt gay marriage by filing their request with another Supreme Court justice. has more here.


GOP Begins Program to Recruit Female Candidates - With a stagnant number of women in its caucus, the House GOP’s campaign organization announced a new program Friday, Project Grow, to recruit, mentor and elect more female candidates in 2014.

“We need more women to run,” Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said. “Project Grow will plant that seed that will get them thinking of doing it.”

CQ Roll Call reported earlier this week that the National Republican Congressional Committee was in the early stages of formalizing a female candidate recruitment program for the upcoming midterm cycle. The NRCC’s announcement was part of a joint event with six GOP committees that are making an new organized effort to help female candidates.

The “Women on the Right UNITE” effort is run by the Republican National Committee, NRCC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Republican State Leadership Committee, College Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association. The goal is to help female candidates ascend to all levels of government. has more here.


Protesters Demand Morsy Step Down - Egyptians who helped overthrow a 29-year dictatorship in a widely hailed revolution have now given the country's first democratically elected president one day to step down from office.

In a statement posted Monday on its official Facebook page, Tamarod (the "rebel" campaign") demanded that if President Mohamed Morsy doesn't leave office by Tuesday, the group will begin a civil disobedience movement, call for nationwide protests and march on the presidential palace, where Morsy's administration is running affairs.
On Monday, protesters stormed the main headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party that Morsy led before his election. Armed with Molotov cocktails, the mob set the office on fire, shouting, "The people have toppled the regime."
At least 16 people were killed and more than 780 were wounded Sunday and Monday during the unrest in Egypt, the nation's health minister said, according to the official Egypt News agency. has more here.
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