Blog Posts by Holly Bailey, Yahoo News

  • Democrats hold financial advantage ahead of midterms


    With just six weeks to go until Election Day, Democrats face an uphill battle to defend their majority control of Congress, but the party does have at least one thing going for them in the final stretch of the campaign: They have more cash to spend than Republicans.

    According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Monday, Democratic party committees outraised their GOP counterparts in August and, with the exception of Senate Democrats, ended the month with more cash in the bank. It was a rare sign of optimism for Democrats, who had been narrowly outraised by some GOP committees for most of the summer.

    By far, the biggest fundraising gap was between the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, which has struggled all year to raise funds under Chairman Michael Steele.

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  • Michelle Obama to enter the midterm campaign fray

    michelleFirst Lady Michelle Obama is preparing to hit the campaign trail on behalf of embattled Democrats.

    The White House announced Tuesday that she will make at least nine campaign stops in six states next month — a fairly tough schedule for a first lady who has admitted she doesn't enjoy the campaign trail.

    According to the preliminary schedule, Obama will hit the road beginning Oct. 13, when she'll help raise cash in Milwaukee for embattled Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold. She'll go from there to Chicago, where she'll stump for Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for Senate in Illinois, and three local House candidates.

    The next day, Obama will headline a fundraising luncheon in Denver for Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. On Oct. 18, she'll travel to Manhattan for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. On Oct. 25, she's scheduled to travel to Seattle, to hold a fundraiser for Sen. Patty Murray, who faces a tough re-election bid.

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  • GOP groups linked to Rove raise $14.5 million in August

    rovegillespieTwo affiliated conservative groups with ties to former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie raised a combined $14.5 million in August to help boost GOP candidates ahead of November's midterms, with most of that money coming from an undisclosed list of donors.

    American Crossroads, a so-called 527 political committee, raised just over $2.6 million in August, according to a report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission. The bulk of that money came from two $1 million donations: one from Dallas energy executive Trevor Rees-Jones; the other from Robert Rowling, head of Dallas-based TRT Holdings, the parent company of Gold's Gym and Omni Hotels. Both are repeat donors: Rees-Jones previously gave $1 million to the group in April, while TRT Holdings donated $1 million in June.

    The group also received a $400,000 check from the American Financial Group, a company linked to major GOP donor Carl Lindner; and a $20,000 check from Sam Fox, a major Bush fundraiser who also helped to fund the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a 527 group that famously attacked John Kerry's military record in 2004.

    The group ended the month with just over $7 million in the bank.

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  • In new ad, Palin calls the tea party ‘the future of politics’

    palinadFor months, Sarah Palin has been coy about any plans to run for the White House in 2012, but it's getting increasingly hard to believe she's not positioning herself to be a candidate.

    Over the weekend, she delivered a high-profile speech before Republicans in Iowa, a key presidential primary state. And now on Tuesday, SarahPAC, her political action committee, has come out with a new ad billed as a spot endorsing the tea party movement -- but really, it's all about cementing Palin as the leader of the movement.

    The video, which runs a tight 80 seconds, shows images of Palin giving speeches to large tea party rallies like a Nevada gathering in March. The audio includes excerpts from a speech Palin delivered at the National Tea Party Convention in February, in which she proclaimed that the movement is "the future of politics."

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  • Reid calls Gillibrand the ‘hottest member’ of the Senate

    reidSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in the fight of his political life back in Nevada, where he's facing one of the toughest re-election battles in the country. But his curious comments about other Democrats are attracting headlines these days -- with results that aren't exactly flattering to Reid.

    On Monday, Reid was speaking at a Manhattan fundraiser thrown on his behalf by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he paused to offer an unusual compliment to New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was in the audience. "Many senators are known for many things," Reid said (according to Politico's Maggie Haberman, who heard it from sources). "We in the Senate refer to Sen. Gillibrand as the hottest member."

    Gillibrand, according to Haberman's sources, flushed red, and the comment "created a bit of a stir" among the audience. "It was pretty shocking when he said it," one source tells Politico.

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  • ABC News/Yahoo! News Poll: People are losing faith in the American Dream


    It's no secret the country is in a funk about the dismal economy, but a first-ever ABC News/Yahoo! News poll finds that many Americans are now harboring serious doubts about whether the so-called American Dream is still achievable.

    Just half the country says the American Dream "still" exists, according to the poll, while 43 percent of those surveyed say it "once held true" but no longer does. The survey, which was conducted by Langer Research Associates, described the American Dream as "if you work hard, you'll get ahead." The poll, the first in a series of ABC News/Yahoo! News surveys, showed that the percentage of believers in that dream (as defined) dramatically shifts when broken down by factors like income, education and race.

    To no one's surprise, people who make more money tend to have more faith in the American Dream. Among Americans with household incomes surpassing $75,000 a year, 57 percent say the dream is still achievable. But among those with incomes under $25,000 a year, the results are evenly split: 46 percent say the dream is still possible, and 46 percent say it "once held true but does not anymore."

    "Perceptions of life in America don't get any more basic than this," pollster Gary Langer told The Upshot. "It is a telling indication of the economic discontent this country has been and still is suffering."

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  • Another House Democrat runs against Pelosi, Obama

    edwardspelosiTexas Democrat Chet Edwards used to be pretty tight with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—so much so, that she touted the largely unknown congressman as a possible running mate for Barack Obama in 2008.

    But that was two years ago, when Democrats were hugely popular around the country, and Edwards, a so-called Blue Dog conservative, faced an easy re-election. Now regarded as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country, Edwards has turned on his former patron, going so far as to suggest he might not vote to re-elect Pelosi as Speaker if Democrats somehow retain the majority.

    "No, I've made no commitments for speaker. Until we see the outcome of this election, I don't even know who will be running for speaker," Edwards told the Washington Post. He now accuses Pelosi and Obama for "going too far and too fast" in their agenda and for being out of touch with average Americans.

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  • White House denies tea party ad campaign. But will Obama attack the movement?

    obamaWith polls showing Democrats in real trouble ahead of November's midterm elections, the New York Times reports the White House is weighing a "range of ideas," including a national ad campaign, suggesting the GOP has been overtaken by "tea party extremists."

    The piece, written by Jackie Calmes and Mike Shear, quotes an unnamed Democratic strategist "who has spoken" with President Obama's aides about the proposed ad campaign. Yet Democratic party officials are reportedly wary about the plan, citing worries about nationalizing the campaign at a time when Obama's poll ratings are so dismal.

    But as noted in the story and elsewhere, the White House is strongly denying that "any national ad campaign" is being planned. "There's been no discussion of such a thing at the White House or the Democratic National Committee," Obama senior adviser David Axelrod tells the Times. Another adviser tells Politico's Mike Allen that the story is "just flat-out, 100 percent wrong." "The first time Obama's advisers heard about a national ad campaign is when the story showed up on the Times' website last night," the unnamed White House official said.

    Dean Baquet, the Times' Washington bureau chief, says the paper stands by its story.

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  • Powell: Obama has lost ‘some of his ability to connect’

    powellRetired Gen. Colin Powell, a moderate Republican who endorsed President Obama in 2008, said he believes the president has lost "some of his ability to connect" with the American people by taking on too many problems at once instead of focusing solely on the economy and jobs.

    "The president… has to, I think, shift the way he has been doing things," Powell told NBC's "Meet the Press." "There are so many rocks in our knapsack now that we're having trouble carrying it." Obama, he said, has to, "like a razor blade," focus on the single most-important issue facing the country: the nation's rising unemployment rate.

    At the same time, Powell cautioned Obama's critics to "think carefully" about their attacks on the president, advising Republicans to stick to criticism of Obama's policies rather than peddling conspiracies about his religion and birthplace. "This is not helpful," Powell said. "If you want to attack the president, attack him. Let's not go down low… Let's attack him on policy, not nonsense."

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  • The First Family attended church this morning


    For the first time in several months, President Obama attended a public church service this morning.

    Shortly before 9am, the First Family strolled out of the north gate of the White House and across Lafayette Park, where they attended services at St. John's Church. St. John's, which is Episcopalian, is often referred to as the "church of the presidents," a reference to the fact that every president since James Madison has attended services there.

    It was only the fifth time that Obama has attended a public church service since being sworn in as president, according to CBS's Mark Knoller. The last time the Obama family went to a public service was on Easter when they attended Allen Chapel AME Church in southeast Washington.

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