Blog Posts by Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News

  • Poll: Obama’s gay marriage stance could hurt him

    President Obama participates in an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, May 9, 2012. (Pete Souza/The White House)

    A New York Times/CBS News poll released Monday night shows the possible political perils of President Obama's recent announcement that he supports same-sex marriage.

    Most of those polled say the president's position will not impact how they vote. But among those who say it will influence their choice, 26 percent said they are less likely to vote for Obama as a result, while 16 percent say they are more likely to.

    And in what is expected to be a tight race, "even a small shift in swing states could be costly," says the Times.

    Also troubling for the president is that a majority of voters suspect that his decision was politically motivated.

    Sixty-seven percent said they thought Obama's announcement was made "mostly for political reasons," while 24 percent said it was "mostly because he thinks it is right."

    In another potentially damaging sign, 70 percent of Independents attribute the president's move to politics, along with nearly half of Democrats.

    Overall, Romney now has a three-point

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  • Half of Americans think Facebook is a passing fad

    Mark Zuckerberg

    Is Facebook a flash in the pan? Nearly half of Americans think so, according to a new AP/CNBC poll.

    Forty-six percent of those polled say the social networking giant is likely to "fade away as new things come along," while 43 percent predict it will be "successful over the long term."

    And with its long-awaited IPO drawing near, half of Americans also say Facebook's asking price is too high.

    Just one-third think the company's expected stock market value, which could reach $100 billion — larger than Ford or Kraft Foods, but less than Google or Coca-Cola — is appropriate, while 50 percent say it's probably too high.

    But that won't necessarily stop would-be investors from trying to get a piece of the Facebook pie. Half those surveyed consider the company a good bet, while 31 percent do not.

    Americans also have mixed views of the company's CEO and co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

    Only about a third of those polled have a good impression of Zuckerberg, while 14 percent say they don't like him.

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  • Michele Bachmann becomes a Swiss citizen

    Michele Bachmann is now a Swiss citizen.

    The Minnesota congresswoman and former Republican presidential candidate was recently granted dual citizenship, Bachmann's office confirmed Tuesday night, according to CNN.

    "Congresswoman Bachmann's husband is of Swiss descent so she has been eligible for dual-citizenship since they got married in 1978," spokeswoman Becky Rogness said in a statement. "However, recently some of their children wanted to exercise their eligibility for dual-citizenship so they went through the process as a family."

    And, according to an interview with Swiss TV, Bachmann, who is currently seeking a fourth term in Congress after her failed bid for the White House, is now also eligible to run for office in the tiny European country.

    Asked if she'd be interested in seeking office in Switzerland, Bachmann joked that "there's a lot of competition ... and they're very good."

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  • Santorum’s underwhelming endorsement of Romney

    Romney and Santorum (Jae C. Hong/AP)Rick Santorum finally offered a formal endorsement for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney late on Monday night. But it was hardly a ringing proclamation of approval for his former rival.

    From its timing (after 11 p.m. on the East Coast) to its form (an email to supporters posted on his campaign website) to its language (more highlighting his differences with Romney than extolling Romney's virtues) it's a decidedly lukewarm nod to the man who bested him in the Republican primaries.

    In his statement, Santorum returns to some of the issues that troubled him about Romney during the campaign — doubts about Romney's "commitment to addressing the issues most important to conservatives," concerns about his ability to make "a case as a candidate about fighting against Obamacare" — before stating that he's more satisfied now with the governor's positions.

    Like Newt Gingrich's similarly tepid endorsement, Santorum offers little praise for the party's standard bearer, beyond the

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  • Bin Laden’s last words to be posted online

    The public will soon have the chance to read some of Osama bin Laden's last written or typed words.Osama bin Laden, at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, watching President Barack Obama on television. (AP Photo/Department of Defense, File)

    The Army's Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., is releasing a selection of documents seized in last year's raid on the al-Qaida leader's Pakistan compound.

    The documents will be available online on the center's Web site on Thursday at 9 am ET.

    The Associated Press reports that the papers include correspondence between bin Laden and his far-flung associates, as well as bin Laden's hand-written diary.

    Some details from the trove have already been revealed.

    White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said in a speech this week that the documents show how bin Laden felt depressed as al-Qaida suffered "disaster after disaster," and even thought about changing the name of the terrorist network.

    More popular Yahoo! News stories:

    Bin Laden death anniversary: 10 things we’ve learned about him since raid

    Bin Laden's death and the election: How

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  • Australian billionaire plans to build Titanic II

    A new Titanic could be sailing the high seas within a few years.

    Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer. (AFP Photo/Tertius Pickard)Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer announced plans Monday to build an ultra-modern, luxury version of the doomed ocean liner in China.

    Palmer, one of the richest people in Australia with an estimated worth of more than $5 billion, said he had commissioned a state-owned Chinese company to construct Titanic II with the exact dimensions as the ill-fated original.

    "It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," Palmer said, according to AFP.

    He said Titanic II would make its maiden voyage from England to New York in late 2016.

    The news comes just two weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, which hit an iceberg on its first voyage across the Atlantic on April 15, 1912, sending 1,500 people to their deaths.

    "Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high class restaurants and luxury cabins," Palmer said.

    The cost of the new ship was not disclosed.

    Palmer announced his Titanic plans the same day he revealed he would make a run for Australia's Parliament.

    Palmer said he would seek the conservative opposition's candidacy for the seat currently held by Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan.

    "Politics is about ideas," the billionaire told reporters. "You are not going to become rich being a politician."

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  • Gingrich hints he may quit race

    Newt Gingrich speaks at the NRA convention in St. Louis, April 13, 2012. (REUTERS/Tom Gannam)Gingrich on the trail. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

    Newt Gingrich suggested Monday that the end may be near for his struggling presidential campaign.

    In an interview with NBC News, the former House speaker acknowledged that he would have to "reassess" his bid if he fares poorly in Tuesday's Republican primary in Delaware, a state where he has spent considerable time campaigning.

    "I think we need to take a deep look at what we are doing," Gingrich said. "We will be in North Carolina tomorrow night and we will look and see what the results are."

    He told NBC, "I would hope we would do well here—either carry it or come very, very close."

    Gingrich has won only two states so far—South Carolina and his home state of Georgia—and his campaign is $4.3 million in debt, according to FEC filings.

    And he has garnered more attention lately for being bitten by a penguin in St. Louis and bouncing a check in Utah.

    Still, Gingrich has refused to bow out. Even after Rick Santorum suspended his campaign two weeks ago, Gingrich insisted that he was "committed to staying in this race all the way to Tampa so that the conservative movement has a real choice."

    In Delaware, he also had some words of caution for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

    "Gov. Romney is clearly the frontrunner but that doesn't mean he is inevitable," Gingrich told a small crowd at GOP headquarters in Wilmington. "It is very dangerous for frontrunners to start behaving like they are inevitable because the voters might decide that's not so true."

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  • Santorum letter: Romney as nominee ‘truly frightens me’

    A latRick Santorum speaks at the Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum during the National Rifle Association's (NRA) 141st Annual Meetings & Exhibits in St. Louis, Missouri April 13, 2012. (REUTERS/Tom Gannam)e-arriving Rick Santorum fund-raising letter to Iowa voters is causing a stir for its harshly worded attack on presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

    The letter, first reported on and reprinted in full by the Des Moines Register, arrived in Iowa mailboxes on Monday, nearly a week after the former Pennsylvania senator suspended his campaign.

    "It truly frightens me to think what'll happen if Mitt Romney is the nominee," reads the undated letter, which is signed by Santorum and paid for by his campaign.

    It goes on to repeat some of Santorum's most frequent attacks on Romney, calling him "a Massachusetts moderate," and suggesting that "Republicans and conservatives will be crippled by a nominee who presents zero contrast with Barack Obama on the major issues of this election."

    The letter's "blunt message," said the Register, had Iowa Republicans speculating whether its unfortunate timing was something more than a simple mistake. "Or, did Santorum, who is still raising money

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  • Top Obama strategist David Axelrod buys $1.7 million condo

    President Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod watches the Washington Nationals play the Chicago Cubs during their season-opening game in Chicago, Illinois, April 5, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes One of President Obama's closest political advisers is moving on up to a deluxe Chicago condo.

    David Axelrod, who is currently communications director for Obama's re-election campaign, paid $1.7 million last month for the 3,320-square-foot apartment on the 42nd floor of a Michigan Avenue high-rise, the Chicago Tribune reports.

    The 4-bedroom/4-½ bath unit features views of Lake Michigan, a marble foyer, his and hers baths in the master suite, and a garage space.

    A former newspaper reporter, Axelrod, 57, worked as a senior adviser in the Obama White House from 2009 to 2011 before leaving to join the re-election team. He also served as a key adviser during Obama's 2008 presidential run.

    Axelrod, who often calls himself a "Chicagoan on assignment," has always kept a residence in his hometown, despite his time in Washington. He plans to head up the Institute of Politics at his alma mater, the University of Chicago, after the 2012 race concludes in November.

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  • Newark Mayor Cory Booker saves woman from fire

    FILE - Newark Mayor Cory Booker talks during a news conference outside of the Prudential Center, in this April 4, 2012 file photo taken in Newark, N.J. Mayoral spokeswoman Anne Torres says Booker arrived home Thursday night April 12, 2012 to find the house next door on fire. Booker and two of his security detail entered the home to help its residents escape. Booker went to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, but Torres said he was doing fine. He was expected to be released shortly before midnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)Newark Mayor Cory Booker speaks to the media on Friday, April 13, 2012 (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

    Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark rescued a woman trapped in a burning house Thursday night and carried her to safety.

    Booker was treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital and released. He also suffered second-degree burns on his hand.

    During a press conference Friday morning, Booker rejected suggestions that he is a hero for his role in the rescue.

    "I think that's way over the top. I'm a neighbor who did what most neighbors would do, jump into action to help a friend," he said.

    In fact, Booker said he thought he and his fellow rescuers might die in the effort. "I felt fear. I really didn't think we were going to get out of there," he said.

    Booker says he arrived at his Newark home after taping a television interview and found a neighbor's house ablaze. Before firefighters arrived on the scene, the mayor and two members of his security detail entered the house and helped the residents get out safely.

    Booker then heard a woman screaming for help on the second floor and went back inside.

    "I just grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed," Booker told The Star-Ledger.

    Booker posted a Twitter message shortly after the incident: "Thanks 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation. We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."

    The mayor added that one of his security officers had tried to stop him from going inside.  "We actually get into a fight because his job is to protect me," Booker said.

    Newark Fire Chief John Centanni said Booker and his security detail performed a professional rescue and that their actions may have saved the woman's life.

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