• The National Republican Senatorial Committee plans to use the special Senate election in Massachusetts later this month as a testing ground for a new Get-Out-The-Vote app on Facebook that will make it easier for supporters to target friends who live in the state and encourage them to go to the polls.

    The race pits Republican candidate Gabriel Gomez against Democratic Rep. Ed Markey on June 25 to fill the seat vacated by Democrat John Kerry, who left the Senate earlier this year to become secretary of state.

    Here's how it works: Facebook users who connect with the app will see a screen showing an auto-generated list of their friends from Massachusetts, with text that asks these friends to support Gomez in the special election. They will also be able to send personal messages.

    Users will then be given the choice to share this image and Web page on their friends' walls or through private messages.

    One of the biggest challenges for parties in special elections is to remind—and

    Read More »from GOP gets social in Mass. Senate race with campaign Facebook app
  • White House: U.S. to give Syria rebels military aid after chemical attacks

    In this Sunday, March 11, 2012 file photo, a man carries a boy who was severely wounded during heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian Army forces in Idlib, north Syria. Syria's upwardly spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of almost 93,000 people, the United Nations' human rights office said Thursday but acknowledged the real number is likely to be far higher. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

    In a sharp escalation of the U.S. role in Syria's bloody civil war, the White House announced late Thursday that it will provide military aid to rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad after confirming that his government used chemical weapons against the opposition.

    Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told reporters on a conference call that President Barack Obama had heard pleas from Syria's rebel Supreme Military Council (SMC) for more help. "Our aim is to be responsive," Rhodes said, underlining that the new assistance would have "direct military purposes."

    Rhodes brushed aside repeated questions about whether this meant Washington would now start providing weapons to the rebels, insisting he could not give an "inventory" of the aid. But while he never explicitly confirmed that Obama had decided to to arm the opposition, he left little doubt about Washington's new course of action.

    "The president has made a decision about providing

    Read More »from White House: U.S. to give Syria rebels military aid after chemical attacks
  • King complained about an immigration protest. (Twitter)

    Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa and the House's leading immigration hawk, complained Thursday about young immigrants who had shown up to protest his bill that would defund President Barack Obama's deferred action program.

    King wrote on Twitter that "20 brazen self professed illegal aliens have invaded my DC office. Obama's lawless order gives them de facto immunity from U.S. law."

    The congressman sponsored a measure to defund Obama's 2012 executive action that gave young unauthorized immigrants relief from deportation and a work permit if they attend or graduate high school and have no criminal record. The amendment to quash the program passed the Republican-controlled House last week, but is all but certain never to make it out of the Senate.

    The Senate is currently debating a sweeping immigration reform bill that would legalize millions of immigrants, and the House's vote on deferred action was seen as a parting shot on the issue. King asked two of the main champions of the

    Read More »from Rep. Steve King: ‘Illegal aliens’ invaded my office


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  • Beaten Federer consoled by shaking 'ghost' off his back

    By Julien Pretot LILLE France (Reuters) - Despite his defeat by Gael Monfils in Friday's second singles rubber of the Davis Cup final, Roger Federer found something to smile about as the Swiss got "a ghost" off his back. The 17-times grand slam champion, who lost 6-1 6-4 6-3 as France drew level 1-1 following Stan Wawrinka's opening victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, explained that the recent discomfort he felt in his back began to ease the longer the contest went on. "It wasn't all negative. I started to feel better as the match went on. That's very encouraging," Federer told a news conference. ...

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