Political Notebook

GOP leader hopes to work with Obama on select issues

Associated Press / October 21, 2010

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WASHINGTON — The Senate’s top Republican says President Obama and a more Republican Congress could join to pass laws on trade and spending policy and make changes to the health care overhaul if the administration listens to voters on Election Day.

“I can’t believe he’s going to continue to ignore the wishes of the American people if his party has a very bad day Nov. 2,’’ Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican leader, said yesterday. “If he pivots and wants to work with us, obviously I’d be happy to talk to him.’’

Bill Burton, White House spokesman, said Obama “is eager to work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, who wants to work together to meet the challenges facing our country.

“After two years of partisan posturing and parliamentary roadblocks, it would be a welcome change if Senator McConnell were to embrace the politics of cooperation and problem-solving,’’ Burton said. Given the heated campaign trail rhetoric by Republican candidates vowing to overturn the health care law, he noted, “we’ll wait and see.’’

The two sides may have little choice but to work together on key issues in the new session of Congress that opens in January. Republicans are expected to gain seats in the House and Senate, if not overturn the Democratic majority, just as Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign effectively begins.

Speaking from his home in Louisville, Ky., McConnell said there are several areas of agreement between congressional Republicans and Obama that, theoretically, could quickly result in new laws.

Those issues, he said, include an arcane tax-reporting law on businesses that is part of the health care overhaul. Even Obama wants the provision changed so that businesses are not overburdened with paperwork.

McConnell also suggested that the two sides could enact trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama in an effort to create jobs.

Promoting nuclear energy and working to reduce federal spending and debt are other policy areas on which McConnell predicted the two sides could come to quick agreement.

Obama returning to Conn. to stump for his party
HARTFORD — President Obama will be making his second trip to Connecticut this election season, visiting Bridgeport three days before the midterm elections in support of the state’s Democratic candidates.

Nancy DiNardo, state Democratic party chairwoman, said the president will be the main attraction at an Oct. 30 rally designed to motivate the party’s base.

DiNardo said Obama will appear in Bridgeport, a city that voted overwhelmingly for US Representative Jim Himes two years ago when he defeated Republican US Representative Christopher Shays. The freshman, the first Democrat to hold the seat since 1969, is in a close race with Republican state Senator Dan Debicella.

“This is for all of our candidates, not just Jim Himes,’’ DiNardo said. “We want to energize all of our constituents to make sure they come out and vote.’’

The president also was in the district in September. He attended a fund-raiser in Stamford for Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who is in a tight race with Republican former wrestling executive Linda McMahon to succeed the retiring Senator Chris Dodd. On Monday, Michelle Obama made a similar appearance for Blumenthal in Stamford.

GOP’s congressional push got $7m from one Texan
WASHINGTON — A Texas developer who helped fund the Swift Boats ad campaign against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign, has contributed $7 million to American Crossroads, making him the top donor to one of the preeminent groups helping Republican congressional candidates.

Bob Perry donated the money over the past six weeks, according to reports that American Crossroads planned to file with the Federal Election Commission.

Overall, American Crossroads reports show total fund-raising of $15 million over 43 days. Perry gained national attention in 2004 for helping finance Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and its attacks on Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president.

Cofounded by GOP political operative Karl Rove, American Crossroads is affiliated with Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit tax-exempt group that is also raising millions of dollars for political ads but does not have to disclose its donors.

Obama schedules stop in Pakistan in 2011
WASHINGTON — The White House says President Obama will travel to Pakistan next year in his first visit to the country since taking office.

The White House made the announcement yesterday after Obama convened a monthly national security meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan where security cooperation with the key US ally was discussed. top stories on Twitter

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