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Bachmann’s staff is revamped as the challenge from Perry grows

September 7, 2011

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Two of the top campaign managers for Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican from Minnesota, are leaving or stepping into new roles as she faces a growing challenge from Governor Rick Perry of Texas for the GOP presidential nomination.

The Bachmann campaign called it “a planned restructuring strategy’’ that will allow her to focus on winning the Iowa caucuses and other early primary states.

Because of health reasons, Ed Rollins will move from campaign manager to the less demanding role of senior adviser. Strategist Keith Nahigian will become interim campaign manager.

In a statement, Bachmann said Rollins was the architect of her victory in the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa.

“I am grateful for his guidance and leadership and fortunate to retain his valuable advice even though his health no longer permits him to oversee the day-to-day operations of the campaign,’’ Bachmann said.

Of Nahigian, Bachmann said: “Keith has played a vital role in the success we have had to date, and I’m confident he can lead us to a strong finish in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and across the country.’’

Politico reported that Rollins’s deputy, David Polyansky, is leaving the campaign because of strategic differences with the campaign.

Starting a Tea Party movement caucus in Congress, Bachmann emerged as the favorite and gained some momentum after winning the Ames poll. But since Perry announced his candidacy the same day, Bachmann has struggled to keep her potential supporters from moving to Perry.

According to data compiled by Real Clear Politics, in July several national polls put Bachmann in second place, behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. But since August, as Perry made clear he intended to run in the presidential race, his poll numbers skyrocketed while Bachmann’s dropped. So far, Bachmann has all but ignored New Hampshire, the nation’s first primary state, focusing her energies on Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida.

— Shira Schoenberg

Senate’s bipartisanship helps move patent billWASHINGTON - The Senate opened its fall session yesterday by taking a step toward passing a patent bill that has been a rare example of bipartisanship in this year’s divided Congress.

The 93 to 5 procedural vote on moving the bill to the Senate floor gave supporters hope the legislation to streamline and modernize the patent application system could clear Congress soon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said he wanted to see final passage in the next few days.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman, Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, is trying to steer the bill, passed by the House in June, through the Senate without amendment so it can go directly to President Obama for his signature. In March, the Senate passed legislation similar to the House version on a 95 to 5 vote.

The legislation has the administration’s strong support and is being hailed as a job creator at a time when Congress and the White House have been unable to find common ground in addressing the nation’s high unemployment. The argument is that making it faster and smoother for inventors to get their innovations to market will spur economic growth and hiring.

The measure would switch the United States from the “first-to-invent’’ system now in effect to the “first-inventor-to-file’’ system for patent applications used by all other industrialized countries.

The objective is to put American inventors on the same playing field as other innovators around the world and to bring certainty to patent ownership. The current system, under which multiple inventors may be working independently on similar complex products, can lead to costly disputes and litigation.

The first-to-file system, said Senator Jon Kly, an Arizona Republican, “creates a rule that is clear and easy to comply with and that avoids the need for expensive discovery and litigation.’’

— Associated Press top stories on Twitter

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