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Political Notebook

Obama and Romney on trail in Va. in possible prelude to 2012

October 24, 2009

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President Obama will return Tuesday to Virginia, the state he carried for Democrats for the first time since 1964, in hopes of boosting Democrat Creigh Deeds in a race for governor with Republican Bob McDonnell.

The next day, Mitt Romney, a potential Obama rival in 2012, will be in the state to campaign for McDonnell.

Virginia Republicans announced yesterday that Romney will appear with the entire GOP ticket in three events Wednesday across the state designed as a final push before the Nov. 3 election.

Romney, who supports GOP candidates through his Free and Strong America PAC, endorsed McDonnell and the Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, praising their “pro-growth’’ economic policies. The former Massachusetts governor has already visited Virginia several times this year to help Republicans raise money. If McDonnell and Bolling win, they can be expected to return the favor if Romney runs in 2012 for the GOP nomination, as he did last year.

Along with the governor’s race in New Jersey, the Virginia result will be seen as a referendum on Obama. -- GLOBE STAFF

Markey tests temperature before climate summit
Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, a main author of the climate change bill the House passed this summer, is headed to Copenhagen this weekend for talks in advance of the major global summit in December.

Markey plans to meet lawmakers from around the world to check progress on “an effective and fair international climate agreement,’’ his office said yesterday.

“These meetings show that political consensus can be reached by the countries integral to reaching an international climate agreement. And though the final global warming treaty will be negotiated by environmental ministers, it will be implemented by legislators,’’ Markey said in a statement.

Many in Congress, however, remain concerned about the cap-and-trade system at the heart of the House bill and a version introduced in the Senate, and it appears unlikely that Congress will pass and President Obama will sign a climate change bill until next year, after the Copenhagen summit. -- GLOBE STAFF

First lady says system fails many with breast cancer
WASHINGTON - First lady Michelle Obama weighed in yesterday in the health care debate, holding a breast cancer awareness event that featured a flesh-and-blood illustration for why President Obama wants to overhaul the system.

Joni Lownsdale of Rockford, Ill., who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, stood in a White House flower garden and shared her story of being repeatedly denied health insurance because of the cancer in her past.

Michelle Obama said the United States has come a long way from the days when people thought breast cancer was something to be ashamed of and kept a secret, when it was treated as something not discussed in polite company.

More women are getting mammograms, the five-year survival rate is above 90 percent, and research spending is at $900 million - 30 times the amount spent in 1982. But 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime and 40,000 women a year die from the disease, she said, and the health care system doesn’t work for many women who are living with the cancer.

“It’s a system that only adds to the fear and stress that already comes with the disease,’’ the first lady said.

She said health care changes the president is pushing Congress to pass would help consumers by barring insurers from denying coverage because of preexisting conditions, like breast cancer, and require coverage for preventive screenings like mammograms. -- ASSOCIATED PRESS