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Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to 'super PACs'

By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new era of "super PACs" in state campaigns. District Judge Paul Crotty said the statutes could not survive First Amendment scrutiny in light of recent landmark Supreme Court decisions that ha

Caroline Kennedy backs Hillary Clinton for 2016

By Susan Heavey WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Caroline Kennedy, the current U.S. ambassador to Japan, says she would support Hillary Clinton if the former secretary of state seeks the presidency in 2016, and she hopes Clinton decides to run. Kennedy and her late uncle, former Senator Ted Kennedy, endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008 rather than Clinton, a significant move in that closely contested c

Michelle Obama changes Kansas speech date after students protest

First lady Michelle Obama has switched her plans to address a high school commencement ceremony in Topeka, Kansas, in May after students protested that her presence would limit the number of family members they could invite to the ceremony. Originally, the president's wife planned to speak to a joint commencement for students from the five high schools in the city, where 60 years ago the Supreme

Politics clouds proposed overhaul of U.S. housing finance system

By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee appears likely to back a bill to wind down government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to sources familiar with talks on the legislation. The committee's leaders have secured a bare majority of the votes needed to push the bill forward, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not keen for it to

Mississippi sets 20-week limit on abortions

(Reuters) - Mississippi will ban abortions after more than 20 weeks of pregnancy from July, joining other conservative U.S. states that have placed restrictions on the procedure. A handful of states have in recent years enacted laws that place restrictions on the procedure, especially on late-term abortions, citing hotly debated medical research that a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks of gestation, ha

Nate Silver or Not, GOP Looks Good

The tempest over his projection that Republicans will take the Senate forgets probability isn’t prediction and that the White House party usually loses in its sixth year.

Yes, Lincoln Would’ve Done ‘Ferns’

Bill O’Reilly attacked President Obama for making a viral video, saying the Great Emancipator wouldn’t stoop so low. History proves the opposite.

For Obama and Boehner, just maybe, a way forward

The latest snowfall was a bigger story in Washington this week than Tuesday’s private meeting between the estranged president and House speaker — their first in more than a year. Since Barack Obama recently signaled he has all but given up on legislating with Republicans, and since John Boehner has flat out said he can’t trust the president, the assumption in Washington is that the chances for b

John Kerry finds his calling

Ten years ago this week, John Kerry barely held off John Edwards in Wisconsin’s Democratic primary, prolonging for another few weeks his plodding, uninspiring march to the party’s presidential nomination. Kerry went on to lose an eminently winnable election, after which most Democrats in Washington expected him to disappear, like Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis.

In New York, real populism and real choices

Democrats in Washington don’t have to worry much about the kind of fratricidal disorder that plagues the modern Republican Party. But neither should they take too lightly the intraparty breach that seems to be widening in New York, where the mayor of the nation’s biggest city is staring down the governor of its third largest state.

US unwilling to give up Mideast peace process yet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the U.S. isn't ready to write off Mideast peace negotiations, even after Israel broke off talks with Palestinian leaders who are trying to create a coalition government with the militant group Hamas.

Senate report criticizes former DHS watchdog

WASHINGTON (AP) — The former internal watchdog for the Homeland Security Department was too cozy with senior agency officials and improperly rewrote, delayed or classified some critical reports to accommodate President Barack Obama's political appointees, according to a Senate report released Thursday.

House speaker says world wants US to lead

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that allies of the United States want America to show strong leadership globally, and that he wants some of his congressional colleagues to stop shying away from immigration reform.

AP sources: Work to free US soldier disorganized

WASHINGTON (AP) — Critics of the U.S. government's nearly five-year effort to seek the release of the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan claim the work suffers from disorganization and poor communication among numerous federal agencies involved, leaving his captors unclear which U.S. officials have the authority to make a deal.

Kerry sees way forward on Mideast peace: 'We will never give up hope' for that possibility

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kerry sees way forward on Mideast peace: 'We will never give up hope' for that possibility.

Washington Insiders Say Chris Christie Won 2013

After a whirlwind year of crippling partisanship, bungled policy rollouts, and a government shutdown, most public figures are leaving this year with quite a few more chips to their image than they had in January. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—a growing puzzle for Democrats and continuing headache for his fellow Republicans—emerged as the winner of 2013 on the political stage, according to a Natio

Sorry Pope Francis, 2013 Was the Year of Quinoa

This year has seen tanking approval ratings for just about everybody in Washington, thanks to bungled policy initiatives, stalled legislation, and a government shutdown. It's quinoa, a highly nutritious, centuries-old grain, at least according to the United Nations. In February, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization declared 2013 the international year of quinoa, not for the grain's place i

2013 Was Actually the Year of Quinoa

Between bungled or stalled policy initiatives and a government shutdown, moving the needle on progress on either side proved nearly impossible. According to the United Nations, 2013 was the year of quinoa, a highly nutritious, centuries-old grain. In February, the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization declared 2013 the international year of quinoa, not for the grain's place in Western society

Republican Insiders to Tea Party: You're Not Helping Us

For Republicans, the group is something akin to a flesh-eating virus that threatens to chomp away at the GOP. The civil war between establishment and tea-party Republicans intensified this week when House Speaker John Boehner slammed outside conservative groups for "ridiculous" pushback against the bipartisan budget agreement, which cleared his chamber Thursday. Sixty-five percent of Republican in

Republican Look-Alike Sites Mocking Democrats May Violate Rules

The National Republican Congressional Committee proudly launched a faux campaign website for Democratic candidate Domenic Recchia this week, mocking him as a "career politician … asking for your vote." They even bought Google ads to direct New Yorkers to www.domenic-recchia.com, designed at first glance to look like it could be Recchia's own, down to the same yellow star replacing the dot in the '

Travels With Obama: Behind-The-Scenes On The President's Asia Trip

President Obama is in the midst of a week-long trip to four Asian nations, and ABC News is with him every step of the way. In the posts below, we hope to take you along for the ride — virtually — giving you behind-the-scenes snapshots...

Bashar al-Assad's Deadly Loophole in Syria Deal

The Obama administration’s top accomplishment on Syria — a deal in which President Bashar al-Assad would surrender his chemical weapons — risks being undermined by substantial, potentially deadly loopholes in the agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry touted on Tuesday the fact that Syria had...

Young Money Talks an Old-School Game in Washington

The heir to a billion-dollar hotel fortune, Patrick Gage, is an avowed warrior in the global fight against human trafficking. But ask him out for a beer to talk about it and he would, by the letter of the law, be compelled to turn down...

FBI informant linked to hacking of foreign websites: report

A hacker who became an informant for the FBI directed hundreds of cyber attacks against the websites of foreign governments, including Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Turkey, the New York Times reported Thursday. It was unclear whether the FBI explicitly ordered the digital attacks, but court documents and interviews suggest "that the government may have used hackers to gather intelligence ove

Israel, Palestinians must make 'compromises': Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday urged Israel and the Palestinians to make the compromises needed to forge ahead with peace talks, admitting the negotiations had reached "a difficult point." He was speaking only hours after Israel said it was pulling out of the talks, angered by a Palestinian reconciliation deal to bring together the Palestine Liberation Organization and the militant Ha

CDC: Vaccines Prevented 322M Diseases

A new CDC report serves as a wake-up call for the importance of childhood vaccines.

The Pols Who Praise Slavery

Rogue rancher Cliven Bundy recently shared his thoughts on African Americans and whether or not they were better off as slaves. While Bundy can, and probably should, be dismissed as fringe nonsense, he is hardly alone.

Yes, France Is To Blame For Rwanda

The sooner France’s politicians admit to their responsibility for failures during the Rwandan genocide, the better.

Malaysia's Anwar gets Susan Rice meeting

The top White House national security aide Susan Rice will meet Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim when President Barack Obama's regional tour reaches Malaysia, a senior US official told AFP Thursday. Obama is set to arrive in the Malaysian capital on Saturday in what will be the first visit to the country by a sitting US president in nearly half a century. He faces a political balancing a

E-cigarettes to be regulated under new US plan

The changes would also apply to other, previously unregulated tobacco products, including cigars, hookahs, nicotine gels, and pipe tobacco, and are aimed in large part at keeping these substances away from young people. "This proposed rule is the latest step in our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release ann


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