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Jun 3, 2014

For fallen soldiers’ families, Bergdahl release stirs resentment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Robert Andrews believes his own son might still be alive if U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had not gone missing from his Afghan guard post on June 30, 2009.

As Bergdahl emerges from five years of Taliban captivity, former comrades are accusing him of walking away from his unit and prompting a massive manhunt they say cost the lives of at least six fellow soldiers, including Andrews’ 34-year-old son, Darryn, a second lieutenant.

May 18, 2014

With ads and foot soldiers, Republican ‘establishment’ squeezes Tea Party

BOISE, Idaho (Reuters) – On a recent Saturday, foot soldiers in the Republican Party’s civil war fanned out across a neighborhood of winding streets and manicured lawns to beat back the Tea Party.

They did not meet much resistance. Over the course of two hours, dozens of residents said they planned to vote in the May 20 primary election for Idaho Representative Mike Simpson, a veteran lawmaker with a reputation for pragmatism. None said they would back his Tea Party challenger Bryan Smith.

May 8, 2014

U.S. billionaire green activist shifts from bomb thrower to team player

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As Boston Red Sox fans streamed into Fenway Park last April for an early-season baseball game, a small plane circled above, towing a banner that read “Steve Lynch for Oil Evil Empire.” Downtown, truck-mounted video screens looped attack ads against the Democratic congressman, who was running for a Senate seat.

The man footing the bill for this sharp-edged campaign, San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, called Lynch “Dr. Evil” in a local TV interview because he did not oppose the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States, which environmentalists say would worsen climate change.

Apr 22, 2014

Conservative Koch-backed group uses soft touch in recruiting U.S. Hispanics

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) – The conservative advocacy groups backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are known mostly for spending millions of dollars to pelt Democratic candidates with negative television ads.

But this year, one Koch-backed group is using a softer touch to try to win over part of the nation’s booming Hispanic population, which has overwhelmingly backed Democrats in recent elections. The group, known as The Libre Initiative, is sponsoring English classes, driver’s license workshops and other social programs to try to build relationships with Hispanic voters in cities from Arizona to Florida – even as the group targets Democratic lawmakers with hard-edged TV ads.

Apr 17, 2014

Conservatives encouraging presidential bid by surgeon outraise rivals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If money is any indication, a prominent Baltimore doctor with no political experience is an early front-runner in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

A group encouraging retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to run for president raised $2.4 million in the first three months of this year, more than the group backing Hillary Clinton or those affiliated with Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and other potential candidates, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Apr 9, 2014

Hillary Clinton not running (yet), but groups use her name to raise money

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As former secretary of state Hillary Clinton weighs a run for president in 2016, at least a dozen independent groups, from the serious to the mysterious, have sprung up to raise money in her name.

Sporting names such as Madam Hillary 2016, HillaryFTW and other variations on Clinton’s name, the new crop of political action committees (PACs) is a sign of the 66-year-old’s enduring star power more than 20 years after she first became a national figure as the wife of President Bill Clinton.

Mar 26, 2014

Republican donor’s attack on online gambling shadows talk of 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson became a major player in Republican politics in the 2012 elections, when he spent more than $90 million in an unsuccessful effort to oust Democratic President Barack Obama.

Now the 80-year-old billionaire wants something from Washington: a ban on internet gambling, a growing industry that Adelson says could hurt the casino industry. On Wednesday, some of Adelson’s allies in Congress, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, plan to propose legislation that would do just that.

Mar 21, 2014

In Washington state, Tesla finds way to share the road with dealers

March 21 (Reuters) – On President’s Day last month, about 40
electric-car advocates gathered under the rotunda of the state
capitol in Olympia, Washington, where a lobbyist for Tesla
Motors Inc urged them to rally against a bill that would prevent
the carmaker from opening new sales offices in the state.

By the time the legislature finished its work last week, a
coalition of environmentally friendly Democrats and free-market
Republicans had stripped the restrictions from the bill. Tesla
would be free to sell its cars through its own sleek
showrooms rather than relying on the dealer networks that have
dominated the industry for decades.

Mar 6, 2014

Russia’s U.S. PR firm distances itself from Ukraine dispute

WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. company that
handles public relations for Russia in the United States
distanced itself on Thursday from the Ukraine crisis, saying
that it advises the Kremlin largely on economic development, not
foreign policy.

Ketchum Inc, which has come under increasing scrutiny in
recent months as Washington has clashed with Russia over Syria
and gay rights, said in a statement: “We are not advising the
Russian Federation on foreign policy, including the current
situation in Ukraine.”

Mar 4, 2014

Obama budget would spend big on job training

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress both believe the United States’ job-training system is in need of an overhaul. That’s where the consensus ends.

In his budget request for the coming fiscal year, Obama proposes more than $7.7 billion in new spending to set up new apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs and restore funding to existing programs that have been cut in recent years.

    • About Andy

      "As a politics and general-news correspondent, I’ve covered four budget crises, three presidential elections, two hurricanes and one exploding bridge since joining Reuters in 2000. One of my stories in the 2012 election inspired a spoof on “Saturday Night Life.” I’m a native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and in my free time I play guitar in several rock bands around Washington, D.C."
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