Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Her Waterloo

June 27, 2011

It takes some political derring-do to launch a presidential campaign from a town named Waterloo.

After all, in another time, on another continent, that was the locale of Napoleon’s final defeat, from which sprang the term “met his Waterloo.”

Tea Party conservative Michele Bachmann chose Waterloo, Iowa, her birthplace, to announce a run for the Republican presidential nomination. And she wasted no time in going on the offensive.

“Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama will be a one-term president,” Bachmann said.

At the moment her star is rising — a poll of Republicans in Iowa showed her almost even with Mitt Romney, and her strong performance at the New Hampshire debate got people to do a double-take.

If she is able to capture voters outside her conservative Tea Party base, then perhaps “her Waterloo” will come to mean something different.

Here are our top stories from Washington…

Obama confident US debt deal can be struck

President Obama is confident Democrats and Republicans can cut a “significant deal” to trim the deficit and increase its borrowing limit to avoid a damaging default. With polls showing Americans deeply worried about the sputtering economy, both sides are talking tough in an ideological battle over how best to cut a deficit that is projected to be $1.4 trillion this year.

For more of this story by Alister Bull, read here.

Rising US Republican star Bachmann launches 2012 bid

Rising Tea Party star Michele Bachmann leaped into the 2012 presidential nomination race, saying the country cannot afford four more years of President Obama’s handling of the economy. “Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama will be a one-term president,” Bachmann, a conservative from Minnesota, said in announcing her candidacy.

For more of this story by Steve Holland, read here.

Afghan central banker resigns, fears for life

Afghanistan central bank Governor Adbul Qadir Fitrat said he has resigned his post because he feared for his life for his role in investigating a scandal surrounding Kabulbank. “The reason I was not able to resign in Kabul was because my life was completely in danger,” Fitrat told Reuters Insider in an interview in a Virginia suburb.

For more of this story by Doug Palmer, read here.

US consumer spending breaks 10-month rising streak

Consumer spending failed to rise in May, breaking a string of 10 straight months of gains, as households struggled with rising prices and automakers could not deliver the models Americans wanted. The report, which confirmed that underlying inflation had quickened, suggested consumer spending would offer little support to the economy in the second quarter.

For more of this story by Lucia Mutikani, read here.

Top court strikes down California video game law

The government cannot ban the sale or rental of violent video games to minors as this would violate free-speech rights, the Supreme Court said in its first ruling in a video game case. The court struck down a California law, which also imposed strict video game labeling requirements, as unconstitutional. The ruling was a victory for video game publishers, distributors and sellers, including Disney, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Sony.

For more of this story by James Vicini, read here.

Supreme Court strikes down Arizona campaign finance law

The Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law that provides additional public money to political candidates for state office who face big-spending opponents, ruling it violated free-speech rights. The high court handed down its first decision in a campaign finance case since ruling last year that corporations have the free-speech right to spend freely to support or oppose federal candidates.

For more of this story by James Vicini, read here.

Hugs, politics: Michelle Obama’s savvy helps husband

She does not consider herself a “secret weapon,” but Michelle Obama’s trip to Africa showed the first lady has sharp political skills that White House aides can exploit to help re-elect her husband. On her second official solo trip abroad, audiences were smitten, highlighting her unique ability to connect with people on behalf of and independently from President Barack Obama. Those skills will now be applied to domestic politics as the 2012 presidential election heats up.

For more of this analysis by Jeff Mason, read here.

From elsewhere…

Blagojevich found guilty in corruption trial

A jury convicted disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich of corruption for trying to trade the U.S. senate seat once held by President Barack Obama for financial and political gain.

For more of this story, read here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes (Bachmann launches presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa)

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