Tales from the Trail

Texas gubernatorial race heats up

July 29, 2009

A looming battle between two prominent Texas Republicans is heating up after U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison confirmed that she’ll leave the Senate this fall to challenge Texahutch pics Gov. Rick Perry for his post in 2010.

NRA, Chamber of Commerce split on Sotomayor

July 23, 2009

Two of the biggest and most influential U.S. conservative groups have split over U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

A serious Franken vows to work hard in U.S. Senate

July 6, 2009

Former comedian Al Franken on Monday made it clear in his first appearance in the U.S. Capitol as senator-elect that he had not come to entertain.

Elections in Iran, Illinois? Obama very busy not picking sides

June 19, 2009

If you ever wondered what Illinois and Iran might have in common, here’s one answer: President Obama is most definitely not picking sides in their elections.
 
So insists the White House.
 
OBAMA/“Our response … on this has been, from the very beginning, consistent,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a briefing Thursday when asked about the post-election turmoil in Iran.
 
“The American people and this government are not going to pick the next leader of Iran,” he said. “That’s something that the Iranians have to do.”
 
That doesn’t mean they won’t tsk-tsk loudly from the sidelines as the opportunity permits.
 
The administration has voiced concern about how the election was conducted, but shied away from suggesting any fraud was involved in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s defeat of challenger Mirhossein Mousavi.
 
They say they don’t favor either candidate, but insist the challenger’s supporters have a right to continue their protests a week after the vote.
 
“We have to ensure that we express our views, as I’ve said, about ensuring that people can demonstrate, have their causes and concerns heard,” the White House spokesman said.
 
Obama’s also steering clear of the U.S. Senate race in Illinois, Gibbs said, even though he met last Friday with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
 
Chicago papers say the Obama administration is pushing her to run for the president’s former U.S. Senate seat in 2010, but the White House begs to differ.
 
“Let me be explicit,” Gibbs said. “The president is not going to pick a candidate in the Illinois Senate race.”
 
And the meeting at the White House with Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and senior adviser Valerie Jarret? Why, Madigan and Obama are just old friends and Obama has “enormous respect for what she accomplished,” Gibbs said.
 
And oh, by the way …
 
“I think she’d be a terrific candidate. But we’re not going to get involved in picking that candidate in Illinois.”
 
For more Reuters political news, click here.

U.S. Senate approves resolution apologizing for slavery

June 18, 2009

The U.S. Senate approved a resolution on Thursday apologizing for slavery and segregation of African-Americans, almost five months after Barack Obama was sworn in as the first black U.S. president.

U.S. Senate goes two ways on estate taxes

April 3, 2009

The U.S. Senate went two different ways on the estate tax, which has been a contentious issue for years — a tax congressional Republicans have villified as the “death tax”.BRITAIN-RICHARDSON/

Whoever runs in Minnesota stays in Minnesota?

March 26, 2009

Nearly five months after the 2008 election, there’s no sign that either Norm Coleman or Al Franken will definitively be declared the winner in the race for one of Minnesota’s U.S. Senate seats, allowing him to spend the next six years in Washington.

So much for that special British relationship with the U.S. Congress

March 4, 2009

The grumblings in the British press about how Prime Minister Gordon Brown was treated on his visit to the United States will almost certainly increase when they learn that several Senate committees kept working while he addressed a joint meeting of Congress.

With less than 70 minutes to spare…

February 8, 2009

U.S. Senate Democrats had less than 70 minutes to spare when they finally filed the paperwork on Saturday for the compromise they reached with a handful of Republicans for the $827 billion economic stimulus package, setting up a vote for early next week.

A fourth Senate Republican won’t seek reelection

January 12, 2009

WASHINGTON – Democrats came up just short of a winning a filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the 100-member Senate in last November’s election.  But they may do it in next year’s contest — thanks largely to a rising number of Senate Republicans calling it quits.