National Journal Online

Steele Clarifies Afghanistan Remarks

Amid a new firestorm over comments suggesting the war in Afghanistan is ill-advised, RNC chair Michael Steele is doing damage control and adding his support for Gen. David Petraeus.

In a statement released this afternoon through the RNC, Steele reiterated his own support for the war effort, and Petraeus, who was confirmed this week as the top US commander in the theater.

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 2:29pm

Feds Announce Latest Round of Broadband Stimulus Projects

President Obama announced today $795 million in USDA and Commerce Department grants and loans under the stimulus to bring high-speed Internet service to unserved or underserved areas. The projects (PDF) are expected to create 5,000 jobs up front and spur economic development in some of the nation's hardest-hit communities, according to a White House news release.

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 2:00pm

Cruel Summer

Today's Hotline spotlight:

There are plenty of pols whose 4th of July holiday is starting off with a thud instead of a bang.

-- Dems: Another weak jobs report is the latest reminder of how tough it's going to be for Obama and Dems to turn around perceptions of their handling of the economy. Despite their "Recovery Summer" push, the Labor Dept. shows another 625K people gave up looking for work, and Gallup puts the number of "underemployed" at 18%

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 1:50pm

The GOP's Expanding Field

Compared to the flak House Min. Leader John Boehner's been taking on his recent comments on financial reform and Social Security, the heat he took over his prediction that the GOP could put 100 seats in play this cycle pales.

It would take a herculean effort to seriously contest 100 Dem seats this cycle. But if recent history of wave elections -- which '10 is certainly shaping up to be -- is any guide, the GOP doesn't need to put that many of seats in play to capture the House, the party's ultimate objective.

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 12:28pm

Senators Urge Obama to Back Planned Cybersecurity Legislation

Seven Senate leaders late Thursday urged President Obama to support planned legislation designed to protect critical information technology systems from attacks. In a letter to Obama, the senators said they plan to produce a comprehensive cybersecurity bill, although they did not specify a timeframe.

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 12:14pm

Hatch Will Vote Against Kagan

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) will vote against Solicitor General Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court, he announced today.

"Qualifications for judicial service include both legal experience and, more importantly, the appropriate judicial philosophy. The law must control the judge; the judge must not control the law," Hatch said. "I have concluded that, based on evidence rather than blind faith, General Kagan regrettably does not meet this standard and that, therefore, I cannot support her appointment."

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 11:55am

Cahill Pushes Back At "DC Insiders"

MA Treas. Tim Cahill (I) is fighting back against what he calls DC insiders, months after a devastating round of RGA ads seriously undercut the once-popular Cahill's support.

In his first ad, Cahill cites the RGA's round of advertising, which called into question his service as steward of the state's finances. Cahill brings up other, far sunnier aspects of his tenure.

"First commercial of the governor's race, Washington insiders attack me while I was working for you. It's just politics as usual," Cahill says in the spot. "When they attack me, they attack all of us."

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 11:09am

Steele: Afghanistan Is Obama's War

RNC chair Michael Steele suggested history stands against the U.S. in the war in Afghanistan, a gaffe caught on camera during a fundraiser last night in CT.

"This was a war of Obama's choosing," Steele says in remarks captured on what appears to be a hidden camera. Steele blasted Obama for "demonizing Iraq while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan."

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 10:49am

Foley On Defense Over Arrests, Divorce

Ex-Ambassador Tom Foley (R) is playing furious defense after a series of revelations about prior arrests and allegations that he physically abused his ex-wife -- allegations Foley points out his former wife has said herself are untrue.

In a lengthy statement released late Thursday, Foley offered an in-depth response to several charges after a Hartford Courant article raised new questions. Foley has been detained twice -- in '81 and '93 -- and his ex-wife wrote to then-Gov. John Rowland (R) that Foley had abused her in an '02 letter.

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 9:58am

Payrolls Drop As Census Sheds Jobs

The economy shed 125K jobs in June even as the private sector added 83K jobs as a host of temporary Census workers ended their tenures with the government.

The unemployment rate fell to 9.5% last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning, largely as more people stopped looking for work. BLS said there are 14.6M unemployed Americans.

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 8:54am