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It's A Free Blog

A Mandate for Governing from the Center

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Tuesday's results were a not a no-confidence vote against Obama, nor was it a vote for the Republicans’ platform. Polls indicate that voters are mad at everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike. They simply voted out the party in power.

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The Takeaway

Listeners Respond: Getting Along Across Party Lines

Thursday, November 04, 2010

After Tuesday's elections, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and Democrats managed to hold on to the Senate.  We asked you: Can Democrats and Republicans get along? Also: Where can President Obama and Republicans find common ground? You've been weighing in with a variety of responses.

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The Takeaway

Rep. Steven King on GOP Victories, Agenda

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Republicans made major gains in the House of Representatives in yesterday's mid-term elections. What's next? Investigations of the Obama administration, a de-funding of the president's agenda, or a total legislative stalemate? Rep. Steve King knows. The Republican from Iowa's fifth Congressional district handily won reelection last night over his Democratic challenger.

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The Takeaway

For Dems to Stay Relevant, Do They Need a Third Way?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Two years after landslide victories for Barack Obama, Democrats were soundly defeated in many races across the country last night. Will today begin a process of soul searching for the Democrats so they're not defeated again in 2012? Jim Kessler, vice president of policy and co-founder of Third Way, a moderate-progressive think tank, and former legislative and policy director for Senator Chuck Schumer, says Democrats need to move from the party of fiscal security to the party of fiscal growth.

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The Takeaway

Outside Groups Spend Big as Elections Approach

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

These mid-term elections are seeing massive amounts of money being raised and spent both left and right, from party committees to outside independent groups — much, much more money than the last mid-term elections in 2006. Over $260 million has been spent by outside groups, who have been able to remain largely anonymous since the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, earlier this year. 

But what are contributors expecting in return for their millions of dollars? 

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Transportation Nation

In Maryland Governor's Race, Purple Reigns

Friday, October 22, 2010

(Washington, DC — David Schultz, WAMU) Some cities use letters or numbers to name their train lines; here in D.C., we use colors. Depending on where you're going, you take the Red Line, Blue Line, Green Line, Orange Line or Yellow Line. The iconic D.C. Metro map is an artful study in the use of these five primary colors.

But for years, there's been talk of a new color - the Purple Line. Until recently, the Purple Line has been more myth than reality - in part due to the light rail project's nearly $1.7 billion price tag. In the past four years, however, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) made it a priority and has begun seeking federal funds for the Purple Line.

O'Malley is up for election this year and Bob Ehrlich, his Republican opponent and his predecessor as Governor, is not a Purple Line supporter. And that may end up costing him the election.

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The Takeaway

The Fate of Democrats and Nancy Pelosi

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If Democrats are able to hold a majority in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi will have to decide if she will run for House Speaker again. However, many Democrats are already saying that they would not support her if she does run.

The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, has the details of this developing story.

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The Takeaway

Newt Gingrich's Plan for America

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In 1994 during the Republican Revolution, which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich led, the rhetorical artillery of the right was wrapped up in his “Contract with America.” Could a similar rhetoric work this time around?

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The Takeaway

In Conn. Senate Battle, Mixed Emotions Among Party Faithful

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yesterday, former President Bill Clinton traveled to New Haven to campaign for Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal, a Democrat, is running against Republican Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, in a tight race for Christopher Dodd's U.S. Senate seat. Anna Sale, editor of WNYC's new political site, It's a Free Country, traveled to the rally in New Haven to speak with the voters and protestors in attendance.

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It's A Free Country ®

Vito Lopez's Non-profits: Investigation Widening, Money Freezing

Friday, September 24, 2010

Everyone says they'll tackle corruption - even within their own party. Enter Vito Lopez. He's the Brooklyn Democratic County Leader whose well-funded, sprawling network of non-profits seems to be testing that notion.

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It's A Free Country ®

NY Democrats Look to Women Candidates - and Paladino - to Build Albany Power

Monday, September 20, 2010

With six weeks left before voters go to the polls,  New York candidates are hitting the streets and the airwaves. Democrats are trying to hold onto their control of the state Senate. Last year, their narrow majority temporarily slipped away and gave the Republicans a fleeting new lease on life, for a while anyway. Eventually dissident Democrats came back to the fold, but  the chaos only complicated an already dysfunctional budget process.

Now, Democrats think they can tilt the Albany math in their favor with women challengers in a few key legislative races - and by capturing voters put off by Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino.

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WNYC News

Wall Street Backs Republican Candidates

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Wall Street is betting on Republican candidates this election season.  

"Around January, Feburary of this current year, there was a major major shift," said Dave Levinthal, editor of the Open Secrets blog for the Center on Responsive Politics, which analyzes political contributions. "It was a dramatic shift that coincided with financial reform."

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The Takeaway

Congressman Rangel Faces 13 Ethics Violations

Friday, July 30, 2010

In a 40-page statement of charges, a House investigative panel formally charged Rep. Charles Rangel with 13 ethics violations. Among the charges was the improper solicitation of donations for a New York building bearing Rangel's name. The charges against the lifetime New York Democrat come weeks before midterm elections.

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The Takeaway

Senate Votes on DISCLOSE Act

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Senate will vote today on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill already approved by the House, that would require corporations to disclose their spending on federal political campaigns and to reveal their identities in any political ads they fund. The bill is being seen as the Democrats' answer to the Supreme Courts's ruling on the Citizens United case, which allowed big corporations, domestic and foreign, to spend unlimited amounts of money on American elections.

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The Takeaway

Bush's Tax Cuts: Not Going Away Without a Fight

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Remember President George W. Bush's tax cuts back in 2001 and 2003, which were met with much hatred by Democrats? Well, those tax cuts are about to expire. However, this is not necessarily good news for Democrats. Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, sees Democrats somewhere in between a rock and a hard place. They can't easily allow taxes to go back up when the economy is still struggling; at the same time, they can't watch the deficit continue to rise if the cuts stay. To make things more complicated, these tax cut decisions need to be made during an election year.

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WQXR News

New York GOP Says Dems Must Disclose More Details of State Budget Proposal

Friday, July 09, 2010

The New York state legislature is on hiatus for at least a couple of weeks, and the state budget remains unfinished.

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Transportation Nation

Senate May Drop Key Tax Credit For Biodiesel Industry

Thursday, June 24, 2010

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation)  The nation's truckers aren’t likely to start pumping biodiesel any time soon, by the looks of the United States Senate.  That’s because the resurrection of a big biodiesel tax credit is poised to fall victim to a larger tax and jobs bill, which failed tonight on the Senate floor.

The credit is worth $868 million over ten years to refiners who blend biofuel from soybeans, animal fats, restaurant waste oil and other sources into traditional, petroleum-based diesel.  Refiners get a one-dollar tax credit for every gallon they blend, and the savings generally go to making biodiesel more competitive with standard diesel at the pump.

Congress has extended the credit for the last few years, and it still enjoys strong support from both parties. But partisan disagreement over a broader package of tax provisions and unemployment benefits ended the credit.  At least for the time being.

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Transportation Nation

Senators Now Crossing the Aisle for Electric Car

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Lawmakers are hoping for a chance to give the electric car a jolt in the Senate’s upcoming energy bill.

A bipartisan group of senators are pushing a new round of incentives and cash designed to speed development of long-range batteries and plug-in stations that could finally start to push the US transportation fleet away from fossil fuels.

No one expects it to happen quickly. Most lawmakers and experts expect it will take decades before a significant proportion of Americans are driving plug-in hybrids or electric cars.

The Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010 throws $1.5 billion in research and development grants to high-tech battery firms.

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The Takeaway

Washington Turns up the Heat on BP

Monday, May 31, 2010

Congressman Ed Markey, chairman of the House energy commitee, came out strongly yesterday against BP, accusing the oil company of under-estimating the leak in order to pay smaller fines. "I think that without question if the word criminal should be used in terms of an environmental crime against our country, what's going on in the Gulf of Mexico is going to qualify," Markey said on "Face the Nation."

Julie Mason, White House correspondent for the Washington Examiner says some Democrats now expect President Obama to follow Markey's footsteps.

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WQXR News

Cuomo Receives Party Nomination

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo received his party's nomination for the Democratic convention today.

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