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  • Officials: Baucus to be named ambassador to China

    DAVID ESPO DONNA CASSATA AP|Updated Dec 18, 2013
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    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama intends to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China, Democratic officials said Wednesday, turning to a lawmaker well-versed in trade issues to fill one of the nation's most important diplomatic posts. If confirmed by the Senate, Baucus would replace Ambassador Gary Locke, who announced last month he was stepping down. There was no immediate comment from the White House on the disclosure, which was made by officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they wer... Full story

  • Policy cancellations: Obama will allow old plans

    DAVID ESPO AP Special Correspondent|Updated Nov 14, 2013

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he hears Americans who are upset about losing their health insurance "loud and clear" and is offering a fix. Obama on Thursday announced that insurance companies can keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be cancelled. The president noted that the first-month enrollment numbers in health care plans under his law are lagging and he isn't happy about it. He said that "we fumbled the roll-out" of the program. And he vowed to build a better health care system for every... Full story

  • Swearing age-old oath, Obama steps into 2nd term

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama was sworn in for four more years Sunday in a simple ceremony at the White House, embarking on a second-term quest to restore a still-shaky economy and combat terrorists overseas while swearing an age-old oath to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution. AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Sunday. "I did it," a...

  • Swearing age-old oath, Obama steps into 2nd term

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama was sworn in for four more years Sunday in a simple ceremony at the White House, embarking on a second-term quest to restore a still-shaky economy and combat terrorists overseas while swearing an age-old oath to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution. AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Sunday. "I did it," a... Full story

  • Senate blocks expanded gun sale background checks

    ALAN FRAM, DAVID ESPO, Associated Press

    (Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., voted against background checks legislation. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., voted yes.) WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, backed by a small band of rural-state Democrats, turned away legislation Wednesday to tighten restrictions on the sale of firearms, rejecting repeated appeals from President Barack Obama and personal pleas by families of the victims of last winter's mass elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Attempts to ban assault-style rifles and high capacity ammunition magazines also...

  • Last ditch effort to avoid fiscal cliff under way

    DAVID ESPO, JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The end game at hand, the White House and Senate leaders launched a final attempt at compromise Friday night in hopes of preventing a toxic blend of middle-class tax increases and spending cuts from taking effect at the turn of the new year. "I am hopeful and optimistic" of reaching an agreement after months of gridlock, the Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said after a meeting with President Barack Obama and top congressional leaders at the White House. AP Photo/ Evan Vucci Senate...

  • Republicans nominate Romney, lambaste Obama

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney swept to the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night at a storm-delayed national convention, every mention of his name cheered by delegates eager to propel him into a campaign to defeat President Barack Obama in tough economic times. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong Texas delegates cheer as Mitt Romney is nominated for the Office of the President of the United States at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. Romney watched on television with his...

  • Obama back from Hawaii, Congress bickers on cliff

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama returned to the White House on Thursday from a vacation shortened by government gridlock while Democrats and Republicans snarled across a partisan divide and showed no sign of compromise to avoid year-end tax increases and spending cuts. Adding to the woes confronting the middle class was a pending spike of $2-per-gallon or more in milk prices if lawmakers failed to pass farm legislation by year's end. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak President Barack Obama waves to reporters as he steps off...

  • Storm forces GOP to scrap first day of convention

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Republican officials abruptly announced plans Saturday night to scrap the first day of their national convention, bowing to the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac as it bore down menacingly on Florida. "The safety of those in Isaac's path is of the utmost importance," tweeted Mitt Romney, his formal nomination as presidential candidate pushed back by a minimum of 24 hours from Monday night to Tuesday. The announcement was made as convention-goers flocked to the Tampa Bay area by the planeload for what had...

  • Romney sweeps 5 wins, promises 'better America'

    DAVID ESPO, KASIE HUNT - Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney laid claim to the fiercely contested Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night with a fistful of primary triumphs, then urged all who struggle in a shaky U.S. economy to "hold on a little longer, a better America begins tonight." Eager to turn the political page to the general election, Romney accused President Barack Obama of "false promises and weak leadership." He declared, "Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job...

  • Romney would raise eligibility age for Medicare

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    DETROIT — Four days before critical primary elections, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney outlined a far-reaching plan Friday to gradually delay Americans' eligibility for Medicare as well as Social Security. Romney said the shift, as people live longer, is needed to steer the giant benefit programs toward economic sustainability. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field in Detroit, Friday. Speaking to the...

  • Foreign policy fireworks: Face-off before election

    DAVID ESPO, KASIE HUNT, Associated Press

    BOCA RATON, Fla. — President Barack Obama sharply challenged Mitt Romney on foreign policy in their final campaign debate Monday night, accusing him of "wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map." The Republican coolly responded, "Attacking me is not an agenda" for dealing with a dangerous world. AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds President Barack Obama speaks as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and moderator Bob Schieffer listen during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday in Boca... Full story

  • Rep. Giffords to resign from Congress this week

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona announced Sunday she intends to resign from Congress this week to concentrate on recovering from wounds suffered in an assassination attempt a little more than a year ago that shook the country. "I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice," the Democratic lawmaker said on a video posted without prior notice on her Facebook page. AP Photo/Office of Gabrielle Giffords This video image provided by the Office...

  • Rep. Giffords to resign from Congress this week

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona announced Sunday she intends to resign from Congress this week to concentrate on recovering from wounds suffered in an assassination attempt a little more than a year ago that shook the country. "I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice," the Democratic lawmaker said on a video posted without prior notice on her Facebook page. AP Photo/Office of Gabrielle Giffords This video image provided by the Office...

  • Gingrich leads in South Carolina primary

    DAVID ESPO, THOMAS BEAUMONT - Associated Press

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Newt Gingrich bid for an upset Saturday night in the South Carolina primary, the first Southern testing ground in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and historically a harbinger of the final outcome. As polls closed across the state, exit polling showed the former House speaker ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney overall, and leading by a wide margin among the state's conservatives, tea party supporters and born-again Christians. AP Photo/Matt Rourke Republican presidential... Full story

  • Gingrich storms to SC victory, scrambling GOP race

    DAVID ESPO, THOMAS BEAUMONT - Associated Press

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stormed to an upset win in the South Carolina primary Saturday night, dealing a sharp setback to former front-runner Mitt Romney and suddenly scrambling the race for the Republican presidential nomination. "Thank you, South Carolina!" a jubilant Gingrich swiftly tweeted to his supporters. He appealed for a flood or donations for the next-up Jan. 31 primary. "Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida. Join our Moneybomb and donate now," said his tweet. AP...

  • Sniping from within GOP adds to Romney's struggles

    DAVID ESPO,AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney struggled to steady his presidential campaign on Friday, buffeted by an outbreak of sniping among frustrated Republicans, fresh evidence of a slide in battleground state polls and President Barack Obama's accusation that he was writing off "half the country" in pursuit of the White House. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns in Las Vegas, Friday. Republican running mate Paul Ryan drew boos at an AARP convention in New Orleans...

  • Gingrich leads in South Carolina primary

    DAVID ESPO, THOMAS BEAUMONT - Associated Press

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Newt Gingrich bid for an upset Saturday night in the South Carolina primary, the first Southern testing ground in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and historically a harbinger of the final outcome. As polls closed across the state, exit polling showed the former House speaker ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney overall, and leading by a wide margin among the state's conservatives, tea party supporters and born-again Christians. AP Photo/Matt Rourke Republican presidential...

  • Gingrich storms to SC victory, scrambling GOP race

    DAVID ESPO, THOMAS BEAUMONT - Associated Press

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stormed to an upset win in the South Carolina primary Saturday night, dealing a sharp setback to former front-runner Mitt Romney and suddenly scrambling the race for the Republican presidential nomination. "Thank you, South Carolina!" a jubilant Gingrich swiftly tweeted to his supporters. He appealed for a flood or donations for the next-up Jan. 31 primary. "Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida. Join our Moneybomb and donate now," said his tweet. AP...

  • Santorum sweeps Alabama, Mississippi primaries

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A resurgent Rick Santorum swept primaries in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday night, upending the race for the Republican presidential nomination as he sought to push Newt Gingrich toward the sidelines. Mitt Romney was running third in both states. "We did it again," Santorum told cheering supporters in Lafayette, La. He said it was time for conservatives to unite in an effort to defeat Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is the faraway leader in the competition for Republican National Convention...

  • The South's turn: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich vie

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney collided with rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich on Tuesday in primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, hotly contested Southern crossroads in the struggle for the Republican presidential nomination. Caucuses in Hawaii were also on the calendar in the race to pick an opponent to President Barack Obama this fall. There were 107 Republican National Convention delegates at stake, 47 in Alabama, 37 in Mississippi, 17 in Hawaii and six more in caucuses in American Samoa. AP Photo/David Goldman...

  • Romney sweeps NH to cement top status; Paul second

    DAVID ESPO, STEVE PEOPLES,Associated Press

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Mitt Romney cruised to a solid victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, improving on his first-place finish in the lead-off Iowa caucuses and firmly establishing himself as the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination. "Tonight we made history," Romney told cheering supporters before pivoting to a stinging denunciation of President Barack Obama. "The middle class has been crushed," in the past three years, he said, "our debt is too high and our opportunities too few" ... Full story

  • Romney sweeps NH to cement top status; Paul second

    DAVID ESPO, STEVE PEOPLES,Associated Press

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Mitt Romney cruised to a solid victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, improving on his first-place finish in the lead-off Iowa caucuses and firmly establishing himself as the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination. "Tonight we made history," Romney told cheering supporters before pivoting to a stinging denunciation of President Barack Obama. "The middle class has been crushed," in the past three years, he said, "our debt is too high and our opportunities too few" ... Full story

  • Ad about woman's death causes campaign furor

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney's campaign fiercely protested a searing attack ad aired by allies of President Barack Obama on Wednesday, but drew expressions of dismay from conservatives when an aide to the former Massachusetts governor invoked the benefits of a state health care system he signed into law. "If people had been in Massachusetts under Gov. Romney's health care plan, they would have had health care," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an interview on Fox News. The Republican presidential candidate himself rarely... Full story

  • Obama powers to re-election despite weak economy

    DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama rolled to re-election Tuesday night, vanquishing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney despite a weak economy that plagued his first term and put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions. In victory, he confidently promised better days ahead. Obama spoke to thousands of cheering supporters in his hometown of Chicago, praising Romney and declaring his optimism for the next four years. "While our road has been hard, though our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we hav...

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