Guardian of New Hampshire's presidential primary ready for another round

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner answers a question in his office at the State House in ConcordBy Scott Malone CONCORD, N.H. (Reuters) - As New Hampshire braces for another wave of White House hopefuls next year seeking votes in the first-in-the-nation nominating primary, much of the credit for the state's hold on that position goes to one man: Secretary of State William Gardner. For the past four decades, Gardner has outmaneuvered states including Florida and Nevada to protect the front-runner spot mandated by New Hampshire law - and it has not always been easy. The state has steadily moved forward its primary, originally held in March. It shoe-horned the past two contests into ...

First Bush, then Cuba: Rubio rides political wave

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, prepares for a news conference where he expressed his disappointment in President Barack Obama's initiative to normalize relations between the US and Cuba, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON (AP) — As the 2016 Republican presidential primary lurched ahead this week, no GOP prospect had a ride quite like Marco Rubio.

A post-election flurry: Obama tests his powers

File- This Dec. 10, 2012, file photo shows President Barack Obama gesturing as he speaks to workers about the economy during a visit to Daimler Detroit Diesel in Redford, Mich. With a recent streak of activism, President Obama is shaking up the governing status quo and creating a new normal for his successors. From immigration to Internet access, from climate change to now Cuba, Obama is laying down a foundation that while fragile and subject to change is defining how he enters the final two years of his presidency and what he leaves for the next White House occupant. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — With a recent streak of activism, President Barack Obama is shaking up the governing status quo and creating a new normal for his successors.

U.S. House oversight panel to probe Secret Service breaches, culture
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee will conduct a bipartisan investigation into the U.S. Secret Service next year, the panel's new chairman, Republican Jason Chaffetz, said on Thursday. Chaffetz and the panel's top Democrat, Elijah Cummings, said in a joint statement that the probe "will examine security breaches that have recently been publicly reported, as well as focus on overall leadership, staffing, culture, protocol, technology, tactics and training issues." (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Eric Walsh)

NC Rules panel approves new fracking standards
A state panel's approval of regulations for fracking should allow North Carolina lawmakers to take the matter up next year on the schedule envisioned by Republican legislative leaders. The state Rules ...

Iowa and New Hampshire voters will listen before they judge Bush

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush addresses the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in WashingtonBy Mark Guarino DAVENPORT, Iowa (Reuters) - Life-long Republican Bob Shelley neatly folds his newspaper and uses it as a coaster, placing his coffee mug over a photo of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who just announced he will explore a bid for the White House in 2016. In a coffee shop in this riverfront city, Shelley, 63, says he is not certain which Republican presidential candidate he’ll vote for in 2016 But he knows Bush is not his man. ...

Sessions yields to Enzi as U.S. Senate Budget chairman
By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Mike Enzi said on Wednesday he will take over as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee next year after the panel's current top Republican, Jeff Sessions, agreed to step aside. The two senators had contested the chairmanship of the committee that will provide a key blueprint for Republican policy priorities as the party takes control of the Senate in January. ...

In surprise, Wyo. senator to head budget committee
The Alabama lawmaker who has been the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee for the past four years ended his effort Wednesday to become the panel's chairman, clearing the way for a colleague from ...

Rubio, other US lawmakers furious over Obama's Cuba move

Senator Marco Rubio reacts to President Barack Obama's announcement about revising policies on US-Cuba relations on December 17, 2014 in Washington, DCSome Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage Wednesday over Washington's historic Cuba breakthrough, saying President Barack Obama conceded "everything" to a brutal Castro regime and warning Congress will block efforts to lift the trade embargo. Republican Senator Marco Rubio blasted Obama's deal with Cuban counterpart Raul Castro as naive and "inexplicable," and said it would only push back the day the communist-ruled island ultimately shifts to democracy. "The White House has conceded everything and gained little," a visibly fuming Rubio, who is Cuban American, told reporters.

Republican wins Arizona House seat after recount

Republican Martha McSally smiles after learning that an recount gave her a 167-vote Congressional victory against Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Barber, at McSally's campaign headquarters Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Tucson, Ariz. Republicans will have their largest U.S. House majority in 83 years when the new Congress convenes next month after a recount in Arizona gave the final outstanding race to the Republican challenger. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)PHOENIX (AP) — Republicans will have their largest U.S. House majority in 83 years when the new Congress convenes next month after a recount in Arizona gave the final unresolved midterm race to a Republican challenger.

From joy to outrage, Florida's Cuban-Americans greet new U.S. policy

City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado speaks with journalists in Little Havana in MiamiBy Zachary Fagenson and David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - Some Cuban exiles responded with outrage. Others with ecstasy. News on Wednesday that the United States will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time in more than a half century divided America's 1.5-million-strong Cuban exile community and threatened to shake up the political landscape in the vital battleground state of Florida. ...

Jeb Bush tweaks statement on Obama's Cuba move
By Gabriel Debenedetti WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A day after Republican Jeb Bush said he was exploring a campaign for U.S. President, his staff had to revise the wording of a statement that called the Castro brothers benefactors of a change in U.S. Cuba policy, when it meant to call them beneficiaries. The statement, lambasting President Barack Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba, initially said "the benefactors of President Obama's ill-advised move will be the heinous Castro brothers who have oppressed the Cuban people for decades. ...

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