McDonnell daughter testifies on parents' marriage

Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell, left, and her daughter Cailin YoungThe eldest daughter of former Gov. Bob McDonnell testified Wednesday that her parents' marriage had been troubled for many years and her mom developed "a mild obsession" with the Virginia businessman whose gifts to the family are at the heart of the McDonnells' corruption trial.

Romney for US president in 2016? Iowa poll puts him on top

Former US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 15, 2013Americans may not be through with Mitt Romney after all. The two-time Republican presidential candidate has repeatedly stressed over the past year that he is not interested in a third shot at the White House. The survey of Iowa Republican voters conducted by Suffolk University and USA Today showed that if Romney was added to the pool of potential 2016 Republican contenders, 35 percent of respondents would place him first in the Iowa caucuses, the political contest that kicks off the primary calendar. Arkansas ex-governor Mike Huckabee came in a distant second, at just nine percent, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie trailing at 6.5 percent and former senator Rick Santorum at six percent.

California bill mandating drone privacy rules heads to governor
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - Strict regulations on how law enforcement and other government agencies can use drones won passage by California lawmakers on Wednesday, a move supporters said would protect privacy and prevent warrantless surveillance. The bill, which heads to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown after passing 51-0 in the state Assembly, would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before using an unmanned aircraft, or drone, except in emergencies such as a fire or a hostage-taking. “Over the next decade drone technology will become much more common in California’s airspace,” said Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, the bill's author.  “There are tremendous benefits that can be realized from these tools, but only if we first pass the legislation that will protect our civil and privacy rights from abuses of the technology." Other public agencies would be able to use drones, or contract for their use, to achieve their "core mission," so long as that mission is not to gather criminal intelligence.

Primary reveals Democrat Crist's weak spots in Florida governor's race

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist waves after meeting supporters outside the North Miami Public Library in MiamiBy Letitia Stein TAMPA Fla. (Reuters) - Florida voters handed Charlie Crist his first victory as a Democrat in Tuesday's primary election for governor, while also exposing weaknesses in his nationally watched bid to take back the job he once held as a Republican. Crist won almost 75 percent of Democratic votes in a widely expected defeat of a primary challenger. Some of the lowest levels afflicted the Democratic base in south Florida. Republican enthusiasm outpaced the Democratic showing in the critical swing region in the central part of the state, said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Louisiana Gov. Jindal sues feds over Common Core

In this Feb. 11, 2012 file photo, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana addresses activists from America's political right at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington. Jindal planned to file a lawsuit Wednesday Aug. 27, 2014 against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — In a move certain to bolster his national standing with conservatives, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal sued the Obama administration Wednesday, hoping to strike a blow against the controversial Common Core education standards and raising his profile as he builds a likely presidential campaign.

Immigration could set stage for big U.S. budget showdown

File photo of border fence at the United States-Mexico border outside of Brownsville, TexasCongress who object to President Barack Obama's immigration policies are threatening to tie a must-pass budget bill to the issue, making for a possible showdown in September and raising the specter of a government shutdown. White House-Congress tensions rose on Wednesday when Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the president's upcoming decision on steps to possibly ease some immigration rules would not be affected by Republican tactics. "It would be a real shame if Republicans were to engage in an effort to shut down the government over a commonsense solution (on immigration)." When lawmakers return from their summer recess on Sept. 8, they hope to sprint to another long break beginning around Sept. 19. Federal agencies were shut down for 16 days because of a lack of funds, before a bruised Republican Party relented.

Ex-lawmaker pleads guilty in GOP caucuses case
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa lawmaker has pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from his switch of support from one Republican candidate for president to another before the 2012 caucuses, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

California would triple tax breaks for film production under deal
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - California will triple its tax breaks for entertainment companies doing business in the state, the latest effort to stem a tide of runaway production that has cost billions in revenue in Hollywood's home state under a deal announced on Wednesday. The increase in tax credits, aimed at luring production back to California even as other states offer tax breaks of their own, comes just a few weeks after the California Film Commission said the state had lost $2 billion in the past four years alone as producers sought cheaper places to do business. "This law will make key improvements in our Film and Television Tax Credit Program and put thousands of Californians to work," said Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who signed on to the deal along with the Democratic and Republican leaders of the state legislature. The deal, which still must be approved by both houses of the legislature before the end of their session this week, would increase the amount of money available for tax credits for film and television production to $330 million per year, up from about $100 million.

Defense rests in former Virginia governor's corruption trial

Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell arrives with his legal team for his trial in RichmondBy Gary Robertson RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) - Defense lawyers rested their case on Wednesday as the corruption and fraud trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife neared its end. McDonnell, a Republican, and his wife Maureen face a 14-count indictment for allegedly accepting $177,000 in gifts and loans from Star Scientific Chief Executive Jonnie Williams Sr. in exchange for promoting his dietary supplements company and its main product, Anatabloc. The defense team for Maureen McDonnell also presented its case on Wednesday, with a daughter testifying about her parents’ arguments and lack of communication. Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky, 33, the couple’s oldest daughter, testified under defense questioning that her mother was beset by “frustration, loneliness and anger sometimes” as her husband climbed the political ladder from state legislator to attorney general and, in 2010, to governor.

Mitt Romney Bungles His 'I'm Not Running Again' Line

Mitt Romney Bungles His 'I'm Not Running Again' LineLet's get one thing straight: Mitt Romney is not running for president again. Saying 'circumstances can change' is what happens when you fail to slam a creaky door shut and then turn around to find it is once again wide open." Sure, Romney is getting the best press of his life right at the moment. President Obama's foreign policy foibles have made him look smart, 2012 voters say they feel some remorse, no one has brought up those 47 percent remarks in months, and Republican candidates are cozying up to him even more than when he was the plausible next president of the United States.

Bill Clinton to stump for Maine governor hopeful

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton leads a panel discussion during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in WashingtonBy Dave Sherwood PORTLAND Maine (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton will come to Maine on Tuesday to campaign for the Democratic candidate for governor, Mike Michaud, party officials announced this week, shining a national spotlight on one of the most closely contended gubernatorial races of 2014. The Michaud/Clinton rally, which will take place along the Portland, Maine waterfront on Tuesday night, sold out in just three hours, campaign officials said. "I’ve always admired President Clinton for his ability to work across the aisle to get things done, which is something we’ve been missing here in Maine under Gov. LePage," Michaud said in a statement. Republican Party officials called Clinton’s arrival a sign of a troubled campaign.

Paul Ryan: What I Read

Paul Ryan: What I ReadThis is drawn from a phone conversation with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee and the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee. Ryan, who is considering a run for president in 2016, published a new book last week, The Way Forward: Reclaiming the American Idea.

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