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PA-Sen: Republican candidate signs Fixing American Economy plan

Arlen Specter switched from R to D in Pennsylvania and is being challenged in the Democratic primary, apparently, by Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA-7).  Pat Toomey is the considered by many as the leading Republican candidate.  Peg Luksik is another Republican candidate. There are fault lines emerging on the trade issue…

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PA-Sen: Tom Ridge won’t run

Tom Ridge, the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, polls closely with Arlen Specter in a hypothetical general election matchup.  But Ridge has announced that he won’t run.   A Research 2000 poll found former Club for Growth leader Pat Toomey substantially ahead of Ridge in a Republican primary matchup… 41-33%.

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PA-Sen: Poll says Specter beats Toomey in general election

These are the poll numbers that caused Specter to switch from Republican In Name Only (RINO) to Democrat In Name Only (DINO).  Specter himself said this move was designed to keep his seat.

Republican primary polling:  Former Club for Growth Chairman Toomey beats Specter by 21 points:  51-30%.

General election poll:  Specter beats Toomey by 20 points: 53-33%.

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Kennedy/Collins most bipartisan Senators

Some interesting trivia from The Hill.  Both a small survey, and  a complete one.  Small because only 99 people were surveyed.  Complete because 99 is the sum total of all Senators, the target of the survey. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), often portrayed as a raving liberal, was voted the most bipartisan…

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CT-Sen: Dodd in trouble

The number one pickup opportunity for Republicans in the Senate is Connecticut.  Senator Dodd has very low approval numbers.  An April 2, 2009 Quinnipiac poll showed Connecticut voters disapprove of the job Dodd is doing by 33-58 percent. 

Former U.S. Representative Rob Simmons will challenged Dodd in 2010.  Simmons leads Dodd in polling by a huge amount, 50-34%.

Dodd has been hammered by two things, primarily.  First, his presidential election campaign really hurt.  Second, he acquiesced, as Senate Banking Committee chair, in taking out executive pay limitations in bank bailout limitations.  AIG executives in Connecticut hired security to protect them in their personal homes, and Dodd was seen as enabling the sky-high salaries.

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PA-Sen: Specter in trouble

Arlen Specter is in deep political trouble.  His approval rating is below 50%, at 42%, among Pennsylvania Republicans.   The relevant category of voters right now for Specter is Republicans because he is facing a primary challenge from Pat Toomey, who just stepped down from his leadership position at the pro-free trade Club for Growth organization.

Toomey leads Specter among Republicans by a whopping 21 points, 51% to 30%.

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New USDA undersecretary nominations

President Obama has nominated Kevin Concannon to be Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services; and Rajiv Shah to be Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. Full story is here.

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Obama’s trade team

This from Manufacturing & Technology News, written by Richard McCormick.  Obama named Frank Sanchez as undersecretary for International Trade at DOC, and named Miriam Shapiro as Deputy USTR.

The story is below the fold.

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USTR: Administration will not reopen NAFTA

Candidate Obama said we need to renegotiate NAFTA.  Then his economics advisor allegedly told the Canadian government that the talk was "more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans." Then Candidate Obama had to address the flap, and reiterated that NAFTA should be renegotiated:

"It turned out that the Canadian consulate in Chicago contacted my, one of my advisers, Austan Goolsbee, on their own initiative, invited him down to meet with them," Obama said. "He went down there as a courtesy, and at some point they started talking about trade and NAFTA."

Obama said that Goolsbee reiterated the position Obama has articulated on the campaign trail: that trade should be welcomed, but that NAFTA should be renegotiated to include stricter labor and environmental standards.

Now President Obama agrees with the Goolsbee comments he denied.  No reopening of NAFTA.

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Kirk confirmed as USTR

Ron Kirk was confirmed as the new U.S. Trade Representative on the Senate floor today.  The vote was 92-5.  Opposing were Sens. Robert Byrd (D-WV), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Kit Bond (R-MO), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  The trade reform movement needs to engage Kirk.  He was not our…

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