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Ford Denies Smoking Crack (May 18, 2013, 08:11 PM)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford "turned down three chances on Friday to address the specifics of media reports about a video in which he appears to smoke crack cocaine and utter an anti-gay slur," the Toronto Star reports.

The mayor later told reporters that the allegations were "absolutely not true" and "ridiculous." At city hall later, he emerged from his office to offer only a brief statement.

Said Ford: "Anyways, like I said this morning, these allegations are ridiculous, another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me, and that's all I have to say."


Very Close Race for Senate Nomination in Georgia (May 18, 2013, 02:52 PM)

A new GaPundit poll in Georgia finds an extremely tight race for the GOP Senate nomination with Rep. Jack Kingston (R) at 18%, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) at 16%, Karen Handel (R) at 16%, Rep. Paul Broun (R) at 14% and David Perdue (R) at 6%.


Welcoming 100 Sandy Hook Moms (May 18, 2013, 01:40 PM)

Annabel Monaghan: "The fact that they came to this event at all is truly extraordinary. As the day unfolded, we learned that many of the mothers had struggled with whether they were comfortable being so far away from their children for the day. For some, it was the first time since December. One mother told me that she keeps the private cell phone number of the school security guard with her so that she can check in during the day if she feels anxious. After all they have faced, it was truly a leap of faith to come spend the day with strangers."


Gingrich Warns Republicans About Overreach (May 18, 2013, 12:30 PM)

Newt Gingrich told NPR his GOP colleagues should worry "about the risk of appearing to be too eager as they dig into the scandals now dogging the Obama administration."

Said Gingrich: "I think we overreached in '98 -- how's that for a quote you can use?"

He added: "They need to be calm and factual. For example, a [House] subcommittee ... should invite every single tea party, conservative, patriot group that was messed over by the IRS -- every single one of them -- to come in and testify, so that they build this deadening record of how many different people were having their rights abused by this administration."


Father Hopes to Follow Son as Mayor (May 18, 2013, 12:26 PM)

"Some parents hope their children follow in their footsteps. One mayoral candidate in Michigan, however, is seeking to follow the path once walked by his own teenage son," the Huffington Post reports.

"Scott Sessions is city councilman and a candidate for mayor of Hillsdale, Mich. He's running for an office his son, Michael, won in 2005 as an 18-year-old high school senior, catapulting him, and the city of 8,000, to international attention."


Democrats Pleased by Obama Response (May 18, 2013, 12:21 PM)

"House Democrats left Washington on Friday insisting they're not worried about political fallout after one of the most difficult weeks the Obama administration has endured," The Hill reports.

"Democrats know their fate in the 2014 elections hinges to a large degree on Obama's popularity, and they say the president has responded appropriately to a trio of controversies involving the IRS, the Justice Department and the terrorist attack last year in Benghazi, Libya."

"The Democrats are also cheering the aggressive approach Obama used in the latter half of the week, saying the feistiness has quelled criticisms that the president is steering from the back seat of his own administration."


Obama Sharpens Focus After Troubles (May 18, 2013, 09:37 AM)

President Obama, "struggling to find his footing after one of his most turbulent weeks in office, will try to push past the moment's political furor with a focus on the few pieces of legislation he believes have a chance in Congress and on executive actions that do not require Republican approval," the New York Times reports.

"The president's aides, wary of what they say are Republican attempts to seize on woes as a way of thwarting Mr. Obama's agenda, have ordered the White House staff not to be distracted by approaching hearings on Capitol Hill. Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, has told those in the West Wing that he expects them to spend no more than 10 percent of their time on the controversies."


Christie Says It Would Have Been Political Not to Appear in Ads (May 17, 2013, 06:50 PM)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) "defended his starring role in publicly funded tourism ads that Democrats say gives him an unfair advantage in the race for governor," the Newark Star Ledger reports.

Said Christie: "I don't see any advantage due or undue to me. I'm doing my job and if I was unwilling to appear in those ads in my view that would be me putting politics and concern for criticism ahead of doing my job the right way and I'm not going to do that."


Gawker Crackstarter (May 17, 2013, 06:34 PM)

Gawker is trying to raise $200,000 to buy the video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine so they can publish it online.


FEC Fines Ensign Family (May 17, 2013, 06:30 PM)

The Federal Election Commission has fined former Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and his parents $54,000 for improper severance payments to Cindy Hampton, a former campaign aide who had an extramarital affair with the Nevada Republican, Politico reports.

"Doug Hampton, Cindy Hampton's husband, was deputy chief of staff in Ensign's Senate office at that time, as well as being the senator's best friend. The resulting scandal, which exploded into public view in June 2009, led to a lengthy Senate Ethics Committee investigation and criminal probe by the Justice Department, and destroyed Ensign's once-promising political career. Ensign resigned from the Senate in May 2011."


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