- - Sunday, September 12, 2010

ELECTION

Obama strategists downplay GOP edge

INDIANOLA, Iowa | Two top Democratic strategists said Sunday that President Obama has the nation moving in the right direction, downplaying polls that suggest Republicans have a big edge heading into November’s midterm election.

White House adviser David Axelrod and David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, headlined Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s 33rd annual steak fry, one of the most prominent Democratic events each year.

Some polls have predicted the GOP will take control of one or both chambers of Congress after November’s election, a result that could cause severe headaches for Mr. Obama as he begins preparing for his own re-election effort in 2012.

“I know what the conventional wisdom is today,” Mr. Axelrod said. “We’ve made a good living betting against the conventional wisdom.”

TREASURY

Lawyer tapped to replace czar

The Obama administration says it’s chosen a Treasury Department lawyer to replace pay czar Kenneth Feinberg, who stepped down Friday, ending a contentious 14-month tenure.

Mr. Feinberg was accused of failing to act aggressively enough to recoup excessive pay for Wall Street bankers. He said in a final report that he thought his work had helped reform compensation policies.

The administration says Mr. Feinberg will be replaced by Patricia Geoghegan. She will be responsible for setting pay guidelines for top executives at the four companies still getting exceptional assistance from the government’s $700 billion bailout fund.

Those companies are American International Group, General Motors, Chrysler and Ally Financial Inc., the financing arm for GM and Chrysler.

Ms. Geoghegan spent much of the past year working with Mr. Feinberg as he issued a series of compensation reports. She came to Treasury after retiring as a partner from New York law firm Cravath, Swaine and Moore, where she had specialized in tax law and executive compensation.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Establishment, Palin mix it up

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