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Inside Politics

- - Monday, July 11, 2011

ELECTION

New TV ads target five Democratic senators

A Republican-leaning fundraising group with ties to GOP strategist Karl Rove has launched a new phase of its $20 million ad campaign attacking Democrats.

Crossroads GPS is running television ads targeting five Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012. They are Bill Nelson of Florida, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

The group also is running ads on national cable TV outlets and in presidential battleground states including Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada and Virginia criticizing President Obama. It's also targeting a handful of House districts.

The ads will begin running Friday. Crossroads is spending about $7 million on the effort.

Crossroads and an affiliated organization, American Crossroads, spent $38.6 million in 2010 against Democrats.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama expands campaign against bad regulations

The Obama administration is expanding its effort to rid the government of burdensome or redundant regulations.

President Obama issued an executive order Monday calling on independent agencies to make a plan for reviewing regulations that could be streamlined, expanded or repealed. The goals are to save money, allow agencies to operate more efficiently and ease burdens on business.

Mr. Obama ordered executive agencies — those run by a Cabinet secretary — to do the same in January.

The order is not binding, though the administration says it expects independent agencies to comply. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Transportation Safety Board are among the agencies covered by the order.

RHODE ISLAND

Patrick Kennedy to wed Friday at family home

PROVIDENCE -- Former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy and his fiancee plan to be married this week at a private wedding ceremony at the Kennedy family's Cape Cod compound.

The 43-year-old Kennedy will wed New Jersey schoolteacher Amy Petitgout on Friday at what Mr. Kennedy's spokeswoman says will be a small, intimate event.

Mr. Kennedy is the son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He represented Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District as a Democrat for 16 years. Since leaving Congress in January, he has been named a visiting fellow at Brown University and has campaigned to improve brain research.

The wedding will be closed to the press. It's to be held at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis, Mass. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer is set to officiate.

IOWA

Low on cash and down in polls, Pawlenty bets big

AMES -- Tim Pawlenty is trailing in polls and low on cash.

He's betting the future of his presidential campaign on Iowa, and a late summer test vote could make or break him.

The Republican candidate says he's looking to the Ames straw poll in August as a chance to show improvement. The comment is an acknowledgment of his lagging fortunes.

The low-key Midwesterner has little to show for his efforts to raise his profile and build a winning campaign since he first visited politically important Iowa in November 2009.

He has the largest staff of any candidate for Iowa's caucuses but registered support from just 6 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers in a recent Des Moines Register poll.

SENATE

Lawmaker calls for talks to end Korea bill dispute

A Republican senator called on Monday for talks between the Senate and House to resolve differences that threaten congressional approval of a Korea trade deal.

"I formally request that a 'mock conference' be scheduled in the near future so that we may continue to uphold our constitutional role in regulating trade with other nations," Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah said in a letter to Republican and Democratic leaders of both chambers.

The request follows sessions last week in both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to vote on nonbinding amendments to a draft version of bills to implement the trade agreement with South Korea and two other deals, with Colombia and Panama.

The sessions, known as "mock markups," are a traditional first step in congressional consideration of trade agreements.

But the sessions produced two different versions of the Korean legislation — one approved by the Democrat-led Senate Finance Committee that includes Trade Adjustment Assistance and one by the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee that does not.

From wire dispatches and staff reports