- - Sunday, October 16, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Hard-hit Obama donors still opening wallets

President Obama’s getting financial support from some of the nation’s most distressed areas.

He has shored up support from mid-level donors in some of the areas, even as his Republican challengers have made jobs a central issue heading into next year’s election.

An Associated Press analysis of Mr. Obama’s fundraising since April found that his supporters opened their wallets more often this election cycle in places with the worst unemployment rates. That’s compared with the same period four years ago, just months before the country was thrust into a major recession.

The new numbers suggest GOP candidates will have to bear down harder on the harshness of the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate, an issue that has bedeviled Mr. Obama through much of his first term.

IOWA

Koch brothers boost Cain’s White House bid

IOWA CITY — Herman Cain casts himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation’s capital.

But Mr. Cain’s economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.

Mr. Cain’s campaign manager and other aides have worked for the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. The group lobbies for lower taxes and reduced government regulation and spending.

Mr. Cain is quick to promote his success running a pizza chain. But his ties to the Koch brothers are not something he appears eager to highlight.

His campaign did not respond to inquiries seeking comment, and Mr. Cain does not include his Americans for Prosperity connections in his biography on his website.

HOUSE

Cantor says ‘supercommittee’ will make cuts by deadline

A key Republican leader said Sunday that a congressional “supercommittee” will reach agreement on $1.5 trillion in cuts in government spending by next month’s deadline, thus averting harsh automatic measures.

“I think folks in this town on both sides of the aisle know that we can’t fail. There has to be success and an outcome here,” said Rep. Eric Cantor, the majority leader in the House of Representatives.

The bipartisan committee was set up in August to make $1.5 trillion in cuts of government spending as part of a deficit-reduction deal to reduce spending by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years.

The committee has until Nov. 23 to come up with a deal; failure to reach agreement would automatically trigger $1.2 trillion in cuts evenly distributed between military and nonmilitary spending.

The Pentagon and its supporters in Congress have warned that automatic cuts would damage U.S. security interests.

CAMPAIGN

Axelrod: GOP doesn’t get Wall Street protests

A senior political adviser to President Obama is charging that the Republicans seeking the presidency don’t understand the American public’s pent-up anger about corporate excesses.

David Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” that the American people “want a financial system that works on the level. They want to get a fair shake.”

He appeared Sunday, one day after scores of demonstrators protesting corporate business practices were arrested in New York’s Times Square in a confrontation with police.

Mr. Axelrod faulted Republicans who have been pushing in Congress to soften or repeal the landmark legislation Mr. Obama pushed through last year, tightening regulation of business practices.

Mr. Axelrod said he doesn’t believe “any American is impressed” when hearing GOP presidential candidates who want to “roll back Wall Street reform.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Huntsman stays defiant despite long primary odds

GREENLAND — Jon Huntsman Jr. is defiant, even as his presidential campaign limps along.

“I don’t care whether you’re Republican, whether you’re independent, whether you’re Democrat, I want to get your vote. But I’m going to tell you right at the outset, I’m not going to pander,” the GOP candidate told about 100 New Hampshire Rotary Club members one recent day. “I’m not going to sign meaningless pledges, and I’m not going to journey to New York to meet with Don Trump.

“There are just some things that I will not do.”

It’s a message that Mr. Huntsman hopes will resonate with New Hampshire’s moderate Republicans and independent voters who will play a prominent role in its rapidly approaching presidential primary. And it provides a window into his last, best chance at keeping his presidential hopes alive a come-from-behind New Hampshire victory that would deal a blow to Mitt Romney and catapult Mr. Huntsman to the front of the GOP nomination fight.

Two weeks have passed since the former Utah governor moved his national headquarters from Florida to the aging former industrial center that is Manchester, N.H.

It was a move of necessity.

He is shedding campaign staff. His campaign debt totals about $890,000, even after he gave the campaign more than $2 million of his own money, according to new finance reports. And Mr. Huntsman, the Obama administration’s former ambassador to China, is barely registering in national polls.

From wire dispatches and staff reports