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Inside Politics

- - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

HOUSE

Ethics panel extends Jackson investigation

The House Ethics Committee has extended its investigation of Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

The committee is investigating whether Mr. Jackson or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise funds for then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in return for an appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

The committee said Tuesday there was no longer a request to defer the case. That request had come from the Justice Department.

Blagojevich, who won two terms as Illinois governor, was convicted in June of a wide range of corruption charges, including trying to sell the Senate seat.

Mr. Jackson has acknowledged he was "Senate Candidate A" in the Blagojevich criminal complaint, one of several candidates whom authorities say the former governor considered for the Senate seat.

CAMPAIGN

Study: Cain plan raises taxes on 84 percent

A new study says the 9-9-9 tax plan promoted by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain would raise taxes on 84 percent of U.S. households, contradicting claims by the candidate that most would see a tax cut.

The Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank, says low- and middle-income families would be hit hardest, with households making between $10,000 and $20,000 seeing their taxes increase by nearly 950 percent.

Those making more than $1 million a year would see their taxes cut nearly in half, on average.

Mr. Cain's plan would scrap current taxes on income, payroll, capital gains and corporate profits. It would replace them with a 9 percent tax on income, a 9 percent business tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

NORTH CAROLINA

Obama looks to South in bid to help keep his job

JAMESTOWN — North Carolina and Virginia are two Southern states at the heart of President Obama's re-election strategy.

Mr. Obama won the states in a surprise in 2008, and his campaign is doubling down in the region, hoping to turn to changing demographics as a way to offset potential losses in traditional swing states.

The president is in the middle of a three-day bus trip through North Carolina and Virginia even as polls show his challenges there. A recent Elon University poll put the president's approval rating in North Carolina at 42 percent, and a Quinnipiac University poll had it at 45 percent in Virginia.

Democrats are keying on the region. The party will hold its convention in Charlotte, N.C., next summer.

WHITE HOUSE

Axelrod: Obama had to take case to the people

A senior political adviser is defending President Obama's campaign-style travels to sell his jobs program, saying the president is "out there because the only people who are going to move these Republicans are the American people."

Speaking to MSNBC Tuesday, David Axelrod said Mr. Obama's re-election effort was always going to be difficult. He said that "by definition," the 2012 campaign will be rough because Mr. Obama came into office amid economic hard times and wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Axelrod also accused House Republican leaders of being "in the thralls of extremists" and said Mr. Obama had no choice but to go outside Washington with his arguments.

He said even though Democrats had "all the wind at our back the last time," 47 percent of the American people still voted for someone else.

NEVADA

Reid backs Nevada's early caucus date

LAS VEGAS — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is endorsing Nevada's jump ahead in the Republican presidential nominating calendar and is telling New Hampshire to back off.

A Reid aide told the Associated Press Tuesday that Nevada Democrats will also move their caucus date to Jan. 14 in solidarity with Nevada Republicans, and state Democratic Chairwoman Roberta Lange confirmed the change in date.

Mr. Reid is hoping to persuade Nevada Republicans to preserve their date despite a call from New Hampshire leaders to delay the contest. New Hampshire's secretary of state is threatening to hold the state's primary in early December unless Nevada moves its caucuses back.

Jon Huntsman Jr. and four other candidates have said they will boycott Nevada's contest unless it's delayed. Mr. Huntsman also has declined Tuesday's debate.

From wire dispatches and staff reports