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Inside Politics: AME Church denies withdrawing support for Obama

- - Tuesday, July 3, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The African Methodist Episcopal Church is condemning a false online report that the denomination withdrew support for President Obama because of his support for same-sex marriage.

In a statement released Monday, Bishop Samuel Green Sr., president of the Council of Bishops, said the denomination does not endorse candidates for political office.

Bishop Green also denied that the denomination is affiliated with the Coalition of African-American Pastors, which is calling on Mr. Obama to renounce support for same-sex marriage.

The erroneous report was published on the Christian news website charismanews.com. On Tuesday, it appeared to have been taken down.

Mr. Obama was a featured speaker at the AME Church's 2008 general conference. Last week, first lady Michelle Obama addressed the 2012 conference in Nashville.

FLORIDA

Obama, Romney volunteers hope to make a difference

ST. PETERSBURG — Call them passionate, idealistic, earnest, even a tad naive.

The volunteers powering President Obama and Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns share at least one trait: an abiding faith in the political process and a belief that who occupies the White House still matters.

Many voters aren't as optimistic. An Associated Press-GfK poll taken in June found less than half of adults say the outcome of the Nov. 6 election will make a great deal of difference on the economy, unemployment and the federal budget deficit.

Both sides rely heavily on volunteer labor even as spending on high-priced staples like TV ads, polling and consultants keeps rising. Many of a campaign's most labor intensive tasks — from staffing offices to making phone calls to registering voters — are done by volunteers.

 

CAMPAIGN

Obama camp launches Romney outsourcing ad

President Obama's re-election campaign is launching a new attack on Republican rival Mitt Romney's business record.

In a television advertisement released Tuesday, the campaign says Mr. Romney invested in companies that moved jobs overseas and supports tax breaks for companies that do so. The ad, titled "Believe", says Mr. Obama believes in "insourcing" and favors tax cuts for companies that bring jobs back to the U.S.

Democrats believe a drumbeat of ads accusing Mr. Romney of shipping U.S. jobs overseas is starting to take hold in battleground states and impact voters' views of the presumptive GOP nominee.

The ad is running in nine politically important states, including Colorado and Virginia.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Romney has working holiday planned for July Fourth

WOLFEBORO — Mitt Romney is on vacation this Fourth of July week — but not from politics.

The Republican presidential candidate is enjoying the summer holiday with his large family at his lakeside vacation home outside of Wolfeboro, N.H.

He also is huddling with his top campaign advisers, including his campaign manager and the aide charged with overseeing his vice-presidential search. Plus, his top strategist is in town shooting video for new TV ads.

Mr. Romney himself is set to march in the local July 4th parade. And while Mr. Romney and his family haven't encouraged media coverage of their ice cream outings and sports events, they haven't shied away from the cameras.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama administration wants review of gay marriage law

The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to settle the legal fight over a law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples.

The Justice Department on Tuesday asked the court to hear an appeal in its next term of lower court rulings striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. The earliest the justices might decide to hear the case is in late September. Arguments probably would take place over the winter and a decision returned by late June 2013.

The administration said it agrees with the lower court rulings, but wants prompt high court review because President Obama has instructed federal agencies to continue to enforce the law's ban on federal benefits to married gay couples until there is a final court ruling.

MASSACHUSETTS

State health law may bode well for federal law

BOSTON — Massachusetts has the nation's highest rate of residents with health insurance. Visits to emergency rooms are beginning to ease. More residents are getting cancer screenings, and more women are making prenatal doctors' visits.

Six years after Gov. Mitt Romney signed the nation's most ambitious health care law, which laid the groundwork for his presidential opponent's national version, supporters say the Massachusetts law holds promise for the long-term success of President Obama's plan.

Supporters of the Massachusetts experiment are quick to point out its successes. For example, an additional 400,000 individuals have gained insurance since 2006, meaning about 98 percent of residents have coverage.

Still, one of the biggest challenges for the state lies ahead: reining in spiraling costs.

FLORIDA

Obama, Romney scrap for votes along Interstate 4

ORLANDO — In the presidential battleground with the biggest prize, President Obama is focused on boosting voter turnout in Florida's university towns, Hispanic enclaves like the Puerto Rican-dominated Orlando region and South Florida's Jewish communities.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney is working to squeeze as many votes as possible out of north Florida's conservative military bastions, the senior-heavy Gulf Coast and Miami's Cuban community.

But their shared focus on turning out base voters overlaps in Central Florida, a swing region that's key to victory in a state with 29 electoral votes. Voters along the Interstate 4 corridor, from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach, will determine the outcome if the race remains close.

About 45 percent of Florida voters live in that 17-county area.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports