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Inside Politics: GOP’s Hagel endorses Kerrey for Senate in Nebraska
Question of the Day
OMAHA, Neb. — Democrat Bob Kerrey is receiving an endorsement from former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel on Thursday, a potential boost in his effort to pull ahead in Nebraska’s tight race for an open Senate seat. Republicans supporting GOP hopeful Deb Fischer scoffed and suggested Mr. Hagel was sniffing around for a Cabinet seat in the Obama administration.
“His interest was more at the international level than it was Nebraska,” said Republican Sen. Mike Johanns, a personal friend of Mr. Hagel’s who pointed out that the former senator angered the GOP with criticism of former President George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq War.
“I think at the end of the day, people are going to look at this endorsement and see it for what it is,” Mr. Johanns added. “I think it’s a step in his path to try to build those bone fides that he is truly an Obama person and deserves a place in his Cabinet.”
Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Hagel served together for four years before Mr. Kerrey left Washington in 2001; Mr. Hagel retired from the Senate eight years later.
The pairing could bolster Mr. Kerrey’s argument that he would cross party lines if elected, and endear him to undecided voters who are starting to pay attention in the race’s final week. Mr. Kerrey is locked in a tight contest with Ms. Fischer, a Republican state senator, to replace Democrat Ben Nelson, who decided not to seek a third six-year term.
Obama gaining ground on Romney in Wisconsin
President Obama has stretched his lead in Wisconsin over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a poll released Wednesday.
A new Marquette University Law School poll shows the president with a lead of 51 percent to 43 percent among likely Wisconsin voters, giving him his largest lead in the Badger State since last September.
Mr. Obama has been favored to win Wisconsin throughout much of the campaign, but some recent polls have shown Mr. Romney within striking distance.
Candidates agree on role of government for disasters
Incumbent Democratic Rep. John C. Carney Jr. and Sen. Thomas R. Carper, along with their Republican challengers, Tom Kovach and Kevin Wade, agreed at a candidate forum Thursday that while state and local governments should lead disaster response efforts, the federal government has an important role in providing resources and other assistance.
Alex Pires Jr., an independent candidate who also is challenging Mr. Carper, skipped the Rotary Club debate, telling sponsors early Thursday that he was directing a food shipment to storm victims in New Jersey.
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