The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is now the biggest outside spender of the 2010 elections, thanks to an 11th-hour effort to boost Democrats that has vaulted the public-sector union ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and a flock of new Republican groups in campaign spending.(from online.wsj.com)
AFSCME, the public-employees union, has vaulted ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to become the largest campaign spender of 2010. Jerry Seib discusses how that could boost the Democrats? Plus, Neil King on the Republican wave sweeping Indiana.
The 1.6 million-member AFSCME is spending a total of $87.5 million on the elections after tapping into a $16 million emergency account to help fortify the Democrats' hold on Congress. Last week, AFSCME dug deeper, taking out a $2 million loan to fund its push. The group is spending money on television advertisements, phone calls, campaign mailings and other political efforts, helped by a Supreme Court decision that loosened restrictions on campaign spending.
"We're the big dog," said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME's political operations. "But we don't like to brag."
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US President Barack Obama said he had no objection to Venezuela developing nuclear power for civilian energy purposes, days after Caracas and Moscow signed a landmark deal.(from yahoo.com)
"We have no incentive nor interest in increasing friction between Venezuela and the US, but we do think Venezuela needs to act responsibly," Obama told Spanish media at the White House.
"Our attitude is that Venezuela has rights to peacefully develop nuclear power," he said, adding that as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty it must also meet its obligations not to weaponize those systems.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez clinched a deal in Moscow on Friday that will see Russia build and operate the first nuclear power plant in his country.
Closer ties between Moscow and Caracas -- Chávez has bought more than four billion dollars of weapons from Russia and promised to give it greater access to Venezuelan oil fields -- are being closely watched in Washington.
In an apparent reference to the United States, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev acknowledged that the move to build the nuclear research facility could concern some countries.
"I do not know if anyone is going to shudder at this. The president (Chávez) said there are going to be states that have different emotions about this. But I wanted to say our intentions are clean and honest."
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