A new CNN/ORC poll shows a statistical dead heat between New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and her GOP opponent Scott Brown, with Shaheen at 49%, Brown at 47%, and a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4%.
Perhaps even more telling is another politician's approval rating, and he's not even in the Granite State.
President Barack Obama has only a 39% approval rating in New Hampshire, the new poll shows. Fifty-seven percent of voters say they disapprove of the way he is handling his job.
That's a far fall for a president who beat his Republican opponents here in the Granite State overwhelmingly in both 2008 and just two years ago in 2012.
And that's part of the problem. Brown and his supporters are tying the incumbent senator to the president, as exemplified by a recent campaign sign from Brown supporters: "Stand with Obama, vote for Shaheen."
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ouse Democrats remained undecided Friday on whether they would join a select committee created by majority Republicans to investigate the Benghazi terror attack.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said his side was waiting for a response from Republicans on what he called "due process," which translates to Democrats getting some say in committee proceedings regarding subpoenas and questioning of witnesses.
He indicated a final decision was unlikely on Friday, though the House Democratic caucus met to discuss the issue.
Options under consideration include participating as a minority bloc, which Republicans have proposed; having a lone member take part to register disapproval but maintain a presence, or rejecting the entire process as a partisan witch hunt.
"We are trying to find a way to make this work but the Republicans have shown no inclination to make it work," Rep. Steve Israel of New York told reporters outside the meeting. "If this is going to be a true bipartisan inquiry we will participate. If it is engineered to be a Republican campaign strategy, it is much harder for us to participate."
The September 2012 armed assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in eastern Libya killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Republicans have complained since that the Obama administration failed to properly secure the compound, neglected to send military assets to try to save the besieged Americans and then tried to cover up exactly what happened.
The administration and Democrats counter that multiple investigations have found security deficiencies, but not the kind of wrongdoing alleged by Republicans.
For Republicans, the issue presents an opportunity to attack then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 if she decides to run.
Clinton is polling well so far against all likely GOP challengers, and the emotional Benghazi issue offers Republicans a chance to exploit one of her few potential vulnerabilities.
A nearly party line vote of 232-186 on Thursday established the panel despite investigations by multiple House committees that have reviewed documents, interviewed witnesses and held numerous hearings.
GOP plans call for seven Republicans and five Democrats on the committee, which would have subpoena powers. Boehner already appointed South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, to lead the effort.
Seven Democrats backed the formation of the committee. Most face tough reelection bids in "red" districts.
Democrats argued that creation of a special panel was a political ploy to keep the controversy in play during a midterm election year.
"If there is not equal representation of Democrats and Republicans, and that this is not a fair process, then not participating in a sham select committee after 13 investigations, 50 briefings, 25,000 pages of documents, for what is essentially a political ploy is something that should be considered," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairman, told CNN on Friday.
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"Those sentiments there, of course, I don't agree with them. You've never heard me say such a thing and nor would I," Cruz told CNN in an exclusive interview.
But when asked if he would campaign with Nugent, a popular figure in Texas, Cruz responded "I haven't yet and I'm going to avoid engaging in hypotheticals."
Cruz's comments to CNN came a day after Nugent campaigned with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the likely GOP nominee for governor. The move sparked some outrage across the country, given what Nugent said about the President just last month.
"I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame, enough Americans to be ever-vigilant not to let a Chicago communist raised, communist educated, communist nutured, sub-human mongrel, like the Acorn community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama, to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America," Nugent told Guns.com last month.
Senate Democrats dropped the filibuster bomb Thursday, and now the question is what kind of fallout will result from the so-called nuclear option.
By a 52-48 vote, the Senate ended the ability of minority Republicans to continue using filibusters to block some of President Barack Obama's judicial and executive nominations, despite the vehement objections of Republicans.
"Instead of 60 votes to break a filibuster, its now 51 votes – a simple majority," CNN's Dana Bash reports.
"Democrats say, they get that this landmark rules change benefits them now but could really hurt them some day when they lose the control of the Senate and end up back in the minority. But they essentially say that they really don’t have any choice, they prefer to take that risk, rather than deal with what they call 'continued obstruction' now."
Republicans warned the controversial move would worsen the already bitter partisan divide in Washington, complaining it took away a time-honored right for any member of the Senate minority party to filibuster.
"This changes everything, this changes everything," veteran GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona told reporters. He blamed newer Democratic senators who never served as the minority party for pushing the issue, adding: "They succeeded and they will pay a very, very heavy price for it."
CNN Political Analyst and Executive Editor of the Daily Beast John Avlon weighs in on the historic change, saying Democrats pulled the trigger "because things are objectively worse than ever before when it comes to abuse of the filibuster.” (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
“The key stat that the senate majority leader's office is putting out is that half of all nomination filibusters occurred under this president. And that really helps illustrates just how much precedent has been blown up over the last, in particular, decade: Filibusters out of control, nominations aren't going through, promises have been repeatedly broken, trust is at an all-time low inside the institution. So now Harry Reid switches his position and drops the nuclear option. It's an extraordinary moment."
Avlon says the situation is underscores the significant lack of bipartisanship in the Senate.
“They’re feeling they're essentially cutting their losses, and this way they can get at least get some nominations through.”
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) says that changing the filibuster rules will improve how the Senate works. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
“There's no reason that changing this to majority rule on appointments will create ill will. State legislative bodies, Senates do this every day. They find ways to work together, people of goodwill will find ways to work together here," Kaine says.
“I have worked in a legislative body that operated by majority rule and we worked together fine,” Sen. Kaine says. “This will not make anything worse. You can work together in a majority rule situation, just like you can with filibusters, holds and clotures. I actually believe that the Senate rules were impeding us working together. And look, the Senate this year has passed historic immigration reform. We passed a historic Marketplace Fairness Act last week, we passed the historic bill that guarantee LGBT Americans couldn't be discriminated against in the workplace. The Senate is doing things. We are reaching across the aisle and solving problems. This will not change that in one respect.”
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) agrees with "New Day” Anchor Chris Cuomo that the GOP Obamacare playbook should contain solutions and less criticism. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
When asked if solutions should be in the playbook, Rep. Yoho responds, “I agree 100%.... Criticism at this point is not going to help anybody. We need solutions. We’ve got two great solutions out there. We talk about it all the time.”