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Former Obama, McCain Aides, Plouffe and Schmidt Join at University of Delaware

Posted by HershelWellingtonIV

David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt

David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt

US News and World Report/Paul Bedard—In an unusual alliance fostered by their alma mater, the top aides to 2008 presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are joining forces to build a new political center at the University of Delaware. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt are working to develop the university’s first Center for Political Communication, a coup for the Blue Hens, who also count Vice President Joe Biden among their alumni.

Their teaming comes as Schmidt and Plouffe are trying to finish their degrees: Both attended UD, but neither graduated. Schmidt says he is finishing up three hours at the university, and Plouffe is working toward a full degree, too. Plouffe has deep Delaware roots, having grown up in Wilmington. More recently, he bought a Ford hybrid from his brother at a dealership in Wilmington.

GradYD_lgThe two have been instrumental in the development of the Center for Political Communication, which will combine several academic disciplines—political science, communication, visual communication, marketing, sociology, business, and perhaps others. Plouffe and Schmidt are helping to develop courses and areas of instruction at the campus in Newark, Del. “We’ve adopted the moniker of ‘epicenter of politics’ as a kind of banner under which to develop the initiative and conduct the programs,” says Ralph J. Begleiter, the university’s Rosenberg Professor of Communication. “Among other things,” he tells our Suzi Parker, “we’re working on new courses—and combinations of courses—around significant developments in digital communication technologies used in the 2008 political campaigns. And we’re especially proud to be doing all this in a completely and appropriately nonpartisan manner, evidenced by the strong support and input of Schmidt and Plouffe.”

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Filed under Democrats, Education, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized, Washington, DC

Senate Republicans Don’t Defend Ensign: Aides Say Probes Will Decide His Fate

Posted by Audiegrl

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AP/Laurie Kellman—Sen. John Ensign of Nevada was only beginning to emerge from a self-imposed political exile over fallout from his extramarital affair with a campaign aide. Now, tawdry new details about the case are raising fresh questions whether Ensign can be re-elected in 2012 – or even face criminal charges over his behavior.

If Ensign was looking for signs of support among Republican leaders on Capitol Hill on Friday, he didn’t get any. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell declined repeatedly to answer questions about Ensign or offer any support. Other Republicans, already effectively a 60-40 minority in the Senate, also met the latest developments with silence, wary of speaking out until they see evidence of wrongdoing uncovered by the Senate ethics committee or federal law enforcement.

Ensign’s one-time presidential ambitions imploded this summer after disclosures about the affair – including reports of his own efforts to hide it by finding a consulting and lobbying job for his mistress’ husband, Doug Hampton, arranging for a $96,000 payment to the couple and doling out a promotion and pay raises to his mistress around the time of the affair. Ensign responded by keeping a low profile, rarely speaking to reporters and apologizing in meetings with constituents and Republican leaders in Nevada.

More @ Associated Press

The Hill/Alexander Bolton—Senior Republican aides say Sen. John Ensign’s (R-Nev.) political future will depend on what actions the Senate Ethics Committee or the Justice Department may take against the lawmaker.

A senior GOP aide said that if the Senate Ethics Committee was not already investigating Ensign, it would be certain to launch a probe now.

The aide said that Ensign would have to answer the new allegations himself.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to comment about Ensign’s political future during a Friday morning news conference. The session was supposed to be devoted to healthcare reform, but questions soon turned to Ensign.

“I really don’t have any observations to make about the Ensign matter,” McConnell said, reiterating his position after reporters barraged him with persistent questioning. “I don’t think today is a day to make any observations about the matter — it just appeared in the newspaper today.”

More @ bg_headthehill

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Flouting Lobbying Ban, Ensign Helped Hampton Clients: Revealed in New York Times Investigation

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Filed under Democrats, Law, Money, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized