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POLITICS: PennAve

Political Buzz: Climate PAC gives Mary Landrieu heat over Keystone XL

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Billionaire climate activist and Keystone XL foe Tom Steyer's political action committee is asking supporters to select a Senate candidate to target in a new TV attack advertisement -- and one of the choices is Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

Steyer's NextGen Climate PAC typically bashes Republicans for promoting fossil-fuel-friendly policies — and, to be sure, four of the five choices presented on the group's website are GOP candidates.

But by including Landrieu, one of the Senate's biggest Keystone XL boosters, Steyer's group could jeopardize Democrats' hold on the seat — and their control of the upper chamber.

"Actually, Senator Landrieu, tar sands are one of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels. Keystone XL would generate as much carbon pollution as 51 new coal-fired power plants," NextGen Climate said on its website.

The other possible targets for its ad campaign are Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and GOP Senate candidates Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds and West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

Landrieu is facing a tough re-election contest against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy.

Opponents of Keystone XL say it would exacerbate climate change. But its backers say the pipeline would bring jobs and strengthen U.S. energy security.

 

SCOTT BROWN GOES SHIRTLESS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Scott Brown isn't running for Senate yet — but he looked every bit a candidate on the front page of a New Hampshire newspaper, photographed shirtless at a local Penguin Plunge charity event in Hampton Beach, N.H.

The New Hampshire Union Leader identified Brown as the former Republican senator from Massachusetts and a "longtime summer resident" of Rye, N.H., where he has owned a second home to which he only recently moved full time.

For Brown, the event, which benefited Special Olympics New Hampshire, is the latest in a low-key schedule of local functions that may be the groundwork for a return to politics. Brown is weighing a challenge to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., but he has not announced a decision.

Recent polling has indicated that Shaheen, a strong incumbent who has won multiple statewide races in New Hampshire during her career, would have an early advantage in a matchup with Brown. A WMUR Granite State survey showed Shaheen leading Brown by 10 points.

But Republicans predict that low favorability ratings for President Obama in New Hampshire, along with dissatisfaction with his signature health care law, would give Brown a chance to close the gap with Shaheen. Many Republicans have been urging him to run.

 

WHITE HOUSE: OBAMA HAS MIDTERMS ON HIS MIND

The White House said that the November midterms were on President Obama's mind as he held a series of meetings with his party's lawmakers.

“He’s the head of his party,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, when asked if Obama was talking strategy with House and Senate Democrats. “Of course, it’s on his mind.”

Obama recently hosted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the White House, invited House Dems to a separate event and also participated in the Senate Democrats' annual issues retreat.

But Obama’s efforts to help his party’s candidates aren’t being welcomed in all quarters.

Many red-state Democrats in GOP cross hairs hope to distance themselves from the president and his low approval ratings. Democratic Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, who is facing a tough re-election, openly said that he did not want Obama campaigning for him, and that his policies had hurt his state.

Asked about Begich’s comments, Carney said that Obama would help Democratic candidates in any ways requested.

“The president will, as he already has, be actively involved in assisting Democrats up for re-election or running for office in the Senate and the House, as you would expect,” he said.

“He'll be doing everything he can to assist Democrats,” Carney insisted.

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