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Political Notebook

Obama pitches jobs plan, assails GOP foes on N.C. tour

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

President Obama gave out a hug during his bus tour stop yesterday in Boone, N.C.

FLETCHER, N.C. - Rolling through small Southern towns in a campaign-style bus, President Obama yesterday pressed lawmakers back in Washington to start taking up pieces of his rejected jobs bill and mocked the Republicans who had shot it down in total. The Senate moved to vote soon on one part, a plan to help states hire teachers, but the proposal seemed doomed.

Deep in the mountains of politically important North Carolina, Obama soaked up the region’s autumn beauty as he assailed foes of his jobs legislation, accusing them of failing to listen to the public.

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Back at the Capitol, Senate Democrats announced they would act first on a single part of Obama’s plan, a long-shot bid to help states hire teachers and police. A Senate vote could come as soon as the end of the week. If not, it would probably fall into November because the Senate plans to take a break next week, even as Obama urges quick action.

In North Carolina, the president directed his most pointed remarks at Senate Republicans, who last week blocked action on his full $447 billion proposal combining tax cuts and new spending.

“Essentially, they said no to you,’’ Obama told a supportive crowd outside Asheville. Noting that Republicans will now get a chance to vote on elements of his jobs agenda one by one, he said: “Maybe they just couldn’t understand the whole thing all at once. So we’re going to break it up into bite-size pieces.’’

Republicans denounced the bus trip as nothing more than a taxpayer-funded campaign trip to try to bolster Obama’s standing for the 2012 election.

As he traveled along on his imposing black bus, there was little denying the presidential politics at play at each stop. Over three days, Obama is covering the countryside of both North Carolina and Virginia, two traditionally GOP-leaning states that he won in 2008 on his campaign’s ability to boost turnout among young people and black voters.

Senate Democrats unveiled the first individual bill, which would spend $30 billion to create or save education jobs and $5 billion to do the same for police and firefighters.

The money would come from a new half-percent tax on income over $1 million, a proposal opposed by GOP lawmakers.

More broadly, some aspects of Obama’s jobs agenda are expected to become law this fall.

The most probable include extending tax breaks for businesses that buy new equipment, and offering a $4,800 tax credit to companies that hire veterans. There is also bipartisan support for repealing a law that requires the withholding of 3 percent of payments to government contractors. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

Paul’s deficit-cut proposal seeks Cabinet agency trims

WASHINGTON - Ron Paul, hewing to his libertarian view of limited government, revealed a deficit-reduction blueprint yesterday that would eliminate five Cabinet-level departments, eviscerate other agencies, and shift responsibilities to states for many welfare programs.

In all, the Republican presidential candidate said, the plan would lop $1 trillion from the projected deficit and allow him to balance the budget in three years if he were elected president.

In addition to eliminating five Cabinet-level agencies - the departments of energy, housing and urban development, commerce, interior, and education - Paul would abolish the Transportation Security Administration and corporate subsidies. He would also end foreign wars, as well as foreign aid, and return most other spending to 2006 levels.

The federal workforce would shrink by 10 percent, and congressional pay as well as perks would be slashed. Under his plan, which he unveiled in Las Vegas, the corporate tax rate falls to 15 percent. - TRACY JAN

To avoid conflicts, Kerry raises less for campaign

Senator John Kerry has vastly reduced his campaign fund-raising, in keeping with his promise to eschew political contributions while serving on the congressional supercommittee aiming to cut the projected budget deficit.

The Massachusetts Democrat’s campaign finance report, filed Thursday, showed he raised $16,135 between July 1 and Sept. 30. He was appointed to the committee Aug. 9.

By contrast, Kerry reported raising just over $90,000 during the previous quarter and $167,000 during the first three months of this year. - GLEN JOHNSON

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