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Political Notebook

Harry Reid moves to end GOP filibuster on judges

Senator Reid has been complaining for months about the slow pace of confirmations of the president’s picks for the federal bench.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Senator Reid has been complaining for months about the slow pace of confirmations of the president’s picks for the federal bench.

WASHINGTON - Raising the partisan temperature in the Senate, majority leader Harry Reid on Monday used a parliamentary tactic designed to end a Republican filibuster against 17 of President Obama’s judicial nominees.

Reid, whose move infuriated Republicans, has been complaining for months about the slow pace of confirmations of the president’s picks for the federal bench. Republicans have argued the pace is consistent with Democratic approvals of President George W. Bush’s court nominees. They also have said Obama has been slow to nominate people to fill judicial vacancies.

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Reid filed a petition for cloture, which would limit debate and force a vote on the nominees. However, he would need a supermajority of 60 votes in the 100-member Senate, and Democrats only have 51, plus two independents who caucus with the party. The procedural vote probably will take place on Wednesday.

Reid said he ran out of patience because “the endless obstructionism’’ has left many federal courts “strained at the breaking point under a backlog so intense an emergency has been declared’’ by the judiciary.

Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said judicial confirmations are not stalled, and called Reid’s maneuver “a ploy by the majority leader to build political rhetoric for the president. When the Senate works cooperatively to get things done, and it’s rewarded by a political stunt like this, the American people should be concerned.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS

In poll, Obama pays price for rising gas prices

A record percentage of Americans gave President Obama “strongly’’ negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue - handling of the economy - according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama’s performance on the economy and on the federal budget deficit come despite a steadily brightening employment picture and other signs of economic improvement, and highlight the political sensitivity of rising gas prices.

The potential political consequences are clear, with the rising public disapproval reversing some of the gains the president had made in hypothetical general election matchups against possible Republican rivals for the White House. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum now both run about evenly with Obama.

Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans said they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have hit hard. Just 26 percent approved of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll.

Friday’s employment report showed a gain of 227,000 jobs in the past month, continuing an upward trend. Still, the survey - conducted Wednesday through Saturday - found 59 percent of Americans giving Obama negative ratings on the economy, up from early last month. Fifty percent gave him intensely low marks, the most yet in a Post-ABC News poll, and a jump of 9 percentage points. — WASHINGTON POST

President to introduce antibullying documentary

Washington Post President Obama will deliver an opening message before the debut of “Speak Up,’’ a Cartoon Network documentary about bullied youth across America and those who have helped them.

The half-hour film, part of the network’s “Stop Bullying: Speak Up’’ initiative, will be aired at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, with an encore at 8 p.m. The documentary includes appearances by athletes and race car drivers. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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