WASHINGTON — President Obama canceled a trip to Asia next week because of the government shutdown, the White House said Thursday.
Obama had already shortened the trip from four countries to two. The White House announced earlier in the week that Obama would be unable to visit Malaysia and the Philippines because the partial shutdown of the federal government was affecting personnel needed to set up the stops.
The White House had held out hope that Obama could attend economic summits in Indonesia and Brunei. But he decided to skip the entire trip to stay in Washington to continue pressing for a budget bill that would reopen the government.
Obama had been due to depart Washington late Saturday.
Secretary of State John Kerry, already on a trip to Asia, is visiting all four countries in place of the president.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS
Relative political newcomer gives Mont. Democrats hope
HELENA, Mont. — Montana Lieutenant Governor John Walsh said Thursday that his limited political experience will aid his run for the US Senate, announcing a bid that gives Democrats hope for retaining a seat they have held for decades.
Walsh told supporters Thursday morning that he will run for the office that has been the focus of a great deal of speculation since Senator Max Baucus announced this year that he will retire at the end of 2014.
The 52-year-old former Montana National Guard commander enters the race with just one election under his belt, a tight race last year as Governor Steve Bullock’s running mate.
He said the Senate race will be one of the biggest challenges of his life, but he expects he can win.
‘‘Washington is broken, so we need to take a look at what is happening back there and come together. The people need to work together to solve a problem, and that is not what is happening,’’ Walsh said in an interview. ‘‘I think Washington, D.C., needs someone fresh who isn’t a career politician to go back there and represent the citizens of Montana.’’
The up-in-the-air Montana race could help determine control of the Senate.
Republicans, who like their chances in the GOP-leaning state, need to pick up six seats to recapture the Senate majority and are trying to take advantage of geography and history in their quest.
Democrats must defend 21 seats, including seven in largely rural states that President Obama lost in 2012, and the party that controls the White House typically loses seats during the midterm elections of a second-term president.
Baucus’s announcement created a scramble for candidates on both sides, and a free-for-all for the first open Senate seat in the state since 1978.
Former lieutenant governor John Bohlinger — a Republican turned Democrat — has said he is considering it.
And a political unknown and former San Francisco banker, Dirk Adams of Wilsall, has said he will mount a campaign.
Many Republicans expect US Representative Steve Daines will enter the race as their front-runner. Daines has been raising money consistent with a Senate run and has said he could announce his decision fairly soon.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS
Texas state senator declares her candidacy for governorHALTOM CITY, Texas — Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis declared her candidacy for governor of Texas on Thursday, promising to focus on the needs of average Texans.
In an e-mail to supporters, Davis said she would focus on education, economic development, and health care.
Davis has said that her experience going from being a single teenage mother to a successful Harvard-trained attorney informs her political views and her commitment to Texas’ middle-class residents.
The Fort Worth lawmaker rose to national prominence in June for her nearly 13-hour filibuster against new abortion restrictions in Texas.
Davis’s opponents plan to use her support for abortion rights to rally conservative Christian voters next fall. About 40 antiabortion demonstrators marched outside the venue where Davis was speaking Thursday, and Texas Right to Life plans to begin airing an ad over the weekend that calls her an ‘‘abortion zealot.’’
If her defense of abortion rights angered the right, it inspired Democrats who urged her to run for governor in 2014 and reinvigorate a party that hasn’t won statewide office since 1994.
‘‘I thought the filibuster was inspiring and it seems like she really cares about people,’’ said Amanda Fisher, a 24-year-old from Dallas. Fisher said she was considering volunteering.
Davis must raise money quickly to compete with the front-runner for the GOP nomination, Attorney General Gregg Abbott. He has already raised $25 million to her more than $1 million.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS