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McDaniel on assault weapons

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today he has co-authored a letter expressing opposition to reinstating a federal ban on assault weapons — something President Obama has said he will not seek.

McDaniel says he and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott co-wrote a letter, signed by 21 other state attorneys general, informing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of their opposition to reinstating the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which banned certain semiautomatic firearms known as “assault weapons” and was allowed to expire in 2004.

Obama pledged during his campaign to seek renewal of the ban, but in April he said he would not seek to revive the ban and would instead seek greater enforcement of existing laws.

McDaniel is expected to run for re-election next year, but he says the letter was not about getting re-elected.

“Our decision was based on the fact that earlier this year there was discussion about the reinstatement of the ban, and we didn’t agree with that. … The discussion of the ban reinstatement was what drove our policy, not my election or General Abbott’s, who is a Republican,” he said.

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You say you want a revolution

The folks at Mike Huckabee’s blog, Huck PAC, say they have been having “issues” regarding comments on the blog, so today they posted a list of guidelines, including the following rule for comments about the president:

“When commenting on the Obama Administration, please follow Governor Huckabee’s policy. You may not agree with the President, but he is the President. Please refer to him as such, and please refrain from using language such as treason, traitor, impeachment or violent revolution.

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Beebe to attend Obama inauguration

Gov. Mike Beebe will be in Washington Monday and Tuesday of next week to attend inaugural events for President-elect Barack Obama, a spokesman for Beebe said today.

“He wants to show support for the president-elect, who of course has supported him in the past,” Matt DeCample said.

Obama appeared at a rally in Little Rock for Beebe and other Democrats in October 2006, while Beebe was campaigning for governor. Beebe endorsed Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination but endorsed Obama when he became the party’s nominee.

DeCample said Beebe also wants to attend because of the historic nature of the event and its importance for the Democratic Party.

“It’s a great day for America,” DeCample said.

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Pryor: Obama could have won state

Barack Obama could have won Arkansas if he had campaigned here, according to U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

“I think if Obama had come here and worked here and allocated some resources to Arkansas, we could have been like North Carolina or Missouri or some of these other states who were very close, and we could have won the thing. … They made the right decision nationally, but I do wish the Obama campaign had spent some more time here,” Pryor told reporters.

As of today, provisional ballots are still being counted in Missouri and no winner has been declared.

Pryor, who campaigned in the state on Obama’s behalf, said Arkansas’ election results — 58.6 percent for McCain, 39 percent for Obama — also may have been affected by former first lady Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the national Democratic primary and “probably some other factors.”

Obama’s most recent appearance in Arkansas was in October 2006 at a rally for Mike Beebe and other Democratic candidates.

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Accused Obama plotter’s YouTube page

The Helena-West Helena teenager arrested last week and accused of plotting to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama appears to have his own page on the popular video Web site, YouTube.

Paul Schlesselman, 18, was arrested by federal agents last week along with Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn.

A criminal complaint said the two, described as neo-Nazi skinheads, plotted to murder dozens of blacks and ultimately, kill Obama.

They are being held without bond.

The YouTube page for Schlesselman shows videos of him firing a 12-gauge shotgun, ranting about a curfew in Helena, and poking fun at whites who embrace black culture.

UPDATE: Here’s what appears to be Schlesselman’s MySpace page.

(Note that both Web sites contain words and images that some people might find disturbing or offensive.)

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Democratic rallies set

Bill Clinton’s sweep through his native Arkansas tomorrow and Saturday on behalf Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama and the rest of the party’s election ticket is set.

The former president, along with Gov. Mike Beebe and former Arkansas Govs. and U.S. Sens. Dale Bumpers and David Pryor, will headline a get-out-the-vote rally at 5 p.m. Friday at the corner of Fourth and Main streets in North Little Rock.

The quartet will follow Saturday with an 11:30 a.m. rally in downtown Pine Bluff and a 1 p.m. appearance in Jonesboro. They’ll be joined at various stops by Democratic Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, along with Democratic Congressmen Marion Berry, Vic Snyder and Mike Ross.

Obama has not visited Arkansas since an October 2006 appearance in support of Beebe and other state Democrats. Republican John McCain has visited the state twice since becoming the GOP presidential nominee. Former Arkansas and U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton headlined a rally for Obama in Little Rock two weeks ago.

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Arkansas Poll

Arkansans appear ready to back John McCain for president on Nov. 4, according to results of the annual Arkansas Poll released Thursday.

The poll shows McCain with a 51 percent to 36 percent lead over Barack Obama among registered voters. The poll by the University of Arkansas has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

Results of the comprehensive survey can be found at the Arkansas Poll Web site.

When asked about Initiated Act 1, which would prohibit unmarried couples living together from adopting or foster parenting children, 55 percent of respondents said they opposed the measure proposed by the conservative Family Council.

Arkansans do seem to like Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s proposal for a state-run lottery to fund college scholarships, with 65 percent of those polled saying they favored Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3.

An overwhelming 56 percent of respondents said the economy was the most important issue facing Arkansans today. Last year, about 29 percent cited the economy as the key issue,

“In our 10 years of polling, no issue has ever been ranked that high,” said Janine Parry, a UA political science professor and director of the Arkansas Poll.

Also, only 27 percent of Arkansans said they approved of the job President Bush is doing. That’s substantially down from the president’s first year in office, when 87 percent approved of his job.

Approval ratings for other politicians were: Gov. Mike Beebe, 74 percent; Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., 54 percent; Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., 56 percent; Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, 50 percent; Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, 57 percent; Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, 52 percent; and Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, 62 percent.

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Coming for Obama

Former President Bill Clinton will join Gov. Mike Beebe, state Democratic Party Chairman David Pryor and former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers at a series of rallies for Barack Obama this week, the Democratic Party of Arkansas announced today.

The get-out-the-vote rallies will be in North Little Rock on Friday and in Pine Bluff and Jonesboro on Saturday. The times and exact locations of the events have not been determined.

Former Arkansas and U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton headlined a rally for Obama in Little Rock on Oct. 10 and drew a crowd of about 3,000 people.

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Painting Arkansas blue UPDATE

Hillary Clinton was warmly received at a rally in Little Rock today for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Standing at a lecturn that read “Paint Arkansas blue” and in front of a banner that read, “Welcome home, Hillary!” Clinton told a cheering audience of about 3,000 people she was appreciative “beyond words” for the 70-percent vote she received in Arkansas’ Feb. 5 Democratic primary. She asked Arkansans to give the same level of support to Obama.

Clinton named off a list of issues — the economic crisis, the energy crisis, education, health care, the war in Iraq — repeating after each item, “There is only one answer, and it’s Barack Obama.”

Others who spoke included actors Mary Steenburgen, an Arkansas native, and her husband Ted Danson; U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln; U.S. Reps. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, and Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock; Gov. Mike Beebe; state Democratic Party Chairman David Pryor; retired general and 2004 presidential candidate Wesley Clark; and state Sen. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock.

Lincoln had strong words for Republican nominee John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin, who have stepped up attacks on Obama in recent days.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the despicable, unhinged tone of the McCain-Palin campaign during the last few days should make us even more determined … We should stand up and call it what it is: It’s divisive, it’s irresponsible, it’s disgusting, it’s demeaning and it’s unpatriotic, because that’s not the country that we are,” Lincoln said.

Clinton was scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Obama after the rally at the Little Rock home of Kaki Hockersmith and Max Mehlberger.

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Hillary Clinton to campaign for Obama in Little Rock

It’s now official: Former Arkansas first lady Hillary Clinton will campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in Little Rock on Oct. 10. The announcement came today from state Democratic Party Chairman David Pryor.
“We’re very, very pleased that she’s coming. She’s going to stir up a lot of interest here in the campaign,” Pryor said.
State party spokeswoman Darinda Sharp says Gov. Mike Beebe, Pryor and other elected officials and Democratic leaders are expected to join Clinton for a get-out-the vote rally. The time and location haven’t been determined, but she says the rally likely will be about 5 p.m. at the Capitol.

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