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Sen. Mary Landrieu says race hurts Obama in Louisiana

Embattled Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, has struggled throughout her reelection campaign this fall to cope with the low approval ratings of President Obama, whose signature energy and healthcare policies are widely disliked in the state.

She gave her GOP opponents some political red meat this week when she expounded on why Obama is so unpopular with her constituents. Landrieu said the president’s race is a factor.

“I'll be very, very honest with you,” she said in an interview with NBC News that aired Thursday. “The South has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans. It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader."

Landrieu said Southern voters are also hard on female candidates.

While noting that the South remains a socially conservative region where white male candidates have an edge may seem ho-hum, Landrieu's remarks could help mobilize the voters she most...

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Charlie Crist holds narrow lead in Florida, poll shows

Florida's bitterly tight race for governor is closing with a slight edge to Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, a new poll indicates.

The survey, by Quinnipiac University, shows Crist leading incumbent Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, 43% to 40%, up from a tie in the same poll last week. It shows libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie getting 8%.

A second poll released Thursday, by the Tampa Bay Times and the University of Florida's Bob Graham Center for Public Service, found the two major candidates virtually tied: Crist 42%, Scott 41% and 7% for Wyllie, excluding those voters who refused to say whom they backed.

Florida has one of at least 10 races for governor that remain in toss-up territory. It's an unusually high figure for this late in the election season and one that reflects the difficulty of a chief executive's job at a time of continuing public unease with the economy.

In addition to Florida, Democrats hope to take seats held by Republicans in Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin and...

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Obama heads to Maine to campaign for Democrat running for governor

President Obama, who hopes to boost the fortunes of Democratic gubernatorial candidates in some states he carried in 2012, traveled to Maine on Thursday for Mike Michaud, who is in a close three-way race.

The visit came at what could be a turning point in the race. Eliot Cutler, an independent, whose support has been dropping in polls, acknowledged Wednesday that he was a "long shot" and advised supporters to "vote their consciences."

Democratic strategists believe that Cutler primarily takes votes away from Michaud in the battle with Republican incumbent Gov. Paul LePage.

Obama was to appear at a campaign rally Thursday evening in Portland, in southern Maine. Michaud has represented the northern part of the state in Congress and is less well-known in the Portland area, which also is the most liberal part of the state.

LePage was elected in a similar three-way race in 2010 with strong tea party support. He has been a controversial governor. Michaud would be the nation's first openly...

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Around U.S., races for governor going down to the wire

From Maine to Alaska, nearly a dozen races for governor remain too close to call as the midterm election moves into its final days, an unusually large number that indicates the problems faced by incumbents in both parties at a time of voter discontent.

On Wednesday, the race in Maine, which has been one of the tightest, took a sudden twist as U.S. Sen. Angus King, a political independent who is popular in the state, announced he was dropping his support for the independent candidate in the race, Eliot Cutler, and endorsing the Democrat, Mike Michaud.

King, calling himself a "realist," said in a statement that "it is clear that the voters of Maine are not prepared to elect Eliot in 2014" and that "circumstances require that those of us who have supported Eliot look realistically at the options."

Polls have shown Cutler lagging badly, but drawing enough votes away from Michaud to split the opposition to incumbent Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican elected in 2010 with strong tea party...

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Hillary Clinton to Iowa voters: 'Dig deep' for Democrat Bruce Braley

On her second trip to Iowa since her presidential caucus loss in 2008, Hillary Rodham Clinton got a piece of Iowa swag that could prove useful for her new grandchild -- and for Clinton herself if she runs in 2016: a black and gold University of Iowa sleeper emblazoned with the Hawkeye logo.

It was a nod to Clinton’s plans from Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for Senate here, who proclaimed that “the most important birthday in America in 2014 was when sweet Charlotte" -- the first grandchild of Hillary and Bill Clinton -- "was born.”

“So I decided it would be appropriate for Charlotte to have a memento of this trip … since this is the Hawkeye State,”  he said.

Of course, Clinton was here in Iowa not to discuss her own future but to campaign for Braley, who handed over the baby pajamas just before ceding the microphone at a preelection rally held at the headquarters of the local ironworkers union.

Though President Obama carried Iowa in 2012, Braley is locked in one of the...

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Few Latinos 'angry' over Obama immigration policy, but support slips

Only a small minority of Latino voters report that they are “angry” over President Obama’s decision this year to delay executive action on immigration reform, but disappointment over his deportation policies is widespread, and Democrats have suffered a decline in support from a crucial voting bloc, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

Separately, a survey of Americans younger than 30 also shows a decline in support for Democrats. The poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics showed Obama’s approval rating among members of the millennial generation had dropped to 43%, with 53% disapproving. That group's level of support for Obama was down from 47% this spring, though still slightly greater than a year ago.

The poll of younger Americans also showed a sharpening division along racial lines, with whites disapproving of Obama by 31% to 65%, African Americans still overwhelmingly approving of the president (78% approve, 17% disapprove) and Latinos almost evenly divided....

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