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October 31, 2014

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Nevada political roundup: Clinton, McCain visits put Vegas in spotlight

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The national political spotlight returns to Las Vegas today and should remain here through tomorrow night, with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, campaigning here.

Clinton arrives today to rally locals around Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, at the peak of another apparent squabble between her backers and his campaign -- again over how she’ll be recognized at the Democratic National Convention later this month. The sticking point: Will her name be listed when party delegates formally (and, again, presumably) nominate Obama?

What is clear is she’ll be speaking on Tuesday night at the convention in Denver, to be followed the next evening by former President Bill Clinton.

McCain comes in Saturday, just a week and a half after he campaigned in Sparks, to speak at the annual Disabled American Veterans convention at Bally’s.

Recent national polls suggest the presidential contest is a statistical dead-heat, negating any bump -- if there was one -- from Obama’s high-profile swing through the Mideast and Europe last month. This prompted Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter to late President Ronald Reagan but a recent skeptic of the Republican Party, to write in today's Wall Street Journal that she now believes McCain’s got a fighting chance:

“You saw the USA Today-Gallup poll this week, with Mr. McCain gaining six points since late June among those Gallup dubbed likely voters. Mr. McCain took the lead, 49 percent to 45 percent. Among registered voters, it's still Barack Obama, 47 percent to 44 percent. A poll came out saying people are tired of hearing about Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain took the lead in YouTube hits. Small stuff, and there will be a lot of twists and turns before this is over, but there's movement down there beneath the crust of the Earth.”

But these national polls are somewhat misleading, noted Chuck Todd, NBC News’ political director, on today’s "Morning Joe" on MSNBC.

Despite a strong couple of weeks by the McCain campaign that’s put Obama on the defensive, the Illinois senator has thus far shifted several traditional Republican states, including Nevada, in play and has held serve in most of the blue states. Some of the Republican-leaning states today tip Obama’s way, but not Nevada, Todd said at 5:07 a.m. PST. (Thank goodness for digital video recorders).

McCain again targets Obama's celebrity in a new campaign ad, according to The New York Times’ caucus blog. Most of McCain’s recent ads have appeared on the airwaves here.

More election news

UNLV's David Damore argues in today’s USA Today that the national response to President “Bush’s hard-headedness and stubbornness” is more tolerance of flip-flopping, accurate or not, during this presidential cycle:

“People don't care about ideological purity, they want problems solved. They want a president who can cross the divide and make deals" and won't be bound by what he said a year ago if facts change.”

In state politics, Assemblywoman Francis Allen inaccurately boasted in a campaign flier that she’s been endorsed by the Metropolitan Police Department, the R-J's Molly Ball writes. A police official believes Allen, who has been immersed in scandal much of the year, made an “innocent mistake.”

The Sun's Jon Ralston has this letter from Gov. Jim Gibbons to the state ethics commission.

Potpourri

Gov. Jim Gibbons asks the ethics commission to dismiss a Democratic complaint over the tax break he got on 40 acres of land in the Elko area, according to the Associated Press.

And the Sun’s Michael Mishak writes about one local woman who is at the intersection of labor, politics and the slumping economy in a story titled “Labor loyalty unrequited.”

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