AP Top Political News At 5:49 p.m. EST

Obama calls in to Massachusetts governor's show
BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has fielded calls on hundreds of subjects during his monthly "Ask the Governor" radio show. But this call was one of a kind....

Obama reignites political debate over Cuba
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The surprising move by President Barack Obama to restore U.S. ties with Cuba reignited long-simmering political passions over the fate of the island nation, reinforcing yet another difference between Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and several Republicans eyeing bids for the White House....

A post-election flurry: Obama tests his powers
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With a recent streak of activism, President Barack Obama is shaking up the governing status quo and creating a new normal for his successors....

President signs legislation ending Nazi benefit checks
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Thursday capped a swift and forceful response to an Associated Press investigation by signing into law a measure that bars suspected Nazi war criminals from receiving U.S. Social Security benefits....

Not much chance of Congress stopping Cuba policy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A lack of unanimity in both political parties toward President Barack Obama's sudden move to re-establish ties with Cuba complicates any congressional effort to scuttle the most significant change in U.S. policy toward the communist island in 50-plus years....

IRS head says budget cuts could delay tax refunds
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Budget cuts at the IRS could delay tax refunds, reduce taxpayer services and hurt enforcement efforts, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Thursday....

Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile
WASHINGTON (AP) -- How does one end almost 54 years of hostility toward a next-door neighbor?...

Top Islamic militants killed; more US troops going to Iraq
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two senior Islamic State group leaders were killed in U.S. and coalition airstrikes in northern Iraq over the last week, U.S. officials said Thursday, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved new orders for several hundred troops to deploy to Iraq to train Iraqi forces....

First Bush, then Cuba: Rubio rides political wave
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As the 2016 Republican presidential primary lurched ahead this week, no GOP prospect had a ride quite like Marco Rubio....

Paul: Trade with Cuba 'probably a good idea'
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday the lengthy U.S. economic embargo against Cuba "just hasn't worked" and voiced support for opening trade with Cuba in the aftermath of the Obama administration's policy shift regarding the communist island....

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