Philip M. Bailey, Kentucky Public Radio

Former Democratic Governor  John Y. Brown Jr., is disappointed with President Barack Obama's job performance and is criticizing the national party for "acting like socialists" over free enterprise. Brown served as Kentucky's governor from 1979 to 1983, and is successful businessman and a revered patriarch among state Democrats past and present.

Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged the House to pass a Republican plan that extends the payroll tax cut. But the legislation includes wording to speed up federal approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which has become a dividing issue.

A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., that would give Congress more power over regulations made by the executive branch easily passed the Republican-controlled House on Wednesday. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act was introduced by the northern Kentucky congressman earlier this year to “eliminate excessive red tape,” and jump start the economy.

Putting political pressure on U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., the National Republican Congressional Committee is challenging the central Kentucky lawmaker to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The new rule would require the federal budget be balanced and that the government cannot spend more than projected receipts and expenditures. The Republican-controlled House has pushed the measure as a way to limit spending and has scheduled a vote for November 14, but the language still hasn’t been finalized.

Kentucky cannot join a federal lawsuit against Education Management Corp., the second-largest for-profit college company in the country, a judge ruled Monday. In August, Attorney General Jack Conway announced the commonwealth had filed to intervene in the whistleblower case as part of a larger effort to crackdown on the business practices of for-profit colleges. The attorney general’s office has sued and investigated other institutions, including Owensboro-based Daymar College and Louisville-based Sullivan University.

Kentucky Congressmen Hal Rogers and Ed Whitefield endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Monday, giving the former Massachusetts governor two more GOP lawmakers in his bid for the Republican nomination. Whitfield represents the 1s District while Rogers represents the 6th District and chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Their nods of approval give Romney 31 endorsements from GOP elected members of Congress, which is a sign that he remains the establishment candidate.

Offering an alternative to President Obama and his American Jobs Act, a trio of Senate Republicans have drafted a “Real American Jobs Act” they will present on Thursday. The legislation is being spearheaded by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has joined Sen. Rob Portman, R-Oh., and Sen. John McCain, R-Az., to propose less labor and environment regulation, lower taxes, expand free trade and enact a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Former Secretary of State Trey Grayson predicts fellow Republican David Williams will lose the Kentucky 2011 gubernatorial race by a landslide. Polls show Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear with a commanding 31-point lead over Williams, who has optimistically predicted a comeback despite political observers declaring the race all but over. Grayson stepped down as secretary of state in January to become director of the Institute for Politics at Harvard University. He says the gap will close on the margins as Election Day approaches, but the outcome is not in doubt.

The Kentucky secretary of state is predicting low turnout for the general election, but state officials are still encouraging residents to register to vote before the deadline expires Tuesday. During the May primary, voter turnout was an abysmal 10 percent and many expect a similar result due to the wide margin in the governor’s race. Secretary of State Elaine Walker says the initial data shows turnout will once again be low for the fall election.

The Kentucky Democratic Party is calling on Republican attorney general candidate Todd P’Pool to explain a decade-old 911 call made by the Hopkins County Attorney’s aunt. Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported about an entry in a police log that showed a caller accusing the GOP nominee of causing a disturbance.

Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams released his third TV ad in the race for Kentucky governor Wednesday, which embraces his reputation for not “playing too nice” in Frankfort. The spot features two men discussing Williams’s platform to cut spending and reform the tax code, adding that he will stand up to President Obama. The state Senate president’s likeability have plagued him in the polls and the ad seeks to pivot that to Williams fighting for job losses to neighboring states. Check it out:

Returning from Washington for the congressional recess, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has scheduled his first town hall meeting with constituents on Tuesday. The event will be held at City Hall in Hartford, Ky., 116 East Washington Street at 2 p.m. CDT. It is expected Paul will address the contentious debt ceiling debate that embroiled Congress for the past month and the deal that was reached a week ago, which the Tea Party favorite voted against.

Less than a week before the annual Fancy Farm picnic, a new poll shows Democratic Governor Steve Beshear with a crushing 24-point lead over Republican challenger David Williams in the Kentucky 2011 gubernatorial race. According to the survey of 512 likely voters, Williams, who is the state Senate President, has a likability problem that is holding him back among likely voters.

new CBS News poll shows average Americans aren’t pleased with anyone involved in the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington, but congressional Republicans are taking the brunt of the blame. The survey shows 71 percent disapprove of the GOP’s handling of the talks while 58 percent blame Democrats and 48 percent point the finger at President Barack Obama. Though the president received the lowest disapproval ratings, Mr. Obama’s negatives are still higher than his approval ratings on the matter.

Speakers for the 131st annual Fancy Farm picnic have been scheduled and organizers have confirmed candidates seeking statewide office and departing public officials will be in attendance. Time has even been set aside for any GOP presidential nominees running in 2012, but none are on the list—yet.

A civil rights organization known for monitoring right-wing hate groups nationwide has listed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on its list of “extremist” candidates who ran for public office in 2010. The Southern Poverty Law Center compiled the list of 23 candidates, which includes prominent neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, white supremacists, Klu Klux Klansmen, militiamen and Holocaust deniers.

Several federal and state elected officials have joined together to support Eastern Kentucky University’s bid to host a debate during next year’s presidential campaign. A package sent by university officials to the Commission on Presidential Debates includes strong letters of support from Democratic and Republican leaders, namely U.S. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, state Sen. President David Williams and state House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

The National Education Association honored Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear on Thursday with this year’s America’s Greatest Education Governor Award. The annual award is given to governors who have made statewide efforts to improve public education and leaving education out of budget cuts.

Joined by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray at the Clinton Global Initiative American event held in Chicago Thursday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a regional economic development study to improve both cities’ competitiveness in advanced manufacturing. The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution will provide support for the 18-month project to determine how Kentucky’s two largest cities can strengthen their existing job markets and work together to achieve significant job growth in manufacturing and other key industries.

In a press conference featuring several prominent Senate Democrats, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was urged to end tax breaks for ethanol subsidies as part of the debt ceiling negotiations.