By Cezary Podkul and Jeff Mason NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Six months ago the U.S. oil industry scored a surprise win against farm groups when the Obama administration proposed slashing the amount of ethanol refiners must blend into gasoline, a move that could save them billions of dollars. Stunned by the reversal, producers of the corn-based biofuel and their supporters are now fighting back ahead of a June deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make a final decision on the cut. The ethanol industry, blindsided by the proposed cut, has said it was orchestrated by \"Big Oil.\" However, some of the most effective players in the fight weren't traditional oil majors but rather The Carlyle Group and Delta Air Lines, owners of two Philadelphia-area refiners. Together with their allies, the refiners helped convince policymakers that the rising mandates would cripple their businesses and threaten thousands of jobs.
By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Here's a riddle: Many Republicans deny it's happening. Better economic data could help persuade voters in November to look past President Barack Obama's weak approval ratings and his unpopular healthcare law and give Democrats enough lift to hold onto the Senate and limit their losses in the House, political strategists said. Bad, bad, bad,\" said Erica Seifert, a senior associate at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which advises many Democratic candidates.