Five things for PR pros to know Wednesday morning, 10.8.2014

Obama brushed off by campaigning Democrats; EBay sticks with ALEC; Publicis buys South African integrated comms firm.

1. Sunk by low approval ratings on issues from the economy to foreign affairs, President Barack Obama is getting the cold shoulder from other Democrats campaigning for November’s midterm elections, according to The New York Times. Democratic senators in North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia — states carried by Obama in 2012 — are all avoiding the president as the midterms approach.

While The Wall Street Journal gives the advantage to the GOP, it notes that voters aren't excited about many candidates from either major party.

The White House is also dealing with the release of a memoir from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who distanced himself from Obama on foreign policy decisions — as had predecessor Robert Gates and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in earlier books.


2. Drug-maker Actavis is planning to reach out again to Allergan about a prospective merger, after the latter has repeatedly brushed off offers form Valeant Pharmaceuticals, according to Reuters.


3. EBay is under pressure from civic and environmental groups to follow Google, Yelp, and other tech-sector notables and drop its association with the American Legislative Exchange Council due to its stance on issues from the environment to "stand your ground" laws. The online marketplace is holding firm on the partnership, with a spokesman telling the Chicago Tribune that ALEC takes on other issues "material to the success of eBay and our customers."


4. Publicis Groupe’s acquisition spree of three South African firms includes integrated communications agency Machine, whose services include PR and content creation. The French holding company also bought digital shop Liquorice and branding agency BrandRock, it said Wednesday morning in a statement.


5. Former longtime Cincinnati TV news anchor Clyde Gray has launched a communications consulting firm called CGA Associates. It will focus on diversity, media relations, and crisis communications.

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