- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2008

CAMPAIGN

Clinton to have night at convention

HONOLULU | Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will headline her own night at the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign announced Sunday in a nod to her strong second-place showing in the party’s presidential primary.

The former first lady will speak on the second night, Aug. 26 - the 88th anniversary of the 19th amendment guaranteeing women’s right to vote. The campaign and convention committee in a statement called her “a champion for working families and one of the most effective and empathetic voices in the country today.”

The Obama campaign is trying to avoid hard feelings among Mrs. Clinton’s supporters at their carefully orchestrated convention. But they still haven’t reached a deal on whether Mrs. Clinton will be included in the roll call vote for the nomination, which could make the party appear divided heading into the final stretch of the White House race.

The campaign said Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, is slated to headline the opening night Aug. 25, while the yet-to-be-named vice presidential pick will speak on the third. Democratic officials say former President Bill Clinton is also scheduled to speak that night, but only the headliners were in Sunday’s official announcement made while Mr. Obama was vacationing in his native state of Hawaii.

DEA

Drugs-terror link grows, official says

Expect to hear more in coming months about Middle East terrorists turning to the illegal drug trade to finance their evildoing, Scripps Howard News Service reports.

Michael Braun, operations chief for the Drug Enforcement Administration, says the “nexus between drugs and terror is growing at light speed,” largely because more traditional sources of funds have been dammed up by anti-terrorism efforts and a pullback in the sponsorship of terror groups by countries such as Syria.

So drug money fills the void, providing financing to recruit, equip and train terrorist operatives, bribe local officials and arrange logistics.

And the amount of narcotics in play is astonishing. Over the past five months alone, the British navy has seized 30 tons of cocaine, opiates and other drugs as they were being transported in the Persian Gulf. The suspicion is the shipments were tied to Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

POLITICS

Obama says war robs Americans

Sen. Barack Obama accused Republican rival Sen. John McCain on Saturday of embracing Bush administration policies that he said shortchange Americans by favoring an extended war in Iraq at the expense of fixing the nation’s underfunded schools and crumbling roads and bridges.

Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, used a national radio address to trumpet his campaign proposals to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and to conclude the war in Iraq responsibly “by asking the Iraqis to take responsibility for their future and to invest in their own country.”

The Illinois Democrat pointed to a recent Government Accountability Office report that found the Iraqi government could end the year with as much as a $79 billion budget surplus while at the same time spending only a fraction on reconstruction costs that are largely borne by the United States. Mr. McCain will continue Bush war policies with an “open-ended commitment” that has been unsuccessful, Mr. Obama said.

MILITARY

El Salvador to add 280 troops in Iraq

Count tiny El Salvador as one of America’s most stalwart global supporters when it comes to the U.S. effort in Iraq.

The Central American nation - the only one in the region to contribute soldiers - just announced it will send a 280-person contingent of troops to Iraq this month. That will mark the 11th deployment of Salvadoran troops since the war began in 2003.

FBI

Ford whispered about JFK probe

Former President Gerald Ford secretly advised the FBI that two of his fellow members on the Warren Commission doubted the FBI’s conclusion that John F. Kennedy was shot from the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository in Dallas, according to newly released records from Ford’s FBI files.

Mr. Ford, still a congressman at the time, also told a senior FBI official about internal panel disputes over hiring staff, Chief Justice Earl Warren’s timetable for completing the final report on the assassination and what panel members said about the FBI.

In turn, Assistant FBI Director Cartha “Deke” DeLoach confidentially advised Mr. Ford of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s position on panel disputes; discussed where leaks were coming from; and, with Mr. Hoover’s personal approval, loaned him a bureau briefcase with a lock so he could securely take the FBI report on the 1963 assassination with him on a ski trip.

The new details were included in 500 pages of the FBI’s large file on Mr. Ford, released in part this past week in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act that the Associated Press and others made on the day Mr. Ford died in December 2006. The FBI intends to release additional documents about Mr. Ford in several batches, all with parts censored for law enforcement and privacy reasons.

CONVENTION

Oprah to rent house in Denver

Oprah Winfrey, according to the Rocky Mountain News, has plunked down a reported $50,000 to rent a house in Denver for the week of the Democratic National Convention, which opens Aug. 25.

Miss Winfrey, who was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, has not revealed whether she will actually attend the convention, speak at it or just throw some parties.

DONATIONS

Oil workers give more to Obama

It’s true that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has received more than $1.3 million in campaign contributions from the overall oil industry, while Democratic White House contender Sen. Barack Obama has received only about $400,000.

But campaign-finance watchdog OpenSecrets.org discovered that Mr. Obama has actually outraised Mr. McCain in individual contributions from oil-industry employees, reports Lisa Hoffmann of Scripps Howard News Service.

Exxon employees, for instance, have given Mr. Obama $42,000 to Mr. McCain’s $35,000. Chevron workers have donated $35,000 to Mr. Obama compared with $28,500 to Mr. McCain.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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