- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2008

DETROIT

Mayor’s mother in tight race

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s name will not appear on primary ballots Tuesday in Michigan, but voters could decide whether his mother should bear any of the fallout from a scandal that has galvanized city hall.

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Michigan Democrat, faces a serious challenge in a three-way congressional primary that has centered on the mayor’s conduct and on tough talk about who could best represent the struggling Detroit district.

The 38-year-old mayor and his former top aide are charged with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice, all connected to their testimony in a civil trial last year. They denied having a romantic relationship, but those claims have been contradicted by text messages in a scandal that has dominated news coverage in Detroit for months.

Mrs. Kilpatrick, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, was first elected to the U.S. House in 1996 after nearly two decades in the state Legislature. She has faced little opposition in a Democratic district that Sen. John Kerry won with 80 percent of the vote in the 2004 presidential election. The primary winner will be heavily favored in the November general election.

ELECTION

Pelosi wants Texan on Obama ticket

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is supporting a dark horse in the Democratic race for vice president: Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas.

“I hope he will be the nominee,” Mrs. Pelosi said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” Mr. Edwards, first elected in 1990 and now in his ninth term, represents Texas’ 17th District, which includes Waco, College Station, Fort Hood and the small town of Crawford, where President Bush has a ranch. He serves as a senior member on the House Appropriations and Budget committees and has guided funding measures for military veterans.

Mrs. Pelosi said that amid all the talk about running mates from the Senate, she didn’t want the House to be left out. Presumed nominee Sen. Barack Obama has not announced when he will make his pick.

“There’s such a great array of people from whom Senator Obama can choose,” she said. “So, any one of them I’m fine with. I just wanted people to be aware of the extraordinary credentials of Chet Edwards.”

Newsweek reported Mrs. Pelosi’s push for Mr. Edwards in its issue set for release Monday.

DEMOCRATS

Clinton contributes to party platform

CLEVELAND | Platform writers for Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton worked side by side Saturday as the Democratic Party developed a policy statement to promote nominee-in-waiting Mr. Obama and keep Clinton backers involved.

The 20-member drafting committee heard Friday and Saturday morning from scores of party regulars, policy analysts and hard-luck Americans before beginning a draft of the platform, which goes before the full platform committee Aug. 9 in Pittsburgh.

The committee, meeting through Sunday, reviewed a 44-page document principally written by Karen Kornbluh, who has worked on Mr. Obama’s Senate staff. She said the draft included Obama and Clinton materials and was meant to highlight renewing core American goals.

Miss Kornbluh said the Clinton materials in the draft include a commitment that “people who do the work in America will never be invisible to the Democratic Party,” echoing a common Clinton campaign theme.

The platform also commits the party to addressing the needs of another group often mentioned by Mrs. Clinton: the “sandwich generation” of working parents who are also caring for aging parents.

WHITE HOUSE

Dubai leader visits Camp David

President Bush is returning the favor once again for the opulent hospitality he received in the United Arab Emirates this year.

At the Camp David retreat in rustic Maryland, Mr. Bush planned a Sunday afternoon welcome for Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the emirate’s prime minister and ruler of Dubai.

His overnight stay at the presidential compound follows a visit to Camp David in late June by Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, another in the UAE’s string of seven semiautonomous emirates.

A Camp David invitation is a plum for world leaders, so the friendly treatment for an oil-rich Persian Gulf nation sends a signal about just how important the United States considers the tiny emirates. “The ruler of Dubai is an important figure in the emirates and an influential figure around the world,” said Gordon Johndroe, Mr. Bush’s national security spokesman.

Mr. Bush spent one night in the United Arab Emirates during a Middle East trip in January, staying at a luxurious hotel and traveling to the desert for a sumptuous dinner.

While in the UAE, Mr. Bush visited both Abu Dhabi, the capital that has the lion’s share of the country’s oil resources, and Dubai, the largest emirate in population that is in the midst of a boom as its leaders shape it into a major financial center.

Economic matters were among the expected topics for discussion at the meetings Sunday, along with Iran’s destabilizing influence in the region, counterterrorism efforts and high oil prices. The UAE also recently decided to cancel billions of dollars in Iraqi debt, appoint an ambassador to Baghdad and reopen its embassy in the capital.

DIPLOMACY

Commission created for Russia policy

A bipartisan Commission on U.S. Policy Toward Russia been created, the Belfer Center at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Nixon Center announced Friday. The commission is co-chaired by former Sen. Gary Hart, Colorado Democrat, and Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican. It includes a wide range of Russia-oriented specialists such as senior fellows, professors and chairmen of companies.

According to both centers, the commission is aimed at producing a report for the U.S. president, congressmen and the interested public “offering its best judgment” about American national interests and priorities in the U.S.-Russia relationship.

On the verge of the coming administration, the commission will be working on presenting policy recommendations and on explaining why a constructive U.S.-Russia relationship “remains critical.”

The Wall Street Journal has reported that a senior Russian diplomat recently warned about a breakdown in relations between Russia and the U.S., as Republican candidate Sen. John McCain proposed to eject Russia from the Group of Eight leading industrial nations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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