- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2009

SCANDAL

ABC to interview Edwards’ ex-aide

LOS ANGELES | ABC News will air an exclusive interview next month with the man who once claimed to have fathered the child of former Sen. John Edwards’ mistress, the network said Wednesday.

ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff’s interview with Andrew Young will air Jan. 29 on “20/20.” Mr. Young was a longtime friend and aide to Mr. Edwards, the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004.

Mr. Young will discuss his upcoming book, “The Politician,” an account of Mr. Edwards’ 2004 campaign and the Rielle Hunter scandal, the network said.

Miss Hunter’s video production firm worked for Mr. Edwards’ political action committee before his second run for the White House, which ended in 2008. In an interview with Mr. Woodruff last year, Mr. Edwards admitted to an affair with Miss Hunter but denied he had a child with her.

In October, the New York Times reported it had obtained a book proposal from Mr. Young. According to the newspaper, Mr. Young’s proposal contended that he helped facilitate Mr. Edwards’ affair with Miss Hunter, and that Mr. Edwards had a child with her and worked with his campaign finance chairman to suppress the truth.

HOUSE

Lawmaker tries to calm Hawaiians

A bill that would let native Hawaiians establish their own government won’t be rushed to the House floor without state officials getting the chance to address newfound concerns, Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii Democrat, assured colleagues on Wednesday.

The bill appeared on track for passage early next year, with House and Senate committees scheduled to vote on the measure this week. But changes offered by Hawaii’s lawmakers set off alarms with Gov. Linda Lingle and state Attorney General Mark Bennett.

Mr. Bennett told federal lawmakers by letter that the changes stripped away language ensuring that the state’s rights and interests were protected as the new Native Hawaiian government formed.

Republicans said Mr. Bennett’s letter reinforced their own misgivings, and they would try to block passage of the legislation.

Regardless, Mr. Abercrombie said he hoped to move the bill through the committee on Wednesday. He promised that Mr. Bennett would have a chance to negotiate alternative language before the full House votes.

The legislation would provide a road map to gradually establish a native Hawaiian government.

PENTAGON

Surge begins in Afghanistan

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the first of 30,000 additional troops being sent to Afghanistan have begun to arrive.

In a Pentagon press briefing, Mr. Morrell told reporters that a Marine battalion ordered to deploy earlier this month already has “some boots on the ground,” with the rest of them to be flown in before Christmas.

Mr. Morrell said “the surge has begun in earnest.”

Officials say the goal is to have all 30,000 troops in place by the end of next summer.

HOUSE

Obama must sell surge, Pelosi says

President Obama will have to sell his escalation of the war in Afghanistan to his divided Democratic allies in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.

“The president is going to have to make his case,” the California Democrat told reporters, adding she had warned lawmakers wary of the troop surge “to give the president room, to listen to what he has to say” before voting on funding the conflict.

Mrs. Pelosi said many Democrats “eager to have a vote soon on Afghanistan” may get their chance next month, when one lawmaker plans to introduce a resolution aiming to force Mr. Obama to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

The measure appears unlikely to succeed - virtually all 177 Republicans support Mr. Obama’s escalation and enough of the 258 Democrats back the president to defeat it - but the fight could be a barometer of congressional support.

SENATE

Schumer admits ‘off the cuff’ remark

NEW YORK | Sen. Charles E. Schumer made an inappropriate comment about a flight attendant who demanded he turn off his cell phone, his office said Wednesday.

Schumer spokesman Max Young would not specify the remark, but said New York’s Mr. Schumer made the “off-the-cuff comment under his breath” after the flight attendant walked away. Mr. Young said the senator regrets the comment and apologized in a phone call to her.

The comment was first reported by the news Web site Politico, which said its source was a House Republican aide who was also on the New York-to-Washington US Airways flight Sunday. The report said Mr. Schumer complied when the attendant told Mr. Schumer to turn off his phone before takeoff, but then argued and made the remark when she walked away.

Mr. Schumer was sitting next to his fellow New York Democrat, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, at the time. Her office would not say whether she heard the remark but said she thinks Mr. Schumer “did the right thing by apologizing.”

SOUTH CAROLINA

Panel votes to rebuke Sanford

COLUMBIA, S.C. | Lawmakers voted Wednesday to formally rebuke Gov. Mark Sanford, again sparing him from impeachment over secret trips to see his Argentine mistress and his use of state planes.

The House Judiciary Committee unanimously agreed to censure the Republican governor for bringing “ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame” to the state. The reprimand has no practical effect on Mr. Sanford’s ability to govern for the 13 months that remain in his term, but legislators insisted they were not giving him a pass.

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