- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 6, 2010

NUCLEAR ARMS

Strategy to narrow nuclear weapon use

President Obama said Monday a revamped U.S. nuclear strategy would narrow the conditions under which nuclear weapons would be used, even in self-defense, the New York Times said on its Web site.

The president told the newspaper in an interview that exceptions would be carved out for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have either violated or renounced the nuclear proliferation treaty.

Mr. Obama will unveil a retooled U.S. nuclear strategy on Tuesday that he has signaled will call for reducing the size and role of the country’s atomic weapons stockpile.

WHITE HOUSE

Social Security report delayed

The Obama administration is delaying release of the annual report on the financial health of Social Security and Medicare so that the new report can reflect the impact of the recently passed health care overhaul.

An administration official told the Associated Press that this year’s trustees report will be delayed until June 30, three months later than it usually comes out.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity before the formal announcement, said that the delay will allow the government to determine the impact of the massive overhaul of health care that President Obama just signed into law.

In January, Richard Fisher, the chief actuary for Medicare, estimated that the Senate bill which passed on Christmas eve would extend the life of the Medicare hospital trust fund by 10 years. The legislation that finally passed Congress was the Senate bill but with revisions approved to win House support.

The administration official said that passage last month of the health care overhaul legislation had made the trustees report, which usually comes out around April 1, obsolete. This official said the decision was made to incorporate all of the changes made by the legislation to better reflect reality now that Congress has passed health care overhaul.

CALIFORNIA

Former eBay chief leads race: poll

LOS ANGELES | Former eBay chief Meg Whitman has opened up a narrow lead over Democratic rival Jerry Brown in the race to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as California governor, a poll revealed Monday.

A Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California survey reported that Ms. Whitman, the heavy favorite to land the Republican nomination, led Mr. Brown by a three-point margin with 44 percent to 41 percent.

The survey of 1,515 registered voters found two percent were likely to support another candidate while 14 percent of voters did not know who they would support in the November election.

Ms. Whitman’s lead comes after an extensive television advertising blitz. The survey found that 60 percent of Republican primary voters were likely to support her against 20 percent for rival Steve Poizner.

Ms. Whitman was chief executive at the Internet auction giant eBay for a decade.

The poll also reported incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California was holding her own against her Republican rivals, leading by 48 percent to 34 percent.

SENATE

Arraignment set in phone caper

NEW ORLEANS | A court date has been set for four conservative activists facing reduced charges after federal authorities initially accused them of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary L. Landrieu’s New Orleans office.

James O’Keefe, Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan are scheduled to be arraigned April 21 on misdemeanor charges of entering a federal building under false pretenses. They had been arrested on felony charges on Jan. 25.

The new charges are contained in a bill of information, which typically signals a plea deal. Mr. Basel’s attorney has said his client has agreed to plead guilty to the new charge, while Mr. Flanagan’s attorney has said his client worked out an agreement with prosecutors to resolve the case.

FLORIDA

Giuliani endorses Rubio for Senate

MIAMI | Rudolph W. Giuliani emphasized Marco Rubio’s trustworthiness Monday as he endorsed him for Florida’s open Senate seat over an opponent he said broke a promise to support him in his presidential bid.

The former New York City mayor said it was an easy choice to back the former state House speaker over Gov. Charlie Crist in the GOP primary race, calling him “the one candidate that we can trust to represent Republican principles in Washington and remain a Republican if he goes to Washington.”

Mr. Giuliani worked hard to get Mr. Crist’s endorsement in his 2008 presidential run, and said the governor promised he’d get it. Mr. Crist instead backed Sen. John McCain.

“He did break his word to me,” Mr. Giuliani said after endorsing Mr. Rubio before a standing-room-only crowd of hundreds at a Miami banquet hall. “He shook my hand and told me he’d support me, and he didn’t.”

But Mr. Giuliani called Mr. Crist’s snub “ancient history” and said it colored his view of the governor but did not determine his endorsement.

Rep. Kendrick B. Meek is the early favorite for the Democrats before the August primary.

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Investigative panel eyes risky mortgages

A panel investigating the roots of the financial crisis will press current and former executives of Citigroup Inc. at hearings this week about the bank’s role in spreading trillions of dollars in risky mortgage debt through the banking system.

The hearings are the first by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to focus on a single company. Witnesses include former Citi CEO Chuck Prince and former Chairman Robert E. Rubin, who was Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration.

The panel also will hear from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan; a former risk officer with failed subprime lender New Century Financial Corp.; and former executives and regulators from government-backed mortgage giant Fannie Mae. The three days of testimony are designed to provide a firsthand accounting of decisions that inflated a mortgage bubble and triggered the financial crisis.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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