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Obama, Clinton 'most admired'
For the third straight year, President Obama ranks as the man most admired by people living in the U.S.
The annual USA Today-Gallup poll, released Monday, finds that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most admired woman for the ninth year in a row. Mrs. Clinton edges out former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and TV host Oprah Winfrey, as she did last year.
The poll asks respondents to name the man, and the woman, living in any part of the world, they admire most.
Mr. Obama has been the poll's most admired man since his election in 2008. Following Mr. Obama on the list this year are former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton has been the most admired woman 15 times since 1992.
Auditor urges special election
CHARLESTON | State Auditor Glen Gainer is jumping into the debate over whether a special election for West Virginia governor should be held next year.
In a filing with the state Supreme Court on Monday, Mr. Gainer argues that West Virginia's Constitution is clear and trumps any state law covering gubernatorial succession. Mr. Gainer supports the two lawsuits that seek a special gubernatorial election.
Former Gov. Joe Manchin III's election to the U.S. Senate elevated state Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin to acting governor.
Legislative lawyers have argued that their reading of state law means Mr. Tomblin can serve until the next general election in 2012.
Mr. Gainer argues if Mr. Tomblin is allowed to serve one year as governor, then the constitution will be circumvented.
Long-serving state legislator dies
HARRISBURG | State Sen. Michael O'Pake, the longest-serving member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, died Monday. He was 70.
Mr. O'Pake died of complications from heart-bypass surgery at Reading Hospital and Medical Center, where he had remained since the Nov. 22 operation, according to longtime aide Jim Hertzler.
A Democrat from Berks County, Mr. O'Pake was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1968, and to the state Senate four years later. He died midway through his 10th consecutive Senate term.
As the first chairman of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, Mr. O'Pake helped write the child-protective services law that helps child-abuse victims and was a leading advocate of the state's pioneering Children's Health Insurance Program, which provide health insurance to uninsured children and teens who do not qualify for Medicaid. He also fought for legislation that created the state Department of Aging and separate offices of aging in every county.
Gov. Edward G. Rendell on Monday ordered that all U.S. and Pennsylvania flags at the state Capitol complex in Harrisburg and at state facilities in Berks County be flown at half-staff in Mr. O'Pake's honor until his interment.
Last month, fellow Senate Democrats re-elected Mr. O'Pake as minority whip, the No. 2 caucus leadership position.
"Mike was a friend and colleague who could be counted on for kind words and sage advice in the most trying circumstances," said Minority Leader Jay Costa, Allegheny Democrat. "He worked across the aisle and built bridges trying to find solutions that help all Pennsylvanians."
Funeral arrangements were incomplete Monday.
Greene running for state seat
COLUMBIA | Alvin Greene is running for the South Carolina House after a failed bid for the U.S. Senate that splashed the unemployed Army veteran onto the national political scene.
Mr. Greene paid the $165 filing fee on Christmas Eve to run in a special election for the House seat made vacant by the death earlier this year of Summerton Democrat Rep. Cathy Harvin.
Cal Land, chairman of the Clarendon County Democratic Party, said Mr. Greene entered the race five minutes after the filing period opened. A primary will be held Feb. 15 with the special election set for April 5.
Mr. Greene said Monday he would wait to see who else filed before commenting on the race.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports
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