- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2010

WHITE HOUSE

Haiti remarks spark criticism

The White House is firing back at Rush Limbaugh after the conservative talk-radio host urged people not to donate to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs says there are always people who say “really stupid things” during a crisis. He says it’s sad that Mr. Limbaugh would use the power of his pulpit to convince people not to assist those in need.

Mr. Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday that he wouldn’t trust that money donated to Haiti through the White House Web site would actually go to the relief efforts. He said Americans don’t need to contribute to earthquake relief because they already donate to Haiti through their income taxes.

Also on Thursday, Mr. Gibbs slammed evangelist broadcaster Pat Robertson’s remark that Haiti has been cursed.

“It never ceases to amaze me that in times of amazing human suffering somebody says something that can be so utterly stupid,” White House spokesman Mr. Gibbs said.

The day after Tuesday’s major earthquake, Mr. Robertson said Haiti has been “cursed” because of what he called a “pact with the devil” in its history. His spokesman said the comments were based on Voodoo rituals carried out before a slave rebellion against French colonists in 1791.

Spokesman Chris Roslan says Mr. Robertson never said the earthquake was God’s wrath.

GAY MARRIAGE

D.C. court rejects bid for referendum

A judge in the District has thrown out a lawsuit by opponents of gay marriage against the city’s elections board.

Plaintiffs led by a Maryland pastor, Bishop Harry Jackson, sued after the Board of Elections and Ethics refused to put their initiative on the ballot. The measure would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The board ruled it violated the city’s Human Rights Act.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith N. Macaluso ruled Thursday in favor of the city. She said the board’s action was justified because the initiative would in effect authorize discrimination.

The District passed a bill in December that would let same-sex couples marry. Because the city is a federal district, the law is pending a period of review by Congress.

TREASURY

Geithner to testify about AIG payments

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has agreed to testify on Jan. 27 before a congressional committee on insurer American International Group’s payments to banks after its bailout, an aide to the panel’s top Republican said on Thursday.

Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, said Mr. Geithner had accepted an invitation to testify from the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Edolphus Towns.

Prodded by Mr. Issa, the panel wants Mr. Geithner to answer questions about decisions made by the New York Federal Reserve Bank in late 2008 to pay AIG counterparties in full to liquidate credit default swaps and on whether efforts were made to suppress disclosures about the payments. At the time, Mr. Geithner was head of the New York Federal Reserve.

HOUSE

Shadegg won’t seek ninth term

PHOENIX | Rep. John Shadegg, Arizona Republican, says he is retiring and won’t run for a ninth term this year.

Mr. Shadegg said Thursday that he will serve out his current term in Congress and then pursue other interests. He says he will “pursue my commitment to fight for freedom in a different venue.”

A Shadegg spokeswoman says his exact plans won’t be disclosed until he leaves office.

The 60-year-old’s district covers north Phoenix, Paradise Valley and a stretch of rural communities north of Phoenix. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat and head of the Democratic House campaign effort, said Thursday he believed his party had a chance to capture the now-open seat.

RACE SWITCH

GOP moderate exits for Senate bid

SACRAMENTO, Calif. | Former congressman Tom Campbell says he is dropping his long-shot bid for governor in California and instead will challenge for Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat.

In a letter sent Thursday to donors and other supporters, the Republican says political pragmatism forced him from a race in which he was squeezed between two mega-rich opponents.

Mr. Campbell has had difficulty attracting donors and raising his profile in the gubernatorial contest. His exit leaves former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Poizner to battle for the GOP nomination.

SENATE RACE

Poll: Blumenthal ahead in race

HAMDEN, Conn. | A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal holding a hefty lead over his three Republican rivals for the U.S. Senate.

The survey of 1,430 registered voters released Thursday shows Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat, leading former Rep. Rob Simmons 62 percent to 27 percent, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon 64 percent to 23 percent and Fairfield County money manager Peter Schiff, 66 percent to 19 percent.

They’re running for the seat held by Democrat Christopher J. Dodd, who is not seeking re-election. The poll’s margin of sampling error was 2.6 percentage points.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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