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Political Scene

- - Monday, November 1, 2010

WHITE HOUSE

Obama pulls back on 'enemies' remark

A day before the pivotal midterm elections, President Obama pulled back from remarks he made last month when he called on Hispanic voters to punish their "enemies" on Election Day.

In an interview Monday with radio host Michael Baisden, Mr. Obama said he should have used the word "opponents" instead of enemies.

Republicans were quick to criticize the president's remarks. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner was expected to use Mr. Obama's words in an election eve speech in Ohio to paint the president as a staunch partisan.

"Sadly, we have a president who uses the word 'enemy' for fellow Americans, fellow citizens. He used it for people who disagree with his agenda of bigger government," Mr. Boehner said, according to prepared remarks released in advance of his speech.

Mr. Obama's original comments were uttered in an interview with Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, a Hispanic radio personality. Mr. Piolin questioned how Mr. Obama could ask Hispanics for their votes when many don't think he's worked hard to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

NORTH CAROLINA

Candidate charged twice with DWI

MOUNT AIRY | A candidate for a state House seat in North Carolina was arrested twice over the weekend, both times on charges he was driving while intoxicated.

Randy Wolfe, 58, said Monday that he "made a serious mistake" and apologized to his supporters.

Mr. Wolfe, a Democrat challenging Republican state Rep. Sarah Stevens, also took down his campaign website Monday. But he has not withdrawn from Tuesday's election.

Mr. Wolfe was released on a $10,000 secured bond Sunday night. A Mount Airy police report said his blood alcohol content was 0.20 percent, or more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Police said that when Mr. Wolfe was arrested a day earlier, his blood alcohol content was 0.14 percent.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama telephones Brazil's president-elect

President Obama has telephoned his congratulations to Dilma Rousseff, the president-elect of Brazil.

Mrs. Rousseff captured 55 percent of votes in the Sunday election to succeed Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The White House says Mr. Obama telephoned the 62-year-old Mrs. Rousseff, who was jailed and tortured for three years in the early 1970s for fighting against Brazil's dictatorship, to congratulate her on her victory. Mr. Obama told Mrs. Rousseff in his call Monday that the U.S. and Brazil have an excellent working relationship and that he looks forward to meeting with her soon.

Mrs. Rousseff will become Brazil's first female president when she is sworn into office on Jan. 1.

TREASURY

$362B in borrowing need for quarter

The Treasury Department says it will need to borrow $362 billion in the current October-December quarter, the second-largest borrowing on record for this period.

Treasury officials said the borrowing needed for this quarter is down by $17 billion from an estimate made a month ago. That is in part because the government ended the 2010 budget year on Sept. 30 with $40 billion more cash on hand than it had expected.

The $362 billion in borrowing for this quarter is second only to the $569 billion borrowed in the October-December quarter of 2008. During that time, the government was raising massive amounts of money to fund a $700 billion bailout of the financial system.

DELAWARE

Cause of delayed O'Donnell ad disputed

WILMINGTON | A half-hour television ad for Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell was finally being aired on a Delaware public-access channel after a day of delays.

The "tea party" favorite's campaign blamed the channel for the delays and suggested that politics was involved in the mix up, but Tim Qualls, an independent producer who booked time for the program on the Comcast's channel 28, said it didn't run as scheduled because Ms. O'Donnell's campaign was late getting him the video.

Mr. Qualls said the campaign approached him Thursday about running the program this weekend. He said the campaign had a Friday deadline for getting him the video, but didn't deliver it until Sunday night.

Mr. Qualls, a Republican who said he voted for Ms. O'Donnell in the primary, called on Ms. O'Donnell to clarify that the campaign was at fault so the incident doesn't hurt his reputation. He said he has been bombarded by nasty phone and e-mail messages, some including threats.

"I want something coming from her office saying something on this," he said. "Don't make me look like I forgot ... I got like 200 e-mails from people cussing me out."

Ms. O'Donnell's campaign released a statement Monday afternoon calling it a "misunderstanding."

"Mr. Qualls is being incredibly cooperative now that he finally understands the situation," the statement said. "We are sincerely sorry for any misunderstanding that has transpired."

TENNESSEE

Convicted hacker seeks probation

CHATTANOOGA | A former Tennessee college student convicted of hacking Sarah Palin's e-mail in 2008 is seeking probation, but federal prosecutors contend he should go to prison for trying to "derail a national election."

Prosecutors in a court filing ahead of David Kernell's Nov. 12 sentencing hearing in Knoxville recommend 18 months imprisonment "to reflect the seriousness of the defendant's conduct, promote respect for the law and provide just punishment."

Defense attorney Wade Davies disagreed, filing a motion that says probation is justified, partly because of the 22-year-old former University of Tennessee student's youth. Part of the motion for probation is filed under seal. Documents say only that it includes protected health information from treatment Kernell received as a juvenile.

A jury in April convicted Kernell on charges that include unauthorized access to a protected computer and destroying records to impede a federal investigation. The maximum possible penalty for destroying or concealing records to impede an investigation is 20 years, according to the government's sentencing memorandum. Applying sentencing guidelines to Kernell, however, the memorandum says the penalty ranges from 15 months to 21 months.

NEVADA

First lady attends Vegas Reid rally

LAS VEGAS | First lady Michelle Obama has made a day-before-the-election stop in Las Vegas to boost Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bid for re-election.

The first lady joined Mr. Reid on Monday at a high school for a get-out-the-vote rally, framing the race as a battle over the American dream and its promises of unfettered opportunity and middle-class comfort.

Mr. Reid is in a tight race against Republican "tea party" favorite Sharron Angle. Statewide newspaper polls show the outcome is too close to call.

Republicans are dismissing the first lady's visit as an empty, last-ditch effort by Mr. Reid's camp to save his "sinking ship."