- - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WHITE HOUSE

Rumors denied about head-cover concern

The White House is disputing speculation that President Obama is avoiding an Indian temple so he won’t have to wear a head covering that could fan misconceptions he’s a Muslim.

Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser, says a stop at India’s Golden Temple didn’t end up fitting into the schedule for Obama’s four-country Asia trip that starts next week.

White House advance teams visited the Sikh temple, a popular tourist stop in India. When it didn’t end up on the schedule, rumors surfaced that Mr. Obama wanted to avoid being seen with a head covering connected with a non-Christian religion.

When asked Wednesday whether that theory was wrong, Mr. Rhodes said that it was.

Mr. Obama is Christian, but polls show some Americans think he’s Muslim.

ALASKA

Judge blocks names of write-ins at polls

ANCHORAGE | An Alaska judge on Wednesday granted a temporary restraining order stopping state elections officials from handing out names of write-in candidates at polling places.

The ruling is a setback for the campaign of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was defeated in the August GOP primary by “tea party” favorite Joe Miller and is mounting a write-in campaign. Former Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams is the Democrat in the race.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Frank A. Pfiffner said the division was in clear violation of an administrative regulation.

The regulation reads, “Information regarding a write-in candidate may not be discussed, exhibited, or provided at the polling place, or within 200 feet of any entrance to the polling place.”

Judge Pfiffner said in his 13-page ruling that the Elections Division surreptitiously sought approval from the U.S. Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to provide polling places with lists of write-in candidates, including the names of the candidates and their party affiliations.

PENNSYLVANIA

Poll shows Toomey with lead over Sestak

HARRISBURG | An independent poll in Pennsylvania’s race for U.S. Senate shows Republican Pat Toomey with an apparent lead over Democrat Joe Sestak.

The Franklin & Marshall College poll released Wednesday shows Mr. Toomey supported by 43 percent of likely voters to Mr. Sestak’s 36 percent. About one-fifth remained undecided days before Tuesday’s election.

A September poll by Franklin & Marshall showed Mr. Toomey leading by 9 percentage points. Other pollsters last week showed the race tightening.

Mr. Toomey and Mr. Sestak are vying for the seat held by five-term Sen. Arlen Specter, whom Mr. Sestak defeated in the May primary.

The poll of 489 Pennsylvanians deemed likely to vote was conducted during the week ending Sunday. The sampling error margin is 4.4 percentage points.

CONNECTICUT

McMahon backers can wear WWE garb

HARTFORD | A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Connecticut’s top election official to allow voters to wear World Wrestling Entertainment garb to the polls, ruling that it could not be considered political advertising for Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, the company’s former CEO.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton issued a stipulated order requiring Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz not to apply state election laws that restrict political advertising within 75 feet of polling places to the wrestling fans who wear WWE clothing, paraphernalia or merchandise on Tuesday.

Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE and Linda McMahon’s husband, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to stop local election workers from asking WWE fans to cover up their wrestling apparel at the polls.

He accused Mrs. Bysiewicz, a Democrat, of violating voters’ free-speech rights. But Mrs. Bysiewicz has said her office’s position had been misunderstood. She issued a memo to local registrars of voters clarifying how only clothing or other items that solicit for or against a candidate or ballot question should be prohibited.

State election law prevents political advertising within 75 feet of the polls.

CALIFORNIA

Fiorina to resume Senate campaign

SACRAMENTO | Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is scheduled to be released from the hospital and expects to resume campaigning.

Her campaign issued a statement saying the former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive would be released from the hospital Wednesday and will resume her campaign schedule Thursday. Mrs. Fiorina thanked supporters for their wishes and prayers.

She was admitted Tuesday for an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery after breast cancer. The statement said her treatment was successful.

The 56-year-old candidate received a breast cancer diagnosis in February 2009 before she formally announced her run against Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat. She completed chemotherapy and radiation treatments a year ago and had reconstructive surgery in July after having a double mastectomy.

ILLINOIS

Sheriff wants to be family man, not mayor

CHICAGO | In a surprising about-face, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Wednesday that he won’t run for mayor of Chicago.

Mr. Dart told a morning news conference that the pressures of campaigning — and of being the mayor — would make it impossible for him to be a good husband and father to five children.

“If I put politics ahead of my children … that is something I couldn’t live with,” Mr. Dart said.

The sheriff previously told many people he would run and was considered a leading contender to replace Mayor Richard M. Daley, who announced in September that he would not run for a seventh term in February. Other potential candidates include former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and state Sen. James Meeks.

Among the few candidates who have formally announced their intentions to run are City Clerk Miguel Del Valle, state Sen. Rickey Hendon and Gery Chico, a former Chicago school board chairman.