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Political Scene

HEALTH CARE

Carter: Kennedy delayed coverage

Jimmy Carter says Americans could have had comprehensive health care coverage decades ago if then-Sen. Edward M. Kennedy hadn't blocked a plan Mr. Carter proposed while in the White House.

The former president made the comment in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" to be aired Sunday. Parts of the interview were posted on the show's website Thursday.

In the interview, Mr. Carter accuses Kennedy of "deliberating blocking" comprehensive health care legislation Mr. Carter proposed.

Kennedy, who made health care reform a prized cause, died in August 2009 from brain cancer. The Massachusetts senator challenged Mr. Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination, but fell short. Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Carter had competing health care reform plans.

CALIFORNIA

Whitman breaks spending records

SAN FRANCISCO | Former eBay executive Meg Whitman is defending $119 million in contributions she has made to her campaign for California governor a personal spending rate that has now surpassed that of any other political candidate in American history.

Mrs. Whitman's campaign this week reported an additional $15 million contribution from the billionaire GOP candidate in her bid to defeat Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown.

During a visit Wednesday to the San Francisco headquarters of Yelp, Mrs. Whitman said the contributions from her personal fortune mean she won't be beholden to special interests if she wins.

She also said she must spend a lot of money in a state where there are 2.3 million more registered Democrats than Republicans.

"Our job is, we have to tell my story, tell why I will be the very best governor for California," she said. "And then at the same time we have to acquaint Californians with Jerry Brown's record of failure."

The $15 million contribution Mrs. Whitman's campaign reported late Tuesday push her personal contributions past a previous record set by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who spent $109 million in his campaign for a third mayoral term last year.

NEW YORK

Candidate sends trash-scented flier

ALBANY | Something stinks in about 200,000 mailboxes around New York a flier from the new Republican nominee for governor.

A garbage-scented mailing by nominee Carl Paladino features the photos of seven Democrats, six of whom have been investigated and two who have resigned in scandal in the past four years.

"Something STINKS in Albany," the mailer says. Paladino spokesman Michael Caputo said Thursday that the mailer is scented with a "landfill" odor.

He says the smell will get worse the longer it is exposed, just like Albany.

The mailer doesn't name state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, Mr. Paladino's Democratic opponent. But Mr. Paladino has been trying to link Mr. Cuomo to the Democrats who control every statewide office and both legislative chambers.

WHITE HOUSE

Emanuel, Jackson talk mayor's race

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met privately with Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. on Wednesday night to discuss the Chicago mayor's race, sources close to Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Jackson said on Thursday.

The meeting is the latest sign that both are considering entering the race. Both have previously expressed interest in becoming Chicago's mayor.

A source close to Mr. Jackson said the congressman and Mr. Emanuel discussed a variety of issues Chicago is facing, including the economy and job creation. They also discussed the need for any mayoral candidates to conduct campaigns that will allow them to unify behind the nominee in case no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote and a runoff is required. The source would not say who arranged the meeting.

The source close to Mr. Jackson was not authorized to speak about the meeting openly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The source close to Mr. Emanuel, also speaking anonymously for the same reason, confirmed the meeting.

Mayor Richard M. Daley has said he would not seek a seventh term.

Neither Mr. Jackson nor Mr. Emanuel has very long to mull their decision. Election rules give candidates until Nov. 22 to file petitions to run. Any candidate would likely need to start laying groundwork well before then. The mayoral election is in February.

The source said that Mr. Jackson previously also had met with or spoken to several other potential Democratic mayoral candidates to discuss the race, including Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Rep. Danny K. Davis and state Sen. James Meeks.

JUSTICE

Ex-lobbyist to plead guilty

A former lobbyist has decided to plead guilty and cooperate in a Justice Department probe of campaign donations to members of Congress who directed hundreds of millions of dollars to defense contractors without competitive bidding.

Paul Magliocchetti pleaded not guilty to an 11-count indictment felony indictment on Aug. 20. He is charged with paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations to scores of campaigns dating back to 2003 to enrich himself and increase his firm's influence with public officials.

The former lobbyist was to have gone on trial Oct. 5.

A person outside the government who is familiar with the criminal investigation said that the once-prominent lobbyist will enter a plea on Sept. 24 in federal court in Alexandria, Va., where a new electronic entry on the courthouse docket specifies that Mr. Magliocchetti will have a "change of plea hearing" in his case on that date.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler and one of Mr. Magliocchetti's lawyers, William Lawler, declined to comment.

CONNECTICUT

Obama out to aid Blumenthal for Senate

FAIRFIELD | A four-decade veteran of Connecticut politics, Democrat Richard Blumenthal has been slipping in polls in the state's U.S. Senate race. At the same time, his Republican opponent, former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, has been pumping millions from her personal fortune into her campaign.

Enter President Obama, whose own popularity has fallen in the reliably Democratic state.

Mr. Obama is attending private fundraisers Thursday in Stamford, Conn., hoping to buoy Mr. Blumenthal and help the party retain the seat of retiring Sen. Christopher J. Dodd.

It's going to be a tough haul in an environment that is punishing experience as well as candidates' ties to the establishment, traits that Mr. Blumenthal does not deny.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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