Political Scene

ALASKA

Murkowski hints at indy Senate bid

JUNEAU | A week after conceding the tight GOP primary to Joe Miller, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she’s not a quitter and is “still in this game.”

Mrs. Murkowski told the Associated Press on Tuesday that she’s been inundated with calls and e-mails from supporters and overwhelmed by people asking her not to leave the race. She said she had met privately with the candidate for the state’s Libertarian Party, but no agreement had been reached.

Besides a third-party run, Mrs. Murkowski also could seek a write-in candidacy, which she called high-risk, or she could decide to stay out of the race.

She gave no timetable for a decision, but acknowledged one needs to be made soon. She has until five days before the general election to decide on a write-in run.

STEM CELLS

Judge retains stay on research funds

A federal judge on Tuesday refused to lift his order blocking federal funding for some embryonic stem cell research, saying that a “parade of horribles” predicted by federal officials would not happen.

Medical researchers value stem cells because they are master cells that can turn into any tissue of the body. Research eventually could lead to cures for spinal-cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and other ailments.

The Justice Department argued in court papers last week that stopping the research could cause “irrevocable harm to the millions of extremely sick or injured people who stand to benefit,” as well as to researchers who depend on the federal money.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth rejected that argument in refusing to lift the restraining order he signed after ruling that the argument in a pending lawsuit - that the research violates the intent of a 1996 law prohibiting use of taxpayer dollars in work that destroys a human embryo - was likely to succeed.

MONTANA

‘Tea party’ leader ousted for Web post

HELENA | The Big Sky Tea Party Association’s board of directors has removed the organization’s president for an exchange on his Facebook page that appeared to condone violence against homosexuals.

Board member Roger Nummerdor said Tim Ravndal also has been kicked out of the Montana organization.

The board voted Sunday after members learned of the online conversation that began with a comment about an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit over rights for same-sex couples.

The conversation between Mr. Ravndal and another man appears to reference the 1998 death of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was beaten and tied to a fence post. Police said Shepard was attacked because he was gay.

Mr. Ravndal apologized for the July 23 post.

WHITE HOUSE

King quote holds true on office rug

No need for a rewrite - or a reweave - of the new rug in the Oval Office.

President Obama’s spokesman said Tuesday that the White House was correct to attribute a famous quotation in the rug’s pattern to Martin Luther King Jr., even though the civil rights leader acknowledged being inspired by a 19th-century abolitionist, Thomas Parker.

“It was not us that thought he said it; it was many people that believed - rightly so - that he said it,” press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

The wheat, cream and blue rug, which debuted in the Oval Office last week, features the presidential seal in the center and quotations from famous Americans around the border.

Describing the rug, a White House statement credited King for these words: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

It’s one of Mr. Obama’s favorite King sayings, and no one disputes that King said it exactly that way in 1967.

But Parker’s adherents note the Transcendentalist and Unitarian minister wrote this in his 1853 treatise “Of Justice and the Conscience”: “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one. … And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

Mr. Gibbs noted that neither man’s name is on the rug. None of the quotations has names attached.

OHIO

Democrat struggles with TV ad buys

TOLEDO | Ohio’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate said it will be a week-to-week decision on how much TV time he can buy, even though his fundraising is increasing.

Lee Fisher’s campaign will begin airing its first television ad this week. Campaign finance numbers have shown Mr. Fisher trailing his Republican opponent by a 9-1 margin in fundraising, and he’s also behind in polls.

Mr. Fisher told the Associated Press on Tuesday that it’s no surprise he’s the underdog because he has been outspent by a wide margin by former Rep. Rob Portman, who has been airing ads all summer.

Mr. Fisher, currently Ohio’s lieutenant governor, said it’s still not too late for him to charge ahead in the race.

HOUSING

Effort to fight foreclosures revived

The Obama administration is trying to jump-start its sputtering plan to tackle the foreclosure crisis with an effort to assist up to 1.5 million homeowners who owe more on their properties than their homes are worth.

The Federal Housing Administration will allow lenders to give these “underwater” borrowers refinanced loans if the lender agrees to forgive at least 10 percent of the original mortgage amount.

The plan, which was announced in March, was being made available starting Tuesday.

The FHA said in a document published last month that between 500,000 and 1.5 million homeowners are projected to be helped. However, the Obama administration’s previous efforts to stem foreclosures have fallen far short of expectations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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