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Inside Politics

- - Monday, April 11, 2011


McChrystal to join administration

Nearly a year after he was relieved of command in Afghanistan, retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal is joining the Obama administration.

Gen. McChrystal will lead an advisory board overseeing a White House initiative supporting military families. The Joint Forces program will be led by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden. The program will focus on mobilizing communities, businesses and the government to assist the families of those serving their country.

The first lady's office says the initiative will be announced at the White House on Tuesday.

Gen. McChrystal resigned after he and his aides were quoted in a Rolling Stone article as being dismissive of their civilian bosses.


Olympian to run for Senate seat

TRENTON | Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis says he'll run again for New Jersey Senate.

The 49-year-old New Jersey native announced his bid to represent his hometown of Willingboro on Monday.

"When I run, as you see from my record, I run to win," Mr. Lewis said outside a historic courthouse in his home county, where he announced his candidacy with his mother and other family members standing nearby.

Mr. Lewis said he hopes to inspire people, encourage communities to get together and improve educational opportunities, particularly physical education, for children. He said he'll announce a specific issue-based platform in coming days.

This is his first bid for elected office. In fact, he said he had registered to vote earlier in the day but said he had been registered previously in California and Texas, two states where he has lived recently.

Mr. Lewis won nine Olympic gold medals and is considered among the best track and field athletes of all time.

In Los Angeles in 1984, he won gold in the 100 and 200 meters, long jump and 400-meter relay. At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he triumphed in the 100 meter and long jump. In the 1992 games in Barcelona, he took the long jump and anchored the U.S. 400 relay team that won in world-record time. He won his fourth straight Olympic gold in the long jump in 1996 in Atlanta.

He is a member of the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame and was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame last May.

Mr. Lewis will run as a Democrat in the 8th legislative district now represented by Republican Dawn Addiego.


Bachmann: Funding ruined budget deal

PELLA | Minnesota congresswoman and potential GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says she'll vote against the federal budget bill because it doesn't remove funding for the president's health care overhaul.

Mrs. Bachmann, a tea-party favorite, voted against a weeklong budget extension late Friday that averted a government shutdown.

Mrs. Bachman told a conservative Iowa crowd on Monday that she'll also oppose the compromise that lawmakers are expected to vote on this week. She says "voters expected us to defund Obamacare."

Mrs. Bachmann spoke as part of a series sponsored by the Family Leader. The conservative group is inviting prospective presidential candidates to Iowa, home to the nation's first presidential caucuses.

Aides say Mrs. Bachmann could decide by next month whether to seek the Republican nomination to challenge President Obama in 2012.


New chief readies transition plan

The general taking the helm of the U.S. Army says that in two months he will lay out how the force must transform itself after a decade at war.

Gen. Martin Dempsey says the all-volunteer Army is in transition and must evolve and hone new expertise in order to be ready for adversaries the U.S. will face in 2020 and beyond.

The 1.1 million-strong ground force that Dempsey is taking over is strained after 10 years of long and repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gen. Dempsey took over as chief of staff for the Army during a ceremony at Fort Myer in Northern Virginia on Monday. Gen. George Casey retired after four years in the top job and more than four decades in the service.


Obama surprises visiting students

President Obama surprised a group of eighth-graders from a Colorado middle school on Monday, just days after they feared a government shutdown would scuttle their trip to Washington.

"Now that things worked out, we figured we'd give you a little bonus," Mr. Obama told the students from Altona Middle School in Longmont, Colo. He greeted them on the South Lawn as they toured the White House.

Mr. Obama had mentioned the students and their trip in a speech he delivered late Friday night after lawmakers reached a deal to keep the government running. He spoke about a letter he had received from Shalini Schane, whose son was among the students planning to come to Washington. Ms. Schane wrote to the president about the fundraisers and projects the students had completed to prepare for the trip, and their appointment to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

"She asked those of us in Washington to get past our petty grievances and make things right," Mr. Obama said Friday.

With more budget battles in store, Mr. Obama told the students and their teachers that education remains a priority and is an area where he wants to increase investments, not make cuts.