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WHITE HOUSE

Crocker eyed for Afghan envoy

Several sources have told the Associated Press that President Obama will likely name seasoned diplomat Ryan Crocker as the next U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Confirmation would reunite Mr. Crocker with Gen. David H. Petraeus, re-creating the diplomatic and military “dream team” credited with rescuing the flagging American mission in Iraq. It also would be a first step in a sweeping turnover of the top leadership responsible for the war in Afghanistan.

Officials say Mr. Crocker has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a former Army general who had cool relationships with the White House, U.S. military leaders and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision is not final.

JUSTICE

Holder defends Clement over DOMA role

The former Bush administration lawyer under fire from gay activists for defending the federal ban on gay marriage is getting support from an unexpected source - Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Mr. Holder told reporters Tuesday that Paul Clement is “doing that which lawyers do” to take on the responsibility of representing the lawmakers who wrote the ban.

“Paul Clement’s a great lawyer,” Mr. Holder said. “He has done a lot of really great things for this nation.”

President Obama ordered Mr. Holder’s Justice Department in February to stop defending the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. That led House Republicans to hire Mr. Clement to take up the cause.

But Mr. Clement’s firm, Atlanta-based King & Spalding, announced Monday that it was withdrawing from the case amid criticism from gay rights advocacy groups. Mr. Clement is moving to another firm to continue the work.

NEW JERSEY

Olympian can’t run for Senate

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