- - Monday, August 15, 2011

GOP

With Perry in 2012 race, McDonnell takes over RGA

RICHMOND, Va. — Now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running for president, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is taking over as head of the Republican Governors Association.

The association made the announcement Monday morning, two days after Mr. Perry formally announced his candidacy. Mr. McDonnell had been the RGA’s vice chairman.

Mr. McDonnell’s new post will place more demand on his political time for travel across the country supporting GOP gubernatorial candidates. It also elevates the popular governor’s profile as an often-mentioned vice presidential running mate.

Mr. McDonnell said in a statement that the RGA is in a position to have an unprecedented impact this election cycle.

Twenty-nine U.S. governors are Republicans.

NEW YORK

Bill Clinton: Perry a ‘good-looking rascal’

NEW YORK — Former President Bill Clinton says Rick Perry is a “good-looking rascal” but dismisses the Texas governor’s policies as “crazy.”

Mr. Clinton made the comments Monday during an address to a meeting of the International Association of Firefighters. The Democrat told the group he had watched Mr. Perry’s speech Saturday in which the governor announced he was running for president and joining the Republican race.

Mr. Clinton said it was “crazy” that Mr. Perry wants to cut the federal government but would take advantage of government perks like Air Force One if elected president.

Mr. Perry is on a weeklong campaign swing through early primary states.

OHIO

Briefcases cause scare at Boehner’s office

WEST CHESTER — Police are seeking information about three briefcases with attached handwritten signs that were left outside an Ohio office of U.S. House Speaker John A. Boehner. The briefcases were demolished by a bomb squad as a precaution.

West Chester Township police say the cases found Sunday morning appeared to have been meant as a political statement. Each had a single handwritten sign. One read “Jobs,” the second “Oil” and the third “Gas.” There was nothing dangerous inside them.

Police say they don’t have any suspects and are working with Mr. Boehner’s office.

The district office has been the site of several protests about various issues in recent weeks.

Boehner spokeswoman Brittany Bramell says that investigators’ “vigilance and efforts” are appreciated, but she declined Monday to discuss details of the incident and investigation.

NEW YORK

Cost of governor’s flights add up to about $13,000

ALBANY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s use of state aircraft to or from his Westchester home and the flights required by state police to return the plane or helicopter to Albany likely cost more than $1,300 an hour.

That’s according to an aviation industry analysis. The Cuomo administration says that’s too high, but won’t offer its own estimate.

The administration said Mr. Cuomo’s use of the aircraft to go to or from home three times in six months was because of pressing business in Albany and at home. A spokesman wouldn’t elaborate.

The estimated $13,000 cost over that period is a fraction of the state’s $132 billion budget. But the use of state aircraft has dogged several governors. Rules require a state official to reimburse the state for “mixed use.”

DELAWARE

O’Donnell book goes on sale this week

WILMINGTON — Christine O’Donnell, the conservative activist and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Delaware, is about to get a new title: author.

Miss O’Donnell’s first book is scheduled to go on sale Tuesday. It’s titled “Troublemaker: Let’s Do What it Takes to Make America Great Again.”

Miss O’Donnell won a surprising primary victory in the Republican U.S. Senate race in Delaware nearly a year ago. In her new book she criticizes adversaries for undermining her campaign while admitting errors in her own decisions.

Democrat Christopher A. Coons ultimately beat Miss O’Donnell in the general election.

From wire dispatches and staff reports