- - Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CAMPAIGN

Perry seeks comeback with Iowa evangelicals

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry — with nowhere to go but up — is making an aggressive play to rise in Iowa by courting Christian evangelicals who could help revive his campaign.

The Texas governor on Wednesday started a monthlong, $1.2 million ad campaign in the leadoff caucus state. He plans to spend more than $650,000 this week on an ad saying President Obama is waging a “war on religion” and promoting Mr. Perry’s Christian faith.

The ad, also running on national cable channels, serves as a contrast to both rivals Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and Newt Gingrich, a Catholic convert, as Mr. Perry makes a big play for Christian evangelicals who are lukewarm to both opponents.

Mr. Perry also planned a bus tour of South Carolina on Thursday.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama raises money for re-election bid

President Obama is meeting with a small number of donors at a fundraiser to benefit his re-election bid.

Democratic Party officials say about 20 people are expected to attend the fundraiser at a downtown Washington hotel. Tickets are $35,800 a person and the money will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account by the Democratic Party and Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign

The White House says the event will be closed to the media because the president does not intend to make formal remarks.

Mr. Obama has raised more than $150 million through the end of September for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

JUSTICE

E-book sales practices come under scrutiny

The Justice Department is looking into possible anti-competitive practices involving e-book sales.

A department spokeswoman says that Sharis Pozen, the acting head of the antitrust division, confirmed the inquiry at a hearing before a House Judiciary subcommittee.

The department has been working with the European Union and state attorneys general in the U.S.

The EU’s antitrust watchdog said Tuesday that it was investigating whether Apple helped five major publishing houses illegally raise prices for e-books when Apple launched its iPad tablet and iBookstore in 2010.

HOUSE

Third congressional panel to subpoena Corzine

A third congressional panel has voted to subpoena former Sen. Jon Corzine to testify about his role leading MF Global, the brokerage that failed this fall.

The oversight panel of the House Financial Services Committee voted Wednesday to compel Mr. Corzine to testify at a Dec. 15 hearing. He had declined to appear voluntarily.

Mr. Corzine is scheduled as a witness at the House Agriculture panel’s hearing Thursday, and on Dec. 13 before the Senate Agriculture Committee. Both panels had to issue subpoenas.

MF Global filed bankruptcy on Oct. 31 after a disastrous bet on European debt. An estimated $1.2 billion or more may be missing from customer accounts. Regulators are investigating.

Mr. Corzine, a Democrat, was a U.S. senator from New Jersey and later served as the state’s governor.

SENATE

Reid: Senate not leaving till payroll tax cut OK’d

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate won’t leave town for the Christmas holiday until Congress approves an extension of the payroll tax cut.

The Nevada Democrat and other Senate Democratic leaders used a press conference Wednesday to try raising pressure on Republicans.

Senate Republicans have so far objected to a Democratic plan to extend the tax cut because they oppose tax hikes on millionaires that Democrats would use to pay for it. In the House, GOP leaders say they want to extend the tax cut but have yet to drum up enough support for a bill to do so.

A 2 percent cut in the 6.2 percent payroll tax expires Jan. 1 without congressional action. President Obama wants to increase the reduction to 3.1 percent.

ARIZONA

Romney steps up pace as caucuses approach

PARADISE VALLEYMitt Romney is ramping up his presidential campaign in a big way — just as Newt Gingrich emerges as a serious threat for the Republican nomination.

Over the next week, Mr. Romney’s cross-country fundraising trips will cease, replaced by a more rapid-fire campaign schedule in early voting states. That means more TV ads, more media interviews and more hand-to-hand politicking in early voting Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and, Mr. Romney says, “a couple other states.”

It’s a stark contrast to the cautious, calculated approach that Mr. Romney has taken all year as he focused on stockpiling campaign contributions for a drawn-out nomination fight.

Voting for the GOP nomination begins in Iowa on Jan. 3. Mr. Gingrich has shot to the top of public opinion polls in Iowa and South Carolina.

RHODE ISLAND

Ex-Rep. Kennedy’s wife is pregant

PROVIDENCE — The wife of former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island is expecting a baby.

The son of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts tells the Associated Press that he and wife, Amy Petitgout, are thrilled with the prospect of expanding their family. He says the baby is due in the spring, and they’re waiting to find out the sex.

The former eight-term congressman decided not to seek re-election and left office in January.

He married Ms. Petitgout in July at the Kennedy family compound on Cape Cod. Ms. Petitgout is a middle-school teacher from Brigantine, N.J., and has a young daughter from a previous marriage.

Mr. Kennedy is a visiting fellow at Brown University and has campaigned to boost brain research. His father died from brain cancer in 2009.

From wire dispatches and staff reports