- - Sunday, July 17, 2011


Obama taps Cordray for U.S. consumer job

Reigniting a partisan fight over banking regulations, President Obama intends to nominate former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead a consumer protection bureau that was a central feature of a law overhauling the rules that govern the financial sector.

Mr. Obama plans to announce the nomination formally Monday, the White House said Sunday. Republicans immediately threatened to block Mr. Cordray’s Senate confirmation.

In choosing Mr. Cordray, 52, Mr. Obama bypassed Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of consumer groups. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will officially begin its oversight and regulatory work July 21. Its role is to be a government watchdog over mortgages, credit cards and other forms of lending.

While Democrats on the Senate banking committee promised to move quickly on the nomination, Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the panel, said Republicans would block Mr. Cordray as well unless Mr. Obama seeks changes in the agency.

“Until President Obama addresses our concerns by supporting a few reasonable structural changes, we will not confirm anyone to lead it,” he said. “No accountability, no confirmation.”


Cain says communities free to bar mosques

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday that communities have a right to ban mosques because of Muslim efforts to inject Shariah law into the U.S.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO said protests and legal challenges to a planned mosque in a Tennessee city are an example of local residents pushing back.

Asked whether his view could lead any community to stand up in opposition to a proposed mosque, Mr. Cain replied, “They could say that.” He pointed to opposition to the planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., as an example.

“Let’s go back to the fundamental issue that the people are basically saying that they are objecting to,” Mr. Cain said. “They are objecting to the fact that Islam is both religion and [a] set of laws, Shariah law. That’s the difference between any one of our other traditional religions, where it’s just about religious purposes. The people in the community know best. And I happen to side with the people in the community.”


O’Donnell attorney seeks investigation into CREW

DOVER — An attorney for former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell wants federal prosecutors to investigate the head of a group that filed a complaint last year alleging Miss O’Donnell had illegally spent campaign money.

Miss O’Donnell’s attorney contended in a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s office that Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, knowingly made false statements in the complaint against Miss O’Donnell. Miss O’Donnell’s attorney says the complaint was based on an affidavit from a former campaign worker that contained false information and was not properly vetted.

Miss Sloan, a former prosecutor, said Miss O’Donnell and her attorneys were unfamiliar with the law and that CREW was unconcerned.

Federal prosecutors informed Miss O’Donnell’s campaign attorney Friday that they were closing their review and did not intend to pursue criminal charges.


Democratic Party elects openly gay chairman

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Democratic Party has voted overwhelmingly in favor of electing as its chairman an art dealer thought to be the first openly gay leader of a political party in the state.

Jim Dabakis, a co-founder of Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center, was elected Saturday during the party’s state convention in Salt Lake City.

Mr. Dabakis says Utah residents are open-minded, and that his sexual orientation didn’t surface as an issue.

He also says he’ll go out of his way to make members of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feel comfortable in the Democratic Party.

Convention delegates elected small-business owner Brian Doughty, who also is openly gay, to fill a vacated state House seat.


State GOP schedules caucus for Super Tuesday

MOSCOW — Idaho Republicans will hold the state party’s presidential caucus vote on Super Tuesday in March 2012, a move that supporters hoped would give candidates a reason besides fundraising to come to the state.

The Idaho GOP’s state central committee approved the change during a meeting in Moscow, Idaho, on Saturday, saying the previously scheduled May primary would come too late for the state to have any influence on the process. In previous election years, presidential nominations have typically been locked up before Idaho voters have had any say.

“I think it’s a monumental change for the party,” said Rod Beck, a former state senator who was one of the main proponents of the switch. “It’s an attempt to inject Idaho values into the presidential debate. It gives us a chance to play a role in national politics.”

Idaho’s caucus will be scheduled for the earliest Tuesday allowed by the Republican National Committee. Only four states will hold earlier nomination contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.


First family attends Sunday church service

President Obama took his family to worship services on Sunday, walking out of the White House and to a nearby church often frequented by presidents.

Accompanied by wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, Mr. Obama walked through Lafayette Square to attend the 10:30 morning service at the historic St. John’s Church.

Mr. Obama wore a dark grey suit, while the first lady and Malia wore shades of purple and Sasha a floral green and white dress.

The hourlong service included readings from the books of Genesis, Romans and Matthew, and the singing of several hymns. The congregation also prayed for family, friends and neighbors, including “for Barack, our president, the leaders of Congress, the Supreme Court and all who are in authority.”

The first family participated in holy Communion before walking back to the White House.

Mr. Obama has worshipped at St. John’s previously, including Easter services in 2009. He has also attended other churches in the nation’s capital.

A pew nine rows back from the altar at St. John’s carries a small brass plaque designating it as “the President’s Pew.” Church history claims that every president since James Madison has visited.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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