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FOREIGN POLICY

Huckabee ‘misspoke’ on Obama, Kenya

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he “misspoke” when he suggested in a radio interview that President Obama’s childhood in Kenya shaped his worldview - even though Mr. Obama did not visit Kenya until he was in his 20s.

The potential Republican presidential candidate told New York radio station WOR on Monday that Mr. Obama’s youth led him to resent the West, which he said explains why, in Mr. Huckabee’s view, Mr. Obama’s foreign policy differs so greatly from that of his predecessors.

“One thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, [is] very different than the average American,” Mr. Huckabee said.

The director of Mr. Huckabee’s political action committee said the former governor misspoke.

“When the governor mentioned he wanted to know more about the president, he wasn’t talking about the president’s place of birth. The governor believes the president was born in Hawaii,” Hogan Gidley said. “The governor would, however, like to know more about where President Obama’s liberal policies come from, and what else the president plans to do to this country - as do most Americans.”

FLORIDA

Obama, Jeb Bush to visit high school

TALLAHASSEE | Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will appear with President Obama at a Miami high school this week.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan will also be at Friday’s event at Miami Central High School. The president will talk about improving consistently low performing schools.

The school is using the turnaround model for improvement, which involves replacing its principal and at least half its staff.

Mr. Bush, a Republican, doesn’t have much in common politically with the Democratic president, but has supported his education policy.

EPIDEMIOLOGY

Study: Males face lifelong HPV risk

Men face a lifelong risk of acquiring the human papillomavirus, in contrast to women, who seem to be at less risk for HPV as they age, according to a new study in the British journal the Lancet, which suggested that vaccination for older men “might be warranted.”

Understanding this apparent gender difference is important because HPV is “readily transmitted from men to women, and greatly affects the risk of disease in women,” said epidemiologist Anna R. Giuliano and her colleagues.

The new study tracked 1,159 men, aged 18 to 70, in cities in Brazil, Mexico and southern Florida for two to three years. The sexually transmitted HPV can cause genital warts and has been linked to certain kinds of cancer.

The researchers found that half of the men acquired at least one HPV infection during the study, and every year about 6 percent of the subjects acquired a new infection of HPV-16, the strain most associated with development of cancer. It typically took between seven and 12 months to clear a case of HPV.

In 2009, HPV caused an estimated 32,000 cases of cancer, including cervical cancer.

MILITARY

Navy defends naming warship for Murtha

The Navy says it is forging ahead with its decision to name a warship for the late Rep. John P. Murtha, despite protests the decorated Vietnam War veteran was disloyal in his 2006 accusation that Marines had murdered Iraqi civilians.

Three Facebook sites opposing the Navy’s April 2010 decision bristle with thousands of angry postings. The Navy website with the announcement drew critical comments. The Washington Times voiced its outrage in an editorial titled “Sink the Murtha.”

But the Navy says it is standing firm.

A spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said he is sticking with his decision to name a warship for the Pennsylvania Democrat.

Murtha, a retired Marine Reserves colonel and powerful former chairman of a House defense appropriations panel, died in February 2010 at age 77.

HOUSING

Republicans praise Fannie-Freddie plan

The Obama administration’s plan to gradually dissolve ailing housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to shrink the government’s role in the mortgage market drew praise from House Republicans on Tuesday. The Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee called the proposal a good starting point for bipartisan negotiations over a housing overhaul.

The positive reaction came as Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the committee that the Obama administration wants Congress to approve legislation within two years that would slowly dismantle Fannie and Freddie. Failing to do so would worry the financial markets by leaving serious problems unresolved, he said.

“Our hope is Congress will work with us to find a consensus for a long-term solution,” Mr. Geithner told the lawmakers.

The hearing was held three weeks after the Obama administration released a report calling for a stark reduction of the federal role in housing. The nation’s housing market has been battered in recent years by low home prices and vast numbers of foreclosures, and politicians from both parties want to find a way to have private lenders not the government bear more of the burden.

GEORGIA

Gingrich announcement expected on Thursday

ATLANTA | Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has scheduled a meeting Thursday with Georgia’s governor, a key supporter, as he prepares for a likely White House bid. A Republican official aware of the meeting said Mr. Gingrich and his wife, Callista, will meet with Gov. Nathan Deal at the state Capitol on Thursday afternoon.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the plans.

ELECTIONS

Rove, allies plan to raise $120 million

A pair of political action committees organized by Republican strategist Karl Rove and demonized by Democrats said Tuesday it plans to raise $120 million ahead of the 2012 elections to help make President Obama a one-term president and to elect Republicans.

American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS told supporters they look to raise the massive sum to combat unions, which spent a combined $400 million to help elect Mr. Obama and Democrats in 2008. With eyes on Wisconsin and Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s showdown there with Democrats over union rights, the conservative committees hope to attract donors and attention early.

“We’ve spoken with all of our donors. They’re sticking with us, and most plan to come in at a significantly higher level than last time,” said Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for the effort.

CALIFORNIA

Court asked to lift gay-marriage stay

SAN FRANCISCO | California’s attorney general asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday to allow gay marriages to resume while the court considers the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex unions.

The request came after the California Supreme Court said it needed the rest of the year to consider a legal question the appeals court said it needs answered before it can resolve the case.

In her letter to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, state Attorney General Kamala Harris said the sponsors of the voter-approved ban, known as Proposition 8, were unlikely to prevail in their appeal to reinstate the ban that was struck down by a trial judge.

Keeping Proposition 8 in effect therefore violates the civil rights of gay Californians, Miss Harris said.

Miss Harris also said the case for allowing gay marriage was bolstered by the Obama administration’s announcement last week that it would no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

While not directly relevant to Proposition 8, the administration’s new position “substantially diminished” the likelihood the measure’s sponsors will be successful in their effort to get the lower court ruling overturned, she said.

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