Inside Politics

NEW YORK

Rep. King leaves door open for presidential bid

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — Rep. Peter King, whose national profile has climbed as head of the House Homeland Security Committee, is leaving the door open for a possible presidential bid.

The New York congressman, responding to a powerful hometown Republican’s suggestion that he run for president, said he was taking a wait-and-see approach.

“Let’s see what happens,” Mr. King told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. “This is something out of the blue. It is a great honor, but right now I am focused on getting re-elected to the House next year.”

Mr. King, 67, held hearings earlier this year on what he termed the radicalization of homegrown Islamic terrorists in America. Serving his 10th term, he easily won re-election last year from his suburban Long Island district.

PENTAGON

Gates: No evidence Pakistan knew bin Laden was there

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday he has seen no evidence that Pakistan’s senior leadership was aware the terror leader was in a compound a short distance from a Pakistani military facility.

Both Mr. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said the U.S. must continue to work with and provide aid to Pakistan.

“I have seen no evidence at all that the senior leadership knew. In fact, I’ve seen some evidence to the contrary,” Mr. Gates told reporters at the Pentagon.

PRESIDENT

Obama flight landing aborted on first pass

President Obama’s plane aborted a landing in Connecticut Wednesday morning because of poor visibility before landing safely on a second attempt.

Air Force One pulled up on its approach to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., around 9:50 a.m. The presidential plane circled in light rain and landed on its next approach at 10:05 a.m.

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the pilot decided to circle because of the weather, calling it a standard and safe procedure.

The president was on his way to give the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Conn.

JUSTICE

NCAA tells feds: Football playoffs out of its hands

The NCAA is telling the Justice Department that its questions about the lack of a playoff system for college football are best directed to another group — the Bowl Championship Series.

NCAA President Mark A. Emmert, responding to a pointed letter from the department, said his organization has no role in the BCS other than licensing bowl games. He added that without direction from its member colleges and universities, “there is no directive for the [NCAA] to establish a playoff.”

In a letter to Mr. Emmert this month, the department’s antitrust chief, Christine A. Varney, said there were “serious questions” about whether the BCS complies with antitrust laws.

Mr. Emmert said questions about the current system “can best be answered” by the BCS.

WASHINGTON

Feds urge appeals court to uphold health care law

The Obama administration said Wednesday that health care reforms should be upheld in the courts because the costs of the uninsured are a burden on interstate commerce.

In arguments filed in a federal appeals court in Atlanta, the government said the new law provided a comprehensive solution to the problem by requiring most people to maintain a minimum level of insurance or pay a tax penalty.

More than two dozen states have challenged the health care overhaul, arguing it exceeds the federal government’s powers.

CAMPAIGNS

Club for Growth no fan of Thompson or Trump

The Club for Growth doesn’t like the idea of former Gov. Tommy Thompson as the GOP pick for next year’s Wisconsin Senate race.

“Tommy Thompson raised taxes … supported Obamacare, and now he wants to run for the United States Senate?” Chris Chocola, president of the influential anti-spending group, said in an email blast. “Wisconsin Republicans should recruit a pro-growth conservative to run, not recall some big-government pro-tax Republican whose time has come and gone.”

Mr. Thompson and others are mulling a Senate run after Democrat Herb Kohl announced last week he wouldn’t seek a fifth term.

Mr. Chocola hasn’t been shy recently about sharing his disdain for Republicans he thinks are insufficiently conservative.

He was one of the few conservatives to aggressively take aim at the potential presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, calling him just another “tax-hiking liberal.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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