- - Thursday, May 5, 2011

REPUBLICANS

Presidential hopefuls want photo released

GREENVILLE, S.C. | Some of the Republican presidential hopefuls are calling for President Obama to release photos that prove U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden during a covert raid in Pakistan.

Earlier this week, several of the potential candidates praised Mr. Obama for getting the world’s most-wanted terrorist.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul says he sides with transparency when there is public doubt. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says releasing the photos would be OK, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is accusing Mr. Obama of “pussy-footing” on making the photos public.

At least one Republican hopeful is siding with Mr. Obama. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says it’s best not to release such photos because they have the potential to incite retaliatory violence against Americans.

HOUSE

Camp seeks common ground on Medicare

The top House Republican responsible for Medicare says he’s open to other approaches besides privatization to curb the program’s costs.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan told reporters Thursday he still supports the GOP plan to replace Medicare with a voucherlike payment for future retirees. But Mr. Camp said he’s not interested in laying down more political markers and wants solutions President Obama can sign into law.

Options include recommendations from Mr. Obama’s debt commission that would increase out-of-pocket costs for some beneficiaries and cut payments to medical providers.

Mr. Camp spoke as White House and congressional negotiators opened talks on a budget compromise that would clear the way for a must-do increase in the nation’s debt limit.

MASSACHUSETTS

Patrick asked to testify at ex-speaker’s trial

BOSTON | Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is being called to testify in the federal public corruption trial of former state House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Merritt told a jury Thursday that Mr. Patrick will be asked to confirm that Mr. DiMasi personally lobbied him on several occasions to support a $15 million management software contract for the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.

Mr. DiMasi and two others are charged in a scheme to rig state contracts for the software company Cognos in exchange for payments. Mr. Merritt said Mr. DiMasi was driven by mounting debt.

A fourth man charged in the scheme, Joseph Lally, cut a deal with prosecutors.

Mr. DiMasis attorney, William Cintolo, said jurors shouldn’t believe Mr. Lally.

Mr. DiMasi and co-defendants Joseph McDonough and Richard Vitale have pleaded not guilty.

INTERIOR

Laura Bush to raise funds for Mall restoration

Laura Bush is headlining an effort to raise hundreds of million dollars from corporations and individual donors to restore the National Mall in Washington.

Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar on Thursday named the former first lady as honorary chairwoman of the $350 million fundraising effort. He made the announcement during an annual luncheon on the Mall that organizers say raised $1.75 million.

Mrs. Bush will head a team of high-profile individuals supporting the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall. Since Jan. 1, the group has raised more than $3 million for the nation’s most-visited national park.

Its dead grass, broken sidewalks and stagnant pools of water have drawn attention in recent years. The group says the Mall needs $400 million for deferred maintenance and more to meet visitor needs.

INDIANA

Daniels to decide soon on 2012 bid

INDIANAPOLIS | Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels says he will decide “within weeks” on whether to run for president in 2012.

The Republican says he has received growing support for a White House bid following trips this week to New York and Washington.

Mr. Daniels made his comments Thursday after signing into law the nation’s broadest school-voucher program and another measure that aims to expand charter schools. Both are key issues for conservatives and were touted by the governor during a speech Wednesday at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Mr. Daniels was not attending Thursday night’s first debate among potential Republican candidates in Greenville, S.C.

POSTAL SERVICE

Purple Heart gets another stamp

The Postal Service issued a new stamp Thursday honoring the country’s oldest military decoration, the Purple Heart.

The stamp, valid for first-class postage, shows an image of the medal hanging from the ribbon worn to display it.

The Purple Heart was created during the Revolutionary War by George Washington and is awarded to members of the armed forces who have been killed or wounded in action. It is shaped like a heart and carries a profile of Washington.

The first stamp commemorating the Purple Heart went on sale in 2003 for 37 cents, and it was later reissued at 39 cents and 41 cents. The new stamp is a redesign, adding the ribbon that was not shown on the earlier stamp. It will sell at the current 44-cent first-class rate.

From wire dispatches and staff reports