- - Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CAMPAIGN 2012

Cain cites Reagan as foreign-policy inspiration

URBANDALE, Iowa — One day after bobbling a question about Libya, Herman Cain told supporters in Iowa the U.S. needs to leave no doubt about its allies and enemies.

“My overriding philosophy relative to national security and foreign policy is an extension of the Reagan philosophy. Peace through strength,” Mr. Cain said. The GOP presidential hopeful hesitated during an interview on Monday, saying he disagreed with President Obama on Libya, then saying he likely would have done the same.

“The Libya comment was a pause to gather my thoughts. I’m not going to back down from that,” Mr. Cain said.

HOUSE

Kelly won’t run in Giffords’ place

The husband of the congresswoman recovering from a mass shooting in Arizona says he has no interest in running for her House seat if she is unable to do so.

Former astronaut Mark Kelly said Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is “still improving” and she would like to run for another term. Mr. Kelly told ABC’s “Good Morning America” his job is to “make sure she can get better so she can go back to her career.”

Mr. Kelly said his wife is working on “just stringing her sentences together” and that viewers “didn’t see that so much” during Monday night’s taped ABC interview. He said, “It’s going to happen.”

Mr. Kelly said his wife “hasn’t made the decision yet” whether to seek another term, but that “she’ll know” when the time is right.

FHA

Bargainers agree to raise size of backed loans

Congressional bargainers have agreed to increase the size of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration in a compromise being hailed by the housing industry but criticized by conservatives.

Under the deal by House and Senate negotiators, the FHA would be able to insure mortgages worth up to $729,750 in expensive regions of the U.S. for the next two years. By law, that ceiling had dipped to $625,500 on Oct. 1.

However, the bargainers would not increase the current $625,500 limit on mortgages that can be backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled mortgage giants, and by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Housing industry officials said the FHA language would help the limp housing market. Conservatives opposed it, saying the government should reduce its involvement in housing.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Romney criticizes Obama comments to CEOs

COLUMBIA — White House hopeful Mitt Romney is criticizing President Obama for saying the United States had grown “a little bit lazy” in trying to attract business to the U.S.

The Republican presidential candidate spoke Tuesday at a sign-making factory in Columbia.

Mr. Obama made the comments over the weekend to a group of chief executives gathered for a regional economic summit in Hawaii.

Mr. Romney has been emphasizing the economy and jobs as he tries to boost his presidential campaign. He has been in something of a rut, sharing front-runner status for months with Republicans Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

WHITE HOUSE

Administration opposes balanced budget amendment

The Obama administration said it strongly opposes a balanced-budget amendment heading for a House vote this week, saying it could result in job losses and severe cuts to essential programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

The White House, in a prepared statement, said a balanced budget amendment would force the government to raise taxes and cut spending during economic downturns, thus accelerating job losses.

The House is to vote by the end of the week on a proposed constitutional amendment barring Congress from spending more than it receives in revenue. The vote is expected to be close in the House, but faces tougher sledding in the Senate. Amendments must be approved by two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate and be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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