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CAMPAIGN 2012

Romney holds 18-point lead in New Hampshire poll

A new poll shows Mitt Romney holding a big edge in New Hampshire over his rivals in the GOP nomination race.

The former Massachusetts governor secured the support of 38 percent of the respondents in a new poll by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain sits in second with 20 percent and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas places third with 13 percent.

Three-term Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who for weeks enjoyed king of the hill status in national polls, is at 4 percent, even with Rick Santorum and a point behind Newt Gingrich.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Edwards‘ lawyer steps down from trial defense team

RALEIGH, N.C. — A key member of the legal team defending John Edwards against campaign-finance charges will not represent the former Democratic presidential candidate at his upcoming trial after questions about a potential conflict of interest.

A motion filed by federal prosecutors says Raleigh defense lawyer Wade Smith will withdraw. The move comes after prosecutors questioned whether Mr. Smith had a conflict of interest owing to a 2009 conversation with a financial adviser for Bunny Mellon, a wealthy socialite who provided the bulk of nearly $1 million used to support Mr. Edwards‘ then-pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, as he ran for president in 2007.

According to the government, Mr. Smith told Mrs. Mellon’s adviser that Mr. Edwards knew the money was intended to help him. That appears to conflict with statements by Mr. Edwards that he knew nothing of the payments.

Mr. Edwards is charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts related to campaign-finance violations. He has pleaded not guilty. A trial is scheduled to begin in January.

Mr. Smith is among the most well-known defense lawyers in North Carolina, with a list of previous clients that includes members of the Duke University lacrosse team cleared of charges they gang-raped a stripper.

WASHINGTON

Two-term governor Rosellini dies at 101

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