Inside Politics

IOWA

Romney working state quietly for caucus upset

DES MOINES — Make no mistake: Mitt Romney is competing in Iowa.

After months of lying low in the leadoff caucus state, Mr. Romney is stepping up his public presence in Iowa with hopes of generating momentum for the follow-up New Hampshire primary.

It’s not the $10 million effort he waged in Iowa four years ago. Then, he finished second to surging social conservative Mike Huckabee, then governor of Arkansas. This time, Mr. Romney’s approach is gradual and includes keeping in touch with past supporters and targeting voters focused most on economic issues.

Mr. Romney’s team sees an opening in January’s Republican caucuses, given that influential evangelicals haven’t rallied around any one candidate. The former Massachusetts governor is scheduled to return to Iowa next week and is planning a conference call with thousands of GOP activists in coming days.

SENATE

Lawmakers confirm gay woman as federal judge

Without Republican support, the Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed an openly gay woman to become a federal judge in New York.

The 48-44 party-line vote made Alison Nathan, who has served as an adviser to President Obama, the third openly gay person confirmed to the federal bench. Ms. Nathan, 39, will serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Republicans said they opposed her confirmation because she indicated in a book that judges should consider foreign law in rulings on human rights law.

“Suffice it to say, I believe her record evidences an activist viewpoint,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Democrats praised Ms. Nathan’s work in the gay community. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she was a senior adviser to Mr. Obama. The next year, she was appointed an associate White House counsel, advising the president on judicial and legal affairs.

Ms. Nathan now serves as special counsel to the solicitor general of New York. She graduated from Cornell University and received her law degree there. She was editor-in-chief of the law review.

CONGRESS

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