- - Monday, October 31, 2011

IOWA

New Perry ad touts jobs over polish

DES MOINES — Trailing in an Iowa poll, Republican Rick Perry says in an ad running there that his jobs record is more important than the candidate’s on-camera polish.

The Texas governor is trying to convert criticism of his performances during recent debates into an asset by arguing that President Obama — and implicitly his chief GOP rival Mitt Romney — are better speakers than leaders.

Mr. Perry says: “If you’re looking for a slick politician, or a guy with great teleprompter skills, we already have that, and he’s destroying our economy. I’m a doer, not a talker.”

Mr. Perry had support from 7 percent of likely Iowa GOP caucus participants in a poll published Sunday by the Des Moines Register.

HOUSE

Boehner: High hopes for debt supercommittee

House Speaker John A. Boehner says he has high hopes that a congressional supercommittee will be able to reach common ground on a plan to cut the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over a decade.

But the most powerful Republican in Washington says that finding common ground doesn’t necessarily mean compromising one’s principles, a none-too-subtle hint that he remains strongly opposed to increasing taxes as part of the solution to deficits exceeding $1 trillion a year.

The Ohio Republican made his remarks to a group of students at the University of Louisville as the secretive 12-member bipartisan panel remains deadlocked less than a month before its deadline. Democrats say tax revenue is a precursor to any agreement to curb spending on costly benefit programs such as Medicare.

PENTAGON

Report clears Pakistan in slaying of U.S. soldier

A Pakistani militiaman who fatally shot an Army officer in a 2007 ambush apparently acted alone and not as part of a coordinated Pakistani army plot, according to investigation details released Monday by the Pentagon.

Army Maj. Larry J. Bauguess Jr. was gunned down as he and other U.S. officers were headed toward helicopters that would take them back across the border after a meeting with Afghan and Pakistani officers in the border town of Teri Mengel.

On May 15, 2007, one day after the incident, the U.S. military reported that Bauguess died of wounds sustained from “enemy small arms fire,” but did not mention that the gunman was Pakistani.

It is unclear from the U.S. investigation report whether the gunman was killed in an ensuing exchange of gunfire with U.S. soldiers. The Army investigation was conducted in the days after the attack and withheld from public release until Monday, when declassified excerpts from an executive summary were released.

Pakistan is a U.S. counterterrorism ally and receives billions of dollars in aid from Washington, but U.S. officials say elements of the Pakistani government, principally its intelligence service, support the Taliban and harbored terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden

DIPLOMACY

Date announced for U.S.-EU summit

President Obama and European Union leaders will hold a summit in Washington late this month.

The White House said Monday the president looks forward to meeting on Nov. 28 with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and High Representative Catherine Ashton.

They are expected to discuss a broad range of issues at the White House, including the global economy, Iran and joint efforts to support democracy in Europe and across the Middle East and Africa. The most recent U.S.-EU summit took place in Lisbon, Portugal, last November.

CAMPAIGN

Panel names sites of official debates

The committee that sponsors presidential debates for the general election has chosen Denver, Hempstead, N.Y., and Boca Raton, Fla., as the sites for three debates in October 2012.

President Obama will debate his Republican challenger on Oct. 3 at the University of Denver, Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead and Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday. One vice-presidential debate will be held Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Ky. Washington University in St. Louis will serve as a backup site.

The commission, established in 1987, has sponsored the official presidential and vice-presidential debates since 1988. To participate in the debates, candidates must have the support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate according to the average of polls conducted by five national polling organizations and appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning the majority of the Electoral College votes.

PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Cain team to investigate donations to campaign

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has asked a lawyer to investigate possible improper financial arrangements between a charity and his campaign.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday that Mr. Cain allowed a tax-exempt charity to illegally provide money to help his campaign get started.

The charity, Prosperity USA, was founded by Mr. Cain’s chief of staff, Mark Block, and his deputy chief of staff, Linda Hansen. According to the Journal Sentinel, the organization provided about $40,000 in goods and services to the campaign as it was getting started earlier this year. That’s not allowed under campaign-finance law. Mr. Cain’s campaign said it would investigate.

“We have asked outside counsel to investigate the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s suggestions and may comment, if appropriate, when that review is completed,” Mr. Block said in an emailed statement.

In a Fox News Channel interview, Mr. Cain himself said he had no idea there were any problems. “I didn’t even know about the report until you brought it up on the show,” he said Monday morning.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama physical reveals no health problems

President Obama is in excellent health and tobacco-free, his doctor said Monday about the results of the president’s second physical exam since taking office.

In the two-page report released by the White House, Dr. Jeffrey C. Kuhlman said Mr. Obama is physically active, eats a healthy diet, stays at a healthy weight and on occasion drinks alcohol in moderation.

“The president is in excellent health and ‘fit for duty,’” Dr. Kuhlman wrote. “All clinical data indicate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency.”

The physical was conducted last week at the White House. Dr. Kuhlman recommended that the president have his next physical in December 2012.

Mr. Obama also has “periodic physical therapy” to deal with recurrent upper back pain, and he had benign skin tags removed from his neck.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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