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Inside Politics

- - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CAMPAIGN 2012

Cain memoir hits Top 10 on Amazon.com

NEW YORK — Herman Cain is surging in the polls and on the best-seller charts.

"This is Herman Cain," a newly released memoir by the businessman and Republican presidential candidate, was in the Top 10 on Amazon.com as of Tuesday afternoon.

Interest in the book has soared since Mr. Cain unexpectedly won the Florida straw poll on Sept. 24.

The former head of Godfather's Pizza has been widely regarded as a long-shot for the nomination, but is now among the GOP leaders in new surveys from North Carolina, West Virginia and Nebraska.

His rise has come at the same time support has dropped for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

WHITE HOUSE

Official: Perry's bid like fleeting comet

An Obama administration official said Tuesday that the presidential candidacy of Texas Gov. Rick Perry is flaming out like a comet.

Ron Kirk, the president's trade ambassador and Dallas' first black mayor, told reporters aboard Air Force One, en route to Dallas that Mr. Perry has already peaked.

"Too often the brightest stars are comets," Mr. Kirk said. "But they flame out the fastest because they consume themselves on their own energy. I think there are some lessons to be learned there in life and in politics. How quickly and how brightly we burn."

DEFENSE

Retired general named to advisory policy board

He left the Pentagon barely two months ago, but retired Gen. James Cartwright is on his way back. The former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will serve on the influential Defense Policy Board.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Tuesday announced the appointment of Mr. Cartwright, who retired in August after not getting the top Pentagon military job as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Others Mr. Panetta is naming to the advisory board include former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and former Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat. The high-level board provides advice and opinions to the defense secretary on a range of policy issues.

STATE

Opponents decry 'bias' on Canadian oil pipeline

Environmental groups are asking President Obama to reject what they call State Department "bias" in favor of a proposed oil pipeline from Canada. The groups want Mr. Obama personally to decide on a Canadian company's plan to pipe oil from tar sands in western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

A letter signed by environmental and public interest groups cites internal State Department documents that the groups say demonstrate an overly cozy relationship with executives of Calgary-based TransCanada. The groups are especially concerned about the role played by TransCanada executive Paul Elliott, a former aide in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

The State Department has authority over the 1,700 mile pipeline because it would cross the U.S. border, traveling through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

WHITE HOUSE

Hotel manager named mansion's chief usher

The White House is about to get its first female chief usher.

First lady Michelle Obama announced on Tuesday that longtime hotel executive Angella Reid will take over the job next month.

The chief usher's job is a demanding one, overseeing most aspects of White House operations, from tours and state dinners to the mansion's historic preservation.

Ms. Reid is currently general manager at the Ritz-Carlton in Alexandria, but has also helped run properties in Miami, New York, Washington and Rocky Hill, Conn. She's replacing Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon, the first black to hold the usher's post, who took a post at the Department of Homeland Security.

SENATE

Lawmakers OK Ford as ambassador to Syria

Top U.S. officials said Tuesday that Senate approval of diplomat Robert Ford to be U.S. ambassador to Syria is a strong rebuke to Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and a sign of American solidarity with the Syrian people.

Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Mr. Ford's presence "in Damascus applies far more pressure than his symbolic withdrawal would have," and he praised him for continuing to visit cities under siege and "speak truth to power."

Mr. Ford's nomination won unanimous Senate approval Monday night.

He had been in Syria since January after being appointed to the post temporarily when the Senate was out of session. Last week, Mr. Ford and several colleagues from the embassy were pelted with tomatoes and eggs as they visited an opposition figure. U.S. officials said the assault was part of a campaign to intimidate diplomats looking into Mr. Assad's repression of pro-reform demonstrators.

Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, said Mr. Ford has been steadfast "despite even being physically attacked and assaulted by the regime's goons."

From wire dispatches and staff reports