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Inside Politics: Cheney speaks for first time since heart transplant

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Former Vice President Dick Cheney walked onstage without any assistance and spoke for an hour and 15 minutes without seeming to tire in his first public engagement since he underwent a heart transplant three weeks ago.

He sat in a plush chair throughout the long chat with daughter Liz Cheney and looked decidedly healthier than recent appearances where he has been gaunt and used a cane.

Mr. Cheney even threw in a couple of political plugs amid much reminiscing at the Wyoming Republican Party state convention in Cheyenne on Saturday.

He said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is going to do a "whale of a job." He said it's never been more important than now to defeat a sitting president and the Republican Party should unite behind Mr. Romney.

"He has been an unmitigated disaster to the country," Mr. Cheney said of President Obama.

The Wyoming Republican Party chose 14 delegates Saturday to this summer's Republican National Convention and all of them are committed to support Romney. The state will send a total of 29 delegates to the convention.

Mr. Cheney's heart transplant in Virginia on March 24 initially canceled his trip to the state party convention but he got last-minute medical clearance to go.

"I'm not running any foot races yet but it won't be long," he said.

He owed a "huge debt" to the unknown donor of his new heart, he said, and to medical technology. He did not take the opportunity to weigh in on health care politics.

He didn't stumble in his words and his voice was clear.

"I was amazed he was able to say so much over the whole course of an hour," said one delegate to the convention, Helen Bishop. "I thought it would be a really brief, 'Hi.' "

SENATE

Scott Brown, wife in auto accident; nobody hurt

The spokeswoman for Sen. Scott P. Brown says the Massachusetts Republican, his wife and a Senate aide were involved in a two-car accident, but nobody was injured.

Spokeswoman Marcie Kinzel says in a statement that Mr. Brown and his wife, Gail, were passengers in a Jeep Grand Cherokee that was involved in a two-car accident in Dedham, Mass., on Friday night. The accident occurred as the couple was en route to a Best Buddies charity fundraiser.

Ms. Kinzel says neither the Browns nor the driver, aide Chris Burgoyne, were injured.

TEXAS

Cruz brings tea party flavor to state race

GEORGETOWN — Many Republicans view Ted Cruz as the Texas version of Marco Rubio, the Hispanic U.S. senator from Florida whose conservative philosophy and strong oratory skills helped make him a national tea party force seemingly overnight.

But unlike Mr. Rubio, Mr. Cruz has never appeared on a ballot. The son of a Cuban immigrant got most of his seasoning for next month's Senate primary by arguing in front of the state Supreme Court as the longest-serving Texas solicitor general.

Mr. Cruz has been endorsed by national tea party leaders, placing the race on the national stage. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has tried to paint Mr. Cruz as an inexperienced upstart who twists the facts. The other top contenders are Tom Leppert and Craig James.

The Texas primary election takes place May 29.

PENNSYLVANIA

Smith outspends, outraises Welch in Senate race

HARRISBURG — One of the five Republicans seeking to challenge Democratic Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. spent almost $1 million per month, mostly on TV advertisements, heading into the last stretch of the primary race, his campaign reported this week.

Tom Smith reported almost $2 million in his campaign account as of April 4 after spending nearly $3 million in the first three months of 2012. He lent his campaign most of that money, but he also outraised a key rival, Steve Welch, about 2-to-1 in outside contributions during the period.

Mr. Welch, who also is airing TV ads, had about $390,000 left after spending some $770,000 in the period. He has invested $1 million of his own money.

On Friday, Mr. Welch attended a fundraiser at Lehigh University headlined by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The primary is April 24. Mr. Welch and Mr. Smith have raised and spent far more money than the other three Republican candidates combined. They are David Christian, Sam Rohrer and Marc Scaringi.

NLRB

Judge: Government cannot require union posters at work

A federal judge has ruled that the National Labor Relations Board cannot require private employers to put up posters informing workers of their right to form a union.

U.S. District Judge David Norton in South Carolina says the labor board exceeded its authority from Congress when it approved the poster requirement last year.

The decision Friday conflicts with a ruling last month by another federal judge in Washington, D.C., who found the posters were a reasonable means to make workers aware of labor laws.

Both lawsuits were brought by business groups that claim the posters are too one-sided in favor of unions.

A spokeswoman for the labor board did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The rule was supposed to take effect April 30.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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