- - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Two weeks after breaking her leg in a fall, New York Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter said Tuesday she is undergoing painful rehabilitation but hopes to return to Washington early next month, and her health is otherwise “fine.”

The 82-year-old Democrat and her doctor spoke to reporters during a press conference at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where she expects to stay for the next week and a half while spending about three hours a day in physical therapy.

She used the occasion to dismiss as “absolutely not true” rumors that she is seriously ill as she embarks on what may be her toughest campaign in a newly redrawn district. She is being challenged by Republican Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.

“My health is fine; it’s good,” the 13-term congresswoman said. “I would not be running for office if I was about to die. I never start something I don’t intend to finish.”

Ms. Slaughter said she, her daughter and granddaughter were crossing a New York City street where construction was under way April 2 when she tripped on a portion that was dug up.

“I sat there and watched my left leg swell up and my left foot pointing over to the side,” she said, adding it “scared my granddaughter to pieces.”

SENATE

Rubio’s immigration push a potential lift for GOP

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s push for a Republican version of immigration legislation looks like the answer to the GOP’s namely Mitt Romney’s election-year prayers.

Mr. Rubio is the telegenic son of Cuban exiles and a potential vice-presidential pick. He is pulling together a bill that would allow young illegal immigrants to remain in the United States but denies them citizenship.

Immigration policy and the fate of 11 million people here illegally have divided Republicans. Recent polls have shown a clear edge for Democrats with Hispanic voters. They overwhelmingly back the Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship to children in the United States illegally if they attend college or join the military.

Mr. Rubio’s alternative bill could help the GOP make headway with Hispanics.

NEW YORK

Pro-Obama super PAC runs ad bashing Romney

NEW YORK — An independent group supporting President Obama’s re-election is spending $660,000 to run a TV ad in four states bashing Mitt Romney.

The ad by Priorities USA Action casts Mr. Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, as a wealthy opportunist who would cut social programs as president to give tax cuts to higher income Americans.

The ads are running in Ohio, Iowa, Florida and Virginia. All four are expected to help determine the election outcome in November.

Priorities USA Action is a super PAC founded by two former Obama White House aides. It has struggled to keep pace with Republican-leaning super PACs like American Crossroads, which is spending $1.8 million on ads in six swing states criticizing Mr. Obama’s energy policies.

PENNSYLVANIA

First lady visits air unit scheduled to close

PITTSBURGHFirst lady Michelle Obama visited with military families Tuesday at an Air Force unit based outside Pittsburgh that’s slated to be closed next year, saying she understood their concerns about the planned closure but providing no definitive answers about the unit’s future.

She didn’t make any formal remarks during her brief stop at the 911th Airlift Wing on Tuesday afternoon on her way to attend fundraisers in Pittsburgh, and she didn’t take questions from reporters, but she couldn’t avoid the local controversy.

One mother dressed her 2-year-old daughter in a red T-shirt that read “Save the 911th” and another put tiny buttons with a similar slogan on an infant’s knit cap.

Senior Airman Tasha Gresco, 31, said she raised the closure issue with Mrs. Obama.

“She said that they’re praying for us, hoping that the base can stay open,” Airman Gresco said.

The Air Force says the seven C-130 refueling planes at the 911th are among the oldest in the fleet, and that the cuts there and at other units around the nation are necessary to comply with the administration’s fiscal 2013 budget request.

NORTH CAROLINA

7 more potential jurors dismissed in Edwards case

GREENSBORO — The federal judge overseeing the John Edwards campaign-finance trial dismissed seven more potential jurors Tuesday as part of the process to select 12 people who can fairly weigh the evidence against the former Democratic presidential candidate.

So far, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles has eliminated 54 of the 185 people summoned last week to the courthouse in Greensboro. Several of those sent home Tuesday questioned Mr. Edwards’ character or expressed doubt about trusting the expected testimony of his former mistress, Rielle Hunter.

The former U.S. senator has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy campaign donors used to hide his pregnant lover as he sought the White House in 2008. Opening arguments are set for Monday.

GOP

Senate leader gives belated endorsement

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has offered a belated endorsement of Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

Mr. McConnell told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that he personally supports the former Massachusetts governor and expects him to be the nominee. The endorsement comes a week after Rick Santorum, Mr. Romney’s chief opponent, suspended his campaign.

Mr. McConnell predicted a close race between Mr. Romney and President Obama and urged Republicans to rally around Mr. Romney.

Mr. McConnell announced his endorsement hours after House Speaker John A. Boehner went public with his decision to also back Mr. Romney.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports