- - Thursday, August 23, 2012

Former President Bill Clinton is promoting President Obama in a new presidential campaign ad, the first to feature the two-term Democrat.

Mr. Clinton says Mr. Obama has a plan to “rebuild America from the ground up,” and notes that it requires a strong middle class.

“That’s what happened when I was president,” Mr. Clinton says. “We need to keep going with his plan.”

Relying on Mr. Clinton, Mr. Obama is seeking to connect his presidency with the economic success of the 1990s. The 30-second ad comes as Republicans are seeking to create a wedge between the two Democrats by claiming that Mr. Obama wants to weaken the welfare work requirement Mr. Clinton signed in 1996.

Mr. Clinton will have a prominent role at the Democratic convention and is featured in a 17-minute campaign film by director Davis Guggenheim.

WISCONSIN

Mrs. Obama visits victims of Sikh temple attack

OAK CREEK — Mandeep Singh Khattra and his family received Michelle Obama with an embrace Thursday as the first lady consoled relatives of worshippers fatally shot earlier this month at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee.

“She gave us a hug and said, ‘I’m sorry for what happened,’ ” said Mr. Khattra, 26, whose grandfather, Suveg Singh Khattra, was one of six people killed Aug. 5. “She asked what kind of person he was, and my dad told her he was always good-natured, always at the temple.”

Mrs. Obama spent nearly 90 minutes visiting with the Khattras and other families of Sikh worshippers who were killed or injured in the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. She expressed her sympathies, offered support and listened to many stories about victims.

Relatives of the victims said afterward that Mrs. Obama asked informed questions and especially seemed to know the story of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the temple president who tried to stab the gunman with a butter knife in an effort to stall him so women and children in the temple would have time to hide.

“The thing she kept repeating was, ‘Your father was a true hero,’ ” said Amardeep Kaleka.

The visits with worshippers were private, and she took no questions during a public appearance with the Oak Creek mayor and a temple official at a nearby high school.

CONGRESS

Capitol Police investigating threats against Rep. Akin

U.S. Capitol Police said Thursday that officers are investigating a reported threat against Rep. W. Todd Akin, the Missouri congressman who has been criticized for recent comments about rape.

Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider said there was “an active, open investigation” into a reported threat against the Republican, though she declined to detail the threat because it involved security of members of Congress.

Spokesman Steve Taylor said Mr. Akin has received several threats against his person, his family and staff since he said in a television interview broadcast Sunday that women’s bodies have ways of preventing pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape.”

Mr. Taylor said threats of rape and other violence have been aimed at Mr. Akin through phone calls, emails and tweets.

NORTH CAROLINA

Ryan: Romney will stop planned military cuts

FAYETTEVILLE — Republican Paul Ryan says Mitt Romney will prevent planned cuts to the U.S. military if elected president.

The GOP vice presidential hopeful spoke to supporters Thursday in Fayetteville, home to the Fort Bragg Army base and a large number of military families.

Mr. Ryan warned of the cuts to military spending outlined in sequestration, a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts that will take effect if Congress doesn’t reach a budget solution in the next few months. Half of the cuts are set to come from the Pentagon.

As a Wisconsin congressman and chairman of the budget committee, Mr. Ryan voted for budget control legislation that included sequestration. He spoke favorably about the agreement on the House floor.

Mr. Ryan has since voted for legislation to block the cuts.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports