- - Monday, February 6, 2012

SENATE

Top lawmakers question Pentagon move on jet

The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee are suggesting that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta rushed a decision to develop the Marine Corps version of the next-generation strike fighter jet.

In a letter to Mr. Panetta, panel chairman Sen. Carl Levin and the top Republican, Sen. John McCain, questioned whether the F-35B built by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. had met the criteria to warrant an end to its probation. Mr. Panetta’s predecessor, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, had placed the aircraft on two-year probation because of testing problems.

Mr. Levin and Mr. McCain wrote on Monday that additional problems have arisen. They said Mr. Panetta’s decision “appears at least premature.”

Mr. Panetta announced his decision last month, but warned that the program was “not out of the woods yet.” The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama bemoans wife being forced into politics

President Obama says one of the toughest parts about being president is that his wife has been dragged into the “political realm.”

Mr. Obama was responding to a question about how he felt when Michelle Obama said she has been inaccurately portrayed as an “angry black woman.” While the president did not address that comment specifically, he says his wife is as good a first lady as anyone could imagine, and says he thinks Americans have a positive impression of her.

Mr. Obama also says the first lady is ready for another four years in the White House, despite her initial reservations about coming to Washington.

The president spoke in an interview with NBC.

MINNESOTA

Bachmann picks Kroll to run House campaign

MINNEAPOLIS — Rep. Michele Bachmann has named Chase Kroll to run her campaign for a fourth term in the U.S. House.

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