Inside Politics: Brown kicks off re-election campaign

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“As the father of two young children, I believe we can and must restore the limitless opportunities and freedom that made America great and inspired people like my own father to immigrate to this country,” Mr. Kyrillos said.

A message left with Mr. Menendez’s Washington office was not immediately returned.

Mr. Kyrillos is a longtime friend of Gov. Chris Christie and has been the governor’s closest GOP ally in the Legislature. Mr. Kyrillos chaired Mr. Christie’s successful 2009 campaign for governor and Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential bid in New Jersey. Mr. Christie and his wife were the matchmakers for Mr. Kyrillos and his wife, Susan.

“Joe has been a good friend of mine for nearly 20 years, as has his wife, and they are wonderful people,” Mr. Christie said. “New Jersey would be extraordinarily well-served if Joe Kyrillos wound up in the United States Senate.”

PENTAGON

Panetta won’t try to kill Marine version of F-35

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is giving fresh backing to the Marine Corps’ version of the next-generation strike plane, the F-35, a U.S. defense official told the Associated Press.

The F-35, variants of which are being developed for the Navy and the Air Force, as well as for Britain and other allies, is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program. It also has faced schedule delays and other problems that raised doubts about its future. Ten years in, the total F-35 program cost has jumped from $233 billion to an estimated $385 billion.

During a visit Friday to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, where the F-35 program is run, Mr. Panetta will announce that the Marines’ version is no longer on what his predecessor called “probation,” according to a U.S. defense official with knowledge of the decision, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced a year ago that if the Marines’ version of the plane had not overcome its problems within two years, he would attempt to cancel it.

NEW YORK

Obama defends foreign policy record

NEW YORK — President Obama is defending his foreign policy record, telling donors America is stronger now than it was three years ago.

Speaking at a fundraiser for Jewish leaders, Mr. Obama said U.S. support for Israel’s security is “nonnegotiable.” He also defended his administration’s approach to Iran, saying even Tehran has acknowledged that U.S. sanctions are having an impact.

Urging donors to back him in 2012, Mr. Obama said he shares their values. And he expects a tough campaign, no matter whom the Republicans nominate.

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