- - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine — Former Gov. John Baldacci on Wednesday became the third prominent Democrat to bow out of the high-profile race for a U.S. Senate seat that Democrats were given a shot at winning after Republican Olympia J. Snowe decided to retire.

Mr. Baldacci joined Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Michael H. Michaud in forgoing a race that became more complicated with the entry of independent former Gov. Angus King, widely recognized as the front-runner in a three-way race.

Mr. Baldacci said his decision was about family, saying he didn’t want to relocate because his wife has a job in Bangor and his son is a student at the University of Maine. He also said he wouldn’t want to travel back and forth between Washington and Maine as he did during eight years in the U.S. House.

“That’s really what it came down to. You can take the boy out of Maine, but you can’t take Maine out of the boy. It may be a shortcoming on my part, but it’s one that I’ve embraced,” the Bangor native told the Associated Press.


State officials revisit Obama’s birth certificate

PHOENIX — Arizona officials are jumping back into a persistent, yet debunked controversy over President Obama’s birth certificate and his eligibility to hold office.

A legislative committee Wednesday endorsed a proposal that requires presidential candidates to swear that they meet the qualifications to be the nation’s chief executive. And the Arizona secretary of state is expected in the coming days to call for candidates to complete a new form asking eligibility questions, including whether they are natural-born U.S. citizens.

The widely disproved notion that the president was born abroad rather than in Hawaii, as state officials have repeatedly confirmed, comes up regularly in Arizona. In the past, political parties drafted their own certification documents that Arizona officials say didn’t consistently address the issue of qualifications.

“There has been a lot of media attention devoted to this, so we wanted to make sure there is a standardized form,” said Matthew Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett.


‘Ten Commandments’ judge a step closer to comeback

The former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who refused to move a Ten Commandments display from a courthouse is a step closer to getting his old job back.

Roy Moore received a little more than 50 percent of the vote to win the Republican nomination for his old job, according to unofficial results Wednesday. He is heavily favored to win the general election in November.

It is an improbable comeback for Mr. Moore. After being elected chief justice in 2000, he had a 5,280-pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments installed in the lobby of the state judicial building in Montgomery.

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