- - Sunday, May 13, 2012

The chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over homeland security says he’s scheduled a hearing for May 23 to review the Secret Service investigation of the Colombia prostitution scandal.

Sen. Joe Lieberman told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he believes the agency has done a thorough job in investigating the incident. But the Connecticut independent also wants to know whether there were warning signs about agents’ behavior.

He also wants to hear what steps are being taken to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again.

Mr. Lieberman said the Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan, will be called to the hearing by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

FLORIDA

Governor’s top aide resigns amid scrutiny

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff has abruptly resigned amid news stories examining his job performance and handling of contracts.

Steve MacNamara wrote in a resignation letter Saturday that he would step down July 1. He wrote that “recent media attention I have been receiving has begun to interfere with the day-to-day operations of this office.”

The Associated Press recently reported that while working for the state Senate, Mr. MacNamara helped steer a $360,000 no-bid consulting contract to a friend who now leads a task force rooting out state government waste.

The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times reported about other contracts and how Mr. MacNamara clashed with one agency head over Mr. MacNamara’s decision to let the state’s film commissioner travel to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Mr. MacNamara, who has been on unpaid leave from his job as a Florida State University professor, will be replaced by Adam Hollingsworth.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama honors top police during weekend ceremony

President Obama honored the nation’s top police officers Saturday, paying tribute to their sacrifices and “quiet courage” in the line of duty.

Mr. Obama, joined by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, praised the winners of a national police association award at a White House ceremony that honored 34 officers who showed valor in an assortment of tense standoffs, shootings and rescues.

“They are representative of the sacrifices and that quiet courage that exists among law enforcement officers all across the country and their families,” Mr. Obama said in a Rose Garden ceremony.

Recipients included 15 members of the Detroit Police Department who confronted a gunman who opened fire in a local precinct station; five Las Vegas officers who stopped an assailant who shot an officer at a Wal-Mart; and five New York City police detectives who rescued two cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who had become disoriented while rock climbing.

Other award winners hailed from Los Angeles; Miami; Chicago; Woburn, Mass.; Paramus, N.J.; Copley, Ohio; and Chattanooga, Tenn.

It was Mr. Obama’s first joint appearance with Mr. Biden since the vice president, according to aides, apologized to the president for pushing gay marriage to the forefront of the presidential campaign and inadvertently pressuring Mr. Obama to declare his support for same-sex unions.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden were all smiles as they walked to the sun-splashed ceremony together. Introducing Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden credited the president’s commitment to law enforcement and the two quickly embraced before Mr. Obama spoke.

CAMPAIGN

Betty White reveals her presidential preference

Betty White says she usually keeps her political views private but in this presidential election strongly favors one candidate.

As she prepares to visit the Smithsonian Institution and National Zoo next week, Miss White told the Associated Press she “very, very much favors” President Obama in the election.

The 90-year-old actress said Friday she is very bipartisan and has stayed away from politics all of her life. She usually never says who she is for or against because she doesn’t want to turn off any of her adoring fans.

Miss White said in this year’s election, she likes what Mr. Obama has done and “how he represents us.”

Her comments come after Hollywood turned out at George Clooney’s home to raise $15 million for Mr. Obama’s re-election, a record for a single fundraiser.

FDA

Agency delays rules meant to ease sunscreen confusion

Sunscreen confusion won’t be over before summer after all. The government is bowing to industry requests for more time to make clear how much protection their brands really offer against skin cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration ordered changes last summer but gave sunscreen-makers a year — until this June — to get revised bottles on the shelf. Among the changes: Sunscreens had to protect against both sunburn-causing ultraviolet B rays and the ultraviolet A linked to skin cancer — or carry a special warning label. They also couldn’t claim to be waterproof or sweatproof.

Friday, the FDA said it would give sunscreen-makers that aren’t ready another six months to make the changes but encouraged them to get newly labeled bottles on store shelves as soon as possible.

NORTH CAROLINA

Bloomberg: State’s marriage vote sets back civil rights

CHAPEL HILL — New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has told University of North Carolina graduates that last week’s gay marriage vote shows there is still a lot of work to be done for civil rights in this country.

Mr. Bloomberg spoke Sunday to thousands of graduates at Kenan Stadium.

Mr. Bloomberg told them Americans have slowly understood since this country was founded that if the government can deny freedom to one person, it can deny freedom to everyone. The mayor said every generation has brought more freedom to this country, and he expects the latest generation to continue to the work, especially in light of Tuesday’s vote approving a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Mr. Bloomberg also said the university’s motto, “Light and Liberty,” should be the defining spirit of this century.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports