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Inside Politics: Pro-Romney group to buy ads in nine states

- - Wednesday, May 2, 2012

NEW YORK — An independent group backing Republican Mitt Romney is spending nearly $4 million on ads in nine battleground states.

An organization that tracks TV spending by political campaigns says the Romney-aligned Restore Our Future has bought television ad time in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and New Hampshire.

The pro-Romney group was by far the biggest advertiser during the Republican presidential primary, spending more than $53 million on ads attacking Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich after each one emerged at different points as Romney's chief conservative rival.

News of the Restore Our Future buy first appeared in Politico. A spokesman for the group declined to comment.

MASSACHUSETTS

Senate hopeful explains school heritage listing

BRAINTREE — The leading Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Massachusetts says she listed herself as having Native American heritage in law school directories because she hoped to meet people with similar roots.

Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday she never tried to use minority status to get teaching jobs and criticized Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown's campaign for suggesting that may have been the case.

The Boston Herald reported on Mrs. Warren's remarks, which came during a campaign stop in Braintree.

The Oklahoma native has said she's proud of her family ties to Cherokee and Delaware tribes — a heritage she said she learned through stories passed down from older family members.

A Massachusetts genealogist uncovered evidence that Mrs. Warren's great-great-great-grandmother had listed herself as Cherokee in an 1894 document.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama to begin push for his judicial nominees

President Obama is launching an aggressive new push to move more stalled judicial nominees through the Senate.

The president has invited 150 supporters from across the country concerned about the judicial vacancy rate to the White House on Monday for a forum and strategy session with administration officials, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Washington Times.

In the invitation, the White House accused Republicans of subjecting consensus nominees to "unprecedented delays and filibusters."

"Half of all Americans — over 130 million of us — live in judicial districts or circuits that have a vacancy that would be filled today if this obstruction of judicial nominations would end," wrote Brad Jenkins, the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. "This unwarranted obstructionism, as you well know, is detrimental to our courts and the lives of millions of Americans."

In 37 of the 97 vacancies (81 in district courts and 16 in circuit courts), the courts have declared emergencies because of the length of vacancy and backlog of cases.

The meeting will take place the same day the Senate is set to vote on three judges, the last beneficiaries of a deal between Republicans and Democrats to allow confirmation votes to more than a dozen potential appointees who have already cleared the Judiciary Committee but whose confirmations have been stuck for months.

Those nominations are: U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Kristine Gerhard Baker to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas and John Lee to be U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.

WEST VIRGINIA

Gov. Tomblin keeping Obama at arm's length

CHARLESTON — Count Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as another West Virginia Democrat who's keeping his distance from President Obama.

Mr. Tomblin said Wednesday that neither Mr. Obama nor Republican Mitt Romney has earned his vote.

In a statement, Mr. Tomblin said Mr. Romney's positions on Medicare and Social Security would burden West Virginia families. And he criticized Mr. Obama's support for energy policies that do not favor coal, the backbone of West Virginia's economy.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III has taken a similar stance as Mr. Obama, who is unpopular in the state, seeks a second term.

Mr. Manchin preceded Mr. Tomblin as governor. Both face low-profile opponents in the state's primary election Tuesday.

NORTH CAROLINA

Billy Graham endorses effort against gay marriage

RALEIGH — The Rev. Billy Graham urged North Carolina voters Wednesday to support a marriage amendment to the state constitution, a move that an observer said was highly unusual but another said was in keeping with the minister's moral beliefs.

Mr. Graham's statement was issued by the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which is led by Mr. Graham's son, the Rev. Franklin Graham. He recorded a message last month in support of Amendment One, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and is on the ballot in the election Tuesday.

"At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage," the elder Mr. Graham's statement said. "The Bible is clear — God's definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment" Tuesday.

His complete statement about Amendment One will be part of full-page ads slated to appear in 14 North Carolina newspapers throughout the weekend.

William Martin, who wrote the authorized Graham biography "A Prophet With Honor," couldn't recall another effort by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association like the one the ministry plans in support of Amendment One.

From wire dispatches and staff reports