Inside Politics: Former N.H. Sen. Rudman dies; was co-author of budget law

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CONCORD — Former Sen. Warren B. Rudman, who co-authored a ground-breaking budget balancing law, has died at age 82.

Mr. Rudman’s Washington firm, the Albright Stonebridge Group, says he died Monday night.

The feisty New Hampshire Republican arrived in the Senate in 1981 with a reputation as a tough prosecutor. He was called upon by Senate leaders and presidents of both parties to tackle tough assignments.

He is perhaps best known for his co-sponsorship of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget cutting law. He left the Senate in 1993, frustrated that the law never reached its potential because of Congress.

Before his election to the Senate, he served six years as New Hampshire’s attorney general.

UTAH

Democrat Matheson declared winner in House race

SALT LAKE CITY — Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson has emerged as the winner in his tight congressional race against Republican Mia Love.

Mr. Matheson declared victory on Election Night despite the two being separated by only a couple thousand votes. Tuesday marked the deadline for counties to certify their votes, and the results from Salt Lake County removed any doubt that Mr. Matheson had won.

Ms. Love, 36, the mayor of Saratoga Springs and daughter of Haitian immigrants, got millions of dollars from Republican groups and a coveted speaking slot at the Republican National Convention, where she became one of the party’s faces of diversity.

Ms. Love would have been the first black woman elected to Congress as a Republican.


PENTAGON

Panetta: New direction for the war on al Qaeda

America’s war on al Qaeda is taking a new direction, moving beyond declared combat zones like Afghanistan while countering the terrorist network’s search for new sanctuaries, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Tuesday.

Mr. Panetta said the evolving campaign will feature the use of small U.S. strike forces, more partnering with foreign commandos and more training and other forms of assistance that enable partner nations to combat terrorism on their own.

It also will require that the U.S. and its NATO allies “finish the job right” in Afghanistan, he said.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor: Personal info needed better protection

COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley says a report on a cyberattack on South Carolina’s tax collection agency shows officials could have done more to protect the personal information of nearly 4 million individual filers and 700,000 businesses.

Ms. Haley also said Tuesday that Department of Revenue Director Jim Etter has resigned, effective Dec. 31.

She says the report from computer security firm Mandiant found the department should have required dual verification for someone trying to access tax returns and should have encrypted Social Security numbers.

The breach involved those who filed electronically, dating to 1998 but mostly since 2002. Ms. Haley says the hacker stole 3.3 million unencrypted bank account numbers, as well as 5,000 expired credit card numbers.

Mandiant identified precisely whose information was stolen. Those taxpayers will be notified by email or letter.

SUPREME COURT

Justices to hear appeal about California raisins

The Supreme Court is taking up an appeal from California raisin producers who object to a government program that aims to stabilize prices by regulating the raisin market.

The justices said Tuesday that they will review a federal appeals court ruling that dismissed claims brought by farmers in California’s Central Valley. The state produces almost all raisins in the United States and about 40 percent of the crop worldwide.

The farmers complain that a Depression-era law unfairly prevents them from selling their entire crop on the open market when the government determines that there otherwise would be a glut of raisins that would drive prices down.

The issue at the Supreme Court is what court the farmers must use to mount their challenge.

CALIFORNIA

McCain welcomes Marine pilots who will fly new F-35B fighter

SAN DIEGO — Sen. John McCain on Tuesday welcomed the Marine Corps’ first squadron of pilots who are being called upon to fly the branch’s version of the next-generation F-35 fighter jet out of its long and troubled testing phase.

Mr. McCain spoke at a ceremony to inaugurate Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 at its base in Yuma, Ariz., saying he was encouraged by the recent progress of the supersonic jet program.

The Arizona Republican’s comments come months after he raised concerns that the Pentagon was prematurely ending the probation period for the Marine Corps’ F-35B aircraft, which has had technical problems in its development.

Mr. McCain told the crowd Tuesday that much work still needs to be done before the aircraft can be sent into combat. The F-35B would replace Cold War-era aircraft such as the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier.

“With today’s arrival of Joint Strike Fighters to Yuma, I am — after many years of frustration and setbacks — encouraged that the overall program is moving in the right direction,” Mr. McCain said.

He said that after major restructuring efforts over the past two years, “the program is finally set up to produce more achievable and predictable outcomes.”

The F-35B had been on a two-year probation because of “significant testing problems.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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