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Inside Politics: Alabama GOP plans election night party at gun range

- - Monday, November 5, 2012

HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama Republicans plan to hold their election night party at a gun range, where participants will be able to shoot a few rounds as returns come in.

The state Republican Party is inviting supporters to the 52,000-square-foot Hoover Tactical Firearms for a "victory party" Tuesday night.

The suburban Birmingham business sells firearms and it has ranges where people can shoot their own guns or guns available for rent.

A party announcement says the shooting ranges will be available for two hours during the election event. There will also be a band and an appearance by Miss Alabama.

Loaded guns will be allowed only on the firing range and a party spokeswoman says drinking won't be allowed while people are shooting.

Republicans are expecting GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to easily carry Alabama.

OHIO

Jay-Z opens for Obama, puts Romney in lyrics

COLUMBUS — Jay-Z has a fix for his lyrics that meets parental guidance requirements — and President Obama's approval.

The rapper and producer performed his hit "99 Problems" as he and Bruce Springsteen opened for an Obama rally in Columbus, Ohio. He changed a key word that rhymes with "witch" to make his own political endorsement. He sang: "I got 99 problems but Mitt ain't one."

Mr. Springsteen performed first, as he did earlier Monday in Madison, Wis.

Jay-Z said Mr. Obama asked him whether he would join him and Mr. Springsteen at a rally.

He said he replied: "Michelle is coming?" The first lady was to join her husband until later Monday in Des Moines, Iowa.

Mr. Obama assured the crowd that both performers are on his iPod.

HOUSE

FDA chief will testify at meningitis hearing

House lawmakers investigating a nationwide outbreak of deadly meningitis have summoned the head of the Food and Drug Administration to testify at the first congressional hearing on the issue next week.

The Energy and Commerce Committee said Monday that FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg will appear before the committee on Nov. 14.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 419 cases of meningitis illness linked to contaminated steroid shots distributed by New England Compounding Center. Thirty people have died as a result of the outbreak, the agency reported Monday.

Committee staffers said they have also invited Barry Cadden, co-founder of the specialty pharmacy linked to the outbreak. Also invited is James Coffey, director of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy. Staffers say they are awaiting replies from Mr. Cadden and Mr. Coffey.

Compounding pharmacies traditionally fill special orders placed by doctors for individual patients, turning out a small number of customized formulas each week. But some pharmacies, such as the NECC, have grown into much larger businesses in recent years, supplying bulk orders of medicines to thousands of doctors and hospitals across the country.

In recent weeks, inspectors from the FDA and Massachusetts department of health have reported unsterile conditions at the Framingham, Mass. pharmacy's facilities. The most recent inspection by the FDA uncovered green and yellow residues, water droplets and standing water in or around production rooms that were supposed to be sterile.

TENNESSEE

Lawmaker's divorce case transcript to be released

CHATTANOOGA — A transcript from Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais' divorce case is being released, but lawyers said the public wouldn't see it before Election Day.

Attorney Gerard Stranch, who represents the Tennessee Democratic Party, and DesJarlais' attorney, Harvey Cameron, said Monday they reached an agreement to release the transcript.

Mr. Stranch said the DesJarlais camp won approval from a judge to withhold the document until the full transcript is ready. He said that won't happen before Tuesday.

Records from the 2001 divorce earlier revealed that Mr. DesJarlais, who opposes abortion rights, once urged his girlfriend to have an abortion. The revelation boosted the campaign of Democratic challenger Eric Stewart.

The impact of the latest release is uncertain. More than 120,000 ballots have already been cast in the 4th District during early voting.

CAMPAIGN

Obama wins big among underage student voters

High school students from across the country voted to give President Obama another term in one of the nation's largest mock elections.

Mr. Obama received 316 electoral votes and Republican challenger Mitt Romney received 208 after more than 54,000 students from more than 130 schools across the county participated in this year's VOTES Project (Voting Opportunities for Teenagers in Every State). The president received 50.2 percent of the popular vote — 27,107 votes — while Mr. Romney earned 41.2 percent — 22,252 votes.

At least two schools from each state and the District of Columbia participated in the event, with the results announced Sunday. Voter turnout was 67 percent.

Due to Hurricane Sandy, five schools in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania were unable to hold mock elections, meaning 14 electoral votes were not distributed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports