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Inside Politics: Lawmakers urge Pentagon to buy U.S.-made uniforms

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MILITARY

Lawmakers urge Pentagon to buy U.S.-made uniforms

Congressional Republicans and Democrats sent an irate letter Tuesday to a Pentagon official requesting that the U.S. military issue uniforms made in America, not China.

The letter to Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, urges compliance with the Berry Amendment, which requires the Pentagon to give preference to U.S.-made goods in its procurement practices.

The Air Force Times reported in June that Air Force Master Sgt. Steve Adachi was twice issued boots made in China, after repeated attempts to receive boots made in the U.S.

The letter initiative was led by Reps. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Michael H. Michaud, Maine Democrat and member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

CAMPAIGN

Graham: Fort Hood shooting should be designated terrorism

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a senior GOP member of the Armed Forces Committee, on Tuesday said he sharply disagrees with the Department of Defense’s characterization of the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood in Texas as a case of workplace violence, not terrorism.

"I respectfully disagree with the Department of Defense decision to classify the Fort Hood shooting as workplace violence," he said. "It's not fair to the victims, and their families, for this incident to be described in that manner."

Mr. Graham, a judge advocate general in the Air Force Reserves, pledged to work with his colleagues in the Senate to challenge the Pentagon’s characterization and push for an accurate description of the deadly rampage at the military post in Killeen, Texas, nearly three years ago that left 13 dead and 30 wounded.

Maj. Nadal Malik Hasan has been charged in the massacre.

Officially designating the attack as terrorism would make service-member victims eligible for Purple Heart medals, and, the victims say, grant them access to medical care and benefits similar to what soldiers wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan receive.

But late Friday the Department of Defense said it would not reclassify the attack "at this time," citing concern that having the government weigh in could bias the case against Maj. Hasan, 42, who is awaiting trial and faces the death penalty if convicted.

GAY RIGHTS

Gay Republicans group hands Romney mixed endorsement

A prominent gay Republican group is hesitantly backing Mitt Romney for president, calling it the right decision for the nation even as it slams his opposition to gay marriage and civil unions.

Log Cabin Republicans says it’s supporting Mr. Romney to put America and the economy first, but is only offering him a "qualified endorsement." The group says it will focus its efforts instead on House and Senate candidates.

In its endorsement, Log Cabin Republicans says Mr. Romney might not be the candidate for voters who prioritize gay and lesbian issues. The group has long been critical of Mr. Romney and says it will continue challenging his support for a federal amendment banning gay marriage.

INTELLIGENCE

Guilty plea expected in ex-CIA officer’s leak case

A former CIA officer accused of leaking the names of covert operatives to journalists is expected to enter a guilty plea as part of a plea deal.

A change of plea hearing was scheduled for Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria for John Kiriakou. He initially pleaded not guilty to the charges that he disclosed the names of two covert CIA operatives.

The apparent change comes shortly after Mr. Kiriakou lost a key pretrial ruling that established a lower legal burden for prosecutors to prove their case.

MEDIA

MTV featuring Obama interview live on Friday

NEW YORK — MTV says it will air a live 30-minute interview with President Obama across its various networks and platforms on Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern time and on tape delay at 5 p.m. Pacific time.

Viewers are being invited to submit questions for the president on MTV’s Facebook page.

MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway will interview Mr. Obama at the White House, while Andrew Jenks will be reporting from a Washington-area college campus.

The interview will air on five different networks, MTV.com and its mobile platform.

COLORADO

Suspected noncitizens found on voter rolls

DENVER — Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler says 300 more suspected noncitizens have been found on the state’s voter rolls.

They were among more than 3,900 people who received letters in August questioning their citizenship.

Mr. Gessler’s office previously said an additional 141 people who received letters appeared to be noncitizens, based on a federal immigration database.

Elections officials did additional checks after obtaining more immigration identification numbers to run through the database.

Mr. Gessler, a Republican, said Tuesday that he wants "to ensure the most accurate, reliable elections possible."

MISSOURI

Paper: Akin arrested in '80s abortion protests

Missouri Senate candidate Rep. W. Todd Akin was repeatedly arrested during anti-abortion protests in the 1980s, including at least once when police had to carry him away, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Mr. Akin, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the Nov. 6 election, acknowledged last month during a campaign event that he had been arrested about 25 years ago as part of an anti-abortion protest. But Mr. Akin has repeatedly declined to discuss additional details.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on its website Tuesday that its newspaper archives include at least three accounts of Mr. Akin being arrested in March and April of 1985 for criminal trespass and resisting arrest at abortion clinics in the St. Louis area. He apparently never was charged.

INDIANA

Romney cuts spot for Mourdock in tight race

INDIANAPOLIS — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is extending his political coattails to Indiana’s GOP Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock, in a new ad, but the race against Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly remains a big-money, high-stakes stalemate two weeks before Election Day.

In a new ad airing statewide, Mr. Romney accuses Mr. Donnelly of supporting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s “agenda” in Washington and calls Mr. Mourdock “the 51st vote” needed to repeal President Obama’s health care law.

MEDIA

Fox sets viewership record with 3rd presidential debate

NEW YORK — The third debate between President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney stands as the most-watched telecast ever on the Fox News Channel.

The Nielsen company said Tuesday that an estimated 11.5 million people watched Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney tussle Monday night on foreign policy on FNC. The network’s previous record was the 11.1 million who watched the second presidential debate last week and the Joseph R. Biden-Sarah Palin vice presidential debate of 2008.

PENTAGON

Decision expected soon on general’s punishment

Demoting a four-star general for spending misconduct could be harsh and would force the officer to lose as much as $1 million in retirement pay, the Army’s top military officer said Monday, noting that a lower-level officer would never be asked to pay such a high price.

Gen. Raymond Odierno’s comments came as Army and Pentagon leaders are weighing the potential punishments for former Africa Command head Gen. William “Kip” Ward. One of the leading considerations for discipline being recommended is for Gen. Ward to reimburse the government more than $100,000 he spent on lavish travel and other expenses, according to one senior defense official.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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