- - Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rep. Christopher S. Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, was trailing his U.S. Senate opponent Linda McMahon just three weeks ago, but now he has gained the upper edge in the race, with a new poll Wednesday morning giving him a 6-point lead.

Mr. Murphy has 49 percent of the vote compared with 43 percent for Mrs. McMahon, a Republican pro-wrestling executive, in a Quinnipiac poll of likely Connecticut voters. That’s a reversal of where things stood in the polling institute’s Oct. 4 survey, which showed Mrs. McMahon with a 48 percent to 47 percent lead.

While there are several close Senate races around the country, the news is especially welcome to Democrats, who never expected the Connecticut contest to be as close as it’s been over the past few months.

NEW YORK

Trump offers $5M deal for Obama documents

Donald Trump wants to make a deal with President Obama.

If Mr. Obama releases his college and passport records by the end of October, the New York real estate mogul and reality-show host says he will contribute $5 million to a charity of the president’s choice.

Mr. Trump made the offer Wednesday in a video posted to his Twitter account. He called Mr. Obama “the least transparent president in the history of this country,” and said that by taking the deal Mr. Obama would satisfy voters’ questions about his past.

Mr. Trump drew broad publicity last year for questioning whether Mr. Obama was born in the U.S. and eligible to be president. Mr. Obama later released his long-form birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii in 1961. In the video, Mr. Trump said he was proud to have pushed Mr. Obama to release the birth certificate or “whatever it may be.”

Mr. Trump has endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president. Obama campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki declined to comment on the Trump video, saying “given Trump is one of his biggest supporters, this is a question best directed to the Romney team in Boston.”

FED

Policy meeting results in no interest-rate change

The Federal Reserve made no changes in its program to drive down long-term interest rates at a meeting of its policy committee Wednesday.

The central bank noted in a statement that the economy has improved somewhat since its last meeting six weeks ago, with consumer spending picking up and the housing market continuing its recovery.

But it said that despite a drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent last month, joblessness remains “elevated” and businesses have pared their spending plans, so it must maintain its extremely accommodative interest-rates policies to nurture a faster recovery.

“Economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace,” the statement said, but “the committee remains concerned that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions.

MASSACHUSETTS

Judge postpones decision about Romney testimony

CANTON — A Massachusetts judge has postponed a decision on whether to unseal testimony that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave in the divorce case of Staples founder Tom Stemberg.

Ex-wife Maureen Sullivan Stemberg appeared in court Wednesday with feminist lawyer Gloria Allred. They said they did not object to a Boston Globe motion to lift an impoundment order on Mr. Romney’s 1991 testimony.

Attorneys said Mr. Romney’s testimony dealt with financial matters. Staples was founded with backing from Romney’s firm at the time, Bain Capital.

Tom Stemberg spoke on the former Massachusetts governor’s behalf at the GOP convention.

Romney attorney Robert Jones said he does not anticipate objecting, but would like time to review the entire transcript.

The hearing is set to resume Thursday.

CAMPAIGN

Eastwood makes Romney ad, minus the empty chair

Clint Eastwood left the chair behind in his latest attempt to make Mitt Romney’s Election Day.

Titled “At Stake,” the 30-second spot funded by the super PAC American Crossroads features an on-script Mr. Eastwood urging voters to support Mr. Romney and fire President Obama for failing to fix the economy.

“In the last few years, America’s been knocked down,” Mr. Eastwood’s trademark gritty voice says over images of an abandoned factory and unemployed workers.

“When someone doesn’t get the job done, you’ve gotta hold them accountable,” he continues. “We need someone who can turn it around fast, and that man is Mitt Romney.”

In his address to the Republican National Convention in August, Mr. Eastwood spoke to a vacant chair that was supposed to represent Mr. Obama.

HAWAII

WWII vet determined to vote dies at 93

HONOLULU — A World War II veteran who inspired many with his determination to vote even though he had end-stage liver cancer has died.

Frank Tanabe’s daughter Barbara Tanabe says he died Wednesday morning at her Honolulu home. He was 93.

Hundreds of thousands of people saw a photo of Frank Tanabe filling out his absentee ballot with the help of his daughter last week, after his nephew posted the picture on the social media site Reddit.

Frank Tanabe served in a mostly Japanese-American unit of the Military Intelligence Service during WWII. He volunteered to join the Army from the Tule Lake internment camp in California.

Honolulu elections officials say his vote will be counted unless they receive his death certificate before the Nov. 6 election and are able to single out his ballot from those submitted.

DELAWARE

Libertarian halts campaign for state insurance seat

DOVER — The Libertarian Party candidate for Delaware insurance commissioner is suspending his campaign and endorsing the Republican challenger seeking to unseat a Democratic incumbent.

David Eisenhour said Wednesday that while suspending his campaign for insurance commissioner, he is still running for clerk of the peace in Sussex County.

Mr. Eisenhour said he is urging his supporters to back Republican Benjamin Mobley in the insurance commissioner race. He said Mr. Mobley has a more free-market approach than does incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart, who won a three-way Democratic primary in September.

Mr. Eisenhour said that when he accepted Libertarian Party’s nomination for insurance commissioner this spring, the only announced candidates were all Democrats, and that he thought voters deserved a choice.

But after Mr. Mobley entered the race, Mr. Eisenhour concluded that he was the best choice.

From wire dispatches and staff reports