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Inside Politics: Obama presents ID to vote in Chicago

- - Thursday, October 25, 2012

President Obama, who criticizes Republicans for passing laws requiring voters to show ID, presented his driver's license at a polling place in Chicago Thursday to vote early.

A pool reporter traveling with the president said he voted on a touch-screen machine after "signing forms and showing his driver's license" as required by Illinois state law. The president also signed a form canceling his absentee ballot, which he had submitted earlier, to make sure his vote isn't counted twice.

"Now, ignore the fact that there's no gray hair on that picture," Mr. Obama told the elections official. "I'm just glad I renewed my driver's license."

The previous night, appearing on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, the president criticized voter ID laws approved by Republicans.

"We should be thinking about ways to make it easier for folks to vote, not to make it harder for folks to vote," he told Mr. Leno. "That's why this early voting is really terrific."

The president, whose campaign is emphasizing early voting, told reporters after voting that the process is "really convenient."

"All across the country we're seeing a lot of early voting," he said. "It means you don't have to figure out whether you need to take time off work, figure out how to pick up the kids and still cast a ballot. If something happens on Election Day, you will have already taken care of it. If it's bad weather you won't get wet."

The president wouldn't say who got his vote.

"But, I very much appreciate everybody here. It's good to be home back in the neighborhood," he said.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Mourners pay respects at McGovern's viewing

SIOUX FALLS — Mourners from near and far paused Thursday before the flag-draped coffin of former Sen. George McGovern to pay their respects to the liberal Democrat whose spectacularly failed 1972 bid for president helped reshape his party and who later championed the fight against global hunger.

Mr. McGovern died Sunday at age 90. His funeral is Friday.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who served in the Senate with Mr. McGovern in the 1970s and early 1980s, was among those expected to attend Thursday's public viewing and prayer service. Most of those who showed up early at the First United Methodist Church were friends, neighbors, constituents or admirers of Mr. McGovern.

Among them was Burton Barnard, a 68-year-old from western Wisconsin. After driving 300 miles, he was toward the front of the line when the church opened for a four-hour viewing period.

"There's not that many people I would drive that far for," Mr. Barnard said. "McGovern was a deeply moral and principled leader for us in the '60s and '70s."

Francis and Nancy McGowan of Sioux Falls, both retired, said they attended the viewing because they held Mr. McGovern in high esteem because he cared for people.

"We're thankful for his service," Nancy McGowan said. "The world is a better place because he was here, not only for his wisdom as a politician but also for his caring and feeding of the hungry."

TEXAS

State AG delivers strong message to poll watchers

AUSTIN — Don't mess with Texas elections.

That's the double-down message Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott delivered Thursday to international poll watchers who want to come and observe voting on Election Day.

The squabble started after Mr. Abbott wrote to the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, threatening to prosecute any of its members who come within 100 feet of a polling location in violation of state law.

The group calls Mr. Abbott's threat "unacceptable" in a letter to the State Department. Mr. Abbott on Thursday tweeted his response: "BRING IT."

The State Department says it has received reassurance from the OSCE that it will follow state election laws.

MISSOURI

Time is running out to refocus Senate race

JEFFERSON CITY — Since first uttering the words "legitimate rape," Republican Missouri Senate candidate W. Todd Akin has continued to say things that have distracted attention from his campaign theme against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Mr. Akin has linked Ms. McCaskill to President Obama and his spending and health care policies. But unwanted attention remains — most recently he compared Ms. McCaskill to a dog, and before that he suggested she wasn't "ladylike."

Mr. Akin, currently serving in the House, is running out of time to focus voters' attention squarely on Ms. McCaskill and to counter her advertising blitz. An Associated Press analysis of his campaign finance report shows that small-dollar contributions to him temporarily swelled after his rape remark, but not many donors gave the maximum amount allowed by law.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Resort won't be open for first voting this year

DIXVILLE NOTCH — Voters in tiny Dixville have cast some of the nation's first ballots for president at the historic Balsams Grand Resort Hotel for more than 50 years.

But not this year.

The hotel will be closed for the Nov. 6 election. The village's 10 registered voters will continue the midnight tradition at a local ski lodge.

The Victorian- and Alpine-style complex about 20 miles from Canada is closed for renovations. Residents have cast ballots for president in the wood-paneled Ballot Room on New Hampshire's primary day and the nation's Election Day since 1960.

Two local businessmen bought the nearly 150-year-old resort and hope to reopen it next year. The only other place casting midnight votes is Hart's Location in the White Mountains. They began the tradition in 1948.

From wire dispatches and staff reports