- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2008

CAMPAIGN

Man charged with Obama threat

MIAMI | A man who authorities said was keeping weapons and military-style gear in his hotel room and car appeared in court Thursday on charges that he threatened to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

Raymond Hunter Geisel, 22, was arrested by the Secret Service on Saturday in Miami and was ordered held at Miami’s downtown detention center without bail Thursday by a federal magistrate.

A Secret Service affidavit charges that Mr. Geisel made the threat during a training class for bail bondsmen in Miami in late July. According to someone else in the 48-member class, Mr. Geisel referred to Mr. Obama with a racial epithet and said, “If he gets elected, I’ll assassinate him myself.”

Mr. Obama was most recently in Florida on Aug. 1 and 2 but did not visit the South Florida area.

Another person in the class reported Mr. Geisel saying that “he hated George W. Bush and that he wanted to put a bullet in the president’s head,” according to the Secret Service.

Mr. Geisel denied in a written statement to a Secret Service agent that he ever made the threats, and the documents don’t indicate whether he ever took steps to carry out any assassination. He was charged only with threatening Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, not for any threat against President Bush.

Mr. Geisel’s court-appointed attorney declined comment. The charge of threatening a major candidate for president or vice president carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The Obama campaign declined comment Thursday.

WHITE HOUSE

Bolten, Miers want hold on subpoenas

Two White House aides want a judge to delay his ruling forcing them to testify before Congress so they can appeal to a higher court.

White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers made the request to U.S. District Judge John Bates on Thursday. They want him to not enforce his ruling allowing White House aides to be subpoenaed by Congress so they can take their case to appeals court.

Judge Bates on July 31 rejected White House arguments that presidential confidants are protected from congressional subpoenas by executive privilege.

FUNDRAISING

McCain campaign reviewing donations

Sen. John McCain’s campaign says it will review donations brought in by a prominent Florida businessman after disclosures that his business partner, a foreign national, also may have engaged in fundraising.

A McCain spokesman says the campaign is looking into hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to make sure they are appropriate.

The campaign is sending a letter spelling out legal requirements to all donors who sent their contributions through Harry Sergeant III, the finance chairman of the Florida Republican Party.

It’s illegal for foreigners to contribute their own money to U.S. campaigns.

REPUBLICANS

Jindal considered for keynote speech

BATON ROUGE | While Gov. Bobby Jindal appears to be sliding down the list of possible Republican vice presidential hopefuls, the nation’s youngest state chief executive could assume another prominent post at the party’s national convention, delivering the keynote address four years after Democrats used their corresponding slot as Sen. Barack Obama’s introduction to American voters.

Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere said the campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has talked with Mr. Jindal’s staff about the governor having “a prominent speaking role” at the convention, the Times-Picayune reports.

While cautioning that he does not know of Mr. McCain’s final decision, Mr. Villere called it “a good possibility” that Mr. Jindal will give the keynote address, generally viewed as the second-highest-profile speech behind the nominee’s acceptance address to end the convention.

“I know they have spoken to him about it,” Mr. Villere said. “I know he’s willing to help participate at some high level.”

Mr. Jindal is not a voting member of the Louisiana delegation that will travel to the Sept. 1-4 gathering in St. Paul, Minn.

Neither the McCain campaign nor Mr. Jindal’s staff is commenting on the speaker’s roster for the convention.

PRIMARY

Incumbent Cohen faces tough foe

MEMPHIS, Tenn. | After a racially charged Democratic primary campaign that turned particularly ugly in its final days, voters were to decide Thursday between a Jewish incumbent congressman and a black opponent who ran a television ad juxtaposing photos of his opponent and a hooded Ku Klux Klansman.

Democrat Steve Cohen is the first white congressman from Memphis in more than three decades and one of only two white congressmen representing a majority black district.

The ad was run by his chief opponent, Nikki Tinker, a corporate lawyer whose supporters argue that the Ninth District in Memphis should be represented by a black congressman.

Low turnout was predicted for the primary in the heavily Democratic district that has returned incumbents to the House since 1974. The district is 60 percent black and 35 percent white. Mr. Cohen won his first term after a 2006 primary in which a dozen black candidates, including Miss Tinker, split the vote.

Miss Tinker said her ad linking Mr. Cohen to the KKK for opposing a 2005 effort to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from a downtown park “merely states the facts. I think the nation needs to know Steve Cohen’s complete record.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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