McCain makes case for Chambliss
ATLANTA | Republican Sen. John McCain implored Georgia voters Thursday to back Sen. Saxby Chambliss in next month’s runoff, warning that Democrats will increase taxes and cut defense spending and the Republican Party needs to strengthen its ranks.
“I didn’t think I’d be back on the campaign trail quite this early,” Mr. McCain told some 1,500 people in his first political appearance since losing the presidency to Barack Obama last week. “But there is a lot at stake here. I’m asking you to go into battle one more time.”
Mr. Chambliss failed to cross the 50 percent threshold and faces a Dec. 2 rematch with Democrat Jim Martin. Georgia’s election results were certified Thursday and the final tallies show Mr. Chambliss falling just short, with 49.8 percent of the vote. Mr. Martin earned 46.8 percent and Libertarian Allen Buckley, also in the race, pulled 3.4 percent.
His voice rising, Mr. McCain told the crowd that Mr. Chambliss, a first-term senator, “is doing what we Republicans should have done for eight years and that’s restrain spending.” And in a commentary on his Election Day loss, the Arizona senator added, “We let spending get out of control and it cost us a lot of our conservative base.”
Inaugural expected to attract 1 million
President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration is expected to draw 1 million-plus to the capital, and already some lawmakers have stopped taking ticket requests and hotels have booked up.
Some people are bartering on Craigslist for places to stay for the Jan. 20 ceremony when the Illinois senator takes the oath of office. They are offering cash or even help with dishes for residents willing to open their homes.
The National Park Service will clear more viewing space along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route. Jumbo TV screens will line the National Mall so people can watch the inauguration and parade, park service spokesman David Barna said Thursday.
White House told to preserve records
Senate Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees last week told the White House to preserve all records produced by the Bush administration and expressed “particular concerns” whether Vice President Dick Cheney’s office will comply with the law.
“We believe it is vital the presidential and vice-presidential documents belonging to the American people be preserved, including those related to key national security decisions in which the [office of the vice president] played an important role,” the senators wrote in the Nov. 7 letter to White House lawyer Fred Fielding. The letter was obtained by the Associated Press.
The letter was sent by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. They asked Mr. Fielding to detail steps being taken to preserve White House documents and hand them over to the National Archives and Records Administration.
Rove, Edwards discuss Palin
SAN FRANCISCO | Two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and Republican strategist Karl Rove, in a spirited debate Thursday, agreed that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin needs to hone her knowledge of foreign policy and geography if she runs for president in 2012.
Mr. Rove said he didn’t care if, as a vice-presidential candidate, Mrs. Palin knew where South Ossetia or Abkhazia are, or if she could recite the minutiae of health care policy.
“But if she wants to run for president she’s gonna have to get somebody to move to Anchorage, Alaska, and help her take her game to another level,” he said smiling. “Let’s be clear about this it’s really cold there most of the year.”
Mr. Edwards and Mr. Rove debated President Bush’s record on health care, foreign policy and the economy at the Commercial Finance Association convention.
It was Mr. Edwards’ second public event since acknowledging in August he had an affair in 2006.
The former North Carolina senator said Mrs. Palin’s inexperience was too much for Sen. John McCain’s campaign to overcome.
“The problem was, over time, particularly in the vice-presidential debate it was fairly obvious she wasn’t ready to be president, and that made people nervous,” he said.
Boxer aide charged in child porn case
A high-level aide to Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has been charged in federal court with receiving and distributing child pornography.
The aide, Jeff Rosato, 32, was arrested last Friday. Mrs. Boxer’s office fired him the same day upon learning of the charges.
Mr. Rosato appeared in federal court in Northern Virginia Wednesday and was released to home detention on the condition he not interact with children or use a computer. He was not required to post bail or bond money but was told to undergo medical treatment.
“On Friday, the Justice Department informed our office of criminal charges made against a Senate employee. Senator Boxer has zero tolerance for crimes against children, and the employee was immediately terminated,” Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said Thursday.
Mr. Rosato had worked for Mrs. Boxer, a Democrat, since early 2005, beginning in her personal office as a legislative assistant and last year becoming a counsel to the Environment and Public Works Committee, which Mrs. Boxer chairs.
Department sets family leave rules
The Labor Department on Thursday announced final revisions in the Family and Medical Leave Act, including new rules defining how families of wounded service members will be able to take unpaid leave to care for them.
While the addition of military families to the landmark law received positive reviews, the Labor Department’s other revisions caused concern among labor and employee advocates.
The AFL-CIO’s Cecelie Counts said the new rules dealing with military families were “fair” but called the rest a “rather stingy reading of the law.”
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, California Democrat, said letting military families use the act is necessary “to help [them] balance work and family.”
The new regulations will be published Monday in the Federal Register and go into effect Jan. 16.
Bidens tour future home
Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. got a tour of his new home from the outgoing occupant, Vice President Dick Cheney.
Mr. Biden on Thursday visited the Naval Observatory, the home for vice presidents, with his wife, Jill. They were greeted with smiles by Mr. Cheney and his wife, Lynne.
Mr. Biden said, “Mr. Vice President, how are you doing?”
Mr. Cheney replied, “Joe, how are you.” He congratulated Mr. Biden on his victory.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports