- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Palin, in Ohio, predicts victory

LAKEWOOD, Ohio | Republican vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin told a boisterous crowd in a Democratic suburb of Cleveland on Monday that “victory is coming.”

The Alaska governor opened a grueling final day of the presidential campaign with an upbeat rally in Lakewood, the biggest Democratic stronghold in Ohio, a swing state whose 20 electoral votes are crucial to Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain’s campaign.

Polls show Ohio is too close to call.

Although Obama-Biden signs far outnumber those for McCain-Palin in Lakewood, Mrs. Palin drew a noisy crowd that waved red pompoms during her appearance at the bandstand in Lakewood Park.

“This is the right place to be for us to kick off this final day of campaigning,” Mrs. Palin said. “You can just feel it here in Ohio. Victory is coming. We can do this; we can win Ohio.”


Biden, in Missouri, vows job creation

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. | Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. made a last-minute pitch for swing-state Missouri on Monday, vowing that he and Sen. Barack Obama would “re-establish the middle class” by focusing on job creation and helping homeowners facing foreclosure.

“For too many families who are working hard, playing by the rules … people can see it slipping from their grasp,” Mr. Biden told a crowd of about 1,500 at the Longview Community College Recreation Center south of Kansas City. “We are on the cusp of a new brand of leadership.”

On the eve of the election, Mr. Biden highlighted the nation’s financial crisis and said Mr. Obama would offer a three-month moratorium for homeowners facing foreclosure. He also jabbed Republican Sen. John McCain, saying there was “literally not one fundamental economic difference between John McCain and George Bush.”

He later repeated a sarcastic barb about the Republican ticket of Mr. McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“Hey, maverick. Hey, maverick,” Mr. Biden said to roars of laughter. “I mean, give me a break.”


Prosecutors deny perjury by witness

Federal prosecutors have disputed accusations that their star witness committed perjury in an embezzlement case involving an influential mosque and Islamic cultural center.

Farzad Darui is charged with stealing more than $435,000 from the Saudi-financed Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., during his time as business manager there. His first trial ended in a mistrial earlier this year when a jury could not reach a verdict. A date has not been set for a retrial.

In September, defense attorney Victoria Toensing filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that star witness Adbullah M. Khouj authorized Mr. Darui to take the money, which was used to pay for sensitive security measures at the center and for the living expenses of at least two mistresses of Mr. Khouj, who is married.

Miss Toensing said Mr. Khouj lied when he said he did not know the location of one of the mistresses, Debi Estrada, when he was actually paying for her to live at an apartment in Arlington. She argued Mr. Khouj’s actions amount to obstruction of justice.

Mr. Khouj has denied any relationship with Miss Estrada. In a response filed Saturday, prosecutors deny Mr. Khouj committed perjury or obstruction of justice, arguing he did not help Miss Estrada find the apartment and did not begin paying her living expenses until after the trial.

The defense has until Friday to file a response, and a hearing to consider the motion has yet to be scheduled.


Durbin daughter dies of heart trouble

The daughter of Sen. Richard J. Durbin has died from complications related to a congenital heart condition.

Christine Durbin died Saturday in a Washington, D.C.-area hospital at the age of 40. She was the oldest daughter of the Illinois Democrat and his wife, Loretta Durbin.

Christine Durbin worked for 16 years for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the emerging markets division. A funeral will be held Thursday in suburban Maryland, outside Washington.


Justices decline funding challenge

RALEIGH, N.C. | North Carolina’s system of publicly financed judicial campaigns remained intact Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge over a provision for additional funds in expensive races.

The justices declined, without comment, to consider the constitutionality of a voluntary program passed by the legislature and that took effect in 2004.

The program provides campaign money for state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals candidates if they agree to fundraising restrictions leading up to the general election. The decision came on the eve of an election in which all but two of the 13 candidates for those seats Tuesday participated in the program.

The decision leaves a federal lower court ruling in effect that upheld the law, which has been a model for other states, including New Mexico.

Former Supreme Court candidate Rusty Duke and the North Carolina Right to Life Committee sued over the law in 2005, arguing it restricted free speech rights in cases where outside groups or nonparticipating candidates exceeded spending thresholds.

The qualifying candidates receive matching “rescue funds” to counter such injections of money.


Obama operative dies of heart attack

NEW YORK | The Nevada director for Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and a former top aide to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has died at 44.

Terence Tolbert died of a heart attack Sunday in Las Vegas, family spokesman Basil Smikle said Monday.

Mr. Tolbert was on leave from his job as the chief lobbyist for New York City’s public schools at the state capital in Albany to work for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Mr. Obama spoke with Mr. Tolbert’s widow, Freida Foster-Tolbert, to offer his condolences. In a statement, he called Mr. Tolbert “a strong force in this campaign, with a positive outlook that brought people together.”

Mr. Bloomberg called Mr. Tolbert hardworking and likable, with “great judgment and a great feel for people.”

Mr. Tolbert also worked on the campaigns of Sen. Charles E. Schumer, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and former presidential hopeful John Edwards.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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