Bush names transition team
President Bush on Thursday established a transition team to help the new president elected in November and his administration as they prepare to enter the White House.
The order is aimed at ensuring “a seamless presidential transition,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
“This is especially important as our nation is fighting a war, dealing with a financial crisis and working to protect ourselves from future terrorist attacks,” she said.
Mr. Bush’s executive order set up the Presidential Transition Coordinating Council, which will be headed by White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and include White House officials who deal with national security, counterterrorism and economic policy.
“The president has directed us to be forward-leaning in all of our efforts to ensure as smooth and effective a transition as possible,” Mrs. Perino said.
The executive order states that the transition team will help the two major party candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, and then the winner of the Nov. 4 election.
Airport slots auction set despite foes
The Bush administration escalated a bitter fight with airlines Thursday by pushing ahead with a plan to auction takeoff and landing rights at New York-area airports despite key congressional opposition and an industry threat to block the initiative in court.
The Transportation Department said it would start selling excess slots in January to ease congestion and delays and spur competition in the most lucrative U.S. business travel market.
“Without slot auctions, a small number of airlines will profit while travelers bear the brunt of higher fares, fewer choices and deteriorating service,” Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said.
Federal transportation planners think an orderly allocation of slots at New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports and Newark airport in New Jersey would over time lead to more efficient operations by airlines and fewer delays.
Obama schedules 30-minute TV ad
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama plans to air a 30-minute commercial during prime time on Oct. 29, six days before Election Day.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the campaign has secured the time from CBS and is negotiating with other networks to air the half-hour spot.
Mr. Obama has been outspending rival John McCain in advertising and has been airing commercials of up to two minutes in length. H. Ross Perot famously aired a 30-minute ad during his independent presidential campaign in 1992, attracting 16.5 million viewers.
Short political spots have been the traditional way for politicians to communicate with voters. For Mr. Obama, however, a longer piece would be a dramatic way to close his argument to voters.
NRA endorses McCain, cites votes
The National Rifle Association is endorsing Republican presidential nominee John McCain despite differences with the Arizona senator on gun-show rules and campaign finance restrictions.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and the chairman of the NRA’s political action committee had planned stops in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada to talk about the move.
Mr. LaPierre said the two agree on many issues important to the group.
“He’s cast more than 60 votes in the Senate in support of the Second Amendment,” he said.
The NRA’s Political Victory Fund has spent more than $2.3 million opposing Democratic nominee Barack Obama.
The chairman of the political action committee, Chris W. Cox, said its spending in the presidential race will grow to “eight figures” by Election Day. Besides ads, encouraging battleground-state gun owners to vote will be a key focus, he said.
Law officials probe early vote in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio | Law-enforcement officials in southwestern Ohio are seeking information on hundreds of voters who registered and voted during Ohio’s weeklong same-day voting window.
Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer and representatives of county Prosecutor Stephen Haller have contacted the local Board of Elections asking for the voter registration cards of everyone who voted during the six-day window, which ended Monday.
Mr. Haller is the former law partner of Mike DeWine, the ex-Republican senator who is chairing presidential nominee John McCain’s Ohio campaign.
Llyn McCoy, the county’s deputy elections director, informed the legal staff of state elections chief Jennifer Brunner of the records request in an e-mail Wednesday.
Election officials deny purge report
NEW YORK | A newspaper report Thursday said tens of thousands of eligible voters have been removed from rolls or blocked from registering in at least six swing states, but election officials quickly lined up to defend their registration procedures and said they had done nothing wrong.
The New York Times based its findings on reviews of state records and Social Security data and said it had identified apparent problems in Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina.
The Times said voters appear to have been purged by mistake and not because of any intentional violations by election officials or coordinated efforts by any party.
From wire dispatches and staff reports