- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 26, 2009


Dobbs considers run for Senate

TRENTON, N.J. | Former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs is seriously considering running for U.S. Senate in New Jersey as “an intermediary step” that could lead to a run for the White House.

Mr. Dobbs told former Sen. Fred Thompson’s radio program Monday that he had been urged to run for president and would talk to some people about it.

His spokesman is playing down the idea. Robert Dilenschneider told the New York Times on Wednesday that a run for president is a “long way off.” The spokesman said there would have to be an “intermediary step,” such as the seat held by Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat.

Mr. Menendez is the Senate’s only Hispanic member and a strong advocate for immigrant rights. He’s up for re-election in 2012.

Mr. Dobbs, who owns a farm in rural northwestern New Jersey, has criticized illegal immigration.


Democrats worry about Senate seat

CHICAGO | The White House and Illinois Democrats said Tuesday that their bid to hold on to President Obama’s old Senate seat won’t be easy and their difficulties aren’t just because of the scandal that engulfed ousted Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

Next year is the first major election for Democrats since Mr. Blagojevich was arrested last year on federal corruption charges and removed from office. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to sell or trade Mr. Obama’s Senate seat.

“No one ever said it was going to be easy. There’s a dark cloud over everyone’s head,” said Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois’ treasurer who’s running for Mr. Obama’s Senate seat.

The Obama administration has even expressed some uneasiness about Democrats’ ability to keep the seat away from Republicans in the wake of the Blagojevich scandal.

“Obviously, there is an added burden, but not an insurmountable one,” top Obama adviser David Axelrod told the Associated Press.

But Mr. Blagojevich isn’t the Democrats’ only hurdle, said Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle. Mr. Del Valle on Tuesday endorsed former city of Chicago inspector general David Hoffman, one of Mr. Giannoulias’ Feb. 2 primary opponents.

“It’s a rough political climate,” Mr. del Valle said. “President Barack Obama is not having an easy time these days even though he’s doing exactly what people like me want him to do.”


Kennedy’s widow describes last wish

CHICAGO | The widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy told Oprah Winfrey in an interview broadcast Wednesday that even as her husband knew he was dying of brain cancer, he had been “in training” to make sure he had enough strength to attend President Obama’s inauguration.

In the most extensive interview since her husband’s death in August, Vicki Kennedy described how he battled brain cancer - but she would not talk about the last thing he said to her before dying.

“I think I’ll just keep that one to myself,” she told Miss Winfrey on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

During the hourlong interview taped last Friday, Mrs. Kennedy was sometimes joined on stage by her two grown children as well as Ted Kennedy Jr. She described her husband’s seizure in May 2008 that led to his diagnosis of the brain cancer that ended his life at age 77.

“We went from thinking he had lost his life, to thinking that he’d had a stroke, to thinking that he wouldn’t speak to thinking that he was OK, to then finding out that he might have a brain tumor all in the span of about three hours,” she said.


Moms send video to three captives

MINNEAPOLIS | The mothers of three Americans held captive in Iran have recorded video messages that they hope Iranian authorities will deliver to their children.

From their homes in Minnesota, California and Pennsylvania, the mothers of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal ask their children to stay positive and express hope that Iranian authorities will take mercy on them.

The three were detained in July after straying across the Iranian border from Iraq. Their families say they were hiking, but an Iranian prosecutor recently accused them of espionage.

The families sent copies of the video to the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations and to Iranian authorities, asking they be given to their children. The video was posted on the families’ Web site, freethehikers.org, Wednesday.


USS John F. Kennedy to be given away

PHILADELPHIA | The U.S. Navy plans to give away the retired aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy for a museum or memorial.

The ship is currently docked in Philadelphia with other retired warships.

The Navy says the deadline for submitting initial applications is Jan. 22. Bidders have to be a government or nonprofit group that pledges to use the ship as a museum or memorial. The winner gets the ship for free but will be responsible for moving the 1,050-foot vessel from Philadelphia to its new home.

Known as “Big John,” the ship was the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier built by the Navy. It once carried a crew of about 4,600 and 70 combat aircraft. It entered Navy service in September 1968 and was decommissioned in 2007.


Group posts 9/11 messages

NEW YORK | An activist group has begun posting 573,000 pager messages purportedly sent Sept. 11, 2001, from “Second World Trade Center tower collapses” to “I’m ok & love you … xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox.”

The group, Wikileaks, said some of the messages were sent by federal and local officials, but most appear to be from regular people, including frantic New Yorkers trying to reach loved ones in and around the World Trade Center.

Wikileaks was expected to finish posting the messages early Thursday.

The messages range from “DO NOT GET ON THE PATH TRAIN … THE WORLD TRADE CENTER IS ON FIRE” to “President has been rerouted wont be returning to washington but not sure where he will go.”


Wikileaks said its goal is to promote transparency by putting leaked documents online. Its repository includes manuals, lawsuits and numerous government documents.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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