- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 12, 2009


First lady to help Chicago’s Olympic bid

An Obama is definitely going to Denmark for the vote to award the 2016 Olympics.

The White House announced Friday that first lady Michelle Obama will be a lead member of Chicago’s delegation to the Oct. 2 vote by the International Olympic Committee. President Obama has not ruled out going, but told IOC President Jacques Rogge his priority right now is the fight to reform the health care system.

“He will continue to work to support Chicago’s bid,” said Patrick Ryan, chairman of Chicago 2016. “There is no greater supporter of Chicago and its bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games than President Obama, and his support is recognized worldwide.”

Chicago and U.S. Olympic Committee members have openly lobbied for Mr. Obama to join them in Copenhagen, believing his presence could help bring the Summer Games back to the United States for the first time since 1996. Chicago is in a tight contest with Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo, and the presence of world leaders has been instrumental in the most recent votes.

Tony Blair helped London land the 2012 Games when he met IOC members in Singapore in 2005, and Vladimir Putin of Russia traveled to Guatemala City in 2007 to push Sochi’s winning bid for the 2014 Winter Games. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has already said he’ll be in Copenhagen, as will King Juan Carlos of Spain.

Japan has invited incoming Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Crown Prince Naruhito to attend.


Democrats plan to censure Wilson

Democratic leaders are planning a House vote early next week to admonish Republican Rep. Joe Wilson if he does not apologize on the House floor for yelling “You lie!” during President Obama’s health care address to a joint session of Congress.

National attention from the episode has money pouring in to Mr. Wilson’s campaign treasury and that of his 2010 Democratic challenger. Mr. Wilson had raised more than $700,000 since the incident as of Friday, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee. His opponent, Rob Miller, had received more than $875,000, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Democratic leaders initially showed mixed interest in punishing Mr. Wilson. But they decided at a meeting late Thursday that they probably will propose a resolution of disapproval early next week if he doesn’t apologize to Congress, said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

While not a formal censure or reprimand, the resolution, if passed as expected, would put Congress on record as condemning Mr. Wilson’s conduct. He apologized personally to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel but has resisted an expression of regret on the House floor.


Ex-Bush official escapes charges

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided not to bring any criminal charges against a former Bush administration official who lawmakers said lied to them in sworn testimony.

An inspector general’s report found that Bradley Schlozman, the former head of the civil rights division, misled lawmakers in sworn testimony about whether he politicized hiring decisions.

At his February confirmation hearing, Mr. Holder pledged he would review the decision to prosecute Mr. Schlozman when he took over the department and promised to strengthen and rebuild the civil rights division.

Mr. Holder’s decision was revealed in a letter sent to lawmakers on Friday.


Roberts: Sotomayor ‘wonderful colleague’

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said Friday it’s vital he and new Justice Sonia Sotomayor get along well because they could spend the next quarter century working together in close quarters.

“She’s going to be a delightful, wonderful colleague,” Chief Justice Roberts, nominated to the court by President George W. Bush, said of President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee. “We’re going to be working together closely, who knows, for 25 years.”

A sometimes wisecracking Chief Justice Roberts let the University of Michigan’s law dean and about a dozen students and others put a wide range of questions to him during an on-stage discussion in Ann Arbor, Mich. Later, he attended a groundbreaking for a new classroom building.

Chief Justice Roberts said Justice Sotomayor’s long experience as a trial judge will aid the high court.

“She’ll be able to contribute in ways that most of us can’t,” he said.

Justices get along remarkably well, despite the public appearance of a deep conservative-liberal split, Chief Justice Roberts said. That means he and his colleagues feel a sense of loss when one of their number leaves and a new member steps in.


Judge chides CIA in secrets case

A federal judge is criticizing the CIA, saying it’s hiding behind dubious national security claims to shield itself from a potentially embarrassing lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth already has ruled that CIA officials committed fraud to protect a former covert agent accused in the lawsuit. The judge rejected an emergency request to put the case on hold while the government appeals.

In an opinion made public on Friday, Judge Lamberth said there is no good reason to delay.

In the suit, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent claims the CIA illegally wiretapped his home when he was stationed in Yangon, Myanmar. The CIA argues that allowing the case to proceed would divulge classified information.

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