- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2010

HAITI

Clinton backing sought in Haiti case

The U.S.-based attorneys for one of 10 American Baptists charged with child kidnapping in Haiti appealed Tuesday for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to intervene in the case.

Attorneys for detainee Jim Allen said in a letter to Mrs. Clinton that they are concerned their client may not have adequate legal representation and has not been able to speak with his wife, Lisa, since being arrested in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.

“Without questioning the integrity of the individuals involved in the Haitian judicial system, we think it is clear that the unprecedented situation that exists in Haiti now requires a response beyond what would be expected in the ordinary course,” lawyers Reginald Brown and Jennifer O’Connor said in the letter.

The State Department said Tuesday that the detainees - who insist they are innocent and were on a humanitarian mission - had been receiving consular visits from U.S. diplomats and that it would be unusual for Mrs. Clinton or any secretary of state to get personally involved.

WHITE HOUSE

Concert moved up to beat snow

Facing another wintry wallop, the White House decided to move a concert celebrating civil rights music from Wednesday to Tuesday to beat what could be a second crippling storm in a week.

The White House announced that Wednesday’s concert would be performed on Tuesday because of a coming storm. President Obama planned remarks, and first lady Michelle Obama was also set to attend the event, which was transforming the formal East Room into a concert-style stage.

Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez planned to perform, along with Yolanda Adams, Natalie Cole, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Seal and the Blind Boys of Alabama. The Howard University Choir and the Freedom Singers also were set to perform at an event featuring Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Queen Latifah.

Tuesday night’s concert is just the latest imprint Mrs. Obama has left on Washington’s social scene. There was a conga line to Earth, Wind and Fire’s performance when the Obamas hosted the nation’s governors a year ago. Stevie Wonder played a concert in the East Room. Marc Anthony took to the South Lawn for an evening of Hispanic music, and Foo Fighters played the Fourth of July party there.

NEW YORK

Democrats offer Paterson little support

ALBANY | Gov. David A. Paterson is getting little support from Albany’s other top Democrats as he fights what he calls attacks on his character.

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo is refusing to comment Tuesday on reports in blogs and news accounts of womanizing and drug use by the governor. Mr. Cuomo’s office also won’t comment on whether he supports Mr. Paterson.

Many Democrats have expressed wishes that Mr. Cuomo would run for governor instead of Mr. Paterson, who took the post upon the resignation of Eliot Spitzer.

Republican candidate Rick Lazio says the rumors create a toxic atmosphere that blocks legislative action. He says no public official should face such unconfirmed personal attacks.

Mr. Paterson referred to the attacks Monday in an Associated Press interview as false, callous and sleazy.

COMMERCE

Wholesale inventories cut 0.8 percent

Businesses slashed wholesale inventories sharply in December, a much weaker showing than had been expected.

The Commerce Department says that wholesale inventories were reduced 0.8 percent in December. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected inventories to rise by 1 percent during the month.

The government said that sales at the wholesale level did rise in December, increasing 0.8 percent.

The weakness in inventory rebuilding in December was an indication that businesses, still struggling to emerge from the deepest recession in decades, are not yet confident enough in rising sales to begin rebuilding their stockpiles on a sustained basis.

TALKING POINTS

Talk to the hand: Gibbs tweaks Palin

Even the White House’s top spokesman is getting in on the act of mocking former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin for looking to talking points written on her palm during a speech to tea party activists over the weekend.

Robert Gibbs showed the words “hope” and “change” on his hand as he started his daily briefing with reporters on Tuesday. Many in the room, where President Obama had spoken just moments before about the need for bipartisanship, groaned at the political shot.

Mrs. Palin spoke Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., and photographs show she had “energy,” “tax cuts” and “lift American spirits” on her hand. During one question, she looked down at the palm of her hand for a cue.

In her speech, she mocked Mr. Obama’s use of teleprompters.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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