- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Carter sickened, rests at hospital

CLEVELAND | Former President Jimmy Carter, on a trip promoting his new book, developed an upset stomach on a flight to Cleveland on Tuesday and was taken to a hospital, officials said.

Mr. Carter’s grandson, Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter, said his 85-year-old grandfather was doing fine.

“He’s definitely resting comfortably and expected to continue his book tour this week,” Jason Carter said. “I haven’t talked to him, but nobody in the family is concerned.”

Jason Carter said earlier on his Facebook page that his grandfather had left the hospital, but he later told the Associated Press that he had the wrong information. A spokeswoman at MetroHealth hospital in Cleveland confirmed that he was still there Tuesday afternoon.

The Carter Center, the Atlanta-based nonprofit known for its international work on human rights and public health, said Mr. Carter was expected to resume his book tour this week.

The former president was a passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Cleveland when he became ill. After the plane landed, he was taken off by rescue crews, said Jackie Mayo, a spokeswoman at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

President Obama called Mr. Carter from Air Force One as he traveled from New Mexico to Wisconsin, White House spokesman Bill Burton said. Mr. Carter was feeling great, Mr. Burton said.


Candidate changes story about felon

ALLENTOWN | A former federal prosecutor running for Congress has dropped his claim that he had permission from the Justice Department to serve as a personal reference for a convicted felon seeking a casino license.

Republican Tom Marino asserted in an April radio interview that his superiors authorized him to act as a reference on a casino application submitted by businessman Louis DeNaples at a time when Mr. Marino’s office was investigating Mr. DeNaples.

Mr. Marino’s account was called into doubt when the Associated Press reported Sept. 17 that there was no documentation that Mr. Marino had permission from the Justice Department to vouch for Mr. DeNaples, a northeastern Pennsylvania businessman who was convicted in a 1970s scheme to defraud the government of more than $500,000.

Mr. Marino now says he never asked for permission because he didn’t need it. He told the Daily Item of Sunbury in a story published Tuesday that he was permitted to provide personal references as long as he didn’t use his job title or attempt to promote staffers.

“I did it all the time,” he said, according to the paper.

Campaign spokesman Jason Fitzgerald on Tuesday confirmed Mr. Marino’s comments in the newspaper, but refused to make the candidate available to the AP, saying his “schedule will not permit” an interview.

Justice spokeswoman Jessica Smith, who confirmed last week that Mr. Marino never received the permission he claimed to have, declined immediate comment.


40 states bank on rising revenue

The vast majority of state governments are anticipating a rise in tax revenue this year after two years of sharp drops. Analysts caution that most states will face large budget gaps in the next few years.

Forty states forecast increases in tax receipts in the current fiscal year, according to a forthcoming report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Slow economic growth is boosting proceeds from income and sales taxes.

That could reduce the impact of states’ budget struggles on the economy. State budget shortfalls have led to widespread layoffs, tax increases, spending cuts and other measures that have restrained economic growth.

“We do think 2010 is the bottom and we are at a turning point,” said Corina L. Eckl, director of the fiscal affairs program at the NCSL and author of the report.

Still, state officials aren’t without enormous challenges. States will lose federal stimulus money in coming years and will struggle to close large budget gaps. Tax revenues are well below pre-recession levels. High unemployment rates put heavy demand on state-run social service programs.

“Stability and growth in tax collections is very good news,” the report said. “But in the near term it will not be enough to propel states out of their fiscal difficulties.”

Overall, states raised taxes and cut spending to eliminate budget gaps that totaled $84 billion for fiscal 2011, which in most states began July 1. The NCSL forecasts a total gap of $72 billion in fiscal 2012 and $64 billion in 2013. That means more job cuts and tax increases could be needed.


Witness recants lobbyist testimony

A former congressional aide has recanted his testimony in an influence-peddling trial, eliminating himself as a key witness against a former lobbyist.

John Albaugh, who was chief of staff to Rep. Ernest Istook, Oklahoma Republican, has told prosecutors he no longer feels he gave favors to clients of Jack Abramoff’s firm because lobbyists there gave him free meals and event tickets.

Mr. Albaugh testified that he had been influenced by the gifts in last year’s corruption trial of Abramoff associate Kevin Ring. The jury could not agree on whether Mr. Ring was guilty. Prosecutors are scheduled to retry Mr. Ring in three weeks.

Attorneys revealed Mr. Albaugh’s change of heart in a pretrial hearing Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle responded that Mr. Albaugh had been the prosecution’s “strongest witness.”


Kaine: No slight in Feingold skip

Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine said he saw no slight in Sen. Russ Feingold’s absence at a campaign rally Tuesday night where President Obama appeared on his behalf.

Mr. Kaine told CBS’s “The Early Show” that candidates “make their own decisions about these things.”

Mr. Kaine, a former Virginia governor, said Mr. Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, understands that Mr. Obama can energize the party’s base.

Mr. Kaine said Mr. Obama is appealing particularly to college-age Americans to become more active in the midterm elections.

“We just need to make them aware of the importance of these elections,” he said.

Mr. Obama’s standing in public opinion polls has been falling in recent months, and some Democratic candidates have been reluctant to appear with him.

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