- - Sunday, January 1, 2012


Shift brings new dynamic to GOP nominating contest

MERRIMACK — The political world will shift 1,300 miles to the east later this week.

The end of Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses means the beginning of a very different contest in New Hampshire.

The conservative activists who dominate the Iowa caucus will give way to a New Hampshire electorate that includes tea partyers, moderates and left-leaning independents alike. That means whom you see and what they say on the campaign trail will likely change.

Abortion will give way to taxes. Ethanol will be consumed by budget deficits. There’s also the curse of the front-runner to consider.

Regardless of the outcome in Iowa, New Hampshire voters delight in upsetting the conventional wisdom.

An Iowa Republican caucus winner has never won a New Hampshire primary in the modern era.


Obama remembers family history while vacationing

HONOLULU — President Obama spent New Year’s Day remembering his family’s history in Hawaii.

Mr. Obama took his wife and daughters to visit his grandfather’s grave Sunday morning. The president’s grandfather, Stanley Dunham, is buried at Punchbowl National Cemetery.

The Obamas then headed to the East-West Center, a research and exhibition center that is featuring a display on the anthropological work of the president’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

The center says the exhibition includes photographs taken during Dunham’s years of field research in Indonesia, as well as her personal art and artifact collection.

Mr. Obama was born and mostly raised in Honolulu, though he spent a few years as a boy living in Indonesia with his mother.


Santorum says he would bomb Iran nuclear sites

Republican Rick Santorum says that if he’s elected president, he would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities unless they were opened for international arms inspectors.

Mr. Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, says President Obama hasn’t done enough to prevent the Iranian government from building a nuclear weapon and has risked turning the U.S. into a “paper tiger.”

Mr. Santorum tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would tell Iranian leaders that either they open up those facilities, begin to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors — or the U.S. would attack them.

The Obama administration, like the Bush administration, has focused primarily on international diplomacy and economic penalties to try to pressure Iran into abandoning its nuclear program. Iran insists its efforts are for peaceful purposes.


18 Occupy protesters arrested at campaign offices

URBANDALE — Eighteen protesters connected to the nationwide Occupy movement were arrested Saturday outside the presidential campaign headquarters of Republicans Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

Local police in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, say the 16 adults and two juveniles were arrested for trespass, a simple misdemeanor. Most were released later Saturday.

Dozens of demonstrators massed outside the office where Mrs. Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, had come to rally staff and make calls to potential caucus-goers. Campaign security told the protesters not to approach the office.

Urbandale police Lt. Kent Knopf said the 10 Occupy demonstrators were arrested, handcuffed and taken away in squad cars from Mrs. Bachmann’s office after they ignored security, who called police.

Mrs. Bachmann did not come outside of the building, but she laughed off the disruption. “The people who are outside are the president’s re-election advance team,” she told reporters and others inside the office.

One young demonstrator, a 16-year-old high school student who was among those arrested in front of Mrs. Bachmann’s office, said she wished the candidate had come out and heard her concerns about the cost of higher education, the war in Afghanistan and the national debt.

The protesters moved on to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign office, where no arrests were reported, and then on to Mr. Gingrich’s office, where five more arrests were made. The demonstration shifted to Mr. Santorum’s office, where three more were arrested.

Hundreds of Occupy activists from at least 10 states were expected to participate in a “People’s Caucus” in Des Moines as the Jan. 3 caucuses near. The activists are promising to interrupt candidates at events and camp out at their Iowa campaign offices.


U.S. seals $3.48B missile deal with U.A.E.

The United States has reached a deal to sell $3.48 billion worth of missiles and related technology to the United Arab Emirates, a close Mideast ally, as part of a massive buildup of defense technology among friendly Mideast nations near Iran.

Pentagon spokesman George Little announced the Christmas Day sale on Friday night.

He noted that the U.S. and United Arab Emirates have a strong defense relationship and are both interested in “a secure and stable” Persian Gulf region.

The deal includes 96 missiles, along with supporting technology and training support that Mr. Little says will bolster the emirates’ missile-defense capacity.

The deal includes a contract with Lockheed Martin to produce the highly sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, weapon system for the United Arab Emirates.

Tom McGrath, vice president and program manager for Lockheed Martin’s THAAD program, said in a statement released in Dallas that it was the first foreign military sale of the THAAD system.

THAAD interceptors are produced at Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Facility in Troy, Ala. The launchers and fire-control units are produced at the company’s Camden, Ark., facility.

Wary of Iran, the U.S. has been building up missile defenses of its allies, including a $1.7 billion deal to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s Patriot missiles and the sale of 209 Patriot missiles to Kuwait, valued at about $900 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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