- - Sunday, May 27, 2012

A member of the National Labor Relations Board accused of leaking inside information has resigned.

The board says Republican Terence Flynn submitted his resignation Saturday. He had been under pressure to leave since March, when the board’s inspector general said Mr. Flynn committed ethics violations by improperly revealing confidential details on the status of pending cases.

Mr. Flynn shared the information with two former board members, including a one-time labor adviser to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s campaign. That adviser, Peter Schaumber, left the Romney campaign in December, around the time the investigation into Mr. Flynn began.

Mr. Flynn had denied any wrongdoing, but the inspector general issued a second report earlier this month finding even more improper disclosures. The allegations have been referred to the Justice Department.


McCain: Don’t count on Russia to force out Assad

Sen. John McCain says the U.S. shouldn’t count on Russia to force out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and he blames President Obama for a “feckless foreign policy” that hasn’t contained the bloodshed.

It was a particularly sharp rebuke even for Mr. McCain, who as a longtime critic of Mr. Obama’s war strategy hasn’t pulled many punches.

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee told “Fox News Sunday” that the U.S. shouldn’t pin its hopes on Russia intervening in Syria. He said Mr. Obama is showing he “wants to kick the can down the road” until after the election.

The Syrian government on Sunday denied responsibility for killing more than 90 people, including 32 children. The White House condemned the attack as a “vile testament to an illegitimate regime.”


Biden says end to wars gives U.S. new flexibility

WEST POINT — Vice President Joseph R. Biden said Saturday that the United States can now focus on new global challenges after a long decade of war in an election-year commencement address to jubilant graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

“Winding down these longs wars has enabled us to replace and rebalance and replace our foreign policy,” Mr. Biden told the Army cadets and their families at the storied academy’s football stadium.

Mr. Biden’s speech echoed some of the themes of military success struck by President Obama in his commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy last Wednesday. Mr. Biden, like Mr. Obama, said U.S. combat troops have returned home from Iraq, the conflict in Afghanistan is winding down and American commandos killed al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

“Those warriors sent a message to the world that if you harm America, we will follow you to the end of the Earth,” Mr. Biden said.

The academy speeches by Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden counter an assertion from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that the president has led from behind in world affairs. Mr. Biden said the United States will continue to take charge internationally and focus on Asia, particularly China, which he called “the most critical relationship to get right.”


Senator asks airlines to drop seat fee for kids

NEW YORK — Sen. Charles E. Schumer is urging airlines to allow families with young children to sit together without paying extra.

The New York Democrat is reacting to an Associated Press story last week detailing how families this summer are going to find it harder to sit together without paying fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars over the original ticket price.

“Children need access to their parents and parents need access to their children,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. “Unnecessary airline fees shouldn’t serve as a literal barrier between mother and child.”

Since last year, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines have increased the percent of seats they set aside for elite frequent fliers or customers willing to pay extra. Fees for the seats — on the aisle, next to windows, or with more legroom — vary, but typically cost $25 extra, each way.

Airlines are searching for more ways to raise revenue to offset rising fuel prices. Airfare alone typically doesn’t cover the cost of operating a flight. In the past five years, airlines have added fees for checked baggage, watching TV, skipping security lines and boarding early. Fees for better seats have existed for a few years but have proliferated in the last 12 months.

Mr. Schumer is asking Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to issue rules preventing airlines from charging parents more to sit next to kids. He is also asking the industry’s trade group, Airlines for America, to persuade carriers to voluntarily waive the fee for families.


Romney has tighter state path as Obama takes aim

President Obama faces new warnings in a once-promising Southern state and typically Democratic Midwestern states roughly five months before the election, even amid encouraging economic news.

The Democrat’s new worries about North Carolina and Wisconsin are potential opportunities for Republican Mitt Romney, who must peel off states Mr. Obama won in 2008 to capture the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

If the election were today, Mr. Obama would likely pick up 247 electoral votes to Mr. Romney’s 206, according to an Associated Press analysis of polls, ad spending and developments in states, along with interviews with Republican and Democratic strategists.

Seven states that offer a combined 85 electoral votes are viewed as too close to give either candidate a meaningful advantage. They are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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