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POLITICS DIGEST

Saturday, December 5, 2009

CONSERVATIVES

Palin backs questions on Obama citizenship

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is lending her support to a conspiracy theory promoted by fringe groups, saying of the idea that President Obama may not have an American birth certificate, "I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue."

Palin's comments came in an interview Thursday on "The Rusty Humphries Show," a conservative radio program, while promoting her book about the 2008 presidential campaign, "Going Rogue."

"I think it's a fair question, just like I think past associations and past voting records -- all of that is fair game," the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee said.

Those who question Obama's birthplace have become known as "birthers" and are a persistent and vocal presence in GOP circles, especially within the Tea Party movement that has sprung up over the course of 2009.

But as news of her comments spread online, Palin took to Facebook on Friday to say that, while she may have said she supports others questioning the president about his citizenship, she herself has not raised such questions.

-- Garance Franke-Ruta

ILLINOIS

Office of Blagojevich attorneys burglarized

Chicago police are investigating a break-in at the offices of two members of former governor Rod Blagojevich's legal team.

Officer Michael Fitzpatrick, a police spokesman, said "some computers were taken" in the burglary overnight. He said Friday that investigators don't know what was stored on the computers' hard drives.

The break-in took place at the offices of veteran Chicago criminal defense attorney Sam Adam and his son, Samuel E. Adam. They are two of the three leading members of Blagojevich's defense team.

Blagojevich is charged with scheming to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by President Obama and other offenses. His trial is due to start June 3.

-- Associated Press

Houston mayor enters governor's race: Houston Mayor Bill White (D) announced Friday that he will run for Texas governor, giving up his campaign for the Senate seat currently held by Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican candidate for governor.

Former congressman's aide arrested: The campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) was arrested on charges of embezzling about $250,000 in campaign funds. Michael Sohn is accused of stealing campaign funds from 2005 to 2008 by writing himself checks and using the campaign's debit card for unauthorized purchases. He pleaded not guilty in federal court and was released on $100,000 bail.

-- From staff and news services

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