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Tampa is recommended site for Republican National Convention

Thursday, May 13, 2010; A04

2012 CAMPAIGN

Tampa recommended for GOP convention

The Republican National Committee's site-selection committee on Wednesday unanimously recommended Tampa as the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

As a Florida committeewoman credited Tampa's experience in two previous bids with bolstering its prospects, RNC Chairman Michael S. Steele brushed off questions about whether Phoenix, one of two cities that lost out, was hurt by a tough new Arizona law that cracks down on illegal immigration.

"No, no," Steele said. "It was a business decision."

Committee members, meeting at National Harbor, told reporters that Tampa simply had more resources than Phoenix or the other finalist, Salt Lake City.

Steele said he will visit Tampa "probably this week" before an official decision is made at an RNC meeting in August.

-- Dave Weigel

HEALTH CARE

White House defends legislation in court

The assertion that Congress overstepped the Constitution by requiring Americans to carry health insurance is "flatly wrong," the Obama administration said Wednesday in its first court defense of the health-care law.

Congress acted well within its power to regulate interstate commerce and to provide for the general welfare, Justice Department lawyers argued in a 46-page brief, filed in federal district court in Detroit. For the courts to overturn the legislation would amount to unwarranted interference with the policymaking authority of Congress, they added.

Critics contend that Congress cannot require average citizens to buy a particular good or service.

-- Associated Press

SOLICITOR GENERAL

Gov. Gregoire on list to replace Kagan

The White House confirmed Wednesday that Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) is being considered to replace Elena Kagan as the nation's solicitor general if Kagan becomes a Supreme Court justice.

A White House official declined to disclose other names under consideration for solicitor general, who represents the government before the Supreme Court. Media reports have suggested that White House lawyer Don Verrilli and Kagan's deputy, Neal Katyal, are also in contention.

Gregoire worked in the state attorney general's office from 1977 to 1988. And she was elected Washington attorney general in 1992, serving nearly 12 years in that role before winning the governorship in 2004.

-- Seattle Times

FLORIDA SENATE

Crist now says he won't refund money

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday that he will not return donations to his Senate campaign following his defection from the Republican Party.

"People gave to a good cause, and we're going to spend it on a good cause," he said as he changed his voter registration to "no party affiliation" in his home town of St. Petersburg. "That's why I'm going to keep it. It's important to be able to get our message out and communicate with the people of Florida."

In an April 30 interview with MSNBC, Crist said he would "probably" give refunds to donors who want their money back. But campaign spokeswoman Michelle Todd said Wednesday that no refunds will be given, adding, "We have never made an official statement before. It is now the official statement."

-- Miami Herald

IMMIGRATION

Most approve of new Ariz. law, poll finds

A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds that about six in 10 adults approve of Arizona's new immigration law granting local police greater authority in combating illegal immigration.

The law has sparked protests from those who oppose several of its provisions.

But the Pew poll suggests these measures are broadly popular.

Nearly three-quarters approve of requiring people to produce documents verifying that they are in the country legally, two-thirds said police should be allowed to detain those who cannot prove their status, and 62 percent favor allowing police to question those they suspect of being illegal immigrants. Overall, 59 percent say they approve of the law, while 32 percent disapprove.

-- Jennifer Agiesta

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