WASHINGTON - After a week of criticism, an abortion rights group said Thursday night it is withdrawing a controversial television advertisement that attempts to link Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to violent antiabortion activists.
"We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
"Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public," she said in a letter Thursday to Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will question Roberts next month. Specter had urged the group to withdraw the ad.
Specter, who supports abortion rights, earlier Thursday had called the ad "blatantly untrue and unfair."
At least one television station had already refused to run the ad. Mike Young, vice president and general manager of WABI in Bangor, Maine, said his station initially ran the ad before deciding to pull it Thursday.
"After careful, thoughtful analysis, we determined the ad was at worst false, and at best misleading," he said.
Gunman kills Georgia police officer, then himself
PINE LAKE, Ga. - A man shot a police officer to death Thursday after a traffic stop in suburban Atlanta, then ran inside a post office and killed himself, authorities said.
A witness said the gunman was holding the officer hostage in front of the building when he shot him at point-blank range. The gunman and another officer exchanged fire before the gunman fled into the post office, and it was surrounded by police.
All four postal employees managed to escape through the back of the building, and it was not immediately known if any customers were inside at the time, said Paul Krenn, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The slain officer worked for the police department in the Atlanta suburb of Pine Lake, DeKalb County police Chief Louis Graham said.
The gunman died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Krenn said.
Tropical Storm Irene gets stronger, edges closer
MIAMI - A renewed Tropical Storm Irene was gradually intensifying Thursday as it moved closer to the East Coast, forecasters said.
Irene could become a hurricane today, and it was expected to continue over the next five days toward the coast somewhere from South Carolina to New Jersey, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
"A possible U.S. landfall by (Tuesday) cannot be ruled out at this time," hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said.
Irene had top sustained winds near 50 mph and was expected to strengthen as it moves over warm waters. Hurricanes have sustained winds of at least 74 mph.
At 5 p.m. EDT, Irene was centered about 950 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and moving west-northwest at about 15 mph, forecasters said.
Irene weakened into a tropical depression Monday, but regained tropical storm strength Wednesday.