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Digest

Mehlman to step down as head of RNC

By TIMES WIRES
Published November 10, 2006


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Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, whose party lost both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections, will step down from his post when his two-year term ends in January, the Associated Press reported Thursday, citing unnamed GOP officials. Brian Jones, an RNC spokesman, declined to comment beyond saying an announcement about Mehlman's future would be made in the next few days. Mehlman became RNC chairman after managing Bush's campaign in 2004, when the president won re-election and Republicans expanded their majorities in the House and the Senate.

Odds against Bolton approval

John Bolton's prospects for winning Senate approval to stay on as U.N. ambassador took a hit Thursday as Democrats and a pivotal Republican said they would oppose his nomination. The White House on Thursday resubmitted Bolton's nomination to the Senate, where the appointment has languished for more than a year. Bush appointed him to the job temporarily in August 2005 while Congress was in recess, an appointment that will expire when the Congress adjourns, no later than January. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., who was defeated by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse on Tuesday, told reporters in Rhode Island that he would continue opposing Bolton. That would likely deny Republicans the votes needed to move Bolton's nomination from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the full Senate. If Bush is forced to find a replacement for Bolton, it would come as the administration is relying heavily on the U.N. in confrontations with North Korea and Iran over their nuclear programs and in trying to end fighting in Sudan.

Lawmakers delay gay marriage vote

Massachusetts lawmakers on Thursday avoided taking a formal stand on a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, recessing a constitutional convention instead of taking up the thorny issue. If lawmakers do not vote on the measure before the next Legislature takes office, the measure will not appear on the November 2008 ballot. A vote appeared unlikely because they recessed until Jan. 2, the last day this Legislature is in session. Lawmakers voted 196-0 to reject a proposed amendment that would bar same-sex marriages and invalidate the thousands that already have been conducted, but decided 109-87 to recess without voting on another measure that would stop such marriages only after the amendment was enacted.

President Bush set for trip to Asia

On his upcoming trip to Asia, President Bush will chat with Japan's new prime minister and stoke his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He'll discuss terrorism, bird flu, trade and other issues with leaders of Vietnam and Indonesia. Bush leaves on the eight-day trip on Tuesday. As a gesture of friendship to Russia, Air Force One will make a refueling stop in Moscow on its way to southeast Asia, where Bush is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Hanoi. It will be the president's second trip to Singapore and Indonesia and his first trip to Vietnam.

 

[Last modified November 10, 2006, 01:43:49]


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