News Briefs

Published March 17, 2008

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.

Florida Dems scrap mail-in primary plan

Facing strong opposition, Florida Democrats on Monday abandoned plans to hold a do-over presidential primary with a mail-in vote and threw the delegate dispute into the lap of the national party.

While the decision by Florida Democrats left the state's 210 delegates in limbo, Democrats in Michigan moved closer to holding another contest on June 3. Legislative leaders reviewed a measure yesterday that would set up a privately funded, state-administered do-over primary.

"A party-run primary or caucus has been ruled out, and it's simply not possible for the state to hold another election, even if the party were to pay for it," Democratic Party chairwoman Karen L. Thurman Thurman said. "... This doesn't mean that Democrats are giving up on Florida voters. It means that a solution will have to come from the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee, which is scheduled to meet again in April."

Members of Florida's congressional delegation unanimously opposed the plan, and Barack Obama expressed concern about the security of a mail-in vote organized so quickly. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign expressed disappointment with Florida's decision.

NEW YORK

Bill Clinton says media spun his comments about race

Former President Clinton yesterday called the notion that he unfairly criticized his wife's rival, Barack Obama, "a total myth and a mugging."

Clinton had compared Obama's landslide victory in South Carolina's Jan. 26 primary to Jesse Jackson's wins in the state in 1984 and 1988. Clinton was widely criticized for appearing to cast Obama as little more than a black candidate popular in a state with a heavily black electorate.

"They made up a race story out of that," Clinton said of the news media, calling the story "a bizarre spin."

BAGHDAD

Suicide bomber kills 43 people

A female suicide bomber struck Shiite worshippers in the holy city of Karbala yesterday, an official and a witness said, killing at least 43 people and leaving pools of blood on the street leading to one of Iraq's most revered mosques.

The blast was the deadliest in a series of attacks that left at least 72 Iraqis dead, including six youths killed when mortar rounds slammed into a soccer field in eastern Baghdad.

Two U.S. soldiers also were killed yesterday in a roadside bombing north of Baghdad, bringing the American death toll closer to 4,000 as the U.S.-led war enters its sixth year. At least 3,990 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

WASHINGTON

Levin: U.S. should take some blame for Iraqi conflict

Senator Carl Levin says the United States needs to transfer more responsibility for the conflict in Iraq to the Iraqi forces.

Levin, who leads the Senate Armed Services Committee, spent the weekend in Iraq. He says the U.S. needs to shift more responsibility in the military and political realm, but also on the economic side.

He said the Iraqis have the surplus funds to do their own reconstruction and to purchase weapons, and they need to take a bigger share of the cost.

- Compiled from Daily wire reports