New Governor For New York, Pledging Unity
Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson ascended to New York’s highest office on Monday, pledging civility and unity in government to an enthusiastic and palpably relieved gathering of state lawmakers and officials.
Paterson was sworn in as the state’s 55th governor shortly after 1 p.m., almost exactly a week after reports that his predecessor, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, had been a customer of a prostitution ring and faced federal investigation.
In a speech lasting about half an hour, Paterson offered fond wisecracks and soothing oratory to an audience that clearly ached to move beyond what has been an unusually sordid ordeal even for Albany, a capital well acquainted with political scandal.
Speaking to a joint session of the state Assembly and the Senate, Paterson alluded briefly to Spitzer’s difficulties over the past year in working with the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate.
“What we are going to do from now on is what we always should have done: We are going to work together,” said Paterson, a 53-year-old Democrat from Harlem. “With conviction in our brains and compassion in our hearts and the love for New York on our sleeves, we will dedicate ourselves to principle but always maintain the ability to listen.”
Obama Speech Aims To Defuse Pastor’s Words
Faced with what his advisers acknowledged was a major test for his candidacy, Sen. Barack Obama sought on Monday to contain the damage from incendiary comments made by his pastor and prepared to address the issue of race more directly than at any other moment of his presidential campaign.
Though he has faced questions about controversial statements by the pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, for more than a year, Obama is enduring intense new scrutiny now over Wright’s characterizations of the United States as fundamentally racist and the government as corrupt and murderous.
Obama, in a speech Tuesday in Philadelphia, will repeat his earlier denunciations of the minister’s words, aides said. But they said he would also use the opportunity to open a broader discussion of race, which throughout the course of his presidential campaign he has sought to transcend. He will bluntly address racial divisions, one aide said, talking about the way they play out in church, in the campaign, and beyond.
On Monday evening Obama continued to write the speech, which he believes could be one of the most important of his candidacy, aides said. His wife, Michelle, had not been scheduled to travel with him this week, but hastily made plans to be in Philadelphia.
Obama said that in his speech, to be given at the National Constitution Center, he would “talk a little bit about how some of these issues are perceived from within the black church community, for example, which I think views this very differently.”
U.S. Adapts Cold-War Idea To Fight Terrorists
In the days immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, members of President Bush’s war cabinet declared that it would be impossible to deter the most fervent extremists from carrying out even more deadly terrorist missions with biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.
Since then, however, administration, military and intelligence officials assigned to counterterrorism have begun to change their view. After piecing together a more nuanced portrait of terrorist organizations, they say there is reason to believe that a combination of efforts could in fact establish something akin to the posture of deterrence, the strategy that helped protect the United States from a Soviet nuclear attack during the Cold War.
Interviews with more than two dozen senior officials involved in the effort provided the outlines of previously unreported missions to mute al-Qaida’s message, turn the jihadi movement’s own weaknesses against it and illuminate al-Qaida’s errors whenever possible.
A primary focus has become cyberspace, which is the global safe haven of terrorist networks. To counter efforts by terrorists to plot attacks, raise money and recruit new members on the Internet, the government has mounted a secret campaign to plant bogus e-mail messages and Web site postings, with the intent to sow confusion, dissent and distrust among militant organizations, officials confirm.
Florida Won’t Vote Again, State’s Top Democrat Says
Florida’s Democratic chairwoman on Monday officially buried the possibility of redoing the state’s disputed January presidential primary, saying there was no practical or affordable way to conduct a new election.
Karen L. Thurman, leader of the Florida Democratic Party, essentially threw up her hands after failing to secure approval for a new election from state officials or the campaigns of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Thurman said in a statement late Monday that party officials in Florida had proposed such a plan last week. It was unceremoniously shot down, she said.
“Thousands of people responded,” she said. “We spent the weekend reviewing your messages, and while your reasons vary widely, the consensus is clear: Florida doesn’t want to vote again. So we won’t.”
The decision leaves the fate of the state’s 211 Democratic convention delegates in limbo, with no plan on the table for determining whether or how they will be seated at the Democratic National Convention in August.