National briefs: Obama to dine with Romney

Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will have lunch today with his onetime Republican rival, Mitt Romney, at the White House, making good on an election-night pledge by the president to meet with Mr. Romney.

The White House announced the event Wednesday, in a statement released by Mr. Obama's press secretary. The lunch will take place in the Private Dining Room, next to the Oval Office in the West Wing, the White House said.

Mr. Romney, in private conversations with donors shortly after the election, blamed his loss in part on the president promising "gifts" to Democratic constituencies like minorities and students.

GI's brig-abuse claim

FORT MEADE, Md. -- An Army private accused of sending reams of classified U.S. documents to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks was kept in tight pretrial confinement partly because another prisoner had recently committed suicide, the former security chief at the Quantico, Va., Marine Corps base testified Wednesday.

Marine Col. Robert Oltman appeared as a witness on the second day of a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is seeking dismissal of all charges, claiming his confinement in the Quantico brig amounted to illegal punishment.

Col. Oltman and others have testified that psychiatrists who examined Pvt. Manning at Quantico repeatedly recommended that his conditions be eased. But Col. Oltman, whose command included the brig, said he was skeptical about at least one of those recommendations because another detainee had killed himself in December 2009 after his custody status was reduced based upon the advice of the same doctor, Navy Capt. William Hochter, the psychiatrist assigned to the brig.

Sandy aid pushed

WASHINGTON -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seeking to inject some urgency into getting tens of billions of dollars in new federal aid flowing to victims of Superstorm Sandy, but Congress seems reluctant to move quickly as it wrestles with the nation's budget crisis.

Mr. Bloomberg met Wednesday with several congressional leaders to press the need for help to those hit hard by the storm, including $42 billion for the state of New York. An uphill fight is expected.

Joy at White House

WASHINGTON -- "Joy to All" is the theme of the Obamas' fourth Christmas in the White House, which threw open its festive, fir-draped doors Wednesday to the first guests of the season, U.S. troops and their children.

Fifty-four live Christmas trees lend color and sparkle to the Executive Mansion. The largest of the trees is an 18-foot, 6-inch Fraser fir from North Carolina that is festooned with ornaments crafted by children from U.S. military bases.

Amid the greenery and garlands, another highlight: a gingerbread house, weighing almost 300 pounds, featuring lit chandeliers and a replica of first lady Michelle Obama's garden.

Also in the nation ...

Texas wants ownership of Warren Jeffs' massive ranch where prosecutors say the convicted polygamist sect leader and his followers sexually assaulted dozens of children, the state attorney general's office said Wednesday. ... Yoselyn Ortega, the nanny accused in the stabbing deaths of two children in her care at their upscale New York City home, pleaded not guilty Wednesday inside a hospital room where she has been treated for self-inflicted stab wounds.

nation - localnews


You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here