Tax Returns of Joe Biden Vice Presidential Candidate

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GOP tries to keep control of Mo.
Associated Press Writer
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Republicans will be playing some defense as they try to keep their
healthy majorities in the state House and Senate in the Nov. 4 election.
Republicans have controlled both chambers of the Legislature since 2003 when the GOP seized control of the
House in a windfall year. Two election cycles later, it's again in the House where any change of power is most
Republicans currently hold a 90-70 majority with three vacancies in the 163-member chamber - it takes 82
members to control the chamber. The Republicans held 97 seats in 2005 but have since slipped.
Top-ranking House Democrat Paul LeVota said that his party has done a better job recruiting candidates than in
past years, which he said would put more races in play and cut into Republicans' significant monetary advantage
by expanding where they have to spend cash.
LeVota, of Independence, said he's not certain Democrats will take control but is confident the margins in the
House will narrow.
"We will be very close to it," LeVota said. "But the ball does need to bounce our way in some of these districts."
But House Majority Leader Steven Tilley said Republicans aren't on the verge of losing control of the chamber
and that they could even gain a few seats. The GOP has even selected Ron Richard, of Joplin, to lead the
chamber next year because House Speaker Rod Jetton is term-limited and cannot seek re-election.
"If things go right, we could be above 90," said Tilley, R-Perryville. "If things don't go right and our candidates
don't do what we ask, I could see it in the mid-80s."
Republicans say their situation has improved dramatically since the beginning of the year when Gov. Matt Blunt
suddenly announced he would not seek re-election, presidential candidate John McCain was trying energize
Republican Party faithful and some GOP leaders feared they would have to struggle in November just to keep a
narrow majority.
In trying to keep that majority, House Republicans will have a lot more money than challenging Democrats to
spread around for their candidates.
Campaign finance reports from earlier this month show the House Republican Campaign Committee had raised
$2.6 million - more than three times as much as the House Democratic Campaign Committee. Republicans had
$1.5 million available to spend while the Democrats had $236,000.
Since that report, the GOP has added at least another $125,000 in September - most of which has come from
the campaigns of Gov. Matt Blunt and unchallenged House Republicans.
The size of campaign coffers, however, is not the only factor.
Since the Missouri House was expanded to 163 members nearly four decades ago, the party of the freshly
elected governor has picked up House seats in about two-thirds of the elections. But the Democrats and
Republicans each have claimed more than 10 seats during a gubernatorial election year just once.
The last time the Democrats did that well was in 1964 - when Lyndon Johnson easily defeated Barry Goldwater,
Warren Hearnes was elected to his first term as governor and Democrats gained control of three-quarters of the
House seats.

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The GOP picked up 15 seats in 1973 when Kit Bond was elected governor, though the Democrats kept a
significant majority that year.
So far, 26 House Republicans and 51 House Democrats have essentially guaranteed victory by winning their
party primaries because they face no one, a third party or an independent in the general election. Republicans
look likely to win in two additional St. Charles County seats, where the Democratic candidates have stopped
campaigning and declared they would resign if elected.
That leaves another 84 seats to be decided in campaigns that are at least between one Democrat and one
Republican. But House Democratic and Republicans leaders will be focusing heavily on several that they each
have identified as harbingers for how Election Day will turning.
One is the re-election bid of western Missouri Republican Bob Nance and the other is for northern Missouri
Democrat Rebecca McClanahan.
Nance, of Excelsior Springs, has served two terms even though his district had tended to lean Democratic. In
2006, he won by more than 2,800 votes of the more than 11,000 cast during that election. He's being challenged
by Barbara Lanning, who has served on the Lawson school board for 12 years.
McClanahan, of Kirksville, claimed an open House seat previously held by a Republican by just 151 votes in
2006. Thom Van Vleck, the director of counseling at A.T. Still University, is challenging her.
Half the 34-member state Senate is also up for election. The Republicans hold a 20-14 advantage, and the GOP
holds a 10-7 margin of those Senate seats not up for election.
Four Democrats and one Republican have all but guaranteed election because no one or only a third party
candidate has filed to run against them in the general election. But of the remaining 12 Senate seats on the
ballot, nine are controlled by Republicans, including six by senators who are seeking re-election.

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Hulshof calls for big changes in KC, St.
Louis schools
The Kansas City Star

Calling high-quality education a civil right, Kenny Hulshof challenged state officials Tuesday to revamp Kansas
City and St. Louis schools by giving parents more choices and teachers more flexibility.
Hulshof, the Republican candidate for governor, went to the Kansas City Public Library’s Central branch to lay
out a five-point plan to turn around the state’s two largest urban districts.
“Democrats and Republicans have shirked their duties,” Hulshof said. “I’m the only candidate in this race with the
political courage — guts, if you will — to take this on. I’m not the candidate of any teachers union. I’m the
candidate for students and parents living in our inner cities.”
Hulshof’s plan calls for more parental choice two ways. The first would encourage formation of more charter
schools within the two school districts. The second would provide tax credits for donations to a scholarship fund
to pay for tutoring or private school tuition.
Democrats criticized the plan, saying a diversion of public money into private schools would simply hurt public
schools already struggling to teach profoundly disadvantaged students.
Hulshof called such statements a shopworn defense of a wholly unacceptable status quo. Under his plan, money
for public schools would remain the same so that children who remained in the public school system would not
be shortchanged, he said.
Dramatic actions are needed, Hulshof said, because of the abysmal performance of the districts.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon responded to Hulshof’s plan by announcing his endorsement by
the Missouri Association of School Administrators. The group praised Nixon’s opposition to vouchers or tuition
tax credits, and his support for early-childhood education programs.
John Martin, interim superintendent of the Kansas City schools, gave Hulshof’s proposals a mixed review. He
called merit pay for good teachers “a heck of an idea.” Teachers unions don’t like the idea, but bonuses for
performance can be a valuable incentive to encourage excellence, he said.
Charter schools, which are public schools that operate independently of the district, have yet to prove their
worth, Martin said. Charters usually attract students with parents who are more involved with their children than
the typical district parent, he said, yet their scores are often not as good as the district’s schools, he said.
“Charters are a solution that everybody is pressing as if they are penicillin, but they have the effect of a placebo,”
Martin said.
The private-school scholarships also have a mixed record, he said. Private and parochial schools are usually not
equipped to deal with low-income children with high levels of needs, Martin said.
Studies have found that students who use such scholarships have not done better than peers who remained in
public schools, he said.

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Hulshof unveils urban education plan
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | 2:09 p.m. CDT

BY Chris Blank/The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY — Republican gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof announced Tuesday that he wants to
use private donations to help pay for teacher bonuses and student scholarships in Missouri's urban school
Hulshof's urban education plan adopts elements similar to those in legislation that has been debated but never
approved by the state legislature. The proposal calls for awarding tax credits to entice private donations that
would then be used to pay for salary bonuses for high-performing teachers and scholarships to cover tuition or
tutoring for students. The plan would apply only to Kansas City and St. Louis, although Hulshof left open the
possibility of expanding the bonuses portion to other parts of the state.
The bonuses would be funded through a combination of private donations and state money. A spokesman for
Hulshof's campaign said a series of objective standards would be set up to determine who deserves the pay
Spokesman Scott Baker said one idea is to test students at the beginning and end of a school year and reward
teachers whose students improve the most. Hulshof also has called for using bonuses to attract more teachers
for math and science, and the performance-based salary boost would come on top of that.
Lawmakers for several years have considered bills that are similar to the student scholarship portion of Hulshof's
plan. In 2007, the House rejected a version that had the support of Gov. Matt Blunt and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
That plan would have given tax credits to those who donate to nonprofit groups that provide student
But teachers' unions, school boards and other public education groups have opposed the idea, saying it would
redirect state funds to private schools.
Hulshof said in a written statement that Missouri's urban school districts are struggling and new steps are
needed to ensure that the students there are properly educated.
"The quality of education received by a student should not be dependent upon that child's ZIP code," he said.
"The problems facing our urban school districts have been going on for too long. This has resulted in generations
of students being cheated out of their chance to achieve their goals and dreams."
Hulshof, a congressman from Columbia, faces Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon in the Nov. 4
gubernatorial election.
Oren Shur, a spokesman for Nixon's campaign, said in a written statement that the attorney general wants to
offer tax incentives to spur donations that help public schools. Shur said Hulshof's plan would use public funds to
help private schools.
Shur said that Nixon would also work to reduce the class sizes and establish loan forgiveness, bonus pay and
other financial incentives to help recruit teachers.
"Instead of using taxpayer dollars for private schools, Jay Nixon believes we must encourage business leaders
and other individuals to invest in our public schools," Shur said.
Hulshof announced his urban education plan in Kansas City. The announcement had been initially scheduled for
Monday but was delayed so Hulshof could vote in Congress on a proposed $700 billion federal economic bailout

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Why Republicans are losing their hold on suburban America.

Jeanne Kirkton was out canvassing a few weeks ago along Lilac Avenue in Webster Groves, an old rail-line
suburb 5 miles west of St. Louis. Lilac is a street of modest ranch houses and fine old trees, where lots of
longtime residents — some well into their 80s — live next door to homes where yappy dogs pose a threat to the
slumber of newborns. Kirkton is a Democrat running for the Missouri House. The first voter she encounters on
the 600 block of Lilac is an older woman who promptly declares herself a Republican. Kirkton asks her whether
she supports stem-cell research. When the woman says she does, Kirkton agrees, and informs her that "that's
an issue where I differ with my opponent."
Kirkton has gotten used to running on "reverse wedge issues," trying to turn policy decisions that have profited
Missouri Republicans against them in an affluent suburban area where public opinions are shifting. There are
signs that the strategy is working. No Democrat has won in this district since its creation in 1966. But four years
ago, Kirkton nearly unseated Mike Gibbons, now the state Senate president pro tem, by making an issue of his
decisive vote to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons. Kirkton actually beat Gibbons within the House
district where she's now running. Today, area Republicans concede that she is well positioned to win a seat the
GOP never had to worry about in the past.
For the past 32 years, Webster Groves has been represented in the Missouri House by Republican women with
moderate to liberal positions on abortion and other social issues. They were able to attract independents and
even some Democratic voters, while maintaining the loyalty of Republicans drawn to the party primarily by its
anti-tax stance. In the primary this August, however, GOP voters rejected a moderate female candidate in favor
of Randy Jotte, a man who takes a hard line against abortion and favors school vouchers. "I would think Kirkton's
road is a little easier than Randy's, in terms of the perspective of the voters," says Laura Arnold, a political
scientist at Webster University.
Republicans already have lost their majority status in St. Louis County, a collection of suburbs that fan out west
from the St. Louis city line. There was a time not too long ago when the GOP assumed it could win statewide by
carrying the county. Now it has to find its margins elsewhere, because St. Louis County has grown reliably
Democratic over the past dozen years or so. That's in part due to demographic changes, such as the increasing
presence of African Americans, who made up 14 percent of the population in 1990 but comprise 22 percent
today. But it's also due to what Terry Jones, a University of Missouri-St. Louis political scientist, calls the
"rejection of the social conservatism of the Republican Party by more urbanized and suburban voters. The
Republican Party has set its course by appealing to rural and exurban issues in Missouri," Jones says. "That's
turned off some suburban voters."
What's happening in St. Louis County is taking place in most of metropolitan America. Suburban voters, who will
cast the majority of the votes in this year's election, are starting to tilt away from the GOP. Suburban newcomers,
including minorities and immigrants who no longer cluster in core cities — are leaning Democratic. Since 2004,
Democratic takeovers of the Minnesota House, the Virginia Senate and both chambers of the Colorado
legislature all have been the result of Republicans losing their hold on suburban territory.
This year, Ohio Democrats are pinning their hopes of winning the state House on four districts in suburban
Franklin County, outside Columbus. Democratic dreams of ending the GOP's decades-old majority in the New
York Senate also come down to suburban seats, both around New York City and Upstate. Last year, Democrats
won their first Senate seat on Long Island in more than two decades. Control of the Pennsylvania House will turn
on the question of whether Democrats can maintain or even expand on their recent strength in the suburbs
around Philadelphia. "The so-called inner-ring suburbs are now almost as dense and almost as politically

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Democratic as the central cities," says Lawrence Levy, director of the Center for Suburban Studies, at Long
Island's Hofstra University.
The result is that in some of the larger states, including Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois, Democrats have put
statewide offices nearly out of reach for most Republicans. "The expectation used to be that the Republican vote
in the suburbs would offset our loss in the city," says John Hancock, lead consultant to Missouri's Republican
gubernatorial nominee, Kenny Hulshof. "Now their circle has gotten bigger to take in suburban areas and even
some of the exurban areas."
The urbanization and Democratic "bluing" of the suburbs isn't happening everywhere. Suburbs in the nation's
South and Southwest remain very much available to the GOP. In Georgia, Republicans owe their legislative
majorities to suburban districts breaking for them over the past decade. Even outside the Sun Belt, less
populated outer-ring or "fringe" suburbs continue to favor Republicans. President Bush carried 97 of the nation's
100 fastest-growing counties in 2004, a reflection of continuing Republican strength in lands of big houses on
sprawling lots.
But in Missouri, as the Democratic core vote continues to extend outward from the central city of St. Louis,
Republicans are left with less room with which to work. Although they have dominated state politics in recent
years, they must turn out voters en masse in dozens of sparsely populated rural and exurban counties in order to
offset not just the big cities but also their losses in the suburbs. "Running statewide for a Republican is a harder
challenge," says Gibbons, the GOP state Senator who now is running for attorney general. "You have to gain a
substantial margin in the smaller counties. That means you have to travel all over the state, and you also have to
compete in suburban areas to hold them close."
“De Facto Blunt”
Missouri is a classic bellwether, having voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election but one
over the past century. It is part Midwestern and part Southern. Large sections of the state maintained Civil War-
era electoral patterns into the 1990s, when conservative rural voters finally broke their historic allegiance to the
Democrats and began supporting the GOP. After half a century out of power in Jefferson City, Republicans took
control of the state Senate in 2001 and the House a year later.
Conditions this year nevertheless favor Jay Nixon, the state attorney general running for governor on the
Democratic ticket, in large part because of the unpopularity of the state's departing Republican governor, Matt
Blunt. Nixon has enjoyed advantages in polls, name recognition and fundraising all year. He has been careful to
position himself as a moderate Democrat, opposing gay marriage and supporting the death penalty. But his
campaign has been based largely on portraying Republican Hulshof as a de facto Blunt, blaming the
congressman for the perceived failures of the outgoing administration. Blunt severely cut Medicaid and sold off
assets of the state's student loan operation to pay for construction projects. Those moves were received so
poorly that Blunt would almost certainly have lost a bid for a second term, had he tried for it.
For his part, Hulshof has sought to position himself as an outsider, despite his dozen years in Congress, by
noting that he has never held state office. He has blasted Nixon for promoting a health care expansion that he
argues the state can't afford. His main task, though, has been in rebuilding the Republican coalition after a close
primary. He's almost certain to win over the rural areas that broke strongly for his primary opponent, state
Treasurer Sarah Steelman. But he faces a formidable obstacle in the suburbs. In order to counter Democratic
strength in St. Louis, Kansas City and now St. Louis County, says political scientist Terry Jones, "a Republican
needs to get over 55 percent in the major exurban counties — Platte and Clay, outside of Kansas City, and St.
Charles and Jefferson, in the St. Louis area."
That will be difficult. Democrat Nixon hails from Jefferson County himself, and may even carry it this year. But
Nixon doesn't need to carry Jefferson or St. Charles — he just needs to keep them close. "It's not that statewide
Democrats or Barack Obama are going to win St. Charles County," says Tommy Roberts, a county councilman
and the Democrats' local chair, "but if we get 47 percent of the vote, we're going to win statewide."

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Invading St. Charles
The idea of running competitively in the St. Louis exurbs has suddenly become a central element in the
Democratic playbook, thanks to a seemingly risky strategy in 2006 by Claire McCaskill, the Democratic nominee
for the U.S. Senate. McCaskill declared victory on election night while she was still 70,000 votes down in the
statewide count. The reason she was confident she'd ultimately prevail was that she had seen the returns from
St. Charles County. She lost the county — but she had cut her opponent's margin there sufficiently from her loss
to Blunt in the 2004 gubernatorial race that she knew she'd win statewide. This turned out, indeed, to be the
case, and was the culmination of her decision to compete in areas usually ignored by other Democrats. "What
McCaskill did is, she showed us we have to campaign in every county," says Sam Page, the Democratic
nominee for lieutenant governor. "You look at every part of your state and improve your margin."
Democrats need to gain 11 seats statewide to take over the Missouri House next year. They are hoping to gain
at least two of them in St. Charles County. The odds are long against their taking control this year, but the fact
that there are three competitive elections for the House in St. Charles represents a startling turnaround.
Republicans have ruled the county, northwest of St. Louis, for the past 30 years. Over that time, St. Charles
became one of the two richest sources of votes for statewide GOP candidates, and it has not elected a
Democrat in any of its nine House districts in six years. Given those odds, Democrats frequently haven't even
bothered running candidates in several of the districts. "We were in power 30 years ago," says Kristy Manning, a
Democratic House candidate in the city of St. Peters. "But then Republicans started taking over and I think
people got comfortable not doing anything."
Lately, though, the southeastern part of the county has become friendlier to Democrats, largely due to in-
migration from north St. Louis County. All the precincts along St. Charles' southeastern border between the
Missouri River and the Lewis and Clark Trail in the city of St. Charles supported John Kerry for president in
2004. In a couple of recent state House contests, Democrats came up just a few hundred votes short. As
Manning walks along the cul-de-sacs that curve off Jungermann Road in St. Peters, she finds herself receiving
thumbs up signs from many residents — not in response to her pledges to bring down college costs or expand
access to health care, but when she shares with them the simple fact that she's a Democrat. "The Democratic
population is going up slightly," concedes her opponent, GOP state Representative Mark Parkinson. "But if
you're right on the issues, you can win."
Parkinson won his seat in a special election this February by 315 votes. He jokes that his short time in office
means he's "half of an incumbent," but he makes the most out of the name recognition and record he's achieved
thus far, hailing his endorsement from Missouri Right to Life. Walking door to door through a subdivision near
Laurel Park in St. Peters, Parkinson wears a U.S. Border Patrol ballcap and notes his co-sponsorship of
Missouri's new law that steps up penalties on illegal immigrants. "In my opinion, it doesn't go far enough," he
says. "I would make it a felony for an employer who knowingly hires or harbors illegals."
If Parkinson is aggressive about touting his conservative credentials, Manning makes a softer pitch. She tells
voters that, as an aide to Democratic state Senator Joan Bray, she's had to "work across the aisle" to overcome
the partisanship in Jefferson City and get things done. Bray, however, hails from a more liberal district in St.
Louis County, and Democrats worry that Bray's policy stances might be used against Manning. Passing a car
whose bumper sticker advertises that it's "insured by Smith & Wesson," Manning says, "I don't have a problem
with the Second Amendment, but my boss does, so I may get stigmatized."
A New Democratic Breed?
Many of the newcomers to St. Charles County are union members, and most are Catholics. They bear a striking
resemblance to the blue-collar "Reagan Democrats" whom Democrats alienated in the 1970s, and whose
loyalties Barack Obama is struggling to regain this year. They tend to be bread-and-butter liberals on economic
issues but strongly in favor of gun owners' rights and opposed to abortion.

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Their votes this year, in both presidential and state balloting, will be crucial in many places besides suburban St.
Louis. In Macomb County, Michigan, the place where the term Reagan Democrat was born in the 1980s, recent
polling has shown support for John McCain over Obama, with white working-class voters expressing concerns
about the Democratic nominee's experience and values.
Next door in suburban Oakland County, however, Obama holds the lead in a jurisdiction that has historically
provided Michigan Republicans with a rich vein of votes. Five years ago, Democrats held only six of the 25
Oakland County commission seats; this year they are poised to win the 13th seat they need to take control for
the first time since the commission was created in the mid-1960s. Oakland is an affluent, well-educated county
with some of the best-funded school districts in the state. The fact that it's becoming more Democratic even as
Macomb is flirting with Republicans is one small illustration of the current complexities of suburban allegiance.
"Basically, the more prosperous suburbs seem to be more open to the Democratic appeals than the working-
class suburbs," says political analyst Rhodes Cook, "which is really a change from a decade ago."
It's these sorts of upscale, highly educated voters that Jeanne Kirkton is targeting in her Webster Groves House
campaign. Stem-cell research is an issue that's lost salience in most places, but Kirkton may be right in guessing
it can bring local voters over to her side. Missouri voted only narrowly to approve a 2006 ballot measure to allow
stem-cell research. But the measure passed overwhelmingly within the Webster Groves district, garnering 61
percent of the vote, and since then, voters there have expressed some resentment at the reluctance of the
Republican legislature to fund it. Guns also remain a concern: Webster Groves cast the largest vote in the state
against a concealed-carry proposition in 1999.
In 2004, President Bush carried the Webster Groves House district by 49 votes out of nearly 10,000 cast. Claire
McCaskill collected 53 percent in her bid for governor. Two years later, McCaskill was up to 55 percent in her
campaign for the U.S. Senate. "We were traditionally called a major Republican district," says Webster Groves
Mayor Gerry Welch. "People will give us that label. I don't think that's the case anymore."
Randy Jotte, the Republican running against Kirkton, prefers to avoid party labels. He ran as an independent for
an Ohio state Senate seat in 2000, taking just 4 percent of the vote. He says that experience taught him that
people depend on party affiliation "to have a sense of who you may be," but he says that Webster Groves voters
consistently demonstrate their political independence, "looking at individual candidates, digging in deeper." He
points out that they have not been shy about going to the ballot to overturn city council decisions, as with a
recent vote to block a redevelopment plan for a large plot of land across from City Hall. Passing by the light-rail
line that bisects the county, Jotte calls it "the frontline of the frontlines. St. Louis is Democratic and from here
west it's all Republicans."
In order to hold on to their majority in the legislature, Jotte believes, the GOP has to keep winning in traditionally
Republican districts such as this one, even as party leaders come to recognize that such suburban areas pose
greater challenges. "This race will be a good test case of whether it's really moved over to the Democratic side,"
says political scientist Laura Arnold.
Arnold is as struck by the changes in the local political culture as anyone. She grew up in Webster Groves,
returning at the start of this decade after many years away. "That's when it really struck me," she says, "that this
wasn't the little Republican suburb I grew up in anymore."

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Missouri, Illinois receive big defense
By Philip Dine



WASHINGTON — From a big new plane at Scott Air Force Base to multibillion-dollar weapons systems at
Boeing, a new defense-spending bill contains plenty of money for businesses and the military in Missouri and
Southern Illinois.
President George W. Bush, who received the bill Tuesday, has said he would sign it.
Boeing, one of St. Louis' largest employers, got $3.6 billion for its Future Combat Systems project, an $100
billion Army modernization project that is one of the largest military programs in history. It also received $1.8
billion for F/A-18 production with the Pentagon being instructed to consider a third multiyear procurement; $2.1
billion for the C-17 transport plane; and $1.5 billion for the E/A-18G.
Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., a senior defense appropriator, and Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., of the House
Armed Services Committee, played key roles in this funding.
A new C-40 aircraft, worth $88 million, was secured by Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., for Scott, starting with the
process of replacing the C-9 aircraft currently in use. This will also maintain the 1,000 jobs at the 932nd Airlift
"This is an important step in ensuring adequate airlift capability for the United States and ensuring the flying
missions located at Scott," Costello said in a statement. He also secured $14 million to build a new Joint
Intelligence Operations Center at Scott as an addition to the U.S Transportation Command headquarters
complex. Scott is the largest employer in Illinois south of Springfield.
Smaller military projects include:
•$28 million for work on short range ballistic missile defense, with LaBarge Inc. of St. Louis as the subcontractor.
.•$12.4 million to plants in Warrensburg, Mo., Lee's Summit Mo., and Joplin, Mo., to supply lightweight,
rechargeable batteries for soldiers' use during combat.
•$3.5 million split between the University of Missouri-Columbia and Boeing for research on detecting and
neutralizing explosive devices.
•$2.8 million for a remote sensor system to be developed at DRS Sustainment Systems in St. Louis.
Projects in Illinois include $4.4 million for cannon ammunition and $1.2 million for a cartridge assembly line, both
in Marion.

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Kit Bond apologizes for staff's role in firing of federal
Gannett News Service

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond apologized Tuesday for the role his former legal counsel
played in the firing of the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, which includes Springfield.
A report issued by the Justice Department Monday said Bond's former legal counsel, Jack Bartling, sought the
dismissal of former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves. The report concluded Graves, the brother of U.S. Rep. Sam
Graves, was fired in 2006 for political concerns.
The report was based on an investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general and the department's
Office of Professional Responsibility into why nine federal prosecutors were fired in 2006. It concluded that
political pressure prompted the firing of Graves and two others.
"The evidence showed that the primary reason for Graves' removal was complaints from the staff of Missouri
Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond," the report said. "Bond's staff urged the White House Counsel's Office to remove
Graves because he had declined to intervene in a conflict between Sen. Bond's staff and the staff of Graves'
brother (an U.S. congressman)."
When Graves said he could not get involved in the dispute, the report said, he was told by a Bond aide that "they
could no longer protect" his job.
The report said "it appears that Graves was told to resign because of a political dispute among Missouri
politicians, not because of an objective assessment of his performance as U.S. attorney."
Bond said in a statement that he was unaware of what was going on in his office regarding Graves.
"The report on Todd and my staff is extremely troubling to me," Bond said. "I had no knowledge of my staff’s
action, did not approve it and would not have approved it," he said. Missouri deserves better and I expect better
of my staff. To the people of Missouri and to Todd I apologize.”
Bond was not available for further comment, according to his spokeswoman Shana Marchio. Marchio said the
senator is "swamped with the (financial) rescue plan, (and I) can't get him on the phone but his statement speaks
for itself."
The report sharply criticized the Bush administration's firing of nine attorneys general in 2006 and blamed former
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for a flawed dismissal policy.
Meanwhile, Citizens for Responsibility for Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, filed a complaint against
Bond on Tuesday with the Senate ethics committee.
Melanie Sloan, the group's executive director, said Bond's conduct violates Senate rules.
"You just can't get a U.S. attorney fired for political purposes, " she said. "This report suggests that Bond knew
about this. It would be a big surprise to me to learn that one of his staff would go behind his back and try to fire a
U.S. attorney. I want the Senate ethics committee to sit down with Bond and find out exactly what he knew."

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Group files ethics complaint against
 A group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington -- CREW -- says it has filed an Ethics
Committee complaint against Sen. Kit Bond over his role in the ouster of former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves.
 The group accuses Bond of improperly becoming involved with Graves' dismissal -- a dismissal investigators
said Monday was caused by a feud between Bond staffers and Rep. Sam Graves' office.
  "Senators are not spoiled children who can lash out on the playground...when they don't get their way," CREW
Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement.
  Bond's office had no comment, other than to refer Prime Buzz to Monday's statement in which Bond
apologized but claimed no knowledge of the feud.
  CREW calls itself a "non-profit legal watchdog group." Several published reports say the group may not be
completely non-partisan.
 From Roll Call: "Several news stories...have pointed out that much of CREW’s funding comes from liberal
groups and big donors to Democratic candidates and causes. And all but a handful of its complaints against
Members of Congress have targeted Republicans."
Submitted by Dave Helling KC STAR PRIME BUZZ BLOG

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Web frenzy ignited by TV report on
Obama 'truth squad'
By Jo Mannies


A local television station's coverage of a Missouri campaign "truth squad" working on behalf of Democratic
presidential nominee Barack Obama has touched off a national Internet frenzy.
Two prominent political websites — the conservative "Drudge Report" and the liberal "Daily Kos" — are battling
over the purpose of the squad, which is among dozens that Obama and Republican rival John McCain have set
up in various states.
Some conservative groups also are distributing video of the report that KMOV-TV (Channel 4) aired last week.
And commentator Rush Limbaugh is talking about it.
What has prompted all the furor is that several members of Obama's "truth squad" in Missouri are prosecutors or
members of law enforcement. They include St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff
Glenn Boyer and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. All are Democrats.
Joyce and McCulloch are featured in a KMOV report by John Mills, in which both say their aim was to refute any
false information spread about Obama.
But when KMOV anchor Russell Kinsaul introduced the report, he said: "The Barack Obama campaign is asking
Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential
That comment seems to have sparked the controversy.
Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, accused the Obama camp of planning "to use Missouri law enforcement to
threaten and intimidate his critics."
Blunt sent out a statement from his office in which he decried what he called "the stench of police-state tactics."
The governor repeated those accusations on national TV news.
Republican National Committee Deputy Chairman Frank Donatelli held a conference call over the weekend to
call for the law enforcement officials to step down. And conservative blogs have accused the Democratic Party of
trying to intimidate voters and squelch free speech.
Democrats contend that the squad is being mischaracterized. They note that several of McCain's "truth squads"
in other states, including New Hampshire, include Republican officials with prosecutorial powers, including the
state's attorney general.
(McCain's watchdog groups in Missouri don't have any law enforcement officials, a GOP spokeswoman said.)
Joyce said in a statement over the weekend that "my sole purpose in participating in this initiative is about
getting truthful information to the voters. This has never been or never will be about prosecuting people."
Missouri Obama communications director Debbie Mesloh says the accusations are "the height of absurdity" and
reflect a Republican effort "to deceive voters about the role of respected Missourians across the state who want
to see this election be about the truth."

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McCulloch, who could not be reached for comment Monday, told a local television station that critics have "very
sinister motives." McCulloch has been a prominent political player this year. In the Democratic contest for
attorney general this summer, he narrated a TV ad on behalf of state Sen. Chris Koster that is widely credited
with aiding Koster's narrow primary victory.
KMOV executive news director Sean McLaughlin defended his station's report and emphasized that "nothing in
the story said anything about prosecution."
McLaughlin said the report was "misinterpreted," perhaps because the public isn't used to seeing law
enforcement officials talk politics in public.
The furor prompted Mills, the KMOV reporter, to post a follow-up on the station's website in which he discounted
the Republican critics' claims and noted that McCain has truth squads, too.
McLaughlin attributes the uproar to politics, and recent polls showing a neck-and-neck contest in Missouri
between Obama and McCain.
"We're a significant state in an important election," said McLaughlin. "That's probably what's driving it."
The upside for the station: a huge surge in traffic to its website.

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Missouri back in the swing as McCain’s
lead over Obama shrinks
The Kansas City Star

Ground zero in the ever-changing race for the White House?
For today, at least, Missouri — and the Kansas City area — can stake a pretty good claim. It’s yet another sign
that the state known for swinging between Democrats and Republicans is very much back in the swing.
At 10 a.m., Republican John McCain speaks at the Truman Library in Independence. At 5:10 p.m., Michelle
Obama, wife of Democrat Barack Obama, appears at a rally in the 18th & Vine jazz district in Kansas City.
It’s the second time since July that a McCain and an Obama have been in the state on the same day, and it
comes amid signs that the battle for Missouri has reached a new level of intensity.
“Missouri is in play,” said George Connor, a political scientist at Missouri State University in Springfield.
Said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, an Obama adviser, “Missouri is where it almost always is,
and that’s too close to call.”
A SurveyUSA poll taken Sept. 23-24 showed the senator from Arizona up by 2 points, 48-46 percent. A poll by
the St Louis Post-Dispatch taken Sept. 22-24 showed that McCain led 47-46 percent, well within the poll’s
margin of error.
The surveys suggest the race has tightened a tad since August and the period after McCain’s selection of Alaska
Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. A CNN/Time poll Sept. 7-9 showed McCain up by 5
Still, the one consistent dynamic in the state since late last year has been McCain in the lead. Of 22 surveys
taken in Missouri since December, McCain led in 19.
That performance has caused a pack of poll readers to place Missouri in the “lean Republican” camp, although moved the state from “lean Republican” to tossup on Sept. 26.
“If Obama wins Missouri, it’s an upset,” said Jeff Roe, a Republican strategist based in Kansas City who has
worked for McCain. “They’re playing on McCain’s turf here.”
But Missouri, viewed as the nation’s best presidential bellwether, remains susceptible to national trends, and
those trends of late have favored Obama, a senator from Illinois. Placing Palin on the GOP ballot has flipped
from “genius pick” to the point where some leading conservatives, such as columnist Kathleen Parker, have
called for her to leave the ticket.
And the nation’s economic crisis appears to be boosting Democrats. Voters consistently say they trust
Democrats more on the issue than Republicans.
McCain took on water over his maneuvers last week leading up to Monday’s big House vote on the $700 billion
economic bailout.
The package was rejected, and some analysts said that would cost McCain.
“Even before the House vote, voters blamed Republicans more than Democrats for the crisis,” said Bill
Schneider, a CNN political analyst. McCain’s efforts “failed, so he gets blamed by both supporters and
opponents of the rescue plan.”

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On Monday in Des Moines, Iowa, McCain distanced himself from the House vote, saying the congressional
inaction had “every American and the entire economy at the gravest risk.”
McCaskill said the Republican ticket was nervous about Missouri if it was spending so much time in a state that
“supposedly was a done deal.”
“I know that we feel really comfortable that this race is too close to call in Missouri,” she said.
She also insisted that polling in the state might be inaccurate, because surveys were undersampling young
people who rely on cell phones rather than land lines, and also undercounting the soaring number of African-
Americans that McCaskill expects will vote on Nov. 4.
“Both those things are up in the air right now,” she said, “and we may be seeing a shifting of what the electorate
looks like this time.”
Obama’s campaign is operating 40 field offices scattered across the state, many in towns where presidential
field offices — particularly Democratic offices — have never appeared before. The campaign is about to add a
41st office, aides said.
McCain’s staff says it has 15 offices in the state, and it won’t say how many paid staffers are in Missouri.
In July, McCaskill said the Obama campaign would load up the state with 150 paid staff workers. Aides now
boast Obama has 2,000 “neighborhood leaders,” residents who have committed to working 30 hours a week for
Obama also is outgunning McCain on TV in Missouri. The TNSMI-Campaign Media Analysis Group, which
monitors ad buys for the Post-Dispatch, reported Friday that Obama spent about $700,000 over the past two
weeks for 2,646 spots around the state. In contrast, McCain spent $348,000 for 828 ads, airing only in St. Louis
and Kansas City, the firm said.
Overall this year, Obama has spent at least $5.3 million on TV ads in the state, compared to $4.6 million for
Obama had vowed to campaign regularly in the rural parts of Missouri, just as McCaskill did in winning her 2006
Senate race. In late July, Obama made a swing up Interstate 44 in southern Missouri, stopping in Rolla,
Springfield and Union.
But critics point out he hasn’t followed up the trip with more visits, and campaign officials said no other stops in
the state by the candidate himself were on the books for at least the next week.
Obama last visited the state Aug. 25, when he sat in a Kansas City family’s living room and watched his wife
speak on the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
“In one sense, they haven’t been as sincere about winning rural Missouri as they once were,” Connor said.
Veteran Republicans, meantime, say they are confident the state will remain in GOP hands. They say the state
has turned more conservative in recent years. For example, President Bush won Missouri in 2004 with 53
percent support, but he won nationally over Democrat John Kerry with 51 percent.
“My gut tells me that the margin in Missouri is still fairly substantial for McCain, and it’s outside the margin of
error,” said veteran GOP operative Lloyd Smith.
Smith suggested McCain could benefit if Congress passed a bailout package, as is expected, this week.
Sarah Simmons, McCain’s director of strategy, said the key in Missouri, as in other battleground states, was
suburban voters, many of whom are feeling the economic pinch.
“People are trying to figure out who to blame,” she said, adding some voters are tying McCain to Bush’s policies.
Still, Missouri, she said, is a state that leans toward McCain.

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“It’s a state that will be very important to us come Election Day.”

•Coverage of area appearances by John McCain and Michelle Obama.
•Video of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. Dennis Moore and Nick Jordan, Moore’s opponent,
discussing the bailout bill.
•Updates from the campaign trail, including the Prime Buzz and Midwest Voices blogs.

John McCain
He will speak at 10 a.m. today in the main auditorium at the Truman Library in Independence. The campaign has
already distributed tickets, and none are available today. The campaign did not disclose his topic, although it
comes as the country deals with the financial crisis.
His speech will be carried live on KCUR, 89.3 FM, and KMBC-TV, Channel 9.
Michelle Obama
The wife of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama will appear at 5:10 p.m. today in the 18th & Vine
jazz district. The public is invited, and the event is free. Doors open at 4 p.m. Michelle Obama will talk about the
importance of voting on Nov. 4 and what’s at stake in the election.

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It's all in the preparation
By Jake Wagman


In the World Series of politics, neither side wants any surprises.
So when U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin meet for the vice presidential debate at Washington
University, little will be left to chance.
If past debates are any indication, everything from the height of the podiums to the size of the dressing rooms
will be negotiated beforehand in a lengthy written agreement.
The candidates have spent weeks poring over thick briefing books, sparring with proxies in mock debates and
reciting talking points. A cadre of advisers and coaches will keep close tabs on their timing and body language.
Thursday's face-off may provide even less room for error than usual as the one and only meeting between
running mates has generated just as much attention as debates at the top of the ticket — if not more.
The goal for both sides: Avoid the costly gaffe or miscue that can swing an election. Even better, deliver that
memorable barb that sticks in the minds of voters.
Either way, preparation is key.
"These are high-stakes events," said Mitchell McKinney, an associate communications professor at the
University of Missouri who has studied presidential debates. "More so this time than we've had in quite some
time, the VP debate will be particularly important. I'm sure they are preparing very carefully."
In August, two campaign surrogates — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for John McCain and U.S.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois for Barack Obama — negotiated a deal that outlines the format for the three
presidential debates.
Last month, the campaigns agreed to the specifics of the vice presidential forum.
Candidates, standing at opposing lecterns, will be allowed 90 seconds each to answer questions from the
moderator, veteran journalist Gwen Ifill, who will then guide a two-minute discussion on each topic.
The setup figures to benefit both candidates: The loquacious Biden won't have room to ramble, while Palin can
avoid going in-depth on foreign policy matters she has had little time to catch up on.
The length of the answers is only a small part of the debate pact — a document that is shielded from public view
by the private, nonpartisan Commission for Presidential Debates.
Agreements from previous years offer a glimpse of the minutiae in play.
For instance, the 2004 agreement between Democrat John Kerry and President George W. Bush outlined where
the candidates' families would sit, when they would shake hands and how they would be addressed by the
Coin flips determined stage position and order of questions. Any pen or pencil used to take notes required prior
The debates are "stage managed to the nth degree," McKinney said. "The two campaigns, in conjunction with
the debate commission, negotiate every detail," he said.

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Only a few details have been made public about how Biden and Palin are preparing.
Biden has tapped Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to stand in for Palin as he rehearses in home state,
Palin, whose sparring partner has not been made public, was originally set to spend several days in St. Louis but
instead is training for the debate at McCain's creekside home in the Arizona desert.
Those who have been involved in presidential debate prep before say both candidates have likely spent days in
"debate camp" watching video footage of their opponent, anticipating questions and preparing an arsenal of one-
Typically, debate participants go into some form of isolation, surrounded by advisers who can play the part of the
opposition, the moderator and even spectators.
In 2000, Al Gore invited Missouri voters to Innsbrook Resort, where he was preparing for an upcoming town hall-
style debate, also at Washington University.
When former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole ran against Bill Clinton in 1996, he recruited then-Tennessee Sen. Fred
Thompson — a professional movie and television actor — to channel Clinton.
Even seemingly spontaneous moments are planned. Many famous quips in debate history were practiced well
ahead of time.
No one knows that better than former Ohio Congressman Dennis Eckart, a Democrat who helped 1988 vice
presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen prepare for his debate with Dan Quayle.
On the campaign trail, Quayle had been comparing himself to John F. Kennedy, leaving Bentsen incredulous.
"He said, 'There is no way he can compare himself to Kennedy,'" Eckart recalled in a recent interview. "He said,
'There is no way he is the equivalent to Kennedy.'"
Eckart's reply: "That's your answer, man."
Indeed it was: "You're no Jack Kennedy," has become the gold standard for debate zingers.
Eckart, who has since helped other candidates prepare for debates, said that campaigns often construct an
elaborate setting — "right down to the color of the backdrops" — to help their candidate prepare. These days,
they also watch YouTube footage, Eckart said, and forecast any possible scenario.
"It's a 90-minute debate. What happens if you drink three glasses of water?" Eckart said.
But there may be such a thing as preparing too much, says Steven A. Merksamer, a veteran Republican lawyer
from California, who worked with Jack Kemp before his vice presidential debate in 1996.
Merksamer points to Michael Dukakis — who came off as frigid in 1988 — and Richard Nixon — whose 5 o'clock
shadow told the story in 1960 — as candidates who may have been informed but appeared out of touch.
"The camera does not lie. And if you come across as overly prepared or unnatural or unlikable, then you are not
going to do well," Merksamer said. "You can have hours and hours of mock debates and all that sorts of stuff,
but, at the end of the day, it's up to the guy in the spotlight."
On Thursday, Biden and Palin will likely have an hour each to do separate walk-throughs of the debate set.
During that time, according to University of Kansas Professor Diana Carlin, the candidates may bring several
sets of clothing to determine which looks best against the stage backdrop, just as Hillary Clinton aides did before
her keynote speech at the Democratic Convention. The minutes just before the debate may be one of the few
moments a candidate has alone. Former Missouri Gov. Bob Holden — who debated former Sen. Jim Talent and

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U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill when they ran against him — said it helped to spend about 10 or 15 minutes by
himself before getting behind the podium.
His advice to Biden and Palin: Leave room to relax.
"You can have all of the information in your head, and be able in conversation to articulate it fairly well," Holden
said. But "when you walk out on that stage, it's a completely different arena."

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Moderator is prepping for debate, too
By Bill Lambrecht

WASHINGTON — Toward the end of the 2004 vice presidential debate in Cleveland, PBS's Gwen Ifill asked a
question that neither Dick Cheney nor John Edwards expected.
It showed.
Ifill described an AIDS epidemic in the United States, where black women were 13 times more likely to die of the
disease than other women.
"What should the government's role be in helping to end the growth of this epidemic?" Ifill asked. For Ifill, it was a
memorable moment, one that lived on when viewers wrote to express their frustration with the weak answers the
candidates had for her question.
"One of the most gratifying responses afterward came from viewers who knew when questions weren't
answered," Ifill said.
Ifill will be moderating Thursday's vice presidential debate at Washington University, and while Joe Biden and
Sarah Palin may listen to dozens of mock questions in their debate preparation this week, they're sure to get one
or two from Ifill that they don't expect.
What she asks might touch on any topic imaginable under the negotiated rules, which call for Biden and Palin to
be situated behind lecterns with short discussion periods and two minutes each for closing statements.
Given Ifill's hard-news background, her questions are unlikely to be softballs.
Ifill, who turned 53 on Monday, has been senior correspondent for PBS's "The NewsHour" since 1999 as well as
moderator of "Washington Week" on the public broadcasting channel. Before that, she covered politics and
public policy for the New York Times, Washington Post and Baltimore Evening Sun.
Knowing news, Ifill is keenly aware of the interest in the St. Louis debate — and especially in Palin.
Indeed, a few of Palin's devotees complained to PBS that Ifill's facial expressions after the Alaska governor's
acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul last month conveyed something less than
rapture. Ifill says it was flat wrong to read anything into how a camera might have caught her at a certain
moment and that criticism comes with the job.
"If I was sensitive to criticism, I wouldn't take this job. It comes from both sides," she said.
An estimated 43.5 million viewers tuned in to Ifill's questions in Cleveland. That number is sure to be higher for
the St. Louis debate, perhaps closer to the 65.1 million viewers who watched when Geraldine Ferraro took the
stage in 1984 against George H.W. Bush — the first national debate with a woman competing. (It was
moderated by Barbara Walters.)
Recalling her moderator debut four years ago, Ifill notes the antidote she has for stage fright: "As long as I had
all the questions, I was the one with the upper hand."
Ifill had more to say during a Post-Dispatch interview:
Q: Is there any question about the intense interest in this debate?
A: Judging from my e-mail inbox, there's no question at all. An hour doesn't pass when another self-described
bright question arrives. I don't mind it; I want to know what people are curious about. But with so much organized
spam e-mail, It's hard to know what's really on people's minds.

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Q: Is Sarah Palin the reason people are so excited about this debate?
A: Part of it preceded Sarah Palin. At every turn in this election year, there has been exceedingly high interest in
this race. I think it matters the presidency is open. When you talk about change — whoever takes this job is
going to be very different than we have now. People are engaged.
Q: How do you prepare for an event of this magnitude?
A: I don't know (laughing). I'm in the middle of it right now. I just read everything out there. I try to be the best
informed person on the stage and read everything that has been written about people and go as far back as
Q: What do you think of the final agreement on the debate format?
A: It's actually less restrictive than four years ago (in the Cheney-Edwards debate) even though it's not as open
as originally negotiated. In the interest of getting more information, I always think that exchange is healthy and
Q: Won't this somewhat restrictive format demand more artfulness from the moderator?
A: As it happens I'm very artful (laughing). It's kind of like I do every day on NewsHour: I engage in
conversations with people and elicit as much information as possible. I think voters are very smart. They can tell
whether candidates evade or answer questions.
Q: What do you hope is said about this debate afterward?
A: Just that I was fair, I guess. Even that I can't hope for because people are so polarized.

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Voters will decide on clean energy
ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS - by Clinton Thomas
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The November election always gives voters the standard ballot box decisions.
Pick a candidate. Weigh in on a bond issue. Decide on a tax rate. Choose where the state’s electricity comes
The Missouri Clean Energy Initiative — Proposition C on the ballot — would require investor-owned utility
companies to obtain at least 15 percent of their electric supply from renewable sources by 2021. The initiative
also caps any potential rate increases associated with renewable electricity at 1 percent.
A group called Missourians for Cleaner Cheaper Energy gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the
ballot. The group claims that the initiative would have the same environmental affect as removing 2 million cars
from the road.
Susan Brown of Dearborn, Mo., has always been a strong advocate of green electricity. She recently started
selling products for The Energy Savings Store and thinks more energy-related jobs could come to Missouri if
Proposition C passes.
“Just look at where the wind is,” Ms. Brown said. “We have wind in Northwest Missouri and we’re really the only
part of the state that has it. Right now they’re coming into the Gulf Coast from India with those turbines. Just
think of all the money we can save building them here.”
Ms. Brown cited new facilities in Arkansas and Iowa as examples of green energy bringing another kind of
green, money, to Midwestern communities. Two more companies considered Hiawatha, Kan., as a site for
factories that build wind turbine components in the past year.
The initiative covers more than just wind power. It includes electricity generated from biomass, hydropower and
at least 2 percent from solar power.
No organized opposition to Proposition C has emerged. KCP&L has publicly supported the issue while the
state’s other electric utilities have not taken a stance. In fact, Ms. Brown said KCP&L has already contacted her
to set up demonstrations for home solar panels.
Twenty-six states and Washington, D.C., have adopted renewable electricity standards. Such standards are not
unprecedented in Missouri. Voters in Columbia, Mo., passed a municipal standard in November 2004 with 78
percent support.

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MoDOT gets $3.3M grant to build new
rail track
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) The Missouri Department of Transportation receives a $3.3 million federal grant to
help improve passenger rail service.
The department will use the federal funds plus $5 million set aside by the state Legislature for two ''sidings'' that
are designed to cut down on delays for Amtrak passenger trains. The sidings allow two trains headed in opposite
directions to pass each other.
The $8.3 million project calls for building a new siding just west of California, Mo., and extending an existing
siding near Knob Knoster. Both projects would be set on land that is already part of the railroad's right of way.
Rod Massman, the state transportation department's administer of railroads, says that construction is expected
to begin in March. He estimated it would take several months to complete.

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$3.3 million grant will help Missouri
The Kansas City Star

It was a year worth forgetting for Amtrak in Missouri.
Ridership in 2007-2008 was the lowest since 2002, and about three in 10 trains ran late.
But help is on the way for the beleaguered service between Kansas City and St. Louis.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters on Tuesday announced a $3.3 million grant that will go toward
relieving congestion on the 283-mile route, which is owned by Union Pacific.
The grant, combined with money that the Missouri General Assembly approved earlier this year, gives the state
$8.3 million for track upgrades. The new money will go toward lengthening or building sidings so trains can pass
each other without stopping.
“With high fuel prices and tightening economic conditions, travelers want additional, dependable transportation
options,” said Pete Rahn, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.
“This federal grant … is just the boost we need to develop a transportation system that better serves everyone’s
needs — not just drivers.”
The upgraded Missouri sidings — one at California and the other at Knob Noster — could shorten the delays by
six minutes per train

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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor

Did Bond’s staff run amok?

A vague letter and a weak apology.
That sums up U.S. Sen. Kit Bond’s unacceptable response so far to questions related to his office’s role in the
removal of a fellow Republican, Todd Graves, from his job as U.S. attorney for Missouri’s Western District.
Bond shirked his responsibility by refusing to be interviewed by investigators from the Justice Department’s
Inspector General’s Office who were probing the politically motivated dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys.
Bond simply told investigators in a letter that he didn’t remember personally communicating with anyone in the
Bush administration about Graves while Graves was serving as a federal prosecutor.
But Inspector General Glenn Fine has pieced together an account of how a top member of Bond’s staff worked
with a White House lawyer to orchestrate Graves’ removal in 2006.
Graves’ forced resignation had nothing to do with performance, Fine concluded. Rather, it was prompted by a rift
within Missouri’s Republican Party.
Bond apologized to Graves and his constituents this week.
“I had no knowledge of my staff’s action, did not approve it and would not have approved it,” he said. “Missouri
deserves better and I expect better of my staff.”
But the apology raises even more questions. Why would a staffer have felt empowered, without Bond’s
permission, to contact a White House employee about ousting Graves? At best, Bond’s explanation presents a
picture of an office run amok.
The controversy is far from over. U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey has appointed a special prosecutor to
follow up on the many disturbing revelations in Fine’s report.
That’s the right move. Too many key players refused to talk to the inspector’s staff. A criminal investigation might
provide more of an incentive.
The removal of Todd Graves from the Western Missouri post occupies an entire chapter in the inspector
general’s unsparing report about the inappropriate dismissals of the nine U.S. attorneys.
Investigators found that Bond’s legal counsel at the time, Jack Bartling, contacted the White House counsel’s
office at least twice in 2005 to request that Graves be replaced.
Bond’s staff was feuding with the staff of Graves’ brother, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves. A source of particular friction
was Sam Graves’ chief of staff at the time, Jeff Roe, now a political consultant in Kansas City.
At one point, a Bond assistant asked Todd Graves to persuade his brother to remove Roe. Todd Graves

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Bartling’s first phone call to the White House came soon after that. According to the inspector’s report, Bartling
requested that Bond not be connected to efforts to remove Todd Graves.
A Justice Department employee, Michael Battle, called Graves on Jan. 24, 2006, and told him to resign. Graves
did so a few days later.
The inspector general’s report accurately described the circumstances of Graves’ removal as “extremely
The nation’s justice system depends on the ability of federal prosecutors to work free of political interference.
The failure to respect their independence forced the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Bond’s role in Graves’ dismissal is a serious question. He needs to be much more forthcoming with investigators
trying to get to the bottom of the matter.

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Wednesday editorial: Senator Smug
STL TODAY - By Editorial Board

Thanks to its senior U.S. senator, Republican Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, Missouri earned last-minute inclusion in
the national scandal over the Bush administration’s politically motivated firings of U.S. attorneys.
“The Purge,” as it was known when the story broke in 2006, was thought to have involved eight of the 93 chief
federal prosecutors nationwide. But on Monday, when the Justice Department’s Inspector General and the
department’s ethics office released their joint report, the name of former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves of Kansas
City had been added to the list.
The report says that Mr. Bond’s staff made repeated calls to the White House in early 2005 seeking to have Mr.
Graves ousted. It seems Mr. Bond was feuding with Mr. Graves’ brother, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, MO.
In a statement to the Associated Press on Monday, Mr. Bond said he hadn’t known what his staff was up to and
offered an apology “to the people of Missouri.”
Todd Graves was replaced in 2006 on an interim basis by Bradley Schlozman, a Justice Department lawyer who
had played a key role in filling the department with what he described as “good Americans,” or, as another
Justice aide put it, “loyal Bushies.” Mr. Schlozman was replaced by John Wood, Mr. Bond’s cousin.
The Justice Department report is a sorry story of partisan hacks at the White House and at the Justice
Department during Alberto Gonzales’ tenure as attorney general. It describes their clumsy efforts to push out
federal prosecutors to promote the political interests of prominent GOP operatives.
It also details widespread efforts to deflect and obstruct the investigation. Those findings led Mr. Gonzales’
successor, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, to appoint Nora Dannehy, a career federal prosecutor, to
conduct a criminal investigation.
Perhaps the most egregious of the firings was that of former U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico, who
was dumped in response to complaints by the state’s top GOP officials that he refused to pursue bogus political
corruption charges against Democrats.
Todd Graves’ forced resignation didn’t garner the headlines that the Iglesias situation did. But the abuse of
power by Mr. Bond’s staff described in the report made a mockery of the principle of federal prosecutorial
The report reveals that in 2005, Mr. Bond’s legal counsel called the White House on several occasions seeking
Todd Graves’ removal. The calls had nothing to do with Todd Graves’ performance as a prosecutor. They had
everything to do with intramural political squabbling in the Missouri Republican Party.
There was, according to the report, some kind of “discord between the in-state staffs” of Mr. Bond and Sam
Graves. “Bond’s staff . . . wanted Todd Graves to try to rein in his brother, but Todd Graves did not do so. . . . To
allow members of Congress or their staff to obtain the removal of U.S. attorneys for political reasons,” the report
concludes, “severely undermines the independence and non-partisan tradition of the Department of Justice.”
Mr. Bond declined to be interviewed by the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office in the course of its
investigation. He told the office that he didn’t recall having any contact with the Bush administration about Todd
Graves and knew nothing of value to the investigation.
Mr. Bond’s statement to the Associated Press on Monday said, “I had no knowledge of my staff’s action, did not
approve it and would not have approved it. Missouri deserves better, and I expect better of my staff.”
Mr. Bond is right about this: Missouri deserves better, such as a thorough explanation of why his staffers felt it
was appropriate to ask the White House to intervene in a home-state political dispute. Perhaps Ms. Dannehy’s
criminal investigation will shed some light on that.

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Voice of the Day-MATT BLUNG

Newspapers once again attempting to
rewrite budget history
OCTOBER 1, 2008

In the past, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has refused to print some opinion pieces from my office correcting their
editorials with the facts. Other times, they have edited out facts they did not wish the public to know. This time
they ran a misleading editorial, printed a letter from me in response and then ran another misleading editorial
responding to the letter (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 25; Springfield News-Leader, Sept. 27).
In the first months of my administration, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch urged me to raise taxes to pay for the old,
broken welfare system. We did not follow their job-killing advice. Not only did we not raise taxes, we cut taxes
three times and we turned the $1.1 billion deficit we inherited into three consecutive surpluses. Now the Post-
Dispatch is attempting to rewrite history, claiming that the $1.1 billion deficit never existed. If it never existed,
then why was the Post-Dispatch calling for higher taxes?
The $1.1 billion deficit I inherited had spending of nearly $7.13 billion, against revenues of only $6.98 billion,
leaving us $148 million short in our operating budget. Additionally, the deficit included $790 million in mandatory
spending that would have been necessary to sustain the old way of doing business and more than $68 million for
other required payments. The deficit was not a list of suggestions, as the Post-Dispatch asserted. For example, it
included $460 million to pay for the growth of the old Medicaid system -- a system attempting to provide public
assistance to more than one out of every six Missourians and failing to even verify the eligibility for nearly a third
of those who signed up.
In constructive partnership with the legislature, my administration put education and taxpayers first, by changing
the state's priorities and saying no to job-killing tax increases. We also reversed anti-growth policies that were
taking away jobs and harming the quality and availability of health care.
Today, the state budget is balanced, we have a surplus and while other states like Illinois are struggling to
balance their books, our state's budget remains strong in spite of the challenges that the liquidity crisis has
brought on.
The Post-Dispatch is the preferred source for budget information for the liberal candidates who want to use their
false assertions in television ads that are equally misleading. In my office, we provide fact-driven information to
the public about Missouri's budget.
At some point, the Post-Dispatch should realize that no matter how hard they try and no matter how much paper
and ink they use, they cannot make a false statement true.
Matt Blunt is governor of the state of Missouri. He lives in Springfield.

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Washington University ready for debate it almost didn't get
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 8:35 PM
By Steve Walsh

The wheels are in motion at Washington University in St. Louis in preparation for Thursday's vice presidential
debate between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin, with expectations of tomorrow being a very
busy day on campus.
Steve Givens, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs at Washington University, says this is the fourth
debate hosted by the school. The previous three debates involved the presidential candidates. This vice
presidential debate was initially offered to Washington State University, but that school turned down the offer in
hopes of landing one of the presidential debates.
Givens says with all the attention focused on the VP debate because of Sarah Palin's candidacy, Washington
University has lucked out and is getting a lot of attention.

Obama campaign considers Missouri up for grabs
Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 6:02 AM
By Brent Martin

Public opinion polls indicate Missouri remains a battleground state this presidential election, but nearly all have
Republican John McCain up. Barack Obama's campaign, though, isn't ready to concede the state any time soon.
Obama's campaign has opened 40 offices throughout the state, many in rural Missouri, a weak spot for the
Democratic Party in general and Obama's campaign in particular. During the February presidential primary,
Obama won convincingly in the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas. Hillary Clinton won suburban and
rural Missouri.
Obama has visited the state several times, including a tour through part of rural Missouri. His wife, Michelle
Obama, visits Kansas City tonight. Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden has also made stops in the state.
Melissa Nitti, Obama's Regional Press Secretary stationed in Kansas City, says the campaign wouldn't spend
that much time in the state if it didn't believe it could win the state in November.
Though most polls have Missouri leaning McCain, Nitti says the Obama camp believes Missouri is there for the
taking. A decision by the John Kerry campaign four years ago to pull out of the state with six weeks left before
the election infuriated Missouri Democrats who claim that move killed the chances of Democrats up and down
the ballot. Nitti says the Obama campaign knows the history and vows not repeat it. She says the campaign will
be in the state through the November election.
Nitti says the Obama campaign will use everything at its disposal: personal visits, broadcast ads and a strong
ground game in its effort to win Missouri.

With or without a federal bailout experts say credit rates will increase
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 10:01 PM
By Aurora Meyer

Experts predict that even if Congress passes a bailout bill soon finances for the average Missourian will get

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"The credit markets are still kind of tied up," said University of Missouri management professor Karen
Schnatterly. "What that means is, banks aren't lending to each other, banks don't even trust each other and if
banks are having trouble getting money, everybody is having trouble getting money."
The bottom line is even if a federal bailout bill passes today Missourians will still have trouble getting any kind of
credit for the foreseeable future, she said.
"A lot of us are going to see interest rates go up, minimum payments per month go up and how much you can
carry your maximum is going to go down," Schnatterly said. "I think we're going to see credit become costlier."
It isn't just individual credit that is going to get more expensive, she said the cost of doing business will also get
more expensive.
"Equally this effects businesses because they need to borrow money short term and they also lend money short
term just to keep their assets relatively liquid and credit markets are telling them we're not liquid
anymore," Schnatterly said. "So it's tough to get credit which means we see businesses unable to get supplies
tomorrow, unable to pay people at the end of the month."

McCain returns to Missouri for event in Independence
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 2:06 PM
By Steve Walsh

Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ) is returning to Missouri.
The Arizona Senator has scheduled a Wednesday morning, 10 o'clock event at the Truman Library in
Independence. It's a ticketed event - not a rally - and is open only to those with tickets. Among the topics McCain
is expected to discuss: the economy and his ideas for addressing our economic woes.
Interestingly enough, McCain will be in Kansas City on the same day Michelle Obama - the wife of Democratic
presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) - visits the city. She'll be attending a rally at the 18th & Vine Jazz
District to encourage supporters to register to vote by the October 8th deadline. She'll be joined by U.S. House
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

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Wednesday, October 1
St. Louis - Stan Kann, a theater organist whose collection of antique vacuums and strange gadgets cracked up
Johnny Carson and made him a regular on The Tonight Show, has died. He was 83. Kann played the Fox
Theater in St. Louis for 22 years before moving to Los Angeles in 1975.

Tuesday, September 30
St. Louis - For the past three years, some employees in Lt. Gov. Kinder's office have divvied up the paychecks of
co-workers who took unpaid leave to do political work, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Kinder, a
Republican, said the employees received temporary pay increases because they took on some of the duties of
the worker who took leave. Usually, the employee would leave for a few months to work for Kinder's political

Monday, September 29
University City - Thousands of people in eastern Missouri are still coping with the destruction from flash flooding
on Sept. 14. Hundreds of homes have been condemned pending repairs. Many homeowners have no flood
insurance and will not be able to get relief, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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