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Questions raised over Giuliani's guards

Former governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts faced questions about some overeager tactics by his security detail. Now questions about security are aimed at fellow Republican candidate and former mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York.

Giuliani's campaign spending reports showed no security expenses during the first three months of this year. But the burly guards who trail Giuliani around the country have not been working for free.

For most of this year, Giuliani's consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, has paid the cost of the security detail, an arrangement that has existed since Giuliani stepped down as mayor, campaign spokeswoman Maria Comella said. His campaign travels eventually became so extensive that the campaign began picking up the costs on June 18, she said.

Some analysts say the campaign may have run afoul of federal laws that prohibit candidates from accepting money or in-kind contributions from corporations. "It certainly appears to challenge the law," said Ellen Miller, a campaign finance watchdog in Washington.

Fighting for the poor
As Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards prepares to intensify his antipoverty initiative this weekend, he will be confronting a deep popularity deficit among his party's poorest voters.

In the most recent Washington Post-ABC poll, the former senator from North Carolina was trounced by Senator Hillary Clinton, Democrat of New York, among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents with household incomes below $20,000. Clinton had the support of 55 percent; Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, drew 20 percent; and Edwards 10 percent.

Meanwhile, a new poll focusing on political independents, conducted by The Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University, indicated this muted support among low-income voters would carry over to the general election. Forty percent of independents from households earning less than $20,000 said there is no chance that they would back him in November 2008 if he were the Democratic nominee. Among these independents, Obama had the lowest "reject rate"; 22 percent said they definitely would not vote for him. (Washington Post)

Speaking of pardons
It's too bad "Shoeless" Joe Jackson isn't still alive. It sounds as though he's got an ally in presidential candidate Bill Richardson.

Richardson, the Democratic governor of New Mexico, took a swing by the "Field of Dreams" movie site in Dyersville, Iowa, yesterday.

A longtime baseball fan and a player in his youth, Richardson mentioned Jackson while sitting on the porch swing made famous by the 1989 hit movie. The film centered on an Iowa farmer who plowed through a cornfield and built a baseball diamond that somehow draws Jackson, a player besmirched by a conspiracy to fix the 1919 World Series.

"I was asked if I would consider pardoning 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson, and the answer is yes. I'll consider it -- if Scooter Libby can get off the hook," Richardson said. (AP)

Something to agree about
Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich, an erstwhile odd couple on healthcare issues, reunited briefly this week to promote Alzheimer's research.

They appeared at a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday to announce a new study group headed by Gingrich, a Republican and former House Speaker, and onetime Democratic senator Bob Kerrey, now president of the New School.

Clinton is a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination; Gingrich has said he is weighing a bid for the GOP nomination and will make a decision after September.

When it was Clinton's turn to speak, she joked about "President Kerrey," then teased about Gingrich, "I'm sure he's president of something as well." (AP)