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POLITICS IN BRIEF

Kerry is pick in pollof college students

The majority of US college students favor Democratic challenger John F. Kerry over President Bush, according to a Harvard University poll released yesterday that sees a dramatic rise in campus voter turnout. Just weeks before the Nov. 2 election, researchers at Harvard's Institute of Politics found that 52 percent of students surveyed want the Massachusetts senator elected president, 39 percent support Bush, and 8 percent are undecided. In 14 hotly contested swing states, the poll shows Kerry leading Bush by 17 points among students. (Reuters)

WEST VIRGINIA

GOP elector says hemay not select Bush
CHARLESTON -- If President Bush wins West Virginia, one of the state's five Republican electors says he might not vote for Bush to protest the president's economic and foreign policies. South Charleston Mayor Richie Robb said based on his research, an elector has ''qualified discretion" when it comes to casting a vote. Robb calls it ''highly unlikely" that he would vote for Democrat John F. Kerry. He said he might cast his vote for Vice President Dick Cheney or another Republican instead as a protest against Bush, meaning the president would lose one electoral vote. Robb's decision could end up having enormous national significance because of the expected close presidential election. (AP)

NEW YORK

US Muslims give'qualified' backing
NEW YORK -- Major American Muslim groups gave what they called a ''qualified endorsement" yesterday to Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry, urging Muslims to vote for him while calling his platform on civil rights inadequate. The American Muslim Task Force had been leaning against backing a candidate, but some members felt not making an endorsement could help President Bush. In 2000, a committee comprised mainly of the same US Muslim groups endorsed Bush over Democrat Al Gore because Bush had indicated he would address their concerns about the use of secret evidence in deportation hearings. But the task force said in its statement yesterday that the Bush administration has ''been insensitive to the civil liberties and human rights" of Muslims since the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP)

WASHINGTON

DeLay subpoenaedin Texas lawsuit
House majority leader Tom DeLay has been subpoenaed to testify in a Texas civil lawsuit about his role in using government resources to track down Democratic legislators who fled the state during last year's bitter redistricting dispute. The subpoena was delivered Wednesday to the Texas Republican's attorneys in Houston after a failed attempt to serve him personally, said Lon Burnam, the Democratic state lawmaker from Fort Worth who filed the lawsuit. The subpoena calls for DeLay to give a deposition on Monday. (AP)

NASHVILLE

Frist defends useof office for shots
Senate majority leader Bill Frist said yesterday that lawmakers on Capitol Hill who received flu shots in his office were either following federal guidelines or their own doctors' recommendations. Frist was responding to criticism that his office was used as a makeshift clinic to administer shots to lawmakers two days after the government asked healthy adults to forgo the vaccinations because of a nationwide shortage. He said the presidential campaign of Democrat John F. Kerry is blowing the issue out of proportion for ''political gain" and suggested trial lawyers, like Kerry's running mate John Edwards, contributed to the shortage with lawsuits against vaccination makers. (AP)

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