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Political Notebook

Santorum moves up to fourth, Gingrich drops to fifth in N.H.

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Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, with his wife Karen Santorum, and son Daniel Santorum, spoke at a primary night gathering after the polls closed in Manchester, N.H.

The final tally in the New Hampshire primary showed Rick Santorum clinched fourth place and Newt Gingrich took fifth, according to the New Hampshire secretary of state.

Throughout late Tuesday night and early yesterday morning when the votes were tallied, Gingrich had been fourth, but Santorum overtook him, beating him by just 138 votes, with 23,174 votes for Gingrich and 23,312 for Santorum.

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It was the second close race for Santorum, who lost to Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses by eight votes.

The gap is unlikely to make a difference for the two men as they battle for a win in South Carolina. Both had been vying to finish in one of the top three slots in New Hampshire - positions that could help further establish their candidacies and boost their fund-raising and organizations.

The three top vote-getters remained the same in the final tally: Romney was first with 97,295 votes, Ron Paul second with 56,485 votes, and Jon Huntsman at 41,626 votes.

The secretary of state’s office said turnout figures would be available today.

— Sarah Schweitzer

Ethics committee seeks time on harassment case

WASHINGTON - The House ethics committee said yesterday it needs more time to consider sexual harassment allegations against Representative Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat, but released a report in which the alleged victim detailed a pattern of sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted hugs.

The staff member who brought the allegations, Winsome Packer, works for the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a government agency based in Austria and formerly headed by Hastings.

Packer also has filed a civil lawsuit against the commission, its staff director, and Hastings. Also known as the Helsinki Commission, the agency takes up issues such as human rights and the settlement of disputes.

Hastings, a 10-term lawmaker, denied the allegations in a statement yesterday - as he has done previously. “I unequivocally deny the allegations made by Ms. Packer,’’ he said, adding the allegations “are completely false. I never had a romantic or sexual interest in her, nor did I ever express or otherwise suggest that I had any such interest.’’

Hastings also sharply criticized the report by the Office of Congressional Ethics - which does preliminary work for the ethics committee. He said, “The OCE also completely failed to assess Ms. Packer’s motivations. Ms. Packer has a self-published book entitled ‘A Personal Agenda,’ which she has stated ‘seeks to provoke its readers by examining . . . sexual harassment in Congress and supposedly was ‘inspired by her own experiences.’ ’’ Hastings accused the congressional ethics office of failing to explore this angle.

In the Office of Congressional Ethics report, Packer described Hastings as constantly hugging her against her will, pressing his cheek against hers, and suggesting he go to her hotel room or she go to his room.

During a trip to Lisbon, the report said, Hastings allegedly “started to ‘rant’ ’’ to Packer about his interest in her.’’

“Representative Hastings told her that she was not a ‘sport’ ’’ and that he had come to her ‘as a man comes to a woman’ and was upset that [Packer] had complained about his behavior towards her,’’ the report said. It added that Hastings “then asked [Packer] to accompany him to his hotel room and also asked for her room number.’’

— Associated Press

In hometown visit, Obama picks up campaign cash

CHICAGO - Preparing for his Republican opponent, President Obama stocked up on campaign cash and thanked hometown staffers charting his reelection campaign yesterday.

The president made a quick visit to his Chicago headquarters to show his appreciation to his campaign staff, but the White House kept the moment private.

Later yesterday Obama was to attend three fund-raising events in his hometown. Obama’s campaign has hauled in more than $150 million through September, as Democrats say they will need to compete with Republican-leaning outside groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to back specific candidates.

— Associated Press

Paul, in South Carolina, trumpets antiwar message

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. - GOP candidate Ron Paul has brought his antiwar message to South Carolina, a state with strong military presence.

Paul told a cheering crowd in West Columbia yesterday that the United States should end its current wars and stop meddling in other countries’ affairs. He said active military personnel are sick of wars that drain the nation’s resources and hurt families.

— Associated Press
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