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    political notebook

    Romneys donate $150,000 to campaign

    WASHINGTON - Mitt and Ann Romney have given $150,000 to the Romney for President campaign, marking the first time they have contributed their own funds to the 2012 race, a campaign official said Friday.

    By contrast, Mitt Romney gave $45 million to his failed 2008 campaign. He had said during the 2008 race that he was loaning the money but eventually acknowledged that he would never get it back.

    The $150,000 contribution will not show up for at least another month in campaign reports, but a campaign aide confirmed it. It was first reported by CNN.


    While a candidate cannot accept more than $2,500 from individuals for the primary and then the general election, he can give an unlimited amount of his own funds.

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    Romney’s personal wealth has been estimated to be as much as $250 million.

    The aide declined to speak on the record, following a campaign policy for some statements.

    Asked why the contribution was made now, the aide sent a statement via e-mail that said: “If Mitt Romney’s asking donors to contribute the maximum, then the least he and Ann can do is make the same contribution.’’


    Coin flip decides election for Texas city council seat


    LUBBOCK, Texas - A winner has been chosen by a coin toss in a City Council election.

    Bruce MacNair won Friday’s flip that decided the race between him and Bryan Studer.

    The two had agreed to have a coin toss decide the contest for a seat on the Wolfforth City Council after both received 118 votes in last weekend’s election.

    The men wanted to save the tiny city the $10,000 cost of a run-off election.

    Wolfforth is a bedroom community near Lubbock with about 3,700 residents.



    Heckler disrupts speech by Sebelius at Georgetown

    WASHINGTON - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius paid homage to religious freedom and the separation of church and state in a graduation speech Friday at Georgetown University that was briefly interrupted by an antiabortion heckler.

    Catholic church authorities earlier had lambasted Georgetown’s invitation for her to speak at the Public Policy Institute’s awards ceremony.

    Invoking President Kennedy, Sebelius called the separation of church and state “a fundamental principle in our unique democracy.’’ She urged graduates to weigh different views in policy debates and follow their own moral compasses.

    The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said the invitation to Sebelius from the Jesuit school was unfortunate because her public actions represent a direct challenge to religious liberty. Bishops view a requirement to cover birth control and other parts of President Obama’s health care law as attacks on religious freedom.

    A man who stood up during Sebelius’s speech and heckled her for supporting abortion rights was escorted off campus, a university official said.


    Romney ad lists priorities on Day One in Oval Office

    Mitt Romney’s first general election TV commercial promises he would introduce tax cuts and approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline on the first day of his presidency.

    The Republican candidate released the ad Friday, coupling it with a fund-raising pitch. The spot is upbeat, in contrast to an ad President Obama is running that criticizes Romney as a businessman. Romney has called the Obama ad “character assassination.’’

    In Romney’s commercial, his first since becoming the presumptive nominee, an announcer asks: “What would a Romney presidency be like?’’

    “Day One: President Romney immediately approves the Keystone pipeline, creating thousands of jobs that Obama blocked,’’ the announcer declares, referring to a pipeline Obama has delayed. Republicans insist his decision shows Obama’s hostility toward the energy industry.

    “President Romney introduces tax cuts and reforms that reward job creators, not punish them,’’ the announcer says, repeating a familiar Republican theme.

    Then, in an effort to ease conservative skepticism, the announcer says: “President Romney issues order to begin replacing Obamacare with common-sense health care reform.’’

    As governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed into law a health care overhaul that was a model for Obama’s health care law. Conservatives oppose the law’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance or face penalties.

    Romney does not speak in the ad.

    The ad ignores Congress’s role in fulfilling these promises, especially on the health care law. A full repeal would require votes from Republican majorities in both the House and Senate or Democratic support for repeal. Republicans control the House and have voted to repeal the law. But Democrats control the Senate, and the balance of power on Capitol Hill would have to shift in order to make Romney’s pledge a reality.