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Political notebook

Marco Rubio calls for retirement changes

WASHINGTON — Younger workers would face higher retirement ages and wealthier Americans would see their Social Security paychecks trail their less affluent neighbors’ under a plan proposed Tuesday by Senator Marco Rubio.

Rubio, a first-term Republican from Florida who is outlining a policy agenda as he weighs a presidential bid, also proposed allowing all Americans to join federal retirement accounts. He vowed to protect benefits for older Americans but he added that changes were needed if the system is to survive.

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‘‘The Social Security trust fund is drying up,’’ Rubio said.

He said the safety net for retirees will run into debt in 2033 if changes are not made. ‘‘This is not a scare tactic. . . . It is a mathematical certainty if things remain unchanged.’’

Democrats said the Rubio proposal is similar to one that Republican Mitt Romney proposed when he unsuccessfully ran for president in 2012.

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Rubio did not specify a new retirement age.

Son of activist to succeed Booker as Newark mayorNEWARK, N.J. — Ras Baraka, son of late militant poet and activist Amiri Baraka, declared victory Tuesday in the race to succeed Democratic Senator Cory Booker as mayor of the state’s largest city.

Baraka, who served on Newark’s City Council, was a staunch critic of Booker, who stepped down last year to run for the Senate. Baraka declared victory with nearly all districts counted and with a 54 percent to 46 percent lead over former state assistant attorney general Shavar Jeffries.

Baraka, whose father extended the political debates of the civil rights era to the arts world, inherits a fiscal crisis that has left Newark in
danger of being subject to
state monitoring.

Clinton camp denies health would be campaign issue

WASHINGTON — An aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton and the White House pushed back Tuesday against Republican strategist Karl Rove for suggesting that the former secretary of state’s health could be an issue if she runs for president in 2016.

Rove told Fox News, for which he is a commentator, that Clinton had a ‘‘serious health episode’’ that would be a legitimate issue for her in a potential presidential campaign ‘‘whether she likes it or not.’’

The New York Post reported Tuesday that Rove suggested at a private conference near Los Angeles last week that Clinton suffered brain damage. Rove disputed that he was referring to any brain damage.

‘‘I didn’t say she had brain damage. I said she had a serious health episode,’’ he said on Fox News.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill called Rove’s comments ‘‘flagrant and thinly veiled. They are scared of what she has achieved and what she has to offer.’’

As President Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton fell ill with a stomach bug in December 2012 after returning from a trip to Europe. The illness left her severely dehydrated. While at home, she fainted and fell and suffered a concussion.

During a follow up examination on Dec. 30, doctors discovered a blood clot in a vein that runs between the skull and the brain and she was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital for treatment with blood thinners.

Conyers lacking signatures to get on primary ballot

WASHINGTON — Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the longest-serving lawmaker running for reelection this year, doesn’t have enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot, the Wayne County Clerk ruled Tuesday.

More than 1,400 of the 2,000 signatures filed by Conyers’s campaign were invalid, clerk Cathy Garrett said Tuesday. That leaves the Democrat with 592 valid signatures — more than 400 short of the 1,000 needed under Michigan law to qualify for the Aug. 5 primary ballot.

Conyers, first elected to Congress in 1964, represents a district that includes part of Detroit and its suburbs in Wayne County.

He is the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus.

If reelected, Conyers would become the longest- serving member of the House of Representatives after his Michigan colleague John Dingell, 87, retires at the end of the year.

Conyers, 84, has until the end of the week to appeal the decision to Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, a Republican. He could still run as a write-in candidate if that appeal fails.

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