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    Political notebook

    Michelle Obama plays to strengths in N.H.

    Mary Schwalm/associated press
    Michelle Obama spoke Thursday at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H.

    LACONIA, N.H. — First lady Michelle Obama sought to rally her husband’s New Hampshire supporters Thursday by emphasizing President Obama’s working-class background and values and pointing to the triumphs of his administration.

    She also stressed that the only guarantee in the upcoming election is that it would be closer than four years ago.

    ‘‘The one new voter you get to register to vote,’ she said, “can be the one that puts the election over the top.’’


    Michelle Obama was drumming up support for the program she launched last week — ‘‘It Takes One’’ — to encourage supporters to get friends, relatives, and neighbors involved in the election. She made nearly identical speeches at a private fund-raiser at the Holderness home of Stonyfield Yogurt founder Gary Hirshberg and his wife, Meg, and at a rally at Laconia Middle School attended by nearly 600 supporters.

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    Among those in attendance at the fund-raiser were New Hampshire Democratic congressional candidates Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster, and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. She planned a third appearance Thursday night at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

    Pat Gould of Laconia praised the president for spurring passage of the federal health care overhaul law. ‘‘He’s the first president who’s gotten any kind of health care passed,’’ Gould said. ‘‘And yes, it needs tweaking, but we’ve got it.’’

    Speaking through repeated bursts of applause in Laconia, Michele Obama never mentioned GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by name.

    ‘‘Are we going to allow everything we fought for to just slip away?’’ she asked, after listing a litany of her husband’s accomplishments — including the health care overhaul, tax cuts for working-class families and small businesses, the doubling of Pell grants to help reduce student debt, the auto industry’s revival, and the killing of Osama bin Laden.


    ‘‘Barack knows the American dream because he’s lived it,’’ Michelle Obama said. ‘‘He believes when you work hard, when you walk through that door of opportunity, you don’t slam it behind you. That’s what’s at stake in this election — it’s that dream, that fundamental American promise.’’


    Romney aide suggests e-mail use violates law

    WASHINGTON — One of Mitt Romney’s top advisers on Thursday morning said President Obama’s campaign manager appeared to have violated the law because he used a personal e-mail address to conduct White House business.

    “On its face this appears to be a violation of the law that all official communications be preserved,” Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser, said on a conference call with reporters.

    Jim Messina, a former White House deputy chief of staff who is now Obama’s campaign manager, sent e-mails from a private account to schedule meetings with lobbyists away from the White House in order to keep them from being detected, according to a report published Tuesday by House Republicans.


    Fehrnstrom on Thursday charged that the only area where Obama has been transparent is on US national security, citing several leaks that some believe came from the White House to make Obama look strong on foreign policy.

    The argument on transparency — including charges of using personal e-mail accounts — comes with a bit of irony from the Romney campaign. The Globe reported last year that Romney’s staff purchased 11 hard drives and purged state government e-mail servers in the final days of his four-year term as Massachusetts governor. E-mails were also lost from several of Romney’s Cabinet members because, they said, they weren’t told they needed to preserve them.

    Romney himself, and a number of his top aides, including Fehrnstrom, also used their private accounts to conduct state business when Romney was governor.

    In a trove of e-mails released earlier this year under a public records request, Romney used a Hotmail account to communicate with several of his top advisers. In one instance, for example, Romney sent out e-mails about emergency budget cuts using his Hotmail account.

    Under Massachusetts law, records are deemed public by who the author is, not which account is being used. But since a 1997 Supreme Judicial Court ruling, governors in Massachusetts have said that the executive office is exempt from the state’s public records law.

    Republicans have charged that Messina’s personal e-mails violate the Presidential Records Act.


    House reprimands Democrat over campaign conduct

    WASHINGTON — The House officially reprimanded California Democrat Laura Richardson on Thursday for forcing her congressional staff to do campaign work and violating codes of conduct for government service.

    The reprimand came with a $10,000 fine and was another blow to the three-term lawmaker’s reelection race against fellow Democrat Representative Janice Hahn.

    Richardson admitted to all seven counts levied against her and agreed to accept the reprimand.

    The Ethics Committee report said that employees in her Long Beach office were compelled to do campaign work after their workdays and that those who declined were given the impression they could lose their jobs.


    Associated Press