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FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2011


Romney still leads GOP race, but remains vulnerable BY JON COHEN AND DAN BALZ Washington Post Service

more references to the tribes in his almost daily speeches and begun talking about a popular march of “millionsâ€? of tribesmen to reclaim the lost territory. Sometimes it is an unarmed march of men, women and children, other times it sounds like a military operation, but it suggests some kind of counterattack may be in the ofďŹ ng. It is impossible to determine independently whether the tribes truly support GadhaďŹ , as the government repeatedly insists, or whether they are ready to mount an assault on the mountains.

Mitt Romney leads the wideopen contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. But a new Washington Post-ABC News poll underscores his vulnerabilities as a front-runner, as well as Sarah Palin’s lingering power to shake up the race if she decides to run. The former Massachusetts governor again tops the ďŹ eld, with Palin second and Rep. Michele Bachmann third. Without Palin, Bachmann moves to second, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the only other candidate in double digits, runs third. Romney also runs ahead of the pack on three crucial attributes: leadership, experience and, perhaps most important, who can beat the president next year. But overall, Romney’s support is tepid, particularly among the party’s most energized constituency — the strong supporters of the Tea Party movement. It is because of those shortcomings that many Republicans are speculating about who is best positioned to emerge as Romney’s strongest competitor. Most of the recent focus has been on Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is weighing whether to enter the contest. What the new poll highlights is the hold that Palin still has on segments of the party faithful despite some long-standing liabilities and deep skepticism among many voters about her qualiďŹ cations to be president. In the poll, Palin shows certain strengths that the others chasing Romney don’t at this point. Without Palin in the race, Romney tops the ďŹ eld at 30 percent to Bachmann’s 16 percent, with Paul at 11 percent. Perry is at 8 percent.




Women sit near a picture of Moammar Gadhafi during a conference for the southern Libyan tribes of Fezzan in Tripoli, Libya.



Associated Press

Al AZIZIYA, Libya — Dozens of horsemen in owing robes sat on their mounts cheering as men around them ďŹ red AK-47s in the air, proclaiming allegiance to Libyan leader Moammar GadhaďŹ and their readiness to march on the rebel-held western mountains. The pomp and bravado on display during the rally in the sweltering town square in al Aziziya south of the capital is part of a concerted effort by GadhaďŹ to mobilize one of the pillars of his regime — Libya’s tribes — to combat recent rebel advances. “Look at the tribes of the War-

shafana, who dares to challenge them? No one can; they will help free Libya from the hands of these rebels,â€? GadhaďŹ â€™s voice boomed from speakers at the rally. “You are preparing today to march to the western mountains to cleanse it and liberate it from the traitors and mercenaries.â€? It’s not the ďŹ rst time GadhaďŹ has tried to rally the tribes. Since the uprising began, he has threatened to unleash angry tribesmen on opposition-held towns, although nothing ever materialized. This time, the move appears aimed at countering the rebels’ recent diplomatic and battleďŹ eld momentum in the nearby mountains.

Europe takes bigger role in Mideast peace push BY MARK LANDLER

New York Times Service

— Britain, France and Germany are viewed as inuential swing votes. “Rarely has Europe been so courted when it comes to Middle East diplomacy,â€? said David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Europe is the prize this summer.â€? For the Europeans, who have also taken a lead role in the NATO military campaign in Libya, the chance to play Middle East power broker is gratifying. But it comes with a risk, said Martin S. Indyk, director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. “The action in the United Nations is a bigger problem for them than for us,â€? he said. “It has the potential of splitting the EU, with some siding with us and Israel, and some siding with the Palestinians.â€? A rift is the last thing the European Union needs, at a time when the bloc is being strained by the debt crisis in Greece. Already, the major countries appear divided, with Germany and Italy rejecting the Palestinian campaign, France and Spain receptive, and Britain on the fence. For some Europeans, leaving the door open to Palestinian recognition is a handy way to pressure Israel to return to negotiations, which have been on ice since last fall. To break that deadlock, Obama proposed using the prevailing borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, adjusted to account for Jewish settlements in

WASHINGTON — It is a truism of Middle East peacemaking that the United States is the pivotal player — the most credible broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But with talks at a standstill, the Obama administration now ďŹ nds itself on the sidelines, and Europe is emerging as the key diplomatic actor. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, have crisscrossed the continent in recent weeks, trying to woo leaders who are weighing whether to support a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations in September. Neither man has visited Washington since the spring. That may suit the administration just ďŹ ne. The White House, several ofďŹ cials said, has deliberately kept a low proďŹ le since U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on the Middle East in May, in which he tried unsuccessfully to break the stalemate by proposing a starting point for negotiating the contours of a Palestinian state. Europe’s rising role stems not only from U.S. fatigue with a seemingly intractable problem, but also from the peculiar dynamics of the Palestinian campaign at the United Nations. With more than 100 countries, most in the developing world, expected to support Palestinian recognition — and the United States almost certain to oppose it +TURN TO MIDEAST, 2A



Last week, more than 30 nations including the United States gave the rebels a boost by recognizing their National Transitional Council as the country’s legitimate government, potentially freeing up billions of dollars in urgently needed cash. On Libyan soil, Arab and Berber rebels have driven GadhaďŹ â€™s forces out of much of the Nafusa mountains, forming a third front against Tripoli. In the ďŹ rst week of July, when the rebels took the town of Qawalish, they were within 100 miles of Tripoli, although the advance has since stalled. Over the past week, GadhaďŹ has started injecting more and

Insiders open up about Murdoch tabloids BY RAPHAEL G. SATTER Associated Press

LONDON — With their former boss under arrest, tabloid reporters are beginning to reveal secrets of what it was like to work in Rebekah

Brooks’ newsrooms. Disguises, bullying, lies dropped into copy — all were part of the pressure-cooker atmosphere that prevailed, according to former journalists who spoke to The Associated Press.


Michael Taggart, who worked at The Sun in 2003, said the paper under Rebekah Brooks was marked by ‘ruthlessness and misogyny.’

Michael Taggart, who worked at The Sun in 2003, said the paper under Brooks was marked by “ruthlessness and misogyny.� “The reporters who were prepared to subject themselves and others to the most ridicule were the ones earmarked for success,� said Taggart. Insiders say the whatever-ittakes mantra was common across the tabloid world. But the pressure at News International — publisher of the Sun and the News of the World, the defunct paper at the center of the phone hacking scandal — was particularly intense. Taggart described routinely participating in overnight stakeouts while at the Sun, something he said was rare at other papers he had worked for. The News of the World famously employed Mazhar Mahmood, +TURN TO TABLOIDS, 2A

Medicare scammers find a haven in Cuba BY JAY WEAVER

As Medicare crime spreads across South Florida, accused scammers are escaping in droves to Cuba and other Latin American countries to avoid prosecution — with more than 150 fugitives now wanted for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. healthcare program, according to the FBI and court records.


The tally of fugitives charged with healthcare fraud here has tripled since 2008, when The Miami Herald ďŹ rst reported on the phenomenon of Cuban immigrants joining the Medicare rackets and eeing to evade trial in Miami. But during the past three years, the FBI has captured only 16 fugitives, reecting the difďŹ culty in catching Spanish-speaking suspects who head south to hide. Most of the

fugitives were born in Cuba, immigrated to South Florida after 1990 and can easily live under the radar in Latin America with hundreds of thousands or millions in taxpayer dollars eeced from Medicare. Even if fugitives can be located in Cuba, there’s no way to get them back because of the political realities at play. +TURN TO SCAMMERS, 2A


INDEX NEWS EXTRA ...............3A U.S. NEWS ....................5A OPINION ........................7A COMICS & PUZZLES .....6B 5






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Edition, 22 july 2011

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