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CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

Dodd, Richardson to skip Democratic debate on Fox

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidates Bill Richardson and Christopher Dodd will not participate in a Democratic debate co sponsored by Fox News Channel this fall, joining their three top rivals in bypassing the event.

Their decisions are sure to disappoint the Congressional Black Caucus, whose political education and leadership institute is Fox's partner in the debate.

But Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, and Dodd, a senator from Connecticut, have been under pressure to shun the debate from liberal groups that say Fox is biased against Democrats.

John Edwards , former senator from North Carolina, and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also will not participate in the Sept. 23 debate.

So far only Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, has said he intends to be there.

The Congressional Black Caucus is cosponsoring another Democratic debate with CNN.

Executive pay in spotlight
WASHINGTON -- Senator Barack Obama asked Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, to hold a hearing on his proposal to give shareholders more say on executive pay, a move that may elevate the issue in the presidential campaign.

Allowing annual, non binding votes on compensation would let public-company shareholders say whether they think pay packages are appropriate, Obama, an Illinois Democrat seeking the party's 2008 presidential nomination, wrote in a letter yesterday. The letter was sent to Dodd and Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the Banking Committee's ranking Republican.

"I believe public discussion and debate over executive compensation packages would force corporate boards to think twice before signing over millions of dollars," Obama wrote. The proposal was sent to the panel headed by Dodd, who is also running for president, after Obama introduced it last month. (Bloomberg)

Romney urges more troops
DES MOINES -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday repeated his call to add more troops, saying the Iraq war had left the nation's military seriously stressed.

The former governor of Massachusetts said he supported President Bush's decision to intervene in Iraq, but conceded that the effort has had plenty of missteps.

"I think we've made a number of mistakes," said Romney, opening a two-day campaign trip to Iowa by speaking to a business group. "We were underprepared for what developed."

Pulling American troops out of Iraq is "very tempting," Romney said, but doing so would lead to a larger conflict in the region. (AP)

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