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Evangelist in hot water over Romney remark

WASHINGTON -- Florida evangelist Bill Keller says he was making a spiritual -- not political -- statement when he warned the 2.4 million subscribers to his Internet prayer ministry that "if you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!"

But the Washington-based advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State says the Internal Revenue Service should revoke the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status of Bill Keller Ministries, nonetheless.

Keller, 49, who has a call-in show on a Tampa television station and a website called Liveprayer.com, on May 11 sent out a "daily devotional" that called Romney "an unabashed and proud member of the Mormon cult founded by a murdering polygamist pedophile named Joseph Smith nearly 200 years ago."

In a letter to the IRS on Thursday, Americans United called Keller's message a violation of the ban on partisan politicking by tax-exempt religious groups.

Buffett to play host
WASHINGTON -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett will host a fund-raiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in New York this month, helping her attract donors who can write four-figure checks and court fresh faces in the investing community.

An invitation for the June 26 cocktail party, the location of which is still to be decided, says a limited number of tickets will go to "young Wall Street" at $500 a piece.

Other attendees are asked to give between $1,000 and $4,600, the legal maximum. (Bloomberg)

Dust-up over debate
CONCORD, N.H. -- Joe Biden just wants to debate.

The Delaware senator, set to appear alongside fellow Democrats tomorrow in a New Hampshire debate, also is one of two candidates signed onto a fall debate on Fox News and the sole person who has agreed to an Iraq-only debate next week.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Biden criticized fellow Democrats for bowing out of a Sept. 23 Detroit debate co sponsored by Fox New Channel and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is the only other candidate who has agreed to the Fox debate. (AP)

Obama vows solidarity
LAS VEGAS -- Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama told union hotel and casino workers yesterday that he was ready to walk their picket lines should current contract talks turn sour.

"I have already bought my suntan lotion," Obama said, prompting members of the Culinary Workers Union members to rise to their feet. "I'm prepared. I'm equipped. I'm ready to walk, I'm ready to walk. I'm ready."

The 60,000-member union is locked in contract negotiations with its major employers, MGM Mirage Inc. and Harrah's Entertainment Inc. The union is expected to be a key organizing force in the Jan. 19 Nevada caucuses, and its endorsement is highly sought. (AP)

Full report unread
WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards misspoke when he said he read a National Intelligence Report before authorizing the war in Iraq, his campaign said.

Edwards did not read the classified report that contained doubts about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, his spokesman said, even though it was available to him at the time when he was a North Carolina senator serving on the Intelligence Committee.

Edwards spokesman Eric Schultz said Edwards had read the declassified summary report before voting to authorize the war, but not the full version. (AP)

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