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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Paul Proposes Cutting Pakistan Aid to Help Release bin Laden Informant

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., plans to introduce legislation to cut all aid to Pakistan until the foreign country releases a physician who assisted the U.S. in killing Osama bin Laden.

According to reports, Dr. Shakil Afridi worked with U.S. intelligence officials to run a number of a fake hepatitis B vaccine programs in order to prove the terrorist leader lived in the Abbottabad compound.

Last week, a Pakistani court sentenced Afridi to 33 years in prison for treason under tribal law.

“Pakistan must understand that they are choosing the wrong side. They accuse Dr. Afridi of working against Pakistan, but he was simply helping the U.S. capture the head of al Qaida. Surely Pakistan is not linking their interests with those of an international terrorist organization,” Paul said in a statement.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth: Obama Has Right to Politicize bin Laden Death

For most of the week Republicans have been critical of an attack ad by President Obama’s re-election campaign highlighting the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. But Democratic Congress John Yarmuth believes its proper for the president to politicize the issue.

The ad released earlier this month features former President Bill Clinton, who says Mr. Obama made a tough but important decision. The ad also suggests—without naming him—that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would had failed to go after the al-Qaeda leader.

Watch it below:

Yarmuth says that the president should rightfully take credit for bin Laden’s downfall and has been restrained in using the killing for the re-election campaign.

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Local News Politics

Chandler Was Shown bin Laden Photos, Favors Releasing Them

by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler was given the opportunity to view death photos of Osama Bin Laden this morning.

The Versailles Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee says they are images he won’t soon forget.

“There’s an enormous wound or gash from his left eye all the way across his forehead which is about an inch wide. It’s a massive wound that you can see that nobody could have survived it,” says Chandler.

Chandler says he understands why President Obama wanted them restricted, but he favors releasing them to the public.

“I think that a lot of the victims of 9/11 really want to have closure.  Quite frankly, you see things like that on network TV on some of the police and detective shows when somebody gets killed,” he says.

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Local News Politics

Herald-Leader Says Beshear Snubbing President Obama Was a Mistake

Pointing out that President Barack Obama’s harshest critics have praised him for killing terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, the Lexington Herald-Leader‘s editorial board chastised Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear for snubbing the president during his first visit to the commonwealth.

Last week, Mr. Obama delivered a speech at Fort Campbell after meeting with military service members.  Joined by Vice President Joe Biden, he also held a private meeting with the Navy SEAL team that assassinated bin Laden in his Pakistan compound.

Beshear’s office said the governor missed the president’s visit because of the short notice from the White House. The governor said he tried to change his schedule, but had to fulfill his Oak’s Day obligations.

The newspaper isn’t buying that argument.

From the Herald-Leader:

Maybe an incumbent Democrat, up for re-election in a red state didn’t want to remind Kentuckians that his is indeed the party of Obama. Maybe he feared that any appearance beside the president was potential attack-ad fodder come fall.

But by skipping the photo-op celebrating the special-op, he may have set himself up for something worse: (Cue the sinister baritone voice-over) “Steve Beshear chose a horse race over the brave Americans who got bin Laden …” (Insert grainy black-and-white photo of Beshear with Oaks winner Plum Pretty.) (Sinister voice-over:) “Steve Beshear: plum loco.

The editorial board joins prominent civil rights leaders and Democratic elected officials, who have criticized Beshear for playing political “hide and seek” with the president.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Stumbo: Beshear Was Wrong to Snub Obama

Joining prominent civil rights leaders and other Democratic lawmakers, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Governor Steve Beshear should have adjusted his schedule to be at Fort Campbell and greet President Barack Obama during his a recent visit to the military base.

Last Friday, Mr. Obama made his first visit as president to the commonwealth, where he met privately with members of the Navy SEAL team that killed 9/11 terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. The governor’s office said the White House notice came too late and Beshear had to fulfill his Oak’s Day obligations.

Stumbo said he didn’t buy that explanation and believes the governor could have showed up despite Republican attempts to link Beshear to Mr. Obama during an election year.

From the Republic:

“That wasn’t a political event,” Stumbo said. “That was an event to honor the bravery of those men, and I believe he should have gone down there probably and been with the president. He could have helicoptered back up here for the Oaks presentation if he wanted to do that.”

(SNIP)

Beshear said he wasn’t trying to distance himself from Obama. He expressed pride in Obama and the military assault team that executed the dangerous raid on bin Laden’s compound and killed the al-Qaida leader in Pakistan.

“It was a great victory in the war over terrorism,” the governor said. “If I could have been there, I would have. We didn’t have enough time to really change any plans that we already had set in concrete here.”

Last week, Louisville NAACP President Raoul Cunningham told WFPL News that Beshear’s game of “hide and seek” with the president could cost Beshear at the polls this November, particularly among African-American voters. Stumbo, however, doesn’t think  the governor’s absence will have a lingering impact on the general election.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Obama Addresses Troops at Fort Campbell

Addressing military service members at Fort Campbell, President Barack Obama honored the special operations team that killed 9/11 terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

Joined by Vice President Joe Biden, the president arrived to thank the soldiers after having a private meeting with members of the Navy SEAL team that killed the al-Qaeda founder. It was Mr. Obama’s first visit as president to Kentucky.

Check it out:

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Discusses Budget, bin Laden

Appearing on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown on Friday, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says the killing of terror suspect Osama bin Laden should speed up U.S. forces pulling out of Afghanistan.

Check it out:

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Obama May Meet SEAL Team During Visit, Beshear Will Stay Away

According to the Associated Press, President Barack Obama will meet with members of the Navy SEAL team who killed al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden when he visits Fort Campbell in Kentucky on Friday. However, Governor Steve Beshear will not accompany the president during his first visit to the commonwealth.

The White House source didn’t provide any details of the planned meeting between Mr. Obama and the special operations team that raided the terror suspect’s compound.

Despite Mr. Obama’s negative approval ratings in the state, it speaks volumes that a sitting Democratic governor is missing an opportunity to be seen with the president and troops who killed the most notorious terrorist—during an election year—in order to fulfill his Oak’s Day obligations instead.

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Here and Now Local News

Thursday Here and Now: Oaks and Derby, Bullying, and Time to Cut Pakistan Loose?

Here’s some of what we’re getting ready for today’s show:
What Does Bin Laden’s Death Mean For The Afghan War & US Military? Defense analyst and author Tom Ricks says because Osama Bin Laden was found hiding in plain sight in Pakistan “the jig is up” and the U.S. should curtail relations with Pakistan. We’ll explore the consequences of that with him.

Three high school students are expected to accept plea arrangements today in a Massachusetts courtroom in the case of Phoebe Prince. We’ll look at what’s going on in state capitols around the country to stop bullying.

We’ll also look ahead to Oaks and Derby. And a memoir of homesteaders who wanted to get away from it all, but couldn’t leave their family problems behind.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Obama to Address Troops at Fort Campbell

Days after a successful mission that killed al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama will address military service members at Fort Campbell, Ky. on Friday. It will be Mr. Obama’s first visit to the commonwealth since being elected president.

The base is home to several military units, including the 101st Airborne Division and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, which supported the SEAL team that eliminated the terrorist leader in Pakistan.

A number of soldiers returned home from deployment in Afghanistan on Monday, where they first heard about the terrorist leader’s death. However, that news took a back seat to rejoining their friends and families.

From the Washington Post:

All the soldiers were happy that Osama bin Laden had been killed. But they had other – more immediate — matters on their mind.

They wanted to hug their children, kiss their spouses and try to pick up the lives that had been put on hold for a long and deadly deployment to Afghanistan.

Only a few weeks earlier, the troops had taken part in a large-scale helicopter-borne assault into the isolated mountains along the Pakistani border that was designed to push back the enemy in preparation for the arrival of the next Army unit.Six U.S. soldiers were killed along with more than 130 enemy fighters, according to the U.S. military.