Nation in brief: McGovern says women discounted

Former Sen. George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, said Tuesday it would be easier for a black man to be elected to the White House than a woman.

The former South Dakota senator has endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he has known for decades since she helped campaign for him. She is in a close race with Sen. Barack Obama for the party nod.

“I have a feeling that in this country where we’re at today in our thinking, it’s going to be harder to elect a woman than to elect a black man,” he told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “I wish that weren’t true. … I’d love to see Hillary as president.”

McGovern says he occasionally chats with men who don’t think a woman is ready for the responsibility.

“Some guy will say, ‘Well, I think that’s too big a job for a woman, I don’t think she can handle those terrorists,’ ” he said, adding that he seldom hears the same thing said about a black man.

Galveston, Texas

Father guilty in burning case

A young father was convicted Tuesday of badly injuring his infant daughter by putting her in a microwave, with jurors rejecting his claim that he was insane at the time.

Jurors deliberated about four hours before finding Joshua Mauldin, 20, guilty of felony injury to a child.

After the verdict, jurors heard testimony in the punishment phase of the trial and deliberated for 2 1/2 hours without a decision. They were expected to resume today. Mauldin faces anything from probation to life in prison.

Mauldin had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, saying he was having a psychotic episode when he put his then 2-month-old daughter, Ana, in a hotel microwave for 10 to 20 seconds last May while her mother and grandmother were away.

Prosecutors said Mauldin was angry that he was in a loveless marriage and took it out on his daughter. Just before putting her in the microwave, Mauldin had punched the baby and put her in the hotel-room safe and refrigerator.

Albany, N.Y.

Ex-girlfriend helped Patterson

Gov. David A. Paterson traveled with an alleged ex-girlfriend while campaigning for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid in Iowa and South Carolina in recent months, with Paterson aides saying she helped him with his visual limitations.

The trips, in November and January respectively, were paid for by the Clinton campaign, officials said. Paterson spokesman Errol Cockfield said the woman who has been identified as the governor’s ex-girlfriend, Lila Kirton, helped Paterson during these two campaign trips with his sight. Paterson is legally blind. Kirton, who is director of community affairs for the governor’s office, also was involved with Women With Hillary and traveled on her own personal time, not as part of her state job, he said.

Earlier this month, Paterson publicly acknowledged that he and his wife had had affairs beginning about nine years ago while they were going through a “rough patch” in their 15-year marriage. He said their affairs ended several years ago after he and his wife decided to recommit to their marriage.


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