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POSTED February 4, 2013 8:17 p.m.

STROM THURMOND'S MIXED-RACE DAUGHTER DIES AT 87: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The mixed-race daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years to avoid damaging his political career has died. Essie Mae Washington-Williams was 87.

Vann Dozier of Leevy's Funeral Home in Columbia said Washington-Williams died Monday. A cause of death wasn't given.

Washington-Williams was the daughter of the one-time segregationist and his family's black maid.

There had been rumors for decades in political circles and the black community that Thurmond had fathered a daughter by a black woman. But Washington-Williams did not come forward and identify Thurmond as her father until after his death at age 100 in 2003.

Washington-Williams spent decades as a school teacher in Los Angeles. Thurmond was South Carolina's governor and for a time was the nation's longest-serving U.S. senator.

NJ GOV. CHRISTIE, LETTERMAN LAUGH ABOUT FAT JOKES: TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and David Letterman have shared some laughs about the many fat jokes the comedian has made about the lawmaker's ample girth.

Christie has termed his plumpness "fair game" for comedians. And during his first appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" on Monday, the outspoken Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender read two of Letterman's jokes that he said were "some of my personal favorites."

The governor also drew loud laughs when he pulled out a doughnut and started eating it while Letterman asked him if he was bothered by the digs that have been made about his weight. Christie said he wasn't, noting that he laughs at the jokes if he finds them funny.

GOP LEADER RAISES POSSIBILITY OF HAGEL FILIBUSTER : WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain, a sharp critic of Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary, says he will not support a filibuster of President Barack Obama's pick, even though he declined to say whether he intends to vote for confirmation. Several other GOP senators also voiced reservations about a filibuster of Hagel's nomination.

The Arizona senator told reporters Monday he does not believe a filibuster is appropriate and he would oppose such a move. His comments come two days after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell raised the possibility of forcing a showdown vote.

In the fiercest exchange of Hagel's confirmation hearing last week, McCain questioned the nominee about the Iraq war and whether he was right or wrong in opposing an additional 30,000 U.S. troops in 2007.

ED KOCH'S COFFIN EXITS TO 'NEW YORK , NEW YORK' : NEW YORK (AP) — Ed Koch couldn't have chosen a more appropriate final farewell to New York City.

An organist played "New York, New York," the iconic ballad made famous by Frank Sinatra, in a Manhattan synagogue Monday as the former mayor's oak coffin was carried past thousands of mourners, concluding a funeral that recalled the quintessential New Yorker's famous one-liners and amusing antics in the public eye.

Koch died Friday of congestive heart failure at age 88.

Recalling Koch as "brash and irreverent," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the crowd that came to pay its respects that the man who steered the city through the 1970s and 1980s must be "beaming" from all the attention created by his death.

POSTAL SERVICE HONORS ROSA PARKS WITH NEW STAMP: DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of people, including some of Michigan's political elite, gathered Monday to celebrate the late Rosa Parks on what would have been her 100th birthday by unveiling a postage stamp in her honor steps from the Alabama bus on which she stared down segregation nearly 60 years ago.

Parks, who died in 2005, became one of the enduring figures of the Civil Rights movement when she refused to cede her seat in the colored section of the Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man after the whites-only section filled up. Her defiance and the ensuing black boycott of the city bus system helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rise to national prominence.

PITTSBURGH GIRL, 6, CRASHES CAR IN BID TO SEE DAD: PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh police say a determined 6-year-old girl didn't hurt anyone when she crashed her mother's car while trying to drive across town to visit her father.

Police haven't released the name of the girl whose mother was reportedly still sleeping when the girl took the woman's car keys about 9 a.m. Sunday.

Police Sgt. Jerry Parker tells reporters the little girl is tall for her age, but adds: "How she knew how to operate a car, your guess is as good as mine."

Police say the girl hit two parked vehicles, pushing one of them into a third, before hitting a utility pole.

Police and the girl's father arrived to take her home after the accident.

Police are still investigating but haven't said if anyone will face charges.

SCOUTS, LEADERS DELIVER PETITION ON NO-GAY POLICY : IRVING, Texas (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America's national executive board began three days of closed meetings Monday that are expected to include a discussion of its policy excluding gay members and leaders, and Scouts on both sides of the debate are publically weighing in.

The meetings are getting far more attention since the organization announced last week it would consider allowing individual troops to decide whether to allow gay membership. Police and security guards kept watch at the suburban Dallas hotel where the meetings are being held, and reporters were barred from talking to board members.

Several current and former Scouts, leaders and their supporters rallied outside the organization's nearby national headquarters in Irving, Texas, armed with four boxes of what they said were 1.4 million signatures on a petition opposing the Scouts' current policy. Jennifer Tyrrell, who was removed as a den leader of her son's pack in Ohio because she is lesbian, called the exclusion policy "archaic."

 

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