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Giuliani’s Firm Lobbied for Bill That Administration Considers a Threat

Although Rudolph W. Giuliani is campaigning as President Bush’s staunch ally in the war on terror, his law office has lobbied Congress on behalf of legislation that the Bush administration calls a threat to anti-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa.

Giuliani was not personally involved in the lobbying last year on behalf of the company’s client, the American wing of a dissident Ethiopian political party known as the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, leaders of the group said.

But the firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, used Giuliani’s name in its pitch to win the assignment, and his clout was a reason it landed the job, said Seyoum Solomon, an Ethiopian-American from Maryland who helped negotiate the deal.

“He is a popular Republican, a good friend of the president, and he might have some influence on the State Department,” Solomon said to explain the hiring decision.

Analysts Say Paulson’s Subprime Mortgage Proposal Would Help Few

The Bush administration’s effort to help borrowers in danger of defaulting on their subprime mortgages could help only a small number of those who took out such loans, industry analysts said Monday.

Though administration officials have yet to agree on crucial details with mortgage lenders and the securities industry, a similar effort in California is likely to help about 12 percent of borrowers in the state with adjustable-rate subprime loans, according to estimates by Barclays Capital.

About 2 million people have subprime mortgages with monthly payments that are likely to jump sharply in the next year or so as their introductory teaser rates expire.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said he hoped to reach agreement this week with lenders and institutional investors on a plan to temporarily freeze the teaser rates for certain qualified borrowers.

Speaking at a housing conference here organized by the Office of Thrift Supervision, Paulson said he wanted to “develop a set of standards” for modifying subprime loans that the industry could use to speed up decisions on the hundreds of thousands of borrowers at risk of losing their homes.

Clinton Starts to Attack in Content, If Not Tone

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton doesn’t sound angry, look angry or act angry. But if you transcribe her recent speeches in Iowa and reread them, they do seem angry — or, at least, more negative toward other Democrats than she has been since the 1992 presidential primary campaign of her husband.

Like Iowa itself, where she is in a tight three-way race to win the Jan. 3 caucuses, attack-style campaigning is tricky political territory for Clinton. Going negative here has backfired (most recently, for Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt in 2004). Iowans have to put up with so many candidates for so long, they grow even wearier when the politicians rip into each other.

And such a strategy risks raising Clinton’s unfavorable ratings; she has already been mocked by some voters and on political blogs for her campaign’s opposition research published Sunday that Sen. Barack Obama had wanted to be president since kindergarten.