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Daschle Uses Senate Ties To Blaze Path for Obama

When Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was ready to deliver his endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama, Kennedy did not call Obama headquarters. He got in touch with Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader who had quietly been serving as the liaison between Obama and fellow senators.

Behind the scenes, Daschle has played an intriguing role in Obama’s Senate career and presidential campaign as a confidant and an early supporter who lent authority to Obama’s ambitions when others doubted the prospects of the young newcomer to Washington.

Now Daschle, who represented South Dakota in the Senate until his defeat in 2004, is becoming increasingly active on behalf of Obama, serving as ambassador to big-name backers like Kennedy, building support among American Indians, pushing back against the Clinton campaign and making personal appearances of his own.

After a stinging defeat at home, Daschle has discovered the pleasures of campaigning when someone else’s name is on the ballot.

“It is all of the fun and none of the pressure,” said Daschle, who on Monday was calling through a list of party officials who will serve as convention delegates, wooing them on Obama’s behalf. “I feel liberated.”

Some Residents Skeptical of Account of Mall Shooting

Relatives of the only survivor of a weekend shooting here that left five women dead inside a clothing store told a Kentucky newspaper that all of the women inside the shop had been bound and then shot in the back of their heads.

The survivor, whose family said she was a 33-year-old part-time employee at the Lane Bryant store, was shot along with the rest. But the bullet went into her neck, missing vital organs, her mother told The Messenger, a newspaper in Madisonville, Ky., near where the mother lives.

The authorities in Tinley Park, a southwest suburb of Chicago, would not comment on the description given by the family members and offered few details of the Saturday morning shooting, which they say was a robbery that turned deadly in a strip shopping center. No arrests have been made in the case.

“There’s so much misinformation going on right now,” Sgt. T.J. Grady of the Tinley Park police said without elaborating during a short news conference on Monday.

Turkey Strikes Towns in Kurdistan

Turkish warplanes bombed villages in Iraqi Kurdistan on Monday as the Kurds came under pressure on several fronts: representatives in Parliament discussed the Kurdish share of the budget, and the Turkmen, a minority group primarily in northern Iraq, declared that they would no longer support efforts to hold a referendum on whether the city of Kirkuk should join the Kurdistan region.

In a statement on its Web site, the Turkish military said it had struck 70 targets in the Avashin and Hakurk districts in a 12-hour bombing run that began at 3 a.m. The military did not give details on damage or deaths. It said the targets were in 11 places.

Turkey’s military has been fighting a militant fringe of its ethnic Kurdish minority for decades. The militants, known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, hide in Turkey and Iraq. They are trying to force Turkey to give greater rights and recognition to its minority Kurds.