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Subpoenaed Palin aides don't appear at hearing

Seven of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's top aides defied subpoenas for their testimony Friday into her possible abuse of power.

Palin's chief of staff, Mike Nizich, and six other aides failed to appear at a legislative hearing into whether Palin abused her power when she fired her public safety commissioner this summer.

Alaska Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French, D-Anchorage, waited 30 minutes Friday before reading a statement that the witnesses could be found in contempt when the full Legislature convenes in January and that the investigation will go on “in a simple search for the truth.”

Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seven state workers Thursday challenging the subpoenas. He claims the committee has no jurisdiction to issue subpoenas in the investigation and questions whether the investigation's overseeing body, the Legislative Council, had the authority to begin a probe.

Colberg said in a news conference Friday that he never directed anybody to ignore subpoenas, but advised the seven that they had two options: Show up and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee or don't and join the lawsuit. Associated Press

Palin to return donations from tainted politicians

Sarah Palin says she will donate to charity more than $1,000 in campaign contributions from two Alaska politicians implicated in a federal corruption probe.

Palin said Thursday she also is giving back $1,000 from the wife of one of the men. The move came a few hours after The Associated Press reported that Palin had accepted the money during her successful 2006 run for governor. Palin was elected easily after she promised to rid Alaska's capital of dirty politics. Associated Press

MSNBC stops running ad on McCain's health

MSNBC on Friday stopped airing a commercial by two liberal groups that makes an issue of John McCain's past bouts with skin cancer and demands that he release his medical records to the public.

“The ad had not been thoroughly vetted prior to air, and has since been removed from our commercial rotation,” NBC spokeswoman Allison Gollust said in an e-mail. She did not elaborate.

The ad displays black and white close-up images of McCain and the scars related to the removal of melanomas from his face.

A spokesman for one of the groups, Democracy for America, said the cable network notified its ad buyer Friday that it would no longer run the ad.

CNN had already declined to run the ad, but MSNBC ran it several times Thursday evening and Friday morning before the network halted it.

The ad cost $50,000 — a small ad purchase by political standards that seemed designed primarily to generate publicity. Associated Press

Obama shows slim lead in latest daily Gallup poll

Barack Obama holds a slight edge over John McCain — 48 percent to McCain's 45 percent — among registered voters, according to the latest Gallup Poll daily tracking update. Associated Press