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Romney sweeps Tuesday primaries, closes in on nomination

Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney cruised to easy victories in primaries in Indiana, North Carolinia and West Virginia Tuesday, padding his delegate count and bringing him closer than ever to the magic number needed to clinch the nomination by no later than the first week of June. Romney won all three states by more than 60 percent — capturing almost 70 percent in West Virginia — handily defeating Ron Paul, the only remaining candidate in the race. Tuesday’s victories gives Romney an estimated 919 delegates, according to figures compiled by the Republican National Committee, and puts Romney just 132
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Long-time Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar ousted in Indiana primary

Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, the longest serving Republican in the Senate, lost his seat in the state primary Tuesday, giving tea party conservatives a major victory. State Treasurer Richard Mourdock trounced Lugar by more than 20 percentage points, ending Lugar’s long career.  The primary vote was a bitter rebuke for Lugar, who came under fire for being out of touch with voters and for not even maintaining a residence in Indiana. “Tonight, you did the impossible,” Mourdock told his supporters in an emotional acceptance speech. Mourdock faces Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in November. Lugar’s loss was a blow to Gov.
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North Carolina voters reject same sex marriages

North Carolina voters Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected same sex unions by approving a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. At least 61 percent of the voters approved the amendment which says only marriage between a man and a woman is legal in the state.  North Carolina already has a law on the books blocking gay marriage but approval amendment adds the state to a growing list of those who have added the prohibition to their constitution. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling, based in Raleigh, told Capitol Hill Blue that the ban enjoyed widespread support from both blacks and whites in
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Santorum issues late-night email endorsment of Romney

Rick Santorum ended speculation over whether or not he would endorse Mitt Romney for the GOP Presidential nomination with a long, rambling email sent out to supporters late Monday night. Saying he and the former Massachusetts governor agreed on many issues, Santorum urged his supporters to “unite behind” Romney and work to defeat incumbent President Barack Obama in November.  But supporters had to get to the 13th paragraph of the 16-paragraph email before their candidate finally issued his long-anticipated endorsement. Santorum told supporters that he and Romney agreed on abortion, same-sex marriage and cutting spending by the federal government.  The
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Congress split over solution to student loan problem

One way or another, the Congress seems certain to prevent a low interest rate for federal student loans from doubling on July 1, aides and analysts say, largely because lawmakers do not want to rile young voters before the November 6 elections. Yet it remains unclear how – or even if – Congress will pay for a one-year-renewal of the 3.4 percent rate for about 7.4 million students, which would cost about $6 billion. Senate Republicans on Tuesday are expected to block a proposal by President Barack Obama’s Democrats to cover the cost by plugging what they call a tax
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The GOP primary is over, but don’t tell Ron Paul’s flock

Don’t tell Ron Paul the Republican primary is over. He’s too busy mucking up Mitt Romney‘s efforts to accumulate enough convention delegates to officially claim the GOP nomination for president. Paul’s supporters won control of state GOP conventions in Maine and Nevada last weekend, stripping Romney of delegates in Maine but graciously letting him keep the ones he won in Nevada’s February caucuses. Next up: Republican state conventions in Minnesota, Missouri, Louisiana and Iowa. “I don’t think they’ll be able to ignore us completely,” said Kevin Erickson, a pastor from northeastern Minnesota who rescheduled a surgery to qualify as a
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U.S. foils new ‘underwear bomb’ plot by Al-Qaeda

The United States has foiled a plot by Al-Qaeda‘s branch in Yemen to blow up a US-bound passenger jet with a new take on the “underwear bomb” near the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, officials said Monday. The FBI said investigators were examining the explosive that appeared to be a revamped model of the bomb used in the Christmas Day plot of 2009, in which a plastic explosive hidden in a Nigerian man’s underwear failed to detonate on a plane headed for Detroit. The plot hatched by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was uncovered at an early
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Is there really any difference between Obama or Romney?

He’s a smug, Harvard-trained elitist who doesn’t get how regular Americans are struggling these days. More extreme than he lets on, he’s keeping his true agenda hidden until after Election Day. He’s clueless about fixing the economy, over his head on foreign policy. Who is he? Your answer will help decide the next president. Is it Barack Obama, as seen by Mitt Romney? Or Romney, the way Obama depicts him? For all their liberal versus conservative differences, when the two presidential contenders describe each other, they sound like they’re ragging on the same flawed guy. Or mirror images of that
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GOP wants cuts to social programs to protect military budgets

Republicans in the House of Representatives on Monday will fire their first shots of the next deficit-reduction battle, advancing legislation to cut nearly $380 billion largely from social programs while protecting defense spending. The cuts to food stamps, child tax credits and Medicaid healthcare for the poor, among others, are certain to stall in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate. But they stake out Republicans’ negotiating stance on replacing $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that are due to take effect in January. The “Sequester Replacement Act” authored by influential House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and expected to be approved
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Ron Paul captures majority of GOP delegates in Maine

With Mitt Romney‘s GOP presidential nomination all but decided, Ron Paul supporters took control of the Maine Republican Convention and elected a majority slate supporting the Texas congressman to the GOP national convention, party officials said. The results gave the Texas congressman a late state victory. In votes leading to the close of the two-day Maine convention, Paul supporters were elected to 21 of the 24 delegate spots from Maine to the GOP national convention in Tampa, Fla. The 24th delegate’s seat goes to party Chairman Charles Webster, who has remained uncommitted throughout the process. Making the Paul takeover complete
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