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Younger voters up for grabs

Once thought to be solidly behind President Barack Obama, younger voters burdened by a bleak employment picture, high gas prices and student loan debt are being aggressively wooed by the Democrat and his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. In 2008, Obama had a 34-point advantage over Republican Sen. John McCain among voters under age 30. He won about two-thirds of the vote in that age group. But a new Harvard poll suggests the president may face a harder sales job with younger voters this time around. Obama led Romney by 12 points among those ages 18-24, according to the survey.
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Two more Secret Service agents out as scandal deepens

Two more U.S. Secret Service agents are resigning over a Colombia prostitution scandal, the agency said on Tuesday, as it sought to close a chapter in its worst case of alleged misconduct in decades. Even as the Secret Service announced the fates of all of the remaining employees under investigation, President Barack Obama defended those tasked with protecting him, saying a “couple of knuckleheads” should not discredit the entire agency. “What these guys were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they’re not there anymore,” Obama said nearly two weeks after the incident in Colombia that embarrassed the U.S. government and
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Edwards aide: The money scheme ‘smelled wrong’

A disillusioned campaign aide testified on Tuesday about the cross-country trek he took with former Senator John Edwards‘ pregnant mistress to hide her from the media during Edwards’ failed 2008 presidential bid. Andrew Young, the federal government’s key witness in the criminal campaign finance case against Edwards, told jurors that he agreed to falsely claim paternity of the woman’s child at Edwards’ request. Young and his family then accompanied the mistress, Rielle Hunter, to luxury locations in Florida, Colorado and California, riding in private jets and staying at fancy hotels paid for by a campaign donor, Young said. Prosecutors say
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Romney looks for sweep in today’s primaries

Mitt Romney is all but certain to sweep Tuesday’s five presidential primaries, marking a nearly definitive end to the Republican nomination process. Voters in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania will cast ballots Tuesday. But Romney won’t be in any of those states Tuesday night. Instead, he’ll return to New Hampshire, the state where a sweeping primary victory in January set him down the path to the GOP presidential nomination. From the Radisson Hotel downtown, Romney plans a speech he’s titled “A Better America Begins Tonight.” The general election speech, aides say, will represent a definitive pivot away
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Congress divided over how or even if to deal with cyberthreats

The mysterious caller claimed to be from Microsoft and offered step-by-step instructions to repair damage from a software virus. The electric power companies weren’t falling for it. The caller, who was never traced or identified, helpfully instructed the companies to enable specific features in their computers that actually would have created a trapdoor in their networks. That vulnerability would have allowed hackers to shut down a plant and thrown thousands of customers into the dark. The power employees hung up on the caller and ignored the advice. The incident from February, documented by one of the government’s emergency cyber-response teams,
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Axelrod predicts Republican ‘reign of terror’

Republicans in the U.S. Congress are under a “reign of terror” imposed by the party’s conservative wing that also has pushed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to the right, President Barack Obama’s senior campaign strategist said on Sunday. David Axelrod, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, cited the Obama administration’s plans for immigration reform as an example of Republican intransigence in Congress. The political process in Washington should not be “monolithic opposition to everything the chief executive wants to do as a political strategy,” Axelrod said, adding that an “implacable group of Republicans” had blocked
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Romney’s plan: More money for wars, less for health care

Reducing government deficits Mitt Romney’s way would mean less money for health care for the poor and disabled and big cuts to nuts-and-bolts functions such as food inspection, border security and education. Romney also promises budget increases for the Pentagon, above those sought by some GOP defense hawks, meaning that the rest of the government would have to shrink even more. Nonmilitary programs would incur still larger cuts than those called for in the tightfisted GOP budget that the House passed last month. Differences over the government’s budget and spiraling deficits are among the starkest that separate Republican Romney and
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Congress expands probe into Secret Service scandal

Congressional committees are widening their investigations into an alleged U.S. Secret Service scandal involving prostitutes in Colombia ahead of a recent trip there by President Barack Obama. The Senate Homeland Security Committee wants to determine whether what transpired “was an exception” or “a pattern of misconduct that has gone on elsewhere by Secret Service agents,” said committee Chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. Lieberman, in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” said his panel was embarking on “a broader investigation” and would send the Secret Service detailed questions about the conduct of agents not only “on assignment, but off duty.” And,
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John Edwards trial starts in North Carolina

Former U.S. Senator John Edwards goes on trial Monday on charges he used illegal campaign contributions to cover up an affair with a mistress who became pregnant during his failed bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Edwards is accused of accepting more than $900,000 in campaign funds from two wealthy donors, knowing the exposure of his extramarital affair “would destroy his presidential campaign,” prosecutors said in a trial brief. The candidate at the time was a married father of three, whose late wife, Elizabeth, had breast cancer. Jurors will hear opening statements the federal courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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Nixon White House operative Charles Colson dead at 80

Charles Colson, a Richard Nixon White House operative during the Watergate scandal who had a reputation for ruthlessness before going to jail and starting a prison ministry, died on Saturday at age 80, the ministry said. Colson, who compiled Nixon’s infamous “enemies list” before Watergate brought down the president in 1974, died of complications from a brain hemorrhage after being admitted to a hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, on March 31, Prison Fellowship Ministries said in a statement on its website. He had undergone surgery to remove clotting on his brain, but his condition deteriorated earlier this week. “It is with
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