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Obama ways he will miss Hillary Clinton

President Barack Obama lauded Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as one of his closest advisers and said their shared vision for America’s role in the world persuaded his one-time rival — and potential successor — to be his top diplomat while he dealt with the shattered economy at home. During a joint interview that aired Sunday, Obama and Clinton chuckled as they described their partnership and stoked speculation that Obama may prefer Clinton to succeed him in the White House after the 2016 elections. Clinton is leaving Obama’s Cabinet soon, and speculation about the former first lady and senator
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Thousands march for gun control in Washington

Thousands of people, many holding signs with names of gun violence victims and messages such as “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” joined a rally for gun control on Saturday, marching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. Leading the crowd were marchers with “We Are Sandy Hook” signs, paying tribute to victims of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and other city officials marched alongside them. The crowd stretched for at least two blocks along Constitution Avenue. Participants held signs reading “Gun Control Now,” ”Stop NRA” and “What Would Jesus Pack?” among other messages. Other signs
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Paul Ryan to GOP: Be careful which fights you pick with Obama

Rep. Paul Ryan has a message for fellow Republicans: Let’s stick together and carefully pick our fights with President Barack Obama. In a speech Saturday to conservatives, the Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential nominee outlined a pragmatic approach for dealing with a second Obama administration. Saying that Obama would attempt to divide Republicans, Ryan urged them to avoid internal squabbles. “We can’t get rattled. We won’t play the villain in his morality plays. We have to stay united,” Ryan said at the National Review Institute’s weekend conference on the future of conservatism. “We have to show that if given
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Obama: Gun control advocates need to learn to listen

President Barack Obama says gun-control advocates should be better listeners in the debate over firearms in America. In an interview with The New Republic, Obama says he has “a profound respect” for the tradition of hunting that dates back for generations. “And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake. Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas,” he says. Obama has called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and
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No budget, no pay: An incredible idea whose time has come?

In an earlier era, a move like the one engineered by House GOP leaders to pass a “no budget, no pay” measure probably would have been stopped in its tracks. But with Congress’ approval ratings in the gutter, House lawmakers pushed aside questions about fairness and constitutionality and tacked the idea on to an unpopular, must-pass measure to increase the government’s borrowing cap. The measure temporarily would withhold pay from any member of the House or Senate whose chamber doesn’t pass a budget this year. The Senate is expected to approve it in the coming week, but only after leaders
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NRA lobbyist admits ad on Obama’s kids was a screw-up

One of the National Rifle Association’s senior lobbyists said an ad by the nation’s leading gun-rights group after a school shooting in Connecticut that refers to President Barack Obama’s children was “ill-advised.” Jim Baker, head of the federal affairs division at the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said he had made his views known to others at the powerful gun-rights organization. The ad, which cast Obama as hypocritical for having expressed skepticism about putting armed guards in schools, when “his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools,” drew widespread criticism when it first became public on January 15.
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Federal court slaps down Obama for recess appointments

A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that President Barack Obama violated the U.S. Constitution when he used recess appointments to fill a labor board, a decision that could curtail the president’s options in filling vacancies. Obama, frustrated by Republican opposition to his nominees, made the three “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012, while the Senate was on one of its many recesses but not formally adjourned for the year. “Considering the text, history, and structure of the Constitution, these appointments were invalid from their inception,” said the ruling by a three judge panel of
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Newtown residents marching for gun control in Washington

Residents from Newtown, Conn., are joining a march on Washington for gun control on Saturday with parents, pastors, survivors of gun violence and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Organizers said they are expecting thousands of participants for the rally on the National Mall, including about 100 from Newtown and buses from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. Others are flying in from Seattle, San Francisco and even Alaska. They will gather Saturday at the Capitol Reflecting Pool at 10 a.m. and will begin marching down Constitution Avenue toward the Washington Monument at 11 a.m. A rally is planned on the monument
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Western U.S. is drifting towards Democrats

A political generation ago, the West signaled the nation’s rightward swing — from the emergence of Ronald Reagan to the success of tax-limitation ballot measures in California and Colorado. But now the fabled expanse of jagged peaks, arid deserts and emerald coastlines is trending in a different direction. From Washington state — where voters in November legalized marijuana and upheld the legality of gay marriage — to New Mexico, once a hotly contested swing state that Republicans ceded to Democrats in the presidential campaign, the West has become largely Democratic terrain. There are, as always, exceptions. Lightly populated Idaho and
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Confusing maze of state gun laws hampers control efforts

There is a legal avenue to try to get any gun you want somewhere in the U.S., thanks to the maze of gun statutes across the country and the lack of certain federal laws. That undermines gun-control efforts in communities with tougher gun laws — and pushes advocates of tighter controls to seek a federal standard. Gun rights proponents say enforcing all existing laws makes more sense than passing new ones. An Associated Press analysis found that there are thousands of laws, rules and regulations at the local, county, state and federal levels. The laws and rules vary by state,
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