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Porn star: ‘Weiner told me to lie’

A porn actress said on Wednesday that embattled Representative Anthony Weiner asked her to lie about their email relationship in the hope an Internet sex scandal surrounding him would die down. Ginger Lee, who is also a stripper, said her exchanges with the Democratic lawmaker from New York began with political discussions of abortion rights and healthcare but Weiner kept trying to sexualize the conversation. She said she never reciprocated his lewd messages. Weiner denied for more than a week that he sent a close-up photo of himself in boxer briefs to a woman in Seattle on May 28, claiming
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CIA web site hacked

The public website of the Central Intelligence Agency went down on Wednesday evening as the hacker group Lulz Security said it had launched an attack. Lulz Security has claimed responsibility for recent attacks on the Senate, Sony Corp, News Corp and the U.S. Public Broadcasting System television network. The CIA site initially could not be accessed from New York to San Francisco, and Bangalore to London. Later in the evening service was sporadic. “We are looking into these reports,” a CIA spokeswoman said. Lulz Security has defaced websites, posted personal information about customers and site administrators, and disclosed the network
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Playmate dumps Hefner at the altar

Heartbroken Playboy founder Hugh Hefner said on Tuesday his wedding this weekend was canceled because his 25-year-old fiancee, a Playmate from his magazine, changed her mind. Hefner, 85, and Crystal Harris were due to tie the knot in front of more than 300 guests at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles on Saturday. It would have been Hefner’s third marriage. “The wedding is off. Crystal has had a change of heart,” Hefner wrote on Twitter. “The breakup is a heart breaker, but better now than after the marriage,” he added later. He also denied a report on celebrity website TMZ.com
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Republicans back down on farm subsidy cuts

Republicans have quietly maneuvered to prevent a House spending bill from chipping away at federal farm subsidies, instead forging ahead with much larger cuts to domestic and international food aid. The GOP move will probably prevent up to $167 million in cuts in direct payments to farmers, including some of the nation’s wealthiest. The maneuver, along with the Senate’s refusal Tuesday to end a $5 billion annual tax subsidy for ethanol-gasoline blends, illustrates just how difficult it will be for Congress to come up with even a fraction of the trillions in budget savings over the next decade that Republicans
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Bernanke: Crisis coming if debt ceiling is not lifted

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned on Tuesday that a failure to lift the government’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling risks a potentially disastrous loss of confidence in America’s creditworthiness. In comments that could give fresh impetus to talks on raising the legal limit on the nation’s debt, Bernanke said the United States could lose its prized AAA credit rating and the U.S. dollar’s special status as a reserve currency might be damaged if Congress fails to act soon. “Even a short suspension of payments on principal or interest on the Treasury’s debt obligations could cause severe disruptions in financial markets
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Biden predicts up to $2 trillion in budget cuts

Even as Vice President Joe Biden gave his most optimistic assessment yet of budget talks he’s leading, President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies in the Senate signaled Tuesday a harder line on Medicare. That stance is complicating any effort to produce a deal to cut the deficit by $2 trillion or more over the coming decade or so. Biden said that he’s confident that the talks will produce an agreement on cutting the deficit “well beyond” $1 trillion over 10 to 12 years. The talks are aimed at finding spending cuts to accompany must-do legislation allowing the government to continue to
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Democrats hope Weiner will just quit and go away

House Democratic colleagues of scandal-scarred Rep. Anthony Weiner are looking for him to step down this week amid a growing chorus for him to resign. Even President Barack Obama has suggested he should leave. Adding to the drama, Weiner’s pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, returned Wednesday from a trip to Africa with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. A fellow member of Weiner’s New York Democratic delegation, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, said she’s heard from Weiner’s friends that the congressman is waiting for his wife to come home before making any decisions about his political future. McCarthy also cited talk
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Michele Bachmann: The new Sarah Palin?

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s smooth presidential debate performance, after years of fact-muffling and squirm-inducing hyperbole, stands to make her a bigger force in the Republican Party, posing problems for GOP leaders trying to put together a deal with President Barack Obama on reducing the nation’s debt. Bachmann resolutely opposes letting the government slide even deeper into debt, a position that appeals to her constituency of no-compromise tea partiers. Her confident, nearly error-free debate showing Monday night on stage alongside six men rippled through Republican circles back in Washington. She may have the clout now to confound GOP leaders who have labored
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Economic woes threaten budget debate

Sputtering job growth and talk of new tax cuts are throwing more hurdles in the way of a deal to reduce the deficit as Democratic and Republican negotiators step up their budget negotiations this week. Vice President Joe Biden and top lawmakers must work around a stark divide over taxes and healthcare as they try to find trillions of dollars in budget savings that would give Congress the political cover to increase the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before the Treasury Department runs out of money to pay the nation’s bills. The Treasury Department has warned that it will need to
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Romney survives GOP debate without scars

If Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich and other Republican presidential hopefuls feel they need to close the gap on front-runner Mitt Romney, they didn’t show it at the New Hampshire debate. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who leads in the early polls and fundraising efforts, had a surprisingly easy two hours Monday night. He looked calm and steady, criticizing President Barack Obama on the economy and health care while rarely being forced on the defensive despite some well-known vulnerabilities of his own. With New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary half a year away, the seven GOP candidates seemed more eager to introduce themselves
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