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Obama’s prospects in Sunshine State anything but sunny

President Barack Obama has problems in Florida that he didn’t have when he won the prized state in 2008. The state’s economy is worse than elsewhere. Foreclosures are high. Property values are low. As president, Obama could be blamed. Voters’ shifting attitudes show the degree to which the atmosphere has changed since his first campaign. Florida Democrats made gains in 2008 with Obama on the top of the ticket, but the GOP won big two years later. All that explains why Florida Democrats are redoubling their efforts to re-energize the rank and file, including at the state party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner
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Obama in 2012: Less excitement, more disenchantment

If President Barack Obama wants North Carolina in his win column again next year, he might have to count on Elliott Johnson’s quiet, even grudging, acceptance rather than the riotous enthusiasm that propelled him to the White House in 2008. Johnson, a 23-year-old college graduate with a new accounting degree in hand, is an intern at a commercial real estate firm. He would like something more permanent. But many of his college friends aren’t finding work, either, and he’s counting on a breakthrough in the economy. “We have to do something different,” he said, pausing at a downtown street corner
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Palin’s emails: Old media vs new

The analysis of Sarah Palin’s emails over the past few days may end up teaching us more about the future of journalism than about the former Alaska governor’s past. Drawing on methods used by both Wikileaks and social networks, traditional news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post used the Palin email dump as an experiment in new media techniques. They sought collaboration from readers and posted massive volumes of documents online before reporters even had a chance to read most of the papers. That sort of public coordination — often called “crowdsourcing” — has drawn
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Sexting addict Weiner won’t quit Congress, opts for leave of absence

Rejecting calls by Democratic leaders for him to resign in a sexting scandal, Rep. Anthony Weiner is instead seeking professional treatment and asking for a leave of absence from Congress. Weiner’s plan leaves top Democrats wrestling with how best to end the furor over the seven-term congressman’s misdeeds that could hurt the party’s prospects in the 2012 elections. Weiner’s announcement that he would request a leave from Congress came shortly after several Democratic Party leaders demanded he quit on Saturday. The Weiner spectacle, with raunchy online photos and messages, has been a huge embarrassment for Democrats who back in 2006
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Timeline of a Weiner’s scandal

A timeline of events in the online sex scandal involving Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: Friday, May 27: Weiner uses his Twitter account to send a waist-down photograph of a man’s underpants to a 21-year-old female college student in Seattle. He quickly deletes it and sends out a tweet saying that his Facebook account was hacked. Saturday, May 28: BigGovernment.com, a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, first reports that Weiner sent the lewd photo. Weiner was a Twitter follower of the female college student who received the photo. Sunday, May 29: A Weiner spokesman tells AP that the lewd
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GOP Presidential field: Not much to brag about

Newt Gingrich’s campaign defections are just the latest tremor in a constantly shifting GOP presidential landscape that craves some steadiness as a big, early New Hampshire debate nears. Rivals already were trying to poach Gingrich’s donors and top supporters Friday, even as the former House speaker said he would keep campaigning despite the resignations of his top advisers and entire Iowa paid staff. Party insiders eyed the likely entry of Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and a possible bid by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Mitt Romney’s decision to skip the Iowa straw poll in August, meanwhile, reinforced his image as
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Police interview teen about Rep. Weiner

Police in Delaware said they interviewed a teenage girl on Friday about whether she had contact with Representative Anthony Weiner, who is under pressure to resign for sending lewd pictures of himself to women over the Internet and then lying about it. “Detectives were made aware of alleged contact between Congressman Anthony Weiner and an area teen. Detectives have conducted an interview with the teen and she has made no disclosure of criminal activity nor inappropriate contact by the congressman,” Police in Wilmington, Delaware, said in a statement. The New York Times quoted a Weiner spokeswoman as saying he had
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Anthony Weiner: ‘Hell no, I won’t go’

Representative Anthony Weiner vowed to remain in office on Thursday despite increasing pressure for him to resign for sending lewd pictures of himself to women over the Internet and then lying about it. “I’m not,” Weiner told the New York Post when asked if he was going to resign. At least seven of Weiner’s fellow House Democrats have publicly called on him to resign, and congressional aides say other representatives are hoping he quits, but a poll released on Thursday showed 56 percent of adults in his district believe he should stay. “I betrayed a lot of people and I
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Mass exodus: Senior Gingrich campaign aides quit

The entire top echelon of New Gingrich’s presidential campaign resigned on Thursday, a stunning mass exodus that left his bid for the Republican nomination in tatters. Rick Tyler, the former U.S. House speaker’s spokesman, said that he, campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior strategists had all quit, along with aides in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Other officials said Gingrich was informed that his entire high command was quitting in a meeting at his campaign headquarters in Washington. They cited differences over the direction of the campaign. Scott Rials, a longtime aide
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Wars, costs face new Pentagon chief

U.S. senators are warning the man nominated to be the next defense chief to be wary of draconian Pentagon budget cuts, laying down a gauntlet against the $400 billion in national security reductions that President Barack Obama has proposed. Leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee tell Leon Panetta the Pentagon must scrutinize the budget for potential efficiencies. But they also say the U.S. cannot afford to slice into the muscle of America’s military power. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona says defense spending is not what is sinking the nation into fiscal crisis. Panetta was appearing before the panel
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