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Obama calls Boehner to White House to talk budget

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks in front of fellow GOP leaders about Senate Democrats and their failure to pass a long-term bill to cut spending and keep the U.S. government running while on Capitol Hill in Washington. REUTERS/Larry Downing President Barack Obama has summoned the top Republican in Congress to the White House on Tuesday for talks aimed at averting a government shutdown this weekend. Negotiations have stalled on legislation blending immediate spending cuts with the money required to run federal agencies through the end of September. Democrats are accusing the GOP of pressing harmful spending cuts
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Billion dollar Obama? That’s the goal

President Barack Obama is no longer the outsider candidate who fueled his bid for the White House in 2008 with a flood of small donations from new and young voters inspired by his message of hope and change.   As a sitting president he has far greater authority and media access and his 2012 re-election campaign is expected to raise $1 billion, which is unprecedented in U.S. politics. “In 2008, he was very much an insurgent candidate, somebody from out of nowhere with a wholly different story. And the Obama campaign was as much a crusade as it was a
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Geithner: U.S. will hit debt limit by May 16

The United States will hit the legal limit on its ability to borrow no later than May 16, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Monday, ramping up pressure on Congress to act to avoid a debt default. “The longer Congress fails to act, the more we risk that investors here and around the world will lose confidence in our ability to meet our commitments and our obligations,” Geithner said in a letter to congressional leaders. “Default by the United States is unthinkable.” Previously, the Treasury had forecast that the $14.3 trillion statutory debt limit would be reached between April 15
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Baby boomers worried about retirement

Baby boomers are starting to retire, but many are agonizing about their finances and believe they’ll need to work longer than they had planned, a new poll finds. The 77 million-strong generation born between 1946 and 1964 has clung tenaciously to its youth. Now, boomers are getting nervous about retirement. Only 11 percent say they are strongly convinced they will be able to live in comfort. A total of 55 percent said they were either somewhat or very certain they could retire with financial security. Yet a substantial 44 percent express little or no faith they’ll have enough money when
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Obama makes it official: He’s running for second term

President Barack Obama formally launched his re-election campaign Monday, urging grass-roots supporters central to his first campaign to mobilize again to protect the change he’s brought in his first term. The official start of his second White House bid comes 20 months before the November 2012 election. “We’re doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you — with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build,” Obama said in an e-mail to supporters. He told them he
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At University of Texas, guns on campus debate is personal

University of Texas junior Sonia Escot was studying at her usual first-floor spot at a campus library on that morning last September when a fellow student walked in with an AK-47. “If that shooter had wanted to shoot, I would have been one of the first,” said Escot, 21, who does not like to study anymore at that library. Gunman Colton Tooley, 19, killed himself on the sixth floor after running through campus firing his weapon, injuring no one. Now, six months after Tooley’s actions led to a day long campus shutdown — and nearly 45 years after Charles Whitman
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Who decides how to save the earth?

To the quiet green solitude of an English country estate they retreated, to think the unthinkable. Scientists of earth, sea and sky, scholars of law, politics and philosophy: In three intense days cloistered behind Chicheley Hall’s old brick walls, where British saboteurs once secretly trained, four dozen international thinkers pondered the planet’s fate as it grows warmer, weighed the idea of reflecting the sun to cool the atmosphere, debated the question of who would make the decision. The unknown risks of “geoengineering” — in this case, tweaking Earth’s climate by dimming the skies — left many uneasy. “If we could
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Can Congress avoid an economic train wreck?

Political ideologies and government spending realities are speeding trains headed toward a nasty crash in Washington this week barring a compromise between Republicans in the House and Senate Democrats aligned with President Barack Obama in the battle to contain America’s soaring debt. Failure to reach a deal for the rest of this budget year, which ends on Sept. 30, could lead to a partial shutdown of the government when spending authority expires at midnight on Friday. It is unclear which side would absorb public blame and anger for such a dramatic turn of events. But there was likely to be
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Obama no longer agent of change

President Barack Obama, once a fresh faced prophet of hope, now a graying incumbent and the face of America’s painful status quo, is expected to launch his bid for a second term this week. Obama, his political brand battered by a flurry of crises near and far — including an economic meltdown and a third US war abroad in Libya, has endured two years of turmoil after winning an election for the ages in 2008. He is expected to formally lodge paperwork with the Federal Election Commission early this week, which would allow him to set a political course for
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Labor, tea party spending big bucks in Wisconsin court election

Pro-labor organizations and one of the country’s largest tea party groups are pouring money into Tuesday’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election in an effort to turn the normally sleepy race into a referendum on the national fight over labor rights. The attention from conservative and liberal groups has energized voters and set the election on pace to be the most expensive high court race in Wisconsin’s history. Sarah Palin even weighed in via Twitter on Friday, throwing her support behind the incumbent conservative justice. The candidates, Justice David Prosser and Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, say the race is about their
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