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Can Michelle Bachmann jump start her fading campaign?

Republican Michele Bachmann‘s presidential campaign fell just as quickly as it rose. Now, she’s looking to Iowa — at the expense of other early voting states — to get back on track. It’s a strategy of necessity for the Minnesota congresswoman. A victory in Iowa this winter would keep her afloat in the GOP nomination fight; a loss would almost certainly end her bid. “We know that when Michele is in Iowa, she wins,” said Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, Kent Sorenson. “If she’s here, she’ll win Iowa.” That explains why, starting this weekend, Bachmann plans to campaign almost exclusively in
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Perry, Romney go after each other in GOP debate

Quick to tangle, Republican presidential rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney sparred vigorously over job creation and Social Security Wednesday night in a feisty campaign debate that marked a contentious new turn in the race to pick a 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama. Far more than in earlier GOP debates this summer, the candidates mixed it up in their first faceoff since Perry entered the race and almost instantly overtook Romney as front-runner in opinion polls. Those two — as well as other contenders on stage — sniped at one another, contradicted allegations and interrupted media questioners to demand
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Perry, Romney both twist facts in debate

When Mitt Romney and Rick Perry thumped their chests over their job-creation records as governor during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, they left the bad parts out. Yes, employment has grown by more than 1 million since Perry took office in Texas. But a lot of those jobs are not well paid. True, unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent when Romney was Massachusetts governor. But the state’s employment growth was among the nation’s worst. A look at some of the claims in the debate, and how they compare with the facts: ___ PERRY: “Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that
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GOP debate ramps up jobs pressure on Obama

The Republican presidential debate made two things clear: The 2012 contest is focused more than ever on jobs, and the GOP field is led by two men who can make plausible, though certainly imperfect, claims of experience in job creation. President Barack Obama, already under pressure to present a compelling new job-expansion strategy in his nationwide address Thursday, will now feel even more urgency. The California forum Wednesday night covered several topics, but above all it helped Rick Perry and Mitt Romney showcase their credentials and proposals on the jobs front. Unlike Obama, they don’t have to offer detailed plans
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Can Obama salvage his failed Presidency?

With millions of Americans out of work and out of patience, President Barack Obama is going before a skeptical Congress to pitch an economic plan aimed at creating jobs urgently and forcing Republicans to own the problem with him. The underlying political strategy: If Obama can’t get his ideas passed heading into his re-election year, he at least hopes to show why he shouldn’t take the fall. In his speech Thursday, Obama is likely to offer at least a $300 billion package of ideas that would affect people in their daily lives — tax relief, unemployment insurance, spending to support
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Congress returns to face the same old fights

Fights large and small await Congress as it gets back to business, with jobs and budget cuts topping a contentious agenda that also includes a lengthy roster of lower-profile but must-do items that also are potential victims of partisan gridlock. President Barack Obama is to unveil his jobs agenda in a nationally televised address Thursday night, but early glimpses of the package show it relies heavily on extending expiring programs. Obama is expected to propose $300 billion in tax cuts and federal spending to get Americans working again. Republicans on Tuesday offered to compromise with him on jobs — but
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New GOP frontrunner faces tough test in debate

Texas Governor Rick Perry will be the man in the spotlight when Republican presidential candidates gather at Ronald Reagan‘s library for a debate on Wednesday. The conservative Perry, who has soared to front-runner status in just a few weeks as an official candidate, is to appear for the first time on the same stage as his rivals, who will be trying to knock him off his perch. The event is the first in a series of debates over the next six weeks that will help define the Republican race, which increasingly looks like a two-man contest between Perry and former
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Perry suddenly remembers he’s still governor of Texas

Call it a leadership test in real time. Rick Perry left the presidential campaign trail this week to dash back to Texas, where wildfires have devoured more than 1,000 homes in a week. “Not paying attention to politics right now” is how the conservative Republican explained it after he ditched a high-profile campaign appearance in early-voting South Carolina to tend to his duties as governor. His attendance at a debate Wednesday night in California — it would be his first on the national stage — is now in question. “I’m substantially more concerned about making sure Texans are being taken
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Obama, Congress hit new lows in polls

President Barack Obama‘s poll numbers continue to fall with only 44 percent of Americans approving of his performance as President. But the numbers of Congress are even worse. While 51 percent of those polled disapprove of Obama’s job performance, 82 percent think Congress is doing a poor job and only 13 percent approve of the job performance of those in the House and Senate. The numbers from the last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll aren’t good for either party. The GOP‘s numbers are the lowest since 2008, when voters tossed out many Republican incumbents and put Democrats in control.  Sixty-eight
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Republican ‘young guns’ now draw more jeers than cheers

A year after declaring themselves “Young Guns” ready to clean up Washington, these budget-slashing Republicans are drawing more jeers than cheers — and raising Democrats‘ hopes for next year’s election. Having rejected compromise and threatened government default, they and other Republicans have upset voters, who polls show are increasingly anxious about the economy and disgruntled with both political parties. Last month, Congress’ approval rating slumped to its lowest level ever — about 12 percent. “Right now, voters hate everyone,” said Steve Stivers, one of 62 first-term “Young Gun” Republicans in the House of Representatives. “People are frustrated. But I feel
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