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Romney: ‘Obama has failed America’

Mitt Romney is opening his first formal day as a 2012 Republican presidential contender with a direct challenge to the man he wants to replace and is pitching himself as ready to repair the nation’s struggling economy. “Barack Obama has failed America,” he says. In excerpts of a kick-off speech released ahead of his formal announcement Thursday, Romney’s campaign message homes in on the economic woes that top voters’ frustrations: a lack of jobs, persistent foreclosures and runaway spending in Washington. It’s a pitch tailored to the conservatives who hold great sway in picking the GOP’s presidential nominee in Iowa
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Democrats distort GOP Medicare plan

Democrats are distorting the fundamentals of a Republican plan to reshape Medicare, falsely accusing the GOP of pushing a proposal that tells the elderly “you’re on your own” with health care and that lets insurers deny coverage to the sick. Medicare always pushes hot buttons with voters. Both parties know this and spare no effort to exploit the issue, with truth as the frequent casualty. That’s the case now as Democrats go after a far-reaching plan introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and largely embraced by congressional Republicans. The new chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz,
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Boehner wants debt deal within a month

Washington needs to wrap up a deal to increase borrowing authority within a month to avoid rattling financial markets, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday. Boehner told reporters he is “ready to proceed” in talks with President Barack Obama and called on him to get more involved. But the top Republican reiterated that “significant reductions in spending and changes to the budget process” had to be included in any deal to raise the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority, which now stands at $14.3 trillion. Boehner spoke to reporters several hours after he and other House Republicans met with
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Alaska ready to release Palin emails

Alaska is poised to release more than 24,000 pages of emails sent and received by Sarah Palin during her time as governor, providing an inside look into her rise from obscurity to a spot on the national stage. The release is being coordinated as Palin conducts a high-profile bus tour of historic sites on the East Coast and contemplates a run for president in 2012. The emails cover a majority of her short term as governor, and could provide the most insight into how she governed the nation’s largest state. Her only other elected office was as a two-term mayor
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End of the free ride? House panel votes to cut farm subsidies

A House committee voted Tuesday to cut farm subsidies to pay for deficit reduction and other budget priorities, chipping away at the billions of dollars a year that are directed to farmers. The votes in the House Appropriations Committee may be a preview of what is expected to be a tough year for agriculture programs. Congressional lawmakers have increasingly looked to billions of dollars in farm subsidies as a source of money for other priorities as crop prices have reached record levels. In a surprise move, the committee approved an amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to lower the maximum
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Republicans to meet with Obama on debt increase

  Scores of House Republicans are heading to the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama to demand trillions of dollars in spending cuts as the price for providing any increase in the government’s power to borrow. Wednesday’s meeting comes on the heels of a symbolic and lopsided vote the day before against a GOP proposal to lift the cap on the so-called debt limit by $2.4 trillion. The proposal, intended to prove that a bill to increase the borrowing cap with no spending cuts is dead on arrival, failed badly Tuesday on a 318-97 vote. Democrats said
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You aren’t what you eat: GOP challenges healthy eating rules

House Republicans are pushing back against Obama administration efforts to promote healthier lunches, saying the Agriculture Department should rewrite rules it issued in January meant to make school meals healthier. They say the new rules are too costly. The bill, approved by the House Appropriations Committee late Tuesday, also questions a government proposal to curb marketing of unhealthy foods to children and urges the Food and Drug Administration to limit rules requiring calorie counts be posted on menus. The overall spending bill would cut billions from USDA and FDA budgets, including for domestic feeding programs and international food aid. The
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SEAL museum popular after bin Laden killing

The biggest attraction at the Navy SEALs’ national museum isn’t memorialized in any artifact or mentioned in any display. But that doesn’t keep visitors from asking. The May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden at the hands of SEALs has brought a spike in visitors to the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, seeking a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the mission was pulled off. Attendance has roughly tripled since the raid, visitors are pummeling docents with questions and people wanting to express their gratitude have flooded the museum with letters of thanks. “They’re hoping to get ground truth here,” said Michael Howard,
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Supremes rule out damage claims against Ashcroft

The Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out damage claims against former Attorney General John Ashcroft over an American Muslim’s arrest, but four justices said the case raises serious questions about post-9/11 detentions under a federal law intended to make sure witnesses testify. The justices were unanimous, 8-0, in holding that Ashcroft cannot be personally sued over his role in the arrest of Abdullah al-Kidd in 2003. The court sets a high bar for suing high-ranking officials, and all the justices agreed al-Kidd did not meet it, even though he was never charged with a crime or called to testify in
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GOP Presidential wannabes rush to the right

Republican Presidential contenders face a dilemma. If they want to win the nomination, they need to drift to the right to appeal to the extreme conservative base that dominates their party. But if they want to win the general election, they need to be more centrist. So each of the top candidates in the current crop of GOP wannabes now espouse positions that are more right-wing than their positions just a few years ago. That might give one of them the nomination but it won’t play well with the independent voters who hold the key to winning a national race.
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