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Can embattled Obama recapture his old magic?

Barack Obama rode a wave of voter passion in 2008 fed largely by intense dislike of President George W. Bush and the Iraq war, plus excitement among young and minority voters at the notion of electing the nation’s first black president. Now, as Obama cranks up his re-election campaign, all those factors are absent. The president has many tools, of course, for inspiring and exciting potential voters. But he faces a different landscape, one in which key supporters are disappointed by concessions he has made to Republicans, and discouraged by huge Democratic losses last fall. Obama acknowledged the challenge last
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Petraeus will try to sell Afghan war to skeptical Congress

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is facing an impatient and frustrated Congress, balancing his troops’ solid progress in combat with worries about Kabul government corruption, an expected Taliban resurgence this spring and the slow development of Afghan security forces. Gen. David Petraeus on Tuesday was to deliver his first formal assessment to America at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, returning to Washington for the first time since he took over as battlefield commander nine months ago. And he is expected to tell lawmakers that forces can begin to withdraw this summer as planned. The Taliban’s momentum “has been
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Storage pool water may be boiling at damaged Japan nuke power plant

A Japanese nuclear safety official says the water inside the waste fuel storage pool for a damaged reactor at an atomic power plant may be boiling. Hidehiko Nishiyama of the economy ministry that oversees nuclear safety told reporters Tuesday that “we cannot deny the possibility of water boiling” in the pool. Nishiyama sought to avoid commenting on the potential risks from the rising temperatures caused by a failure of systems required to keep the spent fuel rods cool. He said the plant’s operator is considering what to do about the problem. Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from the crippled nuclear
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