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Michelle Obama’s key to success: laugh, laugh, laugh

Here’s Michelle Obama’s advice for couples this Valentine’s Day: Laugh with your partner. She says it’s what she and President Barack Obama do, and it seems to be working. Their marriage, although tested throughout the years by his political ambitions — for the Illinois Senate, the U.S. Senate and later president — is going on 19 years. “I think a lot of laughing,” the first lady said Tuesday at a White House luncheon with reporters who asked about the Obamas’ union. “I think in our house we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and laughter is the best form of unity,
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Romney’s warning: Don’t trust a ‘changed’ Obama

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says conservatives shouldn’t buy President Barack Obama’s change in tone. Romney told a large meeting of conservatives Friday that Obama’s White House has tried to project an appearance of change and cooperation with Republicans. But he says Obama’s underlying liberalism remains and he’s still reliant on Chicago insiders and academics. Romney, who also tried for the White House in 2008, is preparing for another run. In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Romney called Obama weak on foreign policy and out of touch with the economy. Romney says the world was rightly confused
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Murbarak’s final hours: Trying to save his ass

Hosni Mubarak was supposed to announce his resignation on Thursday. The Egyptian military expected it. The new head of his ruling party pleaded to him face-to-face to do it. But despite more than two weeks of massive demonstrations by protesters unmoved by lesser concessions, the president still didn’t get it. Mubarak’s top aides and family — including his son Gamal, widely viewed as his intended successor — told him he could still ride out the turmoil. So the televised resignation speech the rest of Egypt had expected became a stubborn — and ultimately humiliating — effort to cling to power.
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Forget the mortgage: America belongs to God

The tea party movement is mixing a strange political brew in famously independent New Hampshire, complicating the first-in-the-nation primary strategy for the growing number of potential Republican presidential hopefuls. Tea party activists have made significant inroads in a state that typically prefers GOP moderates and establishment candidates when choosing White House nominees. The grass-roots movement has claimed leadership posts at the local and county level, and in a stunning development last month, tea party-backed Jack Kimball edged out businesswoman Juliana Bergeron for state party chairman. Would-be White House contenders such as Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, who as
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GOP budget plan: Cut everything in sight

House Republicans called for cuts in hundreds of programs across the face of government Friday night in a $61 billion savings package toughened at the last minute at the demand of tea party-backed conservatives. From education to job training, the environment and nutrition, few domestic programs were left untouched — and some were eliminated — in the measure, which is expected to reach the floor for a vote next week. Among the programs targeted for elimination are Americorps and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In contrast, spending on defense and veterans’ programs were protected. The measure marks an initial down
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Obama’s budget: Where’s the cuts?

President Barack Obama’s budget submission on Monday will take a surgical approach to a deficit problem that his Republican rivals say warrants a meat ax. As Obama seeks $53 billion for high-speed rail over the next few years, House Republicans are trying to pull back $2.5 billion that’s already been promised. He’s seeking increases for his “Race to the Top” initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools; Republicans on Friday unveiled a five percent cut to schools serving the disadvantaged. Monday’s release of next year’s budget plan will be likely ignored by resurgent Republicans intent on cutting $100 billion from
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The 2012 GOP field: Big promises, little reality

Republicans who want to be the one to make Barack Obama a one-term president are promising big changes should the GOP win the White House in 2012. “Economic growth, job creation, smaller government, less spending, lower taxes, rational regulation and a stronger presence in the world,” as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour put it Saturday — echoing a slew of others also considering running. These grandiose pledges sell well to the die-hard conservatives who play an outsized early role in determining the GOP nominee. But would — could — Republicans do all they say? Probably not. The realities of governing often
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Ron Paul wins CPAC conservative straw poll (again)

Texas congressman Ron Paul won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference for the second straight year Saturday and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished second. Paul got 30 percent, while Romney got 23 percent of the votes of those attending the conference in Washington. Others were grouped far behind. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson had 6 percent along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got 5 percent. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels were at 4 percent. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got
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Is Mubarak’s outster a win for Democracy?

Western leaders hailed the toppling of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak as a historic victory for people power and democracy, while China, Russia and Saudi Arabia called for stability on Saturday. Messages of congratulation to the Egyptian people flooded in after Mubarak handed over power to senior army officers following 18 days of mounting protests against his autocratic 30-year rule. US President Barack Obama said the people of Egypt had spoken and would settle for nothing less than “genuine democracy.” The armed forces would now have to ensure a political transition that was “credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people,”
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Egyptians hopeful over an uncertain future

Egyptian protesters jubilant over their success in ousting President Hosni Mubarak vowed Saturday to stay camped in a central Cairo square until they are confident the military will meet their demands for democracy. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces banned ex-regime officials from traveling abroad and relaxed a nighttime curfew, according to officials and state TV, but it had yet to release a much anticipated statement on its next steps. Mubarak surrendered power to the military Friday after an 18-day uprising by millions of protesters demanding his ouster and the introduction of sweeping democratic reforms, leading to euphoric celebrations
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