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Obama kicks off listening tour of businesses

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, with much of his Cabinet in tow, visited the economically hard-hit Midwest on Tuesday as part of his effort to mend fences with U.S. entrepreneurs amid complaints from some small businesses that his policies inhibit growth. Read the full story.
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Wisconsin Democratic aide says governor must compromise

MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) – Democratic lawmakers who left Wisconsin to stall passage of a controversial budget bill that has triggered mass protests may return if the governor compromises with public employees over collective bargaining, an aide to the Senate leader said on Sunday. Read the full story.
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Wisconsin standoff is a national battle

Organized labor is trying to re-energize and take advantage of the growing backlash from the wave of anti-union sentiment in Wisconsin and more than a dozen other states. President Barack Obama and his political machine are offering tactical support, eager to repair strained relations with some union leaders upset over his recent overtures to business. The potent combination has helped fan the huge protests in Wisconsin against a measure that would strip collective bargaining rights from state workers. The alliance also is sending a warning to other states that are considering the same tactic. “I think it’s a clear message,”
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Wisconsin standoff continues

Republican backers of Gov. Scott Walker‘s plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights for most public employees are trying to move the explosive proposal closer to reality, even as Democrats remained on the run and protesters filled the halls of the Capitol for a second week. The Republican-controlled Assembly planned to debate and possibly vote on the measure Tuesday, but Democrats said they would offer more than 100 amendments in an attempt to improve the bill or at least drag it out in the hopes concessions will be made. Things are even more chaotic in the Senate, where Democrats have halted
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Census shows 25 percent dying in U.S. communities

Nestled within America’s once-thriving coal country, 87-year-old Ed Shepard laments a prosperous era gone by, when shoppers lined the streets and government lent a helping hand. Now, here as in one-fourth of all U.S. counties, West Virginia‘s graying residents are slowly dying off. Hit by an aging population and a poor economy, a near-record number of U.S. counties are experiencing more deaths than births in their communities, a phenomenon demographers call “natural decrease.” Years in the making, the problem is spreading amid a prolonged job slump and a push by Republicans in Congress to downsize government and federal spending. Local
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