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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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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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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Pentagon contractors lose secrets through computer leaks

Top Pentagon contractors have been bleeding secrets for years as a result of penetrations of their computer networks, current and former national security officials say. The Defense Department, which runs its own worldwide eavesdropping, spying and code-cracking systems, says more than 100 foreign intelligence organizations have been trying to break into U.S. networks. Some of the perpetrators “already have the capacity to disrupt” U.S. information infrastructure, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, who is leading remedial efforts, wrote last fall in the journal Foreign Affairs. Joel Brenner, the National Counterintelligence executive from 2006 to 2009, said most if not all of
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Blago defense team saves the best for last

Rod Blagojevich’s defense team saved the most explosive allegation against him for last, with the ousted Illinois governor finally telling jurors after three days on the witness stand that he never sought to sell President Barack Obama‘s vacated U.S. Senate seat. And when Blagojevich steps back onto the stand for a fourth day of testimony at his corruption retrial Wednesday, he’s expected to roll out further denials about the government’s allegation that he endeavored to sell or trade the Senate seat. Jurors finally heard from Blagojevich about the Senate seat after three days of testimony in which he had focused
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Palin admits role in Arizona home purchase

Sarah Palin has confirmed that she is part of a company that purchased a home north of Phoenix, but she said she hasn’t moved from Alaska. Safari Investments LLC paid nearly $1.7 million cash for the five-bedroom, 7,900-square-foot home in rural north Scottsdale in May. In an interview aired Tuesday night, the former Alaska governor told Fox News Channel‘s Greta Van Susteren that she is part of Safari Investments and it “has some property in Arizona now.” “You know, many, many Alaskans purchase property in Arizona, Nevada and Texas,” Palin said from her bus that has been touring the East
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GOP Presidential race starts to heat up

The still unsettled race for the Republican nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012 is getting more interesting. After months of resisting calls to join the contest, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he would consider it. That could reshape the GOP field, adding a sitting governor who has never lost an election. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also sent a jolt through the party with the announcement of a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, the latest possible contender to stand up since Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced last weekend that he would not run. And former
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