• President Barack Obama will give his first major economic speech of the general election on Thursday in the critical battleground state of Ohio. He's expected to defend his handling of the economic recovery and warn voters that things will be worse if they put Mitt Romney in the White House. A poll out on Wednesday found that only 38 percent of independent swing voters have favorable views of Obama's economic plans. Romney has already offered a preemptive rebuttal to Obama's speech, saying voters should not be swayed by Obama's rhetoric, insisting his "words are cheap."

    Obama will later head to New York, where he and first lady Michelle Obama will visit the World Trade Center site. They'll then head to fundraisers in the evening, including an event hosted by actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

    Hotly contested Ohio will also get a visit from Romney on Thursday. The former Massachusetts governor will hold a campaign event in Cincinnati before heading to Chicago for a fundraiser.

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    Read More »from Obama defends his handling of the economy, plus more to watch for Thursday in politics
  • With President Barack Obama set to take his message on the economy to John Boehner's backyard, the Republican House speaker landed a preemptive blow with a video blaming Senate Democrats for a congressional logjam that has stalled bills meant to create jobs. (The president makes his first major economic address of the general election cycle at a community college in Cleveland on Thursday.)

    In the video, the Ohio lawmaker points to documents covering his desk, identifying them as House-passed legislation blocked by the Democratic-held Senate.

    "This isn't just our work—it's your work in progress," Boehner says.

    "You see, we're going to keep adding to this pile, and we're going to keep calling on President Obama and Democrats in the Senate to give these jobs bills a vote," he says.

    Boehner's message aims to turn the tables on Obama—and on Democrats in general, who charge that House Republicans have locked up legislation to create jobs. The White House has described the House-passed bills—one of which would repeal "Obamacare"—as partisan nonstarters.

    Obama spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that unspecified independent economists have come down on the side of the president's approach and criticized the Republican proposals.

    "Some of them would actually do near-term damage to the economy," he said.

    Read More »from Boehner defends Republicans on jobs ahead of Obama speech
  • Mitt Romney is using President Barack Obama's "the private sector is doing fine" comment against him in a new television ad, which suggests the president is out of touch with the nation's economic struggles.

    Cast against footage of people on unemployment lines and homes slapped with foreclosure signs, the ad features gloomy messages about record job loss and struggles of the country's middle class.

    The ad then segues to "the president's response" and plays footage of Obama's now-infamous June 8 White House news conference in which he suggested the private sector is "doing fine."

    Obama later clarified his remark, telling reporters the "economy is not doing fine," but the footage of the initial comment airs twice in a row in Romney's ad, apparently for dramatic effect. And at the video's conclusion, the audio repeats the "doing fine" phrase twice in a row.

    "How can the president fix our economy," a message on the screen reads, "if he doesn't understand it's broken?"

    (more...)

    Read More »from Romney attacks Obama’s ‘doing fine’ comment in new TV ad

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  • 1 month prison for businessman in smuggling of Dodgers' Puig

    MIAMI (AP) — A businessman who helped Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig get out of Cuba to sign a rich American baseball contract was sentenced Friday to a month in prison and five months' house arrest for violating U.S. immigration laws.

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