07-15-2018  12:32 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Experience the Culture at the Second Annual Pan African Festival of Oregon

Event will take place from 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. August 11 ...

Oregon Humane Society Photo Contest Now Open

Submissions for annual pet photo contest open until August 15 ...

Mark Christopher Lawrence to Perform at Harvey’s Comedy Club July 13-15

Former Big Mike of “Chuck” will perform at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:30 Sunday ...

Dragon Fest 2018

Lions, dragons and breakdancers descend on Seattle’s Chinatown-International District for the Pacific Northwest’s largest...

Hiker falls 100 feet to death in Skamania County

CARSON, Wash. (AP) — Search crews have recovered the body of a 23-year-old woman who was killed in a 100-foot fall while hiking in Skamania County.The Columbian newspaper reports that Leslie Mar, of Vancouver, was hiking with a partner on Friday evening when she slipped from a ledge at...

Deadly fire shuts down key route to Yosemite National Park

MARIPOSA, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire that killed a California firefighter grew quickly and forced the closure of a key route into Yosemite National Park as crews contended with sweltering conditions Sunday, authorities said.The blaze that broke out Friday scorched more than 6 square miles (16...

Hiker falls 100 feet to death in Skamania County

CARSON, Wash. (AP) — Search crews have recovered the body of a 23-year-old woman who was killed in a 100-foot fall while hiking in Skamania County.The Columbian newspaper reports that Leslie Mar, of Vancouver, was hiking with a partner on Friday evening when she slipped from a ledge at...

3 family members killed in southwest Washington crash

KALAMA, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a rollover crash on Interstate 5 in southwest Washington killed a child and two grandparents.The Daily News reports that the crash happened Saturday afternoon when a northbound sport-utility vehicle struck a median near Kalama. The Washington State Patrol...

OPINION

A Letter from America’s Children

American children struggling with poverty, violence and homelessness, deserve media coverage, too ...

Rep. Maxine Waters Takes Strong Stand for Fair Housing

Congresswoman Maxine Waters recently stepped up to file legislation designed to cure many of regressive ills pushed by Secretary Carson ...

10 Indoor Plants Every Pet Lover Must Have

Dr. Jasmine Streeter shares her tips on stress-busting plants ...

NAACP Statement on Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

NAACP opposes Kavanaugh's confirmation to the D.C. Circuit ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Fountain, wing-like benches anchor memorial

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on plans for a memorial at a South Carolina church where nine African-American worshippers were slain in 2015 (all times local):12:50 p.m.The historic South Carolina church where nine African-American worshippers were slain has released plans for a memorial...

Trump's remarks about changing European culture draw ire

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's lament this week that immigration is "changing the culture" of Europe echoed rising anti-immigrant feelings on both sides of the Atlantic, where Europe and the United States are going through a demographic transformation that makes some of the white...

Judge dismisses suit filed by family of man killed by police

CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal judge's ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed black man fatally shot by an Ohio police officer says the man's civil rights were not violated.Cleveland.com reports U.S. District Judge James Gwin ruled Friday it was a "close and difficult...

ENTERTAINMENT

Rapper buys every seat in house, takes strangers to movies

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine rapper surprised moviegoers with free tickets to a sci-fi satire movie.Rory Ferreira, who goes by the stage name Milo, bought all 129 seats to the 4:20 p.m. showing of the movie "Sorry to Bother You" at the Nickelodeon in Portland, Maine, on Saturday. The...

Baron Cohen pranks 2 more celebrity politicians for show

Some politicians are going through the several stages of panic associated with an interview with Sacha Baron Cohen: remorse, damage control, anger and regret for being duped.One of the comedian's latest targets, defeated Senate candidate Roy Moore, is threatening a defamation lawsuit over an...

Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, dies at 101

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nancy Sinatra Sr., the childhood sweetheart of Frank Sinatra who became the first of his four wives and the mother of his three children, has died. She was 101.Her daughter, Nancy Sinatra Jr., tweeted that her mother died Friday and a posting on her web page said she died...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Police: Suspect in shooting of 3 Kansas City cops holed up

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A suspect in the non-fatal shooting of two Kansas City police officers shot a third...

The Latest: Croatia PM says fans rejoice despite Cup loss

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Sunday at the World Cup (all times local):9:45 p.m.Croatia's Prime Minister...

Chicago police: Man killed by police appeared to be armed

CHICAGO (AP) — Footage from body-worn cameras and surveillance cameras shows that a man who was shot and...

Politics guide Syrians backing Croatia in World Cup final

AIN TERMA, Syria (AP) — Most of the Syrian troops and residents of Ain Terma, just outside the capital...

Russian women push back at shaming over World Cup dating

MOSCOW (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of foreign men have flooded into Russia for the monthlong World Cup,...

Reports detail Mossad raid on Iranian nuclear documents

JERUSALEM (AP) — Some U.S. media reported new details on Sunday from a Mossad operation that smuggled...

Nancy Benac the Associated Press


President Obama meets with small-business owners before signing the JOBS Act earlier this month.
 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In an election season when the economy is king, the central debate between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney comes down to what is enough. Enough growth in the economy. Enough job creation. Enough help for those still struggling to get back on their feet.

Obama travels to two Midwest states at the epicenter of that debate, hard-hit Ohio and Michigan, on Wednesday to highlight his economic policies and place them in pointed contrast to the sharp budget-cutting proposals of House Republicans - and by extension Romney.

In Ohio, Obama will visit a successful job-training program of the type that the White House says would face steep cutbacks in federal financing under the House-passed budget, which Romney supports. And in Michigan, the president will scoop up more campaign cash to help him combat Romney's efforts to frame his presidency as an economic failure.

Beyond job training, the president is making the broader case that while more remains to be done to boost the economy, he's successfully brought the country back from the brink of financial collapse and done what he should to help Americans weather the storm. For Obama, there's no more critical place to make that argument than Ohio, always an electoral battleground, and a general election bellwether since 1980.

Romney, for his part, never misses an opportunity to blame Obama for what he labels as failed economic policies and bloated government, and to argue that the president's had his chance and now it's time for him to move on. He criticizes a jumble of "federal workforce training programs, 49 reporting to eight different agencies."

On Wednesday, the likely GOP nominee will leap over a few pages on the political calendar and deliver an early "prebuttal" in Charlotte, N.C., to the president's speech to the Democratic National Convention in that town come September. It was sure keep up the drumbeat of criticism of Obama on the economy, jobs and taxes.

Obama's campaign, meanwhile, started running its first Spanish television ads aimed at rallying support among Hispanics, an increasingly important voting bloc. The four television spots each feature an Obama supporter talking about the president's education policies, including improving Head Start centers that serve over 362,000 Hispanic children and increasing funding for Pell Grants to help nearly 2 million Hispanic students pay for college.

The ads will air in Colorado, Nevada and Florida, political battleground states with growing Hispanic populations.

In Elyria, Ohio, Obama will meet with unemployed workers-turned-students participating in training programs at Lorain County Community College, where he'll also address students and graduates. The White House said that under the House-passed budget, employment and training programs of that kind would cut back sharply, eliminating services to 425,000 adult workers nationally in 2013 and 1.1 million in 2014. The president has kept up a drumbeat of criticism of the House-passed budget as a sign of what would happen if Republicans were in charge, although the budget plan is sure to die in the Senate.

In Michigan, Obama will attend two fundraisers for his campaign, one of them at the same Henry Ford Museum where Romney in 2007 launched his unsuccessful bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.

The economy has taken a nosedive and turned around again in the five years since then. Romney, too, has fallen and risen again.

And now Obama and Romney are jockeying for the advantage on the economy, and neither has the clear edge.

In a Pew Research Center poll released this week, voters listed the economy and jobs as the top issues as they decide whom to support for president. Those who said the economy and jobs would be very important to their vote divided their support almost evenly between Obama and Romney.

Obama points to steady economic progress on his watch, and suggests his GOP rival would dismiss the needs of struggling Americans to implement policies favoring the wealthy.

Romney's campaign, for its part, on Tuesday mocked the Obama economy as "stuck in neutral" - just as NASCAR champions were visiting the White House.

Each candidate has material to work with in making his economic case: Nationally, the unemployment rate has dropped from 9.1 percent last August to 8.2 percent in March, the lowest since about the time Obama took office. But job growth has been weak, millions of people remain unemployed, and improvements in hiring haven't translated into higher salaries for those who are working.

Ohio's jobless rate was 7.6 percent in February 2012, down from 8.9 percent a year earlier and lower than the national average. In Michigan, unemployment fell to 8.8 percent in February, down from 10.7 percent a year earlier and a peak of 14.2 percent in August 2009. Many in the state are benefiting from the turnaround in the auto industry fostered by Obama, but there is plenty of ongoing economic pain.

Jim Ruvolo, a former Ohio Democratic Party chairman now working as a political consultant, said the recovery of the auto industry has also helped boost the economy in the northern part of his state, giving Obama a strong argument for re-election, but many Ohio voters still feel that while the economy is getting better, "it's not there yet."

"The truth is, if we were still where we were two years ago, Obama wouldn't even be in the race," he added. "The thing would be over."

The improving picture in states like Ohio makes Romney's effort to paint Obama's presidency as an economic failure more challenging.

But Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Maloney said his state's Republican governor and legislators are the ones who deserve any credit for economic progress in the state. And he said that with Obama's frequent visits to Ohio - this will be his fourth in four months, and the 20th of his presidency - Ohio voters are starting to see that the president's economic pronouncements are "more style, less substance, and that's why he finds himself in a precarious spot."

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Associated Press writers Ken Thomas and David Espo contributed to this report.

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Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nbenac

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