7:31am

Thu March 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Thursday Political Grab Bag: Obama And UK's Cameron Showcase Unity

The Obamas and Camerons at the White House before a state dinner for the British prime minister.
Susan Walsh AP

In the wake of the alleged killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he wants all NATO troops moved onto existing large bases and a faster handover of security responsibilities to his nation's forces. This dovetails with growing opinion in the U.S. that the withdrawal of American troops happen sooner than scheduled.

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6:58am

Thu March 15, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Mississippi Builds Insurance Exchange, Even As It Fights Health Law

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 7:24 am

Mississippi, unlike some of its neighbors, is moving ahead with an insurance exchange.
iStockphoto.com

Mississippi, a deeply red Southern state that is part of the Supreme Court case against the health law, is moving full speed ahead with one of the key provisions of that law: an online health insurance exchange.

Unlike Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and other conservative states in the South, Mississippi is well on its way to having an insurance exchange ready for operation by the 2014 deadline laid out by the health overhaul law.

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6:42am

Thu March 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama's Unofficial Ambassador To The Middle Class — V.P. Biden — Hits Ohio

Vice President Joe Biden poses with an uncooperative baby at a speech in Tallahassee, Fla., on Feb. 6. On Thursday, he's in Ohio to begin a series of speeches aimed at framing the presidential race.
Phil Sears AP

Vice President Joe Biden wears a lot of different hats in the Obama administration. He's a longtime Senate insider who can negotiate with Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell. He's a foreign policy veteran who helped to lead the transition in Iraq.

And one other thing to keep in mind, whenever there's idle political gossip about replacing Biden on the ticket with Hillary Cinton: He serves as a kind of White House ambassador to the middle class.

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6:38am

Thu March 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Fell By 15,000 Last Week

There was a 14,000 decline in the number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration just reported:

"In the week ending March 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 351,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 365,000. The 4-week moving average was 355,750, unchanged from the previous week's revised average of 355,750."

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6:31am

Thu March 15, 2012
Afghanistan

Panetta, Karzai Meet After Villagers Are Massacred

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Afghanistan on a long-planned trip that has turned into something of a fence-mending mission. A U.S. soldier is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. That attack is the latest in a series of negative events involving U.S. forces.

6:25am

Thu March 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Priest Defends Denying Communion To Lesbian Mourner

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 7:35 am

Saeed Khan AFP/Getty Images

The priest who was put on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Washington following a much-talked-about incident in which he denied communion to a lesbian woman attending her mother's funeral, has issued a long defense of his action and has said the church isn't being candid about the reason for its decision to put him on leave.

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5:49am

Thu March 15, 2012
Around the Nation

'Downton Abbey' Actors Attend State Dinner

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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5:43am

Thu March 15, 2012
Around the Nation

Bottles Of Tide Turn Up In Drug Bust

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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5:25am

Thu March 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Afghans Object, U.S. Officials Defend Decision To Move Massacre Suspect

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 8:35 am

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, with Col. John Shafer, at Foward Operating Base Shukvani in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Scott Olson Getty Images
  • Tom Bowman
  • Larry Abramson speaks with Renee Montagne

The news that the U.S. Army staff sergeant who is suspected of murdering 16 Afghan civilians has been moved to a detention facility in Kuwait is sparking some small protests in Afghanistan.

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2:00am

Thu March 15, 2012
Business

Spain Granted Time To Comply With EU Budget Rules

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And after the latest financial bailout of Greece, Europe is now worried more about Spain. That country has also been overspending for years, in violation of EU budget rules.

To look at the implications, Lauren Frayer brings us this report from Madrid.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Before the ink was dry on a new European fiscal pact, Spain was already asking for a pass. Its deficit last year was nearly triple what EU rules allow.

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