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News Briefs

McCain, Palin present themselves as eager reformers

CEDARBURG, Wis. — John McCain said Friday the sagging economy has brought “tough times all over America” as he made a splashy debut with Sarah Palin in critical Midwestern states as the newly crowned Republican presidential ticket. A crowd of thousands cheered the Arizona senator and Alaska governor as they presented themselves as a team of reformers eager to challenge Washington’s political establishment.

Obama: GOP out of touch with middle-class

DURYEA, Pa. — Democrat Barack Obama called Republican rival John McCain’s acceptance speech the final piece of an out-of-touch convention that focused on its nominee’s biography instead of the struggles of the middle class.

“If you watched the Republican National Convention over the last three days, you wouldn’t know that we have the highest unemployment in five years because they didn’t say a thing about what is going on with the middle class,” Obama told workers at a specialty glass factory.

Tropical Storm Hanna charges for Carolinas

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Tropical Storm Hanna picked up speed Friday as it cruised toward the Carolinas, promising to deliver gusty winds and heavy rain during a dash up the Eastern Seaboard that could wash out the weekend for millions of people.

Not far behind was a much bigger worry: a ferocious-looking Hurricane Ike, on a path similar to the one taken by Andrew, the Category 5 monster that devastated South Florida in 1992. Ike could hit Florida by the middle of next week.

Unemployment climbs past 6 percent

WASHINGTON — The nation’s unemployment rate bolted above the psychologically important 6 percent level last month for the first time in five years — and it’s likely to go even higher in the months ahead, possibly throwing the economy into a tailspin as Americans pick a new president.

Murder trial opens in Tennessee case

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A prosecutor described a schoolteacher’s husband as a jealous, calculating killer as trial opened Friday on charges he murdered his wife’s teenage lover. But a defense lawyer told the jury that the defendant was a victim himself of a spouse who flaunted her infidelity.

Eric McLean, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Sean Powell, the 18-year-old who was having an affair with student-teacher Erin McLean, then the 29-year-old wife of the defendant and mother of his two young sons.