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Political Notebook

Joe Biden keeps up Democrats’ attack on Romney

Jim Cole/Associated Press

Vice President Joe Biden greeted a group of students Tuesday during a campaign stop at a diner in Peterborough, N.H.

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday laced into the Republican Party and its presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, saying its Tea Party movement faction has blocked progress by President Obama while Romney wants to take the country back to recessionary practices.

“They begin to sound like the horse that just won the Derby and the Preakness, ‘I’ll Have Another,’ ’’ Biden told an audience at Keene State College. “Except the horse is a real winner.’’

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Broadening his attack, the vice president said, “We will not go back to the ’50s on social policy, to the Cold War on our foreign policy, and to the policies of [the George W. Bush administration] on economic policy.’’

He added, “Imagine where we’d be if the Tea Party hadn’t taken over the House?’’

He said the largely Republican group, which favors reining in government spending and repealing the president’s health care overhaul, has been “set on obstructionism’’ since winning seats in the 2010 midterm elections.

It was Biden’s fourth trip to New Hampshire this year, reflecting its potentially pivotal role in the fall elections. He devoted a lengthy section of his remarks to buttressing comments Obama made Monday. The president told reporters there was a difference between his campaign’s attacks on some of the deals that enriched Romney at Bain Capital, and his support for the broader private equity system that often finances start-ups or reengineers sagging companies.

The vice president said making money for investors is fine, but “the president has a different job.’’ He said it is to ensure that all companies can make a profit, and to guard against that coming at the expense of everyone else.

Romney is running for president not so much on his four-year record as governor of Massachusetts, but his 25-year career in business. He says his specialty as a turnaround artist can speed job creation and the country’s recovery from the recession.

But Biden said that working in private equity “no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber.’’

The president’s new ads targeted a Bain-owned steel plant that closed, as well as an Indiana office supply firm shuttered after Bain took control. Hundreds of workers lost their jobs in both cases, while Romney, Bain, and company investors received millions, news reports show.

Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg replied: “It is clear that this administration can’t explain three years of broken promises and has instead resorted to making attacks on free enterprise and job creators.’’ — GLEN JOHNSON

Romney takes primaries in Kentucky and Arkansas

WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney swept the Kentucky and Arkansas Republican presidential primaries Tuesday, inching closer to the GOP nomination he is certain to win.

With no serious opposition left, the former Massachusetts governor easily won both contests. He won all 42 delegates at stake in Kentucky and at least 21 of the 33 delegates at stake in Arkansas.

Twelve delegates were still undecided there.

Romney has 1,055 delegates, leaving him just 89 shy of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination for president. He should reach the threshold next week, when voters go to the polls in Texas. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Group’s TV ads target disillusioned Obama voters

NEW YORK - A conservative-leaning independent group is launching a $10 million television ad campaign saying President Obama has not lived up to the expectations voters had for him.

Crossroads GPS is running 30- and 60-second versions of the ad, titled “Basketball,’’ in 10 swing states, including New Hampshire. The ad targets women and independent voters who backed Obama in 2008 but might vote against him this time.

The ad shows a young woman transforming into middle age as she worries about the economy, national debt, and lack of jobs for her two adult children. She says she supported Obama but had become disillusioned, saying, “He promised change, but things changed for the worse.’’

Crossroads GPS has ties to Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s longtime political strategist. As a nonprofit, it is not required to disclose donors. It is a sister group to American Crossroads, a super PAC. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Powell not sure if he’ll endorse Obama this time

WASHINGTON - Colin Powell, former secretary of state, declined Tuesday to renew the presidential endorsement he gave Barack Obama four years ago, saying he wasn’t ready “to throw my weight behind someone’’ at this time.

The former chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Cabinet member under President George W. Bush demurred when asked if he was backing Obama again. A longtime GOP figure, Powell caused a stir in Republican political circles four years ago by endorsing Obama over war hero Senator John McCain, calling Obama a “transformational figure.’’

Not so this time, Powell said on NBC’s “Today’’ show. At least, not yet. “It’s not just a matter of whether you support Obama or [Mitt] Romney. It’s who they have coming in with them,’’ he said.

Pressed to say why he was holding back on giving Obama his blessing a second time, Powell said: “I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS

No verdict in Edwards trial after 3 days of deliberating

GREENSBORO, N.C. - The jury deciding the fate of former presidential candidate John Edwards finished a third day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.

Edwards faces 30 years in prison after pleading not guilty to six campaign finance corruption charges. The jury began considering its decision Friday, after nearly four weeks of testimony.

The jurors ended their talks Tuesday shortly after requesting access to notes from Alex Forger, the lawyer for Rachel “Bunny’’ Mellon. The 101-year-old heiress provided most of the nearly $1 million in secret payments prosecutors say Edwards used to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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