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However, despite his opposition to the war, Mr. Hagel said he does not agree with Democrats who favor an immediate withdrawal, reportsEric Pfeiffer of The Washington Times.

“It has to be more than just withdrawal and timelines and phased withdrawals, responsible phased withdrawals,” he said. “All these other things have to be dealt with as well. That isn’t going to fix it. Yes, you’ll pull your troops out. But the fact is, we still have interests in Iraq.”

Poverty tour

John Edwards plans to visit parts of the country beset by poverty, a leading issue in his Democratic presidential campaign.

Mr. Edwards‘ three-day swing on his “Road to One America” tour will take him through New Orleans, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Tenn., and eight other cities and eight states, beginning July 16.

The former North Carolina senator and Democratic 2008 presidential hopeful said the makeup of the poor has changed in the past 40 years to include a wide range of ages and a variety of ethnic and regional backgrounds.

“Many are hardworking men and women with full-time jobs who are still struggling to make ends meet. And their numbers are growing,” he said.

Mr. Edwards also plans to visit towns hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs and cities with suburban poverty.

He is not the first to go on such a tour, the Associated Press reports.

President Lyndon Johnson declared the war on poverty in 1964 from eastern Kentucky’s coal country, the same territory that would draw Robert F. Kennedy for a two-day caravan tour in 1968 a month before announcing he would run for president.

In 2005, Mr. Edwards helped create the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina law school.

Taxing question

Republican 2008 presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani heard jeers Saturday when he explained his opposition to elimination of the federal income tax and replacing it with a so-called “fair tax” based on consumption.

Mr. Giuliani addressed a group of about 500 people in a standing-room only crowd at a town-hall meeting at the University of North Florida, answering questions for about 30 minutes on a variety of topics from Iraq and Iran to Social Security and his plan for tax cuts.

Several dozen people jeered when Mr. Giuliani, in response to a question, said he would not be in favor of the fair tax, the Associated Press reports.

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