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The White House issued a brief statement saying Mr. Obama thanked the officials for their shared sacrifice and reiterated the importance of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Gen. Petraeus officially took over on Sunday in Kabul, replacing Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. Mr. Obama fired Gen. McChrystal last month after the general stunned his bosses with stinging criticism in a Rolling Stone magazine article.

The Senate unanimously confirmed Gen. Petraeus last week.


Obama plans trip to boost Carnahan

President Obama will mix campaigning with a discussion on the economy during a trip to Missouri this week.

The White House said Monday that Mr. Obama will travel to Kansas City Thursday to discuss the economy with workers at Smith Electric Vehicles.

Later in the day, Mr. Obama will raise money for Senate candidate Robin Carnahan. Ms. Carnahan is the leading Democrat in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Christopher S. Bond. Rep. Roy Blunt is the Republican front-runner in what is expected to be one of the tightest races this fall.


Mystery nominee won’t get challenge

A Charleston businesswoman considering an independent run for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina after a surprise candidate won the Democratic nomination announced Monday she doesn’t have time to put together a strong campaign.

Linda Ketner posted a message to her website asking supporters to stop their petition drive to get her on the November ballot.

The drive started after 32-year-old unemployed Army veteran Alvin Greene won the Democratic primary - without campaigning against an opponent who had the full backing of the party. Ms. Ketner said three months isn’t enough time to successfully challenge Republican incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint as he seeks a second term.

As a Democrat, Ms. Ketner nearly unseated incumbent Rep. Henry E. Brown Jr. in the coastal 1st Congressional District in 2008.


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