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White House coy on quitting smoking

A top White House adviser says President Obama and the top House Republican would be good role models if both quit smoking, but he’s leaving it hazy whether the two would work together on such a campaign.

Asked about such an effort Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said the administration wants to work with Republicans on any issue, but refused to commit Mr. Obama to joining with House Minority Leader John A. Boehner to give up cigarettes.

Instead, Mr. Axelrod suggested that Democrats are doing more than Republicans to rein in the tobacco industry.

Last month on CBS, moderator Bob Schieffer also asked Mr. Boehner about quitting smoking with Mr. Obama. The Ohio Republican simply said that he appreciated the suggestion.

TREASURY

8.1M hires qualify for new tax break

The Treasury Department says businesses have hired 8.1 million workers under a new program that provides tax breaks for hiring unemployed workers.

The report, however, does not estimate how many of those jobs would have been added without the tax break.

President Obama signed a law in March that exempts businesses hiring people who have been unemployed for at least 60 days from paying the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December. Employers get an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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