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John Albaugh, who was chief of staff to Rep. Ernest Istook, Oklahoma Republican, has told prosecutors he no longer feels he gave favors to clients of Jack Abramoff’s firm because lobbyists there gave him free meals and event tickets.

Mr. Albaugh testified that he had been influenced by the gifts in last year’s corruption trial of Abramoff associate Kevin Ring. The jury could not agree on whether Mr. Ring was guilty. Prosecutors are scheduled to retry Mr. Ring in three weeks.

Attorneys revealed Mr. Albaugh’s change of heart in a pretrial hearing Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle responded that Mr. Albaugh had been the prosecution’s “strongest witness.”

DEMOCRATS

Kaine: No slight in Feingold skip

Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine said he saw no slight in Sen. Russ Feingold’s absence at a campaign rally Tuesday night where President Obama appeared on his behalf.

Mr. Kaine told CBS’s “The Early Show” that candidates “make their own decisions about these things.”

Mr. Kaine, a former Virginia governor, said Mr. Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, understands that Mr. Obama can energize the party’s base.

Mr. Kaine said Mr. Obama is appealing particularly to college-age Americans to become more active in the midterm elections.

“We just need to make them aware of the importance of these elections,” he said.

Mr. Obama’s standing in public opinion polls has been falling in recent months, and some Democratic candidates have been reluctant to appear with him.