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Mr. Rendell is leaving office in January after two terms.

ILLINOIS

Candidate embraces Obama in new ad

SPRINGFIELD | Illinois’ Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is embracing President Obama in a new campaign ad at a time when some Democrats are keeping the president at arm’s length.

The ad shows Mr. Obama calling Alexi Giannoulias his friend, someone voters can trust. The president praises Mr. Giannoulias for running a campaign that doesn’t take money from federal lobbyists.

Some candidates have kept their distance as Mr. Obama’s approval ratings fall, but Mr. Obama remains relatively popular in his home state of Illinois. Mr Giannoulias is in a tight race against Republican Rep. Mark Steven Kirk for Mr. Obama’s former seat.

Mr. Giannoulias’ campaign says the ad will begin airing statewide Thursday. People familiar with the campaign’s plans say it will spend about $500,000 on the ad.

WISCONSIN

Feingold defends career record

MADISON | Sen. Russ Feingold defended himself as a “career politician” on Wednesday, challenging his Republican opponent to explain to him in person why that’s such a bad thing.

Mr. Feingold said at a press conference that Republican Ron Johnson’s frequent use of the description in a derogatory way is unoriginal and falsely implies that being dedicated to public service is “somehow an awful thing.”

“This man’s campaign so far appears to be the constant repetition of a phrase, ‘career politician, ” Mr. Feingold said. “And it’s not very original because it’s basically being used in every campaign in the United States of America. What it amounts to is an attack on me and what I’ve chosen to do in my life.”

Mr. Feingold is facing a tougher-than-anticipated challenge from Mr. Johnson, a political newcomer Republicans hope can knock off the three-term incumbent and help put the Senate back in GOP control. Polls show a tight race eight weeks from the election.

Mr. Johnson’s latest television ad features people calling Mr. Feingold a career politician. Mr. Johnson spokeswoman Sara Sendek said it’s a negative description because Mr. Feingold has no real-world experience with a business or creating jobs.

“He’s out of touch with the hardships that the people of Wisconsin have to face each day,” Miss Sendek said.

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