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Biden to visit China, Japan and Mongolia

Vice President Joseph R. Biden is set to travel to China, Mongolia and Japan later this month.

Mr. Biden’s trip to China, the fast-growing economic powerhouse, will include meetings with President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The U.S. has a complex but necessary relationship with China, which holds about $1.15 trillion in U.S. debt.

In Japan, the White House says Mr. Biden will express steadfast U.S. support for its close ally in the wake of the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency. Mr. Biden also will meet with U.S. civilian and military personnel who are in Japan assisting with the disaster response.

The White House says Mr. Biden will also underscore U.S. support for Mongolia’s two decades of democratic development.

The vice president is due to start his trip Aug. 16.

ELECTION 2012

Huntsman defends top campaign strategist

DERRY, N.H. — Republican presidential contender Jon Huntsman Jr. backed up his chief strategist Thursday after a report of turmoil and dissension in his struggling White House campaign.

Mr. Huntsman defended John Weaver, who was the focus of a Politico story outlining complaints about Mr. Weaver’s aggressive style that came from a former adviser and Huntsman family friend.

“John Weaver is a critically important part of our team,” Mr. Huntsman told reporters while campaigning in New Hampshire. “He’s our strategist. Has been from Day One, and he will be. He’s a great friend, and he’s indispensable to this campaign.”

Mr. Huntsman, a former U.S. envoy to China and ex-governor of Utah, has gotten off to a slow start in his campaign. He has been mired in the low single digits in polls and generated little momentum since his June campaign launch.

POLL

Disapproval of Congress hits record high

Disapproval of Congress rose to an all-time high after weeks of rancorous partisan battles over raising the U.S. debt ceiling took the country to the brink of default, according a New York Times/CBS News public opinion poll published Thursday.

A record 82 percent of Americans now say they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, compared with 14 percent who approve, the poll found.

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