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Inside Politics

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PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Brown calls for Obama to step up to GOP

California Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for President Obama to respond to Republicans in what he calls "a very powerful way" during the upcoming presidential election.

Mr. Brown says the Republicans are gearing up to destroy Mr. Obama during the campaign, and he says that, in response, Mr. Obama has to be "authentic" and "powerful."

The California governor, appearing on the Sunday broadcast of CNN's "State of the Union," says he supports Mr. Obama's response to Republicans during the debt crisis but urges the president to, in his words, "dig down into his own soul and connect with the people of America at this hour of peril."

Mr. Brown says the U.S. will face decline if Republicans don't give up some ideological baggage and Democrats don't find a way to create common ground.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama discusses helicopter crash with commanders

President Obama has spent part of the day talking to top American commanders about the U.S. troops lost when a helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan.

The White House says Mr. Obama placed calls to the commanders on Sunday to express his condolences for those who died. In the calls, the president reaffirmed the support of the American people for the troops and for their families.

Mr. Obama called the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John Allen, and the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, Army Lt. Gen. Joe Votel.

He also spoke with the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, Navy Adm. Eric Olson, and the head of U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. James Mattis.

Thirty Americans and eight Afghans died in the crash Saturday.

KENTUCKY

McConnell tries to make state race about Obama

FANCY FARM | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, is trying to make the Kentucky governor's race this fall about President Obama.

Mr. McConnell told a crowd in his home state Saturday that Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Mr. Obama "are singing the same tune: They both claim they've improved the economy."

Borrowing a line from Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential debate, Mr. McConnell asked: "Is there anybody out there who is better off since Beshear and Obama took over?"

Polls show Mr. Obama remains unpopular in the Bluegrass State, which he lost in 2008. But polls also show Mr. Beshear with a double-digit lead over his Republican opponent, state Senate President David Williams, and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith.

Mr. McConnell made the comments at a western Kentucky church picnic that is the traditional kickoff to the fall campaign.

LOBBYING

Commerce group disagrees with S&P downgrade

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobbying group, said Sunday it disagreed with ratings agency Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, but hoped it would spur Washington to act.

"While we don't agree with S&P's decision to downgrade America's credit rating, its action should be another powerful incentive for lawmakers to do the hard work necessary to get our fiscal house in order," the group's president, Thomas Donohue, said in a statement.

"We will never tackle debts and deficits, jump-start this recovery, reduce uncertainty, and create millions of jobs until we overhaul our tax code and reform runaway entitlement programs that threaten to push us into insolvency."

CYBERSECURITY

'Anonymous' attack shows government vulnerabilities

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. | Web security experts say the cyber-attack on 70 mostly rural law enforcement websites for emails and credit card numbers shows that no site is too small to avoid the interest of hackers.

The group known as Anonymous posted a trove of data Saturday in what it called retaliation for the arrests of its sympathizers. Many county sheriffs were unaware of the scope of what had happened until they were contacted by the Associated Press.

Many of the private emails posted online appear benign, but others have tips about crime, information about investigations and gang-member profiles.

One hacking expert calls the trove of data "low-hanging fruit" for hackers, who can easily break into sites with little protection. Many of the sites were run by the same rural Arkansas marketing company.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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