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SENATE

Hawaii Democrat won’t run in 2012

Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, 86, said Wednesday he won’t seek re-election next year, the fifth member of the Senate Democratic Caucus to decide not to face the voters in 2012.

“It was a very difficult decision for me,” said Mr. Akaka in a prepared statement.

The four-term senator, who stepped down as chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in January after four years at the helm, said he will serve out the remainder of his Senate term, which expires in January 2013.

He is the fourth Democrat to announce plans to step down at the end of 2012, joining a list that includes Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jim Webb of Virginia. The Democrats also lose Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

RNC

Ad links Obama to ‘union bosses’

The Republican National Committee is airing a new television ad in Wisconsin blaming President Obama and “union bosses” for standing in the way of economic reform.

The ad seeks to bolster Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as he pushes a measure that would take away most collective-bargaining rights for state employees.

Mr. Walker says the move is needed to cover a $3.6 billion budget deficit. Unions claim it’s a political ploy to weaken organized labor.

Mr. Obama has not visited Wisconsin since the protests began. But he has called Mr. Walker’s proposal an “assault” on unions and warned governors not to “vilify” public workers.

GAS PRICES

Barbour: Obama cheers higher gas prices

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential presidential contender, accused the Obama administration Wednesday of favoring a run-up in gas prices to prod consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

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