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SENATE

Carmona entering Arizona Senate race

Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona is plunging into politics and says he will run for the U.S. Senate in Arizona, giving Democrats a candidate they believe will appeal to moderate and independent voters.

Mr. Carmona served as surgeon general under President George W. Bush, but was highly critical of the administration after he left. Democrats have aggressively recruited him to run under their banner. He will attempt to succeed retiring Sen. Jon Kyl.

The 61-year-old Mr. Carmona moved back to Tucson after his surgeon general stint. He said he believes that Washington is broken and noted that his experience as a surgeon and deputy sheriff taught him to work with others to get results.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama Mideast adviser leaving his position

One of President Obama’s top Middle East advisers is leaving the administration.

Dennis Ross played an important role this fall as the U.S. tried to get the Palestinians to drop a bid for statehood at the United Nations. That effort failed and the Palestinians have pushed forward with their plans.

Mr. Ross has served on Mr. Obama’s National Security Council overseeing the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Mr. Ross had planned to serve just two years in the administration, but extended his commitment by a year to work on the developments in the Middle East during Arab Spring democracy push.

HOUSE

GOP sets vote on budget amendment

House GOP leaders have scheduled a vote next week on a constitutional amendment that would require a balanced federal budget.

But they’re shelving a version of the amendment that tea party activists favored. Instead, the Republican leaders are pressing for Democratic votes in hopes of actually passing the measure — that’s what happened in 1995, with lots of help from Democrats.

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