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With cuts of that magnitude, IRS answers to taxpayers’ letters would be delayed by up to five months, and about half of those telephoning the agency would not get through, Mr. Shulman wrote. As examples, he said that would mean problems for individuals and small businesses that have fallen behind paying their taxes and want to reach the IRS to work out payment plans before they are penalized.

NEVADA

Bad economy puts Obama in tough spot

HENDERSON — Look no further than Nevada to understand why President Obama may not win re-election next fall.

The Western swing state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 13.4 percent. Nevada also has the highest foreclosure rate and record bankruptcies.

Voters are angry over the lack of jobs, and Republicans are seizing on that to try to prevent another Obama victory here.

The uncertainty helps explain why Nevada is abuzz in national political activity this week.

The GOP presidential candidates will debate Tuesday in Las Vegas, and Republicans and Democrats are hosting competing conferences here to plan their 2012 strategies.

To win, both sides must woo Nevada’s many independent voters in Reno, government-centric Carson City and southeastern Henderson, where voters tend to be conservative and white.