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“Last week, the president said that America has grown a little ‘soft,’ and I just respond to that and say to the president, with all due respect, I disagree,” said the Virginia Republican during his weekly briefing with reporters at the Capitol.

“America is the greatest nation in the world. We are really the birthplace of game-changing innovations that have really changed the world.”

Mr. Obama said last week that while the U.S. still was “great,” the nation has lost some of its competitiveness in the global economic race.

WASHINGTON

GOP state senator plans to run against Cantwell

SPOKANE — A Republican state senator from Spokane, Wash., says he’ll seek the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Sen. Michael Baumgartner is in his first term after winning the most expensive state Senate campaign in Washington history last year.

The 35-year-old Mr. Baumgartner graduated from Washington State and holds a master’s degree from Harvard. He served as a State Department diplomat in Iraq and as a civilian contractor in counternarcotics in Afghanistan.

He says the nation needs to restore a dynamic economy at home and end a haphazard foreign policy overseas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports