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Mr. Biden also said it is “totally legitimate” for the 2012 election to be “a referendum on Obama and Biden and the nature and state of the economy.”

Asked whether Mr. Obama agrees, presidential press secretary Jay Carney said the president “fully expects” voters to make their decisions “based on their assessment of his record, what he’s done, what’s he accomplished, and obviously comparing that and what his vision is for the future.”

CAMPAIGN

Perry says he would stop border drugs, violence

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is defending his policy of allowing tuition assistance for illegal immigrants at state colleges and universities, saying the lack of a cohesive federal immigration policy forced his hand.

Mr. Perry told CNBC that “we need to have an immigration policy that’s thoughtful.”

The Republican said that when he embraced the concept of tuition assistance in 2001 for illegal immigrants, he believed “it was in the best interest of our state to have these young people educated [rather] than kicking them to the curb.”

Mr. Perry also said that if elected president, he would solve the problem of drug trafficking, illegal immigration and violence along the southern border of the U.S. He declared that “we will stop the drug cartels and we will stop the illegal immigration.”

MONTANA

Tester protests GOP ad showing another’s hand

HELENA — Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, isn’t happy about a Republican attack advertisement portraying him with all five fingers on his left hand — even though he lost three fingers in a childhood accident with a meat saw on his family’s farm.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee ad portrays Mr. Tester as cozy with Washington lobbyists and also shows a photo of Mr. Tester happily greeting President Obama. But the edited photo erroneously portrays Tester as having a left hand with all five fingers.

Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy said that “from the made-up photo to the misleading message, the whole ad is an inaccurate picture of Jon and his record of transparency and accountability.”

Mr. Tester, a first-term lawmaker, is being challenged in his 2012 re-election by Rep. Denny Rehberg, and polls have shown the race very tight.

Republicans said Thursday that someone else’s left hand was accidentally left in the photo when people in the background were cut out to show just Mr. Tester and Mr. Obama. The NRSC argues the mix-up doesn’t change the message of the ad.

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