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Mitt Romney’s running mate said he’s already started preparing for the debate against Mr. Biden, set for Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.


Clinton trip takes her far away from campaign

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will try to reassert American interests in the Asia-Pacific region in the face of China’s growing influence as she kicks off a six-nation trip.

Mrs. Clinton left Washington on Thursday on a trip that will keep her half a world away from U.S. politics at the height of the presidential conventions. But her travels will put her at the center of rising tensions over territorial disputes involving China and its neighbors in the South China Sea.

Mrs. Clinton visits Beijing at the midpoint of the 11-day tour that begins in the remote Cook Islands and then Indonesia.

Other stops include East Timor and Brunei.

She also will represent the U.S. at a summit of leaders from Pacific Rim countries in Vladivostok, Russia.


In the digital age, whither the campaign button?

TAMPA — In this era of high-tech and nonstop social networking, the campaign button has lost its luster.

Politicians and their operations instead push their messages with a relentless barrage of television ads, emails and cellphone alerts, while many voters express their opinions via tweets, Facebook posts and blogs.

Buttons extolling the Republican ticket and tearing into Democrats haven’t disappeared entirely, but they are far from ubiquitous. It’s been rare at this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa to see campaign buttons being displayed or sold.

Campaign buttons have been part of American politics since the days of President Washington. Some of the first buttons were sewn on clothes or worn similar to a necklace. Those eventually gave way to metal buttons with fastening pins.


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