Inside Politics: Romney closes on Obama in new poll

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Fighting a swell of economic anxiety, President Obama has lost much of the narrow lead he held just a month ago over Mitt Romney and the two now are locked in a virtually even race for the White House, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. The survey also found a majority of Americans disapproving of how the Democratic president is handling a national economy that fewer people think is improving.

Less than five months before the election, 47 percent say they will vote for the president and 44 percent for Romney, a difference that is not statistically significant. The poll also shows that Romney has recovered from a bruising Republican primary, with more of his supporters saying they are certain to vote for him now.

CONGRESS

Boehner says no gloating if health law struck down

House Speaker John A. Boehner is telling rank-and-file Republicans not to gloat if the Supreme Court rules the health care law unconstitutional.

In a memo released publicly Thursday, the Ohio Republican says there will be no spiking the ball if the court rules against the law either partially or entirely. He says that’s because he wants the party to focus on the economy as the elections approach.

A court ruling is expected next week.

CALIFORNIA

Gov. Brown announces deal on remaining budget

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders reached an agreement Thursday to finalize California’s budget.

The plan protects education, permanently reforms welfare and includes tough ongoing cuts, Mr. Brown said in a statement announcing the framework of the agreement.

A vote of the Legislature will take place next week.

Although Democrats passed the main budget bill on a majority vote last week, the governor pressed for deeper cuts to welfare and other social services amid a projected $15.7 billion shortfall. Mr. Brown has until Wednesday to sign or veto the main bill.

Democrats have majorities in both the Assembly and Senate, and can pass the budget without needing any Republican votes. Republicans have been shut out of the budget negotiations and did not immediately comment on the pending agreement.

MASSACHUSETTS

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