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Arizona's acrimonious battle for Giffords' seat

Ron Barber's win was a welcome victory for Gabby Giffords-loving Arizonans. But the jury's still out on what it will mean for national politics.
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Ron Barber, who was wounded along with US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in last years deadly shooting, won Arizona's vote to succeed Giffords. (Jonathan Gibby/AFP/Getty Images)

TUCSON, Ariz. — In the end, it was not all that close. In an agonizingly tense election to fill the seat of injured Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the vote went convincingly to Giffords’ hand-picked successor, Ron Barber.

Barber, a genial, avuncular man who had been an aide to Giffords during her five years in Congress, triumphed over Republican Jesse Kelly, 52 to 46 percent.

Kelly had lost to Giffords by a razor-thin margin in 2010.

As amiable as Barber seems on the surface, his campaign was anything but gentle.

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Arizona’s prickly-pear politics

Breathtaking scenery, heart-stopping political games in the American Southwest.
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Many Arizonans take pride in their no-nonsense Republican Governor Jan Brewer. Here's a photo of Brewer wagging a finger in President Barack Obama's face, turned into buttons that say "Don't mess with Arizona." (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona politics can be as thorny as the beautiful saguaro cacti that bristle on nearly every corner here.

For a smallish state — population less than 6.5 million, with 11 electoral votes — it certainly has caused more than its share of heartburn on the national stage.

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Rand Paul endorses Mitt Romney

Rand Paul, the Republican Senator for Kentucky, endorsed Mitt Romney on Friday, though his father has yet to formally terminate his campaign.

Jeb Bush praises Obama's education policies (VIDEO)

Jeb Bush, brother to former President George W. Bush, offered praise of Obama's education policies in an interview on CBS News' "This Morning."

Obama leads Romney in swing state Virginia

"His lead over Romney is built upon a continuing gender gap that favors him – essentially the president stays close among men while he is very strong among women."

Joseph Stiglitz: Romney economic plan would "significantly" up the odds of recession

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joesph Stiglitz has some harsh words about Mitt Romney's brand of economics.
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Would this guy wreck the US economy? (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney shouldn't be expecting any checks in the mail from Joseph Stiglitz.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist — formerly chairman of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers — has just destroyed Mitt's economic plan.

In a wide-ranging interview today with Bloomberg, Stiglitz said a Romney presidency would be very bad news for the world's largest economy.

Why?

Romney's economic vision would mean less government spending, which in the language of Europe is currently pronounced "austerity."

Here's the rationale:

Less spending by government is a dangerous proposition when consumers and businesses — the main drivers of economic growth in the US — are unable or unwilling to do it themselves.

The austerity approach is also what happened ahead of the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression, the noted economist drearily pointed out.

But Stiglitz didn't stop there:

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Clinton breaks with Obama on Bush tax cuts

"What I think we need to do is to find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what’s necessary in the long-term debt-reduction plan as soon as they can, which presumably will be after the election," said former President Bill Clinton.

Primaries wind down, general election heats up

Wisconsin’s recall vote dominated, but 5 other states held elections yesterday. Here in New Mexico, the GOP talks immigration.
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Mother and daughter at a voting booth at City Hall in Hudson, Wisconsin on Tuesday participate in a recall election to choose whether to let Governor Scott Walker stay in office or replace him with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

SANTA FE, NM — Politics seems too crass a subject to discuss amid New Mexico’s red-clay hills and magnificent mountains. The quaint adobe houses of Santa Fe should not be adorned with campaign ads, and the excessively polite people should not have to discuss topics as heated as who should be senator or president.

New Mexico held its primary elections on Tuesday, and, other than campaign workers, few people noticed. Turnout was light across the state, barely topping 20 percent.

There were no real surprises — Mitt Romney won more than 70 percent of the Republican vote, adding at least 16 delegates to his total, which is already above the 1,144 needed for the presidential nomination.

Barack Obama, of course, won the Democratic race.

Independent voters were barred from the primary though — in New Mexico, one has to be a registered voter of one of the two major parties in order to qualify to vote.

This does not sit well with some voters.

“I do not want to give up my independent status, so I do not have a say,” said Amy Bobrick, who runs a small inn on the outskirts of Santa Fe. “I will have to wait until November.”

More from Highway 2012: Everything’s bigger in Texas

In all, five states held elections on Tuesday: New Mexico, New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota and California. Coming this late in the season, the vote was largely symbolic, and attracted little attention. Even giant California did not make much of a splash, although it added 169 delegates to Romney’s tally on Tuesday.

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Wisconsin recall: 17% of Obama supporters voted for Scott Walker

Mitt Romney viewed the recall election's results as an endorsement of Walker's fiscal policies. In a statement, he said the results "will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin."
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