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AP Top Political News At 7:21 a.m. EDT

For Obama, West's inability to stop Russian advances clouds reassurance message in the Baltics
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the second time this year, President Barack Obama will travel to Russia's backyard to assure nervous nations of his ironclad commitment to their security. But his objectives will be clouded by the West's inability to halt the Russian aggression in Ukraine that has stoked fears in other former Soviet republics....

US military forces conduct operation against al-Shabab Islamic extremists in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- U.S. military forces attacked the Islamic extremist al-Shabab network in an operation in Somalia on Monday, the Pentagon said, in a strike a Somali official said targeted the group's fugitive leader....

7 years later, the memory of death and destruction in Baghdad's Nisoor Square fades
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The summer-long trial of four Blackwater security guards in the shootings of more than 30 Iraqis has been a grim retelling of lives snuffed out and the daily life-and-death decisions amid the chaos of war....

An election of contradictions: Sour electorate poised to 'keep the bums in'
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A surly electorate that holds Congress in even lower regard than unpopular President Barack Obama is willing to "keep the bums in," with at least 365 incumbents in the 435-member House and 18 of 28 senators on a glide path to another term when ballots are counted Nov. 4....

For Obama, a midterm strategy that seeks to do no harm to Democrats in tough races
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hampered by low approval ratings and an unfriendly electoral map, President Barack Obama enters the fall campaign as a liability to some vulnerable Democrats and a target for Republicans trying to fire up conservatives and appeal to disillusioned independents....

2016 presidential hopefuls jockey for position as midterm elections loom
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- One set of elections ends in early November as another begins when presidential hopefuls cross the unofficial starting line in the 2016 race for the White House....

Common Core bickering heats up as standards take effect; buyer's remorse hits policymakers?
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Millions of students will sit down at computers this year to take new tests rooted in the Common Core standards for math and reading, but policymakers in many states are having buyer's remorse....

Common Core standards adopted by some states, rejected, repealed by others as debate continues
A state-by-state look at the Common Core standards:...

As states liberalize marijuana laws, risks of smoking pot before driving remain hazy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- New York teenager Joseph Beer smoked marijuana, climbed into a Subaru Impreza with four friends and drove more than 100 mph before losing control. The car crashed into trees with such force that the vehicle split in half, killing his friends....

5 things to know about driving high on marijuana
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The legalization of recreational marijuana in two states - Colorado and Washington - and medical marijuana in more than 20 others has raised concern that there will be more drivers stoned behind the wheel. What's not clear is whether that will translate into an increase in fatal crashes. Five things to know about marijuana and driving:...

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7 years later, the memory of death and destruction in Baghdad's Nisoor Square fades

For Obama, West's inability to stop Russian advances clouds reassurance message in the Baltics

Marines helicopter with 25 aboard crashes in Gulf of Aden; all aboard rescued

Common Core bickering heats up as standards take effect; buyer's remorse hits policymakers?

Common Core standards adopted by some states, rejected, repealed by others as debate continues

NATO planning new high-readiness 'spearhead' force to counter new threat from Russia

An election of contradictions: Sour electorate poised to 'keep the bums in'

For Obama, a midterm strategy that seeks to do no harm to Democrats in tough races

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz sounds like a 2016 presidential candidate at conservative gathering


 
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