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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans charged Wednesday that President Barack Obama delivered a State of the Union address studded with tired liberal notions and campaign-style hostility and said the speech did little to ease partisan tensions over issues like gigantic budget deficits. "An opportunity to bring together the country instead became another retread of lip service and liberalism," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the chamber floor, arguing that Obama offered little more than "gimmicks and tax hikes."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. companies restocked their store shelves and warehouses at a slower pace in December, a sign of caution as sales weakened. Slower restocking was a major drag on the economy in the final three months of last year. Business inventories ticked up 0.1 percent in December from November, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That was below the 0.2 percent pace the previous month and the smallest increase since last June.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jacob Lew, President Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury secretary, is urging Congress to avoid steep automatic spending cuts that are set to take effect on March 1, saying they threaten the broader economy. The $85 billion in cuts would impose "self-inflicted wounds to the recovery and put far too many jobs and businesses at risk," Lew said in prepared remarks Wednesday to the Senate Finance Committee.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans barely spent more last month at retail businesses and restaurants after higher taxes cut their paychecks. The small increase suggests consumer spending may be weak in the January-March quarter, which could hold back economic growth. Retail sales ticked up 0.1 percent in January from December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That follows a 0.5 percent increase in December and is the smallest in three months.
BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) -- As police scoured mountain peaks for days, using everything from bloodhounds to high-tech helicopters, the revenge-seeking ex-cop they wanted was hiding among them, holed up in a vacation cabin across the street from their command post. It was there that Christopher Dorner apparently took refuge last Thursday, four days after beginning a deadly rampage that would claim four lives.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota nurses are forging ahead with a call for state lawmakers to enact standards that dictate how hospitals staff their units. The Minnesota Nurses Association planned Wednesday to outline its legislative proposal. The nurses union, which staged a brief strike at some Minnesota hospitals in 2010, has been making a case for mandatory staffing ratios based on the number of patients and type of unit. Their proposal would establish a system of record keeping for hospitals and potential punishments for those that fall short of the standards.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama set up high-stakes clashes with Republicans over guns, immigration, taxes and climate change in a State of the Union address that showcased his determination to mark his legacy. Rep. Paul Ryan said Obama could better achieve his goals if he would get out of "campaign mode."
MOLINE, Ill. (AP) -- Farm and construction equipment maker Deere & Co. said Wednesday that its first-quarter net income leaped 22 percent on growing sales of farm machinery at higher prices. The Moline, Ill., company's earnings soundly beat Wall Street expectations. In the quarter ending Jan. 31, Deere said it earned $649.7 million, or $1.65 per share, compared with $532.9 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose almost 10 percent to $7.42 billion.
MINNEAPOLIS — Terry Ryan stepped to the podium for a preseason address to the local media and looked across the room at Glen Perkins seated at one of the tables. The Minnesota Twins left-hander was in attendance one day after receiving an award from the Baseball Writers Association of America as the player who best cooperated with the media and represented the team publicly over the previous season. Ryan, the Twins GM, laid it all out there in the blunt and accurate fashion that has become his calling card.
WASHINGTON — Uncompromising and politically emboldened, President Obama on Tuesday urged a deeply divided Congress to embrace his plans to use government money to create jobs and strengthen the nation’s middle class. He declared Republican ideas for reducing the deficit “even worse” than the unpalatable deals Washington had to stomach during his first term.