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MCCAIN WILL GET 'JOE THE PLUMBER' VOTE

COLUMBUS, OHIO

Joe the Plumber endorsed Republican John McCain for president on Tuesday. Samuel Wurzelbacher gained national attention when Obama told him during a campaign stop that he wanted to "spread the wealth around." Their exchange about Obama's tax plan aired countless times on cable news programs, and McCain repeatedly cited Joe the Plumber in their third and final debate and again at campaign events. In a McCain rally at a flag store, Wurzelbacher said he feared that Obama would turn the United States into a socialist nation.

NORTH CAROLINA

Fears arise over ballot shortcoming

Election watchdogs fear that a long-standing feature of ballots in North Carolina could lead thousands of straight-party voters to mistakenly fail to vote for president and possibly produce a replay of the postelection battle in Florida eight years ago. North Carolina ballots allow voters to cast a straight-party ticket - Democrat, Republican or Libertarian - by checking a single box, but state law requires voters to separately mark their choice for president. Election watchdogs fear hurried voters might see the straight-ticket option first and assume it includes a vote for president.

WASHINGTON

GOP borrowsfor Senate races

The Republican National Committee is taking out a $5-million line of credit to help Senate Republican incumbents who are facing re-election difficulties. The national party committee plans to give $2-million directly to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the final days before the Nov. 4 elections, party officials said Tuesday.

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