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And yes, all eyes will be on Ohio tonight, where the two Democratic contenders will debate, their last one-on-one face-off before the next batch of Democratic primary contests, March 4th, in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont. Here's NPR's Mara Liasson with more.
MARA LIASSON: Tonight's debate sponsored by MSNBC gives Hillary Clinton one last chance to stop Barack Obama's momentum. Even her husband Bill Clinton has said she must win both the big primaries next week, Ohio and Texas, in order to stay in the race for the Democratic nomination. And although she's ahead in the polls in both states, Obama has been making inroads with key voting groups Clinton used to own - less affluent white Democrat, Hispanics and union members. Tonight, Clinton might repeat some of the attacks she made in the foreign policy speak yesterday, when she went after Obama in the area her camping considers his greatest weakness. Without mentioning his name, she suggested he was not ready to be commander-in-chief because his approach to foreign policy was reckless and naive.
MARTIN: NPR's Mara Liasson reporting.
And the Iraq war will no doubt come up tonight in the debate. Meanwhile today, the full Senate will take up the war for the first time in more than two months. Votes are planned there on two war-related amendments sponsored by Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold. Here's more from NPR's David Welna.
DAVID WELNA: For more than two months, there's been no real Senate debate on the Iraq war. And as the U.S. death toll there nears 4,000, Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold says it's time to take another look at the war. Feingold and majority leader Harry Reid are cosponsoring a bill cutting off most funding for the Iraq war 120 days after enactment. Similar measures they offered four times last year were all defeated. The same fate likely awaits this bill.
Another bill sponsored by the same two Democrats is also up for a vote. It would require that President Bush send Congress a report within 60 day outlining the United States global strategy to defeat al-Qaida and its affiliates. With the Iraq war reaching its 5th anniversary next month, Feingold says the real threat to the U.S. is not in Iraq, but rather in the Afghanistan-Pakistan boarder region.
MARTIN: NPR'S David Welna.
And troubles continue to mount for baseball star pitcher Roger Clemens. According to the New York Times, a congressional committee is starting to mount a criminal investigation into whether Clemens committed perjury during his testimony earlier this month about performance-enhancing dug use. The House committee on oversight and government reform sent a draft letter to the justice department asking for an investigation. During a February 13th hearing, personal trainer Brian McNamee repeated allegations that he injected with steroids and human growth hormone, and Clemens repeated his denials.
Visa announced yesterday it will move forward with what would be the largest initial public stock offering in U.S. history. The IPO is expected to raise up to nearly $19 billion. If it works, analysts say it could be an encouraging sign to stock markets and may even help loosen up credit markets. Visa plans to sell 406 million shares for up to $42 a share. The company is following footsteps of smaller rival MasterCard, which went public in May 2006. More details on what the Visa IPO means coming up on this show.
And both Visa and MasterCard have done well in the past few years, as consumers increasingly offer plastic in the wake of the credit crunch. According to a new public policy institute firm Demos - a study by them - consumers have racked up more than a trillion dollars in purchases and cash advances on credit cards in just the last year. And the overall credit card debt grew by 315 percent from 1989 to 2006.
That's the news, and it is always online at npr.org.
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