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In the Nation

Obama speech to focus on deficit

President Obama will use his State of the Union address next month to focus on the nation's deficit, the White House said.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president's advisers were looking through the recommendations from Obama's deficit commission, though he did not say which proposals the president supports. The commission's report calls for cuts to entitlement programs and for raising the Social Security retirement age.

Gibbs, during a question-and-answer session on Twitter, said Obama would deliver his annual address to Congress in late January, after the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao, who will visit the White House on Jan. 19.

Also Thursday, an administration official told Bloomberg News that Obama would delay the release of his fiscal 2012 budget proposal by about a week, until after Feb. 14, because of delays in Senate confirmation of budget director Jacob J. Lew and in congressional approval of government spending measures. - AP

Pew: Many texted about elections

NEW YORK - If you voted this fall, there's a good chance you were texting about it.

Twenty-six percent of adult Americans used their cell phones to encourage others to vote in the Nov. 2 midterm elections or to report back on conditions at their local voting sites, among other political activities, according to a survey issued Thursday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

In particular, 14 percent said they used their phones to tell others that they voted, while 12 percent used them to receive election updates. An additional 1 percent used an election-themed app to stay posted.

The survey of 2,257 U.S. adults, including 1,918 cell phone users, found that men and women were about equally likely to use their phones to send political messages. Pew also said its respondents voted equally for Democratic and Republican candidates. - AP

Purse in Fla. case gets $13K on eBay

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - The purse that a Florida school board member used last week to smack a man who was holding other board members at gunpoint has sold for more than $13,000 in an auction.

The Brahmin purse that Ginger Littleton used Dec. 14 in an unsuccessful attempt to disarm gunman Clay Duke after sneaking up on him sold Wednesday on eBay, authorities said. The buyer lives in Alexandria, Va., and asked to remain anonymous.

The purse manufacturer, based in Fairhaven, Mass., said it would match the bid. That means the charity founded by Mike Jones, the security guard who shot and wounded Duke before he killed himself, will get a total of $26,200 from the sale. The purse originally sold for $345. - AP


Republican Joe Miller plans to decide Monday whether to continue his legal challenge in Alaska's U.S. Senate race or stand back and let his GOP rival, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who leads after a write-in campaign, take office.

Splash, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's dog and star of a 2006 children's book about Capitol Hill, has died. Kennedy's widow, Vicki, announced his death in an e-mail Thursday. She called the 13-year-old Portuguese water dog "a world-class fetcher of tennis balls and a meeter and greeter of presidents, senators, congressmen, and even foreign dignitaries."