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Saturday, May 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
WASHINGTON Unemployment fell last month in 11 of 17 battleground states, with Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin showing the biggest declines.
Jobless rates increased in four of the states: Arizona, Arkansas, Ohio and Washington. Rates in New Mexico and Pennsylvania were unchanged.
Overall, unemployment rates were lower in 29 states, higher in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and unchanged in seven states, the Labor Department said yesterday.
The latest figures could help boost the re-election efforts of President Bush, who is on track to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose jobs on his watch. Bush's economic team talked up the improving jobs numbers in appearances in Minnesota, Ohio and Florida yesterday.
Bush defends Iraq war at Louisiana State University
BATON ROUGE, La. President Bush yesterday defended the Iraq war, helped his party raise $2 million and shared life lessons with Louisiana State University graduates. "Choose your friends carefully," he told them.
The political overtones of Bush's visit were not lost on the commencement crowd.
As Bush received an honorary doctorate, a man shouted, "You're the man!"
Several audience members, however, remained seated when the crowd rose and applauded when Bush was introduced.
Bush later traveled to the New Orleans suburb of Metairie to join 250 people at a Republican Party fund-raiser.
NEW YORK The first anti-war protest of the season in anticipation of this summer's Republican National Convention ended yesterday morning with three arrests and a promise from protesters that there will be more demonstrations.
About 100 people showed up at Rockefeller Plaza to cheer on three protesters who laid down in front of traffic on Fifth Avenue.
The "die-in," promoted by organizer Jason Flores-Williams, lasted three minutes. The three were charged with disorderly conduct.
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