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Sen. Barack Obama's campaign has approached Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel about possibly serving as White House chief of staff, Democratic officials said Thursday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to be quoted by name.

Emanuel is a veteran of President Clinton's White House, and has made a rapid ascent of the House leadership ladder since his election to Congress.

He was chairman of the Democratic campaign committee two years ago when the party won a majority for the first time in more than a decade, and he cemented his reputation as a prodigious fundraiser and strong-willed political strategist.

Associated Press

Republican Carl Mumpower finally met Democratic U.S. Rep.Heath Shuler for a debate, and he used the meeting to attack the congressman's voting record.

The two candidates for the 11th Congressional District seat faced each other during a two-hour on-air debate held Thursday at an Asheville radio station.

Mumpower, an Asheville city councilman, repeatedly tried to link Shuler to the Democratic Party and to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, suggesting that Shuler “talks one way at home and votes the other way in Washington.”

Shuler countered that he votes with the district on important issues and is one of the most independent members of Congress.

Associated Press
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