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Clinton irks blacks by aiding Emanuel

CHICAGO (AP) -- Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Chicago today to campaign for mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel, but his visit is the cause of some controversy.

While the former White House chief of staff hopes Clinton can persuade voters to cast their ballots for him Feb. 22, a former mayoral contender has warned that Clinton is risking his popular standing with the African-American community by backing Emanuel rather than a black candidate.

Clinton and Emanuel are scheduled to appear this morning at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Emanuel is among about a dozen names on the mayoral ballot. Three of his rivals -- former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, former schools president Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle -- have emphasized their deep city roots while claiming Emanuel is more of a Washington insider. Braun has the support of many black leaders in the city.

Emanuel worked for Clinton during the 1990s, first as a top campaign staffer and then as a senior adviser.

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Only 35% in poll see better race relations

WASHINGTON -- Despite high public expectations that the Obama presidency would improve race relations, barely more than a third of Americans now say his tenure has made things better in this area, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Overall, 35 percent say President Obama has helped race relations, down from 58 percent who, in January 2009, expected them to improve as a result of the country's having its first black president. And blacks and whites continue to have starkly different assessments about how African-Americans are faring in the United States when it comes to the racial equality championed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Almost half of whites say that blacks have achieved racial parity, up significantly since Obama's inauguration two years ago. By contrast, views among African-Americans have barely budged since Obama took office: Just 19 percent of blacks see a level playing field.

The telephone poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday among a random national sample of 1,053 adults.

-- Washington Post

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First Peace Corps chief in critical condition

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) -- R. Sargent Shriver, former Peace Corps director and vice presidential nominee, was in critical condition Monday in a hospital, a family spokeswoman said.

Shriver, 95, was admitted Sunday to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, the family said in an e-mail statement. No details were released. Shriver announced in 2003 that he had Alzheimer's disease.

He served as the first Peace Corps director in the administration of his brother-in-law, President John F. Kennedy. He also was Democrat George McGovern's running mate in 1972.

Shriver's wife, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died in 2009 at age 88. He is also the father of former NBC reporter Maria Shriver, who is married to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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