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> DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Huntsman is open to vice presidential run

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman says he'd be open to running as vice president if rival and tea party favorite Michele Bachmann wins the nomination.

The former ambassador to China and ex-Utah governor said that every time he's been asked to serve his country he's answered "yes."

Huntsman told CNN interviewer Piers Morgan Monday night that if asked by the Minnesota congresswoman to run as her vice president he'd "be the first person to sign up, absolutely."

Huntsman tried quickly to backtrack, saying the answer was based on a hypothetical question and that he has no doubt he'll win the GOP nomination.

On Sunday, Huntsman ridiculed Bachmann for claiming she could bring gasoline prices below $2 if elected president.

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> NEW HAMPSHIRE

Space pioneer's letter could sell for $80,000

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Alan Shepard wrote his parents 52 years ago, telling them about the possibility that he could be asked to pilot America's first mission into space.

But before letting them in on the big news, he offered pleasantries and discussed how much he liked his renovated house and was looking forward to an upcoming wedding.

"Thanks so much for your recent note, Daddy," Shepard started the letter that's up for auction next month.

Shepard, who in 1961 became the first American in space, began talking about the space program in the fourth paragraph.

"Basically, 100 of the country's top pilots have been selected to go to Washington to be briefed on the plans for putting a man in space some time during 1961," Shepard wrote. "We are being given a chance to volunteer for or reject the opportunity after the briefing."

RR Auction of Amherst, N.H., said the rare handwritten letter written in ink is being auctioned next month by a California collector and expects it to sell for as much as $80,000.

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> ALASKA

Woman allegedly hurt child to get TV spot

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- An Alaska woman has been convicted of misdemeanor child abuse after squirting hot sauce into the mouth of her adopted Russian son as punishment in what prosecutors said was a calculated move to get on the "Dr. Phil" TV show.

The jury returned its verdict Tuesday in the case of Jessica Beagley, 36, of Anchorage.

In closing arguments, prosecutor Cynthia Franklin said Beagley recorded the punishment for a segment of the show titled "Mommy Confessions."

Beagley's lawyer William Ingaldson countered that she made the video and went on the show because she was desperate to find help for her son, a Russian orphan with some behavioral problems.

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