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It's the Economy ...

"Home sales continued to decline last month, and the nation's median home price dropped for the first time in more than a decade...  If their homes are worth less, consumers may feel less wealthy and therefore spend less on goods and services, a worrisome trend for the broader economy," says the Wall Street Journal.   

President Bush touted his tax cuts at a tool manufacturing plant in Cincinnati yesterday, reviving his argument that the tax cuts have boosted the economy and tying them to the health of small businesses.  "Some have advocated that we ought to raise taxes on individuals, which would take money out of the pockets of this company.  If you take money out of the treasury of this company it means it's less likely somebody is going to find work...  You hear people say, well, we're not going to extend the tax cuts -- that means they're going to raise taxes on the small business, just like this one.  And it's bad economic policy and it will be bad for our country."

Democrats counter today with a press conference at which they'll denounce "the Republican Congress's plan to raise taxes on middle-class families across America by failing to renew important tax extenders," per the release.  Attending the event: Senate Finance ranking member Max Baucus, House Ways and Means ranking member Charlie Rangel, and Senate and House campaign committee chairs Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel.

Also yesterday, White House spokesperson Tony Snow sought to poke holes in allegations that the Administration is manipulating gas prices so that they'll be low right before election day.  "The one thing I have been amused by is the attempt by some people to say that the President has been rigging gas prices, which would give him the kind of magisterial clout unknown to any other human being.  It also raises the question, if we're dropping gas prices now, why on earth did we raise them to $3.50 before?"

"Almost half of Americans believe the plunge at the pump has more to do with politics and the November elections, than economics," says USA Today based on new Gallup data, and "almost two-thirds of those who suspect President Bush intervened to bring down energy prices before Election Day are registered Democrats."