GOP Expands Political Playing Field As Dems Slip

WASHINGTON -- Republicans are on offense in scores of House and Senate races as economic woes and lukewarm support for President Barack Obama continue to weaken Democrats' hold on Congress.

With six months before the November midterm elections, the president and his party are determined to minimize their losses.

But Democrats privately acknowledge the economy and support for Obama must improve if they're to avoid defeats that could cost them control of the House and possibly the Senate.

Observers will be looking at several early contests -- including Tuesday's primaries in Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina -- for an indicator of the nation's political mood.

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