RI's 5 things to know: The president and a former president visit the state, campaigns heat up

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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — The president and a former president visit the state, a new ad about a future construction project shows other construction work and a letter with copied wording becomes an issue in the Providence mayor's race. Here are five things to know in Rhode Island:

PRESIDENTIAL VISITS

President Barack Obama was the headliner for a fundraiser in Newport to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the House. The price of a ticket ranged from $15,000 to more than $32,000. Former President Bill Clinton was also in Rhode Island. He spoke at a rally for Democratic treasurer candidate Seth Magaziner at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The candidate is the son of Ira Magaziner, a former policy adviser with the Clinton administration.

CONSTRUCTION 'B-ROLL'

A new television ad for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras suggesting work is underway on a project at the South Street Power Station shows something different — construction on another, completely unrelated project. The Providence mayor stands on-site and says the vacant building will "soon" be a $200 million nursing school. But the project hasn't yet begun. The yard by the former power plant is a staging area for construction projects elsewhere. A campaign spokeswoman says the ad isn't misleading. Rather, she says, the images shot at the site were stock video footage, commonly called B-roll.

LETTER LANGUAGE

Providence mayoral hopeful Jorge Elorza is blaming an ex-adviser for copying language from another elected official and using it in a letter to voters explaining a shoplifting arrest nearly 20 years ago. City Council President Michael Solomon, Elorza's opponent in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, accused Elorza of plagiarism and suggested he's unfit to be mayor. Elorza said he didn't know the language was borrowed when he approved the letter's release. Independent candidate Buddy Cianci, the former mayor, said, "Everybody has things in their backgrounds that are problematic." He was twice forced from office after felony convictions and served prison time.

A HEATED DEBATE

With the primary nearing, Rhode Island's Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls are going on the offense. Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras were testy with each other in a debate at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Newcomer Clay Pell tried to gain the upper hand by saying he would attack problems, not individuals, and he forcefully defended his resume. The two Republican candidates, businessman Ken Block and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, have sparred since their first televised debate, while the earlier Democratic debates were far more tepid. The candidates will square off again in several other debates scheduled for next week.

GOOD NEWS FOR THE ECONOMY

The state's top labor official says the improving national economy is finally spurring job growth and pushing the unemployment rate down in Rhode Island. Department of Labor and Training Director Charles J. Fogarty said Rhode Island is late to benefit from the national trends because it was hit particularly hard by the housing market crash and decline of manufacturing. The state is nearing prerecession employment levels, and its unemployment rate is no longer the nation's highest.

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