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Berman and Sherman tout their focus on local issues

Rep. Howard Berman crouched on a Sherman Oaks baseball field on a recent Saturday, striking a pose with two 4-year-old boys who had not yet had a chance to break in their uniforms.

A few miles away, Rep. Brad Sherman clutched a boxed American flag that had flown over the nation’s Capitol, to give to the players and parents gathered in Woodland Hills for the start of Little League season.

The opening-day ceremonies were a far cry from the weighty matters that typically occupy the veteran Democratic congressmen: Iran’s nuclear program, the staggering national debt, anxiety about the economy. But as the statesmen and onetime allies fight for the same San Fernando Valley seat — and perhaps for their political lives — they overlook few opportunities to live the adage that all politics is local.

Their particular challenge in this nationally watched contest is to distinguish themselves from one another. Both men have spent much of their adult lives in elected office, have millions in their campaign treasuries and hold similar views on many national and world issues. In Washington, they voted alike in support of the 2010 healthcare overhaul, the revamp of financial regulations the same year and the 2009 economic stimulus.


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-- Jean Merl and Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times