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The price is almost right

WASHINGTON -- Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards may not know how much milk costs in New Mexico, but he has a handle on prices at his local grocery.

Edwards has promoted himself as a down-to-earth candidate who can relate to the struggles of working families.

Broadcaster Don Imus put Edwards to the test yesterday, quizzing the North Carolina senator on the costs of a gallon of milk and six-pack of beer in Albuquerque.

''You were just in Albuquerque; do you know?" Imus asked.

Edwards sidestepped the ale question, saying: ''I haven't bought a six-pack of beer in years, so I don't know."

He was more confident about milk. ''I know about what it costs," he said. ''I think a half-gallon of milk costs about $2.30, $2.40. Is that right?"

A half gallon of whole milk, not name-brand, is $2.29 at the Safeway grocery store in Edwards's upscale Georgetown neighborhood in Washington. It is $2.09 at Smith's Food & Drug Centers in Albuquerque.

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