Neck-and-neck at the end, Obama and Romney seek foreign policy edge in final campaign debate
WASHINGTON (AP) — Still neck-and-neck after all these months, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney head into their third and final debate with each man eager to project an aura of personal strength and leadership while raising doubts about the steadiness and foreign policy credentials of the other guy.
Each is aiming for a commanding performance Monday to settle the seesaw dynamics of the first two debates: Romney gave Obama an old-fashioned shellacking in the first round, and the chastened president rebounded in their second encounter.
The 90-minute faceoff at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., offers the candidates their last opportunity to stand one-on-one before tens of millions of Americans and command their undivided attention before next month’s election. Both candidates largely dropped out of sight and devoted their weekends to debate preparations, a sure sign of the high importance they attach to the event.
While the principals warm up for their evening debate in the battleground state of Florida, their running mates will be busy Monday seeking votes in two of the eight other states whose up-for-grabs electoral votes will determine the next president — Vice President Joe Biden in Ohio and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan in Colorado. Also still hotly contested: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Virginia.
It fell to campaign surrogates on Sunday talk shows to frame the foreign policy matters that moderator Bob Schieffer will put before the candidates in a discussion sure to reflect ‘‘how dangerous the world is in which we live,’’ as the CBS newsman put it. Iran’s nuclear intentions, the bloody crackdown in Syria, economic angst in Europe, security concerns in Afghanistan, China’s growing power — all that and more are on the agenda.
Analysis: Romney, Obama debate foreign policy amid tumult abroad
WASHINGTON (AP) — For months the one reliable constant for Barack Obama was the public’s approval of his handling of foreign policy and terrorism. Al-Qaida was on the run, he would say. The war in Iraq was over. Bin Laden was dead. Crowds cheered and national polls showed a majority in the country stood with him.
But with 15 days left before Election Day, the landscape has changed, and as Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney take their seats at their third, final and foreign-policy focused debate Monday evening in Boca Raton, Fla., the president will be facing headwinds from abroad instead of the breezes that once had been at his back.
Libya. Uncertainty in a post Arab Spring world. Iran’s nuclear intentions. U.S. casualties at the hands of Afghan security forces. Europe’s continued struggles with its economic and financial crisis. A conflagration in Syria. Amid these mounting challenges Obama will hear Romney charge him with exhibiting timid leadership.
At the same time, Romney, far less experienced on the international political scene, is seeking to close the deal with voters. He’ll use Monday’s debate to portray himself not only as an economic savior but as a plausible and stronger commander in chief. To that, Obama will warn that Romney represents the kind of foreign policy ‘‘that gets us into wars with no plan to get out.’’
The debate will pick up where the second debate left off — on the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The attack underscored the uncertainty that has engulfed parts of the Arab world in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings that Obama supported. Obama also faces difficult questions about his administration’s accounts in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack and over unheeded requests for additional security in Libya’s outposts.
Wis. gunman accused of killing 3, wounding 4 at salon where wife worked had history of abuse
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin man accused of opening fire at the salon where his wife worked, killing three women and wounding four others, had a history of domestic abuse, with allegations that he had slashed his wife’s tires a few weeks earlier, police said.
Radcliffe Franklin Haughton damaged his wife’s tires on Oct. 4, Brookfield police said. She sought court protection four days later, and a judge granted a four-year restraining order on Thursday. As part of the order, Haughton was prohibited from owning a firearm.
Brookfield Police Chief Dan Tushaus declined to elaborate on the circumstances of whether Haughton had surrendered any weapons prior to Sunday’s salon rampage. Tushaus also said he wasn’t immediately aware of a motive.
‘‘I can tell you we’re not seeking additional suspects,’’ he said at a news conference Sunday evening. ‘‘The community can feel safe.’’
The shootings set off a confusing, six-hour search for the gunman that locked down a nearby mall, a country club adjacent to the spa and the hospital where the survivors were taken. The search froze activity in a commercial area in Brookfield, a middle-to-upper class community west of Milwaukee, for much of the day. Ultimately, Haughton was found dead in the spa after killing himself.
Overnight clashes in Lebanon leave 2 dead, officials say
BEIRUT (AP) — Clashes in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon killed at least two people and left more than a dozen wounded overnight as fears grow that Syria’s civil war is spilling over into its smaller neighbor, security officials and state-run media said Monday.
The latest spasms of violence came amid rising tension between Lebanese groups that support and oppose the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and in the wake of the assassination last week of a top anti-Syrian intelligence official in Lebanon.
Most of Lebanon’s Sunnis have backed Syria’s mainly Sunni rebels, while Lebanese Shiites tend to back Assad. The Syrian president, like many who dominate his regime, is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Lebanese Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, who was killed in a car bomb in an east Beirut neighborhood on Friday, was a Sunni who challenged Syria and Hezbollah.
His assassination has threatened to shatter Lebanon’s fragile political balance. Many politicians have blamed Syria for the killing and angry protesters tried to storm the government palace after al-Hassan’s funeral Sunday but were pushed back by troops who opened fire in the air and fired tear gas.
Rock on: George McGovern’s candidacy a landmark for counterculture
NEW YORK (AP) — Abbie Hoffman sobbed that fateful night at the downtown Manhattan apartment of fellow activist Jerry Rubin. So did Rubin and Allen Ginsberg. John Lennon was drunk, and out of control, shouting ‘‘Up the Revolution!’’ in mock celebration of a dream defeated.
It was November 1972 and George McGovern had just been whipped in a landslide by Richard Nixon.
McGovern, who died Sunday at age 90, was the earnest son of a minister, raised on a South Dakota farm. He wasn’t a longhair and he wasn’t charismatic, not a man you’d expect to win the loyalty of rock stars or win the heart of Hoffman, the Yippie prankster who just four years earlier had suggested a pig should run for president and said what America needed was nonstop sex in the streets.
But the candidate’s steady liberal principles, and the timing of his run, made McGovern the first presidential nominee of a major political party to attract a broad and public following from the rebels who had come of age the decade before.
‘‘He was the first candidate I voted for,’’ says the activist and historian Todd Gitlin, who was in his late 20s at the time. ‘‘I think the support he got was a sign that the era of radical obstinacy was over.’’
Clintons visit Haiti to inaugurate controversial industrial park that seeks to develop north
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The Haitian government is hosting Hillary and Bill Clinton, a delegation of foreign investors and a crowd of celebrities Monday to showcase the marquee project of the U.S. aid effort since the 2010 earthquake.
It’s an industrial park, more than a hundred miles from the slowly recovering quake zone. The Clintons and their allies hope the $300 million facility will transform the northern part of this impoverished country by providing thousands of desperately needed jobs.
Some Haitians have a sharply different view. They say the Caracol Industrial Park does little more than replicate failed efforts from the past and contend it will benefit outsiders more than Haitians. They also worry it will harm some of the few pieces of undamaged environment that still exist in Haiti.
The star turnout for the opening — Sean Penn, who has run his own aid effort in Haiti, actor Ben Stiller and supermodel Petra Nemacova are among those expected to participate — speaks to an eagerness to show concrete results in a country where progress is hard to find amid stalled reconstruction projects.
‘‘It’s really all-in on this project, and there’s a high bar to deliver,’’ said Laurent Dubois, a historian who teaches at Duke University and is author of ‘’Haiti: The Aftershocks of History.’’ ‘‘It really needs to deliver in a big way so that people will think, yeah, this was the right thing to do.’’
Fidel Castro writes article criticizing health rumors
HAVANA (AP) — Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said he doesn’t even suffer from a headache in an article he published in state-media Monday criticizing those who spread rumors he was on his death bed.
The article is accompanied by photos taken by son Alex Castro that show the 86-year-old revolutionary icon standing outside near some trees wearing a checked shirt and cowboy hat, including one in which he is seen reading Friday’s copy of the Communist Party newspaper Granma.
‘‘I don’t even remember what a headache feels like,’’ Castro claims, adding that he was releasing the photos to show ‘‘how dishonest’’ the rumor mongers have been.
The article was published on the state-run Cubadebate Web site early Monday. It is the latest evidence the former Cuban president is alive and seemingly well after more than a week of intense speculation he was seriously ill.
Twitter and other social media sites have been abuzz with claims of Castro’s demise.
He accused Goldman of losing its moral compass — now he hopes to keep the conversation going
Greg Smith wrote the essay that echoed across Wall Street like a thunderclap.
Smith was a vice president at Goldman Sachs until March. He announced his departure from the investment bank with a blistering editorial in The New York Times, accusing Goldman of routinely deceiving clients and relentlessly pursuing profit at the expense of morality.
And he struck a nerve. The essay went viral in the financial world and beyond. Smith was praised for uncloaking corruption that was crying out to be addressed, and also derided as a disgruntled employee.
Goldman Sachs denies Smith’s allegations about deceiving clients. The bank says it took his concerns seriously, thoroughly investigated them, and found no evidence to support them.
Smith’s book, ‘‘Why I Left Goldman Sachs,’’ is being released Monday. It’s a window into a company that is notoriously tight-lipped, with stories about a swaggering place where interns arise for 5 a.m. meetings and business trips mean slapping down $150 for one person’s dinner.
Depleted Steelers overcome mistakes, rally to beat Bengals 24-17 for 1st road win
CINCINNATI (AP) — The top two running backs were gone. So were two offensive linemen. Safety Troy Polamalu was sitting on the bench along with all those other injured Steelers.
So, what exactly did Pittsburgh have left? A determined defense. Some reserve running backs. And Ben Roethlisberger.
That’s enough, especially in Cincinnati.
Roethlisberger threw for a touchdown, and Pittsburgh’s defense clamped down on the Bengals’ Dalton-to-Green connection for a 24-17 victory Sunday night that got the Steelers back into the thick of the AFC North race.
For the Steelers (3-3), it was a significant win under tough conditions. Their first road victory of the season moved them into second place behind Baltimore (5-2), which lost to Houston 43-13 earlier Sunday.
Ryan Vogelsong pitches Giants to 6-1 victory over Cardinals to force deciding Game 7 in NLCS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals sure have something about going down to final games this postseason.
So it’s fitting that the two previous World Series champions are playing a winner-take-all Game 7 for the chance to get back to baseball’s biggest stage.
Ryan Vogelsong struck out a career-best nine in another postseason gem in his biggest start yet, and San Francisco staved off elimination for the second straight game, handing St. Louis a 6-1 loss Sunday night to force the deciding game in the NL championship series on Monday.
San Francisco’s Matt Cain and St. Louis’ Kyle Lohse are set to pitch in a rematch of Game 3, won by the Cardinals. There’s a forecast of rain in the Bay Area during the day.
‘‘You’ve seen us the last couple years, it seems, unfortunately, we don’t win until we absolutely need to,’’ Lohse said. ‘‘So, it’s one of those things where we would love to have taken care of business the last two games. We haven’t. ... It’s time to get it done.’’