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Obama out to renew magic; Romney hits defense cuts

SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) — Eager to change the subject after a dismal jobs report, President Barack Obama tried to rekindle some of the enthusiasm of his 2008 campaign Saturday with a bus tour through a must-win swath of Florida, urging supporters not to "buy into the cynicism that somehow the change we fought for isn't possible." Republican candidate Mitt Romney faulted both his own party in Congress and Obama for exposing the armed forces to huge spending cuts. Obama, speaking to a crowd of 11,000 at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College, gave Floridians a populist plea not to "turn away now."

Obama out to rekindle 2008 magic; Romney hits jobs

SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) — Eager to change the subject after a dismal jobs report, President Barack Obama tried to rekindle some of the enthusiasm of his 2008 campaign Saturday with a bus tour through a must-win swath of Florida, urging supporters not to "buy into the cynicism that somehow the change we fought for isn't possible." Republican Mitt Romney wasn't about to stop hammering Obama over the weak economy, though, as the two sides jostled over who can best salve the anxieties of the middle class. Obama, speaking to a crowd of 11,000 at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College, gave Floridians a populist plea not to "turn away now."

Obama, Romney open the homestretch

SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama on Saturday pronounced Republicans "dead wrong" for calling America a country in decline, offering a rebuttal to the "naysayers" who drew attention to the nation's staggering debt and anemic job growth. Republican rival Mitt Romney said there's nothing wrong that a new president can't fix. Both clawed for advantage in a post-convention push through some of the most closely contested states, Obama on a Florida bus tour, Romney rallying in Virginia, opening the homestretch to the election in less than two months.

In Florida, Obama says US not a nation in decline

SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama on Saturday pronounced Republicans "dead wrong" in calling America a country in decline, offering a rebuttal to the "naysayers" who drew attention to the nation's staggering debt and anemic job growth. Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney clawed for advantage in a post-convention push through some of the most closely contested states that marked the opening of the homestretch of the tight race.

Fall’s must-see political TV: Obama-Romney debates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Finally, the fall season offers the matchup sure to attract the biggest audience of the campaign: President Barack Obama goes one-on-one with Republican rival Mitt Romney in three prime-time debates. Typically the top political draw in the final sprint to Election Day, the debates assume outsized importance this year with the race a dead heat. The two polished candidates will have their sound bites and rhetoric down cold so any slip or inadvertent move — like President George H.W. Bush's exasperated glance at his watch or Democrat Al Gore's repeated sighing — could roil the campaign for days and linger in voters' mind until Nov. 6.

Terror takes back seat; Americans safer now

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Americans debate whether they are better off now than they were four years ago, there is another question with a somewhat easier answer: Are you safer now than you were when President Barack Obama took office? By most measures, the answer is yes.

As Obama, Romney look for an edge, jobless intrude

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney, their contest defined anew by joblessness, are seeking to frame the campaign on their own terms. Romney was concentrating on the economy while Obama sought to play to his strengths, with top aides all but daring their challenger to engage in a debate over Medicare. Obama was kicking off a two-day bus tour in Florida on Saturday, campaigning in a state with the highest elderly population and an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, higher than the national average. Romney was on his way to high-stakes Virginia, where low unemployment and a Republican governor serve to make his case for change.

Ryan: Don’t interfere with legalized medical pot

DENVER (AP) — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says the federal government shouldn't interfere with states that have legalized medical marijuana. The Wisconsin congressman tells KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that he personally doesn't approve of medical marijuana laws. But he says that states should have the right to choose whether to legalize the drug for medical purposes.

Gloomy jobs report shadows race with 60 days left

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A dismal new snapshot of jobs in America shadowed the presidential campaign on Friday, testing the voter patience that will save or sink President Barack Obama's re-election bid. Seizing on the timing, Republican Mitt Romney said Obama's convention party had given way to quite a "hangover." Employers added just 96,000 jobs in August, not nearly enough to seriously dent unemployment, let alone inspire confidence that the economy is getting better. Even the good news — the unemployment rate dropped from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent — resulted from many job-hunters just giving up.

Ryan says Obama ‘really bad’ at creating jobs

SPARKS, Nev. (AP) — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says President Barack Obama isn't a bad guy — he's just "really bad" at creating jobs. The Wisconsin congressman campaigned in the Reno area of Nevada Friday, the same day the Labor Department released new evidence of a painfully slow economic recovery. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, but only because more people gave up looking for work.

Eastwood talks about convention chat with chair

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clint Eastwood said the idea to use an empty seat as a prop at the Republican National Convention was a spur-of-the-moment decision when someone backstage asked if he wanted to sit down. In his first interview since his Aug. 30 appearance at the convention to pledge support for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Eastwood told the Carmel Pine Cone that his speech was not only unscripted, it was pretty much spontaneous.

3 days are enough: Are 2-day conventions next?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Message to convention planners: Three days are enough. Both major parties packed their presidential nominating conventions into 72 hours, one day short of the traditional four-day celebration — prompting few complaints from either delegates or the viewing public.

Romney, Obama in battle for working-class whites

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney are working feverishly for an increasingly smaller but crucial slice of the electorate — white, working-class voters. These clock-punching voters — from Iowa's tiny manufacturing cities to Virginia coal country to pockets of Ohio reliant on the auto industry — are considered the potential tipping point in battleground states that will decide the winner on Nov. 6. These voters are also critical to turning less competitive states such as Michigan into suddenly swing states in the final stretch.

No jail time for Obama ‘HOPE’ poster artist in NY

NEW YORK (AP) — The artist who created the "HOPE" poster that came to symbolize Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign was ordered to do 300 hours of community service Friday for a criminal contempt conviction but was spared jail time. Shepard Fairey, 42, of Los Angeles nodded his head several times and said "OK" as U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas told him he must commit no crimes during two years of probation and must pay a $25,000 fine to the U.S. government.

Weak job growth makes bold Fed action more likely

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs in August, a tepid figure that points to the economy's persistent weakness and slowing prospects for the unemployed. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July. But that was only because more people gave up looking for jobs. People out of work are counted as unemployed only if they're looking for a job.

Obama gets grim job news; Romney pounces on it

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — His convention over, President Barack Obama ran smack into the harsh reality of a bleak new report on the nation's unemployment outlook Friday. Republican rival Mitt Romney pounced on the jobs figures as fresh evidence that it's time to put someone new in the Oval Office. "We're going in the wrong direction," the GOP nominee said flatly.

3 days is enough: Are 2-day conventions next?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Message to convention planners: Three days are enough. Both major parties packed their presidential nominating conventions into 72 hours, one day short of the traditional four-day celebration — prompting few complaints from either delegates or the public.

Convention over, Obama hit with weak job report

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — His convention over, President Barack Obama ran smack into the harsh reality of a bleak new report on the nation's unemployment outlook Friday. Republican rival Mitt Romney pounced on the disappointing jobs figures as fresh evidence that it's time to put someone new in the Oval Office. The candidates both campaign in New Hampshire and Iowa, improbable battleground states in the too-close-to-call race. Their campaigning is sure to be dominated by the new Labor Department report showing that U.S. employers added just 96,000 jobs last month, failing to meet expectations.

US economy adds 96K jobs, rate falls to 8.1 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs last month, a weak figure that could slow the momentum President Barack Obama hoped to gain from his speech Thursday night to the Democratic National Convention. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July. But that was only because more people gave up looking for jobs. People who are out of work are counted as unemployed only if they're looking for a job.

White House adviser: Signs of economic improvement

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers says the latest jobs report offers signs of an improving economy. But he acknowledges more work needs to be done. In a statement, Alan Krueger notes that 103,000 jobs were added in the private sector in the last month for the 30th straight month. He pointed to improvement in particular for the leisure, business services and health care sectors.