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Obama squeaks out Aug. fundraising win over Romney

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama squeaked out a fundraising victory over Mitt Romney in August as the candidates gear up for the final stretch of their closely contested campaign. Obama raised more than $114 million, while Romney topped $111 million, according to numbers the rival campaigns released Monday. It's the first time in four months that the Democrats have raised more than Republicans. It's also a sharp increase for the president, who raised $75 million in July.

US watchdog questions spending for Afghan army

WASHINGTON (AP) — The watchdog for U.S. spending in Afghanistan says lax accountability in a $1.1 billion program supplying fuel to the Afghan National Army needs "immediate attention" before control of the program is turned over to the Kabul government in less than four months. There's no proof the fuel is actually being used by Afghan security forces for their missions, meaning it's not known how much some fuel has been lost, stolen or diverted to the insurgency, according to a report released Monday by Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction John F. Sopko.

Fla. officer in Obama motorcade struck, killed

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A motorcycle police officer who was part of President Barack Obama's motorcade to a campaign event in Florida died Sunday after being struck by a pickup truck. Officer Bruce St. Laurent, 55, was a 20-year veteran of the Jupiter Police Department and one of several officers from agencies across Palm Beach County helping with security for the president's visit.

Obama vies for health care edge in Florida

BOSTON (AP) — Health care grabbed the spotlight Sunday with less than two months until Election Day in the deadlocked race. Mitt Romney said he would retain some popular parts of the new health care law he has pledged to repeal, while President Barack Obama focused attention in all-important Florida on the Republican ticket's stand on Medicare, an issue that's been more favorable to Democrats.

Obama gets a rise out of a Fla. supporter

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — If President Barack Obama was looking for a lift in Florida, he got one from Scott Van Duzer. The 46-year-old, six-foot-three Republican gave Obama a bear hug, raising him off the ground as Obama marveled at the man's strength — and enthusiasm.

Obama knocks Romney’s ‘bad math’ on tax plan

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama says Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan get a failing grade on explaining how they'd pay for trillions of dollars in tax cuts. The two Republicans were asked separately on different Sunday morning talk shows what loopholes they'd close to pay for their tax proposal but neither was willing to give specifics.

Romney says he likes parts of ‘Obamacare’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who promised early in his campaign to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, says he would keep several important parts of the overhaul. "Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place," he said in an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." ''One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage."

Obama hits Romney with new Medicare study

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama is drawing fresh attention to Medicare in all-important Florida, seizing on an election-year issue that's been more favorable to Democrats. Campaigning for a second day in a state where older voters and workers approaching retirement hold sway, Obama was expected to highlight a study by a Democratic leaning group that concluded that on average a man or woman retiring at age 65 in 2023 would have to pay $59,500 more for health care over the length of their retirement under Mitt Romney's plan.

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.