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Presidential race rumbles into final 4 weeks

By Ben Feller and Steve Peoples

Associated Press


LOS ANGELES » Rumbling into its final four weeks, the presidential campaign is playing out on both coasts and multiple fronts, with Republican Mitt Romney seeking stature on foreign affairs and President Barack Obama raising political cash by the millions.

Negative ads, charges of dishonesty and dwindling time are all setting the tone.

Joining celebrities for fundraising in Los Angeles on Sunday, Obama for the first time needled himself over a poor debate performance. But he declared he had the right focus and "I intend to win."

Romney was in Virginia, trying to bury the memories of his fumbled trip abroad this summer and knock Obama back on national security. "Hope is not a strategy," he said in excerpts of a speech today at the Virginia Military Institute.

The campaigns already had eyes on the next debate, the sole faceoff between Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, which will grab attention as the Thursday night showdown nears. The election hangs as ever on persuadable voters in fewer than 10 states, with Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Florida all set for candidate visits this week.

In an election-year display of incumbent's power, Obama today was declaring a national monument at the home of Latino labor leader Cesar Chavez, the United Farmworkers Union founder who died in 1993. Sure to appeal Hispanic voters in swing states, Obama's move comes at the start of a day in which he will later raise political cash at events in San Francisco.

Romney was after the bigger stage of the day.

His foreign policy speech seeks to send tough signals on Iran and Syria and portray Obama as weak for his administration's changing explanation for the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

"We're not going to be lectured by someone who has been an unmitigated disaster on foreign policy," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Voters give Obama higher marks than Romney on questions of national security and crisis response, and world affairs in general are a distant priority compared with economic woes, polling shows. Romney, though, is seeking to broaden his explanation about how he would serve as commander in chief.

After polls recently suggested Obama had narrow leads in several swing states, the Romney campaign says the race is tightening following his strong performance in last week's debate. To help maintain his momentum, Romney has tweaked his message over the last week, highlighting his compassionate side and centrist political positions.

Beyond his speech, Romney has a Virginia rally scheduled for today, then events in Iowa and Ohio later in the week.

Obama displayed a little self-deprecation Sunday night to account for his own showing in last Wednesday's debate.

Taking to the Nokia Theatre stage after some musical stars performed, Obama said the entertainers seemed to have flawless nights all the time.

"I can't always say the same," he said. Everyone in the crowd of thousands seemed to get the joke.

Later in the Los Angeles evening, with actor George Clooney among those attending at $25,000-per-person fundraising dinner, Obama reminded donors that Wednesday's debate had fallen on his 20th wedding anniversary. "There was some speculation as to whether this had an impact on my performance," he said to laughter.

Obama also used that occasion to say he still had his focus on the people he is hired to help as president. Obama said he was reminded of the point by the waiter who spoke to him when he took his wife to dinner over the weekend. After serving the Obamas, the waiter thanked the president for a health care law he said saved his mother's life after she sustained a stroke.

Summarizing his case against Romney, Obama said, "Nothing that my opponent offers will create more jobs, reduce our deficit, grow our middle class, improve our education system, improve our environment or make us safer around the world."

He gave thanks for the help to the wealthy crowd but added, "We're not finished yet and I'm a big believer in closing the deal."

After his California cash rush, Obama was spending Tuesday in Ohio and was expected to campaign in Florida later in the week. He was then to hunker down over the weekend for another round of debate preparation. His second debate against Romney is set for Oct. 16 in New York.

Since the first debate, the Obama campaign has settled on a line of criticism that Romney is dishonest with voters; the Romney camp has returned fire.

Romney, campaigning in up-for-grabs Florida on Sunday, sought to build on the momentum from a debate performance that even Democrats conceded was "masterful." He told a crowd of about 12,000 that he had exposed Obama's shortcomings.

"And next January," he said, "we'll be watching him leave the White House for the last time."

Peoples reported from Lexington, Va. Associated Press writer Kasie Hunt in Washington contributed to this story.

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hauula1 wrote:
Thanks Star Advertiser for the nice free campaign article for Obama
on October 8,2012 | 05:30AM
EightOEight wrote:
Hey, crybaby, Romney was also mentioned several times in the article. What's your problem?
on October 8,2012 | 10:42AM
ufried wrote:
on October 8,2012 | 11:45AM
ufried wrote:
on October 8,2012 | 11:46AM
MoonBeam98103 wrote:
**On the USA presidential campaign trail: Major foreign policy address: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney [GOP candidate nominee for USA president] (notes) Setting site: Virginia Military Institute [nation’s oldest military officer candidate training school] at Lexington, Virginia Speech date: Monday, October 8, 2012 [approximately less than 1 month from USA General Election for USA president of the United States scheduled for November 6, 2012] Time: Live telecast speech (CNN-TV, Oceanic 14): 5:46 am HST/11:46 am ET **proposes aggressive hawkish stance on U.S. foreign policy (rhetoric image) **criticism of Obama White House track record of actual results outcomes **proposes accelerated U.S. Navy military vessel construction, naval fleet build up **proposes 2% minimum GNP spending for military spending by NATO nation partners **Iran U.S. foreign policy: criticism of Obama actual results outcomes track record: weak on confronting Iran nuclear weapons development of WMDs/Weapons of Mass Destruction (perceived threat to USA national security) **China U.S. foreign policy: criticism of Obama actual results outcomes track record: weak on China military buildup & modernization [accelerated double digit expansion of military spending] (perceived threat to USA national security) **’21st Century needs to be an American Century’ (USA global domination) **Romney approach: only major departure from current U.S. foreign policy under Obama White House: Syria rebels need to be armed with heavier weapons (possibly thru USA allies/surrogates/proxies/USA client states) [recent disclosure in USA national news coverage that USA allies (under current Obama White House) have just begun to arm Syria rebels with light weapons & money for logistics without USA direct intervention that is obvious] **continuation of current USA foreign policy: internationalist approach (v. USA isolationist approach) since FDR (President Franklin Roosevelt) **proposes USA internationalist approach (v. U.S. isolationism approach) to phenomena of ‘Arab Spring’ political unrest **overall: Mitt Romney’s general U.S. foreign policy approach: nearly identical to Bush 2 (Obama’s predecessor) & Obama White House (status quo results track record outcomes) **Mitt Romney has no actual U.S. foreign policy outcomes results track record, and his actual approach seems to be embryonic & in early formative development stage. Yet, he is critical (rhetoric stance) of Obama White House track record effectiveness. **Obama’s U.S. foreign policy: moderate Republican U.S. foreign policy approach style (status quo), similar to George W. Bush White House (predecessor Bush 2 administration) **U.S. House committee recent report: concern over reported China telecom industry participation in USA domestic telecom market (perceived national security threat) (source: post televised speech analysis by CNN-TV news anchor immediately following oral presentation; Oceanic 14)
on October 10,2012 | 02:50AM
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