Romney barrels out of first debate on offense; Obama hammers at gaps in GOP rival's plans
DENVER (AP) — Little more than a month from Election Day, Republican Mitt Romney is barreling out of the first presidential debate energized by a solid performance that telegraphed his determination to take it to President Barack Obama with gusto. The president, intent on keeping his momentum from stalling, is warning Americans that his GOP rival's policy prescriptions for a fragile economy are more fantasy than reality.
Standing toe-to-toe with the president for the first time in the campaign, Romney held his own and more at a time when there already were signs that the race is tightening in some of the battleground states where Obama has enjoyed an advantage. Obama kept his cool and signaled that he won't let up on his message that Romney's plans on taxes, health care, the deficit and more just don't add up.
"It's fun," Romney declared well into Wednesday night's 90-minute faceoff, clearly relishing the back-and-forth.
"It's arithmetic," said Obama, hammering at Romney's conspicuous lack of details with far less enthusiasm.
After a few days of relative calm as the candidates prepared for the first of their three debates, the campaign now bursts out of Colorado in all directions, with an itinerary that touches down in some of the most hotly contested battleground states over the next few days: Obama campaigns in Colorado and Wisconsin, then on to Virginia and Ohio. Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are off to Virginia on Thursday, then Romney spends more time in Virginia before moving on to Florida. Vice President Joe Biden is bound for Iowa.
Analysis: In long-winded clash, Romney lives up to challenger label; Obama goes for measured
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney was fiery and having fun. President Barack Obama came off as the professor without much pop.
And while Democrats grudgingly conceded that Romney did well in Wednesday's debate, what matters is whether he changed the dynamic of a race that he appeared to be losing.
The best answers will come over the next few days: Did the debate help Romney close his polling deficit in a must-win state such as Ohio? Or take a polling lead in Florida, Virginia or the other toss-up states? Or deliver the kind of performance that translates into noticeable energy on the trail, a crisper message, more likelihood that the undecided voters out there will go with him?
In terms of instant conclusions, the judging is best done in view of what Obama and Romney set out to do.
By that measure, Romney may not have changed the game, but he sure played it well. Obama avoided any gaffes but looked surprisingly lackluster at times.
FACT CHECK: One-sided stories leave out inconvenient facts in first presidential debate
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney spun one-sided stories in their first presidential debate, not necessarily bogus, but not the whole truth.
They made some flat-out flubs, too. The rise in health insurance premiums has not been the slowest in 50 years, as Obama stated. Far from it. And there are not 23 million unemployed, as Romney asserted.
Here's a look at some of their claims and how they stack up with the facts:
OBAMA: "I've proposed a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan. ... The way we do it is $2.50 for every cut, we ask for $1 in additional revenue."
THE FACTS: In promising $4 trillion, Obama is already banking more than $2 trillion from legislation enacted along with Republicans last year that cut agency operating budgets and capped them for 10 years. He also claims more than $800 billion in war savings that would occur anyway. And he uses creative bookkeeping to hide spending on Medicare reimbursements to doctors. Take those "cuts" away and Obama's $2.50/$1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases shifts significantly more in the direction of tax increases.
Turkish resumes artillery strikes at Syrian targets; PM's aide says no intent of declaring war
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey fired on Syrian targets for a second day Thursday but said it has no intention of declaring war, despite tensions after deadly shelling from Syria killed five civilians in a Turkish border town.
Turkey's Parliament, meanwhile, began an emergency session to discuss a bill authorizing the military to launch cross border operations in Syria. If approved, the bill could more easily open the way to unilateral action by Turkey's armed forces inside Syria, without the involvement of its Western and Arab allies.
The cross-border tensions escalated on Wednesday after a shell fired from inside Syria landed on a home in the Turkish village of Akcakale, killing a woman, her three daughters and another woman, and wounding at least 10 others, according to Turkish media.
Turkish response was prompt. It fired salvos of artillery rounds deep inside Syria. The NATO military alliance, of which Turkey is a member, met at an emergency session in Brussels, condemned the attack on Turkey and demanded "the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally." It also urged the Syrian regime to "put an end to flagrant violations of international law."
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi, meanwhile, offered his "sincerest condolences on behalf of the Syrian government to the family of the deceased and the Turkish people."
Tigers' Miguel Cabrera 15th player to win Triple Crown, first since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Miguel Cabrera had just achieved baseball immortality, and everyone around him knew it.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland had tears welling in his eyes. General manager Dave Dombrowski kept trying to remind people to stop and enjoy the moment. Prince Fielder simply shook his head in disbelief at the history that had unfolded.
Less than an hour earlier, in the midst of Detroit's otherwise meaningless 1-0 victory over Kansas City, it had finally become official: Cabrera had won the Triple Crown.
"Everybody said to me it was unbelievable. They were all excited to see this, enjoy this, be a part of something big," he said, taking the rare feat in stride better than anyone.
Cabrera finished the regular-season hitting .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs, leading the American League in all three statistical categories, making him just the 15th player to achieve the Triple Crown and the first since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
AP PHOTOS: Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera makes Triple Crown history
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers became just the 15th player — and the first in 45 years — to win baseball's Triple Crown, joining an elite list that includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.
Cabrera topped the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in the major leagues since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Cabrera said Wednesday after the Tigers' 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals. "I can't describe the feeling right now."
Here are some images from Cabrera's historic night for the AL Central Division champions:
A phone away from home: Some NYC students pay private 'valets' a dollar a day
NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of teenagers who can't take their cellphones to school have another option, courtesy of a burgeoning industry of sorts in always-enterprising New York City: paying a dollar a day to leave it in a truck that's parked nearby.
Students might resent an expense that adds up to as much as $180 a year, but even so, leaving a phone at one of the trucks in the morning and then picking it up at the end of the day has become as routine for city teenagers as getting dressed and riding the morning-rush subway.
"Sometimes it's a hassle because not everyone can afford it," said Kelice Charles, a freshman at Gramercy Arts High School in Manhattan. "But then again, it's a living."
Cellphones and other devices, such as iPods and iPads, are banned in all New York City public schools, but the rule is widely ignored except in the 88 buildings that have metal detectors. Administrators at schools without detectors tell students, "If we don't see it, we don't know about it."
Schools where violence is considered a risk have metal detectors to spot weapons, but they also spot phones. They include the Washington Irving Educational Complex in the bustling Union Square area, a cluster of small high schools housed in a massive century-old building that used to be one big high school.
S. Korean software mogul seeks presidency, hoping to make his lack of experience an asset
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — As a bookish entrepreneur who made his fortune in software before turning to philanthropy, Ahn Cheol-soo has been called South Korea's Bill Gates. Now he's looking for a new title: Mr. President.
The political novice announced his candidacy last month, shaking up a campaign dominated by South Korea's two major political parties with a message of change that appeals to the nation's young and hopeful. The parties have rarely seen credible challengers from outside their ranks, but Ahn argues that having no experience may be better than "bad experience" at a time when South Korea is in need of new direction.
"Our lives can change only after our politics change," Ahn said as he announced his campaign at a nationally televised news conference. "I hope the people's wishes for new changes will be united by this election."
Ahn, 50, is the founder of South Korea's largest antivirus maker, AhnLab. He holds a medical Ph.D., boosted his profile with lectures and this summer became a bestselling author with a book detailing his thoughts on national issues.
Many surveys in recent years have found him to be one of the most respected living South Koreans, but many people are skeptical about his ability to govern a country of 50 million people that faces the ever-present threat of nuclear-armed North Korea on its doorstep.
Devout Israeli Jews adopt settler ethos, move to Arab-Jewish cities to cement Jewish presence
ACRE, Israel (AP) — Orthodox Jewish Israelis, the driving force of the West Bank settlement movement, have begun to turn their attention inward to Israel itself, moving into Arab areas of mixed cities in an attempt to cement the Jewish presence there.
Activists say that in recent years, several thousand devout Jews have pushed into rundown Arab areas of Jaffa, Lod, Ramle and Acre, hardscrabble cities divided between Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. Their arrival has threatened to disrupt fragile ethnic relations with construction of religious seminaries and housing developments marketed exclusively to Jews.
"Israel has to act as the state of its citizens," said Mohammad Darawshe, co-executive director of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, a nonprofit group that promotes co-existence between Jews and Arabs in Israel. "Ethnic preference is clearly inappropriate, violating the principles of democracy."
About 20 percent of Israel's citizens are Arabs. Most live in Arab towns and villages, with some notable exceptions, especially Haifa, the port city that is Israel's third-largest.
Before Israel's establishment in 1948, these mixed cities were populated by Arabs. Many fled or were expelled during the two-year war that followed Israel's creation. Arabs commemorate that as a "catastrophe."
Health officials warn of more cases of rare fungal meningitis; over 2 dozen sick, 4 dead
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Health officials are expecting to find more cases of a rare and deadly form of meningitis that has sickened more than two dozen people in five states. Four have died.
All received steroid injections, mostly for back pain, a fairly typical treatment.
The type of meningitis involved is not contagious like the more common forms. This type is caused by a fungus often found in leaf mold and which health officials suspect may have been in the steroid.
Eighteen of the cases are in Tennessee, where a Nashville clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid. The drug was made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts that issued a recall last week. Investigators, though, say they are still trying to confirm the source of the infection.
Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two in Maryland, two in Florida and one in North Carolina. Two of the deaths were in Tennessee, and Virginia and Maryland had one each, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.