No more days: Obama, Romney fight on into the night at the end of long presidential campaign
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The White House the prize, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney raced through a final full day of campaigning on Monday through Ohio and other battleground states holding the keys to victory in a tight race. Both promised brighter days ahead for a nation still struggling with a sluggish economy and high joblessness.
"Our work is not done yet," Obama told a cheering crowd of nearly 20,000 in chilly Madison, Wis., imploring his audience to give him another four years.
Romney projected optimism as he neared the end of his six-year quest for the presidency. "If you believe we can do better. If you believe America should be on a better course. If you're tired of being tired ... then I ask you to vote for real change," he said in a Virginia suburb of the nation's capital. With many of the late polls in key states tilting slightly against him, he decided to campaign on Election Day in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he and Republicans made a big, late push.
The presidency aside, there are 33 Senate seats on the ballot Tuesday, and according to one Republican official, a growing sense of resignation among his party's rank and file that Democrats will hold their majority.
The situation was reversed in the House, where Democrats made no claims they were on the verge of victory in pursuit of the 25 seats they need to gain control.
Where will housing be found for Sandy's victims? Authorities grapple with monumental problem
NEW YORK (AP) — Government leaders are turning their attention to the next crisis unfolding in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy: finding housing for potentially tens of thousands of people left homeless.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has already dispensed close to $200 million in emergency housing assistance and has put 34,000 people in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area up in hotels and motels.
But local, state and federal officials have yet to lay out a specific, comprehensive plan for finding them long-term places to live, even as cold weather sets in. And given the scarcity and high cost of housing in the metropolitan area and the lack of open space, it could prove a monumental undertaking.
For example, can enough vacant apartments be found? Will the task involve huge, Hurricane Katrina-style encampments of trailer homes? And if so, where will authorities put the trailers? In stadiums? Parks?
Authorities cannot answers those questions yet.
10 Things to Know for Tuesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and stories that will be talked about on Tuesday:
1. PRESIDENTIAL POLLS PREDICT A VIRTUAL TIE
In dash to the finish, Obama and Romney make their appeals to an ever-smaller universe of undecided voters.
AP sports writer's account of living through Sandy's harrowing destruction on Staten Island
NEW YORK (AP) — I was the first to cry.
Not my wife. Not our three kids.
I was standing in our pitch-black basement as water streamed through the broken windows like a waterfall. A bathtub drain gurgled, the slimy sewage quickly pooling in an ominous mess. Just eight weeks after we'd bought our dream house — three bedrooms, big kitchen, pool, white fence and a finished basement — Superstorm Sandy was ripping it apart with a fury that was hard to comprehend, along with the rest of our Staten Island neighborhood.
EDITOR'S NOTE — AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak and his family had moved into their Staten Island 'dream house' just weeks before Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the New York City borough. These are his recollections a week after the storm hit and upended life for Waszak, his wife and their three children.
Analysis: Vote offers Americans a basic choice about government's proper role in their lives
WASHINGTON (AP) — Suspense over the too-close-to-call presidential race has partly obscured the fact that Americans on Tuesday will choose between two dramatically different visions of government's proper role in our lives. The philosophical gulf between the two nominees is wide, even if the vote totals may be razor-thin.
With record numbers of people on food stamps and other assistance, President Barack Obama emphasizes "we're all in this together" — code for sweeping government involvement. His campaign theme song is "We Take Care of Our Own." Romney wants smaller government, including fewer regulations — rejecting Obama's contention that they're needed after the meltdowns in financial and mortgage markets and a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. His theme song is the individualist anthem, "(I Was) Born Free."
For all their philosophical differences, neither man has hit Americans between the eyes with the painful truth of what it will take to tame deficit spending, driven by the public's demand for low taxes and high services.
This year's voters are unlikely to make big changes in Congress. After dramatic swings in the past three congressional elections, and ongoing assessments of the tea party's influence, power may not end up shifting on Capitol Hill for a while. The fiercely divided Congress may continue to block major presidential initiatives, regardless of who's in the White House, unless there's the type of bipartisan breakthrough that has proven elusive.
An Obama win presumably would keep the government roughly on its current course. Congressional Republicans would be unable to rescind his biggest domestic achievement, "Obamacare," which eventually will require everyone to have health insurance.
House Republicans, Senate Democrats: Americans face prospect of status quo Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — A barrage of negative ads, more than $2 billion in spending and endless campaign stops all come down to this: Americans likely will elect a Congress as divided as the one they've been ranting about for two years.
In Tuesday's voting, Republicans are poised to hold the 435-seat House, with Democrats expected to gain a small handful of seats at best from roughly 60 competitive races but fall well short of the net 25 needed for the majority. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is poised to wield the gavel again.
Senate Democrats are likely to maintain their narrow advantage as two Republican candidates' clumsy comments about rape and abortion could cost the GOP Indiana and dampens its prospects of winning Missouri — two major roadblocks in the Republican path to the majority.
Republicans hoped the math would work in their favor — Democrats are defending 23 seats, the GOP 10 — but solid Democratic recruits and the close presidential race, added to the GOP candidate stumbles may ensure that Nevada Sen. Harry Reid remains majority leader.
"That's extremely frustrating for what everyone thought was a Republican advantage," Ron Bonjean, a Republican consultant and former top Capitol Hill aide, said of the developments in Indiana and Missouri.
Syrian chaos deepens as rebel rivals fight at border crossing, Palestinians clash in Damascus
BEIRUT (AP) — New chaos engulfed Syria's civil war as Palestinian supporters and opponents of the embattled regime were swept up Monday in intense fighting in Damascus, while rival rebel groups clashed over control of a Turkish border crossing.
The rare infighting — accompanied by car bombs, airstrikes and artillery shells that killed or maimed dozens of people — heightened fears that if Syrian President Bashar Assad falls, the disparate factions battling the regime will turn on each other.
A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near an army checkpoint in Hama province, killing 50 soldiers in one of the deadliest single attacks targeting pro-Assad troops in the 19-month uprising, according to activists. Eleven civilians died when a bomb exploded in a central Damascus neighborhood, state media said, and activists reported at least 20 rebels killed in air raid on the northern town of Harem.
"It's the worst-case scenario many feared in Syria," said Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics. "It's an all-out war."
The fighting in the capital of Damascus was some of the worst since July, when rebels took over several neighborhoods, only to be bombed out by regime forces days later. Shortly after those battles, rebels moved on Syria's largest city, Aleppo, and it has become a major front in the civil war since then.
UN imposes sanctions on Pakistan-based Haqqani Network and its chief of suicide operations
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. committee that oversees sanctions against the Taliban imposed global sanctions Monday on the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, a fierce militant group considered a major threat to U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, and its "chief of suicide operations."
The Taliban sanctions committee ordered all 193 U.N. member states to freeze the assets and institute an arms embargo against the Haqqani network, saying the group is linked to al-Qaida and other militant organizations and is responsible for suicide attacks and targeted assassination as well as kidnappings in Kabul and Afghan provinces.
The committee also ordered an asset freeze, arms embargo and travel ban against Afghan-born Abdul Rauf Zakir, also known as Qari Zakir, who it said oversees training of suicide attackers and provides instructions on how to construct improvised explosive devices.
The Security Council committee described him as "chief of suicide operations for the Haqqani Network" under its leader, Sirajuddin Jallaloudine Haqqani, "and in charge of all operations in Kabul, Takhar, Kunduz and Baghlan provinces."
The United States earlier Monday also imposed financial sanctions against Zakir and labeled him a global terrorist.
Prosecutor: US soldier charged in Afghan massacre had victims' blood on his face, clothes
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — The caped figure on the surveillance video came running out of the darkness to the edge of a remote Army outpost in southern Afghanistan. Blood was smeared on his face, prosecutors said, and soaked into his clothes.
Less than a mile away, 16 Afghans, including nine children, were dead, some of their bodies on fire in two villages.
As fellow soldiers stopped him at the base's gate, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was incredulous, prosecutors said. Then, as he was taken into custody, Bales said, "I thought I was doing the right thing."
The details, from a prosecutor as well as Bales' comrades, emerged Monday as a preliminary hearing in his case opened, offering the clearest picture yet of one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The March 11 attack prompted the U.S. to halt combat operations for days in the face of protests, and it was a month before military investigators could reach the crime scenes.
Saints jump ahead of Eagles 21-3 on Robinson's 99-yard interception return, Brees TD pass
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Patrick Robinson returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown, Drew Brees extended his touchdown pass record to 51 consecutive games and the New Orleans Saints built a 21-3 halftime lead over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.
Chris Ivory, playing for the first time this year, scored for the Saints on a 22-yard run.
In a matchup of struggling teams, the Eagles moved the ball effectively in the early going and looked to strike first after Bryce Brown broke off a 40-yard run to the New Orleans 5. After losing 1 yard on a run, the Eagles went to the air looking for the touchdown.
Instead, it was the Saints who scored. Michael Vick's pass went off the hands of tight end Brent Celek — right into the arms of Robinson, the right cornerback. He took off down the sideline in front of the shell-shocked Philadelphia bench, tying Darren Sharper's record for the longest interception return in New Orleans history.
Vick was the only guy who had a chance at Robinson, but he instead took a low shot at Saints safety Roman Harper, who was setting up to deliver a block for his teammate. That sparked a brief scuffle while Robinson celebrated. Vick was flagged for a personal foul, though it didn't really matter.