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Foreign crisis could be bad news for Romney

With protests at U.S. embassies and four Americans dead, Mitt Romney is suddenly facing a presidential election focused on a foreign policy crisis he gambled wouldn’t happen. But it did happen — and at a bad time for the GOP hopeful. Momentum in the race is on President Barack Obama’s side and Republicans are fretting over the state of their nominee’s campaign. To shift the trajectory, Romney’s plan boils down to this: Spend big money on TV and work harder. It’s unclear how long this bout of Middle East unrest will last, and the Republican’s aides concede that the former
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Obama widens poll lead but Mideast crisis hovers as wild card

President Barack Obama is pulling away from rival Mitt Romney in polls in what might be a turning point in the U.S. presidential campaign, but volatility in the Middle East is allowing Republicans to cast the Democrat as weak on foreign policy and could threaten his momentum. In the latest survey to show Obama ahead, a Reuters/Ipsos online poll on Thursday gave the Democrat a 7 percentage point lead, 48 percent to 41 percent, among likely voters. Survey aggregator Real Clear Politics’ average of national polls gives Obama a 3.3-point advantage while Gallup’s seven-day tracking poll of registered voters has
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Congress will take the easy route on budget and go home

America’s do-nothing Congress took the path of least resistance is voting in a six-month stopgap spending bill that keeps the government running but does nothing to deal with the many financial problems the nation is facing. The stopgap measure is a resounding defeat for tea party Republicans since the extension is at least $19 billion above the spending plan of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP nominee for vice president. “Noone had the stomach to face the tough issues so it’s vote in an extension and go home to campaign for re-election,” veteran Congressional staff member John Isaacs told Capitol
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McCain calls Obama’s foreign policy ‘feckless’ at best

Sen. John McCain, who lost to  President Barack Obama four years ago, is accusing his formal rival of pursuing “a feckless foreign policy” that compromises American influence around the world. Speaking on NBC’s “Today,” McCain said: “I’d like to see the president of the United States speak up once for the 20,000 people that are being massacred in Syria.” McCain said the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was fresh evidence of “a belief in the Middle East that the United States is withdrawing” from the world. He also noted that Obama administration’s response to unrest in Libya
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Romney nails Obama for wimp-like response to diplomatic mission attacks

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized the Obama administration in the wake of attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya on Tuesday, branding as “disgraceful” an early response to the assault in Cairo and saying it sympathized with the attackers. The assaults were linked to a video being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian in the U.S. Protesters say the video posted on the Internet, a 14-minute trailer for a movie, attacks Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to replace the American flag with an Islamic banner. In the Libyan
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With 9/11 reflections over, campaign hyperbole returns

Reflection over Sept. 11 quickly past, the race for the White House is returning to fierce form, with negative ads free to fly again and the candidates spreading out from Florida to Ohio to Nevada. In a campaign speech and a new TV ad, President Barack Obama was accusing Republican nominee Mitt Romney of failing to explain how he would pay for trillions of dollars in tax cuts. Eying the possible electoral paths to victory, both campaigns are jockeying more in Wisconsin, a state that has long swung to Democrats in presidential elections. Romney, in the midst of a campaign
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Biker babes and bear hugs: Ah, the campaign trail

Barack Obama goes airborne in a doozy of a bear hug with a pizza guy in Florida. Joe Biden cozies up with a biker chick in Ohio. Paul Ryan encircles a campaign supporter in North Carolina in a double-armed embrace. Even the more reserved Mitt Romney seems to be loosening up some with people he meets on the campaign trail. Kissing babies and slapping backs are so yesterday. The 2012 candidates are putting their all into the campaign cliche of pressing the flesh. “America’s become more touchy-feely,” says Lillian Glass, a body language expert based in Los Angeles. “That’s what
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Biden gets friendly with biker chick

Vice President Joe Biden got cozy with a biker chick who nuzzled up to  him during an impromptu campaign stop in Ohio Sunday. And Associated Press photographer Carolyn Kaster was there to capture the moment. A biker club called the Shadowmen were at the Cruisers Diner in Seaman Ohio.  Biden walked in, approached a trio of two bikers guys and a female rider and asked if they would let him borrow one of their Harleys. “Can I borrow one of your bikes?  They don’t let me ride anymore,” Biden said. Replied Jeff Cook:  “Probably not.” “Yeah,” Biden responded.  “Probably not.”
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Does racism drive anger over Obama?

Is it because he’s black? The question of whether race fuels opposition to President Barack Obama has become one of the most divisive topics of the election. It is sowing anger and frustration among conservatives who are labeled racist simply for opposing Obama’s policies and liberals who see no other explanation for such deep dislike of the president. It is an accusation almost impossible to prove, yet it remains inseparable from the African-American experience. The idea, which seemed to die in 2008 when Obama became the first black president, is now rearing its head from college campuses to cable TV
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Can Congress accomplish anything in short, pre-election session?

When lawmakers return to Washington on Monday, they face big issues, including taxes, spending cuts and the prospect of a debilitating “fiscal cliff” in January. Yet Congress is expected to do what it often does best: punt problems to the future. With Election Day less than two months away, their focus seems to be on the bare minimum — preventing a government shutdown when the budget year ends Sept. 30. Democrats controlling the Senate and their House GOP rivals also will also try to set up votes intended to score political points or paint the other side with an unflattering
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