Obama accuses Romney of running from his own record as aides promise changes for next debate
DENVER (AP) -- Buoyed by a powerful debate showing, Mitt Romney said Thursday he offers "prosperity that comes through freedom" to a country struggling to shed a weak economy. President Barack Obama accused the former Massachusetts governor of running from his own record in pursuit of political power.
Both men unleashed new attack ads in the battleground states in a race with little more than a month to run, Obama suggesting Romney couldn't be trusted with the presidency, and the Republican accusing the president of backing a large tax increase on the middle class.
The debate reached 67.2 million viewers, an increase of 28 percent over the first debate in the 2008 presidential campaign. The measurement and information company Nielsen said Thursday that 11 networks provided live coverage of the debate.
Romney said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday night that had he been asked during their debate about his "47 percent" remarks that caused a stir when they cropped up last month, he would have acknowledged that he had been "just completely wrong." It was a turnabout from his early defense of the remarks -- he had called them "not elegantly stated" -- in which he disparaged the nearly half of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes. He had said they see themselves as victims and are unwilling to take responsibility for their lives.
"Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney told Fox News. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong. And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that's been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent."
In turnaround, Romney backs off '47 percent' remarks, calls them 'just completely wrong'
FISHERSVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has described his disparaging remarks about the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes as "not elegantly stated." Now he's calling them "just completely wrong."
The original remarks, secretly recorded during a fundraiser in May and posted online in September by the magazine Mother Jones, sparked intense criticism of Romney and provided fodder to those who portray him as an out-of-touch millionaire oblivious to the lives of average Americans. The remarks became a staple of Obama campaign criticism.
Initially, Romney defended his view, telling reporters at a news conference shortly after the video was posted that his remarks were "not elegantly stated" and that they were spoken "off the cuff." He didn't disavow them, however, and later adopted as a response when the remarks were raised that his campaign supports "the 100 percent in America."
In an interview Thursday night with Fox News, Romney was asked what he would have said had the "47 percent" comments come up during his debate in Denver on Wednesday night with President Barack Obama.
"Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney said. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."
10 Things to Know for Friday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:
1. SEARCH IS ON FOR MENINGITIS VICTIMS
Clinics, medical centers around the U.S. rush to contact perhaps thousands of patients who may have received tainted injections for back pain.
Obama campaign concedes need for 'adjustments' in debate strategy, attacks Romney as dishonest
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- His performance panned, President Barack Obama is changing his debate strategy against Republican Mitt Romney, aides conceding the president must find a crisper way to sell his agenda and counter his opponent without getting lost in the weeds.
The heart of Obama's new message with less than five weeks to go: Romney is a liar.
Expect that theme -- expressed in softer terms from the president than from his aides -- to drive Obama's advertising and messaging for days. Wednesday night's debate showed Obama was rusty, rambling and cautious, but his aides insist he emerged with a real opening to target Romney's assertions.
"Gov. Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth," Obama declared in his first post-debate appearance, a Thursday rally in Denver. He displayed an energy that was conspicuously absent in the debate.
The new line of argument is based on the Obama campaign's contention that Romney, while sharp and commanding on the debate stage, delivered a series of statements that don't stand up to factual scrutiny. They singled out Romney's positions on tax cuts, education and outsourcing as misleading to the middle class.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, at risk in meningitis outbreak; 5 dead, 17,000 vials recalled
NEW YORK (AP) -- The potential scope of the meningitis outbreak that has killed at least five people widened dramatically Thursday as health officials warned that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of patients who got steroid back injections in 23 states could be at risk.
Clinics and medical centers rushed to contact patients who may have received the apparently fungus-contaminated shots. And the Food and Drug Administration urged doctors not to use any products at all from the Massachusetts pharmacy that supplied the suspect steroid solution.
It is not clear how many patients received tainted injections, or even whether everyone who got one will get sick.
So far, 35 people in six states -- Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana -- have contracted fungal meningitis, and five of them have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All had received steroid shots for back pain, a highly common treatment.
In an alarming indication the outbreak could get a lot bigger, Massachusetts health officials said the pharmacy involved, the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., has recalled three lots consisting of a total of 17,676 single-dose vials of the steroid, preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate.
Nearly 3 dozen states fail to meet conditions of federal law to track sex offenders
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Nearly three dozen states have failed to meet conditions of a 2006 federal law that requires them to join a nationwide program to track sex offenders, including five states that have completely given up on the effort because of persistent doubts about how it works and how much it costs.
The states, including some of the nation's largest, stand to lose millions of dollars in government grants for law enforcement, but some have concluded that honoring the law would be far more expensive than simply living without the money.
"The requirements would have been a huge expense," said Doris Smith, who oversees grant programs at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Lawmakers weren't willing to spend that much, even though the state will lose $226,000.
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, named after a boy kidnapped from a Florida mall and killed in 1981, was supposed to create a uniform system for registering and tracking sex offenders that would link all 50 states, plus U.S. territories and tribal lands. When President George W. Bush signed it into law, many states quickly realized they would have to overhaul their sex offender registration systems to comply.
Some lawmakers determined that the program would cost more to implement than to ignore. Others resisted the burden it placed on offenders, especially certain juveniles who would have to be registered for life. In Arizona, for instance, offenders convicted as juveniles can petition for removal after rehabilitation.
Installation of new San Francisco archbishop attracts gay rights demonstrators
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Amid heavy security and the splendor of his faith's most sacred rites, the new Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco assumed office Thursday without referring to the distress his appointment has aroused in this gay-friendly city, but offering self-deprecating jokes about his recent drunken driving arrest.
Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, wearing gold and red robes with a matching miter, told an audience of more than 2,000 invited guests at his installation mass that he was grateful for the messages of support he had received from people of different religious and political viewpoints following the Aug. 25 arrest in his home town of San Diego.
"I know in my life God has always had a way of putting me in my place. I would say, though, that in the latest episode of my life God has outdone himself," Cordileone said with a chuckle as he delivered his first homily as archbishop.
The 56-year-old priest, the second-youngest U.S. archbishop, went on to say he did not know "if it's theologically correct to say God has a way of making himself known in this way," and asked for the indulgence of other high-ranking church leaders in the audience.
The connection, he said, was that the compassion he was shown "in the wake of the regrettable mistake I made to drive after drinking" made him hopeful the Bay Area's Catholic community has the tools it needs to be part of a broader rebuilding of the church.
Panel recommends parole for former Manson follower after 40 years in California prison
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A former Charles Manson follower imprisoned for 40 years in a double murder engineered by Manson won a recommendation of parole Thursday in his 27th appearance before a parole board panel.
Bruce Davis, convicted with Manson and another man in the killings of a musician and a stuntman, was not involved in the infamous Sharon Tate murders in 1969.
The answer to his plea for freedom came on the eve of his 70th birthday. He was a young man of 30 when he was sentenced to life in prison in 1972 in a case that was a postscript to Manson's notorious reign as leader of the murderous communal cult known as the Manson family.
"While your behavior was atrocious, your crimes did occur 43 years ago," parole board member Jeff Ferguson told Davis, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Davis long maintained he was a bystander in the killings of the two men, but in recent years he has acknowledged his shared responsibility, and said Thursday he has "made remarkable progress in coming to terms with what I did."
Archaeologists say tomb likely of Maya queen discovered at ruins in northern Guatemala
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- The discovery of a tomb that experts believe might be that of a great Maya queen could redefine the understanding of women's political roles during the Classic Maya period, experts said Thursday.
A team of U.S. and Guatemalan experts led by anthropologist David Freidel found a stone jar at a burial chamber in northern Guatemala that led them to believe it is the burial site of Lady K'abel, considered the military governor of an ancient Maya city during the 7th century.
"Lady K'abel was buried 11 meters down from the surface in a temple near a stairway," Freidel said. "K'abel was not a regular person. To put her in that location means that it was important; it means that people continued to worship her after the fall of the dynasty."
The team working in the royal Maya city of El Peru-Waka also found other evidence, such as ceramic vessels, jade jewelry, thousands of obsidian blades and a large stone with carvings referring to Lady K'abel.
The alabaster jar showed the head and arm of an aged woman emerging from the opening and glyphs pointing to the name of the queen, Guatemala's cultural ministry said in a statement Thursday.
Rams sack Kevin Kolb 9 times, hand Cardinals first loss with 17-3 victory
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Even before Sam Bradford snapped out of it, the St. Louis Rams had enough points.
Their fast-improving defense saw to that.
Bradford busted a lengthy slump with a 52-yard touchdown pass to rookie Chris Givens for a two-TD cushion and Robert Quinn had three of the Rams' nine sacks on Kevin Kolb to keep the previously unbeaten Arizona Cardinals in check in a 17-3 victory Thursday night.
Arizona (4-1) scored at least 20 points in each of its first four games, but had no luck containing a pass rush that had totaled just six sacks on the year, and got stopped twice inside the 20 in the final minutes. The Rams also had a strong defensive game last week in a 19-13 victory over Seattle, also at home.
Lance Kendricks caught a 7-yard TD pass in the first quarter and Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Rams (3-2), who are 3-0 at home and ended Arizona's seven-game winning streak in St. Louis -- the Cardinals' home before leaving for the desert in 1988.