Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Published:

Obama says he had 'a bad night' in first debate; Romney pledges not to raise taxes on anyone

SIDNEY, Ohio (AP) -- President Barack Obama conceded Wednesday he did poorly in a debate last week that fueled a comeback by his rival in the race for the White House. Mitt Romney barnstormed battleground Ohio and pledged "I'm not going to raise taxes on anyone" in a new commercial.

A perennial campaign issue flared unexpectedly as Romney reaffirmed he is running as a "pro-life candidate and I'll be a pro-life president." He spoke one day after saying in an interview he was not aware of any abortion-related legislation that would become part of his agenda if he wins the White House.

Romney and Obama maneuvered in a race with 27 days to run as Vice President Joe Biden and Republican running mate Paul Ryan looked ahead to their only debate, set for Thursday night in Danville, Ky.

Whatever the impact of the Biden-Ryan encounter, last week's presidential debate boosted Romney in the polls nationally and in Ohio and other battleground states, to the point that Obama was still struggling to explain a performance even his aides and supporters say was subpar.

"Gov. Romney had a good night. I had a bad night. It's not the first time I've had a bad night," Obama said in an ABC interview.

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Panetta says US sending military forces to Jordan in case of Syrian escalation

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The United States has sent troops to Jordan to bolster its military capabilities in the event Syria's civil war escalates, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday, reflecting U.S. concerns about the conflict spilling over allies' borders and about the security of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.

Speaking at a NATO conference of defense ministers, Panetta said the U.S. has been working with Jordan to monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria and also to help Jordan deal with refugees pouring over the border from Syria.

About 150 U.S. troops, largely Army special operations forces, are working out of a military center near Amman, two senior defense officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the mission. The troops have moved back and forth to the Syrian border as part of their work, which is joint planning and intelligence gathering, one official said.

The revelation of U.S. military personnel so close to the 19-month-old Syrian conflict suggests an escalation in the U.S. involvement in the conflict, even as the Obama administration pushes back on any suggestion of a direct intervention in Syria.

News of the U.S. mission to Jordan also follows several days of shelling between Turkey and Syria, an indication that the civil war could become a regional conflict. One of the U.S. defense officials said the extra planning is aimed at avoiding those kinds of clashes between Jordan and Syria.

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10 Things to Know for Thursday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:

1. VP CANDIDATES TAKE CENTER STAGE

Untested debater Ryan has been studying up on Biden, who has been sparring over public policy for years.

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Republicans hammer State officials on Libya attack, insist Benghazi security was inadequate

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Four weeks before the election, Republicans used a politically charged House hearing to confront State Department officials about security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya and assail the Obama administration's early response to the killing of the ambassador and three other Americans there.

GOP lawmakers refused to accept the department's explanation Wednesday that protection judged adequate for the threat was overwhelmed by an unprecedented assault in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

They also rejected Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy's explanation that officials were relying on the best intelligence available in characterizing the attack afterward as stemming from a protest over an anti-Islam Internet video rather than a deliberate, planned act of terrorism.

A top State official acknowledged she had declined to approve more U.S. security as violence in Benghazi spiked, saying the department wanted to train Libyans to protect the consulate.

"I made the best decisions I could with the information I had," said Charlene R. Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary for diplomatic security.

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Mother of American killed in Libya asks Romney to stop using her son in his 'political agenda'

SIDNEY, Ohio (AP) -- The mother of a former Navy SEAL killed in Libya has called on Mitt Romney to stop talking about her son during his political campaign.

A spokesman for the Republican presidential candidate says Romney will respect her wishes.

Romney in recent days has been telling voters of chance encounter with the former SEAL, Glen Doherty, at a Christmas party two or three years ago. Doherty was among four Americans killed in the attacks in Benghazi.

Romney told the story of his chance encounter with Doherty at least twice in the last two days as part of a larger push to show a more personal side and criticize President Barack Obama's foreign policy. Romney, like other Republicans, have repeatedly raised questions about the president's handling of the Sept. 11 attack.

Indeed, the Benghazi terrorist strike that left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens dead was a centerpiece of Romney's high-profile foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute earlier in the week.

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A day to get married, buy a lottery ticket, hold a debate? 10-11-12 is appealing date to some

NEW YORK (AP) -- So what are you doing on Thursday?

Not you, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan -- we already know you're a little busy with that debate thing. But others may be marking, in some way, the fact that Thursday is a special day, numerically speaking: It's 10-11-12.

Nice, but how significant? Those who study numbers say, well, not too much. Or perhaps it's better to say that it's as significant as you want it to be.

Significant enough to influence your wedding date? At one wedding chapel in Las Vegas, Forever Grand at the MGM Resorts, there's a special numerology package, including a chapel, a pianist, a minister, and a limo to the courthouse, among other things. (And if you're just finding out about this, it isn't too late: There's another special at Forever Grand for 12-12-12.)

The date 10-11-12 has proven not nearly as popular as last year's 11-11-11, when there were 22 weddings at the chapel, says manager Glynnis Sherwood. Nine weddings are booked for Thursday, almost certainly because of the date, she says, adding: "Of course, the biggest was 07-07-07, when we had 62."

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Friend describes deadly buttocks-enlargement surgery at Pa. hotel; judge upholds murder charge

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A Philadelphia woman known as "the Black Madam" performed deadly cosmetic surgery on a London dancer in an airport hotel room, then used Krazy Glue to close the wounds and fled when the client went into respiratory distress, a witness testified Wednesday.

A judge upheld a third-degree murder charge against Padge Gordon after the victim's friend testified about getting silicone injections to enlarge their buttocks in February 2011.

Theresa Gyamfi testified that Gordon gave them the injections in their room at the Hampton Inn and left when 20-year-old Claudia Aderotimi started having trouble breathing. The Londoners had no contact information for the woman they'd met through an intermediary online and knew only as "Lillian."

Gyamfi, 22, said they had had the same procedure done by Gordon at the hotel months earlier and had no problems. They then came back for a "touch-up." But Aderotimi had trouble breathing almost immediately after the second procedure, Gyamfi said. Aderotimi died at a hospital hours later.

Gordon, who remains in jail on $750,000 bond, looked down at the defense table when Gyamfi described learning of her friend's death and viewing the body at the hospital.

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End of the line: Returnable Coca-Cola bottle has final run in Minnesota

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's the end of an era for Coca-Cola lovers, as the last 6.5-ounce returnable, glass bottle rolls off the production line.

A small Coke bottler in Minnesota says it's stopping production of the bottles, which customers could return to get back a 20-cent deposit. The company in Winona, Minn., had been refilling the returnable bottles since 1932 but said it no longer makes business sense to continue doing so.

LeRoy Telstad, the bottler's vice president and general manager, says the last run for refilling the bottles was Tuesday.

The Coca-Cola Co, based in Atlanta, notes that its 8-ounce glass bottles are still widely available across the country. Those recyclable bottles are nearly identical to the smaller 6.5-ounce bottles. They have less glass but hold more cola.

The glass bottles that were refilled in Winona, Minn. had a very limited footprint, distributed in only four counties.

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Batting for A-Rod, Ibanez homers twice, lifts Yanks over Orioles 3-2 in 12th for 2-1 ALDS lead

NEW YORK (AP) -- Raul Ibanez lined a tying home run while pinch hitting for slumping Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning, then hit a leadoff homer in the 12th, giving the New York Yankees a stunning 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night for a 2-1 lead in their AL division series.

Batting for baseball's highest-paid player, Ibanez homered to right-center with one out in the ninth inning off major league saves leader Jim Johnson to make it 2-all. He connected on the first pitch from Brian Matusz in the 12th.

Ibanez became the first player to homer twice in a postseason game in which he didn't start, STATS LLC said.

Phil Hughes will try to clinch it for the Yankees on Thursday night in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Joe Saunders will start for Baltimore.

Baltimore had won 16 straight extra-inning games, and had been 76-0 when leading after seven, before the Yankees stung them.

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USADA: Armstrong doping 'most sophisticated' in cycling, 11 ex-teammates testify against him

Lance Armstrong said he wanted to see the names of his accusers. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency gave him 26, including 11 former teammates.

The world's most famous cyclist said he wanted to see the hard evidence that he was a doper. The agency gave him that, too: About 200 pages filled with vivid details -- from the hotel rooms riders transformed into makeshift blood-transfusion centers to the way Armstrong's former wife rolled cortisone pills into foil and handed them out to all the cyclists.

In all, a USADA report released Wednesday gives the most detailed, unflinching portrayal yet of Armstrong as a man who, day after day, week after week, year after year, spared no expense -- financially, emotionally or physically -- to win the seven Tour de France titles that the anti-doping agency has ordered taken away.

It presents as matter-of-fact reality that winning and doping went hand-in-hand in cycling and that Armstrong was the focal point of a big operation, running teams that were the best at getting it done without getting caught. Armstrong won the Tour as leader of the U.S. Postal Service team from 1999-2004 and again in 2005 with the Discovery Channel as the primary sponsor.

USADA said the path Armstrong chose to pursue his goals "ran far outside the rules."