Posted: Oct 13, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2012 4:01 AM
With second face-off looming, Obama and Romney spend Sunday practicing for debate
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are each forgoing time on the campaign trail Sunday in favor of hours of intense debate preparation ahead of their next face-to-face meeting.
Obama, seeking to rebound from a widely panned performance at the first debate, was huddling with advisers at a sprawling riverfront resort in Williamsburg, Va. Romney retreated to his Boston-area home, where the Republican nominee was working to replicate his commanding turn on the debate stage.
The days devoted to debate preparations underscore just how important the next face-off, which falls exactly three weeks from Election Day, is to both campaigns. Millions of Americans are already casting their ballots through early voting, meaning there are few opportunities to recover from slip-ups in what remains an exceedingly close race.
Following a listless first debate, Obama was working with aides on more pointed and aggressive responses to Romney. The campaign's game plan is also to target Romney for what it sees as a willingness to shift his positions to make them more palatable for voters.
"Governor Romney has been making pitches all of his life," Obama spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said of the businessman-turned Republican nominee.
Do black people back Obama because he's black? Questions intensify in campaign's final weeks
Surviving slavery, segregation and discrimination has forged a special pride in African-Americans. Now some are saying this hard-earned pride has become prejudice in the form of blind loyalty to President Barack Obama.
Are black people supporting Obama mainly because he's black? If race is just one factor in blacks' support of Obama, does that make them racist? Can blacks' support for Obama be compared with white voters who may favor his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, because he's white?
These questions have long animated conservatives who are frustrated by claims that white people who oppose Obama's policies are racist. This week, when a black actress who tweeted an endorsement of Romney was subjected to a stream of abuse from other African-Americans, the politics of racial accusation came full circle once again.
Stacey Dash, who also has Mexican heritage, is best known for the 1995 film "Clueless" and the recent cable-TV drama "Single Ladies." On Twitter, she was called "jigaboo," ''traitor," ''house nigger" and worse after posting, "Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future."
The theme of the insults: A black woman would have to be stupid, subservient or both to choose a white Republican over the first black president.
Endeavour creeps across Los Angeles as trip to museum, retirement takes far longer than hoped
LOS ANGELES (AP) In thousands of Earth orbits, the space shuttle Endeavour traveled 123 million miles. But the last few miles of its final journey are proving hard to get through.
Endeavour's 12-mile crawl across Los Angeles to the California Science Museum hit repeated delays Saturday, leaving expectant crowds along city streets and at the destination slowly dwindling.
Officials estimated the shuttle, originally expected to finish the trip early Saturday evening, would not arrive until 6 a.m. PDT or later Sunday.
At times on Saturday it seemed the only thing moving was the shuttle's fast-changing ETA.
The day started off promising, with Endeavour 90 minutes ahead of schedule. But accumulated hurdles and hiccups caused it to run hours behind at day's end.
Andes Miracle survivors mark 40th anniversary of plane crash with rugby game in Chile
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) Surviving members of an Uruguayan rugby team have played a match postponed four decades ago when their plane crashed in the Andes, stranding them for 72 days in the cordillera and forcing them to eat human flesh to stay alive.
The Old Christians Club squared off Saturday in Santiago against the Old Grangonian Club, the former Chilean rugby team they were supposed to play back when their flight went down. Their terrifying story became the basis of a best-selling book and a Hollywood movie.
"At about this time we were falling in the Andes. Today, we're here to win a game," crash survivor Pedro Algorta, 61, said as he prepared to walk onto the playing field surrounded by the jagged mountains that trapped the group.
During the anniversary ceremony, military jets flew over the field, where parachutists draped in Chilean and Uruguayan flags landed. In a corner, survivors wept when officials unveiled a commemorative frame with pictures of those who died in the snowy peaks.
"The conditions were more horrifying than you can ever imagine. To live at 4,000 meters without any food," said survivor Eduardo Strauch, 65. "The only reason why we're here alive today is because we had the goal of returning home ... (Our loved ones) gave us life. They made the sacrifice for others."
Authorities: Missing U of New Hampshire student is dead; suspect charged, search ongoing
DOVER, N.H. (AP) An actor and martial arts instructor is charged in the death of a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student who disappeared last week, and the girl's family is pleading for her to be brought home.
Law enforcement officials believe Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, a marine biology major who volunteered at the New England Aquarium, is dead. The search for her body is continuing, Assistant Attorney General James Vara said Saturday.
Seth Mazzaglia, 29, of Dover, has been charged with second-degree murder.
"This is the worst parents nightmare, a missing child and with an unfavorable outcome,' Marriott's family said in a statement Saturday. The family asked for prayers for rescue personnel who are looking for their daughter, saying they need to "bring her home."
At a vigil for Marriott in her hometown of Westborough, Mass., on Saturday night, her father, Robert, choked back tears while speaking to the hundreds who had gathered.
Navy submarine, Aegis cruiser collide during routine operations; no injuries, damage unclear
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) The Pentagon said late Saturday that it is investigating why a Navy submarine collided with an Aegis cruiser off the East Coast.
The U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a news release that the submarine USS Montpelier and the Aegis cruiser USS San Jacinto collided at about 3:30 p.m. during routine operations. No one was injured, and the extent of any damage to the vessels was not clear Saturday evening, said Lt. Commander Brian Badura of the Fleet Forces Command.
"We have had circumstances where Navy vessels have collided at sea in the past, but they're fairly rare as to how often they do take place," Badura told The Associated Press.
Navy officials said the collision was under investigation, but declined to offer specifics on what happens next or on where the incident took place.
"If we do have an incident that does take place, there are folks that swing into action... to help us make a better, more conclusive explanation of exactly what happened," Badura said.
Weather remains favorable for the 23-mile-high supersonic skydive Sunday, meteorologist says
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) The weekend weather in New Mexico appears to be cooperating this time for a daredevil trying to become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier.
Meteorologist Don Day said the weather forecast remained favorable for former Austrian paratrooper Felix Baumgartner's jump, scheduled for early Sunday near Roswell, N.M.
Baumgartner will be prepared at sunrise to launch his 30 million cubic foot helium balloon to hoist a 3,000-pound capsule that will carry the jumper 23 miles up in the sky. The jump has already been canceled twice due to high winds, once damaging the balloon and forcing use of a backup for Sunday's planned launch.
Baumgartner will try to break a 1960 high-altitude parachuting record. He will also test a pressurized suit that is designed for stratospheric jumps.
He called Tuesday's postponement nerve-wracking but said Sunday's date is one already steeped in aviation history. On October 14, 1947, an experimental rocket plane Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the first time over Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Syrian official says gunmen open fire on workers' bus, killing 4
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) A Syrian official says gunmen have fired on a bus transporting workers to a blanket factory, killing four and wounding eight others.
He says the attack happened at the entrance of the central city of Homs on Sunday. No other details were immediately available.
He spoke anonymously as he was not authorized to make press statements.
Meanwhile, Syria's state news agency says a suicide bomber crashed an explosives-laden sedan into a coffee shop at a Damascus residential neighborhood, causing damage but no fatalities.
SANA says the explosion took place at dawn on the capital's Masseh highway.
Fed Chairman Bernanke defends moves to aid US economy as beneficial for global growth
Chairman Ben Bernanke is rejecting arguments that the Federal Reserve's bold moves to bolster U.S. job growth could have unwanted consequences in emerging market countries.
In a speech Sunday, Bernanke disagreed with criticism that the Fed's efforts to drive U.S. interest rates lower could result in higher inflation in emerging markets or trigger a destabilizing flood of investment money into those nations.
In fact, he said, the efforts of the Fed and the central banks of other industrial countries should benefit the global economy by boosting growth and providing stronger markets for the goods of developing nations.
Bernanke's speech in Tokyo was at a conference sponsored by the Bank of Japan and the International Monetary Fund.
At its September meeting, the Fed announced it was launching a program to buy $40 billion each month in mortgage-backed securities as a way to drive interest rates lower and give a boost to the housing market. Increased home sales could help spur hiring and accelerate economic growth.
Jeter breaks ankle, Delmon Young stars as Tigers beat Yankees 6-4 in 12 innings in ALCS opener
NEW YORK (AP) The Detroit Tigers took the lead on Delmon Young's ringing double in the 12th inning. Then came the blow that really staggered the New York Yankees.
A little grounder up the middle left Derek Jeter sprawled in the dirt, screaming in pain. The Yankees had lost more than the AL championship series opener they had lost their captain for the rest of the postseason with a broken left ankle.
Detroit's 6-4 win and Jeter's injury on Saturday night capped a game of wild swings and wild swings of emotion.
"Watching Jete go down was, and still is, a very difficult moment for us as a team and what he means to us, a great player and the great leader that he is," said Raul Ibanez, who hit yet another tying home run as the Yankees rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the ninth inning.
Jeter rolled when he reached down in an attempt to glove Jhonny Peralta's grounder up the middle in the 12th, planted his left foot and tumbled, landing on his stomach. Unable to move, he made a backhand flip toward second baseman Robinson Cano the same motion he made in the famous play against Oakland 11 years ago.