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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Romney Raises $111.6 Million in August


Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee raised more than $111.6 million in August, the campaign announced Monday, leaving Mr. Romney and his party with about $168.5 million in cash at the beginning of September.

The total, slightly more than figures that had previously leaked, puts Mr. Romney on track to match or surpass President Obama, the most successful fund-raiser in history, by November. Both campaigns have said they hope to raise more than three-quarters of a billion dollars, amounts that would shatter previous records for presidential spending. Neither campaign is accepting public funds for the general election campaign.

Some of the money is being raised on behalf of state Republican parties loyal to Mr. Romney, allowing him to raise more money from individual donors than they would be able to give to his campaign and to the Republican National Committee. Mr. Obama has a similar arrangement. His campaign has not yet released his fund-raising numbers for August, though it expects to remain competitive with Mr. Romney, if not with the “super PACs” and outside groups that have combined with Mr. Romney to outspend Mr. Obama and the Democrats in recent months.

In a statement, Spencer Zwick, Mr. Romney's finance chairman, and Reince Priebus, the R.N.C. chairman, said: “Americans are not better off than they were four years ago and they are looking for a change of leadership. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are offering bold solutions to our country's problems â€" that is why we are seeing such tremendous support from donors across the country.”

The Republican effort raised about $34.6 million in donations of less than $250, the camp aign said, about a third of the total - a better
showing with small donors than Mr. Romney has had in the past, though not as strong as Mr. Obama typically shows.

Accident Kills Police Officer Assisting Obama\'s Motorcade


WEST PALM BEACH - A Jupiter, Fla., police officer assisting with President Obama‘s motorcade was killed on Sunday after the motorcycle he was driving was hit by a pickup truck.

The Associated Press quoted the Palm Beach County sheriff's spokeswoman, Teri Barbera, as saying that the police officer, whose identity was not released, was on Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach on Sunday preparing to shut down the roadway when he was struck by a Ford F-150.

He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The president was informed of the accident, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said. Mr. Obama's motorcade drove by the aftermath en route to a Palm Beach event but the president did not see it, Mr. Carney said.

Mr. Obama spent the weekend campaigning in Florida.

Obama Gets a Lift on the Trail


FORT PIERCE, Fla.-Scott Van Duzer, pizza parlor owner and blood donator, can bench press 350 pounds. So he had no trouble with the 6'1, 176-pound, skinny President Obama.

Mr. Obama got a huge lift-literally - from the registered Republican during an unscheduled stop at Mr. Van Duzer's Big Apple and Pasta Restaurant here on Sunday. “Look at that!” Mr. Obama exclaimed after the ebullient pizza shop owner lifted him a good couple of feet off the ground after he walked into the restaurant. “Man, are you a powerlifter or what?”

The president is on a bus tour of Florida, stopping at various nooks and crannies along the way. Mr. Van Duzer, who says he voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 despite his GOP af filiation and plans to do so again, was on the driving range-wearing great workout shorts and a gray t shirt-when he got word that the president was coming to his pizza shop to visit. He hustled back to the shop lickety split.

Mr. Obama said he decided to stop at the pizza place because of the work Mr. Van Duzer does donating blood, and urging others to do the same.

“One of the reasons that we wanted to stop by is that Scott has been doing unbelievable work out of this pizza shop in promoting the importance of donating blood,” Mr. Obama said. “And so he has set some records here in Florida. He has received commendations from the White House, the surgeon general, he has galvanized and mobilized the local community and he's educating kids and folks all across the country on this issue.”

And now, we can say, he has also lifted the president.

Ryan Defends His \'Yes\' Vote on Automatic Defense Cuts


WASHINGTON â€" Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president, on Sunday defended his decision to support automatic cuts in defense spending as a way to force a deal on reducing the deficit, an approach that was sharply criticized by his running mate, Mitt Romney.

Mr. Ryan said that he backed the deal, which could result in an automatic 8 percent cut in defense spending in January, in an effort to find a compromise with Democrats on deficit reduction.

“I worked with President Obama to find common ground to get a down payment on deficit reduction,” Mr. Ryan explained in an appearance on the CBS program “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “It wasn't a big down payment, but it was a step in the right direction.”

Mr. Ryan emphasized that he and his fellow House Republicans had come up with alternative spending cuts to prevent the automatic reductions from taking effect. He accused Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats of failing to do their part.

“We passed, in the House, a bill to prevent those devastating defense cuts by cutting spending elsewhere,'” Mr. Ryan said. “The Senate's done nothing. President Obama's done nothing.”

“We wanted to have a bipartisan agreement; we got that,” he added. “And the president hasn't fulfilled his end of that bipartisan agreement.”

The House bill, which Mr. Ryan authored and Senate Democrats oppose, would stave off reductions in military spending by cutting safety-net programs for the poor, including food stamps, school-lunch subsidies and children's health insurance.

Mr. Obama said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that any budget deal should require the wealthiest Am ericans to do their part by paying higher taxes, an approach that has been rejected by Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney.

In an interview broadcast on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” Mr. Obama said that he was “willing to do more” to work with Republicans to try to find additional spending cuts. ”But we've also got to ask people like me or Governor Romney who have done better than anybody else over the course of the last decade and whose taxes are just about lower than they've been in the last 50 years to do a little bit more.”

At the Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton accused Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan of planning to eliminate tax deductions that help the middle class and the poor, including deductions for home mortgages and charitable donations, to cover the costs of their proposed tax cuts.

In a separate appearance on the ABC program “This Week,” Mr. Ryan declined to say whether that was true.

“Our priorities ar e high-income earners should not get these kinds of loopholes,'” said Mr. Ryan, who repeatedly refused to specify the particular loopholes he had in mind.

“We want to have this debate with Congress,” he said. “And we want to do this with the consent of the elected representatives of the people and figure out what loopholes should stay or go and who should or should not get them.”

On foreign policy, Mr. Ryan told the host of “This Week,” George Stephanopolous, that he and Mr. Romney agreed with Mr. Obama's plan to exit Afghanistan by 2014. But he said he feared that the troops lack adequate resources.

“Where we've taken issue is making sure that the generals on the ground get the resources they need throughout the entire fighting season so that they can keep our soldiers safe and operating counterinsurgency strategy,” said Mr. Ryan, who described the killing of Osama bin Laden ”a great success.”

Mr. Ryan also defended Mr. Romney , who has been criticized by Democrats for describing Russia as the country's “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

On “Face the Nation,” Mr. Ryan said that a nuclear Iran was the United States' biggest foreign policy threat and that Mr. Romney meant to say that “among the other powers, China and Russia, that Russia stands as a great threat.”

Obama, Invoking Clinton, Says Romney Budget Doesn\'t Add Up


MELBOURNE, Fla. - President Obama, picking up where for President Bill Clinton left off, said Sunday that the budget proposals offered by Mitt Romney and Paul D. Ryan do not add up.

The president was quick to jump on appearances by his Republican rivals on the Sunday morning talk shows, in which they were asked separately what loopholes they would close to pay for their proposed tax cuts. Neither of the men answered the question.

The relationship between Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton started off rocky - Mr. Obama, after all, ran against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2008. But after Mr. Clinton's ringing endorsement of Mr. Obama in a well-received Democratic convention speech on Thurs day, the president mentioned his Democratic predecessor at every stop on a bus tour of Florida over the weekend.

“President Clinton told us the single thing missing from my opponents' proposal was arithmetic,” Mr. Obama told a rally here, to a burst of applause.

“When my opponents were asked about it today,” Mr. Obama said, “it was like 2 plus 1 equals 5.”

On NBC's “Meet The Press,” Mr. Romney did not answer several questions from the host, David Gregory, on which tax deductions he would seek to eliminate, saying only that he would target “some of the loopholes and deductions at the high end” while lowering the “burden on middle-income people.”

On the ABC News program “This Week,” Mr. Ryan said that “the best way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans, and then to work with Congress.”

Mr. Clinton, at the Democratic National Convention, said the Romney-Ry an plan did not  add up. Since then, Mr. Obama has adopted that line on the stump, and he has reiterated it in almost all of his public remarks.

Romney Would Keep Some of Obama\'s Health Care Reform


In his appearance on “Meet the Press,” which aired Sunday, Mitt Romney suggested there were parts of President Obama's health care reform that he liked and would keep in place if elected president.

“I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform,” he said. “Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax-advantage basis through their company.”

Throughout the presidential campaign, Mr. Romney said he would seek to halt the law. In his comments, he said he would “replace Obamacare.”

“I say we're going to replace Obamacare,” he said. “And I'm replacing it with my own plan. And even in Massachusetts when I was governor, our plan there deals with pre-existing conditions and with young people.”