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Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Caucus Click: Ryan Family Breakfast


A Debate in California Gets Physical


LOS ANGELES - If you thought that the debate on Thursday night between Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Representative Paul D. Ryan, his Republican challenger, was the hottest political face-off around, think again.

That debate seemed downright tame compared with what took place in Los Angeles on Thursday night. A Congressional debate between two incumbent Democrats â€" Brad Sherman and Howard Berman â€" turned into a loud nose-to-nose shouting match, with Mr. Sherman roughly grabbing Mr. Berman around the shoulder, shouting, “Do you want to get into this?”

With shouts of “Oh my god” rising from the crowd, the debate moderator called for calm and a uniformed officer walked to the front t o break the two men apart.

Before the physical contact, Mr. Berman had stepped increasingly closer to Mr. Sherman as the two tried to talk above the rising crowd. But it was Mr. Sherman who lurched to Mr. Berman, seizing him by the shoulder.

Mr. Berman looked shocked, gesturing at Mr. Sherman with his thumb. The two men kept talking face to face until the officer arrived.

The altercation was captured on video and posted online by Mr. Berman's campaign.

The race to represent California's 30th District is perhaps the most hotly contested Congressional race in the country, as The New York Times reported in an article that was headlined, in a way that now seems prescient, “Democrats Duke It Out in the San Fernando Valley“. The two Democrats have never liked each other, and their enmity was only increased when they found themselves thrown into the same district because of redistricting.

Mr. Berman, who finished 10 po ints behind Mr. Sherman in the primary contest in June, quickly tried to capitalize on the incident. After the debate ended, his campaign sent out a string of news releases that accused Mr. Sherman of “trying to start a fight.”

Brandon Hall, a senior adviser to the Berman campaign, said in a statement that Mr. Sherman “loses his mind and acts like a bully.”

“This speaks directly to his temperament that is totally unsuitable for anyone, especially a member of Congress,” Mr. Hall said.

Mr. Sherman's campaign, in response, accused the Berman campaign of “wild mischaracterizations” and “cynical distortions.” In its own string of news releases, the campaign said the video showed Mr. Sherman “briefly putting his arm around Berman's shoulder.”

“The Pierce College debate was not conducted at the highest level,” Mr. Sherman said in a prepared statement. “I regret my part in allowing emotions to distract from the exchange of views. ”

A version of this article appeared in print on 10/13/2012, on page A13 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Up In Arms: Heated End for California Debate.

From the Magazine: Candy Crowley\'s Debate Prep

Domain: Bethesda, Md.

Age: 63

Vocation: CNN chief political correspondent; moderator of the second presidential debate, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Hofstra University.

Name game: I considered changing it many times. When I was at NBC, I was Stephanie for about two and a half seconds, but I could never remember to say it. I've given my parents huge grief over Candy.

Toughest D.C. interviews: Senator Mitch McConnell, because he is relentlessly on point, and he's unflappable. I'll say the same for the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi. My staff will tell you. I always say those people are hard.

Debate goal: Surprise me. Don't make it so that I know what you're going to say. That is what I most want out of both these guys. Sit back, drop your 12 points and surprise me with an answer.

Fantasy career: Homicide detective.

Superstitions: Don't brag on your kids. It's bad luck.

Item she can't toss: My dad, who died in 1989, had a cigar box, in which there were the most random things you could imagine: a gum eraser, a knife I got for him for Christmas, a Ducks Unlimited decal. I just can't get rid of it.

What she does every day: I practice Transcendental Meditation. I'll do it in the morning. If I have to, I do it at the office. Most times, I will do it when I get home, but not before bed, because it tends to be energizing.

In the fridge: I started being a vegetarian on the Bob Dole campaign in 1995. We were in South Carolina, and someone served me a hamburger, and I thought, “I don't want to eat this anymore.”

Favorite memento: I went to Poland with George H. W. Bush right after the Iron Curtain fell. We were in Lech Walesa's house, where I saw a Solidarity poster. A short time later in Gdansk, I saw the same poster and bought it. It says, “Choose Your Poland.”

Missouri or Missoura: I was raised there, but my nieces, who were also raised there, say “Missouri.” When I say “Missoura,” they go crazy. “Missoura” tends to be the more Southern, rural way to say it. But everyone knows what you mean.

Talent she wants: Mind reading.

Best recent gift: After I was named moderator of the , I got in the mail a cast of a thumbs up. It came without comment, which makes it even better.

Most cherished piece of furniture: My coffee table, which has an antique silver teapot on it next to cowhide coasters. I don't know why they go together. But I like it.

Favorite chore: My favorite thing to do is go through my files and shred stuff. That is so liberating.

Interview she most wants: I like dark characters. I'd go for Ahmadinejad or the new leader in North Korea.

Necklace collection: When my sons were young and I was on TV, it was not real to them. One gave me a painted clay necklace, and I wore it on the air. After that, everyone started giving me necklaces to see them on TV.

Travel ritual: Travel comes up so spontaneously, I have no time for a ritual.

Decorating style: My dad was in the furniture business, and he said, “You are not a sofa-and-two-wing-chair kind of gal.”


An Abortion Question Shows Divide Among Catholics


In a historic first, both candidates for vice president are practicing Roman Catholics, and late in their debate on Thursday night, they fielded the abortion question asked through the prism of religion.

“Tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion,” asked the debate moderator, Martha Raddatz of ABC News.

The candidates' responses revealed an almost perfect archetypal contrast in how contemporary Catholics these days relate to their faith, and why what some call “the Catholic vote” is a constituency as deeply divided as the rest of the electorate.

Representative Paul D. Ryan responded first, saying that his views on abortion were guided by his r eligion: “I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do.”

He also invoked a phrase often heard from the church's hierarchy when explaining that the church has come to its anti-abortion position not merely through faith but through “reason and science.”

“You know,” Mr. Ryan said, “I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born, for our seven-week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza, ‘Bean.' Now I believe that life begins at conception.”

His answer reflected the heartfelt views of anti-abortion Catholics and evangelicals: that from the moment of conception, you are dealing with a human life, and to abort is to murder. This is the con viction that fuels the anti-abortion movement, which likens stopping abortion to stopping the Holocaust.

When it came his turn, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the well-worn path taken by Governor Mario Cuomo of New York. Mr. Biden said that he personally accepts his church's position (he acknowledged it as a “de fide” doctrine, meaning that it is non-negotiable), but would not make it the law of the land.

“I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here,” Mr. Biden said. “I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that - women they can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor.”

This is a position that has been broadly and vehemently condemned by Catholic bishops and Catholic conservatives as an outright violation of church teaching â€" a grave and moral evil. Catholic bishops have repeatedly said it is no t acceptable for Mr. Biden or other Catholic politicians, such as Nancy Pelosi, to say they are Catholic while supporting abortion rights.

A few days ago, Bishop Michael Sheridan in Colorado Springs said in an interview with The Colorado Springs Gazette, that according to canon law, Mr. Biden should not receive holy communion.

“A Catholic politician who publicly espouses positions that are contrary, not just to any teachings of the church, but to serious moral teachings, should not receive holy communion until they recant those positions publicly,” Bishop Sheridan said.

Such proclamations earn cheers from conservative Catholics. But polls over many years have shown that a majority of American Catholics still hold a position closer to that of Vice President Biden: They may have strong personal feelings about abortion, but they do not have the right to impose them in a nation founded on the separation of church and state.

Romney\'s Tightrope Walk Over Abortion


When Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, pledged at the debate on Thursday night that “the policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother,'' it illustrated just how vexing the abortion issue has become for Mitt Romney and his running mate.

Asked if those “who believe that abortion should remain legal” should be worried if a Romney-Ryan ticket were elected, Mr. Ryan said that “people through their elected representatives” should make decisions about abortion “through the democratic process'' â€" a statement that is tantamount to saying that abortion policy should be changed through legislat ion.

But Mr. Romney, in a recent interview with The Des Moines Register, said abortion would not be on his legislative agenda.

“There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda,'' he said. That statement, in itself, carries echoes of a pledge that Mr. Romney made, and reneged on, when he was governor of Massachusetts.

As a candidate for governor in 2002, Mr. Romney said that while he personally opposed abortion, he would not impose his view on others. He filled out a questionnaire for Planned Parenthood saying that he supported “the substance” of the Supreme Court's landmark abortion rights decision of 1973, Roe v. Wade.

Mr. Romney promised then to maintain the status quo, keeping intact abortion rights that already existed under state law. He also told abortion rights advocates that, as a Republican on the national stage, he would be a “good voice” for t hem.

But while governor, Mr. Romney cited his antiabortion views in taking a stand against creating embryos for scientific experimentation. And when the state legislature sent him a bill to expand access to emergency contraception, he vetoed it. He said a medical professional had told him that the drug, known as the morning-after pill, would “terminate life after conception.”

This appears to have been a pivot point for Mr. Romney, the moment he decided he could no longer claim to favor abortion rights. Earlier this year, Mr. Romney explained his actions to the editorial board of The Des Moines Register by saying he realized that he could not “just leave things the way they were.''

In July 2005, the day after his veto of the emergency contraception bill, he described himself in an opinion article in The Boston Globe as “a pro-life governor in a pro-choice state.” He also called for decisions about abortion to be left to the states, a position that was tantamount to advocating the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

\'Friday Night Lights\' Creator Accuses Romney of Plagiarism


All week Mitt Romney has quoted one of his favorite TV series to punctuate the poignant stories of lives cut short that he has woven into his campaign speeches.

But on Friday the creator of the series, “Friday Night Lights,” accused Mr. Romney of plagiarism for adopting the slogan, “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose,'' and asked him to stop using it.

“Your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series,” Peter Berg, the writer-director of the show, wrote in a letter to Mr. Romney.

“The only relevant comparison I see between your campaign and ‘Friday Night Lights' is in the character of Buddy Garrity â€" who turned his back on American ca r manufacturers, selling imported cars from Japan.”

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a question about whether it would cease using the slogan.

Already this week Mr. Romney has stopped mentioning Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL killed in the attack on an American consulate annex in Benghazi, Libya, after Mr. Doherty's mother objected to the candidate politicizing her son's death.

The “Friday Night Lights” television show, about a high school football team, won critical acclaim and passionate fans, but low ratings during its five seasons on NBC, ending last year. Mr. Romney, who doesn't name the show, embraced the “Clear Eyes” slogan at the first presidential debate, where it appeared on a sign in his backstage waiting area.

Shortly after, Mr. Romney began using it at rallies, usually after describing a 14-year-old boy he had befriended and counseled as he was dying of leukemia. He said the bo y's bravery in facing death reminded him of the slogan, which in the show is chanted by players in the locker room as inspiration before a game.

Mr. Romney also wove the phrase into accounts of others he knew who had died tragically. “This is something that we share in this country; men and women of clear eyes and full hearts, and America can't lose,” he said in one speech.

“I was not thrilled when I saw that you have plagiarized this expression to support your campaign by using it on posters, your Facebook page and as part of your stump speeches,” Mr. Berg wrote in his letter.

Mr. Berg does not seem to have the kind of legal case that musicians invoke when insisting political candidates stop playing their songs, an increasingly common phenomenon, especially for Republicans, dating from at least when Bruce Springsteen objected to Ronald Reagan's use of “Born in the U.S.A.”

A rapper, K'naan, threatened legal action over the Romney campaign' s use of “Wavin' Flag” at rallies, and a co-writer of “Eye of the Tiger'' filed a suit against Newt Gingrich.

But Mr. Romney has one vote of support connected to “Friday Night Lights.” Buzz Bissinger, the author of the classic nonfiction book that inspired the television series, announced that he would vote for Mr. Romney in a column on The Daily Beast on Oct. 8, declaring that he was a life-long Democrat who was swayed by Mr. Romney's debate performance.

A version of this article appeared in print on 10/13/2012, on page A13 of the NewYork edition with the headline: TV Show Creator Complains to Romney.

Obama to Appear on \'Daily Show\' Next Week


When all else fails, make fun of self.

President Obama appears to be taking a page out of that age-old maxim. Either that or he's feeling confident about his next debate.

The president has agreed to be a guest on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart next Thursday - two days after the second debate between Mr. Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. It will be Mr. Obama's second appearance on the show since taking office.

No word yet on the topics, but it's a sure bet that Mr. Stewart will want to dissect Mr. Obama's debate performances. This is, after all, the same host who has been eviscerating Mr. Obama's Denver debate performance, the host who said Mr. Obama was so bad in the debate t hat Mr. Romney won even though he fired Big Bird. “Beloved children's character Big Bird! And the sad truth is Romney could have waterboarded Aladdin, put down Blue, deported Dora the Explorer, and still won walking away!”

If nothing else, Mr. Obama's appearance should at least give Mr. Stewart a chance to recycle all that, while the president presumably shows he can take a joke.

Vice-Presidential Debate Draws More Than 50 Million Viewers


Thursday's televised debate between Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Representative Paul D. Ryan attracted well over 50 million people - a significant chunk of the public, but a smaller total than the debate between the presidential candidates last week.

Nielsen, a television ratings company, estimated Friday that 51.4 million viewers watched at home on one of the 12 rated networks that showed the debate. Nielsen's total did not include television viewers in offices, restaurants, bars, or other areas, nor did it include any Web viewers.

The Oct. 3 debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney garnered about 67.2 million viewers at home, according to Nielsen, and untold millions more via the W eb.

Unlike Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney, Mr. Biden and Mr. Ryan had stiff competition from two big sporting events: a baseball playoff game between the Yankees and the Orioles and an NFL match-up between the Steelers and the Titans. Both games were watched by between 5 and 6 million viewers, potentially deflating the vice presidential debate audience.

Back in 2008, Mr. Biden and the Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin attracted 69.9 million TV viewers at home - a record for any debate of vice presidential running mates.

Nielsen said in a news release Friday: “The 2008 Biden-Palin debate notwithstanding, last night's political tête-à-tête had the highest V.P. debate viewership since the George H.W. Bush-Geraldine Ferarro debate in 1984. That debate nabbed 56.7 million viewers.”

The favored network for the debate on Thursday night was the Fox News Channel. It drew slightly more than 10 million viewers between 9 and 10:30 p.m., almost two million more than the next-highest-rated network, CBS. Among the cable news channels, MSNBC, with 4.4 million viewers, slightly outrated CNN.

TiVo, which makes digital video recorders, said that the most-rewound segment of the debate among its users was Mr. Biden and Mr. Ryan's 9:28 p.m. exchange about Mr. Romney's comment about the “47 percent.”

Ryan Joins Criticism of Administration on Libya Attack


LANCASTER, Ohio - Representative Paul D. Ryan joined Mitt Romney in criticizing President Obama on Friday over the attack in Benghazi, Libya, adding another turn of the screw to an indictment of the administration's evolving explanation of events.

“First they blame a YouTube video and a nonexistent riot,'' Mr. Ryan told a throng of supporters here, at his first public appearance since his debate with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday night in Danville, Ky. “Then when the country's getting upset about it, they blame Romney and Ryan for getting people upset about it.''

“They keep changing their story,'' he added. “This is not what leadership looks like.''

Earlier in the da y, Mr. Romney attacked Mr. Biden for asserting in the debate that the administration never received requests for greater security at the diplomatic outpost where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Two security officials testified before a House committee on Wednesday that they asked for more officers, but were turned down by the State Department.

Pressed to explain the discrepancy, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said on Friday that the State Department handled security at its outposts and that Mr. Biden meant only that he and Mr. Obama had not known of the requests.

“We need clarity, not confusion,'' Mr. Ryan said here. “We need accountability and no more excuses. This tragedy would be troubling in and of itself, and tragic of itself, but unfortunately what we are witnessing when we turn on our TVs on a daily basis is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy.''

Mr. Ryan, who appeared on an outdoor s tage in the center of town with Mr. Romney at his side, linked international events to the most local of interests, seizing on another comment of Mr. Biden's in the debate that the Pentagon sought to make a transition to a leaner, smaller Army.

“We don't need more M1 tanks, what we need is more U.A.V's,” Mr. Biden said, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones.

As it happens, production of the M1 tank is based in Lima, Ohio, and Mr. Ryan raised the threat of job losses here in what may be the hardest-fought of all battleground states.

“When you say it's O.K. to impose these devastating cuts in our military or we don't need any more Lima-built M1 tanks,'' Mr. Ryan said, “what we are doing is we're projecting weakness.''

The Romney-Ryan campaign also released a radio ad in central and northwestern Ohio accusing Mr. Biden of wanting “to take away one of the most vital weapons in our arsenal - made right here in Ohio.''

And Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, an adviser to Mr. Romney who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that the M1 supported 800 jobs in Lima.

Mr. Romney will spend another full day campaigning in Ohio on Saturday. He worked a local angle of his own when he spoke after Mr. Ryan. He told the large crowd of an unusual connection he had to Lancaster.

“My very first assignment at my first job was to come to Lancaster. I'm serious,” he said. “And try to do a little work at a little company called Anchor Hocking,'' a maker of glass tableware. Mr. Romney was apparently referring to his work fresh out of Harvard Business School working for the Boston Consulting Company.

He recalled “standing next to those big glass furnaces” and learning about “triple gob machines” at the glass works.

“It's good to be back,'' he said, cognizant that all politics â€" tanks or casserole dishes â€" is local.

An Unusual Fund-Raising Pitch in Massachusetts


5:25 p.m. | Updated BOSTON - The fund-raising competition between Senator Scott P. Brown and Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic challenger, may have finally jumped the shark.

Both campaigns have used the flimsiest of excuses to send out fund-raising appeals in their ferociously competitive Massachusetts Senate race. Their efforts have made their race the most expensive in the country in this election cycle.

Now the Warren campaign has taken creative fund-raising to new heights. On Friday, the Warren campaign manager, Mindy Myers, sent out an appeal prompted by nothing more than a Brown appeal.

This may be a first in fund-raising. The Warren e-mail reprints the Brown e-mail in its entirety - even as it denigrates Ms. Warren.

The reprint is so complete that it starts with the same subject line at the top (“Character counts and issues matter”) and goes all the way to the bottom, where it helpfully includes the “donate” button on which to click to make a contribution to Mr. Brown.

The point, according to Ms. Myers' letter, is to show how “desperate” Mr. Brown is.

“Scott Brown's poll numbers are plummeting,” Ms. Myers' e-mail begins. “He lost the third debate on Wednesday.”

“Want to see the email of someone who's desperate?” her letter goes on. “Read below. Thanks for all you're doing. Keep it up!” It then includes a “donate” button to send contributions to Ms. Warren.

But if donors are sick of appeals from the Warren campaign, the Warren campaign could not have made it easier for them to turn around and contribute to Mr. Brown.

Here is the Brown letter, as reprinted in Ms. Myers' e-mail:


Character counts and issues matter. You know all about Professor Warren's elusive heritage, evasive answers and defensive double-talk that strike at the heart of her character.

Where she stands on the issues is just as important, and Elizabeth Warren always checks the box for bigger government and higher taxes.

Voters saw us side-by-side at the Springfield debate and saw that Elizabeth Warren's solution to every problem is higher taxes.

If she wins, you lose because she's for new and higher taxes on Social Security, Medicare and small businesses. She talks about ‘investing,' but what she means is taking your hard-earned dollars and spending them on new, big government programs.

I have added up her tax hikes and they will cost us $3.4 trillion over the next ten years. Talk about punishing taxes! They will hit you and our economy like a sledgehammer. I ne ed your help to get the word out by contributing online right now.

There are only 25 days left so let's get right to it. Professor Warren's campaign is flush with campaign cash from the national liberals and Hollywood elite who agree with her and think we need higher taxes.

Will you back me up? Help me raise the funds I urgently need to convey just how dangerously out of touch Professor Warren is on the serious issues of the day. Your online help is vital to our victory. Please contribute $20, $50, or $100 or whatever amount you can.


Scott Brown

United States Senator

The People's Seat

Mr. Brown may want to send Ms. Warren a contribution as thanks for disseminating his appeal much farther than he ever expected it would go.

UPDATE: It turns out that Scott Brown sent out a fundraising e-mail in July that included an entire fundraising e-mail from Elizabeth Warren. One difference is that the Warren e-mail t hat the Brown campaign included does not attack Mr. Brown quite as strongly as the Brown fundraising appeal that the Warren campaign sent out Friday. Nonetheless, both campaigns have clearly been taking unusual steps to separate their donors from their wallets.
“Friends,” the Brown e-mail from July begins. “As President Obama seeks to walk back his “you didn't build that” comments, Elizabeth Warren, who was the first to express that sentiment, is doubling-down. Check out the email she sent yesterday stating unequivocally that she “meant what she said.”
After a lengthy introduction, the Brown e-mail then includes this Warren e-mail, replete with a video that the Warren camp believes shows Ms. Warren at her most passionate and articulate and that the Brown campaign calls a “rant” that has alienated voters.

Last August, I stood in a living room in Andover and talked about why our country faced a massive deficit and what it would ta ke to move us forward as a nation.

I'm proud of what I said. I meant every single word of it.

I said, “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own.” I praised the people who did get rich. I said, “You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea, God Bless!” But I asked those who make it big to invest in the next generation of kids so they will have a chance too.

We don't know who is going to have the next big idea in America.

But we're pretty sure they're going to need employees who can read and write. They're going to need power to keep the lights on and clean water and functioning sewers to keep going. They're going to need roads and bridges to move their goods to market or bring customers to their store. And they're going to need police officers and firefighters to keep their businesses safe.

That's what makes America great. We make the investments together - to put the conditions in place so that businesses can flourish and create more opportunities for all of us. And it keeps going forward. When we make it, all of us have an obligation to invest in creating the conditions so the next kid can get ahead, and the kid after that, and the kid after that.

I believe in small businesses. My brother started a small business. My daughter started a small business. My aunt started a small businessâ€"and that's where I worked when I was a teenager. I've seen up close and personal how hard small business owners work and how much they risk to make their businesses succeed.

Right now, Washington's rigged for the big corporations who can afford armies of lobbyists and lawyers - not America's small businesses. If Republicans like Scott Brown and Mitt Romney have their way, the system is going to stay rigged for the big guys.

The Republicans have their vision for the future. It says, “I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own.”

That's not the American Dream. That's not how we build a future for ourselves and our children. We build a future together.

Thank you for being a part of this,


The Weekend Word: Up for Debate


In Today's Times:
How the Obama administration handled the attack on an American consulate in Libya has become a top issue in the presidential campaign, Peter Baker and Trip Gabriel write. Debate flared up after the vice-presidential debate in which Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. seemed to contradict official statements by the White House and the State Department about the event.

President Obama's aides say he will give a “passionate and energetic” follow-up on Tuesday to his debate performance in Denver, but not a repeat of Mr. Biden's debate style on Thursday against Representative Paul D. Ryan, his Republican rival. Michael D. Shear writes that while conservatives took offense at Mr. Bid en's performance, Democrats praised him for giving the vigorous defense they had expected from Mr. Obama.

In a suburban Cleveland House race that is one of the most crucial and expensive contests in the country, the two Republican incumbents running against each other believe they aren't being heard. Jonathan Weisman explains that Representatives James B. Renacci and Betty Sutton blame a barrage of negative ads blanketing the airwaves in greater Cleveland for drowning out their competing messages.

Voters in Maryland and Washington State could be easy prey for hackers seeking to disenfranchise them after computer security experts identified vulnerabilities in the states' voter databases. Nicole Perlroth explains that the experts and voting rights advocates argue that it would be relatively simple for hackers to use publicly available information to disenfranchise an individual voter or a large bloc of them. But state officials say the concerns are exaggerated.

In Missouri, everyone seeking office - from Gov. Jay Nixon to Senator Claire McCaskill, even President Obama - has to make a political calculation about whether to call the state “Missouree” or “Missourah.” Sarah Wheaton writes that how one pronounces the state's name can carry as much political heft as the positions one takes on the economy and social issues.

The President's Weekly Address:
The turnaround of the automotive industry features prominently in President Obama's weekly address. Without referring to his Republican rival by name, Mr. Obama reminds voters that Mitt Romney and other Republicans opposed Mr. Obama's decision to bail out American car makers, who now sell the most cars in the world. Mr. Obama also highlighted the positive effects of higher fuel standards and free trade agreements on the middle class.

Happening in Washington:
Starting Saturday, the White House will offer a week of fall garden tours for the public. The to ur covers the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, the Rose Garden, the South Lawn and the White House Kitchen Garden.

Springsteen Hits the Road for Obama


3:40 p.m. | Updated SOS to BRUUUUUUUUUUCE.

Bruce Springsteen had said that he planned to stay out of the 2012 election, but these are worrying times and the race is tightening. So on Saturday, the Obama campaign announced that the Boss would be back to rally support for President Obama.

Mr. Springsteen will join former President Bill Clinton at an appearance in Parma, in the swing state of Ohio, on Thursday. In the verbiage of Obama campaign-release speak, Mr. Clinton will “lay out a clear picture of the economic choice Americans face in this election.”

And the Boss? “His appearance will help with our get-out-the vote effort in these critical swi ng states, and we are thrilled with his ongoing support,” Jim Messina, the president's campaign manager, said.

After the Parma, Ohio appearance, Mr. Springsteen, who the Obama campaign helpfully pointed out in their press release is a “supporter of President Obama and Vice President Biden,” will head to Ames, Iowa for another rally/concert for the president. Iowa is also considered a crucial state for Mr. Obama to win on Nov. 6.

Mr. Springsteen campaigned (to no avail) for Senator John Kerry during his presidential bid in 2004, and he came out again, this time to better results, for Mr. Obama in 2008. But he said after that that he would stay out of the 2012 cycle.

Few people believed him, not only because Mr. Springsteen played during the inauguration festivities in 2009 for Mr. Obama, and his presence has been felt this year at every single Obama campaign rally. The tunes of the rock hero, who cut his teeth with odes to working Americans and the pow er of redemption, are a staple on the Obama playlist, and “We Take Care of Our Own,” from the latest Springsteen album, Wrecking Ball, is the song that greets the end of every single Obama campaign rally speech.

Lately, another Springsteen song has been played at campaign rallies - Mr. Springsteen can be heard belting out “meet me in a land of hopes and dreams” while Mr. Obama works the rope line after his speeches.

Now, campaigngoers, at least in Ohio and Iowa, will be able to see him do it in person.

Ryan Criticizes Obama Administration\'s China Policy


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio â€" Representative Paul D. Ryan, seizing on new ammunition Saturday with which to attack President Obama on his stance toward China, criticized his administration delaying a report on currency manipulation that was due to be released next week.

In his first solo appearance since Thursday's vice-presidential debate, Mr. Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate, focused attention on the issue as he appealed to voters in a Democratic-leaning corner of this state. He argued that Mr. Obama was giving China a free pass as manufacturing communities at home continued to suffer.

Mr. Romney has vowed to declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office - a move Mr. Ryan criticized the p resident for not taking in the nearly four years he has been in the White House.

“The administration had their eighth chance to label China a currency manipulator,” Mr. Ryan told supporters at Youngstown State University, referring to the report. “It's due in two days. They say they're going to push this deadline off until after the election. That's eight opportunities they had to say, ‘You know what? Play fair with us. Trade with us fairly.' ”

The Treasury Department announced on Friday that it would delay the release of its twice-yearly report on foreign exchange rates until after a meeting next month of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 nations.

The reports are often delayed. But Mr. Ryan said the Obama administration needed to more directly confront China for holding down the value of its currency in order to gain an advantage in international trade, and he said the latest postponem ent reflected Mr. Obama's “insistence on ignoring these problems.”

The United States has not cited China as a currency manipulator, a designation that could lead to retaliatory tariffs, since 1994. Mr. Ryan argued that American jobs had been lost because the Obama administration had not taken a tougher approach, and accused it of allowing China to trample on American intellectual property rights.

“Taking our patents, taking our goods that we make and copying them and selling them: that's not correct, that's not right,” Mr. Ryan said. “That's cheating. And you know what? We're going to do something about it.”

Mr. Ryan invoked China as he offered a broader critique of Mr. Obama's economic policies, arguing that the president had not done enough to protect American manufacturing jobs. Mr. Obama won this area in northeast Ohio by a wide margin in 2008, as did Senator John Kerry and Vice President Al Gore before him, but the Romney campaign is hoping that Democratic voters will defect this year in large part over their frustration with the economy.

The Obama campaign, which has accused Mr. Romney of condoning the outsourcing of jobs to China during his private-equity career, suggested that Mr. Ryan's attacks lacked credibility because of his running mate's business dealings.

“Congressman Ryan's tough rhetoric can't hide the fact that Mitt Romney will never crack down on China's cheating - just look at his record,” a spokesman for the Obama campaign, Danny Kanner, said in a statement.

Sunday Breakfast Menu, Oct. 14


With a little more than three weeks until Election Day, the Sunday shows are swarming with campaign surrogates, weighing in on the vice-presidential debate, the next presidential debate and strategy for the final stretch.

ABC's “This Week” will have Senator Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican who has been Mitt Romney's sparring partner in debate practice, and Beau Biden, Delaware's attorney general and Vice President. Biden's son.

The program will also feature a panel discussion before a live audience on whether presidential debates matter, with guests including Newt Gingrich, former Republican presidential candidate and House speaker; Christopher J. Dodd, former Democratic presidential candida te and Connecticut senator; and Martha Raddatz, ABC's senior foreign affairs correspondent, who moderated the vice-presidential debate.

David Axelrod, senior adviser on President Obama's re-election campaign, and Ed Gillespie, senior adviser on Mr. Romney's campaign, will appear on “Fox News Sunday.”

Outlining Mr. Obama's strategy in the wake of his performance in the first presidential debate, Robert Gibbs, another of the president's senior campaign advisers, will join CNN's “State of the Union.” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Al Cardenas, former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, will also appear on CNN, along with a panel including Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Bill Burton, senior strategist at the pro-Obama “super” PAC Priorities USA Action.

Mr. Cardenas, who is now chairman of the American Conservative Union, also makes a stop by Univision's “Al Punto” this week. Luis J. Lauredo, former ambassador to the Organization of the Americas and an Obama campaign surrogate, will join him on Univision.

NBC's “Meet the Press” features a packed political panel: Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, chairman of the Republican Governors Association; Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta; Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor; Alex Castellanos, Republican strategist; and Tom Brokaw, NBC News special correspondent and a veteran presidential debate moderator.

The conversation on CBS's “Face the Nation” will focus on recent developments on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, after this week's House oversight committee hearing. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Representative Darrell Issa of California, chairman of the House oversight committee; and Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, ranking Democra t on the House oversight committee, will appear on the program.

Ted Strickland, co-chairman of Mr. Obama's campaign, and John H. Sununu, former New Hampshire governor and Romney campaign surrogate, are on Bloomberg's “Political Capital.”

C-Span's “Newsmakers” has Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, discussing the role of his home state in the election and his hopes for Congress during the lame duck session.

And Telemundo's “Enfoque” will feature analysis of the vice presidential debate by Representative Xavier Becerra, Democrat of California, and Carlos M. Gutiérrez, former commerce secretary under the George W. Bush administration.

A Room to Impress Romney


LEBANON, Ohio - Mitt Romney could not stop marveling at the John Quincy Adams room.

After an evening rally here outside of The Golden Lamb, an inn owned by Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and his family, Mr. Portman took Mr. Romney through a brief spin of his hotel, marching him into the John Quincy Adams Room on the second floor.

“Isn't that something. Oh, isn't that something,” Mr. Romney said, taking stock of the room. “Isn't that something. It's wonderful.”

A few moments later, he couldn't resist another exclamation: “Wow, isn't this something,” he said.

“We can't wait to have a Mitt Romney room in here,” said Jane Portman, Mr. Portman's wife, referring to the hotel's tra dition of naming rooms after presidents who have visited the hotel. (Mr. Portman explained that, so far, 12 presidents had made the stop.)

Turning to a picture on the wall of John Quincy Adams with his father, John Adams, Mr. Romney observed, “John Quincy - about the same height as his dad, looks like.”

Mr. Romney described himself as a fan of the elder Mr. Adams. “Certainly one of my favorite presidents,” he said.

“Quite a guy,” he continued. “That wonderful, wonderful book by David McCullough about this life. I've said this many times before, but reading that, when I turned the last page, I just welled up with tears. You feel like you're losing a member of the family. Extraordinary man, extraordinary marriage, he and Abigail. Just a wonderful couple.”

Then, Mr. Romney cut to the bottom line: “He calls it the Golden Lamb, but I think when you look at the prices you'll determine it's the Golden Fleece,† he said, before adding, “Actually, it's a modest price point -I mean this is like $130 a night? - for history!”

“This is about $140, I think, $150,” Mr. Portman replied.

Friday Reading: Ask an Expert About Paying for College


A variety of consumer-focused articles appears daily in The New York Times and on our blogs. Each weekday morning, we gather them together here so you can quickly scan the news that could hit you in your wallet.

The Impact on Clients When Financial Advisers Move On


Paul Sullivan writes in his Wealth Matters column this week about financial advisers who are moving to another firm or setting out on their own. The phenomenon, Paul says, has increased since the tumult of the financial crisis.

Many of these advisers' clients probably don't care much about the changes, Paul writes, as long as they continue to get the same service.

But clients really do have a choice. If they were happy with their investments, they may not necessarily have the same options at the new firm. Some clients, though, may have developed a good relationship with their advisers and are loathe to turn over their holdings to someone new. Either way, a time of change offers an opportunity for cl ients to rethink how their investments are handled.

Has your financial adviser ever moved on? What was your experience?

Housing, Divorce and Your Special Needs Relative


In this weekend's Your Money column, I try to get beyond the financial checklist items (like wills, trusts and government benefits) that you encounter when you have a family member with special needs, and talk about the issues that tend to weigh on people's emotions.

The first is the question of where a family member will live, and it's an expensive one if they do not qualify for Social Security or Medicaid or some other form of public assistance that foots the bill. The second is the fear of divorce - a possibility given the stress of raising a child with special needs. Divorce can be financially devastating even under normal circumstances, let alone when you have a child with long-term costs that you hope to help pay throughout that child's life.

For people who have family members with special needs, how did you decide whether to have them live with you? And what specific strategies did you use to try to keep your marriage or partnership strong?