News, October 1st

ROMNEY-DEBATE PREVIEW

Hours of preparation for Romney ahead of debate

DENVER, Colo. (AP) — If Mitt Romney stumbles during Wednesday’s presidential debate, it won’t be for a lack of preparation.

The Republican presidential nominee has spent at least eight days over the past month getting ready for the three debates against President Barack Obama.

The reasons are clear: The stakes are enormous given that Romney trails the president in surveys in key states and in national polls that show a close race, and the debates are one of the Republican’s final opportunities to shift the dynamics of the race.

As Romney has prepared for the first matchup, one question has loomed over the others among both advisers and observers: Will he provoke Obama or will Obama provoke him?

The first of three matchups will take place in Denver.

OBAMA-DEBATE PREVIEW

Obama trying to avoid miscue in first debate

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — President Barack Obama has one mission heading into his first debate with Republican Mitt Romney: Don’t screw things up.

Less than five weeks from Election Day, Obama has political momentum and an edge in polls of the battleground states that will determine the election. But he’s expected to face a blistering challenge from Romney, who needs to use Wednesday’s debate in Denver to change the trajectory of the race.

The president retreated to a desert resort in Nevada for three days of intensive debate preparation for Wednesday night. He’s joined by a cadre of top advisers, who are focused on helping Obama trim his often-lengthy explanations to fit the debate format.

Equally important is coaching Obama to look calm and presidential during an onslaught of criticism from Romney.

OBAMA-COLORADO

Obama plans rally at Denver park after 1st debate

President Barack Obama plans another rally in Colorado after his first debate with Mitt Romney.

Obama will appear at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver on Thursday morning before heading to Wisconsin to campaign.

Obama is huddling with top advisers at a desert resort in Nevada to get ready for Wednesday’s debate at the University of Denver.

OBAMA-AD

Obama launches new criticism of Romney and China

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — President Barack Obama’s campaign is stepping up criticism of rival Mitt Romney’s past investments in China.

In a new television ad, the campaign accuses the Republican nominee of investing in a company that maximized profits by paying Chinese workers “next to nothing” to manufacture appliances. The ad aims to discredit Romney’s assertion that he would take on China’s trade advantage over the U.S.

The narrator says, quote, “Mitt Romney, tough on China? Since when?”

China has emerged as a key economic issue in the election. Romney is running ads saying Obama has been too soft on China and let U.S. jobs move overseas. Both campaigns see the issue as an appeal to undecided working-class voters.

The ad is running in New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

CADET DEATH

Air Force Academy: Cadet who died was from Dallas

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — Air Force Academy officials say a cadet who died after being found unconscious last week was a senior from Dallas.

Academy officials identified him Monday as 22-year-old Cadet 1st Class Matthew Patrick.

He was taken to a Colorado Springs hospital after he was found unconscious Friday and was pronounced dead. His cause of death remains under investigation.

Patrick was an aeronautical engineering major and is survived by his mother, father and sister.

CENTURYLINK STRIKE

CenturyLink workers in 13 states authorize strike

DENVER (AP) — CenturyLink workers Colorado and 12 other states in the West and Midwest are authorizing a strike, if union leaders and the telecommunications company can’t reach a contract agreement.

The Communications Workers of America said Monday that more than 88 percent of those voting backed the action.

The union and Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink are trying to reach a new contract for 13,000 employees before the current contract expires Saturday night. The employees include customer service agents, network technicians and Internet support workers.

The union approved a strike during contract talks in 2008 but a work stoppage wasn’t ordered.

CWA spokesman Al Kogler said the union opposes a proposed increase in health care premiums and wants to bring more jobs back to the U.S.

CenturyLink workers in Montana are negotiating a separate contract.

MOTEL SHOOTING

Man injured after bullet comes through motel wall

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — Grand Junction police say a man in a motel room suffered minor injuries when a bullet came through the wall of his room.

Police said Monday the victim heard a loud bang and got hit by something when the shooting occurred Sunday at the Mesa Inn.

Officers said they found a large hole in the wall and arrested 26-year-old Zachariah McCullough on suspicion of prohibited use of a weapon, illegal discharge of a firearm, reckless endangerment, and assault.

Police say they believe McCullough was in an adjacent room and was handling a large revolver when the gun went off.

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