Obama enlists celebrity pals to raise campaign cash in California with 1 month left in race
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- On a last dash for cash in the celebrity scene of California, President Barack Obama on Sunday took a good-natured shot as his own underwhelming debate performance, marveling at how his friends in the entertainment business could turn in flawless showings every time.
"I can't always say the same," Obama told thousands of supporters, who got the joke right away. It was Obama's most direct acknowledgment that his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, won their debate on Wednesday as a tight race rolled into its last month.
Obama spoke at the start of two-day fundraising swing through California, his final one out West of this election, and one that was expected to raise several millions dollars for advertising efforts to the finish. He appeared on stage after comments by actor George Clooney and performances by Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi -- and before a night-capping dinner for 150 guests at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant at $25,000 per person.
The Republican presidential nominee, meanwhile, sought to build on the momentum from a debate performance last week that even Democrats conceded was "masterful." Campaigning in up-for-grabs Florida, Romney told a crowd of about 12,000 in Port St. Lucie that he had enjoyed himself, ticking off a list of Obama shortcomings he said he had exposed during the first debate.
"Now of course, days later, we're hearing his excuses," Romney said. "And next January we'll be watching him leave the White House for the last time."
Campaign 2012 in bite-size pieces: All about winning the day -- without losing the election
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It can be something as small as positioning the candidate at just the right camera angle or as big as catching the opponent in a campaign-altering slip of the tongue.
Every day, the ground troops of Team Obama and Team Romney set out in pursuit of a common goal: winning the day. Moment by moment, hour by hour, they scramble, maneuver and hustle to gain an inch here, a foot there on the opposition.
Driving it all is the belief that by stringing together enough small, daily victories, they can help their candidate win the one day that truly matters -- Nov. 6, Election Day.
If they lose the day on Monday, they will work harder to win it on Tuesday. If they lose on Tuesday, there's always Wednesday or Thursday. Until time runs out.
Each day opens with a mental push of the reset button.
10 Things to Know for Monday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday (times in EDT):
1. ONE BIG FEAR WHEN NATO LEAVES AFGHANISTAN
The battle-scarred country could again fracture along ethnic lines and even erupt into civil war after 2014.
SpaceX Dragon capsule launched to space station supply run, 1st official flight under contract
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- A commercial cargo ship rocketed into orbit Sunday in pursuit of the International Space Station, the first of a dozen supply runs under a mega-contract with NASA.
It was the second launch of a Dragon capsule to the orbiting lab by the California-based SpaceX company. The first was last spring.
This time was no test flight, however, and the spacecraft carried 1,000 pounds of key science experiments and other precious gear on this truly operational mission. There was also a personal touch: chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream tucked in a freezer for the three station residents.
The company's unmanned Falcon rocket roared into the night sky right on time, putting SpaceX on track to reach the space station Wednesday. The complex was soaring southwest of Tasmania when the Falcon took flight.
Officials declared the launch a success, despite a problem with one of the nine first-stage engines. The rocket put Dragon in its intended orbit, said the billionaire founder and chief executive officer of SpaceX, Elon Musk.
Hugo Chavez wins Venezuela's presidential vote over Capriles, electoral council says
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Hugo Chavez won re-election Sunday, defeating challenger Henrique Capriles and gaining six more years to cement his legacy and press ahead with his crusade for socialism in Venezuela.
With about 90 percent of votes counted, Chavez had more than 54 percent of the vote, and Capriles had 45 percent, National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena said. She said 81 percent of the nearly 19 million registered voters cast ballots, one of the largest turnouts in years.
It was Chavez's third re-election victory in nearly 14 years in office, though by a smaller margin than in 2006, when he won 63 percent of the votes.
Fireworks exploded in downtown Caracas, and Chavez's supporters celebrated waving flags and jumping for joy outside the presidential palace.
Chavez won more than 7.4 million votes, beating Capriles by more than 1.2 million votes, Lucena said.
Pharmacy linked to fungal meningitis outbreak issues voluntary recall for all of its products
ATLANTA (AP) -- The pharmacy that distributed a steroid linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis has issued a voluntary recall of all of its products, calling the move a precautionary measure.
The New England Compounding Center announced the recall Saturday. The company said in a news release that the move was taken out of an abundance of caution because of the risk of contamination. It says there is no indication that any other products have been contaminated.
The Food and Drug Administration had previously told health professionals not to use any products distributed by the center.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted updated figures to its website Sunday showing there are 91 confirmed cases of the rare form of fungal meningitis. The outbreak spans nine states and has killed at least seven people.
The states with reported cases are: Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.
Turkish artillery returns fire at Syria after mortar round lands near border town
AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey and Syria fired artillery and mortars across their volatile border for a fifth consecutive day on Sunday, in one of the most serious and prolonged flare-ups of violence along the frontier.
The exchange of fire stoked fears that Syria's civil war will escalate into a regional conflagration drawing in NATO member Turkey, once an ally of President Bashar Assad but now a key supporter of the rebels fighting to topple him.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had warned on Saturday that Ankara would respond forcefully to each errant Syrian shell that lands on Turkish soil.
Ankara's warning was coupled by an apparent diplomatic push by the Turkish leadership to promote Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa as a possible figure to head a transitional administration to end the conflict in the country.
In an interview with Turkish state television TRT Saturday, Davutoglu said that al-Sharaa was a figure "whose hands are not contaminated in blood" and therefore acceptable to Syrian opposition groups.
US panel warns against doing business with China tech giants due to security threat
WASHINGTON (AP) -- American companies should avoid doing business with China's two leading technology firms because they pose a national security threat to the United States, the House Intelligence Committee is warning in a report to be issued Monday.
The panel says U.S. regulators should block mergers and acquisitions in this country by Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp, among the world's leading suppliers of telecommunications gear and mobile phones.
Reflecting U.S. concern over cyber-attacks traced to China, the report also recommends that U.S. government computer systems not include any components from the two firms because that could pose an espionage risk.
"China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes," the report says.
The recommendations are the result of a yearlong probe, including a congressional hearing last month in which senior Chinese executives of both companies testified, and denied posing a security threat.
Calif. gasoline prices hit new all-time high for second straight day; jumps 4 cents overnight
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- California motorists faced another day of record-breaking gasoline prices Sunday, though relief appeared to be on the way.
In its latest update early Sunday, AAA reported that the statewide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $4.655. Saturday's average of $4.6140 was the highest since June 19, 2008, when it was $4.6096.
The four-penny-per-gallon jump Sunday was less than Saturday's increase, which was 12 cents.
Sunday's price, like Saturday's, was the highest in the nation, with the Golden State overtaking Hawaii as the state with the most expensive fuel due to a temporary reduction in supply.
Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state smog regulators Sunday to allow winter-blend gasoline to be sold in California earlier than usual to help drive prices down. Winter-blend gas typically isn't sold until after October 31. Few refineries outside the state are currently making summer-blend gas, putting the pressure on already-taxed California manufacturers.
Brady wins showdown with Manning as strong running game keys Patriots 31-21 win over Broncos
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- The familiar showdown had a new twist -- Peyton Manning in a Denver Broncos uniform. It ended as it usually does with Tom Brady winning the matchup of marquee quarterbacks.
But not before Manning nearly pulled off another fourth-quarter comeback in a career filled with them.
In their 13th meeting, and first since Manning left the Indianapolis Colts, Brady directed four scoring marches of at least 80 yards and the Patriots won 31-21 on Sunday. He's 9-4 in his career against Manning.
"Nobody I'd rather have than Tom Brady," New England coach Bill Belichick said, "but Manning's a great player."
Manning had led his teams back in the fourth quarter to 36 comeback wins. And the Broncos (2-3) rallied from a 31-7 deficit with about five minutes left in the third quarter on Manning's scoring passes of 2 yards to Eric Decker and 5 yards to Brandon Stokley.