News Wrap: Polls Show President Obama Leads in Ohio, But Narrowly
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Republican Mitt Romney looked to capitalize on newfound momentum today campaigning again in Ohio. It’s considered a must-win state for his presidential bid, and polls show he’s been closing the gap with President Obama.
Romney took questions from voters in Mount Vernon, prepping for his town hall-style debate with the president next week. And he hammered away on the economy.
MITT ROMNEY (R): My whole passion is about helping the American people who are struggling right now. That’s what this is about. The president says he’s for middle class. How have they done under his presidency? Not so well. I want to help the middle class get good jobs and better take-home pay. I know how to do that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Romney also underscored his anti-abortion stance after saying Tuesday that he wouldn’t pursue abortion-related measures if he’s elected. Today, he told reporters, “I will be a pro-life president.”
Meanwhile, President Obama spent the day at the White House. In an interview with radio host Tom Joyner, he said he’s not surprised by the tightening polls.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Governor Romney kept on making mistakes month after month, so it made it looked artificially like this might end up being a cakewalk.
But we understood internally that it never would be, that it was going to tighten. It tightened over the last three or four days, but it could have tightened after the convention, if they hadn’t had such a bad convention.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The president also said he thinks he was just too polite in last week’s debate.
Tensions between Turkey and Syria spiked anew today when Turkish warplanes intercepted a Syrian jetliner. It was en route from Moscow to Damascus when it entered Turkish airspace. The passenger plane and its roughly 30 passengers were forced to land at Ankara. Turkish officials said they suspected it was carrying military equipment for the Syrian government. Later, the officials said they seized some of the cargo and would let the plane fly on to Syria.
In Russia, one of three members of the punk band Pussy Riot was released from custody unexpectedly. They had been jailed for a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin last summer at a Russian orthodox cathedral. Yekaterina Samutsevich was mobbed by the media as she left the Moscow city court. She vowed to fight for the release of the other two women, whose sentences of two years in prison were upheld.
The case has been widely condemned in the U.S. and Europe as part of a crackdown on dissent.
Toyota recalled more than seven million vehicles around the world today for a bad power-window switch that can fill the car with smoke. The action affects more than a dozen models made from 2005 through 2010. There have been more than 200 incidents reported in the U.S., but no crashes or injuries have resulted. Toyota has been trying to recover from a series of recalls of some 14 million vehicles in recent years.
Car owners who have crashed in the last three years may have gotten counterfeit air bags as replacements, without knowing it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned today there’s an extreme safety risk. It said at least 250,000 vehicles may have air bags that inflate only partially or not at all. Car owners should check a website, safercar.gov, for more information.
Two Americans have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for research into protein receptors in human cells. The studies could lead to more effective medicines with fewer side effects. The winners are Robert Lefkowitz, a professor at Duke University’s Medical School, and Brian Kobilka, who worked with him at Duke before moving to Stanford University’s medical school.
Lefkowitz spoke by phone to a Stockholm news conference, and said he didn’t realize at first that the Nobel Committee had called.
ROBERT LEFKOWITZ, Duke University Medical School: I must share with you that I wear earplugs to sleep. And so my wife gave me an elbow, call for you, and there it was, a total shock and surprise.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Lefkowitz said the call was legitimate because, as he put it, when five people with convincing Swedish accents call you, then it isn’t a joke.
A privately owned company notched a new first in space today. The SpaceX cargo capsule named Dragon docked at the International Space Station. It’s the first of 12 such flights under a contract with NASA. Astronauts on the station used a robotic arm to grab the unmanned capsule. Dragon will stay docked for 18 days while the crew unloads almost 1,000 pounds of food, clothes and experimental gear. The capsule will then return to Earth carrying medical samples and research material.
Wall Street is now on a three-day losing streak. Stocks fell again today on warnings from Alcoa and Chevron that future earnings may be down. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 128 points to close just short of 13,345. The Nasdaq fell 13 points to close at 3,051.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.