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Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s husband used the U.S. Senate Dining Room to cut business deals selling tax credits tied to stimulus money, a whistle-blowing executive inside his company alleged on an audio recording exclusively obtained “The thing that irritated me about this was he [McCaskill’s husband Joseph Shepard] entertained these outside investors in the Senate Dining Room,” the whistle-blower said. “That’s where he closed the deal.”
The whistle-blower, Craig Woods, was a longtime high-ranking official within Shepard’s business empire, serving first as chief financial officer and then as vice president and chief underwriter for Missouri Equity Investors LLC and JA Shepard Companies.
His LinkedIn page indicates he left the company in January 2011, a few months before debriefing a Republican operative who made the recording.
According to the McCaskill campaign, Woods pled guilty in the 1990s in two different cases of felony larceny and spent some time in prison after that.
The campaign also said that Woods lied to McCaskill’s husband about his past on his job application, and submitted a resume detailing “jobs” he held when he was actually in prison.
“Craig Woods is a twice-convicted felon and a disgruntled former employee who lied repeatedly to Claire’s husband about his criminal past of fraud and embezzlement,” McCaskill spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said in an email to TheDC in response to the allegations. “There is absolutely no merit to these claims. It is shocking that Todd Akin would pin the hopes of his campaign on a twice-convicted felon and a proven liar, but I guess Todd Akin is incredibly desperate at this point. This is a despicable new low, especially for Todd Akin, and he should be ashamed of himself.”
Several Republican sources, including those who conducted the interview, confirmed the identity of the whistle-blower and the details surrounding their meeting. TheDC is protecting the identity of those GOP sources because they were not authorized to speak on the record. TheDC has also disguised the voice of the lone GOP operative whose voice is heard on the recording.
“He [McCaskill’s husband] did four projects — these were rural development deals where he came in and stole from a guy and he did the federal credits and he got Enterprise Bank to invest in those four deals and those have been really iffy,” Woods said on the tape.
Woods said those four projects — housing developments — were “all here in Missouri.” He explained how Shepard brokered deals with investors who counted on high returns in the form of federal and state tax credits that came with these projects. In return for the deals, Woods said, the investors gave Shepard cash he could use elsewhere in his business.
“The reason these [specific projects] were so attractive to him, the reason he wanted to do them, was they got ARRA funds, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds,” Woods said, referring to how some programs were tied to President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package.
Woods said one such project, in Clinton, Missouri, got “$5.5 million in stimulus funds. They didn’t have to borrow a dollar.” Story Continued:
· ‘If four Americans get killed, it’s not OPTIMAL’: Obama’s extraordinary response to Comedy Central question about shifting story after Benghazi attack – President Barack Obama, during an interview shown on Comedy Central, has responded to a question about his administration’s confused communication after the Benghazi attack, by saying: ‘If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.’
Obama was speaking to Jon Stewart of The Daily Show for a programme that was broadcast last night. Stewart, a liberal whose young audience is full of potential voters prized by the Obama campaign, asked the president about his handling of the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.
But Obama’s response sparked outrage among Republican commentators including the website Breitbart and prompted a vicious backlash from the Twitter community.
Not optimal: President Barack Obama, pictured left, discussed the killing of four men in Benghazi while speaking to Jon Stewart, right, on The Daily Show
Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith and security men and former U.S. Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed by terrorists on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 – an attack that the White House initially blamed on a spontaneous protest about an anti-Islam movie made in California.
‘I wanted to take a swing at him’: Mitt Romney’s son says he wanted to PUNCH Obama after he called his father a ‘liar’ as rivals’ bad blood boils over
‘I’m pro-life and I’m happy to say that’: Ann Romney stands up to the ladies of The View as she discusses her stance on abortion
‘I was well rested after the long nap I had in the first debate’: Wise-cracking Obama talks up his performance in second bout with Romney as pair trade jokes at charity dinner
Stewart asked: ‘Is part of the investigation helping the communication between these divisions? ‘Not just what happened in Benghazi, but what happened within.
‘Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.’
Obama responded: ‘Here’s what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.’
He continued: ‘We’re going to fix it. All of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. Story Continued and to watch the video:
· Romney Receives Endorsement of Orlando Sentinel – ORLANDO, Fla. – Mitt Romney, who often grouses that he is simultaneously running against President Obama and the mainstream media, will be greeted upon his arrival in Florida on Friday by a headline with which he cannot quarrel: The Orlando Sentinel is endorsing him.
Four years after The Sentinel, central Florida’s largest newspaper, endorsed Barack Obama’s candidacy for president, the newspaper’s editorial page said Mr. Romney is the better choice this time.
“We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years,” the editorial in Friday’s edition said. “For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.”
A little more than two weeks before the election, newspaper endorsements are steadily trickling in across the country. Both campaigns have spent considerable time trying to win endorsements, particularly from newspapers in battleground states, like The Sentinel.
The Obama campaign has assigned top advisers to talk with editorial boards, trying to win endorsements from the newspapers that supported his candidacy in 2008. Mr. Romney has also been meeting with some editorial boards during campaign trips. The campaigns are bracing this weekend for several newspaper endorsements to be released in key states.
The recommendation of Mr. Romney by The Sentinel, whose readers live in a battleground area within a battleground state, stopped short of being a ringing endorsement. But the editorial page firmly declared that it was time for a change in the White House, arguing that Mr. Romney’s business experience and record of leadership prepared him for the Oval Office.
“Romney is not our ideal candidate for president,” the editorial said. “We’ve been turned off by his appeals to social conservatives and immigration extremists. Like most presidential hopefuls, including Obama four years ago, Romney faces a steep learning curve on foreign policy.”
He is expected to tout the endorsement on Friday when he arrives for a campaign visit in Daytona Beach. He will stay in Florida until Monday, when he meets Mr. Obama for the third presidential debate in Boca Raton.
Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, is the biggest battleground state in the nation. The editorial made clear that its endorsement was for one campaign cycle at a time.
“This is Romney’s time to lead, again,” the editorial said. “If he doesn’t produce results — even with a hostile Senate — we’ll be ready in 2016 to get behind someone else who will.” Story Continued:
· Ahead of Election, Obama Stops Releasing ‘Stimulus’ Reports – The $831,000,000,000 economic “stimulus” that President Obama spearheaded and signed into law requires his administration to release quarterly reports on its effects. But “the most transparent administration in the history of our country” is now four reports behind schedule and has so far not released any reports whatsoever in 2012. Its most recent quarterly report is for the quarter than ended on June 30, 2011.
One wonders how the administration would treat a private citizen who acted like such a scofflaw in response to one of Obama’s principal legislative initiatives. It certainly appears that this administration, which is so very fond of regulating Americans’ lives — witness the 13,000 pages of Obamacare regulations it has already penned — doesn’t hold itself accountable to the same set of rules that it’s so eager to compel the American people to obey. Story Continued:
· Obama Campaign Borrows $15M from Bank of America – Warren Buffett invested $5B in BofA last year – Obama For America took out a $15 million loan from Bank of America last month, according to the campaign’s October monthly FEC report. The loan was incurred on September 4 and is due November 14, eight days after the election. OFA received an interest rate of 2.5% plus the current Libor rate.
Warren Buffett, Obama donor and namesake of the infamous “Buffett Rule,” invested $5 billion in Bank of America last year in an effort to help the ailing financial institution. Last month, two weeks after OFA took out the loan, Bank of America announced a plan that would lay off 16,000 workers by the end of the year.
Obama has a complicated relationship with Bank of America. The bank contributed $20 million toward the cost of the Democrat National Convention earlier this year. Bank of America stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers, was supposed to host Obama’s acceptance speech. At the last moment, the campaign switched to a significantly smaller venue. The campaign claimed that an impending storm would not allow the President to deliver his address. Many questioned whether move was made because the campaign was having trouble filling such a large stadium.
It is unclear why the first $1 billion campaign needed an extra $15 million for the final two months of the campaign. Story Continued:
· New poll: Egyptians turning toward Iran, want nuclear weapons – A poll of Egyptians conducted last month shows that they have increasingly positive views of Iran, believe that both Iran and Egypt should obtain nuclear weapons, and still trust their own military more than any other institution in Egypt.
The poll of 812 Egyptians, half of them women, was conducted in a series of in-person interviews by the firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and sponsored by the Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy organization with offices in Washington and Jerusalem. According to the poll, Iran is viewed favorably in Egypt, with 65 percent of those surveyed expressing support of the decision to renew Egypt-Iran relations and 61 percent expressing support of the Iranian nuclear project, versus 41 percent in August 2009.
Sixty-two percent of those polled agreed that “Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are friends of Egypt,” though 68 percent held unfavorable views of Shiite Muslims.
Iran’s deputy defense minister said recently that the Iranian regime is seeking more military cooperation with Egypt. “We are ready to help Egypt to build nuclear reactors and satellites,” he said on the occasion or Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy’s meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month. Morsy’s office has said the two didn’t discuss military cooperation.
Eighty-seven percent of respondents want Egypt to have its own nuclear bomb.
Israel Project CEO Josh Block told The Cable that the statistics show the effect of Morsy’s outreach to Iran and the danger of regional proliferation of nuclear weapons if Iran is successful in obtaining a nuclear bomb.
“Very scary to people opposed to proliferation of nuclear weapons, let alone to unstable countries in the world’s most turbulent part of the world, is the 87 percent who want Egypt to build nuclear weapons,” he said. “Morsy’s dangerous embrace of Iran is leading a surprising shift in favor support for Tehran, which has for decades been seen by Egyptians as their top threat, as well as for their work on nuclear weapons.”
Egyptians are overwhelmingly focused on the dire state of their domestic economy. Only 2 percent of those polled said that “strengthening relations with other Muslim countries” should be one of Morsy’s top two priorities, and 45 percent agreed with the statement that “Egypt needs to focus on things at home and should be less involved in regional politics.”
Nevertheless, 74 percent of those polled said that disapprove of Egypt having diplomatic relations with Israel — an increase from 26 percent in August 2009 — and support for a two-state solution to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at only 30 percent. Seventy-seven percent agreed that “The peace treaty with Israel is no longer useful and should be dissolved.”
Block blamed that result at least partially on the stance of leading Egyptian politicians like President Morsy, who has indicated recently he does not plan to abrogate the Israel-Egypt peace treaty but whose Muslim Brotherhood party identifies Israel as a racist and expansionist state.
“The fact that Morsy and other leading politicians in Egypt regularly express disdain for the peace treaty leads to such decay in public attitudes,” Block said. “Then again, nearly half the public voted for a presidential candidate who openly declared his intent to travel to Israel and support for the Camp David accords.”
Block was referring to retired Air Force general Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under Hosni Mubarak and was defeated narrowly in a runoff election earlier this year.
The poll found that 64 percent of Egyptians still feel warmly about the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ran Egypt in the interim period before Morsy was elected, and 81 percent approve of the job they are doing. Forty-nine percent of Egyptians polled felt warmly about Morsi, and 43 percent felt warmly about the Muslim Brotherhood.
Forty percent felt warmly about the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, but only 11 percent felt warmly about the Salafist Nour Party, a hard-line Islamist party that fared well in the parliamentary elections.
American politicians fared poorly in the poll, but among them Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the most popular at 25 percent favorability. President Barack Obama scored 16 percent and Republican nominee Mitt Romney only 8 percent, although only half of Egyptians polled knew who Romney was. (Ahmadinejad’s favorability rating? Forty-three percent.) Story Continued:
· Obama: Romney Suffering From Case Of ‘Romnesia’ – FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama has a diagnosis for what he considers rival Mitt Romney’s shifting positions: Call it a case of “Romnesia.”
Making a direct gender-pitch in hotly contested Virginia, Obama tells a college crowd that when it comes to issues important to women’s health and jobs, Romney has conveniently overlooked his past stands.
“He’s forgetting what his own positions are — and he’s betting that you will too,” Obama told an audience of 9,000 at George Mason University. “I mean he’s changing up so much and backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve got to name this condition that he’s going through. I think it’s called Romnesia.”
Obama, a broad grin on his face, borrowed heavily from the style of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, known for his “you might be a redneck” standup routines.
“If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you’d be ‘delighted’ to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, man, you’ve definitely got Romnesia,” he said.
Riffing as if he was still delivering one liners at Thursday night’s Catholic charity dinner in New York, Obama said he had good news for anyone who suffers from Romnesia. “Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions,” he bellowed. “We can fix you up. We’ve got a cure! We can make you well, Virginia.”
Obama renewed his criticism of Romney’s economic plan, quoting a line in a New York Times column by economist Paul Krugman. “There’s no jobs plan. There’s just a snow job on the American people.”
Obama added, “If he offered you that deal when he was in corporate finance, you wouldn’t give him a dime.” So why, Obama asked, would voters cast their ballots for him.
Obama’s message was aimed at suburban women who form a formidable voting bloc in northern Virginia. The president raised once more Romney’s comment during the second debate that he received “binders full of women” when he sought to diversify his cabinet as Massachusetts governor. “You don’t want somebody who needs to ask for binders full of women. You don’t want that guy,” Obama said. Story Continued:
· Romney has cash-on-hand deficit compared to Obama – Campaign balance sheets show both presidential contenders spending huge sums in their effort to capture the White House.
5:58PM EDT October 20. 2012 – WASHINGTON — Republican Mitt Romney ended September with $63.1 million in his principal campaign account to spend on the final push to Election Day — considerably less than the nearly $100 million President Obama had in the bank at the same time, campaign reports filed Saturday show.
Still, the campaign balance sheets show both presidential contenders spending huge sums in their effort to capture the White House. Obama, who used an early fundraising advantage to hire staffers in key battleground states, had 974 people on his campaign payroll last month, compared to 434 for Romney.
Obama also swamped Romney in spending on advertising, direct mail and postage last month, spending $94.8 million to Romney’s $42.4 million, according to a USA TODAY analysis of campaign expenditures. A month earlier, Obama’s advertising bill totaled $71.2 million, while Romney had spent far less, $35 million.
One of Romney’s largest single expenses last month: Repaying $10 million of a $20 million bank loan he took out in August to remain competitive with Obama. He still owed $5 million at the end of September.
Reports show Obama also borrowed money, taking out a $15 million loan from the Bank of America last month.
Romney paid out more than $217,000 in bonuses to top aides in September, including $37,500 to political director Rich Beeson, records show. Communications director Gail Gitcho and digital director Zac Moffatt each received $25,000.
Top aides previously received $207,000 in bonuses in August for helping Romney win the primary.
Overall, Romney and the Republican Party and joint committees had more cash in the bank than Obama and Democrats at the end of last month. The filings with the Federal Election Committee also indicate that Obama had a greater share of Democrats’ resources in his direct control to craft his advertising message and drive his get-out-the-vote efforts in recent weeks. Roughly two-thirds of the cash available to Obama and the Democratic Party at the end of September sat in Obama’s campaign account.
Romney’s available money accounted for about a third of the money Republicans reported having in their campaign coffers. He was boosted by the big fundraising success of the Republican National Committee, which ended the month with $82.6 million in the bank. Federal rules, however, limit how much candidates can coordinate their spending with political parties.
Romney’s campaign aides say they operate as a closely aligned unit with Republican Party officials. “Our campaign has the resources and organization to win,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an e-mail Saturday.
The totals disclosed Saturday do not reflect any additional fundraising surge from Romney’s strong performance in the first of three debates with Obama. Campaign officials said Romney raised $27 million online during the first two weeks of October — more than he has collected over the Internet during any single month of the campaign.
Of the money Romney collected in September, $41.9 million came from individuals, and $12.4 million of that amount came in donations of $200 or less. By comparison, $96.4 million of Obama’s September haul came from individuals. Donations of $200 or less accounted for $33 million of the total, giving Obama a bigger pool of donors to ask for more money before they hit contribution limits. Story Continued:
Sandra Fluke, the woman at the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” spoke Saturday in front of about 10 people at the Sak ‘N Save in north Reno.
The speech was part of a daylong effort by Democrats to get Northern Nevadans to the polls on the first day of early voting.
“I’m trying to do everything I can for an election that I feel is very important. I have a unique opportunity for how I get to do that,” said Fluke, who is coming off recent campaign trips to Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida as a surrogate for Democratic President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Fluke emerged on the national spotlight in February when she was denied to speak before the U.S. House committee on Oversight and Government Reform on whether insurance plans should have a mandate to cover contraceptives. She eventually spoke to House Democrats.
Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and “prostitute” on his show based on her comments on contraception for women. He later apologized, saying it was an “attempt to be humorous.”
Fluke doesn’t take the jabs too seriously. When asked about her previous year and how people have treated her in the press, Fluke smiled and laughed.
“It’s been not quite the 2012 that I’ve expected,” she said.
Fluke has embraced the spotlight, though. She spoke at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina and has enjoyed talks with people on the campaign trail — especially those concerning women’s issues.
“A lot of women come to me and tell me stories individually about their lives about what access to healthcare has meant to them; what the Affordable Care Act is going to mean to them,” she said. “A lot of young people tell me how important it was to stay on their parents plan until they were 26. Folks tell me what a difference it made to be able to rely on Planned Parenthood when they needed it and what it would mean if Mr. Romney gets his way to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Fluke also spoke in Carson City on Saturday. Story Continued:
· Obama campaign accepted foreign Web donation — and may be hiding more – The Obama re-election campaign has accepted at least one foreign donation in violation of the law — and does nothing to check on the provenance of millions of dollars in other contributions, a watchdog group alleges.
Chris Walker, a British citizen who lives outside London, told The Post he was able to make two $5 donations to President Obama’s campaign this month through its Web site while a similar attempt to give Mitt Romney cash was rejected. It is illegal to knowingly solicit or accept money from foreign citizens.
Walker said he used his actual street address in England but entered Arkansas as his state with the Schenectady, NY, ZIP code of 12345.
’NET PROFIT: President Obama and Hillary Clinton are joined at a 2011 state dinner by Robert Roche (to Clinton’s right), who registered the site Obama.com, which directs visitors to a donation page.
“When I did Romney’s, the payment got rejected on the grounds that the address on the card did not match the address that I entered,” he said. “Romney’s Web site wanted the code from the back of card. Barack Obama’s didn’t.”
In September, Obama’s campaign took in more than $2 million from donors who provided no ZIP code or incomplete ZIP codes, according to data posted on the Federal Election Commission Web site.
The Obama campaign said the FEC data was the result of “a minor technical error.”
“All the ZIP codes and numbers are real and can be verified,” spokesman Michael Czin said.
The Obama campaign’s apparent lack of safeguards makes it possible to violate the law, says a report released by the Government Accountability Institute, a Florida-based watchdog group.
The report found that one Obama site — Obama.com — gets almost half of its traffic from foreign computer addresses. The site directs users to an Obama donation page.
“We are not suggesting that just foreign traffic by itself is a problem,” said Peter Schweizer, president of the GAI. “But for a campaign that is very sophisticated in its fund-raising capabilities, they do not make one effort to try to even see or ask somebody to check a box that says they are a US citizen.”
Obama’s re-election campaign took in $130,867 from donors who provided no ZIP codes and $2 million from those with incomplete ZIPs in September.
That same month, Romney’s campaign recorded $2,450 from donors without ZIP codes and $2,500 from those with incomplete ZIPs.
Walker said it should have been clear to the Obama campaign’s computers that his donations came from a computer with a foreign IP address.
The Obama campaign says it “screens all credit-card contributions that originate from a foreign IP address” and requests proof of citizenship if questions arise.
But not only did Walker’s Obama donations go through, but he said he began receiving two to three e-mail solicitations a day to give more. The e-mails asked for $188 or more.
If Walker gave $188, his total contribution to Obama would be $198 — less than the $200 threshold at which campaigns have to identify the donor to the FEC.
“I have not had any e-mails asking for proof of identity,” Walker said.
The GAI report found the Obama campaign Web sites do not ask donors to provide their three-digit card-verification value, or CVV, numbers to ensure they are the legitimate holders of the card. Romney’s campaign asks for such information, which is considered a standard security measure.
One conduit for Obama donations is Obama.com, which was registered in 2008 to Robert Roche, an American who lives and works in China, where he owns an infomercial company.
Roche is also a bundler for the Obama campaign and was given a seat at the head table for a 2011 state dinner with the Chinese president
The GAI report said that the site registration was changed in 2010 to make it anonymous and that it was unclear whether Roche still owns it.
Roche’s mother in Chicago referred calls to the Obama campaign. The campaign declined to comment. Story Continued:
· US ‘too slow’ to act as drone’s cam captured Libya Horror – The United States had an unmanned Predator drone over its consulate in Benghazi during the attack that slaughtered four Americans — which should have led to a quicker military response, it was revealed yesterday.
“They stood, and they watched, and our people died,” former CIA commander Gary Berntsen told CBS News.
The network reported that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft observed the final hours of the hours-long siege on Sept. 11 — obtaining information that should have spurred swift action.
But as Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three colleagues were killed by terrorists armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, Defense Department officials were too slow to send in the troops, Berntsen said.
“They made zero adjustments in this. You find a way to make this happen,” he fumed.
“There isn’t a plan for every single engagement. Sometimes you have to be able to make adjustments.”
The Pentagon said it moved a team of special operators from Central Europe to Sigonella, Italy — about an hour flight from Libya — but gave no other details.
Fighter jets and Specter AC-130 gunships — which could have been used to help disperse the bloodthirsty mob — were also stationed at three nearby bases, sources told the network.
When the attack began, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies,” a White House official told the network.
Even as the administration continues to vow that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, the man identified by witnesses as a ringleader in the attack continues to walk the streets of Libya without fear of arrest.
Ahmad Abu Khattala has admitted being at the consulate during the horrific attack but has yet to be questioned by any Libyan authorities.
Abu Khattala spoke to a New York Times reporter Thursday from a hotel patio as he sipped a strawberry frappe and mocked the US and Libyan governments.
“These reports say that no one knows where I am and that I am hiding,” he boasted. “But here I am in the open, sitting in a hotel with you. I’m even going to pick up my sister’s kids from school soon.”
Lax security at the consulate was an open secret.
Stevens wrote a cable in June that there wasn’t enough security at the consulate, and he noted there had been a recent spike in attacks against “international organizations and foreign interests,” ABC News said.
The ambassador wrote another cable in August that read, “A series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape during the Ramadan holiday.”
Stevens said that the incidents were “organized” and that the Libyan security force had “not coalesced into a stabilizing force and [provided] little deterrence.”
Several requests for additional security in Benghazi were made to the State Department prior to the attack. They were all rejected.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to deflect blame from President Obama last week, saying the decision not to beef up guards was her responsibility.
“I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world [at] 275 posts,” she told CNN.
“The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
The attack has become a major issue in the presidential campaign, with Mitt Romney saying Obama’s failure to safeguard the consulate highlights his failure in foreign policy.
Romney has also hammered Obama for failing to immediately label it a terror attack and the administration for changing its story about whether the attack was a protest over an anti-Islamic movie or a coordinated strike.
The tragedy — and alleged security lapses leading up to the attack — will likely be brought up at tomorrow’s final presidential debate.
The 90-minute debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. Schieffer has listed five subject areas, with more time devoted to the Middle East and terrorism than any other topic. Story Continued:
· US denies Iran nuclear talks New York Times report – The White House has denied a report in the New York Times saying that Iran had agreed to one-on-one negotiations over its nuclear programme with the US.
The report, quoting unnamed officials, said Iran had agreed to the talks for the first time but would not hold them until after US elections on 6 November.
The White House said it was prepared to meet Iran bilaterally, but that there was no plan to do so.
Western states think Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, something it denies.
Iran has been a key foreign policy topic in the US election campaign.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will hold their third and final campaign debate on Monday, on the subject of foreign policy.
The New York Times report said the US and Iran had agreed to one-on-one negotiations “in principle”.
But US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement that it was untrue the US and Iran had “agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections”.
“We continue to work… on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally,” he added.
Negotiations between Iran and the the P5+1 negotiation group – which includes the UK, US, France, China, Russia and Germany – have stalled.
Western nations have used increasingly harsh sanctions in an effort to pressure Iran over its nuclear programme.
Mr Romney has accused Mr Obama of being too soft on Iran.
Mr Obama opposes a near-term military strike by the US or Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but says he is determined to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
“The president has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that,” Mr Vietor said.
“The onus is on the Iranians to do so, otherwise they will continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure.” Story Continued: