Debate crackles with energy: Obama, Romney trade charges on taxes, Libya, truthfulness, more
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — An aggressive President Barack Obama accused challenger Mitt Romney of peddling a "sketchy deal" to fix the U.S. economy and playing politics with the deadly terrorist attack in Libya in a Tuesday night debate crackling with energy and emotion just three weeks before the election.
Romney pushed back hard, saying the middle class "has been crushed over the last four years" under Obama's leadership and that 23 million Americans are still struggling to find work. He contended the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya was part of an unraveling of the administration's foreign policy.
The president was feistier from the outset than he had been in their initial encounter two weeks ago, when he turned in a listless performance that sent shudders through his supporters and helped fuel a rise by Romney in opinion polls nationally and in some battleground states.
When Romney said Tuesday night that he had a five-point plan to create 12 million jobs, Obama said, "Gov. Romney says he's got a five-point plan. Gov. Romney doesn't have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules."
Obama and Romney disagreed, forcefully and repeatedly — about taxes, the bailout of the auto industry, measures to reduce the deficit, energy, pay equity for women and health care as well as foreign policy across 90 minutes of a town-hall style debate.
FACT CHECK: Facts take some hits in rough and tumble debate
WASHINGTON (AP) — In the rough-and-tumble of a town hall-style presidential debate, the facts took something of a beating Tuesday night.
Mitt Romney wrongly claimed that it took 14 days for President Barack Obama to brand the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya a terrorist act. Obama yet again claimed that ending the Afghanistan and Iraq wars makes money available to "rebuild America," even though it doesn't.
A look at some of their claims:
OBAMA: The day after last month's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, "I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime."
ROMNEY: "I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror."
10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and stories that will be talked about Wednesday:
1. DEBATE CRACKLES WITH ENERGY
Romney and Obama disagree about taxes, how to reduce the deficit, energy, pay equity for women and health care.
Analysis: Aggressive Obama rebounds, but Romney holds firm in crackling town-hall debate
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fighting for his political life, President Barack Obama re-emerged in blistering form in an interruption-filled debate rematch, trying to diminish Mitt Romney's rising stature by accusing him of dishonesty and extremism.
In a confrontational showdown, Romney did well against his suddenly higher expectations and an incumbent who decided to show up with passion this time. Portraying himself as a plausible alternative for struggling Americans, Romney declared: "We don't have to live like this."
What millions of voters got was an almost desperate competition of ideas and claims between two men who badly want the job and want to beat each other.
It felt almost nothing like the first, fairly drab debate that Romney won. Both guys were bouncing off their stools.
Obama's nervous supporters will surely get a boost from his fiercely competitive showing, which in turn could drive up enthusiasm in the get-out-the-vote effort that could decide the election. Playing for undecided voters and women in particular, Obama turned the most straightforward questions from voters into a chance to contrast himself with Romney.
Obama, following Clinton's lead, takes responsibility for deadly terror attack in Libya
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama assumed responsibility Tuesday for the deadly terror attack in Libya last month that killed four Americans just hours after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to shoulder the blame for any mistakes the administration made.
"She works for me," the president said in New York in his second presidential debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. "I'm the president and I'm always responsible, and that's why nobody's more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I do."
With three weeks before the presidential election, the administration has been unable to put to rest its handling of the Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, a State Department computer specialist and two former Navy SEALs who were working as contract security guards.
Obama's statement came amid a spirited back-and-forth with the former Massachusetts governor over the assault on the consulate, the only significant foreign policy disagreement in an hour-and-a-half exchange dominated by domestic concerns.
Romney challenged the president to explain why U.S officials argued for more than a week after the Sept. 11 assault that it stemmed from a protest against an American-made film ridiculing Islam.
European astronomers discover Earth-sized planet circling star next door, but it's way too hot
WASHINGTON (AP) — European astronomers say that just outside our solar system they've found a planet that's the closest you can get to Earth in location and size.
It is the type of planet they've been searching for across the Milky Way galaxy and they found it circling a star right next door — 25 trillion miles away. But the Earth-like planet is so hot its surface may be like molten lava. Life cannot survive the 2,200 degree heat of the planet, so close to its star that it circles it every few days.
The astronomers who found it say it's likely there are other planets circling the same star, a little farther away where it may be cool enough for water and life. And those planets might fit the not-too-hot, not-too-cold description sometimes call the Goldilocks Zone.
That means that in the star system Alpha Centauri B, a just-right planet could be closer than astronomers had once imagined.
It's so close that from some southern places on Earth, you can see Alpha Centauri B in the night sky without a telescope. But it's still so far that a trip there using current technology would take tens of thousands of years.
Experts say the story behind meningitis outbreak may be one of dirty shoes or high volume
NEW YORK (AP) — Was it some moldy ceiling tiles? The dusty shoes of a careless employee? Or did the contamination ride in on one of the ingredients?
There are lots of ways fungus could have gotten inside the Massachusetts compounding pharmacy whose steroid medication has been linked to a lethal outbreak of a rare fungal form of meningitis.
The outbreak has killed at least 15 people and sickened more than 200 others in 15 states. Nearly all the victims had received steroid injections for back pain.
Federal and state investigators have been tightlipped about any problems they may have seen at the New England Compounding Center or whether they have pinpointed the source of the contamination. They did disclose last week that they found fungus in more than 50 vials from the pharmacy.
Company spokesman Andrew Paven said by email that criminal investigators from the Food and Drug Administration were at the pharmacy in Framingham, Mass., on Tuesday. The visit was part of a broad federal and state investigation of the outbreak, FDA spokesman Steven Immergut said in an email.
AP Photos: Michael Corbat is the latest Citigroup CEO following 200 years of bank's leadership
As Michael Corbat prepares to take the helm as chief executive officer of Citigroup, he follows in the footsteps of leaders who have kept the bank afloat for 200 years.
Samuel Osgood was the first to oversee the fledgling institution when it was founded to help the U.S. cover debts after the War of 1812.
Osgood was followed by William Few as the president of the City Bank of New York, which is known today as Citigroup.
The men who followed him led the bank through major innovations from its experimentation with rudimentary ATMs in 1939 through its 1998 merger with Travelers Group.
The bank is still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis that nearly led to its collapse.
Mario Lopez, Khloe Kardashian Odom to host 'The X Factor'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian Odom are officially joining "The X Factor."
After weeks of speculation, Fox announced Tuesday that the "Extra" host and the "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" co-star will indeed host the second season of the talent competition. Lopez and Odom will first appear as hosts during the show's live broadcasts next month, the network said.
"The worst kept secret in Hollywood is out," said "X Factor" creator and judge Simon Cowell in a statement. "Mario and Khloe are our hosts. They will debut on our first live show in November, and I couldn't be happier."
British television personality Steve Jones served as the sole host for the first season of the U.S. edition of the show.
The addition of Lopez and Kardashian is the latest shift for the underperforming singing contest. Britney Spears and Demi Lovato joined Cowell and L.A. Reid on "The X Factor" judging panel at the start of the second season. The pair replaced Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.
Verlander shuts down punchless Yankees; Detroit 1 win from AL pennant after 2-1 victory
DETROIT (AP) — Justin Verlander took a shutout into the ninth inning and the Detroit Tigers held on to beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Tuesday night for a 3-0 lead in the AL championship series.
Phil Coke gave up consecutive singles with two outs in the ninth before striking out postseason star Raul Ibanez for his second save in two games.
Verlander allowed only a pair of singles by Ichiro Suzuki and a leadoff homer by Eduardo Nunez in the ninth. Delmon Young hit a solo home run for the Tigers, and Miguel Cabrera had an RBI double.
Yankees starter Phil Hughes was lifted in the fourth because of a stiff back, and manager Joe Girardi's lineup shuffle — Alex Rodriguez was benched again — failed to snap New York out of its untimely hitting funk.
The Tigers were on a historic pitching run even before their ace took the mound Tuesday. With the exception of a four-run ninth inning against Detroit closer Jose Valverde in Game 1, New York had been shut out for the entire series.