COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Plunging into his campaign for a new term, President Barack Obama tore into Mitt Romney on Saturday as eager to "rubber stamp" a conservative Republican congressional agenda to cut taxes for the rich, reduce spending on education and Medicare and enhance power that big banks and insurers hold over consumers. Romney and his "friends in Congress think the same bad ideas will lead to a different result, or they're just hoping you won't remember what happened the last time you tried it their way," the president told thousands of cheering partisans at what aides insisted was his first full-fledged political rally of the election year.
How unthinkable it was, not so long ago, that a presidential election would pit a candidate fathered by an African against another condemned as un-Christian. Yet here it is: Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney, an African-American and a white Mormon, representatives of two groups and that have endured oppression to carve out a place in the United States.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mitt Romney will need independent voters in November, but he isn't abandoning his "severely conservative" record. The likely Republican presidential nominee has embarked on an aggressive campaign against President Barack Obama that straddles two sometimes-conflicting political ideologies.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Republican Richard Lugar has shown through a lengthy Senate career that he can broker compromises on international and domestic issues, and avoid the acrimony that often brings Washington to a halt. It's those qualities that may end up costing the former Rhodes Scholar and Indianapolis mayor the seat he first won in 1976.
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Mitt Romney says he learns about what it's like to struggle in a difficult economy by sitting down to chat with regular people. But the Republican presidential candidate doesn't want anybody to see it _ and his campaign won't say who he meets with or when the meetings occur. In interviews and on the campaign trail, Romney regularly says that he learns about the struggling economy by talking to people affected by it. Earlier this week, he said he meets with families "almost every day." On Friday, Romney said the talks are "off the record" _ and that he agrees to keep private the names of the people he meets with.
The economy isn't cooperating with President Barack Obama's re-election schedule. For the third year in a row, an early spurt of growth has started to fade in the spring.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Read Barack Obama's lips: no new promises. Not now, at least.
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Walking a careful line, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday he had wanted an openly gay spokesman who resigned from his campaign this week to stay on. Hours later, he worked to court the party's conservative wing by meeting with former rival Rick Santorum. In an interview with Fox News, Romney said his campaign hires people "not based upon their ethnicity, or their sexual preference or their gender but upon their capability." He called the former spokesman, Richard Grenell, a "capable individual" and said many senior campaign aides urged him not to leave.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Jostling for an advantage on the economy, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday set a target of 4 percent for the nation's unemployment rate, while President Barack Obama proclaimed it "good news" that the U.S. economy is consistently adding jobs. Each presidential rival used a fresh jobs report to bolster his own campaign's economic narrative. The Labor Department gave mixed results for April, saying the economy added 115,000 jobs, fewer than expected, and the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.1 percent, mostly because more people gave up looking for work. People not looking for jobs are not counted as unemployed
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is campaigning to win the White House as a Libertarian after receiving scant attention in the Republican presidential race. Johnson easily became the party's presidential nominee at the Libertarian national convention in Las Vegas on Saturday. He hopes to appeal to voters fed up with the traditional two-party system this November.