In a spectacular finale to a 40-hour campaign sprint, US president Barack Obama launched a searing attack on challenger Mitt Romney in Ohio, the state that may decide their election duel, and labelled his challenger a “bullshitter”.
By Stephen Collinson, Ohio
But Romney, rallying Republicans in the state’s aptly named town of Defiance, mocked Obama’s “incredibly shrinking” campaign and stole the president’s 2008 mantra, promising “big change” if he wins on Nov 6.
The closer the election gets, the more the bad feeling between Romney and Obama seems to show.
In a Rolling Stone interview that hit the stands yesterday, Obama told the magazine’s executive editor, Eric Bates, that children had excellent political instincts and could spot a “bullshitter”.
In the largely tongue-in-cheek interview, Obama responded to a question about his popularity with children, saying: “You know, kids have good instincts. They look at the other guy and say: ‘Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.’ ”
The comment was widely seen as a jab at Romney, who Obama has accused of lacking principle and shifting positions for political gain. It prompted an acidic response from Romney spokesman Kevin Madden.
“President Obama is rattled and on the defensive,” said Madden. “He’s running on empty and has nothing left but attacks and insults. It’s unfortunate he has to close the final days of the campaign this way.”
The latest exchanges came as polls showed the White House up for grabs, with Romney ahead by a nose nationally, but Obama firm in the key swing states that could hand him a second four-year term.
Obama won the endorsement of Colin Powell — an African-American Republican who served in both Bush presidencies — sparking controversial remarks by a Romney surrogate who suggested race was a factor.
“When you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him,” top Romney adviser John Sununu said about Powell, who also backed Obama in 2008.
Sununu later backtracked on the remarks, saying: “I respect the endorsement decision [Powell] made, and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president’s policies.”
The remarks by Sununu, who is known for fiery media appearances, could bring race into a campaign Romney has tried to keep focused on the economy.
Earlier, campaigning in Ohio, a perennial battleground in which car manufacturing supports one in eight jobs, Obama lambasted Romney for opposing his bailout of the auto industry.
“I refused to walk away from those workers. I refused to walk away from those jobs,” Obama roared in a populist pitch for blue-collar votes. “I bet on American workers. I would do it again because that bet always pays off.
Obama ended an eight-state tour of more than 11,000km with 11 days to go before he asks Americans to defy the omens of a weak economy and high unemployment by voting to renew his lease on the White House.
The president’s aides are privately signalling increasing confidence that he will prevail. But Romney has sought to convince his supporters he has the momentum in the final stretch.
“We want big change,” Romney told a 12,000-strong crowd in Defiance, Ohio.
“This is a time for big challenges, and a time of big opportunities. “We have a big choice,” said the former Massachusetts governor.
A severely injured white rhino that had been wandering a national park for days after having its horn hacked off and a bullet lodged in its brain was put down by park rangers on Tuesday, according to South African media outlet News24.
As his girlfriend lay dying, a weeping, praying Oscar Pistorius knelt at her side and struggled in vain to help her breathe by holding two fingers in her clenched mouth, a witness told a South African court.
Oscar Pistorius told a concerned security guard on the phone that everything was "fine" after neighbours reported gunshots coming from his house the night he shot dead his girlfriend, his murder trial has heard.
A hepatitis C support group whose funding has been pulled spent almost €13,000 of public funds on a pampering and relaxation weekend despite being instructed not to do so, according to the Health Service Executive.
A seething Oscar Pistorius fired his pistol out of a car's open sun-roof after an argument with a police officer, ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor told a court, the fifth day of his trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
RAISED on fairytales in which tall, dashing princes gallop to the aid of maidens in distress, women assume the perfect date must tower above them — but suppose the guy who adores you is eyeball to your shoulder?
Ryan Tubridy has posed for a new photograph for schoolgirl Sarah Ryan to sketch — after the photographer responsible for the picture on which Sarah's original drawing was based objected to her use of the image.
For most Irish sport lovers, probably the most romantic story of 2013 was the All-Ireland senior hurling championship win by Clare, a precocious and mercurial side guided by a precocious and mercurial management team, led by Davy Fitzgerald.