Morning Newsletter

Obamas decide to vote early, urge supporters to do same

Washington: President Barack Obama won't be posing for any photos in the voting booth on Election Day — he's casting his ballot early.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama said Monday they are both voting early, a nod to the campaign's efforts to encourage supporters to vote absentee by mail or cast ballots at an early voting location. Michelle Obama said on Twitter that she dropped her absentee ballot in the mail Monday, telling her followers, "I couldn't wait for Election Day!" The first lady then tweeted a photo of her posing with the envelope holding her absentee ballot.

Minutes later, the president said on Twitter that he was following her example and intended to vote early in person in Illinois on Oct. 25 — three days after the final presidential debate. "If your state has early voting, join me," Obama said on Twitter, directing followers to a link with more information about early voting.

Analysts estimate that about one-third of voters could cast their ballots before Election Day.

Romney donors attend retreat

New York: Mitt Romney's major donors began descending on New York Monday for a three-day retreat at the Waldorf-Astoria, where they will mingle with Romney's running mate, eat lunch with his wife, talk shop with his strategists, dine with his most colorful surrogate and talk jobs with entrepreneurs who are inspirations for his stump speech.

This is their reward for infusing a record-breaking amount of money into Romney's operation. Many of the donors gathering here long ago contributed the $50,000 required to gain entrance to the private "Fall Retreat" and have raised tens of thousands of dollars more from their friends.

This retreat is only the latest example of Romney rewarding his donors, whom he has cultivated relentlessly for donations. The campaign's top bundlers — the "Founding Partners" and members of the exclusive "Stripes" group — were invited to a June retreat with Romney, his family and his strategists at an exclusive resort in Park City, Utah.

Clinton takes responsibility

Lima, Peru: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is taking responsibility for security at the U.S. consulate in Libya where an assault by extremists on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Pushing back against Republican criticism of the Obama administration for its handling of the situation, Clinton said Monday in Lima that security at all of America's diplomatic missions abroad is her job, not that of the White House. She made the comments in several television interviews.

With only weeks before the presidential election, outrage over the attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi crystallized last week around Vice President Joe Biden for claiming in the debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan that "we weren't told" about requests for extra security at the consulate, where assailants killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Congressional hearings last week revealed that the State Department was aware of, and rejected, several requests for increased security in Benghazi.

Vegas sets advertising record

Las Vegas: No one comes here expecting anything in moderation. But to turn on the television these days is to shatter even Vegas-size notions of excess. More political commercials have been broadcast in this city than anywhere else, giving it the dubious distinction of being the most saturated media market in the most expensive year in American politics. And late last week, when the count passed 73,000, Las Vegas set the record as the place with the most televised campaign advertisements in a single year. With the influx here and in other battleground states certain to become even heavier in the final three weeks of the campaign, this election is surpassing 2008 in the sheer volume of ads and in the money spent.

Herald-leader wire services

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