Obama campaign airing first ad critical of Romney's role in private equity firm
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is casting Mitt Romney as a greedy, job-killing corporate titan with little concern for the working class in a new, multi-pronged effort that seeks to undermine the central rationale for his Republican rival's candidacy: his business credentials.
At the center of the push — the president's most forceful attempt yet to sully Romney before the November election — is a biting new TV ad airing Monday that recounts through interviews with former workers the restructuring, and ultimate demise, of a Kansas City, Mo., steel mill under the Republican's private equity firm.
"They made as much money off of it as they could. And they closed it down," says Joe Soptic, a steelworker for 30 years. Jack Cobb, who also worked in the industry for three decades, adds: "It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us."
The ad, at the unusual length of 2 minutes, will run in five battleground states: Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado. The campaign declined to describe the size of the ad buy though it's in the middle of running a $25 million, month-long ad campaign in nine states. A longer version of the ad was being posted online Monday.
The commercial will be coupled with a series of events Obama's campaign is holding this week in Florida, Missouri, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina to highlight Romney's role at Bain Capital, a company he co-founded.
Moderate Taliban leader says most insurgents want negotiated settlement to war
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — One of the most powerful men on the Taliban council, Agha Jan Motasim, nearly lost his life in a hail of bullets for advocating a negotiated settlement that would bring a broad-based government to his beleaguered homeland of Afghanistan.
In an exclusive and rare interview by a member of the so-called Quetta Shura, Motasim told The Associated Press Sunday that a majority of Taliban wants a peace settlement and that there are only "a few" hard-liners in the movement.
"There are two kinds of Taliban. The one type of Taliban who believes that the foreigners want to solve the problem but there is another group and they don't believe, and they are thinking that the foreigners only want to fight," he said by telephone. "I can tell you, though, that the majority of the Taliban and the Taliban leadership want a broad-based government for all Afghan people and an Islamic system like other Islamic countries."
But Motasim chastised the West, singling out the United States and Britain, for failing to bolster the moderates within the fundamentalist Islamic movement by refusing to recognize the Taliban as a political identity and backtracking on promises __ all of which he said strengthens the hard-liners and weakens moderates like himself.
He lamented Sunday's assassination in Kabul of Arsala Rahmani, a member of the Afghan government-appointed peace council who was active in trying to set up formal talks with insurgents. Rahmani served as deputy minister of higher education in the former Taliban regime but later reconciled with the current Afghan government.
AP Exclusive: Accused of militant links, detained Pakistani officer denounces army ties to US
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — From his prison cell, a senior Pakistani officer accused of plotting with a shadowy Islamist organization to take over the military released his political manifesto: His call was for the army to sever its anti-terror alliance with the United States, which he contends is forcing Pakistan to fight its own people.
"This may help us redeem some of our lost dignity and we badly need that," Brig. Ali Khan writes in the six-page document obtained by The Associated Press. The U.S., he says, might retaliate by cutting military and economic aid, but "do they not always do this at will? ... Our fears that the heavens will fall must be laid to rest."
The manifesto reveals the ideological underpinnings of the most senior Pakistani military officer detained for alleged ties to Islamist extremists.
The accusations against Khan go to the heart of a major Western fear about Pakistan: that its army could tilt toward Islamic extremism or that a cabal of hardline officers could seize the country's most powerful institution, possibly with the help ofal-Qaidaor associated groups like the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani leaders dismiss such worries as ungrounded.