DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For months, Mitt Romney has had one main focus — bludgeoning President Barack Obama on the economy.
Now, the Republican presidential candidate has started poking at Obama from all sides as he looks to gain ground. In recent days, Romney has criticized Obama in TV ads and speeches on topics that include farm policy, transparency, military voting rights, welfare reform and religious freedom.
"Who shares your values?" a new Romney ad asks — and suggests that Obama doesn't.
Republicans have spent weeks complaining both publicly and privately that Romney's economy-only focus wouldn't be enough to overtake Obama and that the certain GOP nominee needed to broaden his criticism.
Specifically, these Republicans have been pressing Romney to go after Obama in areas that resonate with party loyalists as the close contest approaches its final push — the sprint from the Republican National Convention later this month to the election in November.
Thousands of mourners expected at Wisconsin funerals for 6 Sikh victims of white supremacist
OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) — Thousands of mourners were expected to gather Friday morning to pay their final respects to the six worshippers gunned down by a white supremacist at their Sikh temple over the weekend.
Organizers initially allocated two hours for a wake and visitation at a nearby high school. But they added two hours to accommodate both mourners from around the world and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as a last-minute speaker.
The service will include prayers and hymns. Afterward mourners plan to return to the temple and begin a traditional rite called "akhand path," a ceremony that involves a series of priests reading their holy book aloud from cover to cover. The process, which takes 48 hours, is intended to honor the memories of the six victims.
"We want to pay homage to the spirits who are still in there," said Harpreet Singh, the nephew of one of the victims.
Other dignitaries expected to attend the funeral include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.
US Catholic nuns at national meeting consider response to Vatican rebuke, demand for reform
ST. LOUIS (AP) — At a pivotal national meeting, members of the largest group for American nuns have been weighing whether they should accept or challenge a Vatican order to reform.
The national assembly is the first since a Vatican review concluded the Roman Catholic sisters had tolerated dissent about the all-male priesthood, birth control and homosexuality, while remaining nearly silent in the fight against abortion. Officials at the Holy See want a full-scale overhaul of the organization under the authority of U.S. bishops.
The 900 sisters at this week's meeting in St. Louis "are asking God to show us to the next best step we can take," said Sister Mary Waskowiak, director of development for the Mercy International Association in Burlingame, Calif. The executives of the group have called the Vatican report flawed.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 American sisters. The rebuke from the Holy See, issued in April, prompted an outpouring of support for the sisters nationwide, including parish vigils, protests outside the Vatican embassy in Washington and a resolution in Congress commending the sisters for their service to the country. A spokeswoman for the nuns group said Thursday they had received more than 1,500 cards from supporters from around the world, some of which were placed on tables at the meeting.
"Thank you for all you do to support the needy and underserved in our world," read one.
Gas prices expected to increase in Calif. as investigators wait to enter fire damaged refinery
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Analysts expect West Coast gas prices to rise beyond $4 a gallon after a fire knocked out a key section of one of the nation's largest oil refineries.
Meanwhile, the same U.S. Chemical Safety Board team that investigated the oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico was standing by with state and company inspectors waiting for structural and environmental tests to see if it was safe to enter the unit.
In all, five separate investigations will be done to determine the cause and effects of the Monday night blaze at Chevron's Richmond refinery.
"This is an important accident in its own right, it was a large fire and has the potential to affect fuel supplies and prices," said Dr. Daniel Horowitz, a member of the chemical board.
The average price of regular gasoline jumped in California from $3.86 a gallon on Tuesday to $3.94 on Thursday, according to the website GasBuddy.com.
EYES ON LONDON: USA basketball, Bolt's records and love, Abbey Road, Olympic weather
LONDON (AP) — Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:
USA VS. ARGENTINA II
Manu Ginobili and his Argentine friends better have had several great practices recently.
Argentina lost by 29 points to the American men's basketball team in pool play five days ago. The teams meet again in the semifinals on Friday, with a berth in the gold medal game on the line.
Consumer agency advances rule to protect mortgage borrowers from unexpected costs, bad service
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's consumer lending watchdog proposed new rules Friday aimed at protecting homeowners from unexpected costs and shoddy service by companies that collect their monthly mortgage payments.
Mortgage servicing companies would be required to provide clear monthly billing statements, warn borrowers before interest rate hikes and actively help them avoid foreclosure under the proposal by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The rules also require companies to credit people's payments promptly, swiftly correct errors and keep better internal records.
"The major failures in this industry demonstrate that all servicers need to meet basic standards of good customer service," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a call with reporters. He said the proposal reflects "two basic, common-sense standards — no surprises and no runarounds."
Mortgage servicers are central players in the nationwide housing crisis because they are responsible for foreclosing on homes when people fail to make payments. They have faced withering criticism for practices including charging excessive fees, foreclosing without completing the required paperwork and failing to help people stay in their homes by changing their loan terms.
Under the rules, companies would be required to provide billing statements that explain how much of a payment is going to pay down principal, how much to interest and how much to fees. If an interest rate was set to adjust, the borrower would receive an early estimate of the new payment amount. That would allow people to consider refinancing if they don't like the new rates.
Usain Bolt may be a 'legend,' but his Olympic quest isn't quite over yet
LONDON (AP) — As far as Usain Bolt is concerned, it's a done deal.
"I'm a legend now," he said.
But these Olympics aren't quite finished. And neither is he.
With the 200-meter gold medal in his pocket after a winning run of 19.32 seconds Thursday night, The World's Fastest Man now gets ready for the 4x100 relay. If he can lead the Jamaicans to a victory there, he'll be 3 for 3 at these Olympics, same way he was in Beijing four years ago.
He'll likely get a day off Friday for the preliminaries, then head back to the track Saturday for the final — his last chance to set a world record, the only thing to elude him over a very fast week at the London Olympics.
3 American troops shot dead by man wearing Afghan army uniform, US command says
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A man in an Afghan army uniform shot and killed three American service members on Friday morning in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military command said, the third attack on coalition forces by their Afghan counterparts in a week. The Taliban claimed the shooter joined the insurgency after the attack.
The shooting took place in Sangin district of Helmand province, said U.S. military spokeswoman Maj. Lori Hodge. She gave no details and said the military were investigating.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said by telephone that the attacker, whom he identified as a member of Helmand police named Asadullah, had joined the insurgency after his attack.
Ahmadi said the man had been helping U.S. forces train the Afghan Local Police troops.
The U.S. is hoping the Afghan Local Police will be a key force to fight the insurgency after most international troops withdraw.
DVRs overloading, laundry piling up: Olympic time suck has suspended real life for millions
NEW YORK (AP) — Chores piling up. DVRs stuffed and groaning with unwatched favorites. Late, bleary strolls into the office.
Welcome to the Great Olympic Time Suck, that unsung sport that has millions glued to coverage of the London Games rather than tending to real life.
At 34-year-old Angie Butcher's house in suburban Chicago, the suck looks like this:
"Dishes are not getting done. Kids are not getting baths at night. Kids are up hours past bedtime," said Butcher, whose family has been watching anything and everything. "Nice summer evenings are going by and none of us are outside to enjoy it. Dinner has been picnic style on the living room rug more than once."
The suck has been so bad that her neighbors even wondered whether the family of five was out of town.
Hope's glory: Solo leads US to Olympic women's soccer gold, beating Japan in World Cup rematch
WEMBLEY, England (AP) — In the closing minutes of the Olympic final, goalie Hope Solo flung her body toward the ball and managed to push it away. The lead stayed intact. The Americans would win the gold medal and redemption from a year-old World Cup heartache.
The U.S. women's soccer team puts up with a lot from Solo. The candid comments. The Twitter tangents. The pause she put on her training to appear on "Dancing With the Stars."
But when the game is on the line, she's still hands-down — not to mention hands-up and hands-to-the-side — the best goalkeeper in the world.
"You can't go without saying that Hope saved the day," U.S. forward Abby Wambach. "Literally. Five times."
The Americans became champions for the third consecutive Olympics, beating Japan 2-1 Thursday in a rematch of last year's World Cup final. Carli Lloyd scored early in both halves, and the entire roster found the salve it had been seeking since that penalty kick shootout loss in Germany 13 months ago.