The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 13, 2012

Romney and Obama focus on debate preparations

(Continued)

Saturday will be the fourth of the last five days Romney will spend campaigning in this industrial, Midwestern state — with 18 electoral votes, it's critical to his hopes of winning the White House. His campaign swing comes as he and Republicans criticize Obama for the handling of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Romney accused Vice President Joe Biden of "doubling down on denial" concerning security at the diplomatic post where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. During the vice presidential debate Thursday, Biden said "we weren't told" about the Benghazi consulate's requests for additional security. Although a State Department official told Congress on Wednesday about the requests, the White House said Friday that Biden was speaking just for himself and for the president.

"The vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of State Department officials," said Romney, who was eager to stoke a controversy that has flared periodically since the attack. "American citizens have a right to know just what's going on. And we're going to find out."

Romney plans to spend Saturday morning at a hotel outside Columbus, where he'll meet with top advisers and get ready for his showdown with Obama in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday. He returns to Massachusetts in the evening but first makes two campaign stops in Ohio.

After his widely panned performance in the first presidential debate, polls show Obama still holds a slim edge in Ohio. The state is crucial for Romney because his path to winning the 270 electoral college votes he needs is far narrower if he can't win Ohio. Losing here would mean he'd have to win almost all of the other up-for-grabs battleground states.

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