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November 1, 2012

Presidential politics reignites in Sandy's wake

(Continued)

ROANOKE, Va. —

The ad doesn't mention that Obama floated the idea of the new post as a way to consolidate nine agencies dealing with business concerns and eliminate bureaucracy. And it also ignored a growing body of positive economic indicators that continued to emerge Thursday — unemployment benefit claims down, worker productivity up, auto sales rising, home builders increasing construction, manufacturing expansion, gains in retail sales and consumer confidence at the highest level since a year before Obama took office.

October's jobs figures, the last broad snapshot of the economy before the election, were scheduled to be released Friday.

The Obama campaign released a new TV ad touting former Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent endorsement. It will run in 10 states, including Minnesota.

Mitt Romney's campaign also began quietly running a Spanish-language ad in Florida that tries to tie Obama to notorious Latin American leaders. The ad, first reported by The Miami Herald, is airing at least in the Miami area.

It shows a clip of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez saying that if he were American, "I'd vote for Obama." The Chavez did say that in September, when he also called Obama "a good guy." There's a similar clip featuring Cuban leader Fidel Castro's niece Mariela, who has no official link to the Cuban government. She's a noted advocate of gay rights and has praised Obama's stand in support of same sex marriage.

The American Future Fund, an Iowa-based independent group that backs Republican candidates, announced Thursday it would spend $4 million on TV ads in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio to support Romney. One ad is a direct appeal to women voters, while the other features excerpts from Romney's strong performance in the first presidential debate.

AFF is the latest Republican-leaning group to air commercials in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states Romney and his allies are hoping to make competitive in the campaign's closing days. The Obama team has responded with ads in the two states while campaign officials insist both are strongly in the president's column.

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