Looking to win voters even as they swore off negative attacks, the presidential candidates clashed over whether the country is a safer place on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
President Barack Obama pointed to gains in the war on terror under his time as commander in chief to make the case that Americans are better protected. "Al-Qaida's leadership has been devastated and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again. Our country is safer and our people are resilient," the president said at a Pentagon memorial service.
But Republican nominee Mitt Romney disagreed in a speech to the National Guard convention in Reno, while he won applause for thanking the Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden, without mentioning Obama, he added: "I wish I could say the world is less dangerous now."
Obama and Romney pulled their negative ads and avoided appearing at campaign rallies, but the politicking didn't stop. Obama did an interview with Miami radio DJ Laz on 106.7 FM without mentioning the somber anniversary. He discussed campaign issues and criticised Romney's position on taxes and education funding. The president's campaign also dispatched former President Bill Clinton to rally voters in Miami and First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged supporters by email to commit to voting for her husband and recruiting others to do the same.
The day offered Romney a chance before the National Guard to address criticism that he didn't include a salute to the troops or reference the war in Afghanistan in his GOP convention speech last week.