AT LEAST $380K RAISED FOR BULLIED NY BUS MONITOR: NEW YORK (AP) - A video of a 68-year-old school bus monitor being mercilessly taunted by seventh-graders became a rallying point against bullies Thursday, with a fund for the New York state grandmother raising at least $380,000 and a deluge of people demanding harsh punishment for the boys.
Police said Karen Klein does not want her young tormenters to face criminal charges, partly because of the storm of criticism leveled at the boys from the Rochester suburb of Greece after the video went viral.
"They've received death threats," Greece Police Capt. Steve Chatterton said Thursday. "Their families have been threatened. We have custody of one of their cellphones, and he had over 1,000 missed calls and 1,000 text messages threatening him. And he's 13 years old. That must stop."
The verbal abuse was captured in a 10-minute cellphone video recorded Monday by a student of Athena Middle School in suburban Rochester and later posted to YouTube. The video shows Klein trying her best to ignore the stream of profanity, insults and outright threats directed at her.
One student taunted: "You don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they don't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son killed himself 10 years ago.
Eventually, she appears to break down in tears.
POLL: ROMNEY CLOSES IN ON OBAMA, ECONOMIC ANGST UP: WASHINGTON (AP) — Fighting a swell of economic anxiety, President Barack Obama has lost much of the narrow lead he held just a month ago over Mitt Romney and the two now are locked in a virtually even race for the White House, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. The survey also found a majority of Americans disapproving of how the Democratic president is handling a national economy that fewer people think is improving.
Less than five months before the election, 47 percent say they will vote for the president and 44 percent for Romney, a difference that is not statistically significant. The poll also shows that Romney has recovered from a bruising Republican primary, with more of his supporters saying they are certain to vote for him now.
The economy remains Obama's top liability. Only 3 out of 10 adults say the country is headed in the right direction and 55 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy, the highest level detected in AP-GfK polls this year.
COMMERCE SECRETARY RESIGNS FOLLOWING SEIZURE: WASHINGTON (AP) — Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigned Thursday less than two weeks after suffering a seizure and multiple car accidents in the Los Angeles area, saying he didn't want his health to be a distraction from his job.
Bryson, a 68-year-old former California utility executive, served as a member of President Barack Obama's economic team and advised the president on energy issues. He made his resignation official in a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, saying it was a "consequence of a recent seizure and a medical leave of absence."
BOEHNER TAKES HARD LINE ON HOLDER CONTEMPT VOTE: WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner demanded Thursday that the Obama administration give in and turn over documents related to a botched gun-tracking operation, insisting that's the only way to stop a House vote to hold the attorney general in contempt.
Boehner took a hard line against the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder despite a willingness by House Republicans and Holder to negotiate a settlement before the matter becomes a constitutional crisis. The president has invoked executive privilege, a legal principle used to avoid disclosure of internal presidential documents.