WASHINGTON (AP) – Dick Cheney says he didn’t see the point of raising the issue of gay marriage in the 2000 presidential campaign, even though he supported it. The former vice president suggested it wouldn’t have done much good and probably would have sunk President George W. Bush’s prospects for office. “Why?” he responded to ABC News when asked in a televised interview whether he should have pushed harder for gay couples to marry. Cheney’s daughter, Mary, married her longtime partner this June. Cheney said of the wedding: “I’m sure it was fine. We wished them well. She wanted to avoid having it be a media circus or having it become part of the political debate. So Lynn and I were very proud and happy and congratulated them.”
WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent from April through June, as Americans cut back sharply on spending. The slowest growth in a year adds to worries that the economy could be stalling three years after the recession ended. The Commerce Department also says the economy grew a little better than previously thought in the January-March quarter. It raised its estimate to a 2 percent rate, up from 1.9 percent. Growth at or below 2 percent isn’t enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.2 percent last month. And most economists don’t expect growth to pick up much in the second half of the year. Europe’s financial crisis and a looming budget crisis in the U.S. are expected to slow business investment further.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Gun violence is shifting to the forefront of the presidential campaign, with President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney engaging in their most extensive discussions on the issue since the Colorado movie theater shootings. Obama is embracing some degree of additional restrictions on guns. He acknowledged Wednesday that his administration had not done enough to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of criminals and pledged to work with lawmakers from both parties to move forward on the matter. Romney says changing laws would not prevent gun-related tragedies. And he mistakenly said many weapons obtained by the movie theater shooting suspect in Colorado were obtained illegally. In fact, authorities allege that the firearms used to kill 12 people and injure dozens more were purchased legally.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) – The deadly shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater has prompted a sudden surge in gun sales in the state and elsewhere. In three days, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has approved background checks for nearly 2,900 people seeking to purchase a firearm. That’s 25 percent more than the average Friday-to-Sunday period this year. In Arizona, the owner of A.J.I. Sporting Goods in Apache Junction estimates he’s seeing as much as 40 percent more traffic than usual in the days after the killings. Jeff Serdy says many customers are expressing concern that lawmakers will use the shooting to try to pass gun restrictions. Political analysts say there is little appetite in Congress for such laws.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. general who vowed to fix intelligence to better fight the Afghanistan war is taking command of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who worked with elite special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, is taking over Tuesday from Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr. as the senior military intelligence adviser to the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Burgess will retire from the Army after 38 years of service. Flynn will have to figure out how to support special operations troops expected to stay behind in Afghanistan after most U.S. forces, including intelligence operators, withdraw by the end of 2014. The new director published a controversial paper titled “Fixing Intel,” which faulted intelligence gathering in Afghanistan.
McALLEN, Texas (AP) – Investigators continue the difficult task of trying to identify 14 suspected illegal immigrants who were killed when a pickup truck packed with nearly two dozen people crashed in South Texas during an apparent smuggling run. They’re also looking for clues about who else might have been involved in the operations. The men, women and children were carrying toothbrushes, toothpaste and changes of socks and underwear but no identifying documents. Authorities said the white Ford F-250 was carrying 23 immigrants from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala when it veered off a highway and crashed into trees Sunday night. The crash happened on a highway about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio and about 150 miles northeast of the Mexican border.
(AP) – Police across the country have arrested at least three people accused of making threats during or after watching the new Batman movie days after a fatal theater shooting in Colorado. In Maine, state police pulled over a man who said he was on his way to shoot a former employer one day after watching “The Dark Knight Rises.” Timothy Courtois was arrested Sunday after a police search found weapons and news clippings of the massacre in Aurora, Colo. In Arizona, sheriff’s officials say a confrontation with an intoxicated man during a Friday showing caused 50 people to flee the theater. A man in Southern California was accused of causing panic when the movie didn’t start. Witnesses say the man alluded to the shooting and asked whether anyone had a gun.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) – The Colorado movie theater shooting suspect showed little emotion as he made his first court appearance handcuffed with reddish orange hair. James Holmes was wide-eyed, frowning and unshaven as he sat staring down. At one point he closed his eyes as a judge spoke. He appeared after being accused of the shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 58 others. The judge says he will be formally charged next Monday. Authorities say the 24-year-old former graduate student is refusing to cooperate and it could take months to learn what prompted the horrific attack. District attorney Carol Chambers was set to speak after the hearing. Investigators say they found a Batman mask inside Holmes’ booby-trapped apartment after the attack.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The NCAA has slammed Penn State with an unprecedented series of penalties, including a $60 million fine and the loss of all coach Joe Paterno’s victories from 1998-2011, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Other sanctions include a four-year ban on bowl games, and the loss of 20 scholarships per year over four years. NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the staggering sanctions Monday at a news conference in Indianapolis. Though the NCAA stopped short of imposing the “death penalty” – shutting down the Nittany Lions’ program completely – the punishment is still crippling for a team that is trying to start over with a new coach and a new outlook. Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was found guilty in June of sexually abusing young boys, sometimes on campus.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) – Security is tight outside the courthouse where the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting is set to make his first appearance. Uniformed sheriff’s deputies are stationed outside, and deputies are positioned on the roofs of both court buildings at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, south of Denver. James Holmes is being held in solitary confinement in jail on suspicion of first-degree murder. He’ll be moved Monday to a nearby courtroom for a 9:30 a.m. MDT hearing, where he will hear the pending charges against him. Prosecutors will have 72 hours to file formal charges. Authorities have disclosed that Holmes is refusing to cooperate and that it could take months to learn what prompted the attack that killed 12 and injured 58 moviegoers at a Batman film premiere.