GOP nominee Mitt Romney and the Rev. Billy Graham discussed policy and personal connections Thursday at a meeting at the evangelical leader's home in Asheville, N.C., that ended with the men praying together.

"I'll do all I can to help you," Graham said at the end of the meeting, which also included his son Franklin.

The men discussed religious freedom and persecution, the war in Afghanistan and growing ministries in nations such as China and North Korea. Romney's late father, George, the governor of Michigan, was friends with Graham, and the evangelist held his first crusade in Grand Rapids, Mich., in the year Romney was born, 1947.

Graham asked what he could do for the GOP nominee. "Prayer is the most helpful thing you can do for me," Romney said.



To campaign or to study? For President Obama, that has become the question.

On the calendar, there are 25 days until the election. But Obama's advisers are sending the president to study hall. He will hole up in Williamsburg, Va., for four days starting Saturday to get ready for debate No. 2 on Long Island, N.Y., on Tuesday, and then will do the same thing next weekend at Camp David.

On Thursday, at the University of Miami, Obama delivered a full-throated attack on Romney's move to the center, saying the former governor "is trying to go through an extreme makeover." "After running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative, Mitt Romney's trying to convince you that he was severely kidding," Obama said. "Suddenly, he loves the middle class. Can't stop talking about them. He loves Medicare, loves teachers. He even loves the most important parts of Obamacare."




A federal appeals court on Thursday dealt the latest blow to Ohio's voting procedures, saying the state must count ballots that are improperly cast because of a poll worker's mistake. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit said it was wrong to penalize a voter for casting a vote in the wrong precinct when a poll worker is responsible for supplying the ballot. There were more than 14,000 such votes thrown out in the 2008 election.

Ohio in the past refused to count such votes, saying finding the proper precinct is the voter's responsibility. But unions and civil rights groups said voters should not be penalized for showing up at the right polling place, only to be given the wrong ballot. The judges agreed.