Republican Mitt Romney outraised President Obama by $21 million in the first half of October, taking advantage of a strong first debate and tightening polls to lead the money race, officials said Thursday. The influx of $111.8 million from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17 left Romney and the Republican National Committee with nearly $170 million in cash on hand, aides said. Obama and the Democratic National Committee said they raised $90.5 million during the same period and had $125 million in cash on hand. Both sides have raised more than $1 billion each between the campaigns, political parties and super PACs.



A Massachusetts judge agreed Thursday to release Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's testimony in a testy 1988 divorce case that pitted one of his key business associates against a Boston socialite.

At issue is what Romney said in the case about the estimated value of Staples, then a fledgling private company in which his firm was a major investor. The office-supplies firm went public shortly after and became a sensational success story.

The transcripts, released late Thursday, show Romney being peppered with questions about the seeming conflict between the value he and fellow Staples board members set for the company's stock at a key moment in fall 1987. At the time, chief executive Tom Stemberg was divorcing his wife, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, and had asked the board what price he could say his common stock was worth. Romney led Bain Capital, an early investor in Staples.

At a Staples board meeting in September 1987, Romney and fellow board members agreed to set the value of the company's common shares at one-tenth of one cent, the transcript shows. Romney acknowledged on the stand that he previously testified that he believed the value of the common shares at that time was about $1.30 a share.

"You voted in favor of that, did you not?" an attorney for Sullivan Stemberg asked of the board vote for a one-tenth-of-a-cent valuation. "But you're telling the court that on the same day the share was really worth $1.30?"

"That's correct," Romney said.

"Now, was it your true belief when you voted on September 22 that the value of the stock was one-tenth of one cent?" the lawyer asked.

Romney answered: "It was my true belief that one could justify one-tenth of one cent as the value of the common stock but that the stock was probably worth more than that."

He was called in the divorce trial to testify about the likely value of Staples, and some have alleged that he gave a misleadingly low estimate, which helped Tom Stemberg, a friend, avoid paying a larger settlement. Sullivan Stemberg's attorney, Gloria Allred, told the judge Thursday that the public has a right to know about Romney's actions in the case.

A year after the settlement, Staples went public, and its stock value was $19 a share.