WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are growing more optimistic about the economy and President Barack Obama's leadership. That's creating a significant obstacle for Republican Mitt Romney five weeks to Election Day.
Unemployment is still above 8 percent for a 43rd straight month, but voters are taking comfort in modest signs of economic progress. The government reported a jump in consumer confidence and home prices have gained steadily.
Surveys show Obama opening up leads over Romney in several key states.
Interviews with voters and opinion polls also suggest Romney inadvertently played into Democrats' long-running efforts to paint him as an out-of-touch plutocrat. A secretly recorded video showed him saying 47 percent of Americans consider themselves victims who depend on government care.
Romney is struggling to change the momentum in the race.
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Oklahoma lawmakers have begun the process of appropriating millions of dollars in emergency funds to help pay the cost of recovering from tornadoes that have ravaged parts of central Oklahoma.