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In annual address, the President says 'too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead'

Man of the hour? 'Genius strategist' Lynton Crosby

If the Tories want a majority at the next election, they should hurry up and sign Lynton Crosby

The Australian political strategist was a proven winner with John Howard and Boris Johnson. His politics are populist, negative and ugly - but above all effective

Amol Rajan: The man who might get the Tories back on track

This may be the week that an Australian you've probably never heard of becomes the third most powerful man in government, after David Cameron and George Osborne. So today I thought I'd tell you a bit about Lynton Crosby.

Editorial: How scared should we be of a Romney presidency?

Less than a month ago, the prospect seemed remote – but there is now a very real possibility that Mitt Romney could win the US presidency on 6 November. The intricate electoral college mathematics of the eight or nine all-important swing states still slightly favours Barack Obama. The momentum, too, could shift in the last 10 days. But as matters now stand, that momentum is unarguably with the Republican challenger, who now holds a slight lead in national polls.

Christoph Waltz won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds'

From Nazi colonel to glasnost, Waltz to star as Gorbachev in 'Reykjavik'

He won an Oscar for his portrayal of a brutal colonel in the SS, and now Christoph Waltz is heading to the other end of the political spectrum as he steps into the shoes of the former leader of the Soviet Union.

Ronald Reagan raises Specter's hand at a fund-raising party for Specter in 1980

Arlen Specter: Influential Senator for the Democrats and Republicans

Maverick" is an overworked word in the political lexicon, but it applies perfectly to Arlen Specter, a giant of the US Senate, a moderate in views if not in manner, who over his three decades on Capitol Hill career would constantly infuriate liberals and conservatives in equal measure. He began his career in public life in 1965 by running – and winning – as a registered Democrat on the Republican ticket for district attorney for the city of Philadelphia. He ended it, to all intents and purposes, in 2009 when, his Pennsylvania seat under dire threat from a far-right challenger, he switched back from the Republicans to the Democrats. This time he was less successful, losing in the Democratic primary to a challenger from the left.

The universal panning he received will have stung Mr Obama’s pride

Romney was heading for disaster – but now it's the President hanging by a thread

The universal panning he received will have stung Mr Obama's pride

The four most important televised debates in US presidential history

Televised debates have been around for more than half a century. Rarely do they alone determine an election’s result. But they can shift a campaign’s momentum and seal an impression of a candidate in voters’ minds. Here are four of the most important.

Getty Images

The greatest political showdown on earth

It's make-or-break time in the world's most important, and expensive, election. On the eve of tomorrow's televised debate between the presidential candidates (the first of three), Rupert Cornwell looks forward to a momentous month

Journalist Brian Crozier dies aged 94

Tributes have been paid to journalist and activist Brian Crozier who has died.

Stephen Foley: These banking watchdogs are off the leash and can now make a difference

Our band of outlaw regulators arrives at the right moment

Rupert Cornwell: The rust belt punishes a tactical blunder... and Barack Obama could be the real loser

The recall was meant to be a show of strength for the unions. The outcome was exactly the opposite

Ronald Reagan blood vial auction cancelled after outrage

The online auction of a vial of Ronald Reagan’s blood has been terminated following outrage from the former US President’s foundation in California.

The seller claims their mother 'did the blood work' on President Ronald Reagan

Auction site offers blood from Ronald Reagan assassination bid

Ex-President's foundation threatens legal action to prevent Guernsey firm selling grisly souvenir

Ronald Reagan's foundation objects to auction of vial of the former US president's blood

Ronald Reagan's foundation expressed outrage yesterday at a British company's auction of what it says is a vial of the late US president's blood taken at the hospital where he was treated after a 1981 assassination attempt.

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General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat