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Romney as Church Leader
(from: Political Wire @ August 20, 2012, 01:00 PM)

The Washington Post looks at Mitt Romney's record as a leader of the Mormon church and finds "his actions sometimes clashed with his political positions... Romney's decades as a lay church leader -- first as bishop and later as stake president, which gave him dominion over all the churches in and around Boston -- shaped a man as orthodox and committed to his faith as any presidential nominee in history. It is an experience that demonstrates Romney's mastery of the institution and confidence in his authority."

Obama Talks to Media, Just Not National Media
(from: Washington Wire @ August 20, 2012, 12:42 PM)

The president is taking lots of questions, just not from White House reporters who chronicle his every move.

Are Romney's Tax Returns Hiding Voter Fraud?
(from: Political Wire @ August 20, 2012, 12:00 PM)

Though many theories have been advanced as to why Mitt Romney won't release additional tax returns, The Guardian suggests it may be to hide voter fraud.

"Tax returns require taxpayers to state their residence address, and the Romney returns already produced, although partially redacted, state clearly that they lived in 'Belmont, MA 02478' in 2012 (tax year 2011) and 2011 (tax year 2010)... But the Romneys, arbitrarily, refuse to disclose a copy of the returns they filed in 2010 or 2009 (for tax years 2009 and 2008) - which, perhaps not coincidentally, bracket the time period when Romney allegedly committed fraud by voting in Massachusetts when he actually resided in California. So here's the question: did Romney put his son's basement's address on the returns he filed in 2009 and 2010? Or did he truthfully use his real (non-Massachusetts) address, thus implicating himself in voter fraud?"

Scott Brown Says Akin Should Quit Senate Race
(from: Washington Wire @ August 20, 2012, 11:24 AM)

Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who is locked in a tough re-election fight in Massachusetts, said Rep. Todd Akin should resign as the GOP Senate candidate in Missouri, in the latest sign that Akin?s remarks on rape are reverberating through the political landscape.

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/20
(from: Swing State Project @ August 20, 2012, 11:00 AM)

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Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here.

8:15 AM PT: MO-Sen: Obviously you've already heard about this:

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario?when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail?abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.

"Let's assume that maybe that didn't work, or something," Akin said. "I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

With these remarks, Rep. Todd Akin probably made himself the third most-famous Republican running for office this year. He's also issued a couple of non-apology non-walkbacks, but right now, Democrats just have to hope he doesn't succumb to pressure to drop out of the race altogether (even some fellow Republicans are getting on his case).

Personally, though, I don't think that's likely: Akin's 65, had to give up his seat in the House to run for Senate, and won a pretty serious primary upset. This is the capstone of his career, and there really isn't any inducement anyone can offer him to step aside. What's more, since when do conservative Republican office-seekers ever quit because of extremist things they say? Hell, Akin believes this shit. As Kevin McDermott at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out, even his second statement "didn't specifically counter [his] initial comment that rape-induced pregnancies are rare." So we'll see where this goes, but I'm thinking Akin stays in.

8:30 AM PT: So yeah, PPP will be jumping into Missouri with a new poll right away, and Tom Jensen is taking question suggestions.

Massachusetts Ad Spending Truce in Holds
(from: Political Wire @ August 20, 2012, 11:00 AM)

Boston Globe: "A groundbreaking pact between Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren to prevent third-party ads has survived, to the amazement of partisans around the country who expected it to crumble in the midst of what may be the nation's most competitive Senate race."

Romney Calls Akin Comments ?Inexcusable?
(from: Washington Wire @ August 20, 2012, 10:43 AM)

Mitt Romney distanced himself in strong terms from comments by a Missouri Republican candidate suggesting that the bodies of women who are raped can block unwanted pregnancies.

Political Wisdom: Romney?s Church Role
(from: Washington Wire @ August 20, 2012, 10:11 AM)

A detailed look at Mitt Romney's leadership role in the Mormon church, and more in the morning's headline roundup.

Democrats Tie Republicans to Akin Comments
(from: Political Wire @ August 20, 2012, 09:40 AM)

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz sent an email attempting to tie Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) comments about abortion to the entire Republican Party and GOP presidential ticket, Politico reports.

From the email: "Can you imagine -- the same Republican House that refuses to pass a jobs bill jumped at the opportunity to make life harder for victims of rape? And what do Romney and Ryan think of Akin's latest statement? They've been trying to distance themselves from it -- but Congressman Ryan has already partnered with Akin on a whole host of issues that restrict women's ability to make their own health care decisions."

It's reasonable to expect the Democrats will try to keep this issue in the headlines for the entire week.

When Ryan Supported Stimulus Spending
(from: Political Wire @ August 20, 2012, 09:10 AM)

While Rep. Paul Ryan is strongly critical of President Obama's economic stimulus package passed early in his presidency, MSNBC reports he was a vocal supporter of the same strategy during President George W. Bush's first term.

Meanwhile, the AP finds more instances of Ryan quietly lobbying for stimulus money despite his public denials.

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