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Romney Family Overruled Advisers (August 17, 2012, 09:23 AM)

Sources close to the campaign and family tell McKay Coppins that Ann Romney and her five sons urged Mitt Romney to go with his gut and pick Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate -- even as most of the other campaign advisers expressed their doubts.

"Romney, who has long trusted his wife's 'people instincts,' gave substantial weight to her endorsement, which, combined with his own personal preference for Ryan, was enough to overrule his advisers' concerns."

Obama Leads in Michigan (August 17, 2012, 09:02 AM)

A Mitchell Research survey in Michigan finds President Obama leads Mitt Romney in the Republican candidate's native state by five points, 49% to 44%.

Obama Campaign Offers Romney a Deal on Tax Returns (August 17, 2012, 08:54 AM)

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina writes a letter to his counterpart, Matt Rhodes, at the Romney campaign:

"I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more--neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign."

Alex Burns: "This is, of course, more of a stunt to draw out negative coverage of Romney than an actual proposal that has any chance of getting accepted. But Romney has given Democrats an opening to go back to flogging this issue and the Obama team is evidently delighted to do so."

Republicans Try "Mediscare" Tactic (August 17, 2012, 08:42 AM)

With their agressive counterattack on Medicare, John Avlon says Mitt Romney and Republicans are "head-spinningly hypocritical on the same issue they've hung on Democrats for years."

Charles Krauthammer: "If Mitt Romney and Ryan can successfully counterattack Mediscare, the Ryan effect becomes a major plus. Because: (a) Ryan nationalizes the election and makes it ideological, reprising the 2010 dynamic that delivered a 'shellacking' to the Democrats. (b) If the conversation is about big issues, Obama cannot hide from his dismal economic record and complete failure of vision. ... (c) Image. Ryan, fresh and 42, brings youth, energy and vitality - the very qualities Obama projected in 2008 and has by now depleted."

Mark Halperin: "There's still a big difference on the pure politics of the Medicare fight (putting aside the merits for a moment): Democrats are sure they can win in the end; Republicans are hopeful, but far from certain they will prevail. And some GOPers still believe it can cost them the election, despite Boston's push."

Obama Releases First Medicare Ad (August 17, 2012, 08:27 AM)

The Obama campaign put out its first Medicare ad.

Alex Burns: "This won't be the Obama team's last Medicare ad, and almost certainly won't be its toughest one either, but it's the starting point of the Democratic paid media campaign on one of the issues that will define the general election."

The ad is airing in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

Romney to Campaign with Ryan Again (August 17, 2012, 07:31 AM)

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan "plan to campaign together again sooner than aides had originally planned, likely twice next week, as part of a new offensive to take on the touchy issue of Medicare," Politico reports.

"Despite the continued skepticism among GOP operatives in Washington and on House and Senate races, Romney officials insist that the addition of Ryan has produced a more confident campaign with a clearer message, focused on big ideas rather than the pettiness that had earlier threatened to submerge the race."

"Romney and Ryan had planned to go their separate ways before meeting up at the end of the month at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. But then campaign strategists saw how much of a psychic boost Romney got from Ryan -- and how much more animated Romney appeared on television with his younger running mate at his side."

Romney Already Planning the Takeover (August 17, 2012, 06:38 AM)

Mitt Romney already has a transition team which the New York Times notes "is an extension of his campaign and reflects many hallmarks of the Romney operation -- methodical and disciplined, with acute attention to detail. The team also offers a glimpse of what might be Mr. Romney's approach to governing, functioning much like his old private equity firm, Bain Capital. The team is assessing the government and looking for ways to make it more efficient and streamlined."

Indiana Senate Race Looks Close (August 17, 2012, 02:00 AM)

A Garin-Hart-Yang Research (D) survey in Indiana finds Joe Donnelly (D) just ahead of Richard Mourdock (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 43%.

Meanwhile, a Market Research Insight (R) poll finds Mourdock with a small lead, 41% to 39%.

White House Considers Tapping Oil Reserves (August 17, 2012, 12:14 AM)

The White House is "dusting off old plans" for a potential release of oil reserves to dampen rising gasoline prices and prevent high energy costs from undermining the success of Iran sanctions, Reuters reports.

Bonus Quote of the Day (August 16, 2012, 11:54 PM)

"We'll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding."

-- Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson, quoted by Politico, saying Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not impressed by Romney's claim he's paid at least 13% in taxes for the last ten years.

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