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1:05 PM ET, July 31, 2008


 Top Items: 
Carrie Budoff Brown / The Politico:
GOP's celeb-Obama message gains traction  —  Barack Obama's critics laid down the foundations of the strategy months ago: The Republican National Committee started the “Audacity Watch” back in April, and Karl Rove later fueled the attack by describing the first-term Illinois senator as “coolly arrogant.”
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Where did Barack Obama's mojo go?  —  Something's going on.  Or some things.  —  A new CNN/Opinion Research poll out Wednesday shows that despite nine solid days of blanket media coverage from overseas with Barack Obama cheered by adoring throngs of Germans and parlez-vousing with the French …
Washington Post:
As Aides Map Aggressive Race, McCain Often Steers Off Course  —  Sen. John McCain last week delivered one of his sharpest critiques yet of Sen. Barack Obama's Iraq policies, carefully reading a prepared speech that accused his Democratic rival of failing the commander-in-chief test …
Todd Purdum / Vanity Fair:
The McCain Behind the Curtain  —  The saddest sight on “Straight Talk Air,” the sleek flying successor to John McCain's one-time rolling caravan of candor, is the couch.  It's a soft, tan leather shelf, custom-fitted for high altitude truth-telling when McCain, a former Navy pilot, took his act from the road to the skies this summer.
Discussion: Washington Monthly and
Zzaki / Political Punch:
Did Obama Accuse McCain of Running a Racist, Xenophobic Campaign?  —  “John McCain right now, he's spending an awful lot of time talking about me,” Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said today in Rolla, Mo. “You notice that?  I haven't seen an ad yet where he talks about what he's gonna do.
Wall Street Journal:
Roles Are Set, as Are the Perils  —  Obama at Risk Of Arrogant Tag, McCain, Negative  —  AURORA, Colo. — Presidential rivals Barack Obama and John McCain both appear to be seizing the roles in which they have been cast: Sen. Obama as front-runner and Sen. McCain as underdog.
Marc Ambinder:
Hit Me, Davis, One More Time  —  A night's sleep a few thoughts on celebrity, John McCain;'s ad, celebrity, and what voters will make of all of this.  —  1. John McCain is the Republican least associated with the Bush brand of politics.  His appeal is based on his independence …
Jonathan Martin / Jonathan Martin's Blogs:
McCain campaign chief: Obama “played the race card”  —  John McCain's campaign manager is accusing Barack Obama of unfairly using the issue of race, a significant accusation in a campaign featuring the first African-American major party nominee.  —  “Barack Obama has played the race card …
Daniel Henninger / Wall Street Journal:
Is John McCain Stupid?
Rich Lowry / The Corner:   More on the “Celeb” Ad
John Riley / Spin Cycle:
Sex celebs: Why Britney and Paris?
The Hill:
Fears of a shutdown  —  The prospect of a September government shutdown loomed over the Capitol on Wednesday as the two parties fought over rising energy prices.  —  It's a fight some members of either party are willing to have, but others worry about who will get blamed for a repeat …
Jennifer Parker / Political Radar:
Clinton Supporter Angered By ‘Other Women’ Obama VP Talk  —  ABC News' Jennifer Parker reports: A longtime friend of Sen. Hillary Clinton said it's “incomprehensible” that Sen. Barack Obama would choose another woman to be his vice-presidential candidate over Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Discussion: PSoTD
Steve Hargreaves /
Exxon posts record $11.68 billion profit  —  World's largest publicly traded oil firm makes $1,485.55 a second in the quarter, but misses forecasts.  —  NEW YORK ( — Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income …
Discussion: Raising Kaine
Marty Kaplan / The Huffington Post:
On Having Your (Political) Heart Broken  —  The e-mail came when I was in Mexico, at a fitness resort that — in pursuit of wellness — confines BlackBerry use to guests' rooms.  —  “Need to chat briefly with you regarding John Edwards and the effects of this scandal on his future political career.”
Ann Coulter / Human Events:
A Baby Daddy For Both Americas
Discussion: Don Surber
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Obama's Veep Vetting Enters New Stage  —  Barack Obama's vice presidential vetting process has moved into a new stage in which a larger than previously reported group of candidates is being exposed to a “deeper dig” into their backgrounds — in the words of a source familiar with the process.
Dan Schnur / Campaign Stops:
Bad V.P. Picks
Discussion: Connecting.the.Dots, TPMCafe and Time
Tuned In:
McCain Tries to Britney-fy Obama  —  I haven't been spending much time picking apart campaign ads in this election, because I know enough about what I don't know about that I don't want to pretend to be  But in his newest ad, John McCain has come into Tuned In's house …
Plain Dealer / OPENERS:
McCain ad attacking Obama's celebrity is a ‘zero’
Aaron C. Davis / Washington Post:
Police Raid Berwyn Heights Mayor's Home, Kill His 2 Dogs  —  A police SWAT team raided the home of the mayor in the Prince George's County town of Berwyn Heights on Tuesday, shooting and killing his two dogs, after he brought in a 32-pound package of marijuana that had been delivered to his doorstep, police said.
Discussion: Reason Magazine
Clinton to speak Tuesday at Democratic convention, sources say  —  (CNN) — Sen. Hillary Clinton has agreed to speak on the second night of next month's Democratic convention, headlining on the 88th anniversary of the day women earned the right to vote, sources say.
Discussion: MyDD and Hot Air
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 More Items: 
Khaled Abu Toameh / Jerusalem Post:
Fight between Hamas-Fatah spreads to upper lips in mustache war
Discussion: Israel Matzav
Joel Achenbach / Washington Post:
A ‘Dead Zone’ in The Gulf of Mexico
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
Sierra Club: ‘Full Nelson’
Big Tent Democrat / TalkLeft:
FL, OH, PA Polls
Discussion: American Spectator
Alexei Barrionuevo / New York Times:
Strong Economy Propels Brazil to World Stage
Josh White / Washington Post:
Gates Sees Terrorism Remaining Enemy No. 1
Discussion: Think Progress
Jay Nordlinger / The Corner:
Here We Go Again  —  Couple of things about Obama's reaction …
Discussion: Nitpicker
Jonathan Martin / Jonathan Martin's Blogs:
Suggesting the race card and then denying it
 Earlier Items: 
Rob Christensen / Raleigh News & Observer:
Edwards ending college program
Henry A. Kissinger / Washington Post:
New Premises in Iraq
Hindrocket / Power Line:
GET THIS MAN A TELEPROMPTER!  —  Barack Obama is a lot like Sean Penn or George Clooney.
The Paris Hilton comparisons
Jay Cost / HorseRaceBlog:
McCain Should Pick Romney, And Soon
Discussion: Newsweek Blogs
Gomonkeygo / The New Disease:
What's the Word, John?
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
McCain's True Voice