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12:00 PM ET, April 19, 2012


 Top Items: 
Quinnipiac University:
Big Lead With Women Gives Obama An Edge On Romney, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Christie, Rubio, Ryan Top GOP Running Mate List  —  President Barack Obama holds a thin 46 - 42 percent lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.
Michael Patrick Leahy / The Daily Caller:
The coming conservative landslide  —  Wishful liberals and Chicken Little conservatives who watch the weekly fluctuations in the presidential polls have concluded that President Obama is a shoo-in for re-election.  They point out that Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee …
New York Times:
New York Times/CBS News Poll Shows Doubts on Economy Helping Romney
Discussion: ABCNEWS, The Caucus and Daily Kos
Brian Beutler /
TPMDC  —  Obama To GOP: Abide By Debt Limit Deal Or Else Face A Govt Shutdown Right Before The Election  —  In a major escalation of a slowly building fight over funding the government, the White House has warned House Republicans, in no uncertain terms, that the government will shut …
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
Obama warns GOP not to move spending bills that break debt deal  —  The Obama administration on Wednesday stated for the first time that the president will not sign any 2013 spending bills until the House abandons the spending levels in Rep. Paul Ryan's budget.
Discussion: The Maddow Blog
Alex Pappas / The Daily Caller:
Gingrich's Secret Service detail likely costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day  —  Even though by his own estimates he has very little prospect of winning the Republican nomination, Newt Gingrich is still likely costing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day with his Secret Service detail on the campaign trail.
Secret Service Pre-Planned Party at Colombian Hotel  —  ABC News' Reena Ninan, Christine Romo and Mary Bruce Report:  —  CARTAGENA, Colombia — Secret Service officials planning a wild night of fun in Colombia did some of their own advanced work last week, booking a party space at the Hotel Caribe …
William Neuman / New York Times:
Colombian Escort Speaks About Secret Service Scandal
Michael Falcone / ABCNEWS:
Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images; Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images  —  NOTABLES:  — Voters have a way of seeing past the dog-eat-dog theatrics of the presidential campaign, and what's left?  Their pocketbooks.  A series of polls out this week all tell us one thing …
Discussion: Daily Kos
Julie Bykowicz / Business Week:
The Business of Ending a Presidential Campaign
Discussion: Capital Tonight
How Mitt Romney Learned To Love Twitter
Discussion: Althouse
NY Daily News:
The smartest choice Ann Romney made
Karen Tumulty / Washington Post:
Jim Webb: Health-care law represents a leadership failure for Obama  —  President Obama's new health-care law will be his greatest liability as he attempts to once again win the critical swing state of Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) warned Wednesday.  —  “I'll be real frank here,” Webb said at a breakfast organized by Bloomberg News.
Obama camp tries to diversify  —  President Barack Obama's team is looking to hire more African-Americans, a search that has stirred a debate among black Democrats about Obama's record on diversity and its implications for his reelection.  —  Stefanie Brown, director of the campaign's African …
Josh Israel / ThinkProgress:
Allen West Says Congressional Progressive Caucus Is Communist But Won't Name Names  —  The fallout over Rep. Allen West's (R-FL) Joe McCarthy-style accusation that “there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party” continues.
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Rep. West doubles down on Communist ‘ideology’ of progressive caucus  —  Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) on Thursday maintained that the “the strategy, the tactics, the ideology” of progressive caucus members in Congress are the same as that of the Communist Party.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Christian Heinze / GOP 12:
Romney: Obama won't use Greek columns this time  —  On Fox News Wednesday night, Mitt Romney skewered Barack Obama for accepting his nomination at the 2008 convention in front of Greek columns.
Amy Gardner / Washington Post:
Obama: 'I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth'
Discussion: The New Republic and The Raw Story
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Obama: Unlike some people, I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth
John Frank / Raleigh News & Observer:
Letter details allegations of sexual harassment at N.C. Democratic Party  —  A former staffer accused the Democratic Party's executive director of showing him a picture of a penis, caressing his leg and discussing his sexual exploits, according to a new document obtained by The News & Observer.
John Frank / The Charlotte Observer:
Letter details allegations of sexual harassment by ex-director of N.C. Democratic Party
Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. / The Jawa Report:
OWS Celebrates Holocaust Day w/ Antisemetic Cartoons  —  To give them their due, there are a lot of people in the comments pissed off about the picture.  But, there are also 43 likes and 59 people sharing the photo (as of this writing).  —  So, is this a one-offer that we who already …
David Gibson / Washington Post:
Vatican orders crackdown on American nuns  —  WASHINGTON — The Vatican has launched a crackdown on the umbrella group that represents most of America's 55,000 Catholic nuns, saying that the group was not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion and women's ordination.
Laurie Goodstein / New York Times:
Vatican Reprimands U.S. Nuns Group
Annie-Rose Strasser / ThinkProgress:
Cantor Suggests Anti-Semitism Is A Problem Within The House GOP Caucus  —  A few weeks ago, the House GOP was up in arms over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-VA) $25,000 donation to anti-incumbent candidate Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who ultimately defeated his opponent, incumbent Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL).
Marty Nemko / The Atlantic Online:
Why the U.S. Economy Is Biased Against Men  —  That women earn 77 cents for every $1 earned by a man is a popular refrain.  But look closer.  Prejudice against guys in the economy is real and widespread.  —  You've just landed on Planet Zuto.  —  The Intergalactic Equal Employment …
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Romney to speak at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University  —  Mitt Romney will deliver the commencement address at Liberty University, the school announced Thursday morning.  —  This will be Romney's first appearance at the influential Evangelical Christian school, which was founded …
Discussion: CNN
Leslie Gornstein / E! Online:
Dick Clark: 10 Ways He Changed Pop Culture Forever  —  Will anyone be as influential over pop culture as Dick Clark was?  Not likely.  —  Yes, musicians like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson revolutionized popular music, and TV owes its very bones to innovators such as Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin.
Discussion: The Reaction
Tim Mak / Politico:
Leon Panetta: U.S. ‘within an inch of war’  —  Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Wednesday that the United States was “within an inch of war almost every day” in the region around North Korea.  —  “We're within an inch of war almost every day in that part of the world …
Jay Cost / Weekly Standard:
Morning Jay: Obama the Underdog  —  Sean Trende has an important column that connects presidential job approval to reelection results.  You really should read the whole thing, but here is the big take home point: … This is exactly right, and something I have been discussing for some time now.
Discussion: Real Clear Politics
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 More Items: 
Tom Hamburger / Washington Post:
WellPoint is focus of aggressive effort to force political spending disclosures
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Charles Mahtesian / Politico:
Raese: Smoking regs like Hitler's Jewish star
Discussion: ThinkProgress and The Daily Caller
T.W. Farnam / Washington Post:
Payday lenders up their contributions to candidates
Discussion: CREW
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Do Romney's Favorability Ratings Matter?
Jobless data suggests slowdown in job creation
Discussion: Campaign 2012 and Hot Air
George Washington / naked capitalism:
2 Years After the BP Oil Spill, Is the Gulf Ecosystem Collapsing?
 Earlier Items: 
Tom Gantert / Michigan Capitol Confidential:
Teacher Upset She Can't Retire at 47
Discussion: Hit & Run
Mgoodman / CBS Dallas:
Perry Interested In Another Run For President
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Congressional Approval Recovers Slightly, Now 17%
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Politico
Charles C. Johnson / BREITBART.COM:
Discussion: The Jawa Report
Greg Miller / Washington Post:
CIA seeks new authority to expand Yemen drone campaign
Discussion: News Desk, Fox News, Hit & Run and The BLT
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
The most amazing Supreme Court chart. Maybe ever.