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5:15 PM ET, May 17, 2012


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama  —  WASHINGTON — A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.
Guy Benson /
EXCLUSIVE: Romney ‘Repudiates’ Conservative Group's Planned Rev. Wright Attacks  —  In an exclusive interview with Townhall, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney rebuked a conservative group that is reportedly planning to assail President Obama over his 20-year relationship …
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
Mitt Romney On His Reverend Wright Attack: ‘I Stand By What I Said, Whatever It Was’  —  Mitt Romney's campaign is apparently worried about being associated with a Republican proposal, first reported by the New York Times today, to run $10 million worth of racially-tinged ads attacking President Obama …
Dylan Byers / Politico:
Statement: Ricketts rejects ‘Ricketts plan’  —  Brian Baker, president of the Ending Spending Action Fund, has released the following statement on behalf of Joe Ricketts, the conservative billionaire behind the proposal to attack President Obama's connections to Rev. Jeremiah Wright,:
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Romney invoked Wright with Hannity in the primary
Alexander Burns / Politico:
Ricketts flack says Wright attack plan has been rejected
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
GOP struggles to banish ghost of Jeremiah Wright
Joel B. Pollak / BREITBART.COM:
THE VETTING - EXCLUSIVE - OBAMA'S LITERARY AGENT IN 1991 BOOKLET: ‘BORN IN KENYA AND RAISED IN INDONESIA AND HAWAII’  —  Note from Senior Management:  —  Andrew Breitbart was never a “Birther,” and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of “Birtherism.”
Senators to Unveil the ‘Ex-Patriot Act’ to Respond to Facebook's Saverin's Tax ‘Scheme’  —  Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has a status update for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin: Stop attempting to dodge your taxes by renouncing your U.S. citizenship or never come to back to the U.S. again.
Quentin Hardy / New York Times:
A Facebook Co-Founder Reflects on the Path Forward  —  Eduardo Saverin can escape the United States, but he can't slip Facebook.  —  “Everything I do in my personal life, in my professional life, it's completely there,” said Mr. Saverin, a Facebook co-founder, in his first major interview.
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Dems take aim at Facebook founder for renouncing citizenship
Discussion: ABCNEWS and Bloomberg
Kyle Clark / KUSA-TV:
Rep. Mike Coffman: Obama in his heart ‘not an American’  —  “I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America.  I don't know that,” Coffman said.  “But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American.  He's just not an American.”
Donna Summer Dead — Disco Legend Dies After Battle with Lung Cancer  —  DEAD AT 63  —  EXCLUSIVE  —  9:27 AM PST- TMZ has learned ... Donna died from lung cancer.  Several sources are telling us Donna believed she contracted it by inhaling toxic particles after the 9/11 attack in New York City.
Kiki Von Glinow / The Huffington Post:   Donna Summer Dead: Queen Of Disco Dies At 63
Caitlin McDevitt / Politico:
Ben Stein: Obama's not very smart  —  Is President Obama smart?  Ben Stein wouldn't put his money on it.  —  During an appearance on Fox News, the economist and actor said he doesn't consider the president to be very intelligent.  —  “Barack Obama is a smart man, you would say that, right?” host Bill O'Reilly asked.
Daniel Halper / Weekly Standard:
Biden Calls Himself ‘Middle Class Joe,’ Owns Mansion  —  Joe Biden, speaking in Ohio today, said that he is “tired of being called a ‘Middle Class Joe.’”  —  While it's not clear who actually calls the vice president that, it is clear that his house and finances tell a different story.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Joe Biden / CNN:
Biden to eastern Ohio: I'm just like you
Discussion: The Raw Story
Dinner for 2? Romney Spox Throws a Question at Biden at Dinner Run-In
Discussion: Hotline On Call and The PJ Tatler
Sabrina Tavernise / New York Times:
WASHINGTON — After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States.  —  Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July …
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Movement among black North Carolinians on gay marriage  —There's been a noticeable shift in the attitudes of African Americans in North Carolina toward rights for gay couples in the wake of President Obama's announcement last week that he supports gay marriage.
Discussion: Firedoglake, Politico and ThinkProgress
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Romney Registers Personal Best 50% Favorable Rating  —  Up from 39% in February, but one of lowest for a presumptive nominee  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Fifty percent of Americans now have a favorable opinion of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, up from 39% in February and his highest by 10 percentage points.
New York Post:
RFK Jr.'s wife hangs herself  —  Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Mary arrive at Sen. Ted Kennedy's funeral in 2009.  —  Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s estranged wife, Mary, who battled her husband's rumored philandering by turning to alcohol and prescription drugs, hanged herself in a barn …
Discussion: and Politico
Fox News:
Autopsy of Trayvon Martin reportedly shows fatal bullet fired from ‘intermediate range’  —  Trayvon Martin, pictured on left, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman on Feb. 26 outside a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman, 28, has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Carol Marin / Chicago Sun Times:
Obama-Clinton?  That's the ticket  —  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers the keynote address to the New York Women's Foundation breakfast Thursday in New York.  Marion Curtis~Starpix via AP  —  All eyes will be on Barack Obama as he comes home to Chicago this weekend for the NATO Summit.
JPMorgan's Trading Loss Is Said to Rise at Least 50%  —  The trading losses suffered by JPMorgan Chase have surged in recent days, surpassing the bank's initial $2 billion estimate by at least $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the losses.  —  When Jamie Dimon …
Gustin L. Reichbach / New York Times:
A Judge's Plea for Pot  —  THREE and a half years ago, on my 62nd birthday, doctors discovered a mass on my pancreas.  It turned out to be Stage 3 pancreatic cancer.  I was told I would be dead in four to six months.  Today I am in that rare coterie of people who have survived this long with the disease.
Michael D. Shear / The Caucus:
Romney Raises $40.1 Million in April, Nearly Matching Obama  —  Mitt Romney almost matched President Obama in fund-raising during April after securing his party's presidential nomination and joining forces with the Republican National Committee, the campaign will announce on Thursday.
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 More Items: 
Lisa Rein / Washington Post:
State Department restores Foreign Service spouse's blog to its Web site after censoring
Paul Farhi / Washington Post:
NPR sees sharp downturn in advertising revenue, leading to talk of cuts
Philip Klein / Campaign 2012:
Ryan: GOP won't offer Obamacare substitute in 2012
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Romney talks ‘character assassination’ by Obama
Discussion: Daily Kos
Judson Berger / Fox News:
Florida Catholic school considers dropping student health plan, on heels of Ohio decision
7 Times In 2008 Obama Promised To Create 7 Million New Jobs
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
South Carolina Democrat Labels Haley “Sikh Jesus”
Discussion: FITSNews and The Daily Caller
 Earlier Items: 
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
A Pro-Austerity Chart, and Why the President Is Touting It
Discussion: BBC, Hullabaloo and Bark Bark Woof Woof
Fiona Govan / Telegraph:
Queen Sofia to snub Diamond Jubilee lunch over Gibraltar row
Discussion: Guardian
Reid J. Epstein / Politico:
Mitt Romney's Bill Clinton strategy
Plans to strike Iran “ready,” says U.S. Israel envoy
Mj Lee / Politico:
Scott Walker: Tom Barrett getting ‘desperate’
Discussion: Associated Press, Althouse and CNN
Wall Street Journal:
Tea Party Terror Flakeout
Discussion: EconLog and Blog
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Democrats' Odds of Retaining Senate Improve