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7:15 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,:
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
GOP struggles to banish ghost of Jeremiah Wright  —  In a statement, Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades repudiates the plan being hatched by GOP operatives for an ad campaign tying Obama to Reverend Wright: … And that's good.  The problem, though, is that it turns out that Romney himself attacked Obama …
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Mitt Romney stands by invocation of Rev. Wright
Discussion: BuzzFeed and Hullabaloo
Alexander Burns / Politico:
Ricketts flack says Wright attack plan has been rejected
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.”
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire:
Literary Agent Says 1991 Booklet was a Mistake  —  Breitbart News reports on a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama's then-literary agency which describes the author as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”  —  Miriam Goderich issued the following statement to Political Wire:
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.
TED and inequality: The real story  —  Today TED was subject to a story so misleading it would be funny... except it successfully launched an aggressive online campaign against us.  —  The National Journal alleged we had censored a talk because we considered the issue of inequality “too hot to handle.”
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 …
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.
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
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.
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.
Kevin Roderick / LA Observed:
Brad Sherman mailers come with (or without) mom *  —  Some Valley voters are getting campaign mail that shows Rep. Brad Sherman with his wife, Lisa Kaplan Sherman, and their three young children.  The lucky ones also get his mother, Lane Sherman, apparently photo-shopped in to the same park scene.
Discussion: Politico, BuzzFeed and Ballot Box
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: JOSHUAPUNDIT and Weasel Zippers
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
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 …
Sam Baker / The Hill:
Boehner: Keeping any parts of Obama health law ‘unacceptable’  —  House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reiterated Thursday that he wants to repeal all of President Obama's healthcare law if the Supreme Court doesn't toss out the entire statute.  —  “We voted to fully repeal the president's healthcare law …
Discussion: protein wisdom and Ezra Klein
Michael Warren / Weekly Standard:
Who Is Deb Fischer?  —  On Tuesday night, Nebraska state senator Deb Fischer unexpectedly won the Republican primary over a better-funded establishment favorite, attorney general Jon Bruning.  Folks curious to know just who Fischer is might want to watch a few her debates …
Discussion: Hot Air and The Daily Caller
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.
John H. Cushman Jr / New York Times:
Senate Confirms Fed Board Nominees  —  WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday confirmed two nominees chosen by President Obama for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, overcoming Republican objections and bringing the seven-member board to full strength for the first time since 2006, before the economic crisis struck.
Discussion: The Maddow Blog
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 More Items: 
Rush Limbaugh:
Joe Biden Goes Nuts in Ohio
Lisa Rein / Washington Post:
State Department restores Foreign Service spouse's blog to its Web site after pulling it
Discussion: We Meant Well
Paul Farhi / Washington Post:
NPR sees sharp downturn in advertising revenue, leading to talk of cuts
Carol Marin / Chicago Sun Times:
Obama-Clinton? That's the ticket
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Romney talks ‘character assassination’ by Obama
Discussion: Daily Kos
 Earlier Items: 
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
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
A Pro-Austerity Chart, and Why the President Is Touting It
Discussion: BBC, Hullabaloo and Bark Bark Woof Woof
Wall Street Journal:
Tea Party Terror Flakeout
Discussion: EconLog and Blog
JPMorgan's Trading Loss Is Said to Rise at Least 50%
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Democrats' Odds of Retaining Senate Improve
Discussion: American Prospect